Monday, March 14, 2016

Get Outta Here – review

Director: Nick Leung Kwok-Ban

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

This one really did sneak in and is an oddity in many respects. A Hong Kong movie, with a Western vampire premise, it is best described as gentile. It is a comedy but that comedy is character based as much as anything else and though it does some things wrong it does a Hell of a lot right.

It is interesting to note that lead actor Alex Lam is the son of George Lam, who played a Western style vampire himself in the (not brilliant) Hong Kong romantic comedy A Bite of Love.

the uncovered grave
The film starts with a digger unearthing something that glows. Cut to the morning and we see an aerial shot of the dig site. There is a coffin, lid open and empty, and the body of the site caretaker. The caretaker looks to have been scratched quite badly and there seems to be a sliver of wood that the developer's employee (Louis Cheung) finds. He phones the developer, Mrs Hui (Michelle Lo Mik-Suet), who seems – through much of the film – concerned more with her video game but who, we discover, is absolutely ruthless.

Alex Lam as Joe
We see a bike ridden by Joe Tang (Alex Lam). His clothing seems a little out of time, possibly from an earlier century. He is knocked down by a bus, which drives off. He stands, physically unscathed, but the bike is un-ridable. Meanwhile the developers watch CCTV footage of him rising (the vampires in this show up on film and in mirrors). Near to Joe, a young woman named Apple (J. Arie) is arguing with her boyfriend (Siu Fei) by vid-call. To make a point she slashes her wrist with a broken bottle – the scent of blood draws Joe. As she runs off, without her bag, he follows exclaiming that she has left her luggage.

stealing bloody tissues
He follows her to a seat and as she sits and presses tissues to the wounds, he surreptitiously collects them as she throws them aside and puts them in his hat. Hat and tissues end up in a bin, at her hand – he retrieves the hat and considers the tissues but leaves them. He follows the thin trail of blood and she knows she is being followed and so gets a cab – the 100 yards on to her home. It is little surprise that he comes in then as she sees that her grandma (Anna Ng) is confronting a man from the developers. He intervenes and scares the developer off but is left out on the hallway.

Joe and Dickens
In the morning grandma sees smoke – it is Joe caught in sunlight – and ends up setting him on fire with an aerosol and lighter – this leads to him crashing into the shower whilst Apple is in there. He decides to take up residence with them and soon reveals his vampire nature when he is caught feeding on their chicken. After a bit of a confrontation with their English lodger Dickens (Gregory Charles Rivers) – Joe, incidentally is Oxford educated and suggests he is from England also – they fall into a pattern where they become an odd-ball surrogate family; he protecting them from the developers whilst they help him search for his manservant Ying.

angry face
The vampire lore is fairly simple, direct sunlight burns and a dead vampire turns to stone rubble. They do reflect in mirrors (as I mentioned), a bite will turn and Joe is sworn off human blood – he says he is a Buddhist. We get a confrontation between Joe, a Taoist and a Christian priest and their religious artefacts do not affect him (indeed he has a small Buddha figure). However a soaking with holy water does annoy him. I mentioned that a bite turns and the chicken does, indeed, become a vampire chicken.

Louis Cheung as Ying
I liked how this was put together. Alex Lam makes for an affable and genteel main character who seems eccentric and a little awkward and around this understated but solid performance the more jarring, loud comedy characters of the family orbit. The photography has the same soft, genteel feeling and the soundtrack extenuated this and really fit nicely. I felt Apple was drawn a little too annoying at times but the grandma and Dickens were pitched just right.

staked by flaming vampire chicken
All that said, I felt they lost their grip on the film in the final conflict. There was a graphic novel like cgi effect that jarred and the action didn’t ramp up in a satisfying way. This final battle between the vampires (a battle spoiled by the DVD box's blurb, incidentally) could have been done better. However it did have a staking (though more accurately it was a demolishing of a chest) by flaming vampire chicken – that is worth the entrance fee on its own.

This is, at its best, an eccentric walk through the night with an affable vampire character and comes out at 6 out of 10.

At the time of review there was no IMDb page.

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