New films with good actors and awful stories seems to be the trend in Chinese cinema, and the new Hong Kong film Lost in Wrestling is no exception. Although the June 5 release is the only Chinese film to feature wrestling in recent memory, it bombed in spite of a star-studded cast.
Young Mongolian wrestler Naren receives an invitation to wrestle in Japan, but before she leaves she is charged with looking after her cousin Chinasi, who has been away from family for more than a decade.
Naren arrives in Japan. During the wrestling conference, she meets Machiko, a Japanese wrestler who was abandoned by her husband, and Yueyue, a Hong Kong girl who ran away from home.
The host of the wrestling conference is an arrogant man called Boshi who wears a clown mask in public. Boshi succeeds in convincing Naren and the other two girls to join a wrestling competition with the three strongest women.
Even while facing fierce competition, Naren continues to look for Jinyue’s grandson Chinasi and learns he changed his name into Ruonan.
Surprisingly, Ruonan refuses to go back to his hometown to see his grandmother. More surprisingly, Naren learns that the warm-hearted Ruonan and the host Boshi are one and the same.
Naren finally succeeds in convincing her childhood friend to return home and keep the Mongolian tradition of wrestling alive.
The film stars William Chan as Chinasi and Ruonan, Siqin Gaowa as Jinyue and Li Feier as Yueyue.
Siqin Gaowa is an actress who is originally from Inner Mongolia. She found fame after playing the head of the Bai family in Dazhaimen, a popular TV drama about Beijing’s biggest medical family. Her role as Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang on Kangxi Dynasty left a deep impression on Chinese viewers.
In Lost in Wrestling, Siqin Gaowa plays a Mongolian woman who is much closer to her role in real life.
William Chan may be the biggest selling point of this film according to most reviewers – especially the females.
Actress Li Feier is well know for her relationship with Huang Xiaoming, who fell in love with Angelababy after their breakup. However, Li’s mudwrestling scenes in the film helped her shake off a public perception of her as a “loser in love.”
But hot actors and actresses couldn’t counterbalance all the problems with this film. Obvious plot points, unsurprising twists and bad editing left many viewers confused. Some say that the film tries to imitate the avant-garde editing of Lost in Translation, but fails.
A movie ticket will buy you some beautiful panoramas of the Mongolian grassland. If you go expecting more than that, you might leave feeling disappointed.