Written by Aaron Medina. Edited by Matthew Yuching and Denise Joaquin.
Packed with action, a hint of Chinese pop culture, and a fairly interesting plot, “Detective Chinatown” by director Chen Sicheng will be one of the movies that will be featured in this year’s Spring Film Festival.
Detective Chinatown showcases the adventure of a young adult, Qin Feng (Liu Haoran), who travels to Bangkok to visit his uncle, Tang Ren (Wang Baoqiang). Amidst the enjoyable time he spends partying, he receives a task. This task, however, leads him to be implicated as a murderer in a case involving gold… and jealousy.
The two eventually team up to find the true suspect in the case, with Qin Feng helping his embattled uncle find the real culprits. Some startling discoveries will certainly surprise guests and may even frighten them to an extent. Could a young, alleged victim of a rape be the main culprit in all of this, for example?
Many action-packed scenes in the movie may be of help in keeping the audience interested, considering the 2 hour and 15 minute timespan of the movie. Scenes involving chases, dead bodies, shootings, and the like packed the movie. It must be noted, though, that this content may be sensitive to certain people, especially young viewers. With the scenes mentioned above also came scenes which seemed to objectify women, especially at the early parts of the movie, wherein Tang Ren lets Qin Feng experience nightlife in Bangkok. I found these to be unnecessary to the overall development of the movie itself.
The details of the crime-solving itself, though, require attention. One important detail missed could mean confusion and wanting to return to previous scenes later on as the plot develops.
The Chinese culture also seemed strong despite the setting being based in Thailand. Both of Chinese descent, Qin Feng and Tang Ren mostly spoke in Chinese throughout the movie. Being a Chinese-Filipino myself and a former avid fan of Hokkien music, I was thrilled by the singing of “舞女” (Dancing Girl) in one scene.
This movie also brings into light the presence of Chinatowns and of Chinese people throughout the world. Detective Chinatown, I think, helps encourage the notion that many of us may have of Chinese people overseas; that of being a crime-solving and criminal-busting people, but with many engaged in illegal activities like drugs and killings.
To conclude, I wouldn’t call the movie completely inclusive, in one sense because it excludes audiences whose tastes do not meet eye to eye with the more violent aspects of the movie; the Spring Film Festival aims to promote the Chinese culture and welcome the new Year of the Pig, an event supposedly suitable for the entire family to find entertainment and comfort in.
However, the mystery and plot, as mentioned, may certainly interest the audience, and unexpected turns and details make the movie more extraordinary.
Photo header retrieved from Flicks.co.nz