Blog Archives

Flash Point (2007)

The long-awaited sequel to the excellent 2005 crime-action drama Sha Po Lang (SPL) has finally been released – and what a truly disappointing film it turns out to be. Flash Point is one of the cinema’s low points for 2007.

Flash Point is a lazy and unoriginal movie with routine performances from major HK stars and a storyline culled from recent Chinese crime flicks. Plus the near unbelievable fact that this high budget thriller was filmed on digital video. The … (read more)

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SPL (2005)

If you’re a regular reader of sites with an interest in Asian cinema on the net, you probably already know all about Sha Po Lang (SPL). You’ve read all four very positive reviews on twitchfilm, you’ve read Grady’s review at Kaiju Shakedown, and you know what’s what. A modern Hong Kong film, starring three very well-respected martial arts stars from different backgrounds, with a gritty, crime setting and a lot of neon lights and breaking glass. A … (read more)

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Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1992)

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In light of the Hong Kong box office success of Once Upon a Time in China (which was the 8th highest earner in 1991, making HK$29,672,278.00 over its 56 day run), it was only a matter of course before at least one sequel would get spawned. This being a Film Workshop baby, one could also justly expect the ante to be upped in the second work of what turned out to be a six movie series. The appointment of Yuen … (read more)

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New Dragon Gate Inn (1992)

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They say you can’t have it all and in Ming Dynasty China the eunuchs certainly didn’t! OK, I must apologise for that lapse in comedic judgement. But the ball is in my court. Oh, please make me stop. Anyway this lack of a certain, um, something may explain why they were mad for power and painted Evil Eyebrows on their noggins to give them that extra mad-as-a-cut-snake villain look. Certainly works here for Donnie Yen’s character!

Yen is part of … (read more)

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Dragon Tiger Gate (2006)

‘BIF! KA-POW! CRASH!’

This is the comic book aesthetic viewed so fondly in retrospectives of those formative, younger years. Colourful garb and improbable science dominated those moments in the school yard in between those regularly scheduled beatings from the schoolyard bullies.

Such sentimental attachment brings a welling of emotion from within whenever there is a cinematic realisation of scenes previously locked in poses by the constraints of paper and ink — even in adaptations of source material that is otherwise … (read more)

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Hero (2002)

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Well it’s been about two years since I first saw Zhang Yimou’s Hero and, at long last, I am getting around to writing a review. Sure this has to do with finally seeing it on the movie screen and it finally receiving a general release but my point is that I am in no way vain-glorious enough to believe that whatever audience this may very well reach is in anyway exclusive to HC and it is likely that that those … (read more)

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In the Line of Duty (1989)

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When an immigrant Chinese dockworker comes into brief contact with secret evidence implicating American intelligence operatives and the Green Dragon crime syndicate in a major drug trafficking operation, he is marked for death. Now on the run and running out of time, his only hope for survival is two cops with nothing to hide and nothing to lose!
(from the Hong Kong Legends DVD)

I think whoever wrote the synopsis above really decided that to really nail the soul of … (read more)

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Blade Of The Rose (2004)

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Of all sequels, this is the one that should never have been made. The original Twins publicity vehicle, The Twins Effect, was not a strong enough film to warrant a sequel, which is probably why the film-makers decided to use a completely different story. Bad move. Exceedingly bad move.

The story is complicated, but not well-thought out. It doesn’t hang together, and helps to make the whole film look rather like an undergraduate effort: full of grand ideas rendered … (read more)

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