Review: Dry Wood, Fierce Fire (2003)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

This is a story set in a galaxy far, far away… just kidding but Dry Wood Fierce Fire does share certain similarities with the aforementioned epic. Thankfully just a small amount – there’s a love story arc in both.

In this case, it’s Alice, your typical small time journalist with chinese-herbalist and martial arts baggage (Miriam Yeung) pining for her editor Ryan (Louis Koo), the romantic comedy’s archetypal specimen of manhood. Tall, dark and handsome …with low blood pressure. (Those who have seen it will know what I mean!). She is the typical tomboy with all the good qualities that he just can’t comprehend, instead falling at first sight for Michelle (Flora Chan), the magazine’s publisher.

Romantic comedies are a tough genre, I think, and the ones that work are usually the ones that are just slightly off-centre with enough familiarity to be successful like Needing You. Dry Wood Fierce Fire’ pulse also beats along the kooky rhythm ala Needing You but at times dips into the ye olde romantic genre side. Still it’s a damn good effort, the hour and half just breezes by – I dare you not to enjoy this film. There were laughs a plenty at the cinema when I saw it.

Director Wilson Yip manages to squeeze as many gags as he can in the first hour. The jokes are even better because both actors are such willing participants at having the piss taken out of themselves. Even the second act, where the tender scenes come in it still has enough bizarre jokes and cameos (Cheung Tat Ming as Uncle Fly) to lift it up from being too drippy.

All of the performances are pretty solid. Miriam Yeung is another ‘singer turned actress’ Sammi Cheung-in-waiting but this performance isn’t her defining moment. At times I couldn’t quite tell if she was playing herself or Alice but she is sufficiently good-natured to make an impression. Louis Koo adds another tick to his romantic comedy role after La Brassiere and a special mention of the actors who played Alice’s parents – a real hoot.

In short – a merry fire!

7 glowing embers out of 10.
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