Sausalito (2000) / Romance
aka Yi jian zhong qing

MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG-13 for sensuality and language
Running Time: 98 min.

Cast: Maggie Cheung, Leon Lai, Scott Leung, Saisie M. Jang, Richard Ng
Director: Andrew Lau
Screenplay: Thirteen Chan

Sometimes, after I finish watching a film, I wish I could take it into an editing room and make my own personal cut, shortening scenes here and there, even removing some altogether, making a sagging film tight like it should, even if to just suit my personal taste.  Sausalito is one of those kinds of movies.  It's the kind of romantic serio-comedy that injects just a few too many contrived and ill-advised scenes into what could otherwise have been a good film.

Maggie Cheung (Ashes of Time, The Heroic Trio) stars as Ellen, a divorced mother who works all day as a taxi driver supporting herself and her ten year old boy.  She has a one-night-stand with a younger hotshot womanizing computer programmer named Mike (Lai, City Hunter) which soon develops into something more serious.  However, Mike begins having problems getting his ideas for his business off the ground and it begins to effect his ability to work, and eventually his relationship with Ellen.

Sausalito is directed by Andrew Lau (Dance of a Dream, Infernal Affairs), who infuses hit-and-miss style into a very bland and oft-done narrative.  The best thing about Sausalito is the cast of actors, with an especially strong portrayal by Maggie Cheung as the vulnerable divorcee.  Good use of locales in San Francisco, some rather tepid pop tunes that somehow seem to work here, and a likeable supporting cast keeps an amiable tone throughout. 

However, the hackneyed story and cornball delivery make for some laughable scenes where there should be no laughs, and deflate the momentum every time the film begins to hit its stride.  Sausalito might have its moments, and as a departure from the usual action flicks in the Hong Kong movie staple it is a welcome departure, but there's little conviction in the story to suggest it wasn't made by amateurs.

Qwipster's rating:

2001 Vince Leo