Reviews by Country
Sun Wukong returns to the big screen in The Monkey King 2, the follow-up film to director Cheang Pou-soi’s 2014 Monkey King feature film. Right on time for Chinese New Year in the year of the monkey, it’s exactly what you want in a New Year film: big, broad, comfortably familiar and filled with with ample amounts of comedy and spectacle.
Ten years ago in 2005, Hong Kong action film SPL arrived, suggesting a triumphant return to the sort of film that Hong Kong has always done better than pretty much any industry on the planet; beautifully cheoreographed and edited hard-action cinema, the sort that’s only possible when you have a cast of martial artists and an experienced crew that knows how to shoot them to maximum effect.
In the intro to my write up back then, I called it:
A … (read more)
One of this year’s biggest Chinese New Year film releases has belatedly arrived in Melbourne’s Chinatown Cinema for a short season. Well, better late than never I suppose. A successful Chinese New Year movie will nearly always have the following ingredients: it must be family oriented, have big name stars, countless celebrity cameos and story-lines guaranteed not to tax the intellect.
An Inspector Calls is a strange choice for a Hong Kong movie, let alone a major Chinese New Year … (read more)
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)
Donnie Yen returns to the big screen in Kung Fu Jungle, in the well-worn guise of a skilled martial artist brought low, doggedly chasing down a brilliant but broken adversary. Not that he’s been away for long; arguably the last big action star standing from Hong Kong’s golden years, he’s been working harder than ever, turning in a couple of huge films every year since the early 2000s, often as action choreographer as well.
In this film, director Teddy … (read more)
Given the recent public demonstrations in Hong Kong, the film Bends, which I actually saw almost a year ago at the 2013 Stockholm Film Festival, feels especially pertinent. But for those following the socio-political debates and news of Hong Kong, the issues being dealt with in this film go back for longer than that.
Sort of a Chinese version of Driving Miss Daisy, though not quite as chatty nor spanning decades, Bends is a quiet and unassuming film … (read more)
By way of full disclosure: When Overheard 3 arrived in Australian cinemas and distributor Magnum Films were kind enough to send me a ticket for review, I was worried. I hadn’t seen the first two films, and this is generally a recipe for incomprehensibility as far as the third is concerned. I saw the first installment on iTunes as prep, and then discovered that I needn’t have worried: writer/director duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong have crafted a series of … (read more)
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)