Second Time Around (2002)

I found this movie browsing Netflix for things with Ekin Cheng.

This DVD has a severe problem with the subtitles; any place where they should be more than one line, only the last line is shown. I was able to follow the action in spite of this, but I know there were details missing. Maybe next time, I’ll remember to check the reviews on Netflix BEFORE renting; it was mentioned there repeatedly. It’s not the first time I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by something on a DVD that was often mentioned in the reviews.

It stars Ekin Cheng as Ren Lee, a dealer working at a private gambling club in LA; Jonathan Ke Quan (who was apparently the kid in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) as Sing Wong, a fellow employee and his best friend; and Cecelia Cheung as Tina Chow, a police officer.

Ren’s pregnant girlfriend broke up with him around Christmas, claiming the baby was not his. Ren knows that there is a large sum of money in the safe in the boss’s office and that Sing has access to the safe; he is sure of his luck and convinces Sing to “borrow” the money and go to Vegas as VIPs, with predictable results. They get a ride back to LA with Anna, who Sing had met and given advice to in the casino; there is a wreck and Ren wakes up two days later to find out that Anna and Sing are dead, and that Sing was possibly murdered. The police question him, but he doesn’t really answer them.

Later, Ren and Officer Tina Chow’s paths cross again; he runs, she manages to get into his car, they fight for the wheel, and there is another accident. They wake up and split up, and eventually realize that it’s Christmas Day again. They find each other again and try to figure out how to make things right. This is not the sort of time travel where meeting yourself causes serious problems; at one point Ren kidnaps Tina’s earlier self and swaps her for the later Tina, and at another, Tina attempts to distract the earlier Ren. They do try to avoid meeting themselves, though.

I liked the action-ish parts of this (not necessarily fight scenes, but any where there was something more than conversation happening); there were occasional long philosophical ramblings about parallel universes and the nature of love that were boring (especially with the missing subtitles). There was occasionally humor, and I was actually surprised by the revelation of what happened that day. The ending was all right; I did feel sorry for Sing, though (and for Anna, even though she was a bit part).

This was an OK movie; I liked it well enough to watch the whole thing in spite of the subtitle issue, but would not consider buying it due to that issue. Aside from the subtitles, it’s the sort of thing I might buy if I found it cheaply enough somewhere.

cast list and more info at imdb

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