Golden Chickensss (2014) Poster

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Not nearly as meaningful or poignant as either of the earlier 'Golden Chicken' films, this third chapter banks on some sporadically amusing bits and an all-star cast
moviexclusive28 January 2014
More than a decade after hanging up them fake G-cup boobs, Sandra Ng returns to her most iconic screen persona as the big-hearted prostitute 'Ah Kam' in the curiously titled 'Golden Chickensss'. Yes, that's three 'S-es' behind the original title 'Golden Chicken', and the third film in the series if you've lost count - though it bears arguably no relation to the earlier two films except for their titular character and of course Hong Kong's most versatile female comedian in the role.

Lest anyone forget, Ng won her first and thus far only Golden Horse Best Actress award for the role back in 2002, where she played the plucky (ok, pun intended) and likable Ah Kam whose vicissitudes was cast against the changing fortunes of Hong Kong over the years. As much as it was a character showcase for Ng, the Samson Chiu and Matt Chow-scripted movie was also a love letter to their home territory, a celebration of the go-getter spirit which has made Hong Kong triumph over the odds from the 1980s right up till the early 2000s.

Circumstance created an inevitable sequel just ten months later, as 'Golden Chicken 2' reflected on Hong Kong's most trying period yet, i.e. the SARS epidemic of 2003. It was a valentine to the resilience that the people of Hong Kong displayed, mirrored in the same perseverance that Ah Kam showed during that period. But it was also evidently a more weakly scripted film, which was ultimately borne out by the less than stellar box office results - hence the absence of a third film till now.

Suffice to say that even fans of 'Ah Kam' who were disappointed by the last sequel will probably feel nostalgic about her return so many years later - and yet even that is probably not enough to make up for an even more lazily plotted sequel that rests too heavily on its impressive list of star cameos. Indeed, Ng has pulled out all the stops to get some of Hong Kong showbiz's most recognisable faces to turn up for the return of her 'Golden Chicken' - and the poster proudly touts many of these, including Anthony Wong, Donnie Yen, Chin Kar Lok, Alex To, William So, Raymond Wong, Ronald Cheng, Jim Chim, Lo Hoi Pang, Louis Koo and an unbilled Andy Lau (stay back for the end credits if you wish to catch that).

Matt Chow returns to script and for the first time direct the movie, and to his credit, he doesn't let one second of their precious time go to waste. Some are specifically designed to riff on their previous roles (like Donnie Yen playing 'Ip Man' to riff on 'The Grandmasters'), while other more substantial ones are exaggerated caricatures of their real- life personas - our favourite here is Louis Koo hamming it as his own impersonator from the Mainland, complete with poor Cantonese and a flamboyant get-up. In fact, the episodic nature of the movie suggests that it was written and re-written to ensure maximum star wattage - and for that matter, the best use of it.

What that also means in this case is a general lack of purpose and coherence. After an extended prologue laying out the evolution of the term 'chicken', the first half of the movie pretty much details the day- to-day routine of a 'mamasan', whom we are told not only needs to fight with other 'mamasans' for a limited pool of girls but also offer value- added services (like queuing to register at a popular kindergarten) to their regular clients. But when one of her regulars, an acupuncturist played by Jim Chim, suggests she pay a visit to Japan to learn some new tricks of the trade, she promptly leaves for Nippon-land to meet with a barely-there Edison Chen and a much-funnier Wyman Wong as the 'King of BJ'.

Only in the second half does some semblance of a story take shape, with Nick Cheung playing 'Ah Kam's' former love Gordon, a righteous triad leader who has just been released from prison. Together with his right- hand man Jackie (Eason Chan), 'Ah Kam' conspires to keep the truth of the reality from Gordon, whose mentality remains stuck in that of the 1990s. Though both are excellent actors in their own right, Ng and Cheung ultimately share less chemistry with each other than Ng's previous outing with Jacky Cheung in 'Golden Chicken 2', so much so that this detour into romantic territory seems unnecessary and uninvolving.

Even more important than the fact that it doesn't have a poignant angle to Hong Kong (despite trying to say something about the spate of protests in recent years) like the previous two films is the prominence of 'Ah Kam' in her own movie. Ng has always been front and centre with her character, but here she is almost like a talk show host whose act is less important than the revolving list of guests she has on her programme. To put it simply, 'Ah Kam' feels somewhat inconsequential here, without a compelling arc for her character that's supposed to be rightly the centre of attention.

And so, 'Golden Chickensss' feels less like an addition to the franchise than a Lunar New Year comedy built around the titular character. Certainly, it is nowhere as meaningful nor poignant as either one of the earlier movies, and when compared to them, will probably end up the worst of the lot. But against the lowered expectations of a CNY comedy, there are still some good laughs to be had, as well as the pleasure of seeing an all-star cast that's quite definitely the most star-studded in any Hong Kong movie this year. It's not the award-winning material it used to be, but if all you're looking for is some humour and entertainment, then 'Golden Chickensss' provides just that kind of throwaway fun.
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4/10
The film starts out well and ends pretty badly, but you'll want to stay all the way to the end for the cameo in the credits anyway.
shawneofthedead29 January 2014
Prostitution, so they say, is the world's oldest profession. It's the rather ingenious idea at the heart of the first two films in the Golden Chicken franchise: the notion that a kindly prostitute who has seen it all can tell a unique, timely story of the ebb and flow of the city in which she struggles to survive. The first film was warmly received; the second less so, but both films have nevertheless found their way into Hong Kong's cultural lexicon.

Ten years later, beloved comedy veteran Sandra Ng has reunited with director Matt Chow (who co-wrote the script of the first film) for Golden Chicken 3 (mysteriously named Golden Chickensss). Many of the same elements remain in the mix: kindly prostitute Kam (Ng), now a mamasan (think mother hen herding a flock of chicks towards their nightly engagements); a raft of cameos from Hong Kong's movie royalty (including Anthony Wong, Donnie Yen, and a great end-credits appearance from a true-blue superstar); and a storyline that reflects the social changes unfolding in the fastest-moving city in the world. Unfortunately, Chow combines them in an awkward three-act structure that repels rather than compels.

The film reunites audiences with Kam by showing how her life has changed with the advent of technology. She sets up appointments via Whatsapp, cleverly disguised as messages from work, and shepherds the girls in her charge to big, splashy parties to entertain businessmen all night. Life seems to be going quite well when Kam is blindsided by the news that Gordon (Nick Cheung), a mafia boss who treated her well many years ago, will soon be released from a decade-long stint in prison.

Golden Chickensss may bear a passing resemblance to its two predecessors, but is really an awkward Frankenstein of a movie. It's stitched together from so many disparate parts that it's hard to view it as a coherent film. There's the sunny first act, which re-acquaints us with Kam – it's packed with little incidents, jokes and cameos that feel fun and festive, and is wholly in keeping with Golden Chickensss' Chinese New Year release date. Louis Koo gamely rocks up as a celebrity impersonator hired by Kam to fulfil the lustful wishes of a dying widow with Shakespearean proclivities. Ridiculous, sure, but nevertheless oddly charming.

It then segues into an uncomfortably raunchy and tasteless segment set in Japan, where Kam and her two protégés decide to pick up more essential skills to improve their business prospects. In an oral sex shop run by Edison Chen (a casting choice that's either brilliant or horrific, depending on your views regarding his 2008 sex-photos scandal), a few gags (no pun intended) work, but most of them don't. It all amounts to a short burst of scenes so random and pointless in the overall context of the film's plot that one wonders why they were shoved in at all – except to prove that Ng really would do absolutely anything for the sake of comedy.

Finally, Kam's reunion with Gordon – which takes up the final, unfortunately hefty chunk of the film – dips into the realm of predictable melodrama. The focus shifts, unwisely, away from Kam and onto Gordon, which means that Golden Chickensss invariably deflates without the benefit of Ng's shining charisma. Cheung is a fine actor, but his part is so leaden and stereotypical that you might find it hard to care as he tries to figure out the complexities of text messaging and a world that doesn't need the likes of him anymore. There's a ham-fisted attempt to make a comment about the dizzying changes in Hong Kong society, but it doesn't really work in the way it was intended.

As the film lurches from moment to moment, it's really Ng who holds it all together. Even in the weighty final act, when she's almost criminally sidelined, she radiates a sweet joy that makes it all bearable. She clowns her way cheerfully through the lacklustre script, right through to the big sing-along finale that follows on rather uncomfortably from the Gordon sub-plot.

Ng has also found a surprising treasure in Ivana Wong, a pop singer who goes all out as Kam's weirdest protégé: a sex worker who plays the fool to survive in the business. In all the comic mayhem, Wong shares a surprisingly tender moment with a male hooker (Ronald Cheng) who intimately understands what she goes through to get by every day.

Anyone with fond memories of the first two Golden Chicken films might want to brace themselves for a bit of a shock. Golden Chickensss is evidently trying to capture that same magical blend of comedy, pathos and social realism, but falls apart beneath an unwieldy three-act structure that does its characters no favours.
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9/10
Pretty decent and entertaining. Watching Ivana Wong in her debut stunning performance it's already well worth the time to watch!
ashingtray13 March 2016
What's with the low rating? To me, this is a pretty decent film.

Pretty entertaining. Something I dare say it's been awhile for HK movies.

Ivana Wong's debut performance is already worth the time! Love her scene with Ronald Cheng. Very touching and moving. Knowing her from her real personality of shy and low profile, this is great effort and displaying her wide talent of acting. She also won/nominated several awards for this role.

And love the singing scene with Ronald Cheng, they both showed off their natural singing voice. Wonderful scene!

This movie has a positive note about living and survival, and also a good tribute to classic HK songs.

Definitely worth the time!

https://youtu.be/ynWwPCAjbpE
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