The China-Born Legacy

, The China-Born Legacy, The China-Born Legacy, The China-Born Legacy, The China-Born Legacy, The China-Born LegacyDirected by: The Singapore Olympic FoundationStarring: Feng Tianwei, other proficient paddlers and a cast of also-ransRunning Time: Shows no sign of stoppingNot so long ago, in a country really rather close to home… This latest installment in the frankly-not-especially-successful Singapore Olympic franchise (after 04’s tepid “Shuttler’s Advance” and the 2008 stinker “Solitary Silver”) sees Feng Tianwei, Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu reprise their roles as the country’s last best hope.Disavowed by the institution that created them (China, played by Bulgaria in a hilarious, show-stealing cameo) and facing a hailstorm of netizen criticism, our doughty trio must battle global disinterest in their sport, with only their superhuman reflexes and identikit haircuts to save them.Expectations for this film were set impossibly high as early as 2010 when hosting the YOG was somehow taken as proof of international sporting pedigree. So it’s no wonder the final showing—two bronzes—falls short. Barring a standout solo performance from Feng, few of the characters come to life and too many of the other plotlines fizzle into nothing (spoiler alert: in the film’s most farcical moment, big swimming hope Joseph Schooling has to change his cap and goggles at the last minute and fails to qualify).But it’s the appalling amateurism and inconsistency of the film’s chief villain that proves its fatal flaw. Whereas an A list blogosphere might have imbued the role with some depth and charm, Singapore’s online opinionators offer only shallow views and laughably outdated critiques (the film might better have been titled “Call Yourself A Patriot? Games”).It’s not all bad: London, playing itself, can rarely have looked more glorious, and Colin Cheng’s fifteenth place finish in the Laser Standard sailing is the best on-screen depiction of a plucky loser since Marty McFly.But how much longer can this franchise limp on? The evil local blogerati is louder and more vociferous at the end of the film than the start; raising the uncomfortable specter of an Avengers style team-up of past, present and future Olympians in 2016.We can only hope the whole thing is put of its misery as quickly and decisively as one of Feng’s forehands.