Men Suddenly in Black (2003) Review

"Men Suddenly in Black" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Men Suddenly in Black" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Pang Ho Cheung
Producer: Eric Tsang
Cast: Eric Tsang, Jordan Chan, Chapman To, Gu Zong Chao, Teresa Mo, Candy Lo, Marsha Yuen, Tiffany Lee, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Maria Cordero
Running Time: 99 min.

By Equinox21

I’ve seen a number of parodies of Hong Kong crime movies, comedic plays on the ol’ cops vs. triad genre, but none so well done and funny as Men Suddenly In Black. This movie plays out exactly like a triad/cop movie, only in the role of the triad gang are the husbands and in the role of the cops are the wives. But believe me when I say that it’s much funnier than it sounds.

When their wives go to Thailand for a day trip, Tin (Eric Tsang), Cheung (Jordan Chan), Chao (Chapman To) and Paul (Spirit Blue) decide to live it up for the day with sex, parties and well, more sex. They have an elaborate system in place (that’s worked for years) of putting aside a little cash every month so they won’t have to leave any trails by using their credit cards, they have an inconspicuous taxi for their use, they have enough condoms to last as long as any man would need for a day, and they have the memories of past fallen brothers (i.e., suckers who have gotten caught by their wives for being careless in the past and are now incarcerated in their own homes). When they realize they are being followed by their wives they know that they have only two choices; go home and give up the partying or risk it for a day of fun and fornication.

MSIB was one of the best Hong Kong movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s funny in so many ways. It keeps up, through the entire movie, the parody of the crime genre. We are even treated to a terrific “shoot-out” between the 4 friends and photographers that have come to snap shots of a brothel bust. However, instead of slow-motion shots of action stars diving with a pistol in each hand, here they have slow-motion shots of the stars diving with water hoses and cameras (making the sounds of gunshots) in their hands. It is pure fun and extremely funny. Every little nuance of these scenes plays out like a triad “brotherhood” movie.

The acting was superb, especially from the four friends, but even the supporting cast was terrific. I have to give Chapman To special recognition here for not playing his usual, annoying, slapstick character and instead playing just one of the guys. Eric Tsang was perfect as the “leader” of the friends, a caricature of a small time triad boss. But one of the best cast was Tony Leung Ka-Fai as Ninth Uncle, a man who was at the height of his success in pulling off these day parties when, a few years back, he heroically sacrificed himself for the rest of the group when the wives came home early. The scene where they go to see him in prison… er… his home was simply excellent.

Every fan of Hong Kong movies must see Men Suddenly In Black. It’s a terrific comedy. It’s a terrific parody. It’s wonderfully done in all respects. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Equinox21’s Rating: 10/10

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