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Tetsujin 28 (JAPAN 2005)

Director : Shin Togashi
Producer : Kanjiro Sakura
Cast : Shosuke Ikematsu, Yu Aoi, Yuko Nakazawa, Akiro Emoto

Synopsis
Based on the classic postwar manga anime series, TETSUJIN 28: THE MOVIE comes from the creator of GIANT ROBO. In the movie, Tokyo gets attacked by an enormous robot called the Black Ox. Powered by a cyber-terrorist with plans for revenge, the Black Ox is so strong even the whole Japanese police force can’t stand up to it. A savior comes in the most unlikely package of elementary school student Shotaro who, after receiving a mysterious phone call from an older man in possession of an even stronger killer robot, comes to the city’s rescue. But even with the Tetsujin 28 by his side, Shotaro may not be strong enough to defeat the Black Ox.  

Review
by Edmund Yeo

Based on an old cartoon series (known to the West as Gigantor) created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, Tetsujin 28 is the first live-action feature I can think of that has actual mechas in it since the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie (ah, nostalgia!). Which is cool, since I do like my dose of anime giant robots (anything but Gundam, though, never recovered from the trauma I had after watching Gundam Wing back when I was a kid…).

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Throwdown (HK 2004)

Director : Johnnie To
Cast : Aaron Kwok, Louis Koo, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Jordan Chan, Siu-Fai Cheung, Calvin Choi, Hoi-Pang Lo and Cherrie Ying.

Synopsis
A former judo champion quits the tournament circuit and runs a nightclub. However, when a new challenger appears as well as an old rival and a judo master in need of reviving his school, the young man must go back in training and prepare for the ultimate challenge.

Review
by Edward Tang

I read a review recently about Throw Down, which basically went into how this film was one of the worst he had ever seen. He so apply titled his review “Let Down”, which gave me a laugh for some odd reason. Now this is far from the worst Hong Kong flick ever created and there are a few shitty Aaron Kwok films that make this film look like masterpiece. Throw Down is directed by semi-great Johnnie To, a man who for the most part, delivers the goods when his flicks come out. All too recently, I had one hell of a time watching Fulltime Killer. But Throw Down goes into my pocket and basically rapes me with it’s beat-to-death story and worthless scenes of slow motion crap. Granted, this film is about Judo and the entire fight scenes include a bunch of rolling around on the floor, so I didn’t expect something great. But even though this film is short and to the point, it felt very long to me, mostly because I was bored. Johnnie throws in our direction, pointless characters whom really seem to be just reading their lines, rather than acting.

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Tears of the Black Tiger (THAI 2000)

Director : Wisit Sasasanatieng
Cast : Stella Malucchi, Chartchai Ngamsan

Synopsis

When Dum, a young peasant boy, falls in love with Rumpoey, the daughter of a wealthy city family, they vow that, whatever happens, they will one day be together…Ten years on, Dum is the notorious gang member “Black Tiger”. When he is commanded to execute police captain Kumjorn, Kumjorn has one last request – that Dum explain to his fiancée how he died. Dum realises that Kumjorn’s fiancée is, in fact, Rumpoey and is unable to ruin what he believes is her happiness. His decision to release Kumjorn is what finally unites the childhood sweethearts.

Review
by Liz Brkljac

This film assaults the eye with stunning colour: Bright pinks, lurid greens, bold yellows, giving it a cartoon like appearance. The characters, drawn large and vibrantly alive. Brightly painted backdrops add to the bright, cartoon like appearance. Even the blood, which there is plenty of, is the reddest you will ever see. An early scene is a shootout, featuring an unlikely, but accurate, shot whose mad trajectory finally reaches its target. There is a pause and the writer asks of the audience …….“Did you catch that? If not we’ll play it again”. His message printed on the screen. It is at this point that you realise that this highly luminescent movie is not going to be your usual run of the mill experience.

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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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The Tai Chi Master (HK 1993)

Director : Yuen Woo Ping
Cast : Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Siu-hou Chin, Fennie Yuen, Cheung-Yan Yuen, Shun Lau and Hai Yu.

Synopsis
Jet Li was a monk in Shaolin. In a friendly competition for a higher place in Shaolin, he was betrayed and framed for using weapons (which cannot be used in the competition). He and his friend got kicked out of the Shaolin. They met rebellions at that time of China. His friend betrayed Jet Li and his rebellion friends for money from the China government. Jet Li went crazy and discovered the art of Tai Chi at the recover period. Revenge seem to the only thing he is going to do.

Review
by Edward Tang

I bought a Jet Li pack that was sent out by Dimension a few years back. It included most of his classics, butchered and without the original language track. For the most part, these “versions” were pretty decent with good picture, but basically fuckin’ up what the film was, cutting scenes and replacing the dialog. But “Tai Chi Master” or as it’s known here “Twin Warriors” still remained my favorite Jet Li flick, just because it had great fight scenes, and good characters for one thing. Michelle Yeoh is a great presence (for what she is given in her short role), and made movies like Police Story 3 and Tomorrow Never Dies worth seeing, and in this as well. Yuen Wo-Ping directed this flick, and you can tell, the fight scenes are some of my favorite, not because they standout like your Jackie Chan/Benny “The Jet” style, but they just are loads of fun. The story is average but the characters are pretty damn cool, I especially thought that Siu-hou Chin (Chin Bo) had a great transition to the main villain of the film. But this film remains as one of my favorites, for the sheer fact that it never gets old. Plus you get to see Jet Li act like a crazy and talk to ducks.

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