Sunny Chan’s debut film, Men on the Dragon, is about four middle-aged men who work at a Hong Kong telecommunications company and signed up for a dragon boat race (basically an 18-man rowing competition), in order to woo a potential client. Since the company has been laying off workers by the dozen every month, the men feel as if they must participate. In addition to that stress, each also has their own domestic troubles at home — which they naturally work through with teamwork and exercise. One man’s wife and mother are always fighting, another’s wife is cheating on him, and a third (played by Francis Ng, who also produced) has a crush on his neighbor and is a kind of parent to her teenaged daughter, though the woman is still in love with the girl’s absent father. The youngest man on the team is unhappy because his girlfriend pressured him into giving up his athletic dreams (he played table tennis) for a soul-crushing regular job. All the men bond playfully, with humor and manly tears, and the whole thing is sprightly and pleasant, with a little bit of melancholy as well. Everybody learns a valuable lesson, with hugs all around.
Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival 2018 | Dispatch 1.