28 November 1999 | Varlaam
An excuse for assembling its all-star cast
The occasion was Chinese flood relief, we are told in the introduction, and so this was put together even more quickly than the average Hong Kong film.
The movie is very light entertainment, but it's quite funny in spots and amiable the rest of the time. I mean, canto-pop singer George Lam as an Arab prince. It's like watching old friends clowning around in amateur theatricals. By this point, 1991, is George married to Sally Yip/Yeh, one of the film's other star cameos, or does that happen later? This is an Arab prince who speaks Cantonese, of course. Is George putting on an amusing accent? I'm guessing he is.
Some of the cameos are pretty slight. I lost track of how many lines Gong Li had. Was it two, or was it three? But she does get to look more glamorous than she does in most of her (later) Zhang Yimou pictures, where she always ends up with the entire weight of modern Chinese history on her shoulders. Sheesh.
Eric Tsang plays the main character, the tycoon who has forgotten his humble origins. Class-ridden Hong Kong society certainly is, and we get a good taste of that here, as the Rolls Royce rolls along what looks like Connaught Road in Central, and throughout the rest of the story.