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The sad state of HK films...

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The sad state of HK films...

Old 07-01-04, 11:36 AM
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The sad state of HK films...

Last weekend I took a walk down to my favorite DVD shop in NYC Chinatown, just to see what was new. And it got me thinkin'...

I remember I used to go down to Chinatown maybe twice a month with a purpose, to pick up the latest hot HK DVD release. Now I could go maybe every two months and not miss a beat. It's sad that the only release tempting me is Running on Karma, and that's been out for a while already.

It's also sad that the DVD shelves are being taken over by the new Shaw Brothers releases. Literally the selection at most stores is 3/4 Shaw Brothers, 1/4 everything else.

What's worse is the HK film industry isn't looking any brighter. After such a long production period, Kar Wai Wong's 2046 is looking like a disappointment. It was shown in Cannes and critics ripped it so much he said he was going to quit working on the film and consider that release final. Adversely, Yimou Zhang's House of Flying Daggers has a lot of positive buzz after Cannes. But what's left? Everyone says Jiang Hu isn't that great, and that's the biggest film to come out of HK since Internal Affairs III.

What we need is another Fulltime Killer. Another So Close. Another Once Upon a Time in China. Not another Silverhawk, or god forbid another Twins movie (although I am secretly looking forward to Twins Effect 2). We need Tsui Hark to swallow his pride and do something good for once. It would have been great had he stayed on Initial D, but it sounded like his ego got in the way of production. We need Chow Yun Fat to come back to HK and make a good action movie, and to convince John Woo that his career in Hollywood is going nowhere and to go back to his roots. We need Woo-ping Yuen to make another HK movie as well. We need Donnie Yen to take everything he learned in Hollywood and make a great action movie. We need someone new and exciting for Jackie Chan to hand over the crown to.

The HK film industry should watch the Kill Bill movies, study them, and then collectively say to themselves:

"We need to make a movie like that."

Jeremy
Old 07-01-04, 11:48 AM
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Re: The sad state of HK films...

Originally posted by jrutz


The HK film industry should watch the Kill Bill movies, study them, and then collectively say to themselves:

"We need to make a movie like that."

Jeremy
you know that type of generalization absolutely scares and befuddles me, HK doing Hollywood? Nah, keep the current trend and just concentrate on the stories and less on the action devoid of plot and character aspect that "Kill Bill" iptomized.
Old 07-01-04, 12:10 PM
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Kill Bill was (imo) a blatant rip-off of many HK films. Kill Bill reeked of stolen ideas blanketed over with the statement "homage". Many of those ideas came directly from HK films.

Please, god, do NOT have HK films begin producing fluffy garbage like Kill Bill.

-JR
Old 07-01-04, 12:18 PM
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Actually, the Hong Kong film industry is actually having a sudden surge of good films recently. Dunno why, but these were all well-received:

BREAKING NEWS
ONE NITE IN MONGKOK
MCDULL: PRINCE DE LA BUN
LOVE BATTLEFIELD

Coming soon:

THROW DOWN
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
Old 07-01-04, 01:15 PM
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Re: The sad state of HK films...

Originally posted by jrutz
It's sad that the only release tempting me is Running on Karma, and that's been out for a while already.
For what it's worth, I'm a big fan of Johnny To's PTU, but Running on Karma isn't very good. There are a few fun scenes, mostly at the beginning, but the story is less thought-out than To seems to think it is. And Andy Lau's rubber body suit is pretty distracting all the way through.
Old 07-01-04, 01:27 PM
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Hong Kong Cinema suffers from thorough piracy issues, which effects the amount of money that film makes. This is another issue why one should not buy pirated film or music as it effects their next release as well. -- just a thought

Grimfarrow,

Thanks for the updates.
Old 07-01-04, 02:09 PM
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I'd like to echo Grimfarrow's comments. The first half of 2004 has been great, with the likes of Breaking News, One Nite In Mongkok, and Love Battlefield. And the rest of the year looks just as good. New Police Story, Kung Fu Hustle, 2046, and several others looking quite promising. Aside from the ones I mentioned above, some other, smaller HK films I'm looking forward to are Crazy Heroic Couple (starring my man Francis Ng), Twins Effect 2 (hey maybe they'll get it right this time, and Jackie Chan has a big fight with Donnie Yen), and Father and Son (don't know much about it other than that Yuen Biao is starring, and since I haven't seen him in a decent movie in a long time...). 2004 should be better than 2003.
Old 07-01-04, 02:28 PM
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I've noticed this trend for the past year or two and mentioned it in the hk cinema thread I started awhile back... The twins are one of the worst things that have happened to hk cinema. perhaps they are slowly coming out of the slump... Stephen Chow's next movie should be coming out eventually... *sigh*
Old 07-01-04, 05:52 PM
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Ever seen Just One Look? Both Twins star in the movie and it's quite good.
Old 07-01-04, 05:58 PM
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Re: The sad state of HK films...

Originally posted by jrutz
It's also sad that the DVD shelves are being taken over by the new Shaw Brothers releases. Literally the selection at most stores is 3/4 Shaw Brothers, 1/4 everything else.

Jeremy
I agree with you about the staleness of the most recent HK releases, but the release of all these Shaw movies is definitely not sad.
Old 07-01-04, 06:09 PM
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Everything goes in cycles, and it appears that the HK film industry is finally starting to pull itself out of its decade long slump. Of course, the rampant piracy has taken a serious toll on the industry, and is in large part responsible for the slump. If this can somehow possibly be taken care of, it would be a big help to the industry, which lately has been showing signs of life again.

And I for one am very happy to see the Shaw Bros. DVDs on the shelves. But yeah, it would be nice to see more great new releases sitting on the shelf along side them. The late 80s-early 90s were a great time for an HK film fan, and it would be nice to experience that kind of excitement again.
Old 07-02-04, 12:47 AM
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Sad state of HK films?? You must not have seen Fantasia.

I thought Running on Karma was decent, allthough the body suit is indeed distracting. Andy Lau riding a motorcycle got me laughing harder than any other film in recent memory. I didn't like PTU at all, but I should watch it again in case things have changed.

As far as upcoming things, I"m really looking forward to One Nite in Mongkok and Breaking News. Jiang Hu is on the way, but I really haven't read too much about it, so I don't know what all the hype is about (other than one scene that was supposedly removed).

Last year in HK film wasn't so good overall, but Lost in Time was pretty great. See that if you haven't.
Old 07-02-04, 12:58 AM
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I'm not really complaining about HK movies. They're still way better than Hollywood flicks.

Piracy's a definite factor but the home video market isn't really helping any also. VCDs are dirt cheap and that's a nother reason why movies are getting worse. No budget so nothing very exciting. The few movies with a budget try for an international audience, like Black Mask 2 and Silver Hawk, and they suck because they try to be like Hollywood.

I am so surprised that you're complaining about the Shaw Brothers DVDs. I applaud Celestial with every DVD I see and I'm so glad somebody decided to give these movies a nice treatment. I'd never seen any Shaw Brothers movie before they started releasing them because, either they couldn't be found, or the cropping and dubbing was so utterly obnoxious I didn't even bother watching the movie.

The problem with the Twins is that most movies in HK tried to cater to adults, not teens or kids. The Twins started the teen movement in HK, and like in Hollywood, people who love movies suffered because they have to endure them. Personally, I don't mind them much, but I'd still watch Chow Yun-Fat blowing people away over those two chicks any day.

Even if the movies from 15 years ago are better, the movies now are still okay.
Old 07-02-04, 02:44 AM
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Jiang Hu is crap. Don't bother.
Old 07-02-04, 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by pat00139
I am so surprised that you're complaining about the Shaw Brothers DVDs. I applaud Celestial with every DVD I see and I'm so glad somebody decided to give these movies a nice treatment. I'd never seen any Shaw Brothers movie before they started releasing them because, either they couldn't be found, or the cropping and dubbing was so utterly obnoxious I didn't even bother watching the movie.
No, I really like that Celestial is re-mastering the classic Shaw Brothers films and treating the releases with a lot of care (although I wish they would have continued with the Bey Logan commentaries). Although all of them aren't must-sees, there are so many influential flicks out of this studio that a superior DVD release is much appreciated.

But this speaks to my earlier statement:

Originally posted by jrutz
The HK film industry should watch the Kill Bill movies, study them, and then collectively say to themselves:

"We need to make a movie like that."
What I meant by that, is that Quentin Tarantino went out and tried to make the best grind-house film ever, based on his heavy influences by classic Asian cinema, among others. It is this classic Asian cinema, as well as what made the Shaw Brothers films so influential, that modern-day HK films are straying from. So when I say they need to "make a movie like that," I'm saying they need to go back and look at what made HK cinema so influential, to revisit its contributions to world-wide cinema, and start making those movies again.

I welcome every Shaw Brothers release, but like I said when there are three Shaw Brothers re-masters for every one quality recent release, that speaks volumes to where the HK film industry is today.

Jeremy

Last edited by jrutz; 07-02-04 at 02:06 PM.
Old 07-02-04, 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by bobstevens
I thought Running on Karma was decent, allthough the body suit is indeed distracting. Andy Lau riding a motorcycle got me laughing harder than any other film in recent memory.
OK, I'll give you that. That scene was damn funny!
Old 07-02-04, 09:29 PM
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It's in a pretty good condition right now considering the almost complete wasteland before. Infernal Affairs (the first one) was considered the first step in the right direction. I was a big fan at one time, but completely lost interest around the time Once Upon a Time in China IV was released. Quality of releases were atrocious and decent ones were way too far and between.
Old 07-03-04, 12:00 AM
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Originally posted by jrutz

I welcome every Shaw Brothers release, but like I said when there are three Shaw Brothers re-masters for every one quality recent release, that speaks volumes to where the HK film industry is today.

Jeremy

In reality, how is that any different from what is happening in the U.S.? Don't WB, MGM, Columbia/Tristar etc. issue at least three catalogue titles for each quality recent release?

I think we've been a bit spoiled, because with DVDs and the ease of international ordering, we've been able to play catch-up on the great HK films that weren't so accessible in the past, and we've crowded a lot of quality product from the last 20 years or so into just a few years' viewing.
Old 07-03-04, 08:19 PM
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All I can say is thank god for Korean films.
Old 07-06-04, 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by eXcentris
All I can say is thank god for Korean films.
exactly, I rented last weekend 'Memories of Murder' and was blown away!
Old 09-04-04, 01:40 AM
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Tarantino did much more than rip off another cultures movie making and heritage, he stuck it right in the faces of the u.s. population, causing many who have never even thought of seeing a foreign film to take a step back and think about it for a change. Quentin did a very good duty for cinema and I applaude him for it.
Old 09-04-04, 04:45 AM
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Originally posted by purpendicular
Tarantino did much more than rip off another cultures movie making and heritage, he stuck it right in the faces of the u.s. population, causing many who have never even thought of seeing a foreign film to take a step back and think about it for a change. Quentin did a very good duty for cinema and I applaude him for it.
i get annoyed when he tacks his name onto something he has absolutely nothing to do with

eg. Hero

someone here has it spot on with his signature, youve shown us what youve seen, now show us what youve got
Old 09-04-04, 07:46 AM
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I just saw To's Breaking News and Throw Down and liked both but thought Throw Down was the better of the 2. Breaking News has the same problem Swordfish had, you do an awesome, kick ass opening scene that eclipses the whole movie.The first 10 minute or so shootout-with its tracking shots and action- doesnt get equaled in the movie, which loses track of its story i think with too many plots and characters. I thought Throwdown had trememndous heart and acting, please dont be fooled into thinking its a full on action judo pic, it isnt but it has judo as its core element.
Old 09-04-04, 11:01 AM
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any other movies out there similar to ong bak?
Old 09-04-04, 03:10 PM
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The new one by the fight choreographers for Ong Bak is supposed to be out soon.

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