Jay Chou’s most recent movie, The Rooftop (天台), is now available to watch on Netflix —
To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the film; I can see that Jay’s trying to curry favor with fans both national and international by incorporating elements of Bollywood & Broadway (short song / dance numbers infused with lots of drama, action, and romance on deliberately kitschy and extravagant sets).
But the storyline is forgettable, especially since it relies too much on stereotypes and cliches: the passive female vs. the active male, poverty as character-building vs. wealth as utterly corrupting, and, of course, the glaring rehash of West Side Story along with, um, the Danny Zuko hair trick? Bottom line: Conventions are totally fine, but part of the thrill of watching a “conventional” film is seeing how set forms become stretched, altered, and made original. (e.g. Korean dramas)!
Even if The Rooftop is a Frankenstein of repetition, the sets alone are jaw-droppingly beautiful and worth checking out. But that’s only if you’re into fictional Asian cities that are constructed like a Disneyland ride…something that’s problematic in its own right.