1 February 2017 | samuelding85
Who Are The Shatin Martins?
While Hong Kong may not be well known for its sports development, many people may not know the existence of The Shatin Martins, Hong Kong's first government baseball team. First time director Chan Chi Fat brings the story of The Shatin Martins onto the big screen, where Weeds on Fire answer the question: Who are the Shatin Martins?
The story is told from the perspective of Lung (Lam Yiu-Seng), a teenager growing up in Shatin during 1984. Coming from a neighborhood high school well-known for its poor disciplinary control, the students are enthusiastic in sports. The school principal, Mr Lo (Liu Kai-Chi), decided to turn a bunch of students with poor disciplinary records into Hong Kong's baseball team pioneers. Lung and his classmates were recruited by Mr Lo, where the boys undergo harsh training from the iron fist of Mr Lo. The harsh training builds up strong discipline among the boys, which not only makes the team enter the final round in the baseball tournament, but also creating an unknown glory in the sports history of Hong Kong.
The movie is not just a bunch of rowdy underdogs into a champion with remarkable results. Rather, it covers a wider aspect of a teenager in his growing up years: facing the dilemma of breaking undesired truth to his best friend, crush with a girl he loves, discovering his mother's infidelity and taking care of his aging father. While this doesn't seem to have any relationship to the theme of the film, it helps the audience to understand the struggle any typical youth will undergo while juggling with training and tournaments.
Apart from showcasing the tough training the boys undergo, it also carries an important message: giving up equals to losing. The message Mr Lo wants to instill on the boys are more than just winning the competition. It is also about developing their inner characters to prepare them from the reality the moment the boys join the working society. This can be seen from the opening and closing scene, where we see an adult Lung walking on the streets of Central occupied with protesters during the Yellow Umbrella Movement in 2014.
Weeds on Fire is one of the few Hong Kong independent productions which deserves its limelight, considered that this is a lesser known indie productions which fails to get the publicity it deserves. Watch this if you are a sports lover and you have never really came across a really good baseball movie after Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own (1992).