Gino Cheung (Chan) is one of those people who will be reincarnated as a cockroach. He is a vile, selfish human who has no compassion for anyone. He terrorizes and humiliates his subordinates and denigrates his superiors. He can’t even be bothered to donate a few cents for flag sales (Saturday morning street corner charity drives).
Gino, however, won’t be reincarnated because, surprise, this is a Christian movie (from writer-director Adrian Kwan who also gifted Hong Kong with Sometimes, Miracles Do Happen [天使之城], The Miracle Box [天作之盒], and Team of Miracle [流浪漢世界盃]). And because this movie is predictably about redemption and second chances. Will Gino see the light and amend his ways? Will others forgive him for his many transgressions? Of course; the important questions for this movie are how and why.
The answers lie in one of the wackier plot devices you’ll come across but one that is unexpectedly used to good effect. He gets in a car accident that sends his hand flying through the windshield. When he recovers, he finds that it is possessed with supernatural abilities; when he touches someone else, he can hear their thoughts and experience their emotions. For the first time in a long while, Gino begins to feel empathy for others.
His change of heart is helped by a few encounters with his childhood friend, Gillian (…played by Gillian). She has fulfilled Gino’s wish of becoming a firefighter so that she can help others. Yes, that’s right. Gillian Chung is a firefighter, right up there with notable cinematic firemen Lau Ching-Wan and Alex Fong Chung-Sun. Besides her penchant for rescuing people, she also motivates him to reform by being the kindest, most compassionate person ever.
Alas, Gillian, both the character and the actress, is perfect to the point of dullness, though that matters little because she is mostly a conduit for Gino’s redemption. Chan’s portrayal is harder to tolerate. He spends a good half of his screen time in an epileptic fit, which the audience is supposed to take as some humorous Jim Carrey-esque homage. He is more effective when he tones down his antics, revealing an adult who doesn’t like what he’s become but who still struggles to be a gentler person. The non-denominational message rings clear as (church) bells in the end, and don’t feel guilty if you’re a bit more hopeful as the credits roll.
“This Time, Next Year” (明年今日) by Eason Chan
Prod: Benny Chan 陳木勝
Dir: Adrian Kwan 關信輝
Writer: Adrian Kwan 關信輝, Chit Ka-Kei 戚家基; Wai Mei 惠美
Cast: Eason Chan 陳奕迅; Gillian Chung 鍾欣桐; Candy Lo 盧巧音; Rain Li 李彩樺; Eric Kot 葛民輝; Hui Siu-Hung 許紹雄; Patrick Tang 鄧健泓; Lam Suet 林雪; Tats Lau 劉以達; Yoyo Yiu 姚詠雯; Bonnie Wong 黃文慧; Lawrence Chou 周俊偉; Willie Wai 韋家雄; Winston Yeh 葉景文; Ching Long 程朗
Time: 106 min
Country: Hong Kong