Friday, March 12, 2010

All About Ah-Long

Sometimes, when you see a movie, you think it's fantastic. Sometimes, you think it's terrible. Other times, you think it's quite good, but is in dire need of a remake. In the third category is All About Ah-Long, which is in essence a very good movie, but has a couple of things wrong with it that could be easily fixed.

The story is, for the most part, not one of them. Chow Yun Fat is the titular character, a truck driver and failed motorcycle racer who is raising his slightly obnoxious son Porky (Kwan Yuen Wang) on his own. One day, Porky catches the eye of Sylvia (Sylvia Chang) who happens to be the casting director for a series of advertisements. Oh, and she's also Ah-Long's ex and the mother of Porky, as she finds out much to her surprise.

It's an interesting take on the bond between parents, as Porky begins to bond with his new found mother and unknowingly causes a bit of jealousy in the father he's known and cared about for the last ten years. The young actor in the role is pretty good at being an admittedly obnoxious little brat who remains quite likable. The film as a whole is quite emotionally complex, with characters having to deal with their resentment towards one another competing with their love of this little brat. It's the kind of thing that works partially because it's a universal concern, since everyone has parents, most have lovers and many have kids. The relationships here are strong, and as they make up the core of the movie, it could easily be remade to be even better.

So why do I want it remade? Well, first, it's the 80s, so the soundtrack's bad, and the film stock is poor. That's admittedly nitpicking, there's precisely one reason I want this film remade, and that's the ending. See, there's a scene immediately before the final scene that involves a plane taking off that has a nice bit of ambiguity, is slightly sad, and is the most appropriate way for the film to end up. Then, there's a tacked on motorcycle race, which just screws with the characters you've grown to like over the past hour and a half, makes stupid plays at big emotions, manufactures a rivalry seemingly out of thin air and generally makes the movie retroactively worse. The scene before was lightly melancholic, this tries way too hard to be sad and becomes almost comical in the process. The sheer amount of punishment Ah-Long receives is obnoxious, everyone gets a big emotional moment that's overdone, and it also happens to make the race look like the worst run motorcycle race in the history of racing. I'd like to forget it ever happened.

With a remake, I can! Get to it someone, make a film of Ah-Long but change that stupid ending and give the world a solid film. It's a mostly good movie, I'm sure that with the right script and the stupid motorcycle race excised forever, we can have one of the better examples of a film about the bonds of family, the way people change over the years, the conflict that happens when parents split, and so on. 90% of this film is genuinely fantastic. 10% is godawful. One little remake could change those percentages completely.

No comments:

Post a Comment