Mark-gor’s Top 5 films in 2006

1. Exiled: Johnnie To’s best film since Running Out of Time, a superb and cyclical story driven by fine characters, set beautifully on Macau. The best black comedy heroic gangster-western of this or any year.

2. The Host: Big budget big monster Korean blockbuster totally delivered on the tsunami of its own hype with an unexpectedly intimate story of a small family versus a big problem.

3. Gankutsuo: Every time a new disc of this arrives we are superglued to the couch by its mesmerising and decadent anime retelling of the Count of Monte Christo. Never has the swish of brocade been so ominous.

4. Fearless: I may be a big softy, but I got a lump in my throat seeing Jet Li get back in the wu shu ring and dish it out like it was 1993. Yes, the bit in the middle where he goes mad is pretty much as bad as the bit in the middle of Tai Chi Master where he goes mad, but I just loved this flick. Goodbye pony-tailed Jet. Goodbye.

5. A Bittersweet Life: This ice cool Korean gangster film sprays style and bullets for two hours. Personally I could have done with a glimmer of emotion *before* the final shot in the film, but damn, Lee Byun-Hung sure looks good in a suit when triple kicking some stooge in the head.

Honourable mentions: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Seven Swords, Planetes, Election 2, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig.

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