Blog Archives

Millionaires Express (1986)

(from , dir: )

This movie is ridiculous. I mean that in the best sense of the word, as in over-the-top silliness, expertly crafted to make you grin with glee or cringe with incredulity depending on your familiarity with Hong Kong’s special filmic sauce — equal parts broad visual gags, verbal comedy that doesn’t quite translate, kinetic action and a pinch or two of political incorrectness, all boiling down to a bubbling broth of good old fashioned fun.

Just look at that cast list! … (read more)

Comments Off on Millionaires Express (1986)

An Inspector Calls (2015)

One of this year’s biggest Chinese New Year film releases has belatedly arrived in Melbourne’s Chinatown Cinema for a short season. Well, better late than never I suppose. A successful Chinese New Year movie will nearly always have the following ingredients: it must be family oriented, have big name stars, countless celebrity cameos and story-lines guaranteed not to tax the intellect.

An Inspector Calls is a strange choice for a Hong Kong movie, let alone a major Chinese New Year … (read more)

Comments Off on An Inspector Calls (2015)

Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

(from /, dir: )

I knew very little about Bodyguards and Assassins going into the theatre. I had heard a basic plot outline that could be described as ‘16 Blocks with a team of kung-fu fighters instead of Bruce Willis’. Having now seen the film I think that sentence does a disservice to the film.

B&A is set in 1906, British ruled, Hong Kong. Revolution is in the air with student protests and rebel groups finding their footing. With police and other forces … (read more)

Comments Off on Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

The Treasure Hunter (2009)

So let’s get some levels of expectation for Treasure Hunter out of the way first of all. Whilst I thought Jay Chou was fine in both Initial D and Curse of the Golden Flower, his performance in both instances was such a blank slate, it was just a masterstroke casting decision to give him characters that were similarly bland. So certainly not a fanboy of the man. Have probably heard a song or two of his but certainly don’t … (read more)

Comments Off on The Treasure Hunter (2009)

Invisible Waves (2005)

The second collaboration between Pen-ek Ratanaruang, cinematographer Chris Doyle, script writer Prabda Yoon and actor Tadanobu Asano after Last Life in the Universe is in my opinion an even better work, regardless of its technical faults, jarring changes in plot direction and stilted performances.

Simply as an extremely raw mood piece with astonishingly drawn out sequences devoid of elaborate fantasy, Invisible Waves was for me thoroughly captivating. When I think of it now, some months after viewing it for the … (read more)

Comments Off on Invisible Waves (2005)

Three Extremes 2 (2002)

Back in my wayward youth – not all that dissimilar to my wayward adulthood – I recall watching numerous horror anthology films on late night Saturday TV. Those were the days. Corkers like the original Tales from the Crypt with Peter Cushing and, um, Joan Collins, and Trilogy of Terror, the well known trio of films all starring Karen Black, one of which featured a particularly nasty African Zuni fetish doll that comes to life and wreaks merry havoc.… (read more)

Comments Off on Three Extremes 2 (2002)

Three: Going Home (2002)

The brief for the segments included in the original Three (three countries, three directors, three films, geddit?) was simply that it be something to do with ghosts. The Korean and Thai segments both took this literally, and crafted straighforward ghost films. Peter Chan Ho Sun, however, took this opportunity to create a multi-layered offering combining ghost movie, thriller, medical drama, love story, and tragedy, all wrapped together in a beautiful Chris Doyle package. Don’t just take my word for it, … (read more)

Comments Off on Three: Going Home (2002)

Sleepless Town (1998)

(from , dir: )

A modern film noir, with all the squalor and seediness that the pleasure district of Tokyo – the infamous Kabuki-cho – can bring to bear, Sleepless Town is a dark, moody thriller of ambitious proportions.

The culturally diverse cast and crew – Takeshi Kaneshiro as Keniichi Ryuu, a half blood Japanese Taiwanese, Eric Tsang as Cantonese crime lord Yuan and Lung Si-Hung as Kenichi’s adopted father and Taiwanese mob boss just to name a few – almost literally reflect the … (read more)

Comments Off on Sleepless Town (1998)