Film Review: Lee Lik-chi’s “The Lucky Guy” (行運一條龍)

Even Hong Kong film legends such as Stephen Chow Sing-chi (“Kung Fu Hustle,” the “Fight Back to School” series) have completed certain titles that, for whatever reason, have fallen by the wayside over the years.  These films are no less entertaining than what has survived; perhaps due to a combination of low demand and bad luck, their DVD versions are no longer available. (One of the co-owners of the Mongkok store Cult Movie told me that this is a common occurrence: a DVD of “Days of Being Dumb” (1992) starring Tony Leung Chiu-wei and Jacky Cheung now fetches several hundred Hong Kong dollars – if you can even find it – whereas Wai Ka-fai’s “Too Many Ways to Be No. 1” (1997) is sold in his shop for HK$2,000 because the company that manufactured the disc went out of business.)

Chow fans who have not seen his 1998 Lunar New Year film “The Lucky Guy” (行運一條龍) now have reason to rejoice: the movie will be re-issued on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 29 in time for the Year of the Pig. Co-starring Chow and his longtime 1990’s sidekick Ng Man Tat, “The Lucky Guy” packs in all of Chow’s signature obvious humor mixed with local references reminiscent of his collaboration with Wong Jing (who, as it turns out, was a producer on this film and plays a cameo).  Mr. Li (Ng) runs a popular cha chaan teng – a post-World War II Cantonese-Western style diner unique to Hong Kong – called Lucky Coffee Shop that serves a signature pastry, the egg tart. Li’s most popular employee is the flirtatious Brother Sui in the type of role where Chow shines best: the signature, smirking know-it-all.  Nicknamed the Prince of Egg Tarts (the opening credits of the film actually refer to his character as the 蛋撻王子 (dahn taht wong ji) instead of a name), Brother Sui enjoys wooing girls but not dating them.  This brings customers into the diner and considerable chaos into his personal life.

However, the Lucky Coffee Shop is running into an all-too-familiar fate plaguing cities in real life: a substantial rent increase by a greedy landlord (Sandra Ng).  Meanwhile, a whole host of side stories led by a formidable supporting cast make their way into the story.  Mr. Li’s son Nam (Daniel Chan Hiu Tung), a journalist who wants nothing to do with his dad’s cha chaan teng, literally runs into a woman fleeing the worries of her own life (a wildly entertaining Shu Qi in what was often described as her past “manic” roles).  The innocent Fook (Eric Kot) earnestly asks his best friend and colleague Brother Sui for love advice after a chance encounter with Fanny (Kristy Yang), which of course sets himself up to be a virtual and literal punching bag. And Sammi Cheng makes an appearance later in the film that provides some insight into what really makes the Prince of Egg Tarts tick.

Zany, unpredictable and earnest – there is a lot to like about “The Lucky Guy.”  It has all the ingredients of a typical Hong Kong Lunar New Year movie, but with vintage Stephen Chow humor and salivating food close-ups to boot.

Both the regular DVD and Blu-Ray versions of “The Lucky Guy” can be preordered at