Here Comes The Money
Man In Love is a Taiwanese remake of the 2014 Korean film of the same name and it does absolutely nothing of note to expand on its predecessor. The movie does float a pleasant Lady and the Tramp vibe, but the movie’s sporadic jumping of genres and painfully overlong run-time stagnate the more emotionally charged moments late on.
In its simplest form, Man In Love is just that – it’s about a man falling in love. Our protagonist here is a low-life gangster by the name of A-Cheng. He works as a debt collector but quickly develops a soft spot for one his debtors. Or, more accurately, their daughter.
It’s love at first sight when he lays eyes on Hao Ting, and thus their romance begins.
As one may expect, this isn’t a straight forward pairing and the film certainly takes its time with building up trust and love between the two characters. There’s a lot of guarded emotions here, which sometimes makes it difficult to warm to Hao Ting. It doesn’t help that the pair fail to emanate a lot of chemistry together either. Compared to Tae-Il and Ho-Jung in the 2014 movie, this pairing doesn’t have the same spark.
The biggest problem with this film though is its tone. Man In Love feels tonally confused over whether it wants to play things as a lighthearted romcom or a tragic melodrama. One such example of this awkwardness comes during a crucial moment of Hao Ting and A Cheng confessing their feelings for one another.
With this scene, the pair are lying together. A Cheng discusses the nature of marriage and wants to honour Ha-Ting’s Father by getting married on their anniversary. As Hao Ting confesses her love… A Cheng farts. It’s such a weird and jarring segment that completely takes you out the moment and ruins what’s otherwise a really touching moment.
These little instances crop up throughout the movie and there are some scenes in here that meander on for far too long. This movie could very easily cut around 20 minutes of run-time out and be all the stronger for it. There’s a lot of bulk in the second act, and the time jump – while important – doubles down on the character exposition to fill us in on the blanks.
Ironically, it’s actually at this point where the film feels like its nearing its conclusion. Only, there’s 40 minutes of run-time left.
Don’t get me wrong, Man In Love does actually have some good moments. Much like the 2014 version, the final act packs one heck of an emotional punch. You’ll be hard-pressed not to feel the same raw emotion as our characters and these glimmers of brilliance are easily the best parts of the movie.
While Man In Love isn’t a bad film per-se, it’s not a particularly great one either. It doesn’t expand upon the 2014 movie of the same name and its pairing here feels like a weak imitation of the Korean version. There are some good emotional moments, but like its main protagonist, this one is a little rough around the edges.
Verdict - 6/10