My Young Auntie Review

The film

Liu Chia Liang's contribution to action films is immense. His work as an action choreographer with Chang Cheh produced some of the finest action of the early seventies and his own films with Gordon Liu are martial arts classics. He directed possibly the best film of Jackie Chan's career in the second of the Drunken Master series, and he was even responsible for the best duelling chainsaws scene you'll ever see in Tiger on the Beat. On the flip side, he has made some stinkers like Drunken Master III, and I have to report that despite some good action scenes My Young Auntie is far from classic material.

The story set up is unbelievably circuitous but I'll try to explain. Cheng Tai-nan is the young ward of a rich elderly man who faced with his likely death decides to marry her so that she will inherit rather than his evil gangster brother. He charges her with travelling to find his nephew, played by the director, to bestow his worldly goods on him. The evil uncle won't give up and sends his henchmen after the curiously youthful Auntie and she will have to fight them off along with her nephew's westernised son. Inter generational comedy ensues and family quarrels give way to some butt kicking.

In my jaundiced opinion, there are two types of comedy: funny and not funny. Unfortunately, during My Young Auntie my ribs were safe from tickling and my sides were in no danger of splitting. This is often the case with foreign humour when the viewer doesn't know the culture or the references and I do make some allowance for that. The humour itself centres on the set up of having an auntie who is much younger than her nephew and the same age as his teenage son. She is also a country bumpkin dazzled by the modern ways of the big city. This leads to comedy sequences where the great nephew exposes his great aunt's untutored ways and humiliates her in front of his cool friends. It was this element of the humour that failed to work for me as scenes like the ball room sequence can be admired for their choreography but they become rather cruel because the great nephew is an insufferable idiot and a snob whose richly deserved downfall never arrives.