Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 – a hit and a miss

Johnnie To’s latest movie Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 had a successful run at the box office, earning 42.1million RMB (US$6.88) on its opening day alone, making it the renowned director’s best opening day movie in his entire career. So far, the movie has earned more than 200 million RMB. However, box office success doesn’t always translate to a good movie, as much as poor performance at the box office doesn’t always mean that the movie sucks. Reviews for this movie had been mixed. While some were good, some were also bad. When the movie first debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year, it received lukewarm reviews from the international press. Somehow, the foreign press didn’t get Director To’s style of comedy. One reviewer said that the movie was too polished, too tame than the typical American rom-com. Some just couldn’t get pass the silliness of some scenes, especially the ones with Louis Koo showing his playboy character with his many women. On the other hand, some complimented the movie by saying that it has a lot of twists and turns at unexpected points. They likened it to a huge puzzle whose pieces just fell right into their proper places in the end. While the foreign press was divided with their opinions, their Asian counterpart seemed to be in awe of Director To’s genius. They enjoyed and reveled at the silliness of the film, its outrageousness and its ostentatiousness.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 is the very much awaited sequel of its predecessor. Part 1 ended with Zixin (Gao Yuan Yuan) choosing Qihong’s (Daniel Wu) hand in marriage. Part 2 picked up with Zixin and Qihong preparing for their wedding, while Shenran (Louis) was seen going back to his philandering ways. Enter Yang Yang (Miriam Yeung) as Shenran’s new love interest, and Paul (Vic Chou) as the man who unknowingly and unwillingly came in between the two of them.

Before I go on any further, for those who haven’t watched the movie yet but still planning to, I advise you to stop reading now as there are major spoilers up ahead.

I generally like the movie, but not so much as to make it as one of my top favorites. The movie for me was quite entertaining. I can just sit back and relax and enjoy it without having to think so much. Its a good clean comedy, crisp and light. My most favorite part was when Shenran’s many flight stewardess girlfriends all came to his workplace to greet him a happy birthday. That whole scene was so embarrassingly hilarious that I was laughing and cringing on my seat as everything unfolded right before my eyes. I have to say that Koo did a very good job in it. I can’t even help but smile right now as I vividly remember that scene.

I like how each scene in the movie smoothly transitioned into the next, how well each plot perfectly synced with one another. There were no gaps nor jumps nor moments that would make you go like “what just happened?”, although I said just that when the movie reached its finale. I was sort of expecting that ending but I wasn’t hoping for it to actually happen. I kind of guessed that Zixin would choose Shenran, but boy oh boy, was I so flabbergasted and crestfallen when she actually did. At that point, I understood the foreign press when they said that the movie was just so unrealistic and so farfetched. I mean I understand that true love exists, but come on, what kind of woman in her right mind would choose a hopeless playboy over a responsible and devoted man? Even during the movie’s promotional events, both the female leads said that they would rather choose the characters of both Daniel and Vic over that of Louis’. And why not? Shenran couldn’t even keep his pants zipped up in the presence of beautiful women. He would even have nosebleeds, even in front of his girlfriend, every time he would see well-endowed ladies. So why the heck did Zixin chose him in the end? I can’t help but think that maybe To created this second installment just to please the Shenran-Zixin shippers.

The most heartbreaking scene for me had to be that of Daniel’s Qihong in the end. You can actually see his face lighting up for a brief moment when he thought that Zixin would be choosing him. And then that look of sad defeat on his face when he finally realized that she’s leaving him for Shenran. Shame on you Director To! How can you be so sadistically cruel? Qihong was so heartbroken that he didn’t put up a fight anymore. He just walked away and grabbed a bottle of wine to drown away all his sorrows. One can conclude that Qihong might go back to his drinking habit.

However, there were two scenes at the end of the movie that generally made up for the disaster that was Zixin’s stupid decision in choosing Shenran over Qihong. I’m talking about the final scenes of Vic and Miriam. The first scene was the one where YangYang was shown with a badly broken spirit when she finally found out how Shenran had cheated on her. She wanted to beat him up to a pulp until all her energy was spent, and when she suddenly looked lost among the crowd, in came Paul serenading her with a love song (something about love being complicated), while presenting her with a ring. Of course, she had to turn him down. But that simple act from him seemed to be exactly what she needed in order to pull herself together again and leave the wedding venue with whatever small bit of dignity left in her. The second scene, the one that I love the most, was the one where Paul ran after YangYang as she left the place. That was also the final scene for the two of them. It was a scene inside an elevator, showing Paul kneeling down beside YangYang, as he gently put her shoes back on for her just as the elevator doors closed. That scene held so much meaning and possibility for the two of them. Paul, as always, was there for YangYang whenever she needed him. More or less, theirs seemed to be a happy ending. Unless To wanted to ruin that too if ever he decides on a third installment.

Overall, the actors and actresses did a very great job. Everyone acted naturally and none of them went overboard. Even their hilarious scenes were subtly executed. I can’t help but feel proud how my Vic has really improved so well with his acting. Gone was his cringeworthy acting from his Meteor Garden days. I like how natural his acting now, and no longer over the top, unlike when he was still much younger.

The movie was good enough for me. It was definitely a feel good movie. One doesn’t have to think much just to enjoy it. I can assure you that this one won’t pull an Interstellar on you. It offers a lot of the typical Hongkong style slapstick comedy, although it’s not that shallow as compared to the rest. Had it not been for Zixin’s bad decision in the end, the movie could have been far, far better for me.

Leaving you here with an MV featuring some highlights from the movie. The song is entitled I Love You.

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