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t2000 (1999)
Deja Vu

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 01/19/2000

How sad, to watch a lightly ambitious "concept movie" flounder, stagger, drop the concept not even half way through (they didn't think we'd notice?), and peter out, to a sappy, moralistic end. Director Cho Kin-lam makes a rather loose mess of this film: he seems to have no idea what to do with actors, and abandons them to flounder and do the best they can. Which is nothing much for Peter Ho, dull dull long-haired narcissist; a little bit more for Nicky Wu, who's almost present (though he gets to play against a new, bulked up physique); so-so for Theresa Lee, whose natural effervescence is depressingly squelched (let down, not only by mis-direction, but by a flaccid script); and surprisingly much for mainland TV sensation Vicky Zhao Wei. The lone survivor of this mess, Zhao's lively spirit and irrepressible charisma (though, those eyes, can they be real???) seems impervious to the heavy handed dullness around her. Some nice views of Shanghai don't begin to compensate for some of the least professional cinematography seen this year. Ho, fortunately, sings better than he acts.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 11/21/1999
Summary: Deja Vu (1999)

With the surprising success of a PRC-made TV Drama series in Hong Kong, the leading PRC actresses -- Vicky CHIU Mei and Ruby LIN Sum-yu -- are now very popular in Hong Kong. Definitely we will be seeing more of them in movies. First we had Ruby LIN in BIG's 'The Mirror', now we have Vicky CHIU in 'Deja Vu'. The movie is directed by CHO Kin-nam, who directed several Category III adult movies. How is CHO's direction in a non-pornographic love comedy?

'Deja Vu' is a movie built around the two love affairs. Vicky (CHIU Mei) is a tourist guide. One day she and her aunt SZETO Hung (Teresa LEE Yee-hung) go to buy a computer. They meet Ricky (Ricky WU Kei-lung) and Peter HO (Peter HO Yun-tung) respectively. The two pairs click up immediately. However, love is something like magic while luck is more dependent on fate. The difference causes lots of emotional turmoil during the the process of love ......

The idea of 'Deja Vu' is very close to a Hollywood movie released in Hong Kong last year -- 'Sliding Doors'. The story is presented by a third party -- a magician in a playground explaining luck as balls in bowls that she can control. We see demonstrations of her skill in the first half of the movie. >From time to time, when the plot sets up a situation about the two couples, two possible outcomes are shown -- the first one negative, the second, positive.

Since it's using the premise of 'Sliding Doors', the movie has a smooth style. However, the overall plot seems lackluster. In fact, inspiration is in short supply throughout. For the characters' names, the film just duplicates the names of the actors. This is too lazy. In addition, I wounder if it is necessary to have an epilogue at the end of the movie. To me it now looks a bit redundant. I understand that this can be a way giving the audience some messages about love, but the approach is too rigid and mechanical.

For most audiences, the major concern will be the acting, especially from Vicky CHIU. Her performance is okay, reminiscent of her style in TV dramas, including a bit of over-acting. It is still too early to determine whether she can succeed in the film business. Still, she stands out from Teresa LEE, who doen't have much to do here to show her potential. In the past, she acted in a style very close to what Vicky CHIU is now doing. Now Teresa has to find another way to act, but it is a bit hard for me to see what.

For acting, the focus of the movie is on Ricky WU. He even has the chance to present his songs in the movie. Peter HO's personality may be too close to the role he is playing here. It looks more or less the same as what he did in his previous movie, 'The Truth about Jane and Sam,' which I prefer to 'Deja Vu'.

'Deja Vu' is very close to Hollywood's 'Sliding Doors' -- a movie about the love and romance between two boys and two girls. The story is smooth. The performance of Vicky CHIU Mei stands out, although it's not much different from what she did on TV.