Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dance Dance Dragon | 龙众舞 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

The Pitch

Last year He Sui Pian (贺岁片 Chinese New Year Movie)  winner in Singapore box office was the local movie "It's a Great Great World". It made $2.43 millions, beating the likes of Raymond Wong's "All's Well, Ends Well 2011 最強囍事 2011", Eric Tsang's "I love Hong Kong" and Jack Neo's Homecomings.

This year Kelvin Tong (director of It's a Great Great World) and an ensemble of Singapore / Malaysia actors are back with another He Sui Pian call "Dance Dance Dragon". Kelvin Tong will be taking on the duties of a producer while handling over the directing duties to his long time collaborator Kat Goh.

Dance Dance Dragon is set up to celebrate the upcoming year of Dragon with the anticipation of the baby boom period in 2012 (Most Chinese believes the Dragon Year is the most auspicious time to have a baby). It's going to incorporate Dragon dance and perhaps other forms of dancing into the movie (hence the title Dance Dance Dragon).

 Dance Dance Dragon features local celebrities like Adrian Pang, Kym Ng and Dennis Chew (who is starring in this movie with his popular Aunty Lucy persona). Malaysian veteran actress Lai Ming is back again in another Singapore movie and personally, she is a delightful actress to watch out for.

But the biggest question remains. Will "Dance Dance Dragon" be able to repeat "It's a Great Great World" financial success at the box office this year? Let's wait to find out.

The Plot

Dance Dance Dragon revolves around Mother Loong's (Lai Meng) wish for a dragon baby boy in her household to inherit their Long Zhong Wu dragon dance troupe. As the new Dragon year approaches, it seemed that it is becoming more unlikely that her wish will come true. 

The eldest sister Lucy (Dennis Chew) last relationship was with with an Indian many a couple of years ago and approaching 48, it seems that the window for marriage might be closing. Her second daughter Ah Mei (Kym Ng) works in a gambling cessation clinic and she is approaching 36. Her tomboyish mannerism is turning guys away. Her youngest son Ah Loong (Melvin Sia) is married but is avoiding to have a kid of his own. To make matter worse, he lost his job in KL, had a fight with his wife and returned home alone to celebrate Chinese New Year with Mother Loong.
But that didn't deter Mother Loong as she kept praying to the Gods for a grandchild. Miraculously things start to happen to the Loong household. Ah Mei encounters Eric (Adrian Pang), a chef with a gambling problems and took him in when he was running away from loan sharks. Needless to say, romance between the unlikely couple started to blossom.

Mother Loong also got her wish when a baby boy magically appeared in a box of longan that Ah Loong brought back. The elated Mother Loong immediately assumed that her grandson and the kids decided to play along to make the old lady happy for the Chinese New Year period. 

The adventure in "babysitting" continue as the members of Loong family encounter a rojak (assorted messy) mix of events. There's the conniving relatives out to take over the Long Zhong Wu dragon dance troupe. Lucy attempting the modern dance and encountering wheelchair bound handicaps who has a passion for dancing. Ah Mei tasking Eric to take over the duties of the neighborhood new year feast from her mother. Lastly, a couple of bumbling thieves who are out to steal a strand of the baby's hair.

The Perspective - Dance Dance Dragon Movie Review

He Sui Pian are usually throwaway entertainment that's here provides some laughs to usher in the New Year. It's not likely that one would go in with high expectation with the plot or cast's performance. By that definition, Dance Dance Dragon has serve it's function as a He Sui Pian.

Let's start with the problem with Dance Dance Dragon. Some of rojak mix of events added to prolong this movie felt unnecessary to the main story. If I would to remove certain subplots and characters, it would be the Lucy's dance segment and the baby hair thieves. They are there for comedic effects but it could have been remove to focus on the other more interesting and relevant subplots involving the romance between Ah Mei and Eric, the relatives with their own rival dance troupe and the magical baby.

The plots and gags in Dance Dance Dragon were all formulaic and done a couple of times before. But what made it work and in my opinion made this movie worth catching would be the cast performance and how the recycled jokes were presented. Kym Ng, Adrian Pang, Dennis Chew and Lai Meng's performance cracked me up a few times during the movie. Baby Nigel as the magical baby has a super adorable smile that will probably melt a lot of hearts. I have not seen Melvin Sia act before but he got that easy on screen charms that might enable him to go a long way in the Singapore and Malaysia entertainment scene. Kat Goh has done a fine job of putting them together to deliver a comedic movie about family ties. 

To sum it up, personally I prefer "Dance Dance Dragon" over "It's a Great Great World". Even though both have patchy storytelling, Dance Dance Dragon has a focused storyline that gear towards celebrating the Chinese New Year festive season and that's what I feel a He Sui Pian ought to be. It doesn't have intricate plotting or award winning performance but it does have a barrel of laughs and decent acting from the cast. But we will have to wait till the Hei Sui Pians of 2012 end their runs before we could find out who will become to the 2012 Hei Sui Pian Box Office Winner of 2012. Dance Dance Dragon comes recommended.

Rating: ***

Beyond the Movie

The Chinese title for Dance Dance Dragon 龙众舞 (lóng zhòng wǔ) is the name of the dance troupe in this movie and it could literally mean "Dragon public dance". When the Chinese title is read with the Hokkien dialect. it could be interpreted as "everything also have" and it's an auspicious phrases during the Chinese New Year period.

It's been reported that it cost S$1.2 Million to make.

1 comment:

  1. No doubt that 99% of the young star are in love with some one. Some one may keep it secret but every body loose their control in this matter. from one of the research by American Social welfare team has reported that this is an uphil task to control over our mind in this love matter.
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