Starring: Ivana Wong, Pak-ho Chau, Joyce Cheng
Director: Jill Wong
Running Time: 100 mins
Love Detective is a Hong Kong film about a top police officer who goes undercover as a model when it emerges there is a leak within a fashion troupe.
Some films have some utterly ridiculous plots, but there are some that go even further. Although Love Detective may seem like nothing more than a generic comedy from the outset, complete with average humour, painful product placement and underwhelming performances, it transforms itself into a near so-bad-it’s-good movie with a stupefying final act, complete with one of the stupidest twists I’ve ever seen.
But before we get there, let’s start from the beginning, which isn’t all that great. Although I didn’t find Love Detective a particularly appalling film, it is a movie that feels incredibly plastic and forced right from the get go, with over-the-top and frantically paced comedic sequences interspersed by pointless and dull character back stories that make for a frustrating watch from the beginning onwards.
Now, it is a trait of a lot of modern Chinese and Hong Kong comedies to be frantic, loud and very messy every which way you look. It’s a formula that I stil haven’t seen much evidence for being all that effective at making for some great laughs, but it’s a part of the genre that’s seemingly here to stay. Despite that, however, I can’t give the film any points for being well-executed, simply because it feels like it’s all over the place, failing to entertain you or even give you a pleasant hour and a half to sit back and relax.
From the beginning onwards, we have a fairly dull and incredibly predictable story in which the police officer ends up having to reluctantly go into a modelling group undercover, and inevitably ends up in a series of mishaps and strange situations. With such poor comedy on display, it’s not an entertaining watch at all, only saved by the strangeness of the bizarre few moments in which the main character seems randomly to fall off the face of the earth about 20 minutes in, as well as some seriously horrible product placement here and there.
Then comes the final act. Up to this point, Love Detective proved a very dull and unenjoyable comedy, complete with uninspiring performances and a generic, plastic vibe that made it anything but entertaining.
However, there’s a point where the movie decides to throw caution to the wind and go for what has to be one of the most ludicrous and out-of-left-field twists in all of cinema history. It’s by no means a good, or even well-earned twist, almost feeling like it was randomly written in halfway through the movie, however it’s so bizarre and jarring that it has the adverse effect of making the film suddenly enthralling.
That’s not because it brings anything more to the story, but rather because it sparked my interest into seeing if anything even more stupid could happen, and with that, the film manages to save itself just at the end by falling to the depths of a so-bad-it’s-good movie, and that’s why I’ll give Love Detective a 6.2 overall.