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Formula 17
Formula 17
Actors: Tony Yang, Duncan Lai, Chin King, Dada Ji, Jimmy Yang
Director: Yin-jung Chen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 33min

A young and innocent 17-year-old boy goes searching for love and adventure in the summer heat of Taipei, but finds himself attracted to the biggest playboy known to mankind. Will he be able to change this playboy into a s...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tony Yang, Duncan Lai, Chin King, Dada Ji, Jimmy Yang
Director: Yin-jung Chen
Creators: Hsi-Sheng Chen, Hsiao-tong Chen, Aileen Li, Michelle Yeh, Roger Huang, Rady Fu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Gay & Lesbian, Love & Romance
Studio: Strand Releasing
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/29/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Taiwanese Chinese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Under the Superficial Fluff Lies a Sensitive Tale
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"'Shi qi sui de tian kong' (FORMULA 17) is a very fine first venture into film making by two young Taiwanese women - Yin-jung Chen, director and Rady Fu, screenwriter - who are unafraid to take on a taboo subject in Taiwan and find some excellent talent and ideas that suggest that there will be more films from them in the future. Though the central theme and two characters of the story are excellent, the movie drifts into wide-eyed burlesque with its supporting cast, and thus the three stars rating instead of four.

Tien (Tony Yang) is a naive seventeen-year-old from the provinces who comes to Taipei to live with his old friend Yu (Chin King), a bartender in a gay bar, for a summer. Tien is gay, a virgin, and intends to stay a virgin until he is in a meaningful love relationship. Yu is suffering from a relationship that is tainted by distance, but he sees the need to introduce Tien into the active gay life in Taipei - and to put an end to Tien's virginity. Together with Yu's friends (way over the top flamboyant kids) Tien is introduced to gay bars, is set up with hunks, but he holds to his values - until he eyes 30-year-old playboy Bai Tieh-nan (Duncan Lai), a lothario famous for his one night stands. We gradually learn that Bai is a sensitive hunk with issues who is afraid to fall in love, hence his one night stand rule. The story at the core of this film is how the two ultimately fulfill each others' ideals and needs.

Much of the film dawdles in stereotypical situations and poorly acted and directed excursions into the bar scenes, but the work of Duncan Lai and Tony Yang makes the film credible and well worth watching: both men are handsome, talented actors who develop a fine screen chemistry. For all its weak points, FORMULA 17 is a film with a big heart and a gay film that manages to deal with some important issues of fidelity and honesty instead of focusing on merely the superficial. In Mandarin, Cantonese, English with subtitles. Grady Harp, April 06"
An excellent, feel-good flick with lots of heart
asteriskadonis | 03/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wow! I was excited about finally getting the chance to see this film, but I must say that it totally surpassed my expectations. In my opinion, this movie is a real milestone- up there with Lan Yu- in Chinese gay cinema.

Although what other reviewers have said about it being a bit amateurish and formulistic at times is true, to an extent, the director and the actors somehow manage to pull the project off really well. All of the characters are extremely well-developed, and you find yourself falling in love with them before you know it. Because of the quality and passion behind the funny, touching performances, the actors breathe new life into even the most possibly stereotypical roles- from the over-the-top queen at the local gay bar to the gruff, bewildered, straight best-friend of one of the protagonists.

The movie has a very quirky, satirical, experimental bent, which takes a bit of getting used to at first. But, within 10 minutes of starting the film, it had me hooked. I haven't had this much fun watching a movie since I saw Pirates of the Caribbean in the theater! (Oh, and I have to say it- the guys in this film are almost all totally hot. I'm booking a flight to Taipei now!!)"
Delightful gay teen romantic comedy from Taiwan
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 12/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Shi qi sui de tian kong" ("Formula 17" is the English title) (2004) is from two twenty-something female independent filmmakers in Taiwan, who bucked the normally-conservative bent of filmmaking in that country, resulting in a light and enchanting coming-of-age romantic comedy about a 17 year old boy and his search for love in the Taipei gay community.

Coming from a smaller town to spend his summer vacation with his former schoolmate, Tien is a romantic who believes sex is best reserved for when you find someone you love, and resists temptations to "hook up" in the big city, including an seduction by a hunky "plumber" arranged by his roommate. Tien is immediately attracted to Bai, a 30 year old businessman who has a reputation for one-night stands, and he is understandably leery of the man's attentions. Meanwhile, he helps his friend get over a failed long-distance relationship, and tries to resist the temptations of hunks at display at his summer job, at a health spa. When Tien and Bai eventually do get together, but Bai avoids him the next day, Tien's flamboyant friends go on a "mission" to hunt him down and avenge their friend. The story resolves itself in a madcap scene not unlike countless US teen films, with the only difference being the language spoken (Cantonese and Mandarin - and some pigeon English - with English subtitles) and the fact that these teens are gay.

Rather tame by US rating standards (An "R" mostly just for gay content), with no real nudity or simulated sex, although the subject matter did result in the film being banned in Singapore. Popular at many US gay film festivals. DVD extras only provide chapter selection and control of subtitles. Amateurish on many levels, but worth a look; I'd give it 4 stars out of 5."
Wonderful and whimsical film!
S. Berman | NJ | 04/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I really loved this movie. It graduated to taking a spot in my Top 5 Favorite Gay Films. It's sweet and comical, never mean-spirited and offers not only romance but a tale of true friendship as well. I really like how the narrative changed at times for dramatic effect. Plus the boys were all so damn cute!"