Saturday, May 29, 2004

The Private Eyes R3 DVD

The Private Eyes is widely regarded (along with Games Gambers Play) as the film that made the Cantonese language the language of choice in HK cinema (previously the Shaw Brothers films were made in Mandarin). This doesn't surprise me as the film is delightful, very funny, and very up-beat and happy. There is no mean-spiritedness in this film.

The 3 Hui brothers are reminiscent of the Marx brothers in the way they take on roles and interact with each other. Micheal is the oldest, the boss of a detective agency, Ricky (Mr Vampire) is his long-suffering assistant, and Sam is the kung-fu fighting new recruit. Together they go on a wide variety of cases, which end up primarily with Michael making a fool of himself.

There is no specific 'style' of comedy here - the Huis just give us whatever they think is funny. And 9 times out of 10, it is. This means surreal fight sequences (swordfish versus shark teeth) can co-exist with straightforward slapstick (Sam Hui trapped in a bath) and Wong Fei Hong parodies (the supermarket shoplifter). Its easy to see why people say Stephen Chow is the Micheal Hui of our time.

Yes, its a little old-fashioned, but its one of the few comedies that has aged very well. Very little of the humour is dependent on the fashions of the 70's, and i laughed throughout. And the Sam Hui song that plays at the beginning is awesome!

The R3 DVD is acceptable - picture quality is as you'd expect for a 70's HK film, subs are pretty good, extras include Star Files in English and a bunch of Michael Hui trailers.

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