Unlucky Plaza

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Unlucky Plaza
Directed byKen Kwek
Produced by
  • Ken Kwek
  • Kat Goh
  • Leon Tong
Written byKen Kwek
Music by
  • Joe Ng
  • Ting Si Hao
CinematographyMichael Zaw
Edited byOlly Stothert
Kaya Toast Pictures
Distributed byShaw Organisation
Release date
  • September 4, 2014 (2014-09-04) (TIFF)
Running time
122 minutes
Box officeUS$46,331 (Singapore)

Unlucky Plaza is a 2014 Singaporean black comedy thriller film written and directed by Ken Kwek. It stars Epy Quizon as a Filipino immigrant to Singapore who takes hostages after falling for a scam. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released in Singapore in April 16, 2015. The story is told in a series of flashbacks from the point of view of a talk show that has reunited the captor and his former hostages.


Filipino immigrant Onassis Hernandez mistreats his restaurant workers, causing a disgruntled cook to sabotage an inspection by the Singaporean health department. After Hernandez subsequently falls for a popular rental scam that targets immigrants, he takes several Singaporeans hostage and broadcasts his demands for social change on YouTube.



The film was based on reports of rental scams that were popular on immigrants.[1]


Unlucky Plaza premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival[2] on September 4, 2014.[3] It's Singaporean premiere was at the Singapore International Film Festival on December 4, 2014.[1] Shaw Organisation released it in Singapore on April 16, 2015,[4] and it grossed US$46,331.[5] Cinemaflix Entertainment released it in the US in January 2016.[6] & finally released in the Philippines co-produced by VIVA Films in April 2016.


Collecting four American reviews, Metacritic, a review aggregator, rated it 38/100.[7] Stephanie Luo of AsiaOne rated it 3.5/5 stars and wrote that it "highlights real issues in Singapore society well", though it has several unrealistic scenes.[8] Iliyas Ong of Time Out Singapore rated it 2/5 stars and wrote the film's social satire, "As belaboured and on-the-nose as Kwek's point is, it's also terrifyingly real."[9] Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Sentimentality and small-screen aesthetics turn social critique into soap opera."[10] Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times wrote that the talk show framing device "destroys the suspense and seals a sense of the movie as both slick and amateurish".[11] Martin Tsai of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Writer-director Ken Kwek means for the proceedings to be farcical, but seldom are they actually funny."[12] Simon Abrams of The Village Voice wrote, "Kwek's refreshing focus on his terrorized protagonists' pre-abduction lives keeps Unlucky Plaza afloat once it invests in generic ticking-clock thrills."[13]


  1. ^ a b c Lui, John (2014-11-12). "Singapore film festival opening film Unlucky Plaza is entertaining and has depth, says festival director". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  2. ^ Coonan, Clifford (2014-09-08). "Toronto: Banned Singaporean Director Debuts 'Unlucky Plaza'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  3. ^ "What's On - September 4". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  4. ^ Loh, Genevieve Sarah (2014-12-22). "Unlucky Plaza to be shown in cinemas in April 2015". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  5. ^ "Unlucky Plaza". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  6. ^ Loh, Genevieve Sarah (2015-12-31). "S'pore film Unlucky Plaza to show in US". Today Online. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  7. ^ "Unlucky Plaza". Metacritic. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  8. ^ Luo, Stephanie (2015-04-15). "Movie review: Unlucky Plaza". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  9. ^ Ong, Iliyas (2015-04-01). "Unlucky Plaza". Time Out Singapore. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  10. ^ Tsui, Clarence (2014-12-04). "'Unlucky Plaza': Singapore Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  11. ^ Rapold, Nicolas (2016-01-07). "Review: In 'Unlucky Plaza,' a Comic Hostage Crisis via Tabloid Storytelling". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  12. ^ Tsai, Martin (2016-01-15). "Review 'Unlucky Plaza' undeftly delves beneath Singapore's orderly, multicultural facade". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  13. ^ Abrams, Simon (2016-01-05). "Singaporean Hostage Thriller 'Unlucky Plaza' Has Character to Spare". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2016-04-01.

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