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Category 'China'

On The Mountain of Tai Hang (CHINA 2005)

Director : Wei Lang, Shen Dong, Chen Jian
Cast : Zhang Lin, Alan Lau Tak Hoi, Wang Wu-Fu, Liu De-Kay, Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Synopsis
Set during the first three years of the Sino-Chinese war (1938-41), On The Mountain of Tai Hang tells the story of three separate groups of Chinese forces who managed to work together to defend a vulnerable Chinese province from a large Japanese Army. The film follows Commander-in-Chief Zhu De and his troops as they risk their lives to defend their country and how different classes of Chinese managed to unite for one common cause.

Review
by Martin Cleary

At its best On The Mountain of Tai Hang is an epic war film depicting the Chinese Red Army’s military defence of the Shanxi province of Tai Hang against Japanese invasion. The film’s battle scenes are truly impressive as what appears to be thousands of troops fight over a massive mountainous area. There’s some pretty good CG camera shot’s allowing the camera to fly through the air, through the cockpit of a plane and out of the otherside, as well as assisting in showing bodies being blown to bits through the air. Some of it is pretty gruesome – but of course this is a war film.

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Yaowarat (THAI 2003)

Director : Namchoke Daengput
Cast : Shahkrit Yamnarm, Darawan Wilaingam, Suwannaparp, Suthida Harnwisej, Sattawat Dullayawijitt, Aadchara Luengsawat

Synopsis
In this explosive action thriller from Thailand set in Bangkok’s sizzling Yaowarat Chinatown district, the precarious truce between two mafia gangs. Yaowarat and Pahurad ended in violent gunfights when Kao, one of Pahurad’s hit man killed a Yaowarat member. In retaliation, Yaowarat enlists the help of Saleng, the best hit man in the business, to take Kao out.

Review
by Edward Tang

Hmm. Thailand gets another release via Tai Seng who usually bare bones it up for a decent film. On the cover is a guy holding two pistols ala God of Guns John Woo. I wonder if that interested me? Of course it did. “Yaowarat” tries to be a cool film and edgy, starting off with a gangster boss raping the shit out of one of his girls and follows with one boring film filled with nothing in between. There were some attempts at action, but they looked completely stupid. Take this out for example, one guy has one pistol, against four other guys with pistols. Now, how does this one guy kill two of them and still survive? The action-thriller promised in the synopsis is never really met, and what we are left with is something that resembles a gangster-drama-romance type story. So in the long run, the film isn’t that bad and for the most part I got enough out of it, but the editing and the annoying voice-overs left me wanting to go home.

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Warriors of Heaven and Earth (CHINA 2003)

Director : Ping He
Written by : Ping He
Cast : Kiichi Nakai, Xueqi Wang, Bagen Hasi, Vicki Zhao, Tao Ho, LInian Lu, Deshun Wang & Yeerjiang Mahepushen

Synopsis

A Japanese emissary is sent to the Gobi desert to execute a renegade soldier. When a caravan transporting a Buddhist monk and a valuable treasure is threatened by thieves, however, the two warriors might unite to protect the travelers.

Review
by Edward Tang

This is an example of a great film that was probably tailor made to have something of a notice in the states. Like your “Crouching Tiger” and “Hero”, it’s an epic film with great action sequences and top notch acting/story. But covering familiar ground seems to be the constant with films of this nature, and it doesn’t change here. The film looked good and remained good until the ending. Everything up until that point was great, but the ending seemed rushed and out of place. What we were shown was good enough for me, but how the events unfolded left a sour taste in my mouth, considering we had been along with these characters for almost 2 hours and the harsh tone wasn’t needed. But as in all films of this caliber, it saves itself with a great bunch of actors whom pull the reigns of this film. Both main characters (whom wanted each other dead) pulled off their roles with great respect, you didn’t want either of them to face each other at the end. 

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Traces Of A Dragon (2003)

Director : Mabel Cheung
Producer : Willie Chan, Solon So
Cast : Jackie Chan, Chan Chi-Long
Narration : Ti Lung

Synopsis
Jackie Chan grew up thinking that he was an only child, only to discover later in life that he had two older sisters. This was followed by the revelation that he also had two older brothers. Upon finding out about his ‘secret’ family, Jackie asked his father about his these relations and his parents life in China. His father did not want to discuss it with him. Around 1999 Jackie’s mother became quite ill which led to Jackie’s father having a change of heart – he decided that he needed to tell Jackie the truth about his family history. Traces Of A Dragon tells this story.

Review
by Martin Cleary

In his autobiography – My Life In Action – Jackie Chan describes the fear that discovering that he had two older brothers and sisters gave him. He feared that he would find out that he was adopted or some similar terrible secret. The actual truth of Jackie’s parents backgrounds is just as – if not even more – amazing as Jackie’s own ‘rags to riches’ story. As they say, even Hollywood couldn’t write this. Traces Of A Dragon opens with Jackie’s father explaining that he didn’t want his secrets to die with him, so he finally decided to reveal to his son his own past. The documentary uses interviews with Chan Chi-Long (Jackie’s father), and other family members to tell their collective family history.

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The Promise (CHINA 2005)

Director / Writer : Chen Kaige
Producer : Chen Kaige, Chen Hong
Cinematography : Peter Pau
Art Direction : Tim Yip
Action Director : Tung Wai, Dion Lam
Costume : Masago Kimiya
Cast : Jang Dong-Kun, Cecilia Cheung, Hiroyuki Sanada, Liu Ye, Nicholas Tse, Chen Hong, Cheng Qian

Synopsis
An epic fantasy about a love triangle between a general, a princess and a slave in ancient China. Empowered by the love of a slave, a royal concubine is given the chance to make an extraordinary decision. Its an epic story about “promise, betrayal, nations and love”. Can Love Change Destiny?

Review
by Gary Cheah

WARNING : Might contain Spoilers

Despite all the “negative” reviews on the net, it does not stop me from watching The Promise on the big silver screen. I went into the cinema with minimal expectation on the film, but in the end -it’s quite satisfactory i would say…

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