Review: BEIJING LOVE STORY 北京爱情故事 (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Friday, 14 February 2014

Review: BEIJING LOVE STORY 北京爱情故事 (2014)

A gorgeously-produced but uneven romance drama benefited mostly from the appealing cast.

Based on the hugely popular TV series of the same name, show creator Chen Sicheng debuted his feature directorial effort here in BEIJING LOVE STORY -- a star-studded romance drama targeted specifically for the Valentine's Day release.

BEIJING LOVE STORY tells five intertwined love stories beginning with Chen Feng (Chen Sicheng), a poor designer who falls in love at first sight with a beautiful young woman (Tong Liya) at a club. It doesn't take long before he impregnates her and ends up proposing to her as well. However, the young woman's mother and her rich ex-boyfriend don't think Feng is the right person to get married with because of his poor status.

The second segment involves Feng's married best friend, Wu Zheng (Wang Xuebing) who's been cheating his wife, Zhang Lei (Yu Nan) all along and his infidelity is eventually revealed. Zhang Lei ends up taking revenge by dressing up sexily and goes to a club to flirt with another guy. Third one sees Liu Hui (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) heading to Greece to reunite with his longtime mistress Jia Ling (Carina Lau), then followed by the next segment involving a senior high-school student Songge (Liu Haoran) who falls in love with a beautiful classmate, Xingyang (Nana Ouyang). The fifth and last segment concludes with a story about Songge's grandfather (Wang Qinxiang), who's set up on a series of blind dates by his cousin (Siqin Gaowa).

The opening credits, which creatively displayed on various billboard/signboard all over the colourful city of Beijing, is enticing enough to set up the movie into motion. Technically speaking, everything here is beautifully framed in the utmost commercial value.

Some of the stories here are worthwhile, with the one involving Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Carina Lau being the most entertaining segment of all. Speaking of these two veterans, they are simply terrific together as a couple. The rest of the acting ensemble are equally effective, even the younger ones played by Liu Haoran and Nana Ouyang.
The final epilogue which involves a long tracking shot of every main character appears at the same hospital.
At 122 minutes, the movie tends to drag in places. Then of course, as worthwhile as some of the stories are, sometimes they feel superficial and lack of depth. Simply to put, they are like manufactured stories borrowed from much other star-studded romance drama.

While BEIJING LOVE STORY is basically all style but little substance, it has its own moments worth watching for.

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