Black Rose II (1997)

Directed by
Truly hilarious and mind-bending
Reviewed by Simon on 2006-01-07

Black Rose 2 is a comedy from Jeff Lau, who writes (under his pseudonym Kay On) and directs. It's a sort of nostalgic spoof of movies from the 60's, with Nancy Sit playing The Black Rose - a movie character who has grown old in her secret lair, forgotten by the world. Jan Lam plays a young delivery boy whose love interest gets kidnapped by loan sharks. Hoping to rescue her he seeks help from The Black Rose, forcing her to face the world once more. Or something like that.

Plot and themes are of tangential interest, as the movie is mostly just scenes of mo lei tau humour. The movie is very silly indeed! It's also fantastically creative and imaginative, constantly turning up surprises and clever pieces of idiocy. It's the kind of movie that Hong Kong does best, but rarely does anymore - a movie where absolutely anything goes. The kind of movie you'd never see from Hollywood.

Nancy Sit and Spencer Lam are wonderful as the relics from a cinematic past, at once absolutely ridiculous and terribly classy. Youngsters Jan Lam and Desiree Lam also give very good performances as the representatives of the modern world (which is equally ridiculous in Jeff Lau's eyes).

Personally, I had as much fun watching Black Rose II as I have had with any other movie in a long time. From the brilliantly conceived opening credit sequence to the surreal music video that follows the end credits, it is a constant surprise and delight. My girlfriend, on the other hand, hated it. I guess it depends how much value you place on originality in your movies. I'm guessing it's the mind-bending inventiveness that draws most of us to Hong Kong Cinema though, and this is a near perfect example. Essential viewing!

High recommendation!