The Days of Being Dumb (亞飛與亞基)

days of being dumb

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Jacky Cheung prove their acting mettle by playing the lousiest gangsters ever in the comedy The Days of Being Dumb – not at all to be confused with Wong Kar-Wai’s Very Serious Drama The Days of Being Wild, which also featured both actors. In a massive gang fight, childhood buds Fred (Leung) and Keith (Cheung) are the ones who end up defending themselves with a steak knife and a can opener. Besides the fact that they talk a bigger game than they play, they also have the lousy habit of accidentally getting their their bosses killed. It’s not long before word gets around that these guys are poison, and no one wants to take them under.

Their never-say-die attitude doesn’t stop this pair from trying, however. “There are more triad gangs than cinemas,” Fred reasons. Eventually, Gold-Teeth Shing (Billy Ching) sets them up with a legitimate business, which seems the safest option for Hong Kong’s gangland. They think they are running a modeling company but soon discover that they’re just overseeing a pipeline of prostitutes. Lesbian Jane (Anita Yuen, in an award winning role) is their first, and only, charge and later becomes victim to Hong Kong’s tendency to gay away onscreen homosexuality when she begins to develop feelings for Fred.

Thankfully Boss Kwan (Ken Tong) rescues them from the lurid business and initiates them into his gang. Facing trouble from the authorities as well as the underworld, he takes this gutsy step in an attempt to defy fate and prove that he fears no one if he does not fear death. Kwan dangles his milk-drinking gangsters around like a good luck charm, and it seems the boys have finally found their place in life – until they go and screw things up again.

The hilarious script is rubber stamped with trademark Hong Kong inanity and offers a countermeasure to the puffed up triads who usually grace the screens. Fred and Keith – the most innocuous names for a pair of gangsters – mimic the bluster of their cinematic counterparts with amusing results. Their efforts work especially well thanks to Leung and Cheung, who give their picaresque heroes a tender and affable quality. The characters aren’t stand-up citizens, but they have a conscience and a strong sense of friendship behind their juvenile eagerness to be a part of something greater.

“Crushing on You” (暗戀你) by Jacky Cheung:

Released: 1992
Prod: Peter Chan 陳可辛
Dir: Blacky Ko 柯受良
Writer: Joe Ma 馬偉豪; James Yuen 阮世生; Cheung Chi-Sing 張志成
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai 梁朝偉; Jacky Cheung 張學友; Kent Tong 湯鎮業; Eric Tsang 曾志偉; Anita Yuen 袁詠儀; Luk Kim-Ming 陸劍明; Chan Chi-Fai 陳志輝; Billy Ching 程守一
Time: 92 min
Lang: Cantonese, some English
Country: Hong Kong
Reviewed: 2014