Help!!! (2000)Directed by: Johnny To, Ka-Fai Wai
Starring: Jordan Chan, Ekin Cheng, Cecilia Cheung, Shiu Hung Hui, Suet Lam, Ho-Yin Wong
Tagline - ER this aint!
At an accident, two paramedics need to perform an emergency procedure on a patient, but they are scared they will lose their jobs if they do so. Up walks Joe who was driving a tow-truck and does the procedure himself.
Cut to the hospital: a very bad hospital with poor facilities, indifferent doctors and staff who walk out as soon as their shift finishes, abandoning their patients.
One patient comes in after being struck by lightning and is carted from section to section and then abandoned when shift change happens. As they are about to leave, the doctors realise that the patient is the hospital's patron, Sir Ho, and they rush to attend to him.
While they are doing this, one of the only caring doctors in the hospital, Yan, is attending to him. She also shows her dedication when she resuscitates a homeless man at a restaurant after the other doctors don't want to get wet or think the patient smells.
Yan talks to Sir Ho, who says he wants changes made at the hospital and he has talked to "Highest Management". Highest Management are a mysterious bunch who sit in a darkened room and hand out notes to communicate. Whenever Sir Ho goes to talk to them, he gets pushed into the blinds and kicked out the door into the same pillar (he always says he is 'teaching them a lesson' though).
Yan decides to get the help of Jim, the only other committed doctor in the hospital. They go find a former doctor from the hospital, called Joe, who is now working as a motor mechanic.
Back at the hospital, they face an uphill battle against the staff, management, and poor facilities. At one stage Joe gets out a chainsaw so that "Highest Management" can't issue any more commands. They also end up doing cleaning and repair work on their shifts.
After some time of this they collapse and are treated, but they are pulled out of their beds to treat four brothers (their other brother had just committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the hospital and the man who hit them thought they were ghosts). They can only treat 3 of them and they plead with the other staff to help.
All the doctors and nurses who quit are recalled to the hospital because of an emergency. There is also a major accident near the hospital involving many vehicles where the outcome is uncertain.
I liked how this was a funny movie, but it also managed to portray some serious issues in hospitals. For example issues such as a shortage of funding and the mercenary nature of some health professionals. While it is mainly relevant to the situation in Hong Kong, I am sure there are similar issues all over the world.
It may not be as dramatic or flashy as ER, but I liked this movie a lot more due to the humour involved.
My favourite character was Sir Ho. Even though he just seems to get beat up all the time, I cracked up laughing each time it happened.
I recommend this movie to people who want to watch a hospital themed comedy, but do not want listen to lines like "OH MATRON!"