Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
I usually don’t do many digital reviews (this is actually only the 2nd one we’ve done here at AV NIRVANA), but I have soft spot for Well Go USA’s Asian offerings and I had to take on the chance to review Sandra Ng’s directorial debut. The woman has been a legend in the Chinese comedy circle for quite some time, and she lined up quite the cast for this little horror comedy. Her life long acting friends Francis Ng and Alex Fong show up from Hong Kong, and she even pulled in a couple of high level Chinese comedians to star alongside her. I had really high hopes for Goldbuster, but unfortunately Sandra’s debut is a bit of a mixed bag. Her slapstick style humor is zany and generally hilarious, but the pacing is very awkward and herky jerky, leaving the audience feeling like they’re watching a series of vignettes rather than a whole movie.
With glimpses of Stephen Chow, Sam Raimi, and even John Landis, Sandra Ng crafts a wacky tale of melodrama, slapstick humor, and gory goodness. The plot is rather simple. 7 people live in 4 separate apartments in a dilapidated old apartment complex. Right now they’re the ONLY people left, as a real estate developer named Richie Xiu (Shen Ten) has pushed out all of the other tenants in order to buy the building and bulldoze it in order to build up a skyscraper (pretty standard motivation in films actually). The 4 different families include a pair of washed up gangsters, a widower and his son, an erotic cam girl, and a pair of drug making inventors who just want to be left alone. Since the developer has been hounding them for quite some time, the 7 people stay holed up in the old building, never coming out for anything so that they aren’t FORCED out.
The developer’s son Xu Tianyu (Yue Yunpeng) has enlisted the help of a couple of minions to drive the rest of the tenants out through fear, and these two doofuses had the bright idea of dressing up as a ghost to do so. The only problem is, the 7 remaining tenants just aren’t falling for their tricks (possibly spurred on by the reality that they aren’t PAYING to stay in the building, and would be better off there, ghosts and all). However, they decide to fight back by hiring Yiu Ling-Ling (Sandra Ng herself), a swindler posing as a ghost hunter, in order to drive out the evil spirits. Yiu does her normal smoke and mirrors trick to skim a few bucks off the residents, but soon becomes embroiled in a fight for their lives when they run into some TRULY undead monsters that force her to become leader of the group and lead them to safety.
It’s a bit of an awkward up and down roller coaster, with Sandra playing her normal slapstick persona, and the rest of the cast firing on all 4 cylinders trying to make it work. Many of the jokes DO stick, as I said, but there are so many failures as well that the movie is not nearly as even as it could be. Papi, Francis Ng, and Alex Fong are simply HILARIOUS, but it’s the pacing of the movie, and the missed jokes that keep it from being as funny and endearing as it should be.
Not Rated by the MPAA
Goldbuster is a film that I REALLY wanted to like more than I did, but the uneven nature of the film just kept me from really loving it. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the watch, but it is a flawed film by Sandra Ng, and one that shows she needs a little more work BEHIND the camera. Hopefully she’ll learn from the mistakes in Goldbuster and use her zany comedic talents to better use in the next adventure. Sadly the film is not getting a physical release (thus the nature of this digital review), but the film can be purchased at Amazon video and other digital retailers (as well as rented their as well). It’s not the greatest Chinese comedy ever made, but if you’re a fan of the wacky styling of Stephen Chow and Sandra Ng’s other works, then this would make a fun enough rental.
Starring: Sandra Kwan Yue Ng, Francis Ng, Yi Zhang
Directed by: Sandra Kwan Yue Ng
Written by: Muchun Cha, Yee-Hing Wong
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: Mandarin: Dolby Digital
Subtitles: Mandarin, English
Studio: Well Go USA
Runtime: 89 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 3rd, 2018