Men Suddenly In Black (2003: Pang Ho-cheung: Hong Kong)
What do you do when your wife is away for 14 hours shopping in Bangkok with her friends who also happen to be your friends significant others? It is time for adultery or at least try to have an affair. Eric Tsang is Tin (somewhat parodying his Infernal Affairs role) a leader among his small group of four who is guiding them on a mission to have an affair (though sometimes the homosocial behavior delves into the potentially homoerotic*.) He is doing this in honor of his Ninth Uncle (Tony Leung Ka-fai) who several years ago got caught in a similar male-bonding tryst, never giving up the participants and subsequently is cut off from friends, prostitutes and porn by his wife.
However, the wives (and one girlfriend), led by Tin’s wife Carrie (Teresa Mo who has a strong role here) soon find out that there is something fishy going on and abort their trip and go husband hunting.
An impressive second release from director Edmond Pang Ho-cheung (You Shoot, I Shoot). He is satirizing male and female relationships and homosocial ones as well as some triad jokes thrown in. There is some allegorical references of John Woo to explicit Stephen Chow and Sammo Hung ones that Hong Kong fans should like. This is on LoveHKFilm.com’s The Best Hong Kong movies list ever. While it would not have been on mine, it still is a fun film that sometimes dragged a little bit through the various “missions”. Of the three other main male actors Chapman To and Jordan Chan have a panache which makes “Spirit Blue” Gu Zong-chao’s presence seem under assertive.
The Chinese title is 大丈夫 which roughly translates to “a man of character” or “manly man.” The English title is a bit confusing though it probably refers to the change in the men’s attire in the film (alluding to the fact that they have to appear differently than they normally do to help avoid being recognized – though with Eric Tsang’s loudness and particular body shape he could be recognized after plastic surgery from several hundred meters away) and it feels like it is taken off of the title of the film Men in Black.
I have the Mei Ah R0/NTSC release. The English subtitles could use some improvement. They have some spelling and grammar mistakes, use British idioms like “punter” and occasionally I am not sure what is actually going on. I understood the vast majority of the film, though once in a while I had to pause or rewind segments. There are three trailers including The Romancing Star, The Romancing Star II and Running on Karma.
There is a sequel to this, though I have not seen it, the reviews I read are not too fond of it and not all the actors appear in it.
* It is hilarious how upset and disappointed Tin was when Dr. Lee wants to go to his own affair instead of the group one at the end.