Reviews by Country
Sequels, Prequels, Send-ups and Spin-offs: Director Wong Jing finds Chow Yun Fat a new tuxedo amongst his usual box of tricks.
The recent release of From Vegas to Macau harks back to Hong Kong’s gambling fad of the early 1990s. Wong Jing, director of the original God of Gamblers series, offers up a super-silly pastiche of recycled gags that should appeal to fans of classic Hong Kong gambling films. Unfortunately, this time Chow Yun Fat does not play suave gamesman … (read more)
I guess I’m terminally optimistic. I expect an action movie to not be that hard to understand. I mean, there’s a basic formula, right? You need a good guy, and a bad guy, and you need something for them to fight over. The good guy needs to be the hero (technically) so usually it’s a case of the good guy trying to stop the bad guy from doing bad things, whether that be on a personal scale (like Liam Neeson … (read more)
Our first Chinese film release in Australian cinemas this year is Benny Chan’s Shaolin, a big-budget action film packed full of stars and showcasing Shaolin kungfu and philosophy with an official seal of approval from the Shaolin Temple itself.
Straight off the back of his starring role in Detective Dee, Andy Lau stars as warlord Hao Jie, a calculating general who delights in ravaging across the countryside, capturing cities and amassing a serious retirement nest-egg. His most recent … (read more)
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)
It’s been a decade since Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng starred as Cloud and Wind respectively for Andrew Lau’s adaptation of Ma Wing-shing’s popular The Storm Riders (1998). Released on the cusp of the Hong Kong industry’s virtual collapse, it was a hit that set the digital standard for filmmaking in the SAR for years to come. It was also one of the last big, all-star epics from that period to find a cult following overseas.
So what’s changed, what’s … (read more)
See Jackie laugh! See Jackie cry! See Jackie get drunk and throw up in the gutter!
New Police Story opens in a very unconventional way: the camera pans slowly, in loving and almost surgical close-up, over the stubbly, tear-stained face of the waking Inspector Wong. We know straight away that this is not going to be a humorous waking. There’ll be no knuckles in the mouth, horrified memories of the night before: “Did I really strip down to my underwear … (read more)
‘BIF! KA-POW! CRASH!’
This is the comic book aesthetic viewed so fondly in retrospectives of those formative, younger years. Colourful garb and improbable science dominated those moments in the school yard in between those regularly scheduled beatings from the schoolyard bullies.
Such sentimental attachment brings a welling of emotion from within whenever there is a cinematic realisation of scenes previously locked in poses by the constraints of paper and ink — even in adaptations of source material that is otherwise … (read more)
Good grief, another “boy meets ghost” romance. Bittersweet and occasionally cloying, this fills up almost two hours with a combination of A Moment To Remember and Ghostbusters that works surprisingly well, provided you’re not too attentive.
The actors: Karena Lam is young and vivacious as the tragic/romantic lead, with a beguiling air of softness. Candy Lo is spiky and strong in the support role which she fills and then some. Eason Chan, as the oft-dumped roommate, is an amusing buffoon. … (read more)