This groundbreaking Chinese road comedy tells the story of how lead Xu Lang goes to Thailand seeking "everything", and ends up finding renewal through his encounter with the kind but bumbling Wang Bao. The addition of his business rival Gao Bo to the trip prompts a series of absurd struggles that makes it hard for us to know who to cheer for. This is a ridiculous story of completely unreasonable behavior that uses Thailand's natural beauty as a stark contrast to remind us that in our usually insane, absurd lives, we have to remember to stay optimistic, because that's how we find our way back to happiness.
Nobody thought China's light-hearted comedy 'Lost in Thailand' would break the record for highest-grossing film in China's history, but it did. More often than not, when somebody mentions that they want to show you a movie from China, you think you're getting into some sort of martial arts film or some creepy slow-moving horror movie. But that is certainly not the case with this little gem that has made over $200 million US Dollars in China.
Is this a perfect film? Certainly not. In fact, you've seen most of these story lines play out in some form or fashion over the years in American comedies, but one thing is for sure with 'Lost in Thailand', what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in heart and soul. Not to mention, it packs some genuine laughs throughout its 105 minute run-time. This film has a mix of elements that should entertain every crowd, as it passes from silly slapstick comedy to heartfelt drama with a bit of an 'Odd Couple' vibe. It also reminded me a little bit of 'The Hangover II', which was centered on a group of guys in the beautiful locales of Thailand getting into some pretty hairy adventures.You can say the same goes for this record breaking Chinese film.
We travel through the eyes of Xu Lang (Xu Zheng), an inventor of sorts for a big company that has perfected a new solution called Supergas, which when combined with any liquid, makes that liquid expand. That means, if Xu combines Supergas with a small amount of fuel, that fuel would grow and could possibly create enough energy to power a city for a while. Since Xu is all about business and spends most of his time at work, he has neglected his wife and kid, who are fed up with his absence and failure as a family man, and tell him they are on the brink of divorce.
In order for Xu's invention to pay off and go to the next step, he must track down Lao Zhou, the mysterious man who is the biggest shareholder of Xu's company in order to sign a few documents, readying the next stage of Supergas. Meanwhile, Xu's college friend and co-worker Gao Bo (Huang Bo) has other plans for Supergas,which include lining his own pockets with the French and destroying Xu Lang. Xu finds out that Lao is in Thailand, hanging his hat in a temple of sorts. Unfortunately for Xu, there are thousands of temples in Thailand, thus his adventure begins with Gao playing the cartoony villain who is always trying to throw him off the trail of Lao.
On the plane to Thailand, Xu meets Wang Bao (Wang Baoqiang), a sweet and quirky man who acts like he is a teenager, and is full of life. Mix the unorthodox lifestyle of Wang with the "by the book-all work no play" style of Xu, and you have yourself an "Odd Couple" destined for adventure and disaster in Thailand. One way or another, Wang and Xu end up pairing up and looking for Lao through a series of misadventures. Wang is only in Thailand to check off a list of crazy and insane things to do, which include a Thai Spa, defeating martial arts ninjas, planting a cactus with magical powers, and other ridiculous shenanigans.
The heart and soul comes from the characters. Whether it be the reason why a young man who owns a pancake restaurant wants to do these insane list of escapades or why a man has chosen his work over his loving family, we really come to fall in love with these characters and want them to succeed, even if some of the execution is cheesy or equivalent to other movies. The locations used in the movie reveal Thailand's beautiful landscapes as well as some of its seedy underbelly.
Overall, this is a very light-hearted and funny comedy, full of soul through the very end. And it's a nice treat to see China do something different for a change than the usual action-packed martial arts films or creepy horror movies. And it would seem that the good people of China agree that they want good comedies in their local theaters as well. 'Lost in Thailand' is worth seeing.
'Lost in Thailand' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I was hoping, since this was shot on location in Thailand, that the detail and colors would be sharp and vibrant. I'm happy to report that this video presentation is exactly that. The detail is very sharp and vivid with well-defined closeups of the actor's faces that show individual hairs, dirt, and pores.
The cactus that is carried around looks amazing, as you can distinguish each individual spike, giving it a bit of depth. The wider shots of the beautiful landscapes of Thailand look amazing here as well. The colors seem to pop right of-screen and are well saturated. The black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are very natural. Besides some minor motion blur, this picture is free of any banding or any other compression issues.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Mandarin audio mix with good english subtitles, and it sounds amazing. The dialogue is always crystal clear and is never drowned out by any sound effects or score, and is perfectly situated on the center channel. The sound effects are robust and loud with a silly and zany feel to them as the men travel through Thailand.
The ambient noises of the wild as well as the city noises all make appearances on the surrounds often. The heavier action sequences really kick things in to high gear with a bit of bass. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is wide. This audio track is free of any pops, cracks, or hissing, leaving this presentation with high marks.
Making Of (HD, 17 mins) - Here we have a fun extra that has some of the cast and crew discussing the making of the film, along with some on-set footage and clips from the movie.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 mins) - Trailer for the film.
'Lost in Thailand' is quite a fun film. Now that it's the most successful movie in China's history, studios have likely learned that they need to make more light-hearted comedies. Even though there are times when the film is a bit "to on the nose" and silly, the heart and soul of the movie grab you with emotion. Not to mention there are some solid laughs throughout. The video and audio presentation are both great here, but I wish there was more in the way of extras. Well Go USA should be proud of this release, because I'm going to recommend it.