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What are the highly acclaimed Chinese films, with action that even grandma can watch?

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What are the highly acclaimed Chinese films, with action that even grandma can watch?

Old 04-24-08, 10:38 AM
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What are the highly acclaimed Chinese films, with action that even grandma can watch?

I'm trying to figure out all the highly acclaimed, just "good reviewed" HK martial arts/action films that anyone can watch, including your grandma (meaning that grandma can watch action once in a while as long as the story and acting is touching and gripping)! I notice the word "classic" is thrown around a lot when describing a Hong Kong film. "Shaw Brothers films" such classics..."Enter the Dragon" a classic..."The Killer" a classic..."Drunken Master 2" a classic.."Once Upon a Time in China 2" a classic, etc...The respect to these movies is all about the action though. I've gone through loads of Shaw Brothers movies on DVD, and they are all pretty much the same - good action, entertaining, good sets, cartoony characters, martial arts schools/sects fighting for prestige storyline, etc... but I haven't seen any Shaw Bros film that's totally gripping and touching. Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li have only done very few actually good films. I love Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, but I have never seen them in a good movie...with action, unlike their usual action movies focusing on action. People are probably going to bring up some 90s dated action movie HK classics - that's all people ever talk about. But they are actually not good movies if you are looking for story, well-written characters, character development, and being touched. I know someone's going to recommend Pecking Opera Blues, but that's a silly fun action film, which is very dated. It's sort of the equivalent of recommending Raiders of the Lost Ark to your grandma.

Chinese films are usually broken down into the

great touching arty films:
RAISE THE RED LANTERN
TO LIVE
FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE
THE ROAD HOME

great action films:
Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Samo Hung, Bruce Lee and Chow Yun Fat films
Shaw Bros films starring Gordon Liu, Kara Hui, etc.



The only ones that I can think of the merging of the two above categories are:

HERO
CROUTCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS

I'm still looking for a real Shaw Bros masterpiece that's different from their usual bunch. Can anyone recommend any old ones or any others in general?
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Old 04-24-08, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
I'm trying to figure out all the highly acclaimed, just "good reviewed" HK martial arts/action films that anyone can watch, including your grandma (meaning that grandma can watch action once in a while as long as the story and acting is touching and gripping)! I notice the word "classic" is thrown around a lot when describing a Hong Kong film. "Shaw Brothers films" such classics..."Enter the Dragon" a classic..."The Killer" a classic..."Drunken Master 2" a classic.."Once Upon a Time in China 2" a classic, etc...The respect to these movies is all about the action though. I've gone through loads of Shaw Brothers movies on DVD, and they are all pretty much the same - good action, entertaining, good sets, cartoony characters, martial arts schools/sects fighting for prestige storyline, etc... but I haven't seen any Shaw Bros film that's totally gripping and touching. Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li have only done very few actually good films. I love Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, but I have never seen them in a good movie...with action, unlike their usual action movies focusing on action. People are probably going to bring up some 90s dated action movie HK classics - that's all people ever talk about. But they are actually not good movies if you are looking for story, well-written characters, character development, and being touched. I know someone's going to recommend Pecking Opera Blues, but that's a silly fun action film, which is very dated. It's sort of the equivalent of recommending Raiders of the Lost Ark to your grandma.
"Dated action movie HK classics" are all people ever talk about? What sites are you visiting? Granted, there is a lot of discussion of those films because they ARE good films, but they're not the only things being discussed, provided you visit sites that are devoted to the broader cinema from Hong Kong. Such films, though, don't try to be touching very often, but the best ones sure are gripping. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of these "actually not good" films have strong stories, well-written and realistically-developed characters, and sometimes even small doses of touching drama, but they are primarily action pictures, so they're not designed in the first place to appeal to the average grandma, unless perhaps she lives in Hong Kong and has grown up with conventions and tropes unique to Hong Kong cinema and Hong Kong people.

It sounds like you're looking for something that would appeal to an old woman's tastes while giving her a "sampling" of Hong Kong style action choreography (or at least a film with which you can "direct" her tastes, so to speak), and I'm not sure that's an easy thing to find outside of, perhaps, period romantic swordplay movies like BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR, GREEN SNAKE, THE LOVERS, etc., but from the your thoughts above regarding other genre cinema, I'm sure there's an axe to grind with what will likely be perceived as the "silly" fantasy elements of these films as well.

Really, though, why does it have to have martial arts at all? Why does it have to be a "classic" (whatever that entails)? To impress her? There are other kinds of action handled in that uniquely Hong Kong-ian style, but it's often just a small, SMALL part of pictures that don't fall into the action category overall.

Best of all, why not a good Hong Kong romantic drama or a smart, light, touching comedy, extremely popular and yes, even touching stuff like NEEDING YOU, METADE FUMACA (especially this one, and it even has a little stylized action), GOLDEN CHICKEN 1 and 2 (very touching comedies, believe it or not), A MOMENT OF ROMANCE (this one even has action, too!), RUNNING OUT OF TIME, WHERE A GOOD MAN GOES (bit violent, but very touching) . . . I could go on but I'm pressed for time as I type this. The point is, sometimes the stuff that is defined as "classic" by the international academic and fan communities is so defined for a reason, but the accolades (rightfully) heaped upon such films often obscures some fantastic cinema that both meets some or all of the narrow criteria you've set out, AND was popular/populist on it's home turf and in other markets across Asia.

Recent stuff like MAGIC KITCHEN, HOOKED ON YOU, LOVE BATTLEFIELD (a bit violent, but very touching), MERRY-GO-ROUND, LAVENDER, LOST AND FOUND, CITY OF GLASS, 12 NIGHTS, might appeal to the female sensibilities as well, and are all quite well written. They're low on action, but I suspect grandma won't mind either way. And better yet, they're low on PRETENSION, something that afflicts far too many films from Mainland China (and there's a big, BIG difference between what comes out of Mainland China and what comes out of Hong Kong).



Chinese films are usually broken down into the

great touching arty films:
RAISE THE RED LANTERN
TO LIVE
FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE
THE ROAD HOME

great action films:
Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Samo Hung, Bruce Lee and Chow Yun Fat films
Shaw Bros films starring Gordon Liu, Kara Hui, etc.

Chinese films are stereotyped that way, and it looks as though you've bought in to the stereotype. This kind of ignorance (and I don't use the term in an offensive way) is about 10 to 15 years out of date. Thanks to the internet (particularly sites more devoted to Hong Kong and Chinese cinema than this one) and "cross-border" shopping, there's just no excuse to divide Chinese cinema into Jackie Chan vs. Chen Kaige with nothing in between. How anyone can still hold that Chinese films are "usually" broken down like this is beyond me, but I suppose it stems from the Chinese films one finds at one's local Best Buy or DVD Planet, rather than the limitless options one has by importing from the source. Go to any American store, and you're confronted with the "martial arts" section and perhaps a few mainland "artsy touching" films in the drama sections (plus the usual derivative J- and K-horrors that likewise stereotype those film industries). Faced with one selection, it's no surprise that people feel compelled to actually narrow the scope of their search as you've done above.


I'm still looking for a real Shaw Bros masterpiece that's different from their usual bunch. Can anyone recommend any old ones or any others in general?
Again, are you willing to import to see this stuff? If you're just gonna stick to what American companies feed you, then you're NEVER going to see anything "good" (by your standards). The Shaw library is only famous for it's martial art films over here because that's all that gets distrubuted over here. They made hundreds of romances, light comedies, musicals, operas and social dramas during their prime. And so many of them are on DVD from Hong Kong. Time (at the moment) won't allow me to start rhyming them off, but go to some place like DDDHouse.com, click the Shaw Brothers link, then click on the titles that don't look like obvious period martial arts titles and you'll find plentiful options that might please grandma, with nice mixes of melodrama, character development, and perhaps a smidgen of action rather than the action being the whole raison d'etre.

Just some thoughts. . .

By the way, if you search YouTube for any of the titles mention in this post, and those to follow I'm sure, you'll undoubtedly find clips and trailers.

Last edited by Brian T; 04-24-08 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:33 PM
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BRIAN T,

They are broken down into that stereotyped category because that's the way they are. There's nothing wrong with stereotypes being true. I've seen the whole spectrum of Asian films. I'm sorry that I forgot the rest of the categories: China's categories of stupid-ass slapstick comedies (except for Steven Chow's flics), blockbuster dramadies with the current pop star-turned actor, and crime/mafia flicks. These stereotyped genres are everywhere though. If this was a topic about the emotionally gripping, arty, "Western" action films, then I would include America's Matrixs, France's Brotherhood of the Wolf, Denmark's Fighter, Poland's Avalon, Finland's Jade Warrior (so-so film, but good effort), etc...

I know that the Shaw Bros films and 90s HK flicks are "good" action movies, which are focused on the action and not on a gripping emotional storyline/character development. All I'm trying to say is which ones are the good ones designed to have the equal balance WITH the depth, emotions, great storyline, great character development and WITH good action. (For example, there's a whole slew of recent Asian melodramatic action movies, such as Shinobi, The Duelist, Casshern, The Promise, but they just suck on the drama AND they suck on the action). There are a lot of serious Shaw Bros films, but the ones I've seen tend to border on extreme melodramatic where it's too extreme/cartoony/theatrical to take seriously. I import most of my foreign flicks. I rarely buy foreign movies on Region 1 NTSC DVD. Please recommend a great Shaw Bros film for me that's different from the rest of each time period, and not a melodramatic live-action cartoon.


Let me rephrase my post in a simpler way - forget the grandma thing. This is all that I meant: "What are the good emotionally gripping art-house-type Asian action films?" I'll even throw in Korean and Japanese action flicks to my list to clarify what I'm looking for. Here's my updated list of good emotionally gripping Asian action flicks - a good mix of art film, action, story, character development, and emotions, in which the action is great and the drama is great as well:

Croutching Tiger
Hero
House of Flying Daggers
Shiri
Old Boy
Battle Royale
Bichunmoo
Storm Riders
Bride with White Hair
Shadowless Sword
The Blade
Crying Freeman (more of an international film)
Fearless
Running On Karma
Musa
Purple Storm
Valley of Flowers (more of an international film)
The Legend of Evil Lake
Red Shadow
Ashes of Time (haven't seen this one yet)
The Rebel

Last edited by toddly6666; 04-24-08 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:09 PM
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Here's a couple that I really like that aren't on your list:

A CHINESE GHOST STORY
GREEN SNAKE
FONG SAI YUK (US title: The Legend)

This is just completely off the top of my head, a few films that really hooked me on HK cinema back in the 90's. And you REALLY have to see ASHES OF TIME.
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Old 04-25-08, 01:13 AM
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Well, I can't say I didn't try.

I suspect your particular parameters here are too narrow for me to be of any further help, despite having a collection of Hong Kong DVDs and VCDs that now totals over 1500 items, many of which have yet to be watched, and many of which will be sold off I'm sure; I only stock up on them because I live within one of the largest Chinese diasporic communities in North America, and the markdowns on legit product are irresistible. Thus, in regards to this topic, I'm probably biased as I enjoy a much wider range of films within every genre Hong Kong is able to produce (though naturally I don't love 'em all).

Chinese pictures (which are a whole different thing from their Hong Kong cousins), don't hold the same fascination for me, but I'll watch whatever I can find. I've seen hundreds of "stupid-ass" Hong Kong comedies, loved a bunch, disliked a bunch, possibly even for similar reasons as yourself. Can't say I've seen too many Chinese stupid-ass comedies though. I have one called CRAZY STONE that I imported a couple years back, but it's still in the pile. I think the Chinese cinema that gets released over here doesn't truly respect the country's range of genres, but again, beyond the big costume blockbusters, I tend to watch Chinese arthouse pictures that don't feature action, so again, I'm at a loss here.

Wherever I mention Chinese cinema above, I'm referring to productions FROM China, which are considerably different from the pictures made in Hong Kong, even when they seem to be sharing similar themes, settings, costumes, etc. I'm not sure that distinction is being made.


They are broken down into that stereotyped category because that's the way they are
I wasn't arguing that it wasn't true. I was arguing that it's wrong. It leads to narrowcasting. And we largely have American distribs to thank for it.

As well, I've seen and/or own every title in your list (including ASHES OF TIME), but there are some that I don't believe fit the criteria you've set out in your posts, and some that I'd agree do. But one man's "good mix of art film, action, story, character development, and emotions, in which the action is great and the drama is great as well" is another man's "extreme melodramatic where it's too extreme/cartoony/theatrical to take seriously". I think because of this, responses to your query will have to be taken with a grain of salt, as the beasts you're hunting might be more elusive than you think.

I just try to enjoy all of these pictures for what they are (and what they are is often intended).

Best of luck in the hunt.

P.S. I still think METADE FUMACA is a damned fine film.

P.P.S. Hong Kong cinema has always, always, always been toploaded with movies starring "the current pop star-turned actor". Far more than nearly any film industry on earth save India's. To blow that off hints at a lack of understanding of Hong Kong culture (which is crucial to understanding its cinema, of course), and further narrows the kinds of films someone might enjoy from the former colony.

Last edited by Brian T; 04-25-08 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 04-25-08, 02:38 AM
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Brian T,
I watched some clips on youtube, but is that METADE FUMACA flick a comedy poking fun at all those Asian actors that try to act cool by smoking and acting as if they are in a european film?
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Old 04-25-08, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
I've seen the whole spectrum of Asian films. I'm sorry that I forgot the rest of the categories: China's categories of stupid-ass slapstick comedies (except for Steven Chow's flics), blockbuster dramadies with the current pop star-turned actor, and crime/mafia flicks.
There are plenty of Hong Kong films that don't fit any of the genres you listed, Princess D being one. It's okay if you're looking for just a specific sub-genre, but so far you've been insinuating that China and Hong Kong produce nothing but films in those genres, which isn't true.

These stereotyped genres are everywhere though. If this was a topic about the emotionally gripping, arty, "Western" action films, then I would include America's Matrixs.... Poland's Avalon
I'm not sure I would call The Matrix "emotionally gripping," and I sure wouldn't call it "arty." Without the action sequences, The Matrix would be a pale copy of Dark City. Also, Avalon is a Japanese production.

This is all that I meant: "What are the good emotionally gripping art-house-type Asian action films?"
Since you liked Oldboy, you should try the other films in the Vengeance Trilogy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and (Sympathy for) Lady Vengeance.

Also, you haven't listed any Takeshi Kitano films. You should at least see Hana-bi (Fireworks).
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Old 04-25-08, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
Brian T,
I watched some clips on youtube, but is that METADE FUMACA flick a comedy poking fun at all those Asian actors that try to act cool by smoking and acting as if they are in a european film?

No.



- - - - -



I have absolutely no idea how you came to the suspicion that it's a spoof or comedy, based on a what is essentially ONE proper video (the trailer) and two ridiculous "fan edits" set to imappropriate American music at YouTube. I suppose the films you're looking for should not dare to have any wit? And the crack about "Asian actors that try to look cool" like "they're in a European film" is, again, very reactionary and narrow-minded. A) It's not a crime for one country to borrow elements from the cinema of another country, especially if it works within the context of the film in which it's being used. While I don't believe it's part of METADE, it IS done all the time, across limitless borders. And B) seeing an Asian person smoke a cigarette in a moodily lit composition is not automatically some kind of reference that indicates a lack of originality, as you seem to be suggesting. If you're referring to the smoking shot of Shu Qi -- and I suspect you are -- then you're watching a shot that is not in context. Same goes for the Stephen Fung "clips" over there, for the most part.

The problem I fear you will have with METADE FUMACA is that the brief "action" scenes (and remember, it is NOT an action film) are very stylized and richly photographed because they are being remembered by an older character in the film who is in the early-to-middle stages of a degenerative disease, and thus are subject to his interpretation decades after they occurred. That alone is a subtle, and "emotionally gripping" facet of the film, but I fear you may not be willing to read it that way, based on your tastes as outlined above, and your presumptions about utilizing "European" tropes (which is just silly).

I won't discuss this film any further as I've strongly suspect I've already set you up to hate it, so hopefully other people will chime in here with some selections that fit your precise criteria.

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Old 04-25-08, 12:45 PM
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JAY G, I hated the two other Vengence Films...and I love Takeshi Kitano whenever I see him.


BRIAN T, well i'm curious to see this film since I've never seen it. I like Shu Qi...

The problem I have with Chinese/HK/Korean/Japanese/Indian films is that I don't like when the actors try to be cool or tough. Because they are not. For example, any scene with a posse of Asian dudes = the flamboyant posse level of Grease or The Warriors. There are a few convincing leading men that I like in Asia (Anthony Wong, Tony Leung, Choi Min Sik, Takeshi Kitano, Takeshi Kitano, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Sanjay Dutt) in which they are just naturally cool, that don't try and be cool. The rest force it and just seem like little boys trying to be men. That's how I feel towards most Asian actors. The leading ladies are another story - i'm pretty impressed with them.
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Old 04-26-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
The problem I have with Chinese/HK/Korean/Japanese/Indian films is that I don't like when the actors try to be cool or tough. Because they are not. For example, any scene with a posse of Asian dudes = the flamboyant posse level of Grease or The Warriors. There are a few convincing leading men that I like in Asia (Anthony Wong, Tony Leung, Choi Min Sik, Takeshi Kitano, Takeshi Kitano, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Sanjay Dutt) in which they are just naturally cool, that don't try and be cool. The rest force it and just seem like little boys trying to be men. That's how I feel towards most Asian actors. The leading ladies are another story - i'm pretty impressed with them.
To each his own, I say!

One could almost read colonialist overtones into your comments about male Asian actors, although I'm probably stretching there. Personally, I have no problem with young actors trying to be cool. In fact, many of them pull it off quite well from my experience! And the filmmaking style in Hong Kong often relies upon it, and young audiences there expect it to a certain degree, I think. I think it's most appropriate when they're playing young triads, who very much DO act that way in real life (and one could argue that the actors, by mimicking such behaviour, are only glorifying the gangster life, but then again, gangster movies have done that for decades). My guess, hopefully, is that you hate this kind of "posing" in all world cinema, and not just the Asian components. I mean, plenty of European and American actors have been doing it for their audiences for decades, and it could be argued (by those who don't like it) that they're just as flamboyant or phony as you see many young Asian performers.

My fingers are crossed with METADE FUMACA, but again, I've probably said too much.
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Old 04-26-08, 09:18 PM
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Brian T,
Where's the colonialist overtones? All I said is that I don't buy most Asian/Indian actors as leading men, regardless if they are teen pop star actors to old veteran actors. I've seen mainstream blockbuster films from many countries, and I'm just not convinced with the actors from Asia/India.
Well, if I had to compare any American actors to these Asian man-boy actors, some American man-boy actors are Ashton Kushter, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Phillipe, Hayden Christianson and look where they are in Hollywood - not in such great flicks or roles.
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Old 04-26-08, 09:32 PM
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I would never make my grandma suffer through Crouching Tiger.
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Old 04-28-08, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
Where's the colonialist overtones?
Which is why I typed "could almost . . .", and now that you've further explained your thoughts on Asian actors, I have to wonder why you bother much with this stuff at all. The cultures that churn out these performers by the pound don't seem to hold as much interest to you as the content of their films (and those "systems", especially in Hong Kong and India, are significantly different than the U.S. model, despite outward appearances), though I suspect if they did, you'd probably have a broader acceptance of what Asian actors do bring to the table, as well as the kinds of movies and performers that Asian audiences expect to see. Everything at the moment seems to be pitted against American cinema one way or the other, rather than judged predominantly on its own merits . . . :?


As to the "American man-boy" actors, well, they have their place. And they can act . . .
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Old 04-28-08, 12:55 PM
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How about John Woo HK films from the 1990s?
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Old 04-28-08, 02:18 PM
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Bullet in the Head was excellent.

It seems to me, though, that what you like in a movie and what you are looking for here are two different things and therefore, is near impossible to net a match for you.

While I didn't like Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, I found Mr Vengeance to be really good. WHat didnt you like about those two films?
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Old 04-28-08, 03:09 PM
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Geddlo,
Mr. Vengeance was just a mean-spirited downer movie that I did not like. There are mean-spirited downer films that I like, but I did not like this particular one. And I don't like Kang-ho Song, Korea's popular leading man. I don't like him as an actor and I can't stand watching him since he looks and acts semi-retarded. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance was boring and didn't get interesting until the 3rd act. Well-filmed but nothing that I would watch or recommend. Old Boy is a masterpiece. I tried watching Bullet in the Head and The Killer recently and they are just so dated. I really don't understand why people are so against the idea of films that get dated. There are tons of films that were masterpieces for their time, but over a long period of time, many get dated. That's just what happens and it's nothing to be ashamed of - calling a movie "good for its time, but currently dated." There are after all many non-dated, timeless masterpieces.

BRIAN T, just because I can critisize what I don't like about a certain country's movie industry, it doesn't mean that I should stop watching them. Do you like every aspect in a movie from Korea/Japan/China/HK? Are you the type of foreign film watcher that only watches them and thinks they are cool because they are "exotic?" For example, if there any problems in the film (acting/story/dialogue/filler), it's "all okay" because it's an exotic foreign film? You know the common trend of movie buffs that like to say negative things about hollywood, but it doesn't stop them or anyone from watching them or critisizing them. I don't consider a movie inferior if it doesn't follow a 3-act formula of a Hollywood flick. I love movies from Iran, Africa, Russia, and from all other countries (except Philippines), but my criticisms are different for each country...

CULTSHOCK,
thanks for the recommendations, I just bought GREEN SNAKE...
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Old 04-28-08, 03:56 PM
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Old 04-28-08, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
just because I can critisize what I don't like about a certain country's movie industry, it doesn't mean that I should stop watching them.
More power to you. I never suggested you should stop. In fact, I hope one day you've watched so many that you come around to embracing more of the acting talents those industries produce.


Do you like every aspect in a movie from Korea/Japan/China/HK?
No.

I've spent the better part of the last year chronicling the ultra-low budget shot-on-video features that flourished in Hong Kong from around 1999 to 2003. Haven't seen them all, and couldn't if I tried, and obviously there's a lot of mediocre stuff in that arena, with a few rough gems that really deserve more notice than they're ever likely to get because fans in the west are encouraged to look for the same old signifiers of "quality"--and largely the same laundry list of titles that comes with it (many of which are name-checked throughout this thread)--that each new generation of fans of Hong Kong cinema has been "discovering" for the better part of two decades. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as there's some phenomenal entertainment referenced even here. Come down the ladder several rungs from all the populist top-drawer stuff (such as is under discussion here), watch a good cross-section of the true B-grade productions, and it puts a lot of things in perspective.



Are you the type of foreign film watcher that only watches them and thinks they are cool because they are "exotic?"
No. I go deep. Far below surface exoticism. That's what folks tend to get if they rely on American distributors for their fix, unfortnately.



For example, if there any problems in the film (acting/story/dialogue/filler), it's "all okay" because it's an exotic foreign film?
Of course not.

But demonstrating such a strong dislike for the abilities of most Asian actors is painting with a very broad brush based on what seems like a comparitively limited viewing experience (or young age) if the titles you've given so far are any indication, particularly in regards to Hong Kong cinema, and perhaps Chinese cinema as well. I won't speak so much for Indian cinema in this thread because I only watch it sporadically (though not because I have any problem whatsoever with their actors). Same for some of the other countries you cite. Your thread title was specific about Chinese pictures (and, I assumed, Hong Kong pictures) and as such, I still think you're going to have difficulty finding the magic films you're looking for until you've suffered through a lot of other stuff first, most of which you will not likely enjoy. This thread is approaching 400 views, and you've got, what, two or three usable recommendations? I know there are other Hong Kong film buffs around here . . . so maybe it's just a matter of time!

Curious as to why the Phillipines is the only country on earth, apparently, from which you do not like movies. Surely you can't have seen that many to rule them out completely? If so, I'm honestly impressed!



You know the common trend of movie buffs that like to say negative things about hollywood, but it doesn't stop them or anyone from watching them or critisizing them.
True enough. But if someone were to paint a majority of American actors with the same "I just don't buy them" brush, I'd press for a better explanation, just like I have here.



Incidentally, ALL films become dated sooner or later, moreso to some viewers than others, but regardless, they all show their age in one way or another. Calling a film "dated" is just lazy criticism (which naturally means it's very common on the internet). That's why some folks bristle at seeing it used. It's absolutely pointless. One look at the year a movie was produced should automatically give people an idea of what to expect. Gee, a movie made in 1940, 1967, 1973 or 1989 looks "dated" in 2008? That should surprise no one. People who take issue aren't "ashamed" that someone called their favorite film "dated; they're more likely dismayed that yet another observer has felt the need to point it out.



CULTSHOCK,
thanks for the recommendations, I just bought GREEN SNAKE...
Just remember who recommended it first.

Last edited by Brian T; 04-28-08 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 04-28-08, 07:06 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse
i prefer 'Infernal Affairs' over 'The Departed' by a good margin...
That's because it's the better film by a good margin.
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Old 04-28-08, 09:14 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by printerati
That's because it's the better film by a good margin.
And a much shorter one, too! That's something Hong Kong filmmakers figured out a long time ago!
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Old 04-29-08, 08:01 AM
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Brian T,
oops, you are right - you mentioned Green Snake first!...entertaining flick and much better than the Chinese Ghost Story flicks. Definitely right up with one of Hark's best, along with The Blade.

Concerning the acting abilities of Asian male actors, I'm really only judging the "mainstream" leading man ones to the "mainstream" ones of America and Europe. As much as I like Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, they are in no comparison to a George Clooney, Christain Bale, Robert Downey Jr., for example.

Besides the Asian mainstream and art-house films, is there an underground, independant film scene in Asia - and are those the type of DVDs that you try to seek out? The only independant Asian films I've seen tend to be along the lines of an American-Asian production.

Concerning the "dated film" topic, I know each person may call one movie timeless, while another will call it dated, but there are such films which are considered timeless: for example, Chaplin movies/shorts, Three Stooges shorts, Disney films. You can't expect a person of different ages to love Casablanca, Bringing Up Baby, and Citizen Kane, but how could they not love a Chaplin, Three Stooges or Disney flick? Little kids today love the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones films because they are timeless.
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Old 04-29-08, 11:59 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
Brian T,
oops, you are right - you mentioned Green Snake first!...entertaining flick and much better than the Chinese Ghost Story flicks. Definitely right up with one of Hark's best, along with The Blade.
I wouldn't say it's any better or worse than the CHINESE GHOST STORY films, as I think those are Chinese classics in the truest sense of the word, but THE BLADE is indeed a phenomenal piece of work, and a personal favourite.



Besides the Asian mainstream and art-house films, is there an underground, independant film scene in Asia - and are those the type of DVDs that you try to seek out? The only independant Asian films I've seen tend to be along the lines of an American-Asian production.
China has many independent productions, but so few seem to get much attention over here beyond the arthouses, especially when there seems to be a new Chinese costume epic coming out every couple of months.

In Hong Kong, a lot of films that look like mainstream productions are actually indy productions by definition, though they often deal in mainstream-style subject matter (crime films, horror, romance, etc.). I'm not sure they'd have much need there for an IFC Channel, so to speak.

The shot-on-video films I referenced in the previous post are independent productions, but generally not in the same mould as what we'd call independent productions over here. Certainly not artsy indies, that's for sure , though the odd one shows flashes of brilliance. I guess these films would be more comparable to the genre-spanning DTV junk that lines the shelves of your local blockbuster, only far more cheaply produced, if that sounds possible. There are some real gems, but probably 70% of this stuff isn't worth watching unless you find bargain VCDs for around a buck fifty as I do.

But the other 30% is worth seeking out, but only when you've exhausted the mainstream fare from Hong Kong, since even the best of these little productions can't compete with their big-budget counterparts. But they try, and that counts for something in my book. However, someone such as yourself looking for "emotionally gripping" content might be better off avoiding them completely, because only a handful come close to delivering on that level.



Korea has an indy movement, and I've heard it has gained a little steam now that the derivative big-studio gangster comedies, romantic-dramedies-with-pretty-people, and horror pictures have started to lose money and make investors skittish. Mind you, the forums at koreanfilm.org are probably a better place to dig up info on such K-flicks than here. And while I have a lot of Korean DVDs in the to-watch pile, the vast majority of them are fairly mainstream, so I'm not sure how much use I'd be regarding true indy stuff.


Concerning the "dated film" topic, I know each person may call one movie timeless, while another will call it dated, but there are such films which are considered timeless: for example, Chaplin movies/shorts, Three Stooges shorts, Disney films. You can't expect a person of different ages to love Casablanca, Bringing Up Baby, and Citizen Kane, but how could they not love a Chaplin, Three Stooges or Disney flick? Little kids today love the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones films because they are timeless.
I get what you're saying here, but I still object to writers and critics calling old films "dated" for just about any reason (politics, philopsophies, morals, costumes, acting styles, cars, whatever) because it should be obvious just by looking at the date it was made that it might not hold up by today's various standards. Certainly all movies look dated sooner or later, even the timeless ones. They have to. They're old movies. (and I'd agree that many films, like great works of art, do deserve the "timeless" tag). Even STAR WARS has elements that are "dated" by today's standards, even with the various tinkering that was done decades later, but one should simply expect that going in. It's a 1977 film, and that will always be obvious in countless ways to all but the youngest of viewers. But again, this all comes down to subjective tastes, as there are those who love works by Chaplin, Disney or the Stooges (all good choices, by the way), and those who don't.
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Old 04-29-08, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian T
Incidentally, ALL films become dated sooner or later, moreso to some viewers than others, but regardless, they all show their age in one way or another. Calling a film "dated" is just lazy criticism (which naturally means it's very common on the internet). That's why some folks bristle at seeing it used. It's absolutely pointless. One look at the year a movie was produced should automatically give people an idea of what to expect. Gee, a movie made in 1940, 1967, 1973 or 1989 looks "dated" in 2008? That should surprise no one. People who take issue aren't "ashamed" that someone called their favorite film "dated; they're more likely dismayed that yet another observer has felt the need to point it out.
Amen.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:13 AM
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I just got Dragon Dynasty's COME DRINK WITH ME - great film and excellent quality DVD. Dragon Dynasty English subtitles are so much better than Celestial NTSC Region 3 Shaw bros dvds - it makes a big difference. King Hu is great - no extra stupid sound effects (birds in background, huge bass-sounding punches, real outside scenes - no obvious sets).

Does any recommend any other King Hu DVDs for me? I don't want to watch any crappy non-remastered DVDs of his films - meaning poor video quality, poor audio quality, and poor english subtitles.
I have a feeling that his only other remastered movie on DVD is Swordsman (NTSC Region 3).

Touch of Zen doesn't have a good quality dvd yet so I hear.
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