Blog Archives

Red Cliff (2009)

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When Cantonese director John Woo left Hong Kong for Hollywood in the mid-1990s, many people expected him to become one of the giants of world cinema. His American movies turned out to be, at best, problematic and his talent for combining strong human drama and rip-roaring action sequences was never fully realised. His most recent Hollywood film was Paycheck, I doubt in the history of American movies has a more apt title ever been given.

Two years ago, Woo … (read more)

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Shaolin Soccer (2001)

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I can just imagine how one day, this strange idea suddenly crossed filmmaker Stephen Chow’s mind: what would happen if I combine martial arts and soccer to make a ‘sports movie’? He must have thought it was a good idea, and went on to realise it. And he was absolutely right. The result was Shaolin Soccer, one of the funniest and most original films ever made, in Hong Kong and in fact anywhere in the world.

Shaolin Soccer tells … (read more)

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So Close (2002)

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Okay film-goers, let’s get going. I’ll keep this snappy, because I’m here to give you the low down on one snap-p-py piece of cinema — So Close.

Pop quiz; which HK director is responsible for this film? If your answer’s not Corey Yuen, you deserve to be beaten repeatedly with a pair of rollerblades by Zhao Wei, because his name’s right there under the title, but in the mean time, here’s a selected Corey Yuen filmography…

1993 — Fong (read more)

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Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003)

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Director He Ping’s film Warriors of Heaven and Earth clearly owes a debt to the American Western as well as the films of Akira Kurosawa. It has been a while since a Chinese historical sword flick has been made with this sort of lineage and it is interesting to consider the ways in which this film deals with its somewhat traditional subject matter.

Much like Kurosawa, who insisted that motion pictures should be full of motion, He Ping makes sure … (read more)

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A Time For Love (2005)

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A Time to Love is an homage to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. However, unlike many of the sorry filmic adaptations of this play, A Time to Love is one of the more touching versions, carrying with it a pure subtlety and innocence that one would only expect from a director who has graduated from the Beijing Film Academy.

A Time to Love tells the story of the tragic relationship between Hou Jia, (played by Lu Yi) and Qu … (read more)

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Chinese Odyssey 2002 (2002)

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Remember Chinese New Year 2002? I know for some going back two whole years might be a bit of strain but let me help you: an unprecendented three [count ’em!] Chinese New Year comedies came out battling for the top spot. Chinese Odyssey 2002, Marry A Rich Man and Fat Choi Spirit. Although the idea of Tony Leung and Faye Wong being lovers in a period comedy lost in the box office stakes to Andy playing mahjong and … (read more)

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Goddess of Mercy (2003)

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As opening film for HKIFF 2004, Jade Goddess of Mercy (title later changed to Goddess of Mercy, for reasons unknown) should have been excellent. Alas, it fell down in at least one major respect: casting. Although most of the cast did well, and in some cases very well, the female lead was a problem. Vicki Zhao Wei, no matter how perky, no matter how cute, is just not a sufficiently good actress to carry the role of a dedicated … (read more)

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