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老鼠愛上貓 (2003)
Cat and Mouse

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/17/2008

Cat and Mouse centers on Zhan Zhao (Andy Lau), who is a powerful deputy to the wise Judge Bao (Anthony Wong). Zhan and Bao have cleaned up their province so much that there is nothing for them to do besides the occasional odd job like cutting apart a stinky cow hide. Bored, Zhan heads back home for a vacation, where he uncovers a plot to assassinate Bao so that a rebel group can overthrow the Emperor (Cheung Tat-Ming).

Due to politics pulled by the Empress, the court can't officially do anything about the plot, so Zhan strikes out along with his friend Bai, who is a noted swordsman. But Bai is actually a woman (how anyone could mistake the lovely Cecilia Cheung for a man is beyond me) and the budding romance between them runs into a complication when Zhan becomes part of an arranged marriage.

Loosely based on the novel "Qi Xia Wu Yi" ("Three Heroes and Five Gallants"), Cat and Mouse was released during the lucrative Lunar New Year period. Like many films that come out during that time, it's a light and fluffy affair that uses its' all-star cast and crew to create a movie that appeals to everyone. And, again, like most New Year entries, it succeeds in creating an enjoyable enough movie to while away ninety minutes, but it's nowhere near the realms of the great.

Truth be told, there is a lot done wrong here, most notably with Gordon Chan's direction. This is a bit surprising, since Chan tends to be one of the most dependable directors in Hong Kong. But he seems to meander about here with no real focus.

Is this a romance? Is this a comedy? Is this a wuxia picture? Of course, genre-mixing is to be expected in Hong Kong productions, but Cat and Mouse can't seem to fuse the various parts together and the whole film feels a bit sloppy as a result.

What saves Cat and Mouse from becoming a truly bad picture are the actors. Even with a limp script and lackluster direction, they still manage to create some engaging characters. Though she spends a lot of the movie sporting a ridiculous looking mustache and beard, Cecilia Cheung is especially good as the conflicted Bai. Seeing her work here, minor as it might be, made me miss her in more recent films, as she hasn't been heard from in a couple of years.

At any rate, if you're in the mood for a movie with some decent eye candy that isn't going to tax the old gray matter too much, then Cat and Mouse is a perfect fit. But if you're looking for something with a substantial story or heart-pumping action, then you'd be better off heading elsewhere.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 03/09/2008

This story of imperial intrigue and star-crossed lovers is pretty fluffy, but although some of the minor characters goof about I wouldn't really class it as a comedy, certainly not the screwball kind one expects from a Chinese New Year movie... it's more of a romance/drama, IMO. Action from Ma Yuk-Sing has a few moments that work, but not that many. Not especially interesting, but not offensively bad.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 11/24/2005

Absolutely funny movie to celebrate Lunar New Year with friends and family. Andrew Lau produces screwball comedy directed by Gordon Chan. Film makers and cast are having wildly funny time working to bring popular martial arts story to the silver screen with tongue's planted firmly in cheeks.

Watch for Chapman To and Cheung Man Tat to go goofy in almost every scene. What is refreshing to this viewer is that this film is made for the hometown audience, very provincial. Not made with the international box office returns in mind, this one is for true Hong Kong cinephiles.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: RLM
Date: 11/02/2004
Summary: Waste of time...

I just got around to viewing this movie, and to be honest, I hadn't missed anything of importance.
Knowing that Gordan Chan directed the movie, and it stars Andy Lau, Anthony Wong and Cecilia Cheung, my hopes were high. However, this movie failed in all respects. The plot is too thin -
it's losely based upon a popular chinese novel - and the acting uninvolved. I also got the impression that those involved were about 20 years too old for their parts; this might have worked with younger actors.
The fighting scenes are dull and the commedy lame. What a waste of talent all around!
It would be better for anyone to read the original chinese zodiac story of the cat and mouse than to watch this movie.
Rated 1/10

PS. It's about a constable who is always bummping heads with a cross-gender bandit - who eventually falls in love with him - for no apparent good reason other than the need for a plot twist.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 10/17/2004
Summary: Boring!!

The only good thing about this movie is Anthony Wong who plays Judge Pao well. Apart from this there is nothing to recommend about this movie. The 2 main characters falling in love, how did that happen? There is no chemistry between them. I think i laughed twice and unfortunately they were small laughs. I dont know i watched this whole movie


Reviewed by: JovialMojo
Date: 11/19/2003
Summary: They Messed this one up

I bought this movie because of Cecilia Cheung but I was disapointed. I was disapointed in the acting, direction and action. This movie is about justice poa and Jing piu but does nothing to add to their characters. This movie shine no new light on how these oft used characters could have been or should have been. The comedy is spotty and boring. It jump from one point to the next point in the movie with no semblance of transition and overall it is a mess of a movie.

Reviewed by: icacutee
Date: 04/18/2003

Quite funny, but nothing special. Main reason the movie was not that terrible was because Andy Lau and Cecilia Cheung were there to boost it.

This movie shows signs of Andy Lau ageing.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 04/14/2003

Compared to other period comedies (most notably Wu Yen, which also featured a retelling of a traditional story with women playing men), Cat and Mouse is fairly light on the comedic side of things. There's a little gentle slapstick here and there, and some mild humour mainly from the use of anachronistic language in a period setting (Song Dynasty), but this never reaches the level of outright farce displayed in Wu Yen (or more recently, The Lion Roars). Instead, the film is similar in tone and style to something like Andrew Lau's The Duel (minus the CGI effects).

Of all the recent period comedies, I would probably rank Jeff Lau's Chinese Odyssey somewhere near the top, and Cat and Mouse in the middle. The film certainly has the production values, with a decent cast and nice costumes and settings, but where it falls flat (aside from presenting Cecilia with a beard) is in the storyline. The movie meanders along with little urgency in the first half, wasting a lot of time showing Andy Lau and Anthony Wong sitting in a bath, and the central narrative element (the attraction between Cat and Mouse) doesn't really start until the second half of the film (so that when obstacles and antagonists are finally introduced, the audience simply does not have enough invested to care too much one way or the other about the outcome).

There are a few fight scenes involving lots of wires, but they are too short to really add much excitement to the film. There's also an "Indiana Jones" type final reel that seems rather out of place.

In the end, I'd give it a marginal recommendation. Worth checking out if you like the genre or the leads - everyone else won't be missing much...

Reviewed by: Souxie
Date: 03/03/2003
Summary: pretty funny

I agree with the first review: very funny in places, sometimes predictable, but definitely one to see for fun. Not a movie that would stand to be watched more than twice maybe, but everyone does well and there are moments of pure comic genius. Unfortunately not enough to warrant a 10/10 though...

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 02/25/2003
Summary: Fun New Year movie

This is pretty familiar territory for Andy Lau by now. Charming skilled swordsman and romantic lead, playing opposite the lovely, husky-voiced Cec Cheung. There are enough thrills, stunts and predictable romantic twists in this one to hold interest. The settings, apparently filmed in northern China, are gorgeous to look at and things are colourful.

The acting is predictably hammy, given that New Year comedies always have tongue firmly planted in cheek. And, of course, there's the always-welcome appearances by Anthony Wong and Wong Yat Fei.

No classic, but worth one viewing.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/24/2003
Summary: A true piece of shit at its best

This all time low piece of shit in filmmaking is possibly the most uninteresting movie I've ever seen. If this is the direction to which HK cinema embarks, it sure is going to hell. It did nothing but make me want to bitchslap everyone involved.


Reviewer Score: 1