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Weeds on Fire (2016) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Liu Kai Chi (Actor) | Poon Chan Leung (Actor) | Sing Lam (Actor) | Tony Wu (Actor)
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Weeds on Fire (2016) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Shortlisted as a Recommended Film of 2016 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, the indie youth baseball drama Weeds on Fire is inspired by the little known real-life story of Hong Kong's first youth baseball team, the Shatin Martins. Set in 1984, writer-director Steve Chan's remarkable debut feature stars award-winning veteran Liu Kai Chi as Lo, an impassioned school principal who wants to reform wayward students through sports. Despite baseball being a relatively unknown sport not played by locals, he manages to secure funding for a youth team and fills it with kids from low-income families, including childhood friends Ah Lung (Sing Lam, High Noon) and Sai Wai (Hong Kong National Baseball Team member Tony Wu). Used to being the center of attention, the tough and brash Sai Wai naturally takes up the position of pitcher, but through the trials of training and competition, Lo recognizes that the quiet and team-oriented Lung is a better fit for the role. Baseball, girls and growing up change the dynamics of the boys' friendship, creating an increasing rift as personalities clash and paths diverge.
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Technical Information

Product Title: Weeds on Fire (2016) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) 點五步 (2016) (VCD) (香港版) 点五步 (2016) (VCD) (香港版) 點五步 (2016) (VCD) (香港版) Weeds on Fire (2016) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Liu Kai Chi (Actor) | Poon Chan Leung (Actor) | Sing Lam (Actor) | Tony Wu (Actor) | Hedwig Tam (Actor) 廖啟智 (Actor) | 潘燦良 (Actor) | 林 耀聲 (Actor) | 胡 子彤 (Actor) | 談 善言 (Actor) 廖启智 (Actor) | 潘灿良 (Actor) | 林 耀声 (Actor) | 胡 子彤 (Actor) | 谈 善言 (Actor) 廖啓智(リウ・カイチー) (Actor) | 潘燦良(パン・ツァンリョン) (Actor) | 林耀聲(ラム・イウシン) (Actor) | 胡子彤(トニー・ウー) (Actor) | 談善言(ヘドウィグ・タム) (Actor) 요 계지 (Actor) | Poon Chan Leung (Actor) | Sing Lam (Actor) | Tony Wu (Actor) | Hedwig Tam (Actor)
Director: Steve Chan 陳志發 陈志发 Steve Chan Steve Chan
Producer: Chan Hing Ka | O Sing Pui 陳 慶嘉 | 柯星沛 陈庆嘉 | 柯星沛 陳慶嘉 | O Sing Pui Chan Hing Ka | O Sing Pui
Writer: Huang Zhi Yang | Steve Chan 黃 智揚 | 陳志發 黄 智扬 | 陈志发 Huang Zhi Yang | Steve Chan Huang Zhi Yang | Steve Chan
Release Date: 2017-01-20
Language: Cantonese
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Disc Format(s): VCD
Duration: 95 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1057032685

Product Information

In 1984, 'Shatin Martins', Hong Kong's first youth baseball team, was formed. The 10 young players were living an uneasy and restless life as they were met with one defeat after another, and the fate of the Shatin Martins hung in the balance. However, the hardship only brought out theiur bravery to surmount themselves and overcome their struggles. Living in Hong Kong'[s golden era, these players ignited their glory with every game as they grew together with their city. Eventually, it all comes down to the final match facing their greatest rival yet....
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This film has received 2 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Weeds on Fire (2016) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

January 19, 2017

This professional review refers to Weeds on Fire (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
The debut feature of writer-director Chan Chi-Fat, Weeds on Fire chronicles the true story of Hong Kong's first youth baseball team, the Shatin Martins, who won a regional tournament at the end of their first year in existence. That true, inspirational story was massaged and even marginalized on its way to the big screen. Weeds on Fire features a fictionalized version of the team's journey as its framework, and uses its baseball storyline as a vessel for familiar themes like Hong Kong social problems, political issues and existential youth musings. It's 1984 and Lo Kwong-Fai (Liu Kai-Chi), a school principal in the Shatin district, pushes for the requisite funding for a little league baseball team – an unusual move because baseball was not (and still isn't) popular in Hong Kong. His students are from low-income families and far from the crème de la crème, but Lo passionately argues that joining a baseball team may help some of the kids get on the right track.

Despite the board not seeming to like Lo's plan, Superintendent Donald Tsang (the same one who later became Chief Executive, played here by stage actor Poon Chan-Leung) goes along and Lo soon puts together a motley crew of stereotypical teen boys. There's the class monitor, the big-talking blowhard, the China immigrant – the group is quickly and effectively sketched, but the story mainly deals with Lung (Lam Yiu-Sing) and Wai (Tony Wu). Friends since childhood, the pair are close but very different. Wai is the tough and charismatic alpha male while Lung is reticent and exists entirely in Wai's shadow. Much of Weeds on Fire's narrative has to do with Lung's growth, as the baseball team helps him to mature and embrace his own identity. However, crucial to Lung's change is accepting a larger role on the team from Principal Lo. Wai was previously the center of attention, but with Lung threatening to usurp that, a schism forms between the longtime friends.

Lung and Wai are the focus of the entire film, with the baseball scenes largely used as metaphor for their changing friendship. Broadly speaking, the film touches upon familiar themes of self-confidence, humility, identity and growth. These are tried-and-true subjects for a coming-of-age film, and the filmmakers meld everything together effectively. Chan Chi-Fat shows solid filmmaking chops, using parallel action, montage and voiceover to present his characters and situations in poignant and lyrical ways. The political themes are also successfully integrated. The film opens and closes in the present day at the 2013 Umbrella Revolution and not-so-subtly ties Lung's journey to Hong Kong's ongoing struggle for universal suffrage. The film's politics are not as striking or daring as anything done in Ten Years, but Weeds on Fire should be more appealing to general audiences. Chan Chi-Fat ties together the personal and political with a slew of common tropes – first love, delinquent youth, triad societies, teen pregnancy, infidelity, broken families – and finds effective emotion in many of them. It's actually amazing that it all works as well as it does.

Despite being relegated to supporting character status, Principal Lo remains an intriguing figure, and even shows some unexpected cunning. At the one point, Lo deceives Lung to help him escape Wai's shadow, and while he has good motives, one wonders if he isn’t behaving unethically for an educator. However, the film never takes the time to examine Lo's character, and settles on letting Liu Kai-Chi's fiery passion and integrity define him. Some of Liu's mannerisms are a bit too theatrical for a man in his position – e.g., at the first board meeting Lo acts like a strutting prima donna and still is able to secure funding for his baseball team – but the performance is a commanding one. Tony Wu shows surprising charisma as Wai, though he has to carry a lesser load than Lam Yiu-Sing, who works as an approachable blank slate for the audience to identify with. The character is basically an ugly duckling with few flaws, and arguably gains the most personality from his present-day voiceover, which is provided by Jan Lam.

It is a bit disconcerting that Principal Lo is shoved into the background of what should be his story and replaced by fictional characters acting out a lighter version of Made in Hong Kong. Shouldn't the story of Hong Kong's first baseball team be propped up by social and political themes and not the other way around? This is an issue without a right-or-wrong answer so let’s skip past it and proceed thusly: Looking at Weeds on Fire regardless of its accuracy, it's actually very easy to admire its style, lyricism and craft. Chan Chi-Fat takes a sports movie framework, applies it skillfully to an overstuffed examination of lower class life, and affectingly honors the hardscrabble spirit of the Hong Kong people. Weeds on Fire stylishly and successfully tells a uniquely Hong Kong story, and credit is due to its promising young director. Chan should absolutely expect a Best New Director nomination at the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards. He'll probably lose to Wong Chun (Mad World), but if Chan can squeak out a win it wouldn’t be an upset.

by Kozo -

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