Mack the Knife


AKA: Dr. Mack, Doctor Mack

Year of release: 1995

Genre: drama/comedy

Director: Lee Chi-Ngai

Producer: Lee Chi-Ngai

Writer: Lee Chi-Ngai

Cinematography: Bill Wong

Music: Eugene Pao

Editor: Henry Cheung

Stars: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Lau Ching-Wan, Andy Hui, Christy Chung, Alex To, Hilary Tsui, Eileen Tung, Law Kar-Ying, Gigi Leung, Richard Ng, Law Kar, Jordan Chan, Lawrence Ng, Jerry Lamb

Rated II for language

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In Mack the Knife (aka Dr. Mack), Tony Leung Chiu-Wai stars as a free-wheeling doctor working in the red-light district of Hong Kong. It's an affable performance that's enjoyable to watch, but the light and meandering nature of the story ultimately gives the character little room to move and grow, resulting in a movie that plays on a singular note for too long.

In a story based on a Japanese manga, Tony's character, Lau Mack, was a promising medical student until he took the fall for his friend's mistake and is expelled. After finishing his education in Africa, Mack returns to Hong Kong, where he assembles an odd group of friends while practicing medicine in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. After a local robbery goes wrong, Mack meets up with his old friend, Roger (Alex To), who is now jealous of Mack's reputation.

As you can tell from the above synopsis, there really isn't much to Mack the Knife in the story department. The movie seems to be attempting to be a slice of life picture, most pointedly by showcasing a few subplots, such as one about a cop (Lau Ching-Wan) falling in love with a prostitute (Eileen Tung). These side stories are decent enough, but get into schmaltzy melodrama at times, even to the point of the audience getting hit with the extremely tired and over-used plot device of a doctor falling for a cancer patient.

Despite its' problems, I don't want you readers out there to get the idea that I think Mack the Knife is a bad movie; it's just came off as a bit disappointing, at least to these eyes. Even with the somewhat limp execution and ending, writer/director/producer Lee Chi-Ngai still manages to make some characters that are interesting, resulting in a picture that's worth setting aside ninety minutes of your life to take a gander at.