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Archive for August, 2007

Purple Storm (HK 1999)

Director : Teddy Chen
Producers : Jackie Chan, Thomas Cheung, Willie Chan
Action Choreography : Tung Wei
Cast : Daniel Wu, Chow Wah-kin, Josie Ho, Kam Kwok-Leung, Joan Chen, Emil Chau

Synopsis
During a battle with the police, terrorist Todd Chow (Daniel Wu) is knocked out cold and when he wakes up in police custody and is interrogated he finds that he has lost his memory. Unable to remember who he is or who his friends are, the police decide to take advantage of the situation by trying to convince him that he was an undercover-cop. Todd is then rescued by his terrorist friends and in his confused state must decide whether to help either the police or the terrorists.

Review
by Martin Cleary

Although this film is a couple of years old now, this early effort from Daniel Wu is a pretty good thriller with a ‘memory loss’ concept which gives the plot plenty of twists. While the plot isn’t quite clever enough to make the film a classic, the high production values and good performances make this a worthwhile effort. Daniel Wu – in his first lead role – sadly comes across as a little wooden. Maybe this is partly intentional because for most of the film he is torn between its two real driving forces – the terrorist Soong, played with relish by Kwok Leung-Gan and the head of the counter-terrorist squad, played by Chow Wah-Kin. The relationship between ‘terrorist’ and ‘law enforcement’ is of course very relevant to todays political climate (although this was filmed before the events of September 11) and its subject matter definitely lingers in the mind.The film has some really good action scenes, although these are of the gunfight and explosion type of violence rather than martial arts, which seems a bit of a shame because it would be nice to see Daniel Wu show some of his fighting skills.

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Public Enemy (KOREA 2002)

Director : Wook-Suk Kang
Cast : Kyung-gu Sol, Sung-jae Lee, Shin-il Kang, Jeong-hak Kim and Yong-gu Do.

Synopsis
Ruthless cop Chul-Joong and a merciless killer in a raincoat run into each other in a small alleyway and form a fatal bond. A free-for-all fight occurs by coincidence on a rainy street. A week later, the dead bodies of an old couple are discovered…

Review
by Edward Tang

I beg of everyone today, do not compare your film to another on the DVD cover because you won’t get my business. It’s a shame that films given this added touch like this can’t sell themselves enough to generate good buzz for just being a good f*ckin’ movie by itself. This film on the other hand didn’t need anything like “The Korean Dirty Harry” because Public Enemy is a great film without any doubt. Sure, it follows the same type of role that Dirty Harry made famous (The renegade cop not following the rules bit that has been done so many times it really sucks) but thankfully this film has enough going for it to make you forget all about that tacked on marketing shit. I enjoyed myself during this film, especially for the performance from Kyung-gu Sol whom plays the role better than most of have tried the same crappy path. This film also has a nice standard, instead of relying on a SURPRISE killer at the end, we are given him in the beginning and guess what? They still get the job done at the end of the day. Sure the plot has been beat to death, but thankfully there is enough black humor and other shit to make this film worth watching again.

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The Warlords (HK 2007)

Director : Peter Chan Ho-Sun
Cast : Andy Lau, Jet Li, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Xu JingLei

Synopsis
The nineteenth century was an era of conflict: the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire in Europe; the Civil War in America; the Meiji Restoration in Japan; the Opium War in China followed by the Taiping Rebellion in Nanjing… all critical events that shaped the world today. At times of chaos, heroes are born yet innocence is forever lost…

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PTU (HK 2003)

Director : Johnny To
Cast :  Simon Yam, Suet Lam, Ruby Wong, Maggie Siu, Eddy Ko, Hoi-Pang Lo, Ho-Yin Wong, Jerome Fung and Frank Michael Liu.

Synopsis
Over the course of one night, a team of cops frantically search for their colleague’s missing gun.

Review
by Edward Tang

The first time I saw PTU was in a room full of 35 people, a small screening of some type. I don’t really remember. Anyways, I remember walking out and feeling that the film was basically 90 minutes of nothing, just a bunch of standing around and nothing to show for it. For sure I wasn’t going to give it a second glance, why should I? But of course, I got a Christmas gift from some relative, he heard that I liked Asian flicks. He bought me about 20. Included in such was PTU, and I thought I’d never watch it again. But hell, why not? Surely the film could have some redeeming qualities in it, and I was glad that I did give it a second chance. Johnnie To is a master at his craft, showing the seedy underbelly of the night, and being able to actually see the characters for once. (rather than in some flicks that have night scenes and you see a bunch of rumbling and tumbling). Simom Yam leads the cast of PTU as they search as it seems, endlessly into the night for Lo’s gun. I must admit that I was expecting a bunch of action and shootouts after watching To’s other vehicle “The Mission”. The story is simple in structure and the acting follows that suit, but something about the direction and how the story moves along, gives us a hope that something might just occur that we don’t expect.

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Province 77 (THAI 2002)

Province 77 (Thai 2002)

Director : Smith Timsawat
Cast : Prinya Itachai, Matinee Kingpoyom, Erik Markus Schuetz and Pete Tongchua.

Synopsis
A recently immigrated Thai family struggles to survive in Los Angeles’ fast-paced consumerist culture, while still maintaining traditional values. The identity struggle affects Pat, a good boy tempted by a life of crime, and his sister.

Review
by Edward Tang

Well, I truly don’t know where to begin. Province 77 is billed as another version of real GANGSTA life in the likes of Better Luck Tomorrow and Boyz n the Hood. So in other words, sorry to those films for getting an unlucky comparison to a lousy film. Well I was going to try and not insult the film up front, but frankly it stinks of cliched moments and annoying characters that got older as the film went along. Granted, this film is based upon how a Thai family struggles to survive in their new environment but why is that interesting?

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