Reviews by Country
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)
From Melbourne With Love
A survey of the modest collection of obsolete optical media in my apartment reveals 32 Stephen Chow titles, a ratio of at least 5:1 over any other actor or director. Rather than being an irrelevant humblebrag on my part, this elucidates the fact that there is a global audience for Hong Kong’s popular cinema and — more importantly — Chow, whom I still consider its shining star. My take on his most recent film, Journey to … (read more)
As Michael Douglas approaches 70 and we wave goodbye to the golden-era of Hollywood’s erotic-thrillers, the recent local release of The 33D Invader reminds us that Hong Kong’s Category III films still exceed typical fringe exploitation budgets, and live on in the realm of mainstream Cantonese film. Cash Chin’s latest, distributed by Madman, contributes to his legacy as one of the premier filmmakers of the genre. Whilst it’s unlikely that Chin’s films will be retrospectively revered like those of more … (read more)
Tai Chi 0, the latest offering from actor-turned-director, Stephen Fung, is a throwback to period kung fu comedies from the early nineties. The film’s style steps away from the swordplay movies re-popularized in the west, towards the more simplistic kung fu genre. Avoiding supernatural themes, the film embraces an en vogue steampunk style; this time, hostility towards industrialization represents the typical anti-European sentiment familiar to the genre. Unfortunately, Tai Chi 0 is overcrowded by some CG comic book and … (read more)
Off the shelf; it’s a Sony.
It’s not after every trip to the local video store that I leave pondering global marketing, cross-cultural hybridization, computer generated aliens and region coded DVD players. I was recently, however, pleasantly surprised to have seen a copy of Stephen Chow’s CJ7 (a local release, not an import) propped up amongst the latest plethora of Hollywood’s finest – a dim, yet shining, beacon. It seemed to me that this film was once destined to carry … (read more)