38HKFA Coverage: Men on the Dragon 逆流大叔 (2018) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia) as part of 38th Hong Kong Film Awards
Local Hong Kong film production about Hong Kong stories will always have an advantage in the current reviewer mindset. New Director Sunny Chan (long time screenwriter for “Love Undercover” series) crafted a bittersweet tale of middle aged crisis shaped within an underdog sporting spirit in the form of dragon boat competition. It is more about the personality and lives of these middle aged men played expertly by the versatile Francis Ng (Best Actor nomination at 38th HKFA) who is in love with his next door neighbour, Wong Tak Bun in the middle of a pending divorce and cheating wife and Chan Leung Poon who struggles to deal with the problems between his wife and his mother. It is all these complications coupled with an united workforce to gather together for a strike that ultimately inspires deeper details about human struggles in all walks of life and stages.
Francis Ng headlines the film with an inspiring display about an ordinary bachelor, doing an ordinary job and living in an ordinary apartment. Ng is infiltrated with his neighbour Nancy Wu (in her first on-screen role) and befriends her daughter. Wong Tak Bun excel in his role as the troubled executive whose cold exterior hides an emotional life as he faces a pending divorce with a cheating wife. Likewise Chan Leung Poon provides an interesting flirtation with Jennifer Yu, who put in a good display as the nonsense coach.
All in all, “Men on the Dragon” is not about anything especially significant, but rather our problems and troubles that we all face as human beings in our live. It is how we overcome these events with a positive attitude and Director Sunny Chan expertly allows the characters to play out their different personalities and express their emotions in a natural manner. Sometimes, a good movie need not say too much, it about the details, the reactions, the laughter and tears along the way.
I rated it 8/10