Secrets in the Hot Spring (切小金家的旅館) is best described as a Taiwanese movie attempting to be a Japanese Anime live-action adaptation.
Secrets in the Hot Spring (切小金家的旅館) Synopsis
Delinquent Taiwanese high-school student Xiaogin reluctantly returns to his grandparents’ hot spring hotel after receiving news that his grandpa is dying. Midway, he is joined by classmates Lu Qun and “Little Princess,” much to Xiaogin’s disgust. Their subsequent stay at the hotel quickly turns into a nightmare when the trio discovers there are various unearthly presences haunting the decrepit hotel.
Like the case with my previous review, I watched this Asian movie on Netflix because all cinemas in Singapore are currently shuttered. No thanks to COVID-19.
Yeah. A movie blogger focusing on new releases, with nothing “new” to review for at least another month. Where else can I turn to other than streaming services? 😛
Anyway, Secrets in the Hot Spring was a moderately decent watch, at least entertaining enough for me to finish it in one session. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I say I deeply enjoyed the movie. Or found it memorable and impressive.
The main problem for me is that this Taiwanese movie tries too hard, too unnecessarily hard, to be Japanese. Practically every shot screams Japanese, rather than Taiwanese or Chinese. The gags are also the sort you’d see in Anime comedies. While there’s nothing too wrong with either, I kept getting the impression that the sole purpose of the movie is to be an Anime live-action adaptation copycat. Due to this, it wasn’t too long before I felt the movie lacked “character,” if you know what I mean. In turn, I felt this does injustice to the main cast because the young leads are obviously capable actors.
Oh, did I mention that Zhang Tinghu, who plays Xiaogin, would easily pass off as a Taiwanese Kurosaki Ichigo? Down to his every scowl in the movie?
As for the story, this was what kept me watching till the end. It’s Anime-ish, pretty intelligent, and at parts, affecting. The far fletch ending, or “explanation,” somewhat drags everything down but outside of that, it’s fair to say the tale is deftly presented.
In summary, Secrets of the Hot Spring is a visually pleasing production that has enough juice to justify its runtime. (I.E. justify you spending a late evening watching it) But if you’re looking for something memorable, something exceptional and unique from Taiwan, err, no. This is strictly for popcorn entertainment. Strictly for uninvolved laughs.
(LGBT viewers, I leave it to you to decide just what on earth the movie is trying to say about homosexuality. I was utterly baffled, with regards to that)
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