KEEP CALM AND BE A SUPERSTAR (2018) short review

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Tiezhu (Li Ronghao), a private detective, is recruited by the police to investigate action star Yuen Bao’s (Eason Chan) links to a Thai drug trafficker. But after he saves the actor from a set accident, the two become friends. Tiezhu is hired to work on The Time Traveler, the film Bao is shooting, and falls in love with his co-star Tong Tong (Li Yitong). Meanwhile, Bao’s manager Tai (Chan Kwok Kwan) is obviously up to no good. Vincent Kok’s Keep Calm and be a Superstar amuses faintly with its parody of Jackie Chan’s persona through the character of Yuen Bao – a self-absorbed, happy-go-lucky, martial arts star yearning for acting awards. A lampooning of the classic end-credits bloopers of Chan’s film is particularly funny. But this also gives the film a dated feel: this phase of Chan’s career has been over for a while – imagine a 2018 US comedy based on a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s action heyday. The film doesn’t become fresh either through its spoofing of Infernal Affairs (albeit worth a chuckle), and its references to Cold War, though less dated, are also less inspired. The rest is very wild mugging by Eason Chan (one scene where he over-emotes in the way Jackie Chan often did a while ago is admittedly quite funny), overshadowing Li Ronghao at every turn, a dash of passable action choreographed by Sammo Hung’s third son Jimmy Hung, and some reliable supporting turns by the great Hui Shiu Hung (always the most welcome of sights in any film) and the underrated Chan Kwok Kwan, who seems primed for a career revival soon. **