In The Lap Of God (1991)

Directed by: Lo Gin
Written by: Lo Gin, Wellington Fung & Edward Leung
Producers: Wellington Fung & Richard Cheung
Starring: Roy Cheung, Irene Wan, Jeffrey Lam & Francis Ng

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May (Irene Wan) needs to go to Burma to bail out her boyfriend Alex (Francis Ng) out of prison. Not knowing where to obtain the money, unbeknownst to her two pickpockets have slipped a few diamonds into her purse. Diamonds belonging to a gangster (Jeffrey Lam) and cop Roy (Roy Cheung), who's in the grip of this gangster, is ordered to retrieve them. Thus starting an adventure with bickering, flirtation and action amidst a rebel uprising in Burma...

Not that it's about earning a spot on this very review site because in actuality, what filmmaker in his or her right mind would strive for that but after being impressed with Lo Gin's worked in the vicious Fatal Love, any part of that filmography now deserves to be examined more thoroughly. Going back 1991's In The Lap Of God, it's not a bad thing be influenced by fun 80s works from Hollywood such as Romancing The Stone and The Jewel Of The Nile but you have to live up to the level as well. Lo Gin's work is partially successful in that regard and certainly not a time waster but has trouble climbing fully over the high level of acceptance.

It's about journeys in a not so deep manner but initially Lo Gin is at the end of the story when deciding to look back on the growth that occurred. No bickering anymore, just comfort between May and Roy but it wasn't always like that. Cut to a less innocent time. Attempting a fast paced chase movie with little to no chance for the audience to breathe, we do actually breathe and it has to do with the movie finding it tough to engage thrust. Of course in need to setup that May would rather have defense (and offense) in her arsenal against men, she even has a contact that develops protective weapons for women. Ballbusters, sprays... that kind of thing. It's kind of assuring to put May into this side plot because rarely is she the ditsy, helpless leading lady. She adapts well and has a fair amount of attitude. Enter Roy Cheung who's thankfully allowed for one movie to be funny, charming and while light may not be his forte, it's nonetheless gratifying to see Roy getting and taking a chance. Taking a good 30 minutes to let us witness the duo chasing each other, being chased through Hong Kong and into Burma before revealing any kind of chemistry, what's fun about the May/Roy banter is that it's often very crude and naughty that means we have no problem figuring out what Roy is talking about when uttering a word like "wet". It's not with thorough disgust May rejects him either and when this chemistry is heightened a little, director Lo Gin opens up his movie action-wise even more.

It's mostly a jungle adventure with the fire- and vehicular power you would expect in between the leading duo slowly falling for each other (and therefore a triangle drama is forming). Sort of shallow but very escapist the bigger the stunts and mayhem become, no member out of any cast or crew push their skills to the limit but In The Lap Of God takes its particular matinee adventure challenge within Hong Kong cinema and runs away with a fair charmer that manages to reach that because of the presences of Irene Wan and a bit more Mr. Nice Guy Roy Cheung.

The DVD (Mei Ah):

Video: 1.69:1 non-anamorphic widescreen.

Audio: Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0, Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1.

Subtitles: English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese.

Extras: Mei Ah's Databank (containing the plot synopsis and a sparse cast & crew listing) and trailer for the Kevin Bacon horror film Stir Of Echoes.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson