|Index||7 reviews in total|
My Beloved Bodyguard is the first film Sammo Hung has directed in
almost 20 years. Although not one of Hung's classics, this is still
streets ahead of what the critical reviews have said.
Originally My Beloved Bodyguard was to star both Hung and Jackie Chan, in the Andy Lau role. The film has obviously went through some rewrites since then, as I can't see Chan playing the type of role that Lau plays here.
The plot of the film steals somewhat from movies like " Man on Fire" and the "Man from Nowhere", with Hung as a retired Civil Servant protecting a young girl. In this case it is local triads, who Lau, the child's father, owes money too.
Some reviews have complained about the lack of action in the movie. Must having been watching something else, as there are a number of good action/fight scenes in the movie. There's an excellent chase sequence with Lau and a number of gangsters, that is only let down by being a bit short, then a fight between Sammo and some thugs who come to his house. Then there is the extended finale, with Hung taking on a group of gangsters. Unlike the comedic fights Hung used to take part in, this is just brutal, with multiple limbs being broken.
The film has been harmed somewhat by its advertising campaign which shows the actors, some of which are legends like Yuen Biao & Yuen Wah, that appear in the movie in action poses. Unfortunately most of the actors on the posters only appear in the film in limited cameos, which is a shame. This isn't a fault of the film, as i'm sure Sammo had nothing to do with the advertising.
On the performance side, Sammo is his usual self. His fans won't be disappointed. Lau is also good, in the only other lead role of the film. Only Lau could turn a somewhat waste of space, into a likable character. Lau also acts as the films producer.
On the directing side, Sammo shows his skill behind the camera, and although his action scenes are more edited that in the past, his choreography still shines through. Only drawback is his overuse of a blurry slow-mo effect which can be somewhat distracting.
If you are a fan of Hong Kong cinema and/or Sammo Hung, I would definitely recommend "My Beloved Bodyguard".
Let me start this review with a translated quote used in the film: The
old man is like Kung Fu Panda I have no clue if they truly said that
originally. Despite, this quote does sum up the abilities of Sammo
Hung's character Ding. Ding is a retired Central Security Bureau
officer from Beijing who is in the early stages of dementia. He is a
man full of regret and remorse but chooses to seclude himself rather
than confront the issues that are plaguing him. One big strain on him
is the fact that his granddaughter got missing while he was watching
over her. But then at one point in time Cherry Li , a little girl from
next door sneaks into his apartment to hide there after fighting with
her father. Which is the start of an unique friendship.
One thing you will have to understand that this Sammo Hung vehicle isn't the typical martial arts film he used to make. Sammo has gotten old and apparently he wanted to address this. So most of the focus is on Ding being an old man. He receives some backup from old friends to make this statement. People like Yuen Baio, Dean Shek, Yuen Wah, and Tsui Hark to name but a few. These are nothing but glorified cameo's. But since I had not read anything about the film in advance I was pleasantly surprised to see them. For me it wasn't a disappointment like some reviewers have stated. More so because they had been given the impression to come into action as well. Now that would have been something I must admit so I do understand the criticism. Although it did not hurt what they were going for in the film. At it's core this film is about Ding coming to terms with old age, dementia and guilt. The action is just in service of this.
This explains the fact that there is not that much action. And while I also was expecting more I understand that somehow this would not be fitting regarding the theme. Or even would destroy the message that Sammo Hung wants to make clear to the audience. But don't despair the little action that is present is more than satisfying. Especially in the finale where Sammo goes Steven Seagal on the bad guys. Mainly using his arms and where he is using his opponents power against them. It makes sense to me that on old man would be limited in his move set so that was a nice touch.
Andy Lau also is involved in this film as an actor and producer. He plays the low life father of Cherry and basically is the reason why trouble starts in the first place. His role while significant is small and just right as he manages to evoke enough emotions. Another thing you have to understand is that this film doesn't go that deep into issues like dementia or bad parenting. Instead it tries to appeal to your emotions about these issues. And this is something that Sammo Hung does real well.
So for me this film was well worth the watch and while I was expecting a more action packed adventure I got something just as good in return. We all become old one day and then we can't do the things we used to do. You have to be prepared for that.
My Beloved Bodyguard (2016): Apart from martial arts and Kung Fu,China
also has good drama and comedy films which are entertaining.My Beloved
Bodyguard is action drama film directed and starred Sammo Hung in lead
Plot: A retired bodyguard Ding (Sammo Hung) who has settled into a corner of the world where China, Russia and North Korea meet as he suffers from early dementia finds a new friend in a young girl Cherry Li (Jacqueline Chan). When her life is threatened by her father's connection with a local crime lord, .the bodyguard must call upon his long forgotten skills to save her.
Plus Points: 1)Performances: This movie has brilliant performances by both the lead roles which stands out as major highlight of this movie.The relationship between Ding and Cherry is adorable and they both did their parts perfectly.
2)Good Moments: This movie has some good moments which are highly entertaining.We can thoroughly enjoy this movie without getting bored.
3)Music: BGM is very good and really helped this movie a lot.
Minus Points: 1)Plot similarities: This movie has huge resemblance to Korean gangster film The Man From Nowhere, but in a more family-centric, grandfatherly format.
So My Beloved Bodyguard is decent one time watch entertainer with brilliant performances.
My rating 6.5/10
I am really at a loss as to why this movie gets such bad critical
reviews. I found it to be a very enjoyable movie.
Sammo Hung is a long-time mainstay of Hong Kong cinema and it is good to see him directing again after two decades.
The leads in the movie all do an excellent job. The relationship between Sammo Hung's old man, suffering dementia, and Jacqueline Chan's mischievous young girl is beautifully played. Andy Lau manages to make his character almost likable, even though he is a wife-beating ogre.
The supporting cast are also very good. The three old guys who make fun of Sammo's character are hilarious. Tsui Hark makes a welcome cameo as one of the three old guys.
The action scenes are very well filmed, with Sammo in typically good form, despite his advancing age.
All in all, I can thoroughly recommend this movie to all fans of the genre. You'll have an enjoyable 98 minutes of viewing!
Sammo Hung has gotten old.And agreed to do this slow cooking movie.(For
reasons way beyond me)Some people has pointed out,that maybe it's more
philosophical.That it's about Sammo coming to terms with his old age at
61, and wanting to show that he still got it. Which he do and don't in
many ways.You can clearly see that the fights isn't the same
anymore.Though I have no doubt he fakes heavy breathing (at times) The
people he fight screams out of his league.
Most of this movie focuses on Sammo as Ding,and old retired palace guard, walking around being old and forgetful,in a suburban neighborhood. Believe me it's as boring as it sounds. There a old female sphincter neighbor, who has taken the liking to him.But he is either not interested or don't understand her advance.Hard to make out which.A little bit of both I think. Than there's a girl next door who have a dad with a gambling debt,who enters into his life,who he seem to feel is both a nuisance and pleasure. And he somewhat feels protective of her,over her abusive dad.
The fight scenes with x-ray cut in, like in Romeo must die, are great and neatly choreographed.But you can't help seeing that Sammo is to old, for the people he suppose to beat up so easily. Jackie Chan often hides his disadvantages behind acrobatics,and by using his surroundings against his opponents.A chair here, a table there. But Sammo goes toe to toe ,with the bad guys in the movie,and you clearly get the impression they holding back big time.
The biggest problem is the slow pace and Sammo's moping blank expression. The story isn't all that interesting either.I give it a 3 I still think sammo has a lot of talent left in him. But he should put it to better use
For someone who has dedicated more than half his life reinventing the
martial arts genre of modern-day Hong Kong cinema, Sammo Hung certainly
has not been resting on his laurels. Not only did he recently direct
Aaron Kwok and Gong Li in the many extravagant action set-pieces of
'The Monkey King 2', he has also been busy assuming similar duties on
Benny Chan's upcoming period action blockbuster 'The Deadly Reclaim'.
Compared to these two elaborate big-budget epics, 'The Bodyguard',
which sees Sammo assume multi- hyphenate duties as director, action
director and lead actor, feels like a walk in the park for the
64-year-old actor/ martial artist.
And it probably is, judging from the friends who have turned up to see Sammo return to the director's chair after a hiatus of close of two decades including Yuen Wah as the postman of the sleepy town at the border of China and Russia where the movie is set, Yuen Qiu as a social worker, Yuen Biao as the town's police commander and Karl Maka, Tsui Hark and Dean Shek as a bunch of town elders who always have a quick barb to trade with each other. Besides these notable alums from Hong Kong cinema past, contemporaries like Hu Jun, Feng Shaofeng and Eddie Peng have also turned up for the all- stars reunion though we're leaving out special guest star Andy Lau, since he is after all producer of the movie through his Focus Films company.
Though it is unlikely to expect each one of these guest stars to have a meaningful place in the film, those expecting any of them to have anything more than a glorified cameo will be sorely disappointed. Except for Lau, who plays father to the young girl whom Sammo's titular bodyguard befriends and eventually protects, not a single one of the other actors contributes any more than a 'blink-and-miss' appearance, so there's no point wondering if any will spar with Sammo at all. Oh yes, you would do well to know that these 'guest appearances' are completely extraneous to the story, which tells of a retired Central Security Bureau (CSB) officer named Mr Ding who calls upon his very particular set of skills to protect an innocent life.
As much as that premise lends itself to a martial arts showcase for Sammo, 'The Bodyguard' is anything but. Indeed, those looking for a straight-out action flick will very likely be disappointed, for Sammo approaches the 'Taken-like' high-concept movie in a conspicuously low-key manner, so much so that it ends up being an hour of set-up, exposition and character build-up for a single extended close- quarter showdown that conveniently pits Sammo against two warring gangster factions at the same time and in the same place. To call it an action thriller would in fact be a misnomer, for it is at best a simple character drama with some bits of action thrown in to lure unsuspecting viewers from Sammo's considerable fan-base.
That drama largely consists of Sammo either looking lost due to the early onset of dementia that his character is suffering from or acting shy due to the advances of his landlord Madam Park (Li Qinqin). Crucially, Sammo plays his character so aloof that we cannot quite identify with the grief he has supposedly been carrying in his heart after losing his granddaughter while out with her many years ago, which is also why he is currently estranged from his daughter now in America. In the same way, we can also hardly feel the connection between his character and the young girl he now feels responsible for, or for that matter why he suddenly snaps out of his usual passivity to defend her in the third act.
It's no secret that Sammo is a better fighter than an actor, and the fact that he does plenty of the latter and too little of the former in the first two acts makes the movie a drag. Only in the last half hour does Sammo abandon his dementia-induced stupor for a one- against- many showdown against Choi's henchmen and the Russians, which gives him the chance to engage in the sort of lethal bone- breaking we suspect most would be waiting for. Yet it is hardly breathtaking stuff especially for those well-acquainted with Sammo's previous movies and too many close-ups as well as a slower-than-ideal frame-rate for Sammo's lightning-quick moves ultimately make this too-little too-late finale slightly underwhelming.
That expectations are high for 'The Bodyguard' is inevitable; like we said, this is the first time that Sammo is in the director's chair after helming both 'Mr Nice Guy' and 'Once Upon A Time in China and America' back in 1997. Yet even without the weight of such expectations, this languid drama with just one modest fight sequence at the end is unlikely to satisfy action fans or the rare audience member looking for a serious-minded story on redemption. At this age, there is really little that Sammo need do to cement his legacy as legend, but it should also be said that anyone looking for him to revive his past glories on the big screen will go away empty. We adore Sammo just as much as his most ardent fan, but even that love and respect is not enough for us to find anything redeeming about 'The Bodyguard'. Sorry, 'dai gor'.
This film has shameless copied, borrowed, stole many other foreign
films from Korea, The Man from Nowhere (2010), from Belgium, The Memory
of A Killer (2003), and Nicholas Cage's 2014 film, Dying of The Light,
as well as a rumor in November, 2014 that Al Pacino and Brian De Palma,
director of Scarface (1983) would adapt "The Memory of A Killer" into
an American version. This Chinese copycatting film is as close as the
Nicholas Cage's role in "Dying of The Light", about a CIA agent with
dementia, his body functions were staying mostly fine but his brain got
Alzheimer's disease. Then heavily borrowed the story from The Man from
Sammo Hung played the guy who was once the palace guard of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, he got such disease and deteriorated rapidly after his retirement. The storyline only added some awkward, unrealistic and highly unlikely romance, and the appendix-like sub-plot of Andy Lau's character, father to a young girl, a hopeless compulsory gambler.
The close combat fighting scenes are also heavily borrowed and copied from most of Steven Seagal's action movies, by breaking knuckles, elbows, knees, ankles, neck of all of his opponents, fighting daggers, long or short knives with bare hands and did the most severe body damages to those who unknowingly fighting an unimaginable fighting machine. But the thing is that Sammo Hung is too fat, too old and too bloated to the extreme, making the fighting scenes just looked more like choreographically awkward rehearsals.
The story, the scenario and the plot were just too contrived and stereotyped in rigid Chinese way. It's neither like "The Man from Nowhere" that connected us to the young girl and the mysterious killing machine guy, nor gave us any empathy connection of how sad the guy in "The Memory of A Killer", trying to not being useless and helpless. The Bodyguard only gave me some awkward and impatient numb feelings, completely disconnected. The awkward senior romance in this film only made me feel pathetic and nauseating.
Hiring those once famous Kung-Fu has-beens as supporting roles were also totally unnecessary, only made the whole film more loose and flat.
This is a pathetic patch-up work with a very poor script.
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