Fung (Dominic Ho) works out in “The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2).” (Shaw Organisation)
Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. HeTweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes atmarcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.
Secret ending? No.
Running time: 100 minutes (~1.75 hours)
“The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2)” is a Hong Kong erotic comedy that’s a sequel to last year’s “The Gigolo (鸭王).” It follows the adventures of Fung, the King of Gigolos, as he trains shy young Monica in the ways of love. It stars Dominic Ho (Fung), Connie Man (Monica), Iris Chung (Sushi), Alex Lam (Dick), Leslie Lam (Isabel), Winnie Leung (Mona), and Tony Ho (Big Dog). It is rated R-21.
“The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2)” brings us back to Hong Kong’s colourful nightlife as we accompany the semi-retired King of Gigolos Fung and meet new heroine Monica, who climbs up the entertainment ladder with his help. Perhaps the most believable aspect of this movie is Monica’s struggle and subsequent transformation as she hones her craft. Even so, that doesn’t quite make up for the corny performances, which can be quite hard to swallow at times.
Dick (Alex Lam) and Sushi (Iris Chung) in “The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2).” (Shaw Organisation)
Monica’s ugly duckling transformation
Monica starts out as a shy, dislikeable actress who possesses an irritating petulance and queer hang-ups. But after Fung takes Monica under his wing, she undergoes a drastic change, becoming the swan of the story and rising past all the other female characters in terms of skill and dressing. The differences aren’t just physical, as her mannerisms, posture and even speech patterns change. Her change is motivated by very personal stakes, helping to build empathy with the most unlikely of protagonists.
Of course, in such a movie the cast requires a certain pulchritude. Yet the casting manages to balance the aesthetic appeal of all the characters, with very little variances in the quality of their looks (and hence, avoiding the usual problem of having clear favourites in this sort of films). It applies to the male and female cast alike, helping us to enjoy the film regardless of who the spotlight is on.
Monica (Connie Man) looks for Fung in “The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2).” (Shaw Organisation)
Fung is expressionless
While Fung is no doubt athletic, given his build and agility, his facial expressions leave much to be desired. Even his most conflicted moments only garner the slightest of frowns, as he’s more concerned with the camera catching him at his best than servicing his character and the story.
Character focus is unclear
While the title implies that Fung is the title character, it’s actually Monica who carries the show since it’s her journey that we follow. Their two paths do meet eventually, but even so the film is more about the King of Gigolo’s beau than it is about him.
There’s no indication that the antagonists are meant to be such, at least not until the end of Act 3. Out of the blue, these characters become the designated antagonists, with little setup or motivation for their actions. Before that, there’s no indication that they’re any different from their companions, who could just as easily have served as the villains of the story.
Fung teaches Monica in “The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2).” (Shaw Organisation)
“The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2)” has strong visual appeal with a strong female heroine that comes of age, which is marred by a limp plot and focus.
Should you watch this for free? OK.
Should you watch this on weekdays? If you’re a fan of Dominic Ho or Connie Man.
“The Gigolo 2 (鸭王 2)” opens in cinemas 25 February, 2016 (Thursday).