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Archive for August, 2007

Hard Boiled (HK 1992)

Director : John Woo
Cast : Chow-Yun Fat, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan, Philip Kwok, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang

Synopsis
A hard-boiled Hong Kong detective (Chow Yun-Fat) who lost his partner in a gunfight teams up with an undercover cop (Tony Leung) in a powerful mob to stop the mob smuggling guns and killing innocent people.

Review
by Edward Tang

I’d find it hard to believe that anybody who has heard of Asian cinema, has yet to give Hard Boiled a go. If you haven’t, you have no idea what the hell you are missing. This film is the best action film and easily the most rewatchable of all time. I have two major things that should be fulfilled by all films, first they should entertain me and second, I should be able to watch them more than once and still enjoy it. Hard Boiled is probably the greatest example of my scale, it hits the top on both categories. This film has some of the most impressive action sequences in any of film. Woo out did himself in my opinion, after producing US movies for 12 years now, he has only come close with Face/Off, but close is probably an understatement. Hard Boiled is truly entertainment if entertainment was based on a film. Chow-Yun Fat looking super f*ckin’ awesome with toothpick in mouth and berettas in both hands, you couldn’t ask for more in a film.

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Heroes of the East (HK 1978)

Director : Liu Chia-liang
Cast : Gordon Liu, Liu Chia-hui, Yasuaki Kurata, Yuka Mizumo

Synopsis
An arranged marriage between a proud Chinese man and a fiery Japanese woman leads to a variety of domestic squabbles, numerous cross-cultural misunderstandings, and a martial arts battle of epic proportions in Heroes of the East, an entertaining Shaw Brothers fightfest from master director Lau Kar Leung! Also known as Shaolin Challenges Ninja, this kung fu comedy stars Gordon Liu Chia Hui (36th Chamber of Shaolin, Kill Bill) as Ah To, a young man who marries a Japanese girl named Kuda (Yuko Mizuno). Their seeming matrimonial bliss is soon spoiled after a series of fights between husband and wife leads to a fed-up Kuda returning to Tokyo to consult her sensei! Viewing Ah To’s behavior as insulting to the Japanese people, Kuda’s sensei Sanzo (Fist of Legend’s Kurada Hoshou) heads to China with a crew of fighters in tow to teach the young man a lesson. With several martial arts masters at his doorstep, will Ah To be up to the challenge?

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Family Ties (KOREA 2006)

Director : KIM Tae-yong
Producer : BAE Yong-kook
Exec.Producer : KIM Kwang-seop
Cast : MOON So-ri (Mira), UHM Tae-woong (Hyung-chul), GOH Doo-shim (Mu-shin),KONG Hyo-jin (Sun-kyung)

Synopsis :
Mi-ra, who runs a small snack food restaurant, has a trouble-maker brother, Hyung-chul. After being discharged from the military, he goes missing. After five years Hyung-chul suddenly comes back home accompanied by a middle-aged woman, Mu-sin. He gives a bunch of flowers to Mi-ra and introduces Mu-sin as his wife, even though they have not had a wedding ceremony. Mu-sin looks at least 20 years older than Hyung-chul. From that moment, an eccentric family is born.

Review
by Edmund Yeo

I know nothing about Family Ties (but then, I’m usually oblivious to most Korean films unless they’ve made a huge splash internationally), but was spurred to watch it due to many positive reviews. While it is called Family Ties in English, I believe its more literal translation is The Birth Of A Family, a title which seems initially meaningless until I gradually realized what was this ensemble film about, and it’s really cleverly constructed, but I’ll try to keep things spoiler-free.

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Exiled (HK 2006)

Director : Johnnie To
Cast : Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Lam Suet, Josie Ho, Richie Ren, Nick Cheung, Roy Cheung, Lam Ka Tung

Synopsis
When two gunmen from Hong Kong are sent to execute a renegade member trying to turn over a new leaf in Macau, they are thrown in a dilemma when two of their former comrades also show up, intent on thwarting their mission. It turns out the five of them used to be buddies-under-fire in another mission years ago. When the mission appeared to be accomplished, one of them was discovered to have betrayed their boss and the others were asked to eliminate him. They let him escape in the end. While the four former comrades are reminiscing and negotiating what to do with the buddy whose life they have spared once before, a fifth gunmen suddenly appears out of nowhere and takes the renegade out instead. A final showdown ensues amongst the five gunmen.

Review
by Luke Carberry

Johnnie To’s Exiled does something brilliant, it takes what we love about old Hong Kong films, and combines it with the approach of modern day film-making to bring us something fresh and lasting. You have a combination of gritty, realistic shootouts, masculine but heartfelt friendships on screen, and simply great story-telling. Exiled delivers on almost every level, and is perfect for the To veteran, or even stone cold newcomers.
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Dragon Tiger Gate (HK 2006)

Director : Wilson Yip
Producer : Raymond Wong Pak Ming
Production Company : Mandarin Films Ltd
Cast : Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue

Synopsis
‘Dragon Tiger Gate’ is the creation of popular animator and comic writer Tony Wong Yuk-Long. The story follows the fate of ‘Tiger Dragon Gate’, a martial arts sect founded by Tiger Wong, Dragon Wong and Turbo Shek – three youths who passionately believe in justice and truth. The three heroes unknowingly take possession of a gold plaque that holds staff of power of one of the largest Asian criminal organisation – Lousha Gate. They become the target of this wicked power and ignite a battle between good and evil.

Review
by Jin Hien Lau

Dragon Tiger Gate was hyped up by its producers to be the equivalent of Asia’s answer to the best of Hollywood’s comic movies the likes of Raimi’s Spiderman or Singer’s X-Men. The best I can say of this film is that it’s only about the equivalent of Elektra with better actions.

What can i say, after personally watching nothing but good quality HK films for the past year both classic and new, this seemed extremely disappointing coming from the team of SPL.

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