It wasn't too long ago that Sammi Cheng was the queen of the Hong Kong box office. Although her career started with her appearance in the popular Fell 100% in 1996, it was Johnny To's Needing You in 2000 that propelled her to super-stardom, making no less than twelve films in four years (the best being the six she made with Johnny To: Needing You, Wu Yen, Love on a Diet, My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, Love for All Seasons, and Yesterday Once More.) Cheng has an uncanny gift for comedy, but is equally suited for the light romantic comedies that began stacking up in her resume.
That all came to a halt when Stanley Kwan (Rouge, Center Stage) sought out Cheng for his period arthouse drama Everlasting Regret portraying a privileged women ravaged by the social and political turmoil of the Shanghai in the last half of the 20th century. Kudos to Cheng for accepting the challenge where she would be asked to clearly act outside of her normal range and her performance would have to carry the entire movie. Cheng completely transformed herself and gave a performance of a lifetime. Everlasting Regret, which came out in 2005, is a beautiful film, but it fell short of people's expectations as a whole. And without reading too much into the tabloid headlines, the entire experience devastated Cheng, who retreated from the public eye for 2 years before returning to her music career in 2007.
Thankfully, Sammi Cheng will also make her return to the screen this fall with a new film by Alan Mak (Andrew Lau's directing partner) and Felix Cheong entitled Lady Cop & Papa Crook. She stars alongside Eason Chan and plays, well, she plays Lady Cop. Let's face it, the nuances of the plot really aren't that important, but all signs point toward Lady Cop & Papa Crook marking Cheng's return to her very entertaining shoes in HK film. I think the trailer looks awesome! Welcome back Sammi!
Lady Cop & Papa Crook has seen a couple of delays, but is set to open in Hong Kong on October 23rd.
Look for a review on Love HK Film shortly after.