Lost in Hong Kong: Adding Sense to Slapstick

Written by Wyce Co.      Edited by Matthew Yuching and Denise Joaquin.

Are you lost? Don’t worry about it! We all get lost sometimes, just don’t do it the way Xu Lai did in Hong Kong. What happened to him was unexpected, to say the least. Which just goes to show you that things don’t always turn out the way you hope, and Lost in Hong Kong demonstrates this in classic slapstick fashion. It does this through the use of characters like Xu Lai whose careless but well-intentioned heart causes him to dive headfirst into an adventure through Hong Kong to rekindle with his former love interest, Yang Yi. He pursues despite the fact that his wife, Bo Cai, intends to have a child with him. This alongside the constant pestering of his brother in law, Cai Lala, to help him with a project of his, and their dubious altercation with the law should have discouraged him from going on. So now, Xu Lai is continuously thrusted into these situations, which would make you wonder about the intentions of the writers. Was this meant to make me realize something about life or was it meant to show a few people just getting themselves into predicaments that could have been easily avoided? Only you can tell for yourself.

As for me, the events ended up being a bit forced at times; sometimes even coming off as absolutely absurd. This is an ever-present dilemma for slapstick comedies. In spite of this dilemma, the movie’s format allowed it to appear as a satirical slapstick situation comedy: hilarious yet thought-provoking. This is especially evident in the scenes involving Xu Lai’s ridiculous alien helmet, which portray our delirious detachment due to technology while also entertaining us through the whimsical woes of Xu Lai to the point of his painful plight.

Format aside, the movie is capable of captivating audiences and capturing their compassion through characters, who both amuse and allure depending on the situation. However, viewers (especially younger viewers) should be advised that some parts of the movie involve raunchy scenes, shady locations, and topics that are sensitive.

A few tidbits of romance also provide a glimpse of the purpose of the main character. However, this romance was ill-developed and could not hold its own against the whirlwind of comedy present in the movie.

Apart from this, tiny nuances of culture appear throughout the movie. From the perception of Chinese people on becoming an artist to the purpose of marriage, the film pokes fun at several aspects of Chinese culture.

Beyond this, we are also given a peek behind the curtain of the underlying situation present, albeit oft forgotten, in many countries: crime. It may not play a central role in the movie, but the presentation of elements from crime were a welcome addition. This addition helped bolster the concept of the harsh reality that exists in the world, despite the fact that it was poorly executed, and at certain times obtrusive to the majority of the movie.

This makes Lost in Hong Kong a movie that’s easy and enjoyable to watch, if you can overlook the absurdities and the poorly-developed romantic plot, yet complex enough to provoke discussions of culture with its nuances of Chinese culture. It’s got a decent storyline, but fails to deliver due to its focus on satire over substance.

Photo header retrieved from Variety

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