Starring - Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Cecilia Cheung.
Directed by - Johnnie To / Wai Ka Fai.
Reviewed by - Greg Stark.
The story is set in a busy HK hospital, where all the doctors, nurses and even cleaners are all slackers, and to make matters worse they are being backed by the high management, a group of shady individuals who you only ever get to see in the dark. Enter Yan (Cecilia Cheung) a headstrong nurse who along with two other doctors Joe (Ekin Cheng) and Jim (Jordan Chan) decide to stop the rot and do everything for themselves, from saving patients to cleaning toilets! To begin with they get abuse from their fellow workers, but this slowly turns to respect and they decide to help out the heroic trio (no pun intended). Then just when everything seems to be going well there is a blackout in HK causing a large-scale traffic accident which is the films end... sort of.
When I first viewed this film I had no idea what to expect having seen no reviews or trailers for it. My initial impression was that it was very weird with very dark humour. I was kept interested by the fact I had no idea what was going to happen next. The surrealistic talking car and the doctor-chasing ghost add to the films weirdness. There is also a running gag throughout concerning Yan who saves a beggar early in the film only to be constantly harassed by his obvious affection for her. His appearance changing each time he confronts her until he is literally unrecognisable from how he first appeared.
The big question is will YOU like this film, I would say yes, because unlike the trash that Hollywood splurges out year after year this movie is unpredictable, enjoyable and dark, in only a way Asian cinema can do it. But be warned the humour is very Chinese and it may be too hard to cope with if you are a rookie to Asian cinema.
Reviewed by TEESTAT.
Talking cars? Beggar transformations? A sinister higher management cult? Bizarre!
As Greg said this is one strange movie, but unlike Greg I wouldnít recommend this movie. The production values and camerawork are fine, the acting is fine and the plot at times is slightly subversive. Unfortunately the movie simply didnít work for me.
Firstly I found the comedy to be strangely weak considering the situations the Doctors find themselves in. For example we are constantly bombarded with blood and guts, but the comedy never raises above family orientated material. Strange really considering the movie is aimed at a mature audience. The second thing that pissed me off about this movie was itís complete lack of any direction. What have Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai actually intended here? Is it a dark comedy, a drama or a personal dig at the HK hospital authorities? I just couldnít tell, or am I just reading more into what is ultimately a below average comedy?
Anyway back to my slating of this pile of trash. Help!!! is about as ludicrous as you can get without actually being arrested. Remember in Dallas (J.R Ewing ;] ) when the whole plot line for an entire season turned out to be a dream, well the directors of Help!!! were so intrigued by the whole thing that they decided to pay homage to it here, well I like to imagine it that way anyway as it is just a total waste of the audiences time. Another thing that really annoyed me about Help was the actual situations that occur. You thought it was safe to go in the water comes to mind. No matter how bad things get, they can only get worse. Imagine getting stung by a wasp on the testicles, donít worry about it though as you cannot feel the testicular pain because, the bull which was chasing the wasp has managed to insert its horn inside your rectum, but that also is not much of a problem, because the landmine you landed on after being flung into the air by the bull has taken a slight toll to your left leg. Never mind though, because the landmine explosion has set off a major landslide at the adjacent refuse dump, and you the wasp, the bull and the stump you used to call Mr leg are about to be engulfed by broken glass, used syringes and fun filled nappies. Do you see where I am going with this?
I do agree to a certain extent with Greg, this movie is dark and unpredictable and certain people will enjoy this movie. If you find a copy of this movie in a bin or on the floor at the side of the local Y.M.C.A, then indeed give it a go, if you are not so fortunate save your money, go for a walk.