Reviewed by: ryan
Summary: Your Sweetheart is My Concubine (1999)
In the past few years, concubine's have been a big social issue in Hong Kong and inspired a string of movies on this topic in the mid-90s. Now Winners' have added 'Your Sweetheart is My Concubine' to the genre. The subject may be a bit out-dated but it's not too bad.
'Your Sweetheart is My Concubine' starts with the gathering of 4 ladies -- Mei-heung, Shan and the other two uncredited girls talking about concubines. Shan and her boyfriend Manic run a private detective agency. Mei-heung is a housewife married to CHEUNG.
One day, while Shan and Manic are walking around, they see CHEUNG with the big-breasted YAM Foon. They follow him and learn that YAM Foon has had an affair with CHEUNG for years, but CHEUNG refused to get divorced to marry her. So Foon tries to make force CHEUNG into divorce. She asks her friend to grab Mei-heung, knock her out and take nude photos of her. They blackmail Mei-heung with the threat of sending a copy to CHEUNG.
Needless to say, Mei-heung seeks help from Manic and Shan.
The change of director has not brought a change in the weird style of Winners' productions. Throughout 'Your Sweetheart is My Concubine' there are still several love scenes completely unrelated to the movie. Some of them last for more than 5 minutes. They're not even good love scenes, they're incompetently made and boring.
The rest of the movie is a mess, too.
The characters of Manic and Shan are just a duplication of the Japanese Comic 'City Hunter' -- Manic is a guy who can switch from righteous to randy while Shan is a girl who punishes him whenever he thinks bad thoughts. Unfortunately, the dialogue fails to raise a laugh because it just doesn't fit the characters being played.
The main character Mei-heung is poorly conceived and poorly acted. For example, after she is raped and goes to seek for help from Shan, she doesn't cry on meeting her. That's completely out of character for her. But when Mei-heung cries after CHEUNG asks her for a divorce, her crying is so obviously fake that it doesn't work. And the dialogues between her and Shan doesn't gain her any audience sympathy - it makes her sound like a lady seeking money. Her character design is a total failure.
Despite the running time of only 76 minutes, it is still hard to wait for the ending as some of the sub-plots are too long. For example, taking the naked photos of Hei-heung takes more than 5 minutes. Shots are repeated for no reason. And when Manic and Shan are following Foon, some of the scenes are unnecessary; they're only there to increase the running time.
The only good thing about the movie is that the basic structure is quite clear. But this cannot make up for all the failings in the production.
Winners' Production should avoid making pointless duplicates of other sources like comic books. Their poor adaptations just annoy the audience. They should put their efforts in creating characters, or the whole thing will be a total failure.