Blog Archives

White Vengeance (2011)

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A mysterious man tells a group of scholars at a remote historical site the story of two generals, once friends and allies, who wrestled for control of the throne in a long and bloody game of chess — literally and figuratively — during the last days of the Qin Dynasty.
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Once a Gangster (2010)

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Anyone with an interest in contemporary Hong Kong cinema has seen a film with Felix Chong’s screenwriter-fingerprints all over it, from this year’s Donnie Yen action spectacular (well, one of them!) The Lost Bladesman to the much-lauded Infernal Affairs trilogy. Usually, he works alongside Alan Mak, with whom he shares most of his writing credits, and often it seems that director Andrew Lau’s involved as well.

Not so for Once a Gangster, Chong’s first film as solo director. Years … (read more)

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Initial D – The Movie (2005)

In the opening minutes of Initial D, we watch as a street legal sports car “drifts” down a narrow mountain road – the driver accelerating into the tight corners, then gliding around the glasslike hairpin bends. All shot under moonlight, this short sequence captures the sublime and surreal beauty of pure auto power.

Initial D was originally slated for Tsui Hark to direct, but early in the production he left the project and was replaced by Infernal Affairs directing … (read more)

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Wo Hu (Operation Undercover) (2006)

Once more we find outselves at the shady underbelly of Hong Kong society with the Triads that inhabit them. The stalwarts of Eric Tsang, Francis Ng, Jordan Chan and Shawn Yu populate this world of crime and violence as once again Hong Kong produces another film about the neverending battle between the police and the triads.

In the most cynical of modes, this is no doubt a cash-in upon recent quality productions more deserving of the spotlight, but it nonetheless … (read more)

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Men Suddenly In Black (2003)

Men Suddenly in Black is a one-joke yet consistently funny spoof of Hong Kong gangster movies. I should probably make it clear from the outset that I have virtually no standards when it comes to the send-up comedy genre, as I find the jokes that don’t work frequently funnier than the ones that do. So if you load your movie with transparently stupid references to other movies and genre conventions, you’re unlikely to get an entirely bad review out of … (read more)

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Throw Down (2004)

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Johnnie To is ever the genre-shifting shapechanger. You can’t get a hold on him; just when you think you’ve got a firm grasp on his style, he jinks around, unhooks your hold and throws you back to the mat. I mean that in a good way.

Throw Down sees To partially back in the quirky territory of previous Milkway Image productions like The Odd One Dies and Too Many Ways To Be Number One, but in a more good-hearted … (read more)

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The Spy Dad (2003)

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I want to begin by pointing out that, were Project: Sex With Jordan Chan any higher on my personal agenda, I would probably enjoyed Spy Dad a whole lot more. But it’s not, so I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t because I’m a redblooded Australian male with a complete intolerance of any and all homosexual practice — it’s just that I don’t find Jordan Chan — or Jordan Chan’s naked backside, which also features in this film — … (read more)

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