Starring: Louis Koo, Sammi Cheng, Francis Ng
Director: Wilson Yip, Matt Chow
Running Time: 99 mins
Triumph In The Skies is a Hong Kong film about a group of pilots and air hostesses, and their various romances as they fly around the world.
I hated this film. Not only is it a painfully cheesy and sappy movie at every moment, but it’s a film with absolutely no emotional depth, no dramatic intrigue, no consistent narrative structure, and no enticing or even slightly cinematic directing at any point. As a result, while the TV show it’s based on may have proved popular, this feature film adaptation fails in pretty much every possible way to impress.
Now, I’m not averse to the romantic genre in any way, and I feel that it’s arguably the most powerful genre in cinema – but only when done right. And that’s exactly where this film goes wrong, because its interpretation of the nature of a romantic drama is so far from reality, refusing to develop anything even close to resembling interesting or layered characters, and sitting frustratingly content with a series of ‘picturesque’ postcards instead.
So, rather than learning about how the various characters have come to know each other in the past, and how their relationships eventually blossomed into romances, we instead get a few random vignettes that are effectively little more than a camera pointed at people walking and smiling, with the odd bit of kissing and crying as the film pathetically attempts to introduce some emotion into the mix.
With such a terribly-written and directed story throughout, Triumph In The Skies is painfully boring to watch, leaving the door open for the little things to really get under your skin.
It’s a common problem with boring films, that with no intrigue comes an atmosphere that lets your attention wander toward things that don’t matter quite as much, most significantly in this case, the visuals and score.
First off, the ‘picturesque’ postcards are far from what they suggest, infuriatingly bathed with blue and red and pink lens flares all over the screen, all the while taking place on the rather barebones seafront of the English Riviera, making for a painfully underwhelming and irritating visual style from beginning to end.
But even worse than that is the film’s score, which runs constantly through every scene, as if the movie is some sort of music video, more concerned about its appearance than creating any sense of cinematic structure or pace. As a result, the film moves at a horrible speed, juddering and meandering as the film awkwardly jumps between vignettes while the same piece of music keeps playing, totally destroying any flow or consistency throughout.
In the end, Triumph In The Skies is a real waste of time. It’s a boring, sappy, shallow and tedious romantic drama at every moment, and worsened by poor directing that makes the film feel more like a music video than anything else, making for a painful and simply dull watch from start to finish, which is why I’m giving it a 3.9 overall.