Destination 9th Heaven
Reviewed by Toh Hai Leong
Director: Wong Chun Man
Cast: Tony Leung Kar-fai, Pan Hong, Gigi Lai, Christine Ng, Sunny Chan, Lau Ying Hung
Country: Hong Kong
Year Released: 1997
Destination 9th Heaven stars Tony Leung Kar-fai (The Lover), Winston Chao (Eat Drink Man Woman) together with the Mainland Chinese veteran actress Pan Hong. Produced by the shrewd veteran actor-producer Raymond Wong, the film is a tale of love and business rivalry set in Hongkong and Tianjin (Tientsin).
9th Heaven is set in the highly competitive urban jungle in which business protagonists and rocket physicists play out their game of intrigue and survival.
In 9th Heaven Winston Chao, usually typecast as an unhappily married businessman, plays a scrupulously patriotic Chin Ching who has his mind fixed on launching into orbit the Hong Kong Star Satellite. Seven years ago, Chin had a failed love affair with a younger businesswoman, Joey (Christine Ng); she is now back in his life but is wooed by Chan Hing (Sunny Chan), the business partner of her unscrupulous brother Jovan. In order to get her money for their shady business deals,.Jovan hatches a scheme for Chan to seduce and marry his "spinster" sister to realize their ambition. A subplot involves Chin's daughter, Mona (Gigi Lai) who falls for a rocket researcher Chiang San (Tony Leung) whom she had earlier rebuffed., despite knowing that he is dedicated to his wife Hai Yen (Pan Hong, one of China's top actresses).
This dual ménage B trois is a little too much to handle and in shifting between the two love triangles (with the obvious bow to China's progress in rocket technology), the film wavers. Fortunately, with Tony Leung's pared-down acting and Pan Hong's dignified portrayal of the tolerant and understanding wife, the film maintains some measure of quality.