Magic Boy is a beautiful youth romance set in Mongkok where a girl falls in love with two amateur magicians. One is into stage magic. The other is into street magic. Over 30 genuine magic tricks are performed in this first full length feature in Hong Kong to use amateur magicians as the subject matter. Anjo Leung, in his film debut, is a real student of magic while director Adam Wong continues his sensitive and poetic expression of the frailties of youth, this time using magic tricks as an allegory of the illusory nature of love.
A girl falls in love with two amateur magicians. One is into stage magic.
The other is into street magic. Over 30 genuine magic tricks are performed in this first full length feature in Hong Kong to use amateur magicians as the subject matter.
Escapist fantasy runs wild in Magic Boy, a delightful illusionist-themed crossover of romance and coming-of-age drama conjured up in the streets, stores and cafés of Mongkok. The popular and crowded Hong Kong youth shopping district, best known in the West as a setting for grim triad flicks, comes alive under Adam Wong’s direction, with his young stars courting, coming to terms with growing up and reaching for their dreams within the colourful environment. And while few of today’s local teen audiences can be expected to truly relate to the bloody gangland epics of the area, Magic Boy’s everyday scenes of Mongkok’s bustling streets, gaudy shops, gurgling schoolgirls and more can easily ring true amid the movie’s more magical action.
First we meet Leggo (new actor Anjo Leung), an idealist free spirit who’s juggling amateur street magic and making deliveries for a local fast-food joint. Though he blows away customers with his magic skills whenever he hands them their orders, the tricks aren’t helping his love life to get started. It’s only when he chances across shop assistant Wing, finds out where she works and becomes infatuated with her, that Leggo finally has a shot at love. But as he exhausts his entire catalogue of magic tricks in Wing’s second-hand bag store, it seems the girl’s not so keen on his advances, no matter how astonishing they may be. Could she, in fact, have eyes for Hei (Chui Tien-you), Leggo’s former schoolmate and mentor magician of 12 years?
Love triangles may be nothing new in the world of youth cinema, but in Magic Boy the genre is refreshed with a breezy and exuberant mix of fantasy, animation and music. Co-writers Wong and Cheung Ka-man also draw on local themes for their sometimes awkward characters, like the pressure kids experience to build a successful career and grow up fast, not chase their own goals or live for pleasure. Indeed, chief in thwarting Leggo’s moves toward Wing is his free-spirit lifestyle, which clashes with her more socially acceptable wish to become a designer one day and open her own shop.
With vibrant art direction, cinematography that pumps up the colours at every turn and the filmmakers heading to the streets for key scenes, Wong’s second feature-length film is every bit as ambitious as his previous DV-shot youth picture When Beckham Met Owen. Supported here by producer Eric Tsang, and working with college students behind the scenes as well, Wong’s promise as a writer-director is undeniable. Also showing potential is lead actor and magic buff Anjo Leung, looking charismatic and confident in his first movie, while Kate Yeung reaffirms her down-to-earth appeal in youth dramas. While Magic Boy’s conjuring tricks may look outlandish at times, Leung’s and Yeung’s characters – like others in the movie – are natural ones that lend this modest and low-budget affair an irresistible charm.