Himalaya Singh (2005)

Reviewed by: beyond asiaphilia
Date: 02/16/2009
Summary: cultural insensitivity, hong kong style

“Hey, you ever been to India?” “No, why?” “Wanna make a movie there?” “Well, what’s there?” “I dunno, elephant, cobras, yoga.” “Okay, sounds great. Think Francis & Lau Ching Wan will want to go?” “Yeah, and maybe Cecilia.” “Okay, let’s do it.” “And we need to find some Indian guys who can speak Cantonese.”

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: White Dragon
Date: 11/18/2005
Summary: Wai Ka Fai fails to rekindle FANTASIA's success

HIMALAYA SINGH, lifts its cue from the burgeoning interest in all things Bollywood, and sets up Cantopop star Ronald Cheng on the road to marriage as the eponymous hero of the title. Coming from oft Johnnie To collaborator Wai Ka Fai, and Herman Yau (creditted as Co-Director), SINGH plays out as a series of loosely related vignettes, about a set of loosely related HK characters lost in an unnamed Indian city, some with a modicum of success...but most with a high level of failure.

Sean Lau's Mr. Bean appropriation sets a new low in his usually dependable comic canon, and talented character actor Francis Ng is thrown away for the second time in a year in a supporting role well beneath him. Thankfully, Cheng and Cherrie Ying's characters/story is moderately engaging to give the viewer something to watch amongst a rapidly building train wreck of a film. The film relies on loads of CG, all very badly executed (hinting at a rushed production schedule); perhaps the media coverage throughout Asia for the film's purported "racism" towards Indians before release was a publicity stunt designed to draw attention from prospective viewers to an erstwhile turkey? Definitely a lukewarm vindaloo...

(As an aside there is a wild, divergent subplot about Francis Ng's character and his nephews losing their memories and trying to regain a sense of who they are; one of these bizarre dalliances ends up playing out the central motif from Thai filmmaker Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol's 1980 romantic epic THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF...how a Thai weepy ties in with a Bollywood parody is anyone's guess!)

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: evirei
Date: 07/25/2005

Yeap.... It's a Chinese New Year movie... In short it means that it's a movie you will only see during the long weeks of boring holiday.

The first 10 minutes of the movie already killed me. And when Ronald Cheng went rolling down the hill... I was stuffing my head in the cookie jar. What has happen just then... The very first CGI made in hong kong was much better then this. I bet college student's could do better than that.

The storyline for the movie was a crap. Wait a minute... is there ever a storyline?

The worst part of the show is that even good actors like Lau Ching Wan and Francis Ng acted badly in the show. It's a complete waste of time. I would rather watch re-run chinese movies on tv than watch this.

Rating 2 out of 10

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/21/2005

Ugh! Someone please pass the Excedrin, Pepto or Heineken -- I need something to help deal with watching this stinker. Himalaya Singh is one of those movies that you realize about fifteen minutes into the proceedings that surely you must have something better to do with your time than waste it with tripe like this. It's dumb, dense, dim, dopey, dull... am I getting through to you yet?

Now, I'm sure some of of you will want me to give some justification for the above rant. I just really bring up any specific examples, because the production as a whole is just extremely flawed. From the god-awful soundtrack to the incredibly bad CGI, no feature -- big or small -- is done with any sort of professionalism or panache here. Worse yet, the director (Wa Kai-Fai) seemed to see the picture's shortcomings beforehand and thusly instructed everyone to try and cover up the faults using the fabulous acting method of screaming, waving their arms around and using embarassing facial tics. It's really amazing that a lot of the same cast and crew worked on Wa Kai-Fai's last movie Fantasia, which was one of my favorites from 2004. Lau Ching-Wan, in particular, seems to be almost a former shell of his super-cool self. It's sad seeing one of the most talented actors in Hong Kong basically reduced to imitating Rowan Atkinson's horribly annoying "Mr. Bean" character.

I'm sure most of you regular readers (all two of you) out there know that I am not a film "snob" at all. I enjoy Wong Jing's movies just as much as Wong Kar-Wai's. And I know Lunar New Year movies aren't exactly known for their deep plots or moving performances. It takes a lot for me to really hate a movie -- but Himalaya Singh "delivers" most everything that can possibly go wrong with a film in spades. Between this and the mind-numbingly inane Where is Mama's Boy?, 2005 is not shaping up to be a very solid year for Hong Kong movies. Let's hope they can pick things up before things totally bottom out -- those Segal and Van Damme straight-to-DVD "gems" sitting on the new release shelf at Blockbuster are almost starting to look good.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: timktai
Date: 02/27/2005
Summary: A mishmash of stolen characters

Plot Summary:
The titular character is born a master of yoga at one with nature and comes down from the mountains to marry the Indian Beauty. Meanwhile an Uncle, his two nephews, and a man with no fear on a tour bus run afoul of a mystical potion that wipes out their memories.

The usually dependable Lau Ching Wan heads up a cast making bad impressions of characters ranging from Mr. Bean to movie Yakuza to Jane Seymour from "Somewhere in Time".

The spectacular Indian locations and decent local Indian casting couldn't save this film.