Blog Archives

MUSA: The Warrior (2001)

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Five years of planning and production, a seven million dollar budget, and three hundred staff shooting over five months travelling ten thousand kilometres across the Chinese continent. It is unfortunate that these figures speak to me (and probably you) more than the names involved with the production of MUSA: The Warrior. This film is the result of an amazing creative process, with the time and effort invested clearly displayed on screen.

This was made on a seven million dollar … (read more)

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Infernal Affairs III (2003)

My expectations for Infernal Affairs 3 were not high. Infernal Affairs 2 had proved to be little more than a lazy attempt to ‘cash in’ on the (deserved) success of the first film by inexplicably substituting the original’s too-cool style for some bland direction and stupid story choices, and there seemed little reason to think IA 3 would be any different.

Well, at least this time Andrew Lau and Alan Mak have made something that can be described as a … (read more)

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Enter the Dragon (1973)

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I love Enter the Dragon. I love everything about it. Critical distance? I think not. This is a film I feel particularly strongly about, and one I refuse to discuss in a removed manner. I love Bruce Lee. I love Bruce Lee’s performance. No matter what anyone says, Lee is not just a fighter – he’s also a fine actor and a snappy dresser. I love Lalo Schiffrin’s score – it really is too cool for words. I love … (read more)

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Breaking News (2004)

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Johnnie To confuses me. I have never been able to satisfactorily account for why I enjoy his films so much, and I don’t like that. It has always seemed to me that he strikes a very uneasy balance between visual style and dramatic substance; those devices (plot and character-related) To employs to lend weight to the emotional side of his films are usually very conventional, but somehow he always manages to obscure this until I think about it afterwards, which … (read more)

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Battle Royale (2000)

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When Battle Royale was released in Japan in December 2000 it received a R-15 classification, meaning that director Kinji Fukusaku’s primary audience could not legally see the film. Fukusaku therefore went public with a statement to the effect of “Children! I made this film for you! See it however you can — break the law! Sneak into the cinema! Just watch the film!”

Fukusaku wasn’t just worried about his box office — BR isn’t just for teenagers because it exploits … (read more)

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Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003)

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I was always going to score this film a 10. This is also the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. Not, mind you, because Kill Bill failed to meet my 10-out-of-10 expectations — quite the opposite in fact. Tarantino has made a film that is far better than anything I could have (and did) imagine, and the highest compliment that I can pay his work here is that I had to watch it a second time right away. Unfortunately … (read more)

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Kill Bill Vol.2 (2004)

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So, now that this tale of bloody revenge has reached its climax, which ‘r’ do I feel? Relief, that it met my expectations? Regret, that it’s all over? A little of both actually, but mostly I feel Respect. From the opening ‘Massacre at Two Pines’ to the surreal final chapter ‘Face to Face,’ this proves to be a brilliant film; one quite different to the first half of The Bride’s quest to kill Bill, but certainly no less of a … (read more)

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Kung Faux – Vol. 1 (2003)

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Not so long ago, the greatest joy I took from writing for Heroic Cinema was the fact that I could use my position on the team to justify watching all sorts of crazy crap, usually starring Amy Yip. Seeing as I could never be sure what Mark would ask me to review next, I had no problems at all sitting down with a copy of Erotic Ghost Story, or similar, and feeling just fine about all the exploitative sex … (read more)

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