Thursday, 16 March 2017

Born Wild Review 2001 Hong Kong 野獸之瞳

Born Wild 野獸之瞳
Year: 2001
Director: Patrick Leung
Writer: Chan Hing-ka, Amy Chin
Cast: Louis Koo, Daniel Wu, Patrick Tam, Jo Kuk
Running Time: 109 minutes
Country: Hong Kong

A dramatic boxing tale that has over stylized fight scenes, a messy plot, uninteresting characters and very bizarre musical choices. But, it's still mostly enjoyable and slightly above average.

Daniel Wu and Louis Koo star as fraternal twins Tide and Tan. After not seeing each other for 8 years, the police show up at Tide's (Wu) home to inform him that his brother Tan (Koo) has been found dead. Tide goes on a mission to discover what happened to his brother, and on his way he befriends Tan's best friend Mann (Patrick Tam) and his girlfriend Sandy (Jo Kuk) before discovering he was involved in underground boxing. Now Tide wants to avenge his brother against the man that murdered him, the undefeated Arion (Wrath White).

On paper this sounds like a pretty generic action storyline, but compliments to the writers, they delve deeper into the plot and motivations for each character. Unfortunately, the characters come off as a bit bland. It is really hard to relate to, or care about the characters, even though none of them deliver a bad performance. Daniel Wu and Louis Koo are both adequate in their roles, Patrick Tam is better. Acting as their best friend, Tam plays Mann, who is one of the most interesting parts of the whole film.

If you are expecting the usual style of Hong Kong action, you are in for disappointment. The fight scenes aren't bad per se. But they hardly even exist. Most of the underground boxing matches are shown in quick clips or montages and they are all heavily edited. Lots of quick cuts, close ups, motion blurs. It's often hard to tell what is actually going on in most of the "fight" scenes. Not too sure if these scenes were shot that way for artistic purposes, or to hide the actors boxing shortcomings. Daniel Wu can more than handle himself in Hong Kong action films.

There is plenty of Daniel and Louis topless on show, if you are into that sort of thing...

All of these issues aside, Born Wild is still bafflingly entertaining. Rather than the action being the high point, it's the dramatics. The side-stories and developing relationships between Tide and Mann, and Tide and Sandy are what drives the narrative. This is what makes the film charming and these are what sticks with you when it's all over.

The film is very stylish, it's just really great to look at, style over substance is very evident. Part of the enjoyment of these types of films is that you can just switch off, not take it too seriously, and look at the pretty pictures. Oddly, some of the musical choices are completely bonkers. Random heavy guitar riffs kicking in with no purpose. Or a random ballad getting belted out by Sandy while a supporting character plays along with the piano. A little jarring, but enjoyable!

Not exactly a film that will change your life or stay with you. But possibly worth a watch if you are a big fan of Daniel Wu or Louis Koo, or ultimately Patrick Tam. An above average Hong Kong film, but only just.


See this if you liked:
Boxing Hero
Fatal Contact

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

10 Upcoming Hong Kong Films You Should Be Excited About!

The golden age of Hong Kong cinema is clearly long gone. And although they still produce some great films every now and again, it's nothing compared to the amount of brilliant films they used to churn out regularly in the 80s and 90s.
However, it looks like that could all be about to change. With lots of exciting new information coming out of this years Filmart, it looks like the next couple of years could be filled with great films. I thought I would focus on some that I am most looking forward to.

Shock Wave (拆彈專家)

An action crime thriller directed by Herman Yau (The Mobfathers) and produced by and starring Andy Lau. Released in Hong Kong in April 2017.

Cheung Choi-san (Andy Lau) is a senior inspector of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD). Seven years ago, he went undercover and became the protege of Hung Kai-pang (Jiang Wu - A Touch Of Sin), a top wanted criminal specializing in bombs. Cheung successfully disintegrated Hung's criminal gang, but during the operation, Hung manages to escape while his younger brother and allies were captured. To seek revenge for Cheung's betrayal, Hung comes back seven years later and prepares to plant a series bombs in Hong Kong, which creates public panic.

The Brink (狂兽)

Upcoming Hong Kong action thriller directed by newcomer Jonathan Li, and produced by Soi Cheang and Paco Wong.

The Brink follows an ex-cop who gets caught in the line of fire when a smuggler launches a revenge attack on his godfather. Featuring the cast of Max Zhang (Ip Man 3), Shawn Yue (Wild City), Gordon Lam (Trivisa), Janice Man (Helios) and Wu Yue (Cold War 2).

Paradox (貪狼)

Another upcoming action film this time from Hong Kong action director Wilson Yip(Ip Man/SPL). With Sammo Hung handling the action choreography and Louis Koo (Call of Heroes) and Tony Jaa (SPL 2) starring, there is plenty to be excited about.

A police negotiator travels to Bangkok to search for his teenage daughter and is aided by local detectives played by Tony Jaa and Wu Yue. Along the way, he encounters the mastermind of an organ trafficking gang (Chris Collins), leading to a series of hot pursuit.

Drug Warn aka The Fixer (毒。诫)

Lawrence Lau directs Drug Warn previously known as The Fixer. Starring Sean Lau (Mad Detective), Louis Koo (Line Walker), Max Zhang (Ip Man 3) and Gordon Lam (Trivisa).

Drug Warn is a crime drama based on a true story about a Hong Kong gangster due for release later this year.

Taste of Crime (低压槽)

Nick Cheung's (Hungry Ghost Ritual/Keeper of Darkness) third time as a director will be action crime thriller Taste of Crime.

Starring Nick Cheung (Line Walker), Xu Jinglei (The Warlords) and Yu Nan (Wolf Warriors), the film tells the story of an undercover cop who unveils collusion between the highest level of government and the triads.

Love Off The Cuff (春嬌救志明)

Director Pang Ho-Cheung returns with his romantic comedy Love series. The follow up to Love In A Puff and Love In The Buff, is the third in the series Love Off The Cuff. Released in April 2017 in Hong Kong.

Miriam Yeung (Little Big Master) and Shawn Yue (Wild City) return and this time the couple go to Taiwan, their relationship gets tested when Jimmy’s(Yue) childhood friend asks him to donate sperm for her artificial insemination.

Chasing The Dragon (追龍)

Director Wong Jing brings real life 1970s gangster Crippled Ho (Donnie Yen - Ip Man) to life in a new crime drama. Andy Lau (The Great Wall) also stars, reprising his Lee Rock character.

The film follows Ng Sek-ho (aka Crippled Ho) as his days from an illegal immigrant through his rise to becoming one of Hong Kong's most powerful drug lords.

The Invincible Dragon (Made in Kowloon)

Director Fruit Chan (Dumplings) brings us The Invincible Dragon, formally known as Made in Kowloon.

Starring Max Zhang (Ip Man 3), Juju Chan (Sword of Destiny) and MMA icon Anderson Silva, this is an action film which was filmed in Hong Kong and Macau. The story follows a detective on the trail of a serial killer who may have abducted his fiance.

Cheung Tin-Chi

More Max Zhang! Oh Yes!

A spin off from the Ip Man series. Max Zhang's character from Ip Man 3 'Cheung Tin-Chi' gets his own film. Also starring Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Tony Jaa (Skin Trade) and Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy). And being directed by legendary Yuen Woo-Ping, there is plenty to be excited about!

Going in to production later this year!

Ip Man 4

Wow! Donnie Yen is back as the legendary Ip Man!Wilson Yip is returning as director and Yuen Woo Ping is on fight choreography.

Probably wont be out until late 2018.

There is plenty to be optimistic about and the future of Hong Kong cinema is looking extremely positive!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Complete A-Z List Of Reviews

1911 Revolution

The Admiral: Roaring Currents
The Assassin

Badge of Fury
Be My Baby
Beijing Rocks
A Better Tomorrow(South Korea)
Boiling Point
Born Wild

The Cat
Christmas On July 24th Avenue
Children Who Chase Lost Voices
Comrades: Almost A Love Story
Conman In Tokyo
Cops And Robbers
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: Sword of Destiny

The Detective
Downtown Torpedoes

Eden of The East
Ex-Files 2

For Y'ur Height Only
Fukuchan of Fukufuku Flats

Hang Gong-ju
Happy Ero Christmas
Happy Together

Il Mare
It All Began When I Met You

Love In A Puff
Love Off The Cuff

The Mermaid
Merry Christmas
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Miracle: Devil Claus' Love and Magic
A Moment of Romance
Money Kills

New Prince of Tennis

Once Upon a Time 

Perhaps Love
Police Story Lockdown (Police Story 2013)

Red Light Revolution
The Rules Of The Game
Running Out Of Time

Sadako 3D
Sake Bomb
Salute! Sun Yat Sen
A Scene At The Sea
The Search For Weng Weng
A Silent Voice
Shaolin Prince
Summer Time Machine Blues
A Snake of June

The Tower
Three Extremes 2
Tokyo Fist

The Viral Factor

War of The Arrows
The White Storm
Wolf Warrior 2

The Years Best Films
Best Asian Films of 2012
Best Asian Films of 2013
Best Asian Films of 2015
Best Asian Films of 2016
Best Asian Films of 2017

Asian Christmas Films
Best Asian Christmas Films
Best Asian Christmas Films Part 2

Top 10 Asian Horror Films
Takeshi Kitano Filmography Ranked Best To Worst
10 Upcoming Hong Kong Films for 2017

Non Asian
Planet of the Apes series ranked best to worst
Rocky series ranked best to worst

Beijing Rocks Review 2001 Hong Kong 北京樂與路

Beijing Rocks 北京樂與路
Year: 2001
Director: Mabel Cheung
Writer: Alex Law
Cast: Daniel Wu, Shu Qi, Geng Le, Faye Yu, Henry Ng
Running Time: 109 minutes

Mabel Cheung (An Autumn's Tale/City of Glass) directs another satisfying film this time focusing on the Bejing rock 'n roll culture, a love triangle and social commentary about being Chinese but coming from different cultures and countries.

Michael Ng(Daniel Wu) is a struggling singer-songwriter who has been sent by his father(Richard Ng) to Mainland China to stay while he improves his Mandarin. He discovers a wannabe rock band which catches his interests as does their dancer Yang Yin(Shu Qi) whose boyfriend Ping lu(Geng Le) is the lead singer of the rock group. When they go on a local tour "hole hopping" Michael tags along for the adventure but ends up falling in love with Yang.

The most interesting aspect of Beijing Rocks isn't actually the Rock scene, it's the different character's stories and backgrounds intertwining. Daniel Wu was likely cast as Michael Ng for not only his star power but also his similarity to the character. Michael is a Chinese-American who admits that his Mandarin is terrible, just like his English. He is often teased for his Hong Kong background and seems hesitant to embrace it. Michael appears to not really fit in to Beijing but after discovering the Rock band he sees something in them he can relate to.

Ping Lu is a much more complex character. He is an extremely rebellious rocker, to the point it could be holding back not only his band but also his relationship. In contrast he also has many similar traits that you would find in modern Chinese youth. Ping doesn't just want to play music for the sake of it, he wants to be different, he wants to stand out and he wants to deliver a message. Being a bit of a bad boy he is hard to feel sorry for, but credit to Geng Le, he manages to make you feel for him in some of the more sentimental scenes with his dad.

Shu Qi is loveable as usual. Delivering a sweet performance as Yang, a Taiwan native who has fell in love with a rockstar and believes they are bound to be together, even if her significant other doesn't feel quite as strong. Shu Qi really is a wonderful actress. This performance was still quite early on after her run in Cat III films, and she really got to exercise her acting chops in this role. Showing off some powerful emotive moments while also keeping you glued with her star screen presence.

Beijing Rocks has a road movie feel to it, which makes the story flow better than it probably should. The audio is handled superbly, and at times it almost feels like a rock musical while we endure full songs performed by the band. And I don't use endure lightly. Some of the songs are real stinkers! Not the most accessible music and you can understand why the band hasn't made it big. There is a great musical nostalgia moment during one heart warming scene when Yang has to take over the vocals for a song.

The setting of China is used effectively for the characters and story and it's actually refreshing that it's just used as another country without being soaked in political statements. There are plenty of Chinese landmarks and historical sites on display as we are shown these through the eyes of the tourist Michael and his trusty handycam.

Not without it's flaws, during the last 20 minutes the film changes it's course and the melodrama starts to seep in. The ending, although suited to the theme of the film, does seem a bit rushed and unsatisfactory. It feels like a different approach could have left the characters with a more gratifying conclusion.

None of this takes away from the positives of the film. It has great characters and a very personal and intimate story. Mabel Cheung is an extremely interesting director and her films are always entertaining even if somewhat unconventional.


See this if you like:
An Autumns Tale
City Of Glass
Eight Taels Of Gold

Couldn't actually find a trailer. But here is a MV for the film. Probably best not watching all the way through in case of spoilers. But it gives you a feel for the film.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

New Hong Kong DVD pickups for March!

New dvds! 
Picked up these Hong Kong films on eBay for a bargain price, surprisingly they are all still sealed!
Haven't seen any of them, so very intrigued to check them out.