The Great Lion Kun Seng Keng – the tale of the Lion Dance Legends

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Malaysia, 29 May 2014 – Inspired by the true story of world famous Kun Seng Keng (KSK) Lion and Dragon Dance Association, The Great Lion Kun Seng Keng tells the tale of a young boy and his dream to become the best lion dancer in the world. The film also talks about the value of teamwork, friendship and love with rising stars Alan Kuo, Thomas Kok and Henley Hii headlining the movie. It is also local director, Matt Lai’s first directional debut.

The movie starts out with a scene resembling that of a Yeo’s Chinese New Year commercial, showing Kun Seng Keng lion dance team in action, then goes all the way back to the childhood of the main character, Chong Kok Fu (Alan Kuo) and shows how he was introduced to his future lion dance partner, Si Tian Yong (Thomas Kok).

Then fast forward to 2008. The duo grew up and turned out to be close friends, but they did not share the same chemistry when performing on the platforms together. Things became worse after they were selected to represent the team at a world ­lion dance competition. They were also challenged by their rival group led by Henley Hii’s character to a ‘lion dance-off’ soon after. With the pressure to perform, relationship problems and childhood traumas growing on him, Chong soon finds himself at a loss.

Instead of giving us the documentary film like its title suggests, Director Lai had decided to show us the growth of the KSK lion dance team from the perspective of a member. This also means that at most parts, the character Chong’s personal crisis and distress was overly emphasised and it really makes the audience wonder what exactly the main focus of the story is.

With that being said, the actors did a wonderful job. The child actor for Chong’s character truly surprised me with his range of emotions and his talent in acting. Usually child actors gives you the feeling like they are reciting the scripts but he was pretty natural throughout the movie. Alan Kuo also did a great job portraying the teenage Chong. I was glad he stuck to his Taiwanese accent too cause forcing a Malaysian accent would have sounded awkward.

The chemistry between actors Alan Kuo and Thomas Kok was also very good, and it shows on the screen. Their character’s close relationship also made them very ‘shippable’. I really enjoyed watching them bicker at each other like an old couple. There was a high amount of bromance present in the movie. Whether if it is intentional or not, it was surely a nice touch to the movie.

The cinematic skills were great with the super focused close-up shots and nicely managed colour tone. The night scene however was kind of awkward for me to watch, because you can literally see all the noise in the black spaces. Here’s a tip, turn on the lights next time. But in general, the camera angles and art direction was pretty well done.

Overall, the movie was okay. It is a good effort for a local film. I personally would like to see more focus on the KSK lion dance group itself and more lion dance actions that make me go wow, but really it is up to the audience’s preferences. So go catch it in theatres now and judge for yourself!

“The Great Lion Kung Seng Keng” opens in local cinemas nationwide today. Be sure to check it out!

Watch the trailer here.

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