Reviews by Country
Author Archives: John Snadden
After experiencing the boorish and juvenile jingoism of Wu Jing’s Wolf Warrior, I was looking forward to the new big budget HK movie, Helios… although I was a bit wary of the fact that its release date had been put back three times in the past six months. From directors Sunny Luk and Longman Leung (Cold War), Helios starts well but fades quickly.
The film opens with the theft of a South Korean manufactured nuclear dirty … (read more)
Coming Home is the latest Zhang Yimou-Gong Li screen collaboration, and it reminds me of their great films from the 1990s. In Coming Home Gong Li once again shows that she is one of the world’s most gifted actors.
Director Zhang Yimou’s recent film-making has kept him busy, but mainly in a workmanlike way. International hits such as the Grand Guignol of Curse of the Golden Flower and the arthouse-wuxia pics Hero and House of Flying Daggers have kept his … (read more)
Brotherhood of Blades is one of the best Chinese martial-arts films to have graced our cinema screens for quite some time. The movie boasts a volatile mix of quasi 17th century Chinese history, political paranoia and deadly palace conspiracies. With an individual emphasis on ornate film sets, power-crazed eunuchs, sadistic secret police and a trio of Ming Dynasty elite killers, there’s much here reminiscent of the best of the Shaw Brothers’ swordplay films.
The movie’s main focus is on the … (read more)
After sitting through all 179 minutes of this new Chinese release one question occupied my mind: how did a director of the calibre of Ann Hui become involved in such a road wreck of a movie? Obviously the people behind this mainland production were seeking the artistic cachet that Hui’s name would give the film. Instead, The Golden Era resembles the leaden propaganda of the 2009 pic The Founding of a Republic.
The film recounts the short and often … (read more)
China’s big summer release for 2014 is The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom, based on the popular 1950s tome Baifa Monu Zhan written by Liang Yusheng. Its most recent and most favoured screen version is the 1993 Hong Kong pic The Bride With White Hair, directed by Ronny Yu and starring Brigitte Lin and Leslie Cheung in a beautifully lensed tale of romantic obsession amidst the clan wars during the Ming Dynasty. Like the mystical flower of … (read more)
The recent passing of Chinese business tycoon Run Run Shaw was an event well covered by the world’s media. The obituaries for the 106 year old entrepreneur mainly concentrated on his business acumen and life-long philanthropy.
Like many successful industrialists, Run Run Shaw’s public largess would not have been possible without the profits generated by his companies, in particular the Shaw Brothers movie studio.
For more than a twenty year period from the late 1950s, Run Run Shaw helped create … (read more)
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)
Johnny Mak’s powerful 1984 crime film Long Arm of The Law was a film for its time and a big box-office hit that year. Nearly thirty years later it stands the test of time extremely well and looks to be having a new lease on life, with recent incarnations on Blu-Ray, DVD and theatrically.