90s Far East Bracket: Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See (Your Place Or Mine, 1998)

The second film in my seventh match-up in the first round of the 90s Far East Bracket is, all about love, well, mainly cheating, but there’s some love in it!

Written By: James Yuen
Directed By: James Yuen

I’ve spent quite a deal of time thinking over Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See, trying to ferret out how I actually feel about the film and its characters. Hours have been spent mulling over the possible misogyny on display, the cultural differences I need to take into account, the fact that Tony Leung is hot in a wifebeater, that Alex Fong has some great comedic timing, that two out of three of the featured women were very nice to look at and finally that Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See is a very funny movie. I know it’s hard to imagine a situation where I actually put a lot of thought into anything, but the feeling I took away from Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See was so jumbled that I guarantee you I have legitimately been mulling this over to the point where I kind of want the ruminations to stop. And yet, still my thoughts remain far from concrete, and maybe, just maybe that’s why this is such a unique take on the romantic comedy.

Let’s begin with the ending of Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See and how that is what really made the uniqueness of this film within the rom-com genre pop in my head. Oh, and there will be spoilers, so for the two of you who plan on watching this movie at some point, I apologize, but that’s how I roll. No one ends up together, yeah, Wai and Ah Yu end up together in a way, but not in typical rom-com fashion. This film doesn’t offer any sort of happy resolution that viewers of romantic comedies have become so used to, and that may be its biggest strength, especially in regards to how I believe a standard happy ending would have justified some of the more misogynistic notes that Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See hits.

There is misogyny in Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See, but I’m unsure as to how much is rampant misogyny and how much is simple cultural differences. It’s probably a little of both, and the aforementioned unique ending got me to thinking that Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See is a very matter of fact movie that is presenting its male characters honestly while at the same time judging them. They don’t get the girls that they want, or in the case of Wai they don’t get her in the way that they want, and that feels like a punishment for the misogyny they show throughout the film. Then again, as I said it could be a simple case of cultural differences, because I know that Asian cultures have a far different view of male/female relations in modern times than us Westerners do. When viewed through those glasses, Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See still succeeds because once again, it doesn’t sugar coat anything. It presents a culture as it is, and refuses to hide any of the warts and boils, innocent people get hurt, people who appear to be nice actually aren’t and in the end they all suffer a little bit of pain, which isn’t a cultural difference, but hopefully you get my point.

No one is really amazing acting wise in Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See, but that’s not a slight against any of the players in question. Tony Leung is, well, Tony Leung and that’s all I should really have to tell you. I’m convinced that man has never given a bad performance in his whole life, and my faith in him as an actor was further confirmed with how easily he molded himself to this, his first comedic role I have seen him in. Alex Fong was very good as Patrick, his comedic timing really helped the movie at times. I liked all three of the main female characters, Ah Yu was able to play the manic pixie dream girl to a T, while Sukie Kwan played Mei Mei somewhere in the middle of that and Ada Choi played Vivian as harshly as she needed to be played. The reason I say no one was really amazing, is because no none could afford to stick out, Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See is an ensemble piece and every actor understood that and slipped into their role with ease.

Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See isn’t groundbreaking or anything like that, but it is funny, well acted, and a fresh take on the romantic comedy. Yet, none of those things are what lead me to give it a higher rating and recommend it. Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See left me thinking, for a long time and that more than anything allowed me to realize that what I had just watched was pretty good. Maybe it’s misogynistic, maybe it’s cultural, maybe it’s a bit slight, or maybe it’s honest, I still haven’t fully decided on any of those concepts, but I have decided that Mooi Tin Oi Sei 8 Siu See’s ability to make me think about what I have just seen leaves it as a very good movie. But hey, don’t let me convince you, just let the idea of Tony Leung waving around giant Mario hands bring you into the fold, because you know you want to see that.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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