ContactSales: China Film Promotion International, Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Theatrical release: China, 4 Jun 2010.
Presented by Wuhan Huaqi Movies & TV Production (CN), Hubei Provincial Film Distribution & Exhibition (CN). Produced by Wuhan Huaqi Movies & TV Production (CN), Hubei Provincial Film Distribution & Exhibition (CN). Executive producers: Liu Guangwei, Chen Dunliang. Producer: Manfred Wong.
Script: Holy Palace Creative Workshop (Tian Yusheng, Shi Chenyun, Xu Yuanfeng). Original story: Liu Yiwei. Photography: Michael Tsui. Editing: Jacky Leung. Music: Kay Chan @ Click Music. Art direction: Yang Haoyu. Costume design: Zhang Hongyan. Stylist: Lawrence. Sound: Zhan Xin, Phyllis Cheng, Nip Kei-wing. Visual effects: Hong Tao, Li Xinjian (Beijing Sea King International Movie Investment).
Cast: Wang Baoqiang (Niu Geng), Xu Zheng (Li Chenggong), Li Man (Manni, his mistress), Zuo Xiaoqing (Meili, his wife), Zhang Xinyi (woman swindler), Zhang Chao (Wei), Qiu Lin (village head), Ma Jian (Ma), Huang Xiaolei (woman in bedroom), Jacqueline Li (Nana, girl at station), Chen Xiao, He Minglan, Ma Xiaoyi, Wang Zixuan, Peng Sisi, Gao Song, Yang Zhenfeng, Wang Lei, Wang Quanxi, Yan Haidong, Wang Bo.
Lost on Journey 人在囧途
2010, colour, 1.85:1, 95 mins
Directed by Raymond Yip (葉偉民)
By Derek Elley
Sun, 15 August 2010, 17:18 PM (HKT)
Good chemistry between the two leads makes for an enjoyable, odd-couple road movie. Asian festivals, plus cable.
Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, just before Chinese New Year. Though his mistress Manni (Li Man) wants him to spend the holiday with her, Li Chenggong (Xu Zheng), CEO of United Doll Culture Group, feels he must visit his wife Meili (Zuo Xiaoqing), young daughter and sick mother at their family home in Changsha, 1,200 kilometres south in Hubei province. Arriving at the crowded airport, he finds he's mistakenly been booked in economy class, where he sits next to first-time flyer Niu Geng (Wang Baoqiang), senior milker at Happy Dairy Farm, who's also flying to Changsha and is owed back wages by his manager. After taking off, the plane has to turn back because of heavy snow at Changsha airport, but Li manages to acquire a train ticket from a tout. On board, he finds he's been sold a fake one - and for the same seat that Niu has also bought. Next morning, when they have to leave the train in the middle of nowhere because of a landslide, Li and Niu find themselves travelling the remaining 490 kilometres together as one after another mishap overtakes them.
A surprise summer hit at China's box office, Lost on Journey 人在囧途 (2010) is generic in its set-up — a stuffy CEO is thrown together with an uneducated Hebei dairy worker during the mass holiday migration of Chinese New Year — but its realistic approach, as the pair try every way to reach their destination, makes for plenty of entertainment in the capable hands of actors WANG Baoqiang 王寶強 (Blind Shaft 盲井 (2003), A World Without Thieves 天下無賊 (2004)) and XU Zheng 徐崢 (Crazy Stone 瘋狂的石頭 (2006), One Night in Supermarket 夜・店 (2009)). The film's emotional arc can be seen a mile off, as Wang's optimistic Hebei dunce gets joined at the hip to Xu's snooty, duplicitous executive, though the trials they go through are always pretty much believable and Xu's performance, especially, is nicely calibrated as his CEO is ground down by the realities of travelling in China's hinterland.
Though much of the key creative talent is from Hong Kong — notably producer Manfred WONG 文雋 and director Raymond YIP 葉偉民 (Portland Street Blues 古惑仔情義篇之洪興十三妹 (1998), My Dream Girl 炮製女朋友 (2003), and an associate director on Peter CHAN 陳可辛's The Warlords 投名狀 (2007)) — the film has the 100% feel of a Mainland production, using only local talent on screen and not exaggerating the setting or humour from an offshore/Cantonese perspective. Michael TSUI 徐少江's photography of wintertime Wuhan and Hubei province is well composed and lit, without detracting from the central performances, and the large number of supporting performances (including a lightning airport cameo by actress Jacqueline LI 李小璐) are fine, especially ZUO Xiaoqing 左小青 as Li's wife. The movie loses a little of its grip in the second half, with a tear-jerking digression involving a female swindler and a rather easy resolution to Li's wife/mistress problem, but these are small flaws in the otherwise tight construction.