Reviews by Country
Many moons ago, pro-exploitation producer-director Wong Jing and actor Chow Yun-fat hit box office and entertainment pay dirt when they teamed up for God of Gamblers. That film’s pulpy action comedy was a silly delight, and proved Wong, something of a Roger Corman for Hong Kong, had the ability to crank out popular hits that didn’t always involve jiggling boobies. It lightened up Chow’s image among niche viewers outside Hong Kong (he was best known to that point for … (read more)
This 2010 China-Hong Kong co-production finally makes it to Australia on DVD, which is surprising considering it was China’s highest grossing film for that year, a title it still holds despite tough opposition from the recent Christmas releases of Zhang Yimou’s wartime drama The Flowers of War and Tsui Hark’s 3D fest Flying Swords of Dragon Gate.
Let The Bullets Fly’s distribution history outside China was also worrying: it couldn’t find a distributor in Australia on its release … (read more)
The new Chinese drama Curse of the Golden Flower is a welcome return to form by director Zhang Yimou, and further proof that major Chinese stars Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat do their best work on home ground.
In the past fifteen years Zhang has gone from being the bad boy of Chinese cinema (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern) to the acceptable face of a cultured China with international hits like Hero and House of Flying … (read more)
There was a time in the mid-90s when everything coming out of Hong Kong was cool and exciting. Guns were blazing while gangsters oozed charm; supernatural heroes were flying for the sake of the world while others performed death-defying stunts merely for our sakes, and we were more than appreciative. Every local release was hired from the video store down the road followed by many a bruise and abrasion with the occasional sprain – though no bones were broken.
Looking … (read more)
It’s almost impossible to write about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon without using words like “grandeur”, “breathtaking”, and suchlike. The scenery positively demands it, without even starting on the film itself. Sweeping vistas over mountainous regions, wreathed in mist and clothed in vivid green, offer the sort of territory that is probably quite foreign to most of us. Ancient Chinese towns and cities, likewise, do a great job of transporting us into another time and another world. Clearly this film did … (read more)
Tiger On The Beat is a pretty routine Hong Kong take on the American buddy cop genre. Lau Kar Leung must have been strangely out of sorts when he made this — the bloody action and crude comedy seems more akin to Wong Jing than the director that brought us The 36 Chambers of Shaolin. Perhaps he simply feels more comfortable in the martial arts world of old.
Conan Lee doesn’t make much of an impression in the lead … (read more)
I’m a superlative kinda guy. The third most common phrase in my vocabulary is “It’s the greatest film ever made!” and probably a full half of the films I’ve seen in my nineteen and one-half years on this Earth have been referred to in that way. It may be that at the moment of utterance I might actually mean I what I’m saying – or it might not. It doesn’t really matter unless I describe something in this way more … (read more)
There are two types of John Woo fan. There’s the John Woo fan who prefers The Killer, and there’s the John Woo fan who likes Hard-Boiled the best. Now, this is not to say that, in expressing a particular love for one film, the fan is immediately and necessarily prohibited from taking any pleasure from the Other Option – far from it! A fan of The Killer may still groove on Hard-Boiled and vice versa. But as much as … (read more)