Being stuck on planes for what feels like endless hours is an unfortunate necessity of travel, but often a great opportunity to catch up on movies you’ve either wanted to watch, or would never know about otherwise. The latter applies to the Chinese movie Detective Chinatown (2015), a fast-paced comedy-crime movie that entertained me for a couple of hours!
What’s it about?
After his mother notices his bad mood following a rejection from the police academy, Qin Feng (Liu Hao Ran) is sent to Bangkok to visit his distant relative Tang Ren (Wang Baoqiang), the s0-called “Greatest Detective of Chinatown”. However, it doesn’t take Qin long to realise that his cousin has been exaggerating his reputation back home, and only Tang’s promise to take him sight-seeing makes him stay. Just when the two are ready to set out, Tang gets a mysterious call; a man associated with a gold robbery has been murdered, and he is the prime suspect! On the run from the police, Qin persuades Tang that they must solve the case in order to clear his name… but this will be difficult with two gangs and two competing detectives after them!
First up, this movie is very funny and entertaining. But also stupid. Stupid-funny. You all know what I mean, right? It’s the kind of humour where you don’t have to think about any of the jokes. You can just sit back and laugh at the obvious cues. The movie made use of music quite a lot to set the light mood for the funny scenes, which was very successful. The build up of some scenes to reach a climatic ‘funny’ point were just handled very well; I laughed so much throughout this!
Secondly, I really liked Qin as one of the main characters. He has a very dry and stoic nature which really makes him stand out with all of the crazy shenanigans happening around him. Obviously very intelligent and down-to-earth, he’s get a bit of a dark streak, which makes his character quite interesting. Initially I didn’t really like Tang and wasn’t expecting too much from his character. However, he grew on me throughout the movie as he proved to be a very resilient character. He’s also a fast thinker on his feet, and has the street-smarts to complete Qin’s logical intelligence. The pair can get through a lot together!
Finally, for a movie that is first and foremost a comedy, the detective story within is actually pretty decent. The case the pair had to solve was not simple nor straightforward, and there were a lot of interesting twists and turns. I really liked how Qin and Tang acted out scenarios to solve the case, and how it all came together in the end. It definitely kept me interested the whole movie.
As I mentioned earlier, this movie uses a lot of ‘stupid-funny’ humour, which I know is not going to suit everyone. Once or twice it veered a little too far into stupid for me, but I still found it bearable. Some scenes were definitely funnier than others, but if you’re more the type for witty or intelligent humour, chances are you won’t enjoy this movie. At the same time, and quite common with Chinese comedies, a lot of acting is exaggerated or over-the-top. This will get on your nerves if you’re not used to it, but if you approach the movie expecting it, you’ll get through fine.
Anything else I should consider?
This movie contains a lot of adult themes. In fact, it was altered by the airline I was flying with, and so when I re-watched it with a friend I was surprised to find extra bits and pieces in scenes that hadn’t been there previously. Although there’s nothing I would consider too risque, there’s at least one scene that’s not suited for anyone under the age of sixteen.
Story: 7.5/10. A decent detective story and a lot of laughs!
Characters: 7/10. Qin and Tang work surprisingly well together as the two main leads, keeping the audience on-track in the fast pacing of the plot.
Detective Chinatown is a funny, easy watch than you can use to lift your mood or take up some time. As long as you don’t mind enjoying something a little on the silly side, you’ll find it very enjoyable. Overall, I give it a 7/10.