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Wu Xia (2011)

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Wu Xia 2011 Peter Ho-sun Chan China Lion

Wu Xia is billed as a martial arts murder mystery, and one needs to wonder whether there are many more genre mash-ups still left to be made (of course making that thought is sufficient for some unknown combination to come forth).  That, of course, is the central premise of Wu Xia: that Jinxi’s (Donnie Yen) intervention in a robbery draws the attention of  magistrate Baijiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who is convinced that Jinxi’s good deed was only possible through the … (read more)

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Red Cliff (2009)

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When Cantonese director John Woo left Hong Kong for Hollywood in the mid-1990s, many people expected him to become one of the giants of world cinema. His American movies turned out to be, at best, problematic and his talent for combining strong human drama and rip-roaring action sequences was never fully realised. His most recent Hollywood film was Paycheck, I doubt in the history of American movies has a more apt title ever been given.

Two years ago, Woo … (read more)

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Confession of Pain (2006)

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The word ‘confession’ carries a great deal of weight in Western culture; in religion, it goes hand in hand with the concept of sin; in the secular world, it’s generally accompanied by legal action. It comes in as many shapes and forms as there are people to make it – from Okay, yeah I ate the last piece of cake to I’m having an affair with your boss and worse. It can ruin lives and relationships, damage trust, hurt others … (read more)

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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

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I have to admit that when I first saw House of Flying Daggers, I felt somewhat ambivalent about it. I had somewhat decent expectations for the film since it was a Zhang Yimou film, the man who brought us Hero, and had a solid enough cast of Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau and Zhang Ziyi. Yet, while the performances were strong and set pieces impressive, the story was lacking and a great deal of the fighting lacked a certain … (read more)

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The Returner (2002)

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There’s pretty much only one reason to watch this film. If you happen to be of the male persuasion, then it’s going to be Anne Suzuki, who plays young damsel-from-the-future-in-distress Milly. Personally I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she was in Snow Falling on Cedars (which dang it I always meant to watch but just never got around to) and she’s got one of those sweet, youthful faces that kind of looks like a lot of other sweet, … (read more)

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Fallen Angels (1995)

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Now we’ll have no nonsense about post-modern this or metaphors for urban that: for me, Fallen Angels is nothing more nor less than lush visual art set to a soundtrack that will send your cool meter spinning.

The saturated colour makes even an MTR station look exciting (I think it’s Mongkok, but I can’t be sure). Chris Doyle’s inimitable camerawork, combined with some of the most beautiful faces in the biz, should make everyone with a pulse want to down … (read more)

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Dr Wai in the Scripture With No Words (1995)

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This is a delight, as you’d expect from Ching Siu Tung, the director of Swordsman 2 and all three Chinese Ghost Story films.

The film is neatly split between fantasy and reality. In the real world, pulp writer Chau (Jet Li) is morose at his impending divorce with Monica (Rosamund Kwan). His idea box is empty, but he has a deadline to finish the latest thrilling instalment of Doc Wai, the Adventure King. He writes for a bit, but gives … (read more)

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