All the Wrong Clues for the Right Solution ★★½

Cartoonish parody of film noir from Tsui Hark and Cinema City. It was Tsui's first hit after his dark and experimental first three films. George Lam plays a private eye who is the target for revenge of master criminal Ah Capone, played by Karl Maka, and his No. 1 Killer Popeye, played by Eric Tsang. Helping Lam stay alive is the police Chief Inspector, Teddy Robin (actor, director, rock star). While the villains ham it up (Tsang in particular does a credible Tasmanian Devil), Lam's calm focus almost keeps the film grounded. A scene where he and Robin reminisce on New Year's Eve about the old days over cold milk at a local bar is even kind of touching, until the world explodes into farcical chaos. Maybe my perception of Lam is colored by having seen him in a brilliant performance recently in a film he made the next year, Ann Hui's Boat People.

Watch for Cantopop pioneer Tang Kee-chan, who plays the elderly conman and also appears running a snack bar and ultimately leading the beach singalong finale in Happy Ghost II.

Somewhat surprisingly, the film was nominated for a bunch of Golden Horse awards, winning for Best Director, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.

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