Plot Outline: Wah (Andy Lau) is a member of the triads along with his brother Fly (Jackie Cheung) who cannot stay out of trouble and is a constant source of embarrassment. Everything is okay in Wah’s life though, until his cousin Ngor (Maggie Cheung) is forced on him. Ngor is in town visiting a doctor because she’s been sick and has to wear a mask over her mouth. Wah soon finds himself infatuated with Ngor and Fly soon gets him into even deeper trouble.

The Review
Let me just say that I’m quite the novice when it comes to Wong Kar-Wai. This is only the second film by him that I’ve actually seen. The first film was the fabulous Chungking Express, and the idea of Wong Kar-wai directing a ‘Heroic Bloodshed’ film seemed like a win-win situation. Well, to tell the truth I was probably under the wrong impression when I first got the film. I wasn’t expecting Hard Boiled or anything like that, but I wasn’t exactly expecting such a conventional crime/romance film either. I tried to block out my expectations though, and what I got was a fairly decent film. Not great, at least not to me, but it was entertaining enough.

If there is a huge problem with As Tears Go By, it would be that the movie really doesn’t make any kind of impact on me. I feel indifferent towards it, and as you might can guess, that isn’t a good thing to feel towards a film you are to review. The story is average at best, but there are a few peppers here and there. Like the fact that the leading lady happens to be Andy Lau’s cousin. The only thing is they don’t follow up on this. She might as well have been a friend of the family because neither Lau’s or Cheung’s character seems to have any moral dilemma about being emotionally involved with a family member. So the film kind of just falters when approaching any kind of serious drama. The only thing remotely interesting is Andy Lau and Jackie Cheung’s relationship.

If you’ve seen Mean Streets you kind of already know what’s up with the Andy Lau/Jackie Cheung relationship is. Jackie is rebellious, hard headed and overall foolish, while Lau has to keep bailing him out of trouble. While this has been done before, I really liked Cheung in this role. Cheung gets to overact like crazy, but is always funny to watch. He’s usually jumping up and down about one thing or another.

I suppose the biggest star of the film though is probably the cinematography. This was before Wai hooked up Christopher Doyle, but Wai Keung Lau shows here he’s no slouch. I particularly liked the scenes near the beginning in Lau’s apartment. The blue’s kind of added a whole mood to the film, but didn’t say quite anything. On another technical note, the soundtrack like Chungking Express, features English speaking songs covered in Cantonese. This time around it’s ‘Take My Breath Away’, which proves to be ten times more annoying than the overplayed “California Dreaming” in Chungking Express.

The Conclusion
I don’t know, it’s kind of hard for me to say. I certainly didn’t dislike As Tears Go By, but I didn’t love it either. I’m somewhere in the middle I suppose. Anyway, I imagine this film probably has some die hard fans out there, and I can actually see why I guess, but I’m just not one of them. I give it a three only because of some little entertaining scenes. Like when Lau holds a knife to the throat of a mob boss and when Cheung and Lau have a funny conversation in a bar where Cheung uses some English words he knows.

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