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新難兄難弟 (1993)
He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father!

Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 11/20/2001
Summary: 6.5/10

This film is said to be Hong Kong's version of Back To The Future. The similarities between the two films are insignifigant and don't extend beyond a guy's time travel trip to the past and meeting his father. Beyond that, there's no similarities really. Just wanted to clear that up straight off.

He Ain't Heavy is about a guy named Yuen who disapproves of his father being too charitable and never thinking of himself or his family. His father's attitude towards people resulted in him being mugged and left in a coma. Yuen makes a wish to see what his father was like 30 years ago as Jupiter kisses the moon and falls into a manhole which thrusts him back in time. He soon finds out that his outlook was all wrong and he develops a new respect and love and understanding for his father (I know it sounds like I just gave away the whole story arc, but there's a whole lot more here).

I don't know what it is with me today... somebody must've put some estrogen in my Mountain Dew or something... I've been crying like a little b**** at these sappy dramas. He Ain't Heavy is advertised as a comedy, but I didn't even crack a smile once. It's not even remotely funny. There's a few attempts at jokes, but they're just mechanical and don't really do anything except balance the tone of the film out. It's basically a feel-good drama with a spash (and I mean a small splash) of comedy. Perhaps it's because of my ill father and our relationship, but I was bawling at the end of this one too - that's 2 in a row. I'm such a sissy.

Anyway - don't get it expecting a comedy and don't get it expecting to see Back To The Future 4. I've heard some people say this came out before Back To The Future as if BTTF ripped off this film, but that's not even physically possible unless the writers for BTTF time traveled about 10 years into the future or so (whenever BTTF was written). It's just a cute and somewhat touching film that involves a little bit of time travel magic. I'm a sucker for time travel films in general, so this was a no-brainer for me. I liked it ok. The Mei Ah disc is another barebones menu-less DVD with a decent enough transfer.

This disc is worth picking up, but don't be in any hurry. I liked it ok.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: willow
Date: 11/06/2000

It does have a "back to the future" theme, but this movie is definitely not a cheap clone of the american movie. The idea was perhaps drawn from it, but its artists,director,and screenwriters have made it hong kong's own. It has an atmosphere, theme, meaning and feeling truly its own. The performances were great, each actor/actress working their own charisma and personality into their character. I thinks this deepens an actor's performance and makes characters more personal and alive, less wooden. Tony Leung Chiu Wie as usual gives a penetrating performance, and I was amused and touched by Tony Leung Ka Fie's character (with his simple-minded, but noble belief in generosity and kindess) and acting - both as the old man and the young man from the past. It was a very enjoyable movie. I especially like the theme of little tony becoming less selfish. A simple theme, but well handled by the 2 tony's. Who cares if some things aren't explained meticulously? Art is not and exact science, it's purpose is to make a statement and to evoke feeling, and I think the components in this movie work to do that. I love the contrast between the romantic and nostalgic past and the modern reality, The characters lived their parts, and I also relished the touches of fun and sadness. I really sympathized with the characters. In a nutshell, just watch it.

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father more or less rips off the basic plot structure of Back to the Future, but it has a better cast and
a funnier story so this can't be held against it. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai plays a young man in his twenties (I think) who thinks
his father (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) is a loser. Through magic (not science in this version) he manages to go back in time to when
his father was his age.

Leung Chiu-Wai's basic problem with his father is that he (his father) is just too nice, even to the point of telling robbers
where he lives just in case they want a 'second chance' and giving loans to friend until he is impovershed. Leung Chiu-Wai
doesn't have this problem, being a basically self-serving womanizer, who cheats on his girlfriend Yee. She is played by Anita
Yuen, who also played another long-suffering woman by the name of Yee in Tom, Dick and Hairy (Hong Kong - 1993), a
strange but irrelevant coincidence. Anita Yuen also plays another character whom Leung Chiu-Wai meets after traveling
back in time.

Of course, by going back in time, he is able to understand why his mother has stuck by his father all these and to learn to
love his father. This really isn't revealing anything, because if you can't figure out the basic plot from the first two minutes
then you probably just shouldn't bother watching movies. The good things in this movie come from how it gets from
beginning to end. This movie has a number of quite good comic sequences, including possibly the funniest dance scene I've
ever seen and some amusingly bad singing.

The film is fairly confusing for the first thirty to fourty minutes after Leung Chiu-Wai travels back in time, because we're
introduced to a multitude of characters and their attendant personal problems all at once. This gradually gets sorted out
although I never quite figured out one element of the plot that Leung Chiu-Wai hatches.

There are fewer time paradoxes in this movie than in Back to the Future, but they are quite huge. I suggest you just ignore
them because if you think about it it just will not make sense. That's alright. This is not a science fiction movie about time
travel and the mechanics of it are not that important to enjoying the film.

This film is not great, but it is fun. If you're interested in seeing something different from a lot of other Hong Kong films that
is light and entertaining, this would be a good choice.

Reviewed by: jun-yan
Date: 01/06/2000

The famous two Tony Leungs play father and son. The son (little Tony) is a cynical, unhappy, selfish brat who despises his father. He represents the modern generation with no ideals and no moral values. His father (big Tony) is ridiculed for his "bleeding heart," idealistic, out-of-date mentality that leads him to give a thief money after a lecture in hopes of straightening him out. By a magical coincidence, the son is sent to the past and becomes his father's buddy.

The movie is reasonably interesting. It borrows elements from Back to the
Future, as some have pointed out, but reminds me more of an old HK movie called "the 72 tenants" about a crowded apartment building full of poor but honorable characters. Both actors are good, but little Tony further convinced me of his comic talent. He does it so damn effortlessly. Big Tony is hilarious
as the old man. It's interesting to see little Tony's wife Carina Lau playing his mother.

The movie is a little long and preachy at times, and the moralistic lesson is indeed out-of-date. But overall it is fun.

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

But don't let that stop you. This was a very good movie about coming to love people for who they are. It makes no attempt to be a realistic time travel movie. Subtle performances by the Tony's make this a film that stays with you long after it is over.

Reviewed by: MadMonkey
Date: 12/09/1999

More Tony & Tony fun--this time in a not-so-loose reinterpretation of Back to the Future. Tony Kar Fai does a decent job of playing old, old, old in a bad prosthetics job as the little Tony's Dad; Tony Chi Wai is better than Michael J. Fox could be in his dreams, which isn't THAT much of an accolade; Carina Lau is just not very attractive, either in a huge "fat" costume ("present day") or in her slightly slimmer normal look ("30 years in the past"). Decent supporting cast, though, including...(drumroll) Anita!


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

At first, this movie might seem like a cheap imitation of "Back to the Future." But wait about 10 minutes and it gets good, really good. Little Tony, who has never gotten along with his father (Big Tony), accidentally gets transported back in time and comes to know his father as a young man. And never mind the time-traveling mechanism, that is not the point of the movie, was there any doubt at all that Little Tony will be able to return to the present? In any case, for the first time, the son gets to know his father, as a parent and as a friend. He comes to appreciate why he does what he does, and along the way helps out the family and their friends a great deal. Through a relationship with a girl who looked exactly like his present-time girlfriend (Anita Yuen), Little Tony also starts to cherish her.


[Reviewed by Brandon S. Ou]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Unrepentant bigamist Tony Leung wins girls over with hispuppy-dog eyes, but can't seem to cement a relationship with his aged father (Leung Ka Fai under a ton of makeup). One day, he drops a coin into a wishing well during the mid-autumn festival, but accidentally gets knocked in and transported into the past. He meets his father as a young man and comes to understand him better, and does his family lots of favors. The sentimental It's a Wonderful Life story line is winning; the awkward handling of time-travel paradoxes is not.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6