Triumph in the Skies 2015 (衝上雲霄 2015)
Genre: Modern Romance
Length: 100 minutes/ 1 hour and 40 minutes
Producer: Tommy Leung
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Francis Ng as Sam Tong
Louis Koo as Branson Cheung
Chilam Cheung as Captain Cool
Sammi Cheng as TM Tam
Charmaine Sheh as Cassie Poon
Amber Kuo as Kika Sit
Elena Kong as Heather
Kenneth Ma as Roy
Oceane Zhu as Winnie
Dean Liu as Tony
What was supposed to be the highly anticipated film following two installments of the classic TVB series turned out to be another opportunity to milk the cash cow. I probably said that when they first announced that a movie sequel will be filmed, but after finishing the movie, the writers really paid no attention to references and connection of the series. There can be two reasons for this. One, they didn’t have enough to squeeze in too much reference from the originals because movies are two hours or less, normally. Second, a superstar cast can take the audience’s breath away and cover up the traces of a non-exisiting plot. That’s right, thought Captain Cool was hot? This time, you get Louis Koo as well.
Aside from the recurring characters played by Francis, Chilam, Elena, and Kenneth, the movie isn’t really a sequel to the originals. At this point, I’m wondering if it was even intended to be. There is a brief mention that Kenneth proposed to Elena, but Elena turned him down, stating that marriage life is lackluster and she has been there and done that before. Also, we see Francis acting as a senior next to Kenneth, telling him his flying perfectionist and safety procedures. The mentor relationship ended there. Other than that, the movie makes no more references to the Triumph series.
So if it’s not a sequel, what is it? A plot that brings together three main love stories. The firs one is about Louis coming back to Hong Kong and wanting to create a successful advertising campaign for Skylette Airlines and his father’s business. Louis who was forced to leave Charmaine years ago for his family business still has lingering feelings for her and the two reunites.
When it comes to flying, Louis and Francis are complete opposites. Louis does it for the thrill and fun while Francis, still being the never-evolving man in a hundred years, is more concerned with safety. In order to launch the ad campaign, Louis brought together a very serious Francis and crazy (possibly druggie even) Sammi, who plays a popular celebrity and rock star singer. Through their interactions, Francis becomes less stiff and more open to spontaneity. I have to give it to the writers for writing in the scene where Sammi teaches Francis how to dance. It was hilarious and easy to fall into rhythm: “Wall, then sit down. Wall, then sit down.”
Finally, Captain Cool rounds out the cast and is now flying private jets after leaving Skylette Airlines. He meets Kika, a young and vivacious girl and spends most of his scenes partying and sleeping with her until one morning, he discovers that she has been seriously ill. He realizes this is the reason for her rebellious nature and heavy partying habits and continues to support her through thick and thin.
The three romance-driven subplots weren’t lackluster by any chance, especially with such a star-studded cast. It’s always nice to see Charmaine again. Louis is always unintentionally hilarious. And I almost found myself crushing on Captain Cool again. Take away these stars and you’ll find yourself lost in three independent love stories that somehow landed in the same movie. Captain Cool had absolutely no interaction with the rest of the cast other than his co-star, Amber and Oceane. I know it’s because he left Skylette, but that shows how much the producers just had to throw his character in for the fan buzz. Too bad, I bought into it though — so that’s okay. Francis and Louis are friends and met up briefly in the beginning and were never seen together again.
The movie was met with much fan disappointment and I can understand why. You can tell that the producers are capitalizing on the popularity of the TV series — which makes sense from a business perspective. A well-rounded cast aside, there wasn’t any overarching theme or a real storyline about Skylette, flying, or how flying fits in with friends and love. The subplots revolving around the different love stories became the only main plot. Also, none of the subplots had novel writing so the writers is really to blame.
I’m really happy to see that Louis and Charmaine joined the cast even though it’s a completely random decision and one made to sell more ticket sales. Since neither one of them were in the TV series, you really have nothing to work with because they are brand new characters. You have to take what they give you in the movie. Also, take note that they have zero character development here. You really have to bust out your imagination and fill in all the happiness they supposedly shared that they don’t show you in the movie.
I thought Sammi was a miscast and didn’t really fit into the overall feel the series, but that’s just me. She really annoyed me when she spent more time being drugged than awake and speaking her lines in her earlier scenes. Fala had a rocker vibe in the TV version too and I didn’t have a problem with her. At least Francis was in both TV series so there’s a lot of background character for you to work with.
Amber’s youthfulness easily fits in the wheel of a Captain Cool girl. Amber is young, fresh, and not the typical Hong Kong face since she’s from Taiwan.
The movie has a top-notch cast that automatically sells it’s box office and the producers know it and I will fall for it again. Given that the movie is less than two hours, there isn’t much to lose unless your time is really that valuable. But if you really dislike a cliched and redundant love story, it’s something you’ll like to skip. Treat it as the producers one last attempt to feed the eager minds and hearts of a loyal group of Triumph viewers and this allows you to take a last glimpse of your favorite characters before they take off.