Blog Archives

Paradox (2017)

What a curious sort-of-series this is. Way back in 2005 SPL was heralded as a return to hard-hitting Hong Kong urban action, a description that has stood the test of time. After a ten year hiatus, SPL II: A Time for Consequences remixed the recipe with some returning cast members as different characters in a completely new story, with the notable fusion of Thai star Tony Jaa into a Hong Kong production with great results. Now we have Paradox — … (read more)

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Firestorm (2013)

The night I saw Firestorm, I was surprised that there were no posters or advertising material on display in the theatre for this new big-budget Hong Kong film. And I was even more surprised to see at the main entrance of the Century City multiplex an over-sized poster for Feng Xiaogang’s new movie Personal Tailor – which has yet to be released! Two hours later, I had a much better understanding of why there was a lack of advertising for … (read more)

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Ip Man (2008)

With Ip Man, Donnie Yen takes on his meatiest role yet. He’s played the central hero before (in Iron Monkey and in the miniseries of Fist of Fury, for example) but they’ve all been a bit over the top: period-era takes on the unstoppable leather-jacketed Donnie we know from most of his films. The title character of this film, however, is a quiet young kungfu master of 1930’s Foshan, born into privilege and not a willing participant in … (read more)

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Mad Detective (2007)

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Hong Kong’s most reliably excellent director brings back Lau Ching Wan for another collaboration in Mad Detective, their first in several years. It’s a Hong Kong police procedural, familiar territory to Hong Kong film fans, except that it has a rather creative twist. Lau Ching Wan plays Bun, a brilliant intuitive detective who has a knack for solving crimes through putting himself in the shoes of their participants, seeing their inner conflicts and motivations. Unfortunately, he’s also a little … (read more)

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Exiled (2006)

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After following reckless and ruthless triad bosses across Hong Kong and China in Election and its sequel, Johnnie To returns to the perspective of the heroic underling as well as to the celebrated story dimension of 1999’s The Mission, one of the major highlights of his prolific career.

Exiled is neither a direct sequel or prequel to The Mission, but rather an interplay of similarities and divergences from the earlier film’s plot, themes, characters and stylistic approach. … (read more)

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