Sunday, 7 December 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1998: Sam Lee in The Longest Summer

Sam Lee did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Ga Suen in The Longest Summer.

The Longest Summer has a very interesting story at its core about a group of men from Hong Kong who were in the British Army who are left without a place when Hong Kong goes back to China. The story itself certainly has potential for a great film, but The Longest Summer is not quite that. It's good but it is somewhat disjointed never quite reaching the heights that seemed possible from its concept.

Sam Lee technically does not play one of the men, even though he hangs out with them, because he is the brother of their leader of sorts Ga Yin (Tony Ho). Suen is a bit of a hanger on with the other guys, but he ends up seeming like perhaps he has the most of connection outside of the army, which is not saying much, since he is involved with Hong Kong Triad. Suen is not really much of gangster, even if does do jobs for the local mafia, as he's a bit of fool who seems to more of like the flamboyant lifestyle more than whatever it actually involves. Lee's role in the film is basically as the other one from the other men who are all somewhat passive due to losing their livelihood. In this case Lee's performance is certainly stands out as he is easily the most energetic presence in the film which is fitting since Suen is more of looking for a good time while the other men are all a bit lost in it all.

Ga Suen could easily become an obnoxious character given his behavior that more often harms his brother and his fellow soldiers than helps them, and down the line of the film he does do some nasty things. Lee though is a rather charming performer, and like he also showed in Beast Cops from 98 there is something very endearing about the way Lee portrays the stupidity of youth. Lee does this by bringing so much earnestness in his portrayal of the enthusiasm of his character who is always ready to go head first in anything whether it's performing a hit for the Triad or attempting to help the soldiers commit a bank robbery. Although the other men might pick on him they do tolerate him and that is made convincing because Lee's just is so likable in the role. Lee peculiar charisma even softens the harder edged actions of his character.

Now a problem arrives when the film does not make the most of Lee's performance or the character of Ga Suen. The film at one point just kinda forgets about him it seems and there just is not any more Lee. I would have loved more scenes to develop his relationship with his brother even more as well as there attempts to set something up for the future. Unfortunately the film wastes most of the potential it has with the character and we aren't really given a satisfactory conclusion for the character. His story does not end it just kinda stops which is too bad. In terms of the limitations Lee does well, and his light touch actually explains Suen's willingness to do certain things by suggesting the impulsive nature of the character. It's an enjoyable performance and only I wish that the film had allowed Lee just to explore the character in even greater depth.


luke higham said...

RatedRStar: You've been vindicated.

luke higham said...

Louis: When Should we expect Murray's review.

RatedRStar said...

Phew lol =D thanks Louis im happy now, I cannot wait for the screen actors guilds and the golden globes I havent been excited for a long time lol.