Saturday, August 6, 2011
Run Review Chang Man Gon's HK Remake Of El Mariachi
Back in my review of Wilson Yip's Mongkok story, I mentioned Anthony Wong starring in a film within the film, that being a rip off of Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi. I didn't realise at the time that Hong Kong had already plundered Rodriguez's no budget wonder in the form of Chang Man Gon's Run.
Leon Lai Ming ( I never tire of saying that name!) stars as a guitar playing traveller in Mexico who is mistaken for a guitar case carrying Hitman. A simple enough misunderstanding to make I suppose. Veronica Yip also stars as a bar owner who gives Leon shelter from the killers on his tail. To complicate things further the killers work for the local crime lord, who of course is in love with Veronica Yip.
Run is a reasonably good retelling of El Mariachi, the emphasis of the movie is changed slightly with the second act being more of romantic drama between Leon Lai and Veronica Yip. This aspect is handled quite nicely and Yip in particular is very good. The film also has it's fair share of action scenes with some nicely bloody shoot outs sprinkled throughout the film. Unfortunately as is often the case with Hong Kong movies an injection of so called comic relief almost derails the entire enterprise. I'm not just talking about shifting tones throughout the film, I'm talking about Eric Kot and Jan Lam. Whenever they appear on screen they stop the film dead in it's tracks. They even manage to turn what should be a tense action sequence into a Benny Hill style farce. Surely no-one found this stuff funny?
Fortunately the film is not completely ruined by these two clowns, while nowhere near as solid as Rodriguez's film it does have a certain charm. Yip does plenty with not much and Leon Lai Ming is more animated than usual. In fact he has a strangely surreal and genuinely funny moment where he hits someone with a cactus, leading into an amusingly overwrought fight scene, that's worth seeing the film for alone!
Another example of just how brazen Hong Kong movies can be in ripping off other films, Chang Man Gon's effort boasts a few decent action scenes, a pretty stylish look and a decent grasp of the material while still managing to add a little to it. Now if only he hadn't put Eric Kot and Jan Lam in there, we may have had a really good movie.