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Ming Ming
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Directed by Susie Au

Dubbed as a modern kung fu romance, Ming Ming doesn't quite deliver. Despite its colorful visual impact, the film is undermined by its narrative failings. Our kung fu heroine, Ming Ming (Zhou Xun), falls in love with Ah D (Daniel Wu), a fighter whose only dream is to earn enough money to take a trip to Harbin. To help her prince on his quest, Ming Ming robs mob boss Brother Cat (Jeff Chang) of five million yuan and a rather mysterious box. After escaping Brother Cat and his goons, Ming Ming hands over the booty to Ah D, who she tells to flee. On the run, D comes across his ex-girlfriend Na Na (also played by Zhou Xun), who happens to looks very much like Ming Ming, a similarity that results in confusion and hilarity...

The movie's cartoonish aesthetic, courtesy of Hong Kong music video director Susie Wong, is perhaps its strongest point. But despite Wong's claims that Ming Ming is a story of old-fashioned passion, the script fails to develop into what audiences have come to expect from love stories. Things aren't helped either by the movie's bizarre plotlines, one of which is that Brother Cat turns out to be both a transsexual and Ah D's mother – a twist that seems to confuse Jeff Chang's performance as much as it does the audience.

Needless to say, the message is a little baffling. At its conclusion, the movie purports to honor motherhood, which in itself is surprising for a martial arts-cum-love story. Otherwise, despite some thrilling action set pieces, Ming Ming feels like little more than an extended music video, and Wong's predilection for style dilutes its intended poignancy.

(That's Beijing by Alice Wang June 28, 2007)

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