Review: ‘Everything Under Control,’ starring Hins Cheung, Ivana Wong, Jeffrey Ngai Tsun Sang, Michael Ning and Kaho Hing

January 22, 2023

by Carla Hay

Hins Cheung, Michael Ning and Jeffrey Ngai Tsun Sang in “Everything Under Control” (Photo courtesy of Trinity Filmed Entertainment)

“Everything Under Control”

Directed by Ying Chi-Wen

Cantonese with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Hong Kong, the action comedy film “Everything Under Control,” a remake of the 2004 South Korean horror comedy “To Catch a Virgin Ghost,” features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with a few white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and criminal underground.

Culture Clash: After a jewelry heist goes wrong, two armed guards and a robber go to a remote jungle to find the armed guard who stole the jewelry, and they all encounter a strange commune that appears to be protected by a ghost.

Culture Audience: “Everything Under Control” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of “To Catch a Virgin Ghost” and action movies that have a lot of moronic comedy that just isn’t funny.

Ivana Wong in “Everything Under Control” (Photo courtesy of Trinity Filmed Entertainment)

“Everything Under Control” squanders the potential to be an entertaining and zany heist film, by overloading on repetitive gimmick jokes, tacky visual effects, and nonsensical, time-wasting scenes that lower the quality of this already bad movie. The cast members try too hard to funny, giving “Everything Under Control” a forced and awkward tone. The movie also goes off on some bizarre tangents that don’t fit the intended comedy at all.

Directed by Ying Chi-Wen, “Everything Under Control” (which takes place in Hong Kong) is a remake of the 2004 South Korean horror comedy “To Catch a Virgin Ghost,” which had another remake with the 2021 Taiwanese film “Trick or Treat.” “Everything Under Control” is much more of an action film than a horror movie, since there’s nothing remotely scary about “Everything Under Control,” unless you think it’s scary that people actually thought this awful movie was worth getting made.

“Everything Under Control” begins by showing a group of employees who work for a company called So Good Security, whose specialty is armored vehicle transportation. The company’s drivers (who are all men in their 20s and 30s) look up to the “alpha male” of the group: Yau Shing (played by Hins Cheung), who is a cocky and rebellious guy. Yau Shing has been tasked with training a rookie named Penguin (played by Jeffrey Nagai Tsun Sang), who is very nervous and insecure.

One day, a group of So Good Security employees are driving in an armored van for a delivery of valuable diamonds. In the vehicle are Yau Shing, Penguin, an awkward misfit named Jelly (played by Kaho Hung) and a loudmouth named Pig Blood (played by Hou Dee). During this ride, Yau Shing brags that he’s “seen it all” in this security job, except that he’s never experienced a robbery.

As soon as Yau Shing says that, you just know a robbery is going to happen. The leader of the armed robbers is an ill-tempered buffoon named Monk (played by Michael Ning), who isn’t as tough as he’d like to think he is. The real menacing thug in this gang of thieves is Monk’s boss Mr. Lai (played by Juno Mak), who is sadistic and ruthless. Mr. Lai isn’t actually at the scene of the robbery, by he’s the mastermind behind this heist.

A chaotic shootout occurs during the robbery. Jelly tries to be a flashy hero by spinning around a shotgun, but the shotgun ends up landing on his head. It’s enough to knock him temporarily unconscious. The robbers are so inept, they don’t notice until it’s too late that they don’t have any of the diamonds. Jelly has suddenly disappeared, so Yau Shing, Penguin, Pig Blood are kidnapped by the robbers and taken to the back of a butcher shop, where Mr. Lai orders that these captives undergo water torture to try to force them to tell the robbers where the diamonds are.

What happened to the diamonds? Jelly stole the diamonds. When it becomes obvious that Yau Shing, Penguin, Pig Blood don’t have the diamonds, and Jelly stole these jewels, Mr. Lai decides that Monk will accompany Yau Shing and Penguin to look for Jelly. Pig Blood is left behind in the butcher shop and will experience more torture unless Yau Shing and Penguin can find Jelly and the diamonds.

During his getaway, Jelly accidentally crashes his car in a remote jungle area. He makes his way through the jungle and finds a weird commune of five people (two women and three men), who have rituals that look very much like these commune members are in a cult. The group’s domineering leader is Wong Cool (played by Ivana Wong), who tells Jelly that the group doesn’t want to help him because they don’t trust outsiders.

While Jelly is using a toilet on the commune’s premises , he makes the mistake of leaving his phone outside with the commune members. When the phone rings, one of the commune members answers it and finds out that it’s a very agitated Yau Shing looking for Jelly and the diamonds. The commune now knows that Jelly wants to go into hiding, so they hold him captive.

Monk, Yau Shing and Penguin somehow find out that Jelly is in this wooded area and go looking for him. The rest of “Everything Under Control” involves a battle between the commune members and this search party. There’s also a very mishandled subplot involving a young woman ghost named Chi (played by Suey Kwok), who appears to be haunting the commune’s property and scaring off unwanted visitors. An artist painter named Poussin (played by Angus Yeung) offers some clues about the mystery behind the ghost.

“Everything Under Control” has some gross-out comedy involving defecation and farting that is so unnecessary, it’s really pathetic. It’s the type of slapstick set-up that looks like it came from the mind of a 10-year-old child. All of the movie’s characters are hollow—either too ridiculous to be relatable or too generic to be interesting. The title “Everything Under Control” is a contradiction of this mess of a movie, which is an example of filmmakers who let a potentially hilarious action flick descend into mindless chaos.

Trinity Filmed Entertainment released “Everything Under Control” in select U.S. cinemas on January 20, 2023. The movie was released in Hong Kong on January 21, 2023.

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