Blog Archives

Rampant (2018)

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South Korea’s zombie train rolls on, as the undead plague continues to spread through pop culture. After Train to Busan went off like box office gangbusters, others were quick to start piling on the potential for a juicy slab of the screen market. Take for instance the hit Netflix series Kingdom, wherein Kim Eun-hee adapted the webcomic Kingdom of the Gods she helped create and which is a strong contender for the genesis of the South Korean strain of … (read more)

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The Swordsman (2020)

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Brisbane has been less impacted by the current pandemic than some other state capitals in Australia, so with COVID concerns ever-present, the Sunshine State leg of KOFFIA was able to go ahead. Thus, with a bellyful of food from one of the many Korean restaurants that have sprung up in the city over the past decade or so, I found myself in a well-attended (given the circumstances) cinema on a Saturday evening to watch historical action/drama The Swordsman.

After … (read more)

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Chasing the Dragon (2017)

To begin, an admission. I have not seen many Wong Jing films. Not even some of his biggest hits, such as God of Gamblers. Some of his work has flickered across my retinas, but given the fellow’s torrential output over the decades I may as well have folded before even picking up the cards. I know him more by reputation; a film-maker chasing the broadest and basest of cinematic trends. Jackie Chan’s classics are hardly high-brow, but City Hunter(read more)

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Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015)

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Want to see a movie where a bunch of stuff happens? You’ve come to the right place.

I really don’t know what to make of this one. I entertained a fancy of simply posting a series of screenshots to convey how discombobulating a viewing experience this film provides, but I’m going to try and describe it as best I can in words as well.

Imagine a meandering and often lovely-to-look-at indie film, with a main narrative thread broken up by … (read more)

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Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018)

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The Ip Man film scene has become a crowded sub-genre over the last decade and a bit. Although the four numbered titles directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen are the most well-known, there are also the alternate takes on the historical figure in Ip Man: The Legend is Born, Ip Man: Kung Fu Master and Ip Man: The Final Fight plus Wong Kar Wai’s spin on the legend in The Grandmaster. There‚Äôs also a 2013 TV … (read more)

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Maria (2019)

The vengeful female assassin is a recognisable character. Perhaps because they’re not as common, or because it plays against the idea of the fairer sex, Lady Snowblood and her ilk (such as The Villainess) stand out more than their male counterparts. Maria sticks its own knife in the lady killer body of work and while the title character herself does the job with competence, the film around her does not reach the same standard.

On a macro level Maria(read more)

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Baaghi (2016)

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The thing about trying to appeal to several lowest common denominators at once is it often turns films into cinematic fast food of the highest order. Low barrier to entry, high calorie count. That’s why it’s called broad entertainment. But man alive if it doesn’t go down a treat on a Friday or Saturday night. I’ve been pining for the 80s heyday of Hong Kong action-comedies of late, the kind of movie where the plot is an excuse to cram … (read more)

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Dangal (2016)

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You can’t keep a good man down. Or a good woman. Especially if the good woman is the daughter of the good man. That about sums up the energetic crowd-pleaser Dangal, for better or worse — but overwhelmingly better.

Having only seen one film from India before (two if you sneak in Slumdog Millionaire) and being only vaguely familiar with the behemoth that is the Indian film industry and all its sub-categories, Dangal came across this cinematic explorer’s … (read more)

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