Review: ‘Yesterday Once More’

The title isn't the only thing to cause a feeling of deja vu in "Yesterday Once More," prolific helmer Johnnie To's addition to the long list of films about pleasure seeking, impossibly wealthy jewel thieves. However, pic boasts enough charm from its game cast to make up for any lack of originality; and, with Shaw Bros. vet Jenny Hu coming out of retirement for the bitchy momma role, it's hard to quibble with the fun. Pic scored big locally on October release, though similarity to Western product will make offshore heists more difficult.

The title isn’t the only thing to cause a feeling of deja vu in “Yesterday Once More,” prolific helmer Johnnie To’s addition to the long list of films about pleasure seeking, impossibly wealthy jewel thieves. However, pic boasts enough charm from its game cast to make up for any lack of originality; and, with Shaw Bros. vet Jenny Hu coming out of retirement for the bitchy momma role, it’s hard to quibble with the fun. Pic scored big locally on October release, though similarity to Western product will make offshore heists more difficult.

Andy Lau slips into Cary Grant mode as Mr. Thief, heir to billions but with a penchant for klepto thrills. He split with his equally rich ex-wife, Mrs. Thief (singer-actress Sammi Cheng), , but, when he gets wind of her (obviously venal) match with momma’s boy Steve (Carl Ng), he decides to swipe the family jewels himself in a playful game of one-upmanship. Modern Hong Kong never looked so glam, and To even throws in unexpected location work in Udine, Italy. Retro, Henry Mancini-inspired music keeps it all bouncing along.

Yesterday Once More

Hong Kong

Production

A Media Asia release of a Media Asia Group, Sil-Metropole Organization presentation of a Milkyway Image (Hong Kong) production. Produced by Johnnie To. Executive producers, John Chong, Dou Shou-fang. Directed by Johnnie To. Screenplay, The Hermit, Au Kin-yee.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Cheng Siu-keung; editor, David Richardson; music, Chung Chi-wing, Ben Cheung; production designer, Bruce Yu; art director, Tony Yu; costume designers, Steven Tsang, Stephanie Wong. Reviewed at Turin Film Festival (noncompeting), Nov. 16, 2004. Original Cantonese title: Lung fung dau. Cantonese dialogue. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Jenny Hu, Carl Ng, Lam Ka-tung, Chun Wong, Hui Siu-hung, Lin Chun.
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