Blog Archives

Millionaires Express (1986)

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Millionaires Express

This movie is ridiculous. I mean that in the best sense of the word, as in over-the-top silliness, expertly crafted to make you grin with glee or cringe with incredulity depending on your familiarity with Hong Kong’s special filmic sauce — equal parts broad visual gags, verbal comedy that doesn’t quite translate, kinetic action and a pinch or two of political incorrectness, all boiling down to a bubbling broth of good old fashioned fun.

Just look at that cast list! … (read more)

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Ip Man 3 (2015)

Ip Man 3

I missed the third film in the Wilson Yip-directed, Donnie Yen-starring Ip Man series when it was in cinemas, so I was very happy to have a chance to review the upcoming Aussie DVD/Blu-ray release (available May 4 from Eastern Eye). Yen’s portrayal of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man as a quietly traditionalist, highly skilled master of his art has been his most popular role of the last decade or so. Aside from his transformation in the flawed but fun … (read more)

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The Monkey King 2 (2016)

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Monkey King 2

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.

(If you’re not up on the Monkey King story — Aussies of a certain age should think Monkey (read more)

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SPL II: A Time for Consequences (2015)

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SPL II

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)

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An Inspector Calls (2015)

An Inspector Calls

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)

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Helios (2015)

Helios

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)

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Kung Fu Jungle (2014)

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Kung Fu Jungle

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)

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Bends (2013)

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Bends

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)

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