Magazine article Screen International

'Two Thumbs Up': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Two Thumbs Up': Review

Article excerpt

Dir/Scr. Lau Ho-leung. Hong Kong, 2015, 105 mins.

Lo Ho-leung's directorial debut Two Thumbs Up is an endearingly retro romp through Hong Kong's New Territories in the company of four ageing ex-cons with the most elaborate mullets seen onscreen since Al Pacino played Phil Spector.

Starring the much-loved Francis Ng (Ng Chun-yu) and Simon Yam (Yam Tat-wah), who appeared together in the blockbuster Young And Dangerous twenty years ago, Two Thumbs Up premiered at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and it will be a cops and robbers curio in the local marketplace when it opens on April 2 with its dry, low-key approach to the heist genre and a casting selection akin to the British TV hit Old Tricks. There's a place for this entertaining film internationally as well, its offbeat air giving it a cultish, goofy feel. Sold by Emperor, Two Thumbs Up reinforces Hong Kong's age-old reputation for innovation and resourcefulness with limited budgets. It's also very funny.

Experienced writer Lau Ho-leung (Painted Skin and Kung Fu Jungle), has concocted a story of four low-rent former cons who reunite in a bowling alley to reluctantly carry out one more scam. The director has decked his principal actors out in primary colours (vivid oranges and purples) and over-the-top hairdos against a glowing nocturnal background and tricked it all up with overlaid, animated schematics. There's no particular reason why it should work, and, indeed, it can seem a little odd initially, but this postmodern weirdness gives Two Thumbs Up a heightened impact.

The film revolves around Big F (Ng), newly released from a 16-year stint behind bars in Malaysia, who returns to Hong Kong to hook up with his old partners-in-crime – bowling alley attendant Crazy B (Simon Yam), hair stylist Johnnie T (Patrick Tam) and shortsighted East L (Mark Cheng). …

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