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Archive for August, 2007

Bullet in the Head (HK 1990)

Director : John Woo
Writer : Janet Chun/Patrick Leung
Cast : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Waise Lee, Simon Yam, Yolinda Yam and Fennie Yuen

In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape.

by Edward Tang

There are some films that I will always remember, because what kind of impact they had on me. “Bullet in the Head” falls into this category, a simple tale that turns into a plethora of destruction and death. This film is certainly a turn around for John Woo, who had been doing heroic bloodshed films up to this point, but this film might be his most emotional so far. Woo adds the horrors of war into the parallel of friendship, which can make you either turn your head or smile.
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Chaos (JAPAN 1999)

Director : Hideo Nakata
Writer : Hisashi Saito
Cast : Masato Hagiwara, Miki Nakatani, Ken Mitsuishi, Jun Kunimara

Mr Komiyama is a successful CEO. He takes his wife Saori out for a meal at an expensive restaurant and when he goes to pay the bill his wife has disappeared. Komiyama doesn’t have time to look for her as he has to rush to an important meeting. Later that day he receives
a phone call telling him that his wife has been kidnapped…

by Martin Cleary

I like films like this. This is one of those films that you start watching and then you realise that you’ve actually come in part way through the story. Chaos shifts backwards and forwards between what is happening now and what has already happened – like a jigsaw puzzle. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, then this is a worthwhile one. Directed by Hideo Nakata – the man behind the first two Ring films – the film has a strong, consistent tension running throughout. There’s no major ‘shock’ scenes, instead the narrative sustains a steady pace.

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Deadly Outlaw: Rekka (JAPAN 2002)

Director : Takashi Miike
Cast :  Riki Takeuchi, Ryosuke Miki, Kenichi Endo, Mika Katsumura, Yuya Uchida, Tetsuro Tamba and Sonny Chiba.

After Kunisada (Riki Takeuchi)’s Yakuza leader and father figure is brutally murdered, he and his best friend (Kenichi Endo) go on a two-man mission to avenge his death, killing other Yakuza leaders leading to a final confrontation by the old man’s killers.

by Edward Tang

I wasn’t expecting anything out of this film, because if it was good I probably would have heard of it . There are much better Yakuza films out there, but I don’t really remember having this much fun at one of them like I did with Rekka. Rekka is basically about a renegade Yakuza who destroys everyone and everything in his path, with crowbars and rocket launchers. Sure the film does have some parts with the characters just standing around, but if you can take that in, you probably will enjoy it as much as I did. This film can’t be taken seriously, from the two hitmen who bicker back and forth, from blowjob lovin’ Yakuza bosses, this film had me smiling the entire time. The tunes packed on by Flower Traveling Band are kickass and basically the film follows the badassed nature of such.

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Eastern Condors (HK 1987)

Director : Sammo Hung
Producer : Leonard Ho
Screenplay : Barry Wong
Action Choreography : Hung Brothers
Cast :  Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Lam Ching-Ying, Joyce Godenzi, Billy Chow, Yuen-Woo Ping.

Synopsis :
Asian POWs get a chance at freedom when the United States offers them a mission to destroy a secret depot of missiles in Vietnam.

by Martin Cleary

Regarded by myself and many Hong Kong action cinema fans as one of Sammo Hung’s best films, Eastern Condors is – surprisingly for Sammo – an unusually serious and intense film. Best described as an eastern ‘Dirty Dozen’, this Vietnam movie reworks several elements and ideas of Hollywood war films into an unmistakably unique Hong-Kong style. The film combines gunplay and dazzling martial-artistry with ease.

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Election (HK 2005)

Director : Johnnie To Kei Fung
Screenwriters : Yau Nai Hoi, Yip Tip Shung
Producers : Dennis Law, Johnnie To
Cinematographer : Cheng Siu Keung
Art director : Tony Yu
Editor : Patrick Tam
Music : Lo Tayu

Cast and Characters:
Simon Yam (Lok)
Tony Leung Ka Fai (Big D)
Louis Koo (Jimmy)
Nick Cheung (Jet)
Eddie Cheung Siu Fai (Mr.So)
Lam Suet (Big Head)
Lam Ka Tung (Kun)
Wong Tin Lam (Uncle Teng)
Tam Ping Man (Uncle Cocky)
Maggie Shiu (Mrs. Big D)

Hong Kong’s oldest triad society is about to elect a new chairman when its sacred emblem, the Dragon Head Baton, goes missing. Five sectional leaders, known as the Tigers, turn all their resources over to retrieving the baton before individual and factional ambitions threaten to break down the society’s central control.

by Gary Cheah

WARNING : Might contain Spoilers

Well, this is a truly Hong Kong’s triad drama. It is different from the usual Hong Kong fare as it strongly focused on the plot and acting (less action) – its all about men mobilizing their power to achieve their aims. Its original and violence portraying the true “underground” world – the realism. Similar to the movie Godfather, its about power and money in the triads associated with dark internal politics.

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