28 January 2005 | mj970128-1
enough strong scenes
Action drama, sometimes dissonant and at the end somehow unsatisfactory, but with enough strong scenes. It's about Wang Cheng [ Chen Kuan Tai ], the owner of the Tea House, and his trouble with the gangs around and also the rather bothering police.
The plot is too episodic, with the only connection that a customer or a coworker of the Tea House is involved in the individual stories, and the movie is also undetermined between drama and comedy, what leads to some strange and fizzle scenes. Example: An underage guy tries to convict the judge, to arrest him, but the judge is waffling about the bad social states and non-decent education by the parents. In the next scene a girl is driven to death, her brother goes berserk on the street, killing 2 guys. Next scene we get a comedy about cheating the social welfare office. Later the plot is about Cheng dealing also with criminals, of course his intentions are good, but at the end his actions are coming back, the gangster devaste his Tea House. This scene is shot in a long slow motion, the ravage is celebrated visually and also acoustic, it's one of the very awe-inspiring sequences, the movie has a lot of. Between them it's a little coasting, it never gets boring, but some points are really unnecessary. And the limitation on a major place like a Tea House is some kind of unrealistic, imagine a Scorsese Pic about Starbucks becoming Vigilante Force.
There isn't really Martial Arts in it by the way, and the end is quite unsatisfactory, but there's the sequel BIG BROTHER CHENG.