Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Call of Heroes is coming to select UK Cinemas Sep 2nd!

Benny Chan's latest Hong Kong action film Call of Heroes is getting a select UK cinema release on September 2nd. For a full list of cinemas check out the official website here

Set in 1914 following the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the film tells the story of a group of villagers standing up to a cruel young warlord.

This looks like it will be a very fun film! My tickets are already booked for opening night.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Police Story Lockdown 2013 Review China 警察故事2013

Police Story: Lockdown (aka Police Story 2013)

Although this entrant is probably the weakest of the Police Story series, it is still a decent dramatic thriller with JC getting to execute his acting chops.

Police Captain Zhong Wen (Chan) knows all about sacrifice. He's always been too busy chasing bad guys to be a father to his daughter, Miao. Tonight however, he's seeing her for the first time in years, and meeting her fiance, club owner, Wu Jiang (Liu Ye, Curse of the Golden Flower). But, Wu has a dark side, and a secret score to settle with his soon-to-be father in law, and plans to take Zhong, Miao and the whole club hostage. Only Zhong can avert the carnage, but is he willing to risk everything to stop this night going down in history?

First you need to realise that Jackie was nearly 60 when this was made. Don't go in expecting his fast paced Kung Fu and incredible stunts. Instead you will get a more dramatic story with some small more grounded action scenes.

Jackie has adopted a MMA style in the sparse fight scenes we get in Lockdown. The main fight being a one on one inside a cage which is hard hitting and brutal. This is actually a very well done fight and the newly adopted style takes any humour out of the fight along with adding believability. The bulk of the action is over by that point, and we don't get the usual big action finale like in old school Jackie films. The end fight is more of a tussle, although it is still executed rather excitingly.

The story is very compelling with twists and turns along the way which all lead up to the big reveal. Although the reveal is exciting, there is too much exposition. There are a lot of flashbacks to explain what happened which can be a little tiresome. In fact this is prominent throughout most of the film. This ends up being convoluted with the villains main plan being questionable.

Police Story Lockdown looks brilliant and has a great style. Director Ding Sheng(Little Big Soldier) has an eye for detail and delivers stylish productions. This puts it ahead of a lot of mainland China and Hong Kong films just in terms of look and visuals. However, the editing in Lockdown is pretty wild, so many quick cuts can be jarring. The fight scenes could have been filmed in this way as Jackie has aged and can’t go as well as he used to. But it's edited like this throughout, even in slow dialogue scenes. It does seem to become less noticeable and persistent as the film progresses.

The main thing to take away from Lockdown is that Jackie is a superb actor. He really delivers those dramatic scenes so well. His face is always full of emotion to the point were if Jackie is sad, then you are sad. Many people have complained there isn't enough action in this film. But Jackie has gave us so much of his health and body over the years that now he can really do whatever the hell he wants. He is getting older and slowing down, but he is an action star who is aging gracefully.

Worth a watch

Monday, 22 August 2016

Love In A Puff Review 2010 Hong Kong 志明與春嬌

A Hong Kong comedy set during the government introduction of the indoor smoking ban. The plot revolves around the love story of cosmetics sales girl Cherie(Miriam Yeung) and marketing executive Jimmy(Shawn Yue) who meet at an outdoor smoking area and begin to fall for each other.

Director Pang Ho-cheung is well known for his comedies, and Love In A Puff is one of his funniest. A little more tame and subtle than his other hits like Vulgaria and Men Suddenly In Black, but not any less entertaining. It's a great modern slice of Hong Kong which captures perfectly how the natives really talk to each other and go about their daily lives.

The film doesn't rely on a complex plot, it is more about interactions and situations. Very heavy in dialogue, in which most scenes feature workers standing around smoking and chatting. This is made exciting by witty writing which keeps you entertained as the characters tell each other disgusting, embarrassing or scary stories.

Many of the funniest parts of the films are situations the characters accidentally get themselves in to. Such as Jimmy's friend trying to smoke creatively through a takeaway cup. Or the side-splitting moment were the 2 leads get caught smoking by the police in a banned area and try to get off with it by pretending to be Japanese and Korean tourists.

The heart of the story comes down to the love interest between Shawn and Miriam's character. Although it isn't the deepest or most loving relationship we have seen on screen, there is something charming and somewhat cute about how they fall for each other. Both are fantastic actors, and carry the film well. There is an age difference between the two stars which is addressed as part of the story.

An extremely enjoyable modern and real Hong Kong comedy