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'Lost in Hong Kong' finds its way to be a major crowd pleaser

'Lost in Hong Kong' finds its way to be a major crowd pleaser
A scene from "Lost in Hong Kong." (Beijing Enlight Pictures)

"Lost in Hong Kong" follows 2010's "Lost on Journey" and 2012's "Lost in Thailand," one of the all-time top-grossing blockbusters in its native China. Connected to its predecessors only thematically, the new film has director-star Xu Zheng embarking on yet another action-packed misadventure. Only this time, Xu's character must babysit an exasperating man-child — a Looney Tunes character personified —played by Bao Bei'er instead of Wang Baoqiang from the previous installments.

Xu plays Xu Lai, a henpecked brassiere designer who's barely putting up with the overbearing clan of wife Cai Bo (Vicki Zhao) on family vacation in Hong Kong. His ulterior motive is to reunite with the one that got away: college sweetheart Yang Yi (Du Juan), an accomplished artist who is set to open a solo show in Hong Kong. Problem is, Xu's aspiring documentarian brother-in-law, Cai Lala (Bao), insists on tagging along everywhere he goes to record his every move.

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Whereas "Lost in Thailand" felt like a homage to Stephen Chow's brand of slapstick, "Lost in Hong Kong" looks to be an all-encompassing love letter to Hong Kong filmmaking. It's chock-full of movie references and in-jokes, lovingly paying tribute to the influential but ailing industry. It does justice to the nutty stunt work, while its soundtrack consists of greatest hits from Hong Kong cinema's 1980s and 1990s heyday.

This rollicking crowd-pleaser might just be smart and substantive enough to be one of the year's best.

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'Lost in Hong Kong'

No MPAA rating

Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Playing: AMC Atlantic Times Square 14, Monterey Park; AMC Puente Hills 20, city of Industry

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