My Schoolmate, The Barbarian (2001)

Directed by
Very silly
Reviewed by Simon on 2002-04-07

For some reason this movie never really appealed to me when it came out, so I hadn't really intended to pick it up. It was actually the discovery that Samuel Pang is in it that changed my mind, as I think he's a very interesting new face on the HK movie scene - although seeing Nic & Stephen's fight scenes in 2002 had already piqued my interest.

To a degree, I think my initial judgment was correct - the movie wasn't really my cup of tea, but there were a few scenes that definitely made it worth viewing. And yes, most of these were fight scenes . The early action scenes didn't do much for me - far too much close up, speed up and cut up. That, coupled with a convoluted Wong Jing plot, didn't inspire me too much. And Joey Yung was annoying me too - I know that's the intention, and I do respect them for not just having her play a pretty wallflower standing behind her man. But she is too good at playing annoying!

The movie bumbles along with more coherency than usual for Wong Jing, but with his usual lack of subtlety & depth. Nic and Stephen are both good here as usual, which is probably what makes the movie watchable. The comedy is sometimes laboured, but sometimes quite amusing too. Even still, it wasn't until the final reel that the movie really impressed me, where Ching Siu-Tung's action direction takes over, and begins to show some signs of his former glory again. The fight between Nic & Samuel Pang is really nicely staged and filmed, and the climactic fight is pretty decent (and funny).

Overall, not a bad movie, but 2002 is a much better vehicle for the duo's talents.