Reviews by Country
As the Shaw Brothers film studio business was winding down, resulting in an output of lesser quality than the preceding decades, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter burst forth, a bellowing send-off for both a voluminous cycle of movies and a star who died too young. Bursting with vigour and capturing much of what made the studio and director famous, it never settles for imitating the past, still refining techniques and pushing new ideas.
This is not immediately evident as the … (read more)
Some movies opt for a mysterious title to incite audience interest, while some movies are more up front. Assassination is pretty up front. Yet there’s so much more to it than that one noun bluntly seems to state.
Director Choi Dong-hoon returns with another big-budget rollercoaster of a film, sharing many faces with his last feature The Thieves. Also similar to his previous hit is the basic structure of Assassination, with a large cast maneuvering their way to … (read more)
The whimsical opening music of Gorgeous accompanies the narration of a romantic legend, while the camera pans across a dazzling night sky. This is promptly followed by a CGI fish burp gag. It’s not a movie to be taken seriously, but still ultimately wants to be a fairytale romance at heart. I can’t believe I watched this with my brothers back in the day without squirming.
Innocent, starry-eyed, Taiwanese girl Bu (Shu Qi) strikes out for the big city with … (read more)
The Rebel is a fascinating viewing experience. The occasional Vietnamese film has made a name outside its homeland — we even have a few reviewed here on HC — but mostly we see the country through the filmic lens of western Vietnam war films. So it’s always interesting when a homegrown production comes along to lend its own voice to the conversation. When it’s as well-made as this film, it’s a pleasure to watch as well.
The Rebel goes back … (read more)
At least the title is likely to catch an eye running down a list of potential viewing opportunities. The standard explanation for this strangeness is that the previous two films from the Golden Harvest studio that had English names beginning with the letter M had flopped, so the titular nouns were reversed to get away from the unlucky consonant. What the heck — a fun movie needs a fun title, and this one delivers!
Following in Bruce Lee’s footsteps with … (read more)
After exploding onto the international action scene with Ong Bak, star Tony Jaa and team return in an attempt to top their own bone-crunching hit.
Originally called Tom Yum Goong, the version we get in Australia comes by way of the Weinstein Company, most recently infamous for their stripped-down version of Snowpiercer. This time significant changes were made, beginning with the title. The Protector is actually not too bad — as it references the theme of the … (read more)
Project A is a highlight of Jackie Chan’s filmography, and the movie I use to introduce those unfamiliar with Hong Kong cinema to the many and varied delights it delivers. However, Project A: Part II is my favourite Jackie Chan movie. It is perhaps one of the purest displays of Jackie’s talent for creating intricate action and comedy scenes, displayed so clearly that the skill behind their construction is almost invisible.
As if as a reminder of the high bar … (read more)