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The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Old 02-14-20, 02:06 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread



Thatís actually VIY 2, or THE MYSTERY OF THE DRAGON SEAL, not to mention a couple of other titles employed to disguise its humongous box office failure. Itís also a Jason Flemyng movie, just like the original. The original was a 2014 Russian production and one of the top box office smashes there that year (and still pretty overrated; it even had >gag< Uwe Boll as a producer); this one, naturally, bent over for Chinese money and thus had to adhere to Party dictates and well, what you see is literally what you get: wall-to-wall sloppy CG, mediocre writing and nothing that thematically would set off the CCPís censors. And then it tanked in both China AND Russia anyway. Jackie and Arnie ó previously together in AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS ó play glorified cameos, which makes that trailer truly egregious; note how ALL of their scenes take place on the same set!

Itís amusing to think ó here in 2020 ó of the kinds of smart, dark, complicated, extremely well-acted and often groundbreaking ó and now Oscar-sweeping ó movies South Korea gives us on an almost weekly basis, and compare them to pretty much everything tainted by sucking up to authoritarian China, or made there for the most part.

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Old 02-14-20, 09:45 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I have see Cure, the lead actor was also in this little gem Shall We Dance?. Just a wonderful film. I haven't see the remake with Richard Gere.


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Old 02-14-20, 12:48 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

^ Shall We Dance? is absolutely terrific. I had the pleasure of catching it on the big screen back in '96 (or was it '97?) and knew right then I had seen an instant classic.

When I heard that J-Lo and Gere were in an American remake, I was baffled. One of the driving themes of the original is that ballroom dancing isn't a common pastime in Japanese culture. That doesn't translate in the West. For a remake to work, it would've had to have been set in Japan or somewhere else where ballroom dancing has a stigma or an alternate reality U.S. where the above held true.

Trying to transplant a story with views and taboos that are culturally specific is tricky at best. Not sure what Hollywood was thinking.

A more successful translation would the film I just watched, Lee Chang-dong's Korean adaptation of Huraki Murakami's novel, Burning:


Being a fan of western thrillers and mysteries, this movie was a challenge for me. I'm used to seeing mysteries unravelling with a resolution at the end.

Burning has the set up of a mystery thriller with Jong-su hooking up with former classmate Hae-mi who then takes off on a trip to Africa. She returns with Ben, an enigmatic fellow who's not at all hurting for money. Jong-su continues to hang out with them just so he can see Hae-mi, but after some unfortunate remarks he makes to her, he finds that he can't reach her by phone and when she does call back, he hears noises that lead him to suspect that Hae-mi is in trouble. His suspicions fall upon Ben who seems rather unconcerned about Hae-mi's disappearance but might know more than he's letting on.

The trailers for this movie certainly make it look like a traditional thriller like Gone Baby Gone or Prisoners. Lee Chang-dong seems to have more on his mind, though, highlighting class divisions and the frustrations of under-employed youth in modern South Korea. The setting switches from the spartan, rural backdrop of Jong-su's family farm in the northern town of Panju to the highly cosmopolitan, upscale district of Gangnam where Ben lives. Lee spends a great deal of time in both areas so the disparity between the lifestyles is hard to ignore.

There's also the idea of pantomime which runs throughout the film with Hae-mi introducing the idea early on by telling Jong-su that she's taking miming classes. When Jong-su goes to Hae-mi's apartment the first time, she mentions a cat that needs to be looked after while she's away. Said cat doesn't show itself even when she calls for it, leading Jong-su to wonder if the pet is another one of Hae-mi's pantomime routines.

The idea of acting and miming seems to be something that preoccupies Lee Chang-dong. Hae-mi has an interest in dancing and shows off an African ritualistic dance at a party. We have no idea of whether or not she's doing it accurately or if she's just making it up. Whenever someone asks Jong-su what he does for a living, he says he's a writer but always has to confess that he's not published and in fact doesn't know what he wants to write. Hae-mi claims that she had a childhood incident involving a well; Jong-su has difficulty determining if that well ever existed.

In short, the fate of Hae-mi doesn't appear to be at the top of Lee's concerns. He has a fair bit to say about the economic divide between the haves and have-nots, about the psychological and emotional effects that the division is having on people. You can certainly read a lot into Jong-su's suspicions: he thinks something terrible has happened to Hae-mi, and his instincts tell him to tail the fellow with money. That's not exactly a subtle way of suggesting that the impoverished blame their problems on the wealthy.

This isn't to say that Burning can't be viewed as a mystery. Jong-su comes across evidence suggesting that Ben could indeed have had a hand in Hae-mi's disappearance. If you take literally the events in the latter part of the film then Jong-su can be seen as a detective on the trail of a possible kidnapper or murderer.

Lee throws a wrench in the works late in the film, though, by looping back to the idea of Jong-su being a writer. We see what might be a fantasy or the memory of an event that may have happened earlier. In either case, Lee is showing us something from Jong-su's mind, which leaves open the possibility that other scenes in the film are also from the would-be Fitzgerald's thoughts. So now you have to ask how much of what you saw was real. Again, the idea of pantomime resurfaces.

Burning is unquestionably a rich and layered film. I mean just look at how much I've written without even mentioning where the title comes from. It's not the intense, fast-paced thriller that the trailers suggest, but it is one of those films that lends itself to endless hours of scrutiny and analysis. This film isn't going to the top of my best-of list for Korean films, but it certainly has given me a lot to chew on.
Old 02-14-20, 02:42 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

"Gold spoons" vs "dirt spoons" is a staple of SK cinema. Family owned conglomerates have all the money and power, and the poor have given up on social mobility.

But yeah, "Burning" is great, it's on Netflix in Canada. And it kinda paved the way for "Parasite" because, last year, it became the 1st SK film to make the short-list for Best Foreign Language Film.
Old 02-14-20, 03:44 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by dom56 View Post
I have see Cure, the lead actor was also in this little gem Shall We Dance?. Just a wonderful film. I haven't see the remake with Richard Gere.

There's a nice blu-ray of the uncut version of Shall We Dance? on Korean blu-ray. It's the longer Japanese cut and has English subtitles. You can find it on Ebay for around $40-50. I own it as well and I treasure it highly.
Old 02-15-20, 12:09 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Well Go recently released Takashi Miike's First Love on Blu-Ray.

I haven't seen it but I blind-bought a copy at Best Buy earlier today. Hopefully I'll get to watch it sometime this weekend.
Old 02-18-20, 12:19 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Caught Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Before We Vanish over the weekend.


Three aliens merge with or take over (the movie isn't really clear about this) three people to learn about humanity prior to an invasion. The three are school girl Akira Tachibana, perpetually smiling and joking Amano, and salary man Shinji Kase.

I haven't seen Starman, but apparently Shinji's storyline is very similar to what happens in John Carpenter's movie. Shinji's wife Narumi has recently found out about his messing around and has no shortage of anger and frustration when she has to get him from a hospital. Shinji has a tough time adapting to his human host and has difficulty understanding certain concepts, such as 'home' and 'family', and acts like man with a severe case of amnesia.

Like his cohorts, Shinji is able to take 'conceptions' from people to understand ideas that elude them. So if, for instance, the aliens don't know what a ball is, they can get someone to picture it in their mind and then simply extract it. The victim will then have a gap in their knowledge and no longer know what a ball is. This has rather serious ramifications when Akira and Amano need to understand the concept of 'self'.

Kurosawa seems to be saying something about youth and maturity with the three aliens as Shinji, the eldest host and the only who's married, seems to forget about the invasion and is concerned about his growing humanity as well as Narumi whom he learns to care for despite their strained relationship. Amano, a twentysomething, appears carefree, always speaking in a joking manner and unafraid to admit that he's an alien and that there's going to be an invasion. Akira is the youngest host and let's just say that she's responsible for the more graphic moments in the movie.

Had Kurosawa stuck with the development of these characters and the consequences of their taking 'conceptions' from people, this movie could've been a lot better. Instead, he doesn't lose sight of the invasion angle and forges ahead with it. In an obligatory nod to other alien visitation stories, Kurosawa throws in a team of government agents who are on the trail of the aliens. The climax contains a rather ill-judged action sequence that's heavy on explosions, which feels really out of place given how slow and quiet the majority of the film is.

Before We Vanish certainly won't be mistaken for classic Kurosawa, which is a shame because there are definitely good bits in the film. Just as an example, one of the aliens goes into a church and speaks with a priest. How often do you see in movies visitors from another planet sit down to have a talk with a member of the clergy? I found there were a number of instances like this in the film that had the potential to do something really interesting, but the story always pulls back and 'course corrects' to get back to the hackneyed invasion plot.

This isn't a complete write-off, but Before We Vanish is a movie with great potential that fails to realize it.
Old 02-18-20, 02:12 PM
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Signed out BEFORE WE VANISH a couple of months back from the library here and had pretty much the same reaction (I think?). The government agents-vs-aliens stuff is pretty textbook, while the development of the individual aliens and the damage they do to the humans they take concepts from is highly intriguing and well thought out. I was hoping Kurosawa wouldn't go for an effects-heavy finale, but I suppose it was inevitable based on all that 'government hunt' stuff leading up to it. I'm probably too generous but I rated it a 7/10, mainly because the good parts outweighed the more familiar invasion genre elements.

Around the same time I also signed out another Kurosawa movie called CREEPY and found it about as good as BEFORE WE VANISH, maybe a little better, despite some flaws. It's a more-grounded psychological thriller about a former police profiler and his wife who get dragged into some bizarre situations with the ultra-creepy oddball who lives next door in their new neighbourhood, gradually discovering the depths of his bizarre m.o.



Last edited by Brian T; 02-18-20 at 02:44 PM.
Old 02-19-20, 09:25 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
the development of the individual aliens and the damage they do to the humans they take concepts from is highly intriguing and well thought out.
I agree with your first observation but can't say I feel the same way about the second one.
Spoiler:
I wasn't crazy about Maruo suddenly becoming a sidewalk preacher because he lost the concept of home or the boss turning into an uncontrollable child because he no longer knew what work was. The film could've gone to interesting places with the people who lost those concepts but we wind up with a guy who no longer has a stick up his rear end and another man who's become child-like in the worst way possible.


The idea of removing ideas from people is indeed intriguing, and I thought Kurosawa was going to explore it more than he did. I think there's an entire movie to be made from that concept, which is why I was rather disappointed by the film having to devote time to the pedestrian stuff. I think Kurosawa was trying to cover too much ground with this movie so the wheels really came off in the third act.

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Around the same time I also signed out another Kurosawa movie called CREEPY and found it about as good as BEFORE WE VANISH, maybe a little better, despite some flaws.
I'm glad to hear you think Creepy is a bit better because I have that in my Kanopy queue. I'd hate to think I was going from bad to worse.
Old 02-19-20, 02:30 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Looks like I'm going to have to wait until Enter the Fat Dragon hits streaming or BD. It's only playing in 11 theatres total in the US and Canada. Probably very unlikely to expand like Ip Man 4.
Old 02-19-20, 02:33 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

If you have access to the Hoopla Library streaming service. They just got several really new Well Go USA titles

Warriors of the Nation

Battle of Jangsari

First Love

The Knight of Shadows

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Old 02-20-20, 12:23 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Great neo-noir Yakuza by way of Tokyo and London on Netflix -- I binged it the other day and it was excellent. It's a bit of a slow burn, but i loved it. Will Sharpe steals just about every scene that he's in:

Old 02-20-20, 02:30 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Caught a showing of Enter the Fat Dragon. Though it is directed by Kenji Tanigaki, this plays out very much like a typical Wong Jing production. Slapdash plotting, stock good and evil characters, and insipid comedy mixed with a few moments of inspired nuttiness and some nifty action sequences. Wong himself shows up in a sizable role as a former HK cop (named Thor) now living in Japan who teams up with Donnie Yen to battle some Japanese Yakuza.

The plot is generic nonsense and basically just an excuse to set up the action sequences, which include some well choreographed, if over-edited, fight sequences in a variety of settings. Surprisingly, this is equal parts love story and action movie, with Yen's good-hearted, but forlorn cop trying to repair his frayed relationship with his fiancee who doesn't realize just how much she really needs him until she really does need him. Veteran HK actress Teresa Mo makes a welcome appearance as a feisty restaurant owner in Japan who is also the longtime love interest of Wong Jing's character, who, amusingly, reveals at one point that his cop nickname was "Hard Boiled".
Old 02-20-20, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by L Everett Scott View Post
The idea of removing ideas from people is indeed intriguing, and I thought Kurosawa was going to explore it more than he did. I think there's an entire movie to be made from that concept, which is why I was rather disappointed by the film having to devote time to the pedestrian stuff. I think Kurosawa was trying to cover too much ground with this movie so the wheels really came off in the third act.
I think a LOT of Kurosawa's cinema is like this. He has some killer ideas, but then seems to get sidetracked with pedestrian stuff that, at best, serves as character or world building for characters and world's we already "get" right from the outset.

Originally Posted by L Everett Scott View Post
I'm glad to hear you think Creepy is a bit better because I have that in my Kanopy queue. I'd hate to think I was going from bad to worse.
Just keep in mind, I said "maybe a little better". I rated both of these films 7/10, mainly because I felt they offered enough reasonably fresh takes on old tropes to balance the more mundane aspects. I just skimmed through my IMDb ratings of his films that I've seen and most are in the 6-7-star range, with higher scores only on PULSE, CURE and TOKYO SONATA. It's interesting how many of his films are still largely unavailable in the west, yet seem like they'd have an audience here based on his films that have been released here.



Originally Posted by Perkinsun Dzees View Post
Caught a showing of Enter the Fat Dragon. Though it is directed by Kenji Tanigaki, this plays out very much like a typical Wong Jing production. Slapdash plotting, stock good and evil characters, and insipid comedy mixed with a few moments of inspired nuttiness and some nifty action sequences. Wong himself shows up in a sizable role as a former HK cop (named Thor) now living in Japan who teams up with Donnie Yen to battle some Japanese Yakuza.

The plot is generic nonsense and basically just an excuse to set up the action sequences, which include some well choreographed, if over-edited, fight sequences in a variety of settings. Surprisingly, this is equal parts love story and action movie, with Yen's good-hearted, but forlorn cop trying to repair his frayed relationship with his fiancee who doesn't realize just how much she really needs him until she really does need him. Veteran HK actress Teresa Mo makes a welcome appearance as a feisty restaurant owner in Japan who is also the longtime love interest of Wong Jing's character, who, amusingly, reveals at one point that his cop nickname was "Hard Boiled".
Now I'm even more convinced that Tanigaki's title on this film was more of an honorarium for his past efforts in service to Donnie Yen's career. I saw a few minutes of this playing on a screen in a shop at Pacific Mall here a few days ago and was a little saddened, actually, by seeing this kind of artificial, mannered 'throwback' to HK's zany heyday yet knowing it was fully intended for a mainland market that, back then, could only experience Hong Kong's zany heydey by stealing every little table scrap they could get thanks to China's brutal top-down control system, which officially banned Hong Kong films (and pretty much everything else) from being shown there.

Interestingly it appears one of Yen's next movies is a police thriller called RAGING FIRE that appears to be set in Hong Kong (it's a co-production, naturally). While it stars fellow turncoat Nicolas Tse, whose popularity in Hong Kong has dimmed as much as Donnie's in recent years, it also lists a fair number of Hong Kong actors who've remained considerably more loyal to the industry and city that spawned them (Ben Lam, Wong Tak-bun, Cheung Kwok-keung, Jeana Ho, Deep Ng). It's directed by longtime action specialist Benny Chan — his first film with Yen despite both having had long careers locally — which leaves me hopeful that it will at least feel like a contemporary, non-mainland Hong Kong action picture, but I guess we'll see. Some footage here, but not much:

Last edited by Brian T; 02-20-20 at 09:53 AM.
Old 02-21-20, 04:21 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread




One of my favorites of the last couple of years.
Old 02-22-20, 01:21 PM
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^Looks stylish. The only Sakaguchi film I've seen seen is Versus, which I remember liking, but I watched that about 20 years ago. (Damn, time flies.) Hard to judge just from the trailer, but Re:born looks like a film that focuses on cool choreography rather than thick plotting. Might have to check it out if I can track it down.

So I did a triple bill last night because reasons. One of the three was a re-watch of another film that I saw about 20 years ago...


This was Johnnie To at the height of his powers. Anyone who wants to see what vintage Johnnie To looks like should check out this action-thriller.

Gang leader Man (Eddy Ko) finds himself the target of assassins and asks his brother Lam (Simon Yam) to put together a team of bodyguards. Lam enlists former hands Curtis (Anthony Wong), Mike (Roy Cheung), and James (Lam Suet) along with sub-boss Roy (Francis Ng) and his protege Shin (Jackie Lui) to help out. The quintet guard Man against repeated attacks as they attempt to track down the individual who ordered the hit.

The Mission has two major concerns: male bonding and guns. I don't know the first thing about firearms, but this movie certainly shows off a lot of hardware (they show up in at least 50% of the movie) and has a scene where James preps weapons. I strongly suspect that gun enthusiasts will really dig this aspect of The Mission.

The cast consists almost entirely of men, even bit players and extras. The interaction between the five bodyguards is always interesting because they have to learn to work together and things get occasionally get heated enough to result in blows exchanged or guns pointed at one another.

The lone female character is Man's wife (Elaine Eca Da Silva) who doesn't appear to have a name. She has few lines, never shares any screen time with Man, and turns out to be a plot device. If you were hoping The Mission was going to pass the Bechdel test, you might come away disappointed.

Sharing centre stage with the main characters are Johnnie To's action set pieces. There are a few bravura sequences, the most notable being an ambush in a shopping mall and a sniper attack on a narrow street. The shopping mall attack is tense and is a masterclass in how to shoot a cat-and-mouse sequence.

The attack on the street also manages to ratchet up suspense as Man and the bodyguards are pinned down by a sniper. I just love the fact that To makes fun of a trope that's in so many firefights: the inanimate decoy. How many times have you seen a gunfight on a show or in a movie where guys who've taken cover throw a rock or hold out a hat to draw their adversaries' fire or make them give away their position? In The Mission, one of the bodyguards tries throwing his jacket to get the sniper to shoot at it...and nothing happens. Why? Because the sniper isn't a moron and will save his ammo for a live target. That bit just shows how idiotic a lot characters are when they empty a clip at somebody's hat or the slightest noise.

There's a lot to like in The Mission, but I'm not suggesting that it's a perfect movie. Aside from the lack of significant female characters and the rather poor handling of the lone woman in the cast, there are issues involving the characterization of the bodyguards. The film does a fairly good job of showing how they come together, but when an incident causes a divide in the group, at least one of the bodyguards chooses a side without much explanation of why he does so. Also, the conclusion to the mall ambush doesn't entirely make sense in the way it plays out...essentially, the bad guys screw themselves without good reason.

Still, The Mission is on the whole good entertainment if you're into action-thrillers involving Triads. I'm glad I paid it another visit and will probably give it another watch somewhere down the line.

Old 02-24-20, 09:39 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I have to review a copy of Eureka's new restored BD of Raining in the Mountain:



I had reviewed King Hu's Legend of the Mountain a couple of years ago, which I really enjoyed.
Old 02-24-20, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by L Everett Scott View Post
I'm glad I paid it another visit and will probably give it another watch somewhere down the line.
What I wouldn't give to do this with a new 2K or 4K scan on a properly-appointed Blu-ray release. It's like the entire world of Asian fandom and a great many eastern and western video distributors know about it, know its legacy, and know how cool it is, and yet year after year goes by and it just sort of keeps dissolving into the ether. I can think of tons of Hong Kong movies that deserve SE treatment over here in this collector's paradise era we're living in now, and THE MISSION would be near the top of that list, but instead, at best, we get the UK distributors re-re-re-releasing the gems from the Jackie Chan, John Woo or Shaw catalogs in the UK, and WellGo indoctrinating us with the latest mainland propaganda over here, and meanwhile the Mission just grows older into potential obscurity.

Moreso, I'd love to see a boxed set that brings THE MISSION together with several other like-minded, similarly-stylized Johnnie To 'mythical noir' productions of the era (some of which he directed, others which he didn't): EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED (98), HERO NEVER DIES (98), WHERE A GOOD MAN GOES (99) and FULL TIME KILLER (01). Those five, in my opinion, are the key components of this particular period in To's career, although there are a few others that could be added to such a collection if one wanted a fuller picture: BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA (96), INTRUDER (97), COMEUPPANCE (99), RUNNING OUT OF TIME (99), PTU (03), RUNNING ON KARMA (03), THROWDOWN (04), maybe the ELECTION films (05/06) and especially EXILED (06), which feels very much like a spiritual sequel to THE MISSION.

Trailers for nearly all of it:





Old 02-27-20, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
I can think of tons of Hong Kong movies that deserve SE treatment over here in this collector's paradise era we're living in now, and THE MISSION would be near the top of that list, but instead, at best, we get the UK distributors re-re-re-releasing the gems from the Jackie Chan, John Woo or Shaw catalogs in the UK, and WellGo indoctrinating us with the latest mainland propaganda over here, and meanwhile the Mission just grows older into potential obscurity.
I think brand recognition has everything to do with the lack of love for The Mission outside of the Far East and niche circles on these shores. If you were to mention Jackie Chan or even John Woo to the average woman/man/other on Anystreet USA, there's a decent chance they can honestly say they've heard of those guys. I'm fairly confident that would not be the case if you were to ask about Johnnie To or any of the cast members of The Mission, which is incredibly unfortunate.

I think it's that vicious circle: the British distributors and WellGo don't push Johnnie To titles because of a lack of recognition, but that lack of recognition is due to the poor distribution of his movies. Round and round we go.


Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
I'd love to see a boxed set that brings THE MISSION together with several other like-minded, similarly-stylized Johnnie To 'mythical noir' productions of the era (some of which he directed, others which he didn't): EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED (98), HERO NEVER DIES (98), WHERE A GOOD MAN GOES (99) and FULL TIME KILLER (01). Those five, in my opinion, are the key components of this particular period in To's career, although there are a few others that could be added to such a collection if one wanted a fuller picture: BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA (96), INTRUDER (97), COMEUPPANCE (99), RUNNING OUT OF TIME (99), PTU (03), RUNNING ON KARMA (03), THROWDOWN (04), maybe the ELECTION films (05/06) and especially EXILED (06), which feels very much like a spiritual sequel to THE MISSION.
Aside from The Mission, I've only seen one of the five in your list: Full-Time Killer. I didn't think that was To at his best, especially since the focus seemed to be on getting the attention of English-speaking audiences. It had some good set pieces and I thought the conclusion was pretty inventive, but it was a little uneven and I think the performances suffered with the cast not speaking their native tongues. (Just MHO, of course.)

Running Out of Time was decent, but I suspect I would've enjoyed it more had I watched a DVD with a better transfer. IIRC the copy I watched was a Hong Kong release where the brightness really needed to be increased.

PTU is probably my favourite To film. The interlocking plots and the overall energy in that movie are really hard to top.

Didn't care for Running On Karma. I'm generally not a fan of movies that feel like two (or more) different films stitched together.

I'd definitely consider Election to be vintage To. The thing that keeps it out of the top spot for me is how it scales back after the spectacular second act. The final act makes sense but it feels like the air was entirely let out of the movie after the incredible battle for the Dragon Baton.

I think letterboxd listed Election 3 as a release for this year or 2021. I'll believe that when it actually screens.

The thing is, I'm not sure what a third installment would look like now given the dependence on Mainland money for productions. Drug War was To turning Election 2 on its head with its PRC good guys and all-Hong Kong-based villains. I think the time when we could've gotten a proper bookend to the Election films has rather unfortunately passed.
Old 02-27-20, 12:20 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Speaking of Johnny To films, we're getting a new restored version of:




https://eurekavideo.co.uk/movie/thro...-lung-fu-bong/


I hope folks are region free.
Old 02-27-20, 12:51 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
I hope folks are region free.
I don't know how a person can be a fan of Asian cinema (or European cinema) and NOT be region-free.
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Old 02-27-20, 01:16 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread




One of my favorite HK action movies from the early 2000s is So Close. 3 gorgeous leads. Shu Qi, Karen Mok and Vicki Zhao or Zhao Wei.

Some badass action directed by Corey Yuen.

and rare for these movies, there is some minor sexual overtones. They highly hint some sexual tension and attraction between Vicki Zhao and Karen Mok. Mok plays the cop in pursuit of the 2 sisters (Zhao and Qi) who are thieves.

It's a very well made movie. I still own the DVD for this, but need to watch it again.

If you ever see it, watch it in Mandarin. That's the original track it was recorded in.
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Old 02-27-20, 03:21 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post

One of my favorite HK action movies from the early 2000s is So Close. 3 gorgeous leads. Shu Qi, Karen Mok and Vicki Zhao or Zhao Wei.

Some badass action directed by Corey Yuen.

and rare for these movies, there is some minor sexual overtones. They highly hint some sexual tension and attraction between Vicki Zhao and Karen Mok. Mok plays the cop in pursuit of the 2 sisters (Zhao and Qi) who are thieves.

It's a very well made movie. I still own the DVD for this, but need to watch it again.

If you ever see it, watch it in Mandarin. That's the original track it was recorded in.
Oh hell yes. I mean, I'll watch damn near anything with Shu Qi, but it gets infinitely better when it's actually a good movie (unfortunately, not all the time with her. Ever see The Eye 2? Or Forest of Death? Yeesh).

(warning, don't click on this spoiler if you haven't seen So Close or She Shoots Straight!)
Yuen is one of my favorite HK directors, because he's not afraid to
Spoiler:
kill off a main character midway through and then make the rest of the movie about how the other characters react.


His 90s film She Shoots Straight is one of my all-time favorites, as it combines martial arts with 90s HK crime flicks ala John Woo. There's some great kung fu, and some great shootouts and car chases. And the spoilerized part which really sets it apart from other genre films.
Old 02-28-20, 05:52 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post



One of my favorite HK action movies from the early 2000s is So Close. 3 gorgeous leads. Shu Qi, Karen Mok and Vicki Zhao or Zhao Wei.

Some badass action directed by Corey Yuen.

and rare for these movies, there is some minor sexual overtones. They highly hint some sexual tension and attraction between Vicki Zhao and Karen Mok. Mok plays the cop in pursuit of the 2 sisters (Zhao and Qi) who are thieves.

It's a very well made movie. I still own the DVD for this, but need to watch it again.

If you ever see it, watch it in Mandarin. That's the original track it was recorded in.
Shu Qi and Vicki Zhao Wei speak their lines in Mandarin, so we hear their actual voices in sync sound on the Mandarin track. Karen Mok speaks her lines in Cantonese, so she's dubbed on the Mandarin track, but it's her voice on the Cantonese track.

I've been pushing for a Hollywood remake of SO CLOSE for years. At one time, it was gonna be Megan Fox and Ellen Page as the two sisters and maybe Zoe Saldana as the cop, the Karen Mok role. Then it was gonna be Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence as the sisters and Rooney Mara as the cop. At some point it could have been real sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning as the sisters. Today, I don't know who it would be. Maybe Sophie Turner and Saoirse Ronan as the sisters and Gal Gadot as the cop.
Old 02-29-20, 09:33 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I caught Korean arthouse drama The Day After recently...


I hate saying things like 'this film was a waste of time' but I seriously did not take to this movie.

It's basically about a publisher at a very small company who had an affair with his one employee a month or so before the movie begins. When that woman leaves, he hires a bright young college graduate as her replacement. Then the man's wife finds a love note intended for the mistress...

The majority of scenes in this film consist of locked-down medium shots, typically of two characters facing one another talking. The camera will then mysteriously zoom in on one of the characters during their discussion so you wind up with one person in frame and the other outside of it even though their conversation is still going on.

The film also plays with chronology. with an opening that shows the publisher at different times with different people. This has an enormously disorienting effect as there are no captions or date stamps to tell you what's going on when. The shifts in time continue throughout the film with only a sliver of a clue here and there as to when any particular scene is occurring in the timeline.

I've read reactions from people talking about the comic moments in this movie, and I have to wonder which film they were watching. To me, this film came off as sterile with all its static shots and excruciatingly mundane dialogue.

The Day After appears to be an exercise in committing to a rigid form, which would make it a great subject of study for film students. Fans of ponderous stage plays might also get something out of this movie. As for me, I really want back the 90 minutes I spent watching this thing.

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