Sunday, January 29, 2017

REVIEW: Justice, My Foot (live action movie)

Justice, My Foot is a Hong Kong action-comedy movie.

Review:

Sung Sai Kit is the best lawyer around, willing to take any case (as long as he’s offered plenty of money) and say anything he has to in order to win. His wife, Madam Sung, appreciates all the finery that Sung is able to buy for her, but she also superstitiously believes that Sung’s work is the reason why 12 of their 13 children have died. When their 13th child dies right after Sung’s most recent court win, Madam Sung decides she’s had enough - Sung will retire, even if she has to push him every step of the way. She even goes so far as to curse the child she’s carrying. If Sung breaks his promise and goes back to being a lawyer, then their son will be born without a penis. (They just assume it’ll be a son, since all 13 of their other children were.)

However, it’s Madam Sung herself who eventually convinces Sung to go back to work. She meets a pregnant woman whose husband died under suspicious circumstances, and she argues on the woman’s behalf after the woman gives birth and then tries to kill herself. Sung takes the job on, but the corruption he finds himself up against may be more than even he can handle.

Netflix thought I would love this, probably because I enjoyed Wing Chun, a comedy with a similar feel. Unfortunately, this was one of those times when Netflix was wrong. There were aspects of this movie that I enjoyed, but the humor generally didn’t work for me.

This was primarily a broad comedy with a bit of wire-fu mixed in. There were visual jokes (the portraits of Sung’s parents), gay jokes (two male officials were very clearly a couple, which was played entirely for laughs), fart jokes, and sexual jokes (a racy love letter read aloud in court, a boob joke, accidental drinking of breast milk, etc.). I was a bit stunned at the way the 13th son’s death was handled - lots of drama and fake-looking crying, and yet everyone seemed to be pretty much over it by the time Sung’s retirement ceremony happened. I eventually adjusted to the movie’s tone, which I realized reminded me a lot of stuff like Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but the child’s death happened fairly early on and was extremely jarring.

I didn’t like Sung very much. I wanted him to win because the widowed woman’s situation sucked, but I didn’t get the impression that he was defending her because he cared much about her, or even justice in general. This was the guy who argued that a man whose son was killed should be required to pay the medical bills of a man who hurt his pinky while killing the son.

I did like Sung and his wife as a couple, though. Not only were they openly affectionate, they made a good pair: they were both incredibly clever, and Sung had his education while his wife had her martial arts skills. The only thing I disliked, as far as their relationship went, was when Sung’s wife became extremely jealous of the woman with the murdered husband. Most of the time, though, they were a strong couple that worked well together and had faith in each other’s abilities.

All in all, this had a few good moments but wasn’t really worth watching. I did like Madam Sung, even though she (like everything else in the movie) was ridiculous. She battled people for her husband’s sake while 9 months pregnant (not physically possible, but still kind of fun to watch), refused to let him bow out of promises he made to her, tried to defend the widowed woman in court when her husband wouldn’t, even though she couldn’t really write, and generally let nothing stand in her way.

Oh, one more thing: I was pleasantly surprised at the way the penis curse turned out. I mean, I guessed what would happen the instant the curse was mentioned - it was pretty obvious. The thing that pleased me was Sung's reaction. I may not have liked the guy much, but at least his 14th child made him happy.

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