Mr. and Mrs. Incredible: Film Review
Sandra Ng, Louis Koo, Wang Po-chieh, Li Qin, Wen Zhang
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" meet "The Incredibles" in a Hong Kong context.
HONG KONG – A fantasy-adventure about a pair of retired superheroes’ attempt to regain their mojo in bed as well as in the martial arts world, Mr and Mrs Incredible is Hong Kong director Vincent Kok's (whose writing credits include CJ7) refashioning of Mr and Mrs Smith and The Incredibles into a Chinese context. Neither as sexy and as high-powered in action as the former, nor as witty and as creative as the latter, it just about sustains it thin, nonsensical plot with two charismatic leads. Where it soars is wondrous, exotic visuals, especially the well-honed CGI.
Winsome but not laugh-out-loud funny, it is a moderately enjoyable diversion for family viewers. Even if it didn’t perform superhuman feats at its main markets of China and Hong Kong, it remains a credible choice for any fantasy or children’s fests beyond Asia.
In the eyes of the townsfolk of a hilly village far from the Imperial Capital, Flint (Louis Koo) and Rouge (Sandra Ng) make an inconspicuous married couple. But five years ago, they were known as Gazer Warrior and Aroma Woman -- superheroes whose paranormal power made them so in demand they decided to retire. The flashbacks to their crime fighting and meet-cute episodes display the childlike, fantastical quality of comic books. Gazer’s defeat of the “Evil Pests” (bank robbers who transform into reptilian monsters) is choreographed with acrobatic verve but is also grotesque in a wacky, cartoonish way.
However, the comic and romantic rhythm gradually goes out of whack for want of any new ideas. With the two leads’ breezy chemistry already well-established, the couple’s urge for a child and to rekindle their passion in the middle section have a universal resonance that could rise above the film’s level of sight gags and verbal showmanship. However, the screenplay cops out with a pedestrian love triangle that recycles a plot twist in Kok’s own Forbidden City Cop lock, stock and barrel.
The anything-goes manner in which Kok switches genres from light comedy to love issues to action is driven home in a martial arts ranking tournament that combines all these elements. The final extended showdown with the arch villain (whose identity even a tyke would have guessed) is a fanfare of lightning and laser beams. It is certainly noisy and zappy but the quality of the CGI is the least refined in the whole film and the action choreography (consisting of actors just lurching at each other) is inferior to the elaborate movements in the earlier scenes.
Supposedly set in ancient China, the prettily-wrought production design and inventively tailored costumes transport one into something more magical, like a Chinese theme park. The lush color textures and mellow light-and-dark contrasts enhance the fairytale impression.
Venue: Hong Kong Filmart Industry Screenings
Sales: We Distribution Limited
Production: We Pictures
Cast: Sandra Ng, Louis Koo, Wang Po-chieh, Li Qin, Wen Zhang
Director-screenwriter: Vincent Kok
Screenwriter: Fung Min-hang
Producer: Peter Ho-Sun Chan
Director of photography: Peter Ngor
Production designer: Cyrus Ho
Music: Raymond Wong
Costume designer: Yee Chung Man
Editor: Chung Wai Chiu
No rating, 105 minutes.
Sundance: On the Scene