I respect Wong Jing. He has given me memories that, for better or worse, I know I will carry with me FOREVER. Jet Li’s cock-fu in Last Hero in China. Chow Yun-fat threatening to “cut it off” in God of Gamblers. Jacky Cheung at the urinal in High Risk. The missing penis in Naked Killer. Actually, all of Naked Killer.
All that said, I have absolutely no respect for either the quality or the quantity of his work. Granted, the man has directed (and in many cases, written and produced) some seventy-five films, but for every God of Gamblers 3: The Early Years, there is a Raped by an Angel 4: The Raper’s Union. I calculate the odds of scoring a ‘good’ Wong Jing film at about seven to one, so Honesty never really stood a chance.
This film has almost nothing going for it. It does have Cecilia Cheung. Cecilia Cheung is pretty cool. I like Cecilia Cheung. There are a few funny character names (‘Lord of a Bitch’ Barry and his girlfriend Harry Powtit), but otherwise, THAT’S ABOUT IT. Honesty is a romantic comedy with a lousy romance and no comedy.
Am I disappointed? Well, yes, a bit. From the list of Wong Jing ‘moments’ above, it should be pretty clear what kind of humour he does best (although cock-fu probably isn’t what you think). To be blunt, the man truly is a master of the dick joke, and if nothing else this is what I look forward to from a Wong Jing film. Sadly, Honesty boasts but a single lousy testicle reference, the unique presence of which makes it quite precious (I wouldn’t spoil it for the world), but it’s a poor effort all the same.
Criticism aside, it isn’t as if Honesty is a cinematic manifestation of pure evil. However, it is a cinematic manifestation of pure failure. Almost. It does have Cecilia Cheung.