Healing Hearts (2000)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2010-05-29
Summary: Not what the doctor ordered
The global reach of American popular culture and the flood of mediocrity that comes in its wake has never been more obvious than with “Healing Hearts” which is not only a poor movie it isn’t even a good TV show. Over the years Hong Kong filmmakers have shown they are fully capable of producing dreck on their own so mining U.S. television is hardly necessary. In “Healing Hearts” we see the worst of both worlds.

Some of the tropes of U.S. doctor shows from the late 1980s are present in all their tediousness. In the aftermath of a poorly conceived and executed bank robbery that results in mass casualties ambulances and private cars arrive at the emergency room door. Triage is performed in the alley, on the pavement by doctors who happen to be in the area including Tony Leung and Kenny Bee. Patients on wheeled stretchers are pushed or attended by as many emergency people who are able to get close enough to get a hand in, there are at least 10 medical professionals for each injured person and there is generally a lot of rushing and shouting.

There is the technical medical jargon, a beloved and necessary part of doctor shows, with physicians barking orders about how many of this and how much of that to use while nurses respond terse but impressive sounding reports of the patient’s condition: “Rate 50, level 99, output steady, wheat falling on the Omaha market”--oops that last one must have been from another show. A doctor gets to show his impeccable ethics when he is approached by a police officer and told that one of the injured is the suspect. Cutting the officer off before he could say anything that might be useful: "He is that guy over there" or "He is still armed" or "His gang is on the way to free him" the doctor says the expected, that his duty is to treat every patient and to do everything he can to help them.

What might be called subplots, if there was a discernible for them to be subordinate to, occur and are either solved by improbable but contextually unsurprising interventions or abandoned. In one case Dr. Tony Leung is berated by a nurse for telling a patient that she has brain cancer and will die within two years. The patient is suicidal and may be wandering around the hospital. Dr. Tony and the nurse find the patient sitting on a ledge--they haven't alerted security social services, hospital security or the police--and he walks up to her on the ledge and brings her back. Others that weren't resolved before the credits rolled, such as the attractive doctor being courted by a gangster, may have been left for future episodes.

Nothing new or interesting so far.

A bit earlier during the bank robbery that caused all the casualties Kenny Bee showed that he is exactly the type of person who should not be allowed anywhere near an emergency room--or a hospital or any place else people gather in public. The robber burst just as the bank was closing, pulled a gun and screamed at the customers to get on the floor. He looked deranged and dangerous, operating on a very short fuse. Dr. Kenny decided to take charge, first telling the robber to put his gun away, then telling him not to rob the bank (a bit late for that) since an employee would push an alarm summoning the police. Goaded to his breaking point the robber gave up on that crime and decided instead to go for mass incineration. When he threw a liquid all over Kenny Bee yelled "Be careful, that paint thinner is dangerous," and when he lit his lighter exclaimed "Hey buddy, don't start a fire". While the bank robbery/immolation scene was necessary to set up the mass casualty situation at the hospital Kenny Bee's part in it only showed him to be an officious, meddling jerk who spoke (or shouted) before he thought.

This happens in the first ten minutes or so of "Healing Hearts". It doesn't get any better as it unfolds. The only remarkable aspect of "Healing Hearts" is that Michelle Reis joined Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill" and Leonor Watling in "Talk to Her" as women whose ineffable beauty increased during the time they lay comatose.

I picked this up by mistake while browsing in one of the few video sales/rental stores in the area with a decent inventory of Hong Kong films. Misreading the blurb on the back I thought that Tony Leung was a cop with a girlfriend in coma and blah, blah blah...
Reviewer Score: 1