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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.

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

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.

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

‘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.

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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Drunken Master (HK 1994)

Director : Lau Kar Leung
Cast : Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Ti Lung, Felix Wong, Lau Kar Leung, Ken Lo, Ho Sung Pak and Chin Kar Lok.

Jackie stars as Wong-Fei Hung for the second time, as battles against foreigners who want to export ancient Chinese artifacts for profit.

by Edward Tang

“Are you the drunken boxer?” to with Jackie responds “I don’t know about boxing, but I am pretty drunk.”

Jackie Chan is the greatest person alive today. If his film career could have one film that summed up what Chan can bring to the table, you would have to see Drunken Master II to see what the man has to offer. Every problem you have with Jackie’s American flicks can easily be forgotten when you throw this bad boy into your DVD player. It shows how you can blend the right amount of comedy and the right amount of action into a film.
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Dead Or Alive (JAPAN 1999)

aka Dead Or Alive: Hanzaisha

Director : Takashi Miike
Producer : Makoto Okada, Katsumi Ono
Screenplay : Ichiro Ryu
Cast : Riki Takeuchi, Sho Aikawa, Renji Ishibashi, Hitoshi Ozawa, Shingo Tsurumi, Kaoru Sugita

Ryuichi is a ruthless young gangster who craves power so much that he will do almost anything to get it. He has no loyalties to anyone except himself and his younger brother Toji who has returned to Shinjuku after studying in the U.S. Ryuichi, Toji and their small gang plan to take control of the underworld, taking the power from the Japanese and Chinese gangs who currently dominate it. On their trail is a lone cop – Detective Jojima – a troubled man who is trying to raise cash to give his daughter a life-saving operation.

by Martin Cleary

Firstly, Dead or Alive is directed by Takashi Miike. If you’ve seen any of his other films then you know that it means that this film is fairly extreme: the violence is raw and nasty, there’s a fair amount of perverse sex, and the film is rough in a way that it almost batters the viewer about as it goes. If you like this sort of film, then no-one seems to do it better than Takashi Miike!

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