Starring: Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing, Peter Ho
Director: Jin Yimeng
Running Time: 107 mins
Sophie’s Revenge is a Chinese film about a woman down on her luck after a break up, so she decides to team up with a man who is also trying to win back his ex, although complications inevitably arise.
Much like its sequel, My Lucky Star, Sophie’s Revenge feels like the sort of film that was made up in the mind of a 4 year old girl, and then the production company just gave her the money to turn it into a feature film. In that, it’s a very dumb, over-the-top and childish film, and although you can find some fun in its fluffiness at times, it’s still a generally poor and shrill film to watch.
The big problem with the film is that its blend of atmospheres, between that of a Tracy Beaker-esque comedy for young kids, complete with little animated doodles and random fantasy sequences etc., and that of a more adult romantic comedy, makes the film a total mess, and really difficult to get a grasp on at times.
From beginning to end, I really wasn’t able to take anything about the film at all seriously, from the characters to the central romance and plot, simply because it’s not clear what sort of atmosphere the film is targeting. It’s as if Sex And The City were made by (and unintentionally for) 4 year old girls, with the same sort of story content and intelligence presented in the style of a picturebook on a sugar rush.
Now, the argument can be made that the film is so light, silly and childish, that you can just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. That’s definitely true, and I found more light entertainment from the somewhat simpler and more generic story than the outlandish and ridiculous action thriller that its sequel eventually ends up being. That of course doesn’t mean that the film is any worthier, but the fact remains that it can put a smile on your face if you really turn your brain down to the lowest function setting.
However, the film’s over-the-top and exaggerated attitude to its story, worsened by some of the cheesiest and most in-your-face comedy (something that modern Chinese films unfortunately excel at), makes it a really difficult watch, and you do feel as if you’re sitting there supervising a child having fun and going insane, rather than being able to fully enjoy the madness.
You’d also think that with some good acting talent, particularly in the form of Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing, that the film would be a little better. The actors are arguably the best bit of the movie, but that’s probably because they do nothing more than follow the brief they’re given. Zhang, generally more suited to dramatic roles like in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House Of Flying Daggers, is just a little too smiley and over-energetic throughout, making her character more annoying than simply childlike and fun to watch.
Fan and the rest of the film’s supporting cast also feel like they’re just following a very simplistic brief, and playing out as nothing more than the shells of the most generic rom-com characters you can imagine, making the story just as dull as the rest of the film is manic to watch.
Overall, while I recognise that Sophie’s Revenge is a film that you can have fun with, it’s still a completely over-exaggerated, generally unfunny, unintelligent and excessively childish mess that makes for more of an annoying watch than anything, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.7.