ReviewWriter: Florey DMWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Ola Bola” The Good, the Bad and the Rising Legend:
"Lee Chong Wei: Rise of the Legend" follows Lee's life from a young age, when as a little boy he discovered his passion and talent in badminton, up to the moments when he had to face off against his rival on the court, China's two-time Olympic champion, Lin Dan.
As the movie title indicates, the biopic is not about the glitz and glamour of being an internationally-recognised badminton champion. No, it is the journey undertaken by said champion, the years he spent struggling and training before he was the World's No.1 Player (as ranked by the World Badminton Federation (BWF)) and bestowed the title 'legend' by admiring fans who aspire to follow in his footsteps one day.
Lee's childhood and adolescence were a complicated tangle of being too poor to even dream of owning a racquet, being laughed at by other kids for his underprivileged life, having a strict father who absolutely did not approve of him playing badminton and having a gentle mother (Khor Kim Choi, played by Yeo Yann Yann) as well as encouraging mentors who set him on his path to becoming who he is today.
Not to say that his father is the villain, however, stick around to see how Lee Ah Chai (played by Singapore's Mark Lee who cheekily threw in a few words about Singaporeans in his dialogue that made the crowd titter) eventually became one of the sturdy rocks in the badminton champion's life.
The movie was no doubt visually arresting, thanks to cinematographer Eric Yeong. Even just a shuttlecock perched precariously atop a badminton net was mesmerising to watch, and that was just in the opening scene, so the audience can rest assure knowing that the rest of the movie will follow the same stylistic setup. Though the movie does suffer from choppy editing on certain parts, resulting in some rather abrupt cut of visual and audio elements, it shouldn't take away too much from the audience's enjoyment of it.
Story-wise, those who've read Lee's biography "Dare to be a Champion" will be familiar with it, though director Teng Bee and producers Josiah Cheng, Ben Lee and Tony Hu did add several dramatic touches to make it more apt for a big screen adaptation.
The main cast, made up of Tosh Chan who bears a striking resemblance to the titular hero he stars as, Jake Eng as the young Lee, Ashley Hua as Lee's love interest and now real-life wife Wong Mew Choo, and Datuk Rosyam Nor as Lee's mentor Dato' Misbun Sidek, delivers a solid performance despite most of them being newcomers in the acting industry.
The movie doesn't just show the audience the story of Lee's early life, it also inspires everyone watching to work harder in achieving their dreams, imparts the message that everyone must have faith in themselves and in a sense, it also instills patriotism - there's just something about watching sports and especially seeing the side you're rooting for winning that immediately forges a bond among spectators (when watching this movie in cinema, expect the hall to keep erupting into cheers whenever Lee is on the court, especially when Lin Dan enters the scene). Trivia:
• Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei makes a cameo appearance in the movie as himself.Cinema Online, 16 March 2018