Lucky Encounter (Ti Dao Bao)
Director – Johnny To, Producer – Raymond Wong
Tony Leung (Go), Kent Cheng (Meng), Siu Pak-Lam (Bobo), Anthony Wong (Cheap Chan), Sonja Au (Mona)
Two bumbling thieves are hired by crime kingpin Cheap Chan to steal a Garfield fluffy toy that contains a stash of money from a house. However, when they break into the house, they encounter the ghost of a young boy Bobo who was murdered by his uncle Cheap Chan. Bobo is unable to reincarnate until he has revenge on Cheap Chan and so the two thieves set about trying to help him.
This Hong Kong-made juvenile ghost comedy is light, insubstantial and almost too silly to be taken seriously. It has a wild and absurd plot that sprawls all over the place. Horrendous overacting is the call of the day – something that manages to go into overdrive whenever the compulsively sniggering villain played by Anthony Wong enters the scene.
Nevertheless, several of the comedy scenes manage to work in an agreeable way. Like the scenes in the police station with the two idiots trying to get a dreadfully po-faced sergeant to sneeze in order see the ghost child or the madcap climax with the quartet of heroes and heroines running about the maternity ward trying to find a woman about to give birth so that the ghost child can reincarnate. Although other scenes like the running about in the cellar with flying objects goes beyond silliness. The opening moments that show the young boy in the house and gradually reveal he is being ignored by his mother, and then having her see toys that apparently move of their own accord, is well done.
Lucky Encounter was one of the early films from Johnnie/Johnny To who subsequently gained a name for his directorial collaborations with Wai Ka Fai. Together they made a number of hits including the romantic comedy Love on a Diet (2001) and the gangster film Fulltime Killer (2001). The two have versatility in a variety of genres and have ventured into fantastic material on a number of occasions including:- Help!!! (2000), a black comedy set in a hospital that has some fantasy elements; Wu Yen (2001), a comedy about mischievous fairies; My Left Eye Can See Ghosts (2002), a comedy about a woman who starts to see ghosts after an accident; Running on Karma (2003) about a Buddhist monk with the ability to see people’s past lives; and Mad Detective (2007) about a detective who can see people’s inner personalities. On his own, Johnny To has had the hits of the gangster films Election (2005) and its sequel Election 2 (2006). His other solo genre efforts include Happy Ghost 3 (1986), the superheroine fantasy The Heroic Trio (1993) and its sequel The Heroic Trio II: Executioners (1993), the Heavenly slapstick comedy The Mad Monk (1993) and the ghost story Linger (2008).