Review: ‘Amphetamine’

Amphetamine

Pic will be a downer for any except gay male auds in search of some lusciously lensed softcore porn.

Beautifully lit and shot (by Pang Ho-cheung’s regular d.p., Charlie Lam), but archly written and played, “Amphetamine” will be a downer for any except gay male auds in search of some lusciously lensed softcore porn. Third feature by Mainland-born, Hong Kong-based filmmaker Scud (aka Danny Cheng) flips the cross-horses theme of his previous “Permanent Residence” (gay falls for straight) in a scattershot yarn about a straight fitness trainer falling for a gay financial consultant. A modest career in card-carrying ghettoes looms.

Pint-sized martial artist Kafka (buff Byron Pang), breaking up with g.f. May (Linda So), falls for cocky yuppie David (Anglo-Chinese DJ Thomas Price) and after a lot of flirting, the pair finally get it on. But Kafka has a troubled past (and a drug problem) and David a onetime g.f., Linda (former Miss Hong Kong Winnie Leung). Co-directed by the experienced Lawrence Lau (“Spacked Out,” “Queen of Temple Street”) but none the better for it, the pic boasts often excruciating dialogue matched by an increasingly risible story: On the day Lehman Bros. tanks, David leaves work early to go rappelling with Kafka. Right.

Amphetamine

Hong Kong

Production

An Artwalker production. (International sales: Media Luna New Films, Cologne.) Produced by Scud. Directed, written by Scud. Co-director, Lawrence Lau.

Crew

Camera (color), Charlie Lam; editor, Heiward Mak; music, Yu Yat-yiu, Ho Shan; art director, Jack Chan. Reviewed at CinemaxX Potsdamer Platz 10, Berlin, Jan. 19, 2010. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama.) Original Cantonese title: Onfeitaming. Cantonese, English, Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Byron Pang, Thomas Price, Linda So, Winnie Leung, Simon Tam, Peng Lihua, Sun Cheng-kok, Tung Wai-keung, Liu Wing-yiu, Lam Tin-yan, Paul Fonoroff.

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