In 1964, a freak typhoon strands two people on an island near Hong Kong, and a lack of available lodgings puts them in an empty house together overnight. Yau-Shing (Tony Leung Ka Fai) is a married businessman whose wife isn't very passionate, and Wai-Sum (Anita Yuen) is a modern young woman two weeks from her wedding. One thing leads to another, and the two hapless travelers end up in bed together. The next morning, as Yau-Shing attempts to sneak out quietly, the first of many Three's Company-style scenarios sparks off a thirty year relationship that sees the two lovers returning to the same room the same time every year. Thankfully, we don't see every reunion, but skip ahead several years each time, leading us up to 1994, when I Will Wait For You! was made.
Directed by Clifton Ko (credited here as Chi-Sum Ko), I Will Wait For You! is a romantic comedy short on both aspects of its genre. It neither tugs at the heart or strikes the funny bone. Both Leung and Yuen are likable enough, but the monkey wrenches that get thrown into their ongoing affair year after year get more and more tedious. There is the time a robber does pratfalls all over the apartment without the couple noticing, or when Wai-Sum shows up pregnant and, of course, goes into labor. Once Yau-Shing slips on some turkey guts and ends up with his head inside the dead bird, the audience is made fully aware that they too are in the dirty bowels of a turkey of a movie.
As a result of all this nonsense, by the time the relationship reaches its climax, I wasn't rooting for the pair to finally make their love official because I cared about them; rather, I wanted their union to happen so the movie would finally end. I Will Wait For You! should be kept waiting, passing into old age on the video shelf, untouched.
Mei Ah has put as little effort as possible into the DVD of I Will Wait For You! The film is letterboxed, but in no way enhanced or restored. Judging by the burned-in dual subtitles--both Chinese and English appearing simultaneously, and neither can be removed--I would guess this disc was created from a pre-existing laser disc or video tape. There is schmutz all over the picture through the whole movie, and at times we see lines running down the screen, flickering, ghosting, and the picture moving up and down so that the subtitles disappear under the edge of the letter box.
Two Dolby audio tracks, one in Cantonese and one in Mandarin. The sound runs at an even keel from start to finish, but it's often pretty tinny, particularly when it comes to the cheeseball synthesizer score. The subtitles are also a mess, and though the meaning of all the statements can be figured out with little effort, the studio definitely could have used a writer with a bit more of a grasp on the English language.
Trailers for I Will Wait For You! and two other films and a text feature with cast and crew credits.
Definitely Skip It. Even if it wasn't such a poorly produced DVD, I Will Wait For You! is devoid of the requisite laughter and romance that would make it worth watching once, let alone multiple times.
Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with JoŽlle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent project is the comedy series Spell Checkers, again with Jones and artist Nicolas Hitori de. Follow Rich's blog at Confessions123.com.