Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I didnít think it was possible but I believe Iíve just seen arguably the worst movie ever to come out of Hong Kong / China. Iíve been watching movies out of China for a while now and there was a time when I was convinced that EVERYTHING emitting from that way was great. But then things started to slow down as the industry seemed to settle in general mediocrity, similar to our own film industry, but I had never seen anything that I would consider horrible. Disappointing perhaps, but never really bad, at least until I saw ĎDancing Lioní this weekend. What an awful, unentertaining, uninspiring mess of a movie. I didnít think Francis Ng had it in him to make a bad movie.

As far as I could tell this movies concerns Ng who plays the character Brother Fai, who is a delivery supervisor at some local corporation along with his fat friend Brother Nine, as he is called, played by Chi Chung Lam. This company they work for is apparently in the middle of a financial crisis and is about to have layoffs, but the management at this company has decided to have a talent contest with the winners of this contest avoiding the layoff. Exactly. Brother Fai is in a constant state of bop movement and wears a hip hop styled hat sideways for some reason, which must have spurred his thought that he and Nine should perform the traditional Dancing Lion dance in this contest. They have no idea how to do this but his great uncle (Anthony Wong) used to be a Dancing Lion expert and trains them in the art. The other principles in this flick include Faiís money grubbing sister and Speakeasy restaurant owner Saam (Teresa Mui) and her pretty young daughter Ka (Yuan Lin).

A number of disconnected things happen, few of which I really understood. The Company talent show gets called off but Fai and Nine decide to perform the whole Dancing Lion thing anyway and become national sensations in the process. They get

booked for parties, they get booked for events they open a Dancing Lion childrenís school. Great Uncle does some stuff off on the side that I didnít quite get, Sister Saam opens up a exercise shop for fat women, Nine and Ka start dating and then somehow it all goes to hell leading our glorious cast to attempt to commit group suicide. Now THATíS comedy. But alas all is not lost because though family may be stabbing you in back on one hand, when the chips are down you can always rely on them on the back end of youíre figurative Dancing LionÖ or something.

Instead of just saying that ĎDancing Lioní was some really crappy nonsense made by some people who I know can do better while sleepwalking, Iím going to concede that this is a film made by Chinese people FOR Chinese people. You see Iíve seen a few movies from director Mark Mak and I know for a fact that heís generally not in the business of creating sloppy, poorly edited garbage. Heck, the man has edited more movies than just about anybody on the planet so if nothing else any movie heís involved in should be cut nice and tight, but this one was all over the place. Iím going go ahead and assume that the intended audience understood all off this sloppiness, as presumed by a foreigner, and thought it was just fine.

Normally when I see the names Francis Ng and Anthony Wong, not to mention a cameo by the ubiquitous Lam Suet, certainly a Chinese crew of Usual Suspects, I know Iím at least in for a watchable movie experience, and probably a good one with Ng in the cast, but not with ĎDancing Lioní as Wong and Ng where almost incoherent in their respective roles, even with subtitles, but Iím going to go ahead and bet that if I did understand Cantonese I would have been laughing out loud as undoubtedly something had to be lost in the translation from the native tongue to English. Yes the story seemed completely incoherent and totally nonsensical to an outsider looking in, and I am somewhat familiar with the importance of the Dancing Lion to Chinese culture, so as an outsider one might consider this subject not the best fodder for a big budget wacky, zany comedy, but then I am an outsider. Admittedly and American comedy titled ĎStompin on da Flagí probably wouldnít go over so well here, but we do have different cultures.

So despite the fact that I consider ĎDancing Lioní one of the least funny, most jumbled, completely broken, least entertaining films Iíve ever seen, and certainly the worst Iíve ever seen coming out of China, it may just hit that old funny bone Shanghai and as such I defer to my Chinese brothers, whose opinion I respect most in issues such as these, to have the last word. But I really could have done without seeing ĎDancing Lioní.

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