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[NYAFF ’21] ‘All U Need is Love’ review: Hong Kong film industry comes together to take on pandemic

Sometimes it’s best to forget.

All U Need is Love is just one of the soon to be too many movies that deal with Covid-19. In all likelihood, the Hong Kong export will be unlike any other. A who’s who of Hong Kong cinema including Jackie Chan and Cecilia So star in this production set mainly in a quarantined hotel. What makes the film stand out is the actors were not paid and it was made to raise money for film industry workers.

The film is an entertaining one.

The plot never does anything to stand out. The film is about a group of people forced to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days. There is little else to it. It is more a series of sketches tied together by a loose plot. All U Need is Love relies on a series of in-jokes to cover other deficiencies. It plays on nostalgia and references some popular scenes. In a vacuum, it is an unmemorable film.

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In 2021, it is a refreshing take on a serious issue. 

All U Need is Love starts with an action scene ripped from Hong Kong action films. A man is chased through an airport by a mysterious trio dressed in white hazmat suits. As it turns out, they are from the Epidemic Task Force. This sets the stage for things to come. The group is an incredibly efficient one, complete with nets to capture people and large guns that shoot smoke. They are involved in many of All U Need is Love’s most action packed scenes.

The film is an entertaining one, especially considering how it was made and the reason for it. As All U Need is Love races towards its finale, its meaning comes through. It is about how love can make the world a better place. But more importantly, it is a chance to get away from it.

The New York Asian Film Festival takes place from August 6 – August 22. Screenings are live and online.

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