AV (2005-HK)
review by Neo

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Yet another good Edmond Pang's flick!
Of all the young generation directors, there is only one that comes to Neo’s mind in terms of wittiness and consistently entertaining – Edmond Pang. Ever since his directorial debut in You Shoot I Shoot, to Men Suddenly in Black to last’s year Beyond Our Ken, Pang has not put a single foot wrong at all. His films are parody, social commentary, commercial, and most of all a sense of wit. This is exactly what AV does. You are probably thinking a Jap AV. But no, Pang didn’t direct an AV movie, but rather a movie that shows the motivation behind making an AV and the process of making one. Sure, the premises is strikingly similar to Pang’s first movie – You Shoot I Shoot, but only this one is more realistic and relevant as it due with 20 years old University students who realized their dream of making an AV.

The movie goes like this: To fulfull their desires to get close to Japanese porno-movie girls, four university students people decide to apply for government's subsidy to make their own "AV" movie. Their project attracts many youngsters to fight for being the actor of the film. When they are getting more and more excited on the project, one of them have fallen in love with the AV girl...

However, the movie does extremely well in casting the 4 young leads. The movie created a very persuasive mood initial and excites the audience the prospect of seeing an AV in the making, but Pang intentionally or unintentionally did something in a very witty way. The process initial arouse much excitement but as it continues, and when the actually making of it, it doesn’t really feel like a dream anymore. Sure, making an AV is probably most University students dream of doing, but dreaming is one thing, and the actually process of making or realizing a dream is another thing. Perhaps, dreaming would have been better as it seems unreachable, but when you actually do it, it might actually not be what you dream of everyday.

It is a relevant movie as Pang links contemporary issues of youngsters nowadays not using their time in a manner that is useful to society and the lack of motivation behind University students to achieve their goals. Problems such as laziness, not willing to find work, no motivation to look towards their goals and ambitions in life. But Pang questions and parodies the premise in a smart and competent way. Showing that youngsters nowadays are no different to the generation before, after all we are all human… It is not that the youngsters are useless and they can’t achieve or do anything, but if something lack interests and is not fun, they just don’t want to touch it. Pang shows that they can organize a fraud AV and shows all the skill of running an enterprise, that clearly they are capable. Just as Lawrence later realize the importance of schooling…

Didn’t you think that what you learn at school is totally useless and inapplicable in society? That was my thinking a few years ago, then I realize how important schooling was, teaching you the most important aspect of life – learning and adapting and most important of all – respect and morals. Sure, there is plenty of nudity and parodies of AVs, this movie is not simply about making an AV, but rather raising the issues of youth, that young people simply do things in a more carefree type of manner, not wanting to know of the consequences of their actions. While, some decisions we make, we might regret it, it is all part of the learning process of a young adult. After all, the best way of learning is from experience and mistakes that we commit, and as we all should know – no one is damn perfect anyway, therefore it is important and vital to give freedom to youngsters to think and question the world and do things that they do not normally do, as more often than not – it is actually a benefit to the society either now or in the future. Nonetheless, in terms of acting, Lawrence Chou shines from the pack and display enough talent for a chance to lead some bigger film in the future.

While this isn't Pang's best work, but it still stands well with his other movies, and is probably alongside Derek Yee, the two most consistent directors in recent years. AV is a movie that is very much Edmond Pang’s style and his witty and twists near the end leaves us thinking once again, about the issue of appearance vs reality, sure the ending might not be as witty as Beyond Our Ken, the movie was surely a worthy ride. The movie as a whole is extremely appealing to young adults to watch, as Pang knows his audience well and actually understands the interests of this target audience. What Pang ultimately wants to say to all those seemingly “lost” youngsters out there is not asking you to make an AV movie, but rather have believe in yourself, that nothing in this world is impossible. AV is probably alongside 2 Young and Crazy N the City as the territory's best so far this year, despite being Pang's lesser work. Perhaps the cliché seems cheesy yet right – when there is a will there will always be a way. Whether this is true or not is entirely another matter, as AV is truly an engaging yet real and witty fun movie to watch. Edmond Pang go and direct an AV movie, actually I mean next one please...

I rate it 9/10

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Genre: Dramedy
Director: Edmond Pang
Cast: Wong Yau-Nam, Laurence Chou Jun-Wai, Derek Tsang Kwok-Cheung, Tsui Tin-Yau, Jeffrey Chow Jun-Fai, Manami Amamiya
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), June 2005