Okinawa: Rendez-vous (2000)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2006-03-10
“Okinawa Rendezvous” is not a bad movie. Neither is it a good movie. Gordon Chan tries to meld several genres but doesn’t do any of them particularly well. As a romantic comedy it isn’t funny enough; as a heist flick it fails because the robbery being planned makes no sense, either for the audience or the characters. The ghost of a buddy movie keeps popping up to mix things up even more.

There are some hilarious touches to “Okinawa Rendezvous”. One is the gang that constantly follows Yakuza Ken Sato—he is never without them, including on the night that he proposes to his girlfriend. They walk along several paces behind Sato and Sandy—the entire gang—and one of them carries a gift basket that flashes “I love you, marry me” in order to help seal the deal. A good deal of funny business is supplied by supporting characters, especially Asuka Higuchi, particularly when she is armed.

Faye Wong as Jennie is a real joy. She is extremely attractive and provocative looking here and one almost wishes she wasn’t quite as successful in her singing career so that she would make more movies.

Big Tony Leung seems to have a good time playing a character that it is impossible to like, the police file clerk Mr. Law. He is insufferable and is given to saying things like “Don’t bother me when I am thinking,” to the woman who loves him (Gigi Lai as Sandy). Law fails as a cop, a crook, a boyfriend and a suitor.

There are a lot of tourist bureau type shots of the beaches, hotels and countryside of Okinawa, plus a reminder of the U.S. military presence on the island.

Not sure exactly how the Platters classic “Great Pretender” fit into the narrative—its use in the soundtrack was underlined by it being played on a jukebox the first and last time it was used. There were a few pretenders in the cast but that didn’t seem to be a central theme. But using such an iconic American song which, one assumes, is very well known in Okinawa if, for no other reason, U.S. troops listening to it, doesn’t seem to fit. But it is a terrific 1950s do-wop masterpiece and is always welcome.
Reviewer Score: 6