Mack the Knife 流氓医生 - movie review
I saw this for the first time a while back when I was having a quiet cold night alone in Sydney, and not only did it entertain, it also warmed my heart, and encourage me that what I was doing there, and the price I paid for being there was worth it.
Before I venture into the plot, I would instead share that the casting for this was almost perfect. The blend of the beautiful, the emotive, the sad and the needy in each one of the characters was what made it successful. And the whole crew blended together so well, playing the weird, quirky yet altruistic, the rogue skillful one, the idealistic, and the lovelorn, once you view this, you will know which one of these is which. The supporting cast is equally adept and play their roles very well too. Throw in some very snappy dialogue and you have a movie that withstands countless watching.
This show is actually adapted from a Manga, "Dr. Kumahige", by Sho Fumimura and Takumi Nagayasu. Tony Leung plays the renegade doctor who is unorthodox, intelligent, calm, and most of all full of empathy for his patients. He is one where the means justifies the end, and no matter how zany or strange, if it helps the patient, he will do it. Driven out of medical school for shouldering the blame for something his buddy Alex To, did, he had to get a degree from Africa, and his buddy, is a cowering self-centred surgeon who despite his skills and looks and position, covets more and has absolutely no self-confidence in private life. This role is superbly played by Alex, who manages to convince us this is who he is, that I would not be surprised if people threw eggs at him just as they did when people met the old Shek Keen, who played the villain for most of his life.
Tony Leung makes the most of his soulful eyes, his smile and endearing mannerisms to become Dr Mack, and Andy So, his side kick does well to show innocent and full admiration of Dr Mack, and Lau Cheng Wan, adds the comic relief as the cop, who is totally and consummately the "kidney donor" (totally in love) with this prostitute Lok Mei played by the Taiwanese beauty Eileen Tung. Lau Ching Wan, with his bushy eyebrows, and dark complexion, embodies the everyday man of Hong Kong and every man who has ever been a "kidney donor" will recognise his folly, his supreme sacrifices and his foolish ways, all in order to win over the lady who owns his heart even though he knows that it will never happen. How many of us, have done something similar, giving all we can, doing superhuman things for someone, even if we already know, that all we may hear is "keep in touch" or just a soft part on our shoulders and a smile. Somehow, that seems enough for us to rip out our hearts, kidneys and many more parts for someone.
But Lau Ching Wan also brings his down to earth, Joe next door kind of humor, and plays and excellent counterfoil to Tony Leung's more exuberant style of humor. They seem born to play opposite each other and it is a pity that we don't see more of them together.
You will get many moments which will leave you splitting your sides with laughter, moments of moving tears and then some quiet moments to ponder about the meaning of your life and job. Many of us will see a character that speaks out to us, and reach out to our hearts. Thats no mean feat for a movie that does not even hit 100 mins. This was the height of movie making in Hong Kong in the '90s.
Plot - I guess someday I have to give a 5 out of 5, and this would be it.
Action? Well Lau Ching Wan always gives us something to smile at, and the Chaplin-esque type action will give your abs a good workout.
Chick factor: well this show does contain half a dozen of the hottest women from Asia in the latter 90s, so enough said - 4/5
Should you buy it? Well lets put it this way... a friend bought it for me before I left for Sydney (bless you Inez) and I have owned the VCD (what are those? ) and the DVD, watched this at least 10 times and if it ever comes out in Blu Ray, I will buy it and every format to come.
When you sit forlornly in a cold winter somewhere, or need some cheering, pick this up and within the first 10 mins, your heart will feel warm again.