2 Young (HK - DVD)
Two teenagers from disparate social backgrounds find love together despite the anger of their respective families. Running away fr...
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I suspect that many fans of Asian cinema would put superstars like Andy Lau and Tony Leung at the head of their list for favourite actors, not least because of their prolific endeavours—providing us with some fantastic movies, from House of Flying Daggers and Hero to Infernal Affairs. Personally, there are two other names that I would put right up their besides them—their co-stars from the great Infernal Affairs films, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang. Each alone is enough reason to watch a movie (as was proved recently by Eric Tsang's Colour of the Loyalty) but put together the result must surely be compelling.
The young, geeky Ka Fu pines incessantly after a pretty schoolgirl called Nam, who he waits for after school every day, desperate to get her attention. Unfortunately she is from a prominent, rich family, her father a respected barrister who wants her to have only the best. Her private school upbringing eschews the likes of Ka Fu, instead pairing off the girls at a posh ball with select boys from a similarly 'important' social rung. Despite this, Nam does notice the attention of this young, innocent boy and soon falls for his persistence, finding herself victim to her first feelings of love. Brought together by their emotions, it is not long before their parents get involved and try to tear them apart—Ka Fu's working class dad wanting his son to stay clear of the upper-class and, similarly, Nam's parents insist that she is too good for the likes of Ka Fu. Despite the odds being against them, they try to forge a life together but are not fully aware of the consequences of their actions.
2 Young is a warm, fresh teen drama that stands out from many comparable Hollywood counterparts not only because of its sense of realism but also because of the superb performances provided by the cast. Jaycee Fong does a fantastic job as the young Ka Fu, as nerdy and geeky as the come, but just as quick to jump to the challenge when love calls for him to act. His desperate struggle to win and then keep his first love grounds this already engaging tale and there is some wonderful chemistry between him and the young female lead, Fiona Sit, who is similarly superb in such a tough role. Of course, the young talent on offer here are given the best backup they could hope for in the form of the aforementioned Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang. Wong plays it stiff upper lip as Nam's upper-class lawyer father and Tsang is given more room to emote as the working class counterpart. Their emotional altercations over the fates of their children are powerful and moving, drawing you into this desperate tale of forbidden love.
Although there have been many movies about teen angst and teen love, forbidden feelings and relationships that cross social boundaries, this quiet, quaint little Asian drama manages to be both warm and realistic, painting a familiar picture with some unusual twists to keep the story compelling. The casting is spot-on, with familiar older veterans adding some gravitas to the strength of the well-chosen young performers and the end result is a movie that rings true throughout and draws you in from start to finish. Despite a lack of action, guns, girls or kung fu, this small-scale movie is never less than entertaining thanks to a warm tale and a solid cast.
Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer, the video quality is not fantastic. There is fairly good detail throughout but there are also scenes with noticeable softness and light grain. Given the scale of this little family drama, the narrower scope is understandable and perfectly suitable but the transfer quality varies from pretty damn good to distinctly lacking in most regards. The palette is quite broad but not very deep, with some scenes looking slightly faded in terms of colour. The blacks, however, are fairly good, allowing for decent shadowing.
The primary audio track is a Dolby Digital 5.1 effort in the original Cantonese language. It has limited range considering its purported six-speaker design, with the dialogue ever clear from the frontal array but very little else to write home about—kind of what you would expect from a low-key drama like this. The score ranges from insipid HK ballad to more moving acoustic offerings, giving the rears a little more to do considering the lack of effects. There are also a couple of Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks—one in Cantonese and one dubbed in Mandarin, but neither are really worth your time. The subtitles are quite good considering some of the unintelligible ones I have come across recently, and are always understandable.
As is becoming an increasing trend amongst Asian releases these days, we get a whole second disc full of special features but none of them have English subtitles, making them all but worthless (at least for those of us who don't speak Cantonese). There are interviews, a making-of documentary with some interesting behind the scenes footage, several deleted scenes which would have been nice if you could understand them, and much more. I think that it is a great shame that the lack of subtitles makes this disc utterly pointless.
2 Young is a lovely little drama about young love and the serious consequences of your actions. With a solid cast of young newcomers and older veterans, it is nice to see them do something not involving guns—and do it well. The video presentation is perfectly acceptable, with a merely average audio representation and a wealth of extras that would have made this release a cut above were it not for their lack of subtitles. All in all, considering the price, this is still quite a worthy addition to the drama element of your Asian collection.
You can purchase this title for $13.49 from Yes Asia.
Review by Casimir Harlow
Not suitable for children
Release Date: 15th June 2005
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital 2.0 Cantonese, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Extras: Making of 2 Young, Promotional Footage, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Teaser Trailer, Photo Gallery, Director Biography and Filmography
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tung-Shing Yee
Cast: Jaycee Fong, Fiona Sit, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang
Length: 107 minutes
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