On My Way 跑出一片天
Contemporary family film
2012, colour, 2.35:1, 95 mins
Directed by Gary Mak (麥詠麟), Li Yuan (李遠)
By Derek Elley
Tue, 10 July 2012, 16:00 PM (HKT)
Generic but excellently packaged kid's movie is smoothly entertaining. Asian and youth events.
Beijing, the present day, winter. Pesky, 10-year-old Li Xiaotian (Steven Miao) gets terrible marks at school but has a hidden talent for athletics, much to the exasperation of his single father, Li Feixiong (Jerry Chang), who scrapes a living selling shaguo (earthenware pot casseroles) which Xiaotian secretly delivers with his running skills. Xiaotian dreams of beating his school's 400-metre champion, rich kid Ma Xiao (Kang Shengwen), and is encouraged by both his adult backstreets friend Big Eyes (Tian Liang) and his teacher, Miss Cai (Qu Shuangshuang). He also dreams of having a proper mother - after his birth mother abandoned the family when he was born - and encourages his father to date Liu Yidan (Hu Jing), a dance teacher across the way.
A delightful surprise that melds Mainland on-camera and Hong Kong off-camera talent, On My Way 跑出一片天 is a totally generic but smoothly packaged family film that doesn't put a foot wrong. Stuffed with cameos by Olympic sporting stars and Mainland showbiz personalities (actress Mini YANG 楊冪 pops up for one line), the aspirational comedy-drama about a pesky 10-year-old Beijing boy who dreams of winning a running race — plus matching his single father up with the pretty dancing teacher across the road — is helped along by not taking itself too seriously and having a child star (12-year-old Steven MIAO 苗雅寧) who's lively and unbrattish.
On the directing side, the film is effectively the work of Hong Kong director Gary MAK 麥詠麟, here working way above the level of his previous journeyman movies like Bar Paradise 美麗酒吧 (2005) and Undying Heart 死心・不息 (2006). (Mainlander LI Yuan 李遠, credited as co-writer and co-director, originally started the picture but was replaced by Mak and had most of his footage re-shot. Li debuted with last year's time-travel action movie Coming Back 回馬槍 (2011), with Simon YAM 任達華, Annie YI 伊能靜 and Jack KAO 高捷.) With clean photography by Hong Kong's ace d.p. Arthur WONG 黃岳泰 (Painted Skin: The Resurrection 畫皮Ⅱ), smooth, tight editing by Jacky LEUNG 梁國榮 and dance-like scoring by composer Tommy WAI 韋啟良, On My Way hums along like a well-tuned limousine, without being unnecessarily showy on the technical side. Just when the plot is becoming too predictable, it throws in a "night-running" sequence (at the 40-minute mark) and a charming dance sequence (half-an-hour later) that keep things alive.
The front-of-camera Mainland talent adopts a light, wry tone that keeps the film's idealised portrait of Beijing hutong and school life bearable — from Jerry CHANG 常铖 as the boy's hard-working father, through HU Jing 胡静 (The Love Clinic 愛情維修站 (2010)) as the perky dance teacher, to Olympic diver-turned-actor TIAN Liang 田亮 (The Fantastic Water Babes 出水芙蓉 (2010)) as the boy's secret coach. The Chinese title literally means Running Out One Day.
ContactSales: H&R Century Pictures, Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Theatrical release: China, 1 Jun 2012.
Presented by H&R Century Pictures (CN). Executive producers: Chen Yuan, Yan Xiaoming. Producers: Mu Xiaoyong, Li Yi.
Script: Li Yuan, Etienne Doux. Photography: Arthur Wong. Editing: Jacky Leung. Music: Tommy Wai. Production design: Eddy Wong. Art direction: Li Longyin. Costumes: Zhang Cheng. Sound: Zhao Nan, Lin Xuelin. Action: Louis Keung. Executive directors: Ricky Tong, Zhang Kaizhe.
Cast: Steven Miao (Li Xiaotian), Tian Liang (Big Eyes/Xing Feng), Jerry Chang (Li Feixiong, Xiaotian's father), Hu Jing (Liu Yidan, the dance teacher), Qu Shuangshuang (Cai, the schoolteacher), Wang Kexin (Luo Li, Xiaotian's taller schoolfriend), He Xiaoyu (Chen Yuanbo, Xiaotian's schoolfriend with glasses), Louis Fan (Du Wu, the Cantonese martial artist), Duan Junhao (Dai Sheng), Fu Hai (Old Cai), Kang Shengwen (Ma Xiao), Berg Ng (Ma Xiao's father), Qian Hong (Ma Xiao's mother), Gao Zheng (school head), Zou Yufei (birthday party girl), Bao Dazhi (bicycle repairer), Mikey He (night-runner judge), Mini Yang (night-runner Scorpio), Du Yize (night-runner King Arthur), Stephy Qi (night-runner Cindy), Xu Song (night-runner guest), Bai Liuxi (night-runner Spider), Ryan Zhu (night-runner Viking), Kinki Feng (broadcaster), Yue Xiaojun (taxi driver), Lai Xi (seller), Liu Xin (Ti Wa), Liu Yin, Lai Yuan, Weng Jing, Wu Baobao (dance students), Ji Li (uncle), Gong Cuiying (granny), Meng Shuxin, Wang Xingyuan (fat boys), Ji Kaile (Left Dharma), Niu Boyong (Right Dharma), Gao Min, Zhang Guozheng Yang Lin, Zhong Ling, Kui Yuanyuan, Yang Yang (Olympic champions).