What I like about movies from Korea, is their ability to make you invest into characters, while simultaneously keeping them mysterious or at least in grey areas as well. After an arms smuggling deal goes bad, North Korean agent Pyo Jong Sung finds himself and his wife, translator Ryeon Jung-hee under a cloud of suspicion and tries to uncover the real culprit. North and South Korean, Russian, U.S., Israeli, and Arab agents are everywhere, to the point where it seems it’s only slightly more likely to see a German citizen on the streets of Berlin than if the action took place in Seoul. Once all of these players are introduced, the movie does a good job of sorting them all out, as Jong Sung investigates who is responsible. There are a number of very effective action sequences throughout the film to keep things moving. The relationship between Jong Sung and Jung-hee is central to to plot. For an action movie, the characters are very well presented. But fans expecting a repeat of Jun Ji Hyun’s delightfully over-the-top performance in The Thieves will be disappointed. Her role as Jung- hee in The Berlin File rarely goes beyond that of a typical damsel in distress.
The characters are well drawn, particularly the two North Korean agents and their South Korean equivalent. They are convincing and strong anchors to base this story on. In fact seeing as this is a South Korean film it’s nice to note that the hero of the piece is a North Korean agent. This adds an unusual subversion of expectations. The location for the film too has been specifically chosen. Berlin is the one European city that historically most clearly mirrors Korea. It was divided East and West like Korea is North and South, with one half capitalist the other communist. The old East Germany was very similar to North Korea. But irrespective of the politics, it’s just a good idea in general to use a modern European city as the setting for an Asian action flick. It gives the whole thing a more original feel. Seeing the German location used as the battleground for intense Korean action sequences works really well. Those scenes are well worth waiting for. They are a combination of martial arts, gun fights and chases. They are all extremely well controlled and exciting.
To be honest, I found the overall story to be entertaining, but as others point out, somewhat convoluted for the fairly frenetic pace of the action and movements. It was quite clear that the film-makers were going for a kind of John le Carre flavour to the distinctly Korean mix of action and drama, even going so far as to actually use a copy of his novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold as a prop in a scene (a German copy, which was a nice touch). Ha Jeong-woo and Ryu Seung-beom were ideal as North Korean fixers, the former having previously played a stoic action-based North Korean in the brutal 2010 film The Yellow Sea. Their tale of corrupted brotherhood might even have been an allegory of generational changes in the DPRK, just as Han Seok- kyu’s conflicts with his own organization might just symbolize such tumult in South Korea.
There is absolutely nothing offered in terms of spy films or action cinema. It’s just a very melodramatic, over the top Korean action film that emulates the style of Bourne films with narrative tropes of Asian cinema. For Asian action film junkies and fans of the actors it’s a worthwhile distraction. This simple (though not evident) law of nature is not declared explicitly, but in many South-Korean films it’s pronounced rather distinctly. And this is what makes them always sensible, yet often unexpected. Be prepared to invest sufficient attention into an arduous story of North- and South-Korean secret service affairs.
Goda seems to be having a pretty good life. He is a successful television commercial maker who seems to be quite and demand. Also he has had a steady relationship with his long time girlfriend for ten years. However, one night while he is out having a drink, his girlfriend commits suicide. It soon becomes evident that his girlfriend had close ties with the underworld and had somehow acquired a pistol which she used to end her life. Although suffering a horrible tragedy, Goda seems to be in control of himself, and his co-workers seem to think that he is actually doing better despite the fact that his girlfriend committed suicide. However, this is not quite the case. Goda is seething underneath, wondering how his girlfriend got a hold of the pistol and he soon becomes obsessed with acquiring the gun like the one his girlfriend used to kill herself. This draws Goda into the underworld himself and he seeks the help oh yakuza members and foreign crime elements to attain his desired possession. However, because he is unsuccessful, Goda makes his own gun.
Mr. Tsukamoto has created a film about the lure of non-redemption and brilliant shoots it almost documentary style. The other characters, especially the brooding model like Kirina Miao as Chisato, are also good, but this is Mr. Tsukamoto’s film. Obtain the DVD, which has an interview with him taken years later in which he answers certain questions about the film. It is a candid view of his process and idea. This movie is very in your face and its effectiveness in spreading the message of violence and hopelessness is fascinating. For those trying to get an idea of what to expect, well it’s the kind of surrealistic dreams that are often thought of by David Cronenberg and David Lynch. If you follow that path and walk with such minds than you should take a walk with Shinya Tsukamoto and see Bullet Ballet.
The film has a sort of hyperactive sense of realism to it. Largely contributed to by the hand held camera work that is employed extensively, but also the black and white seems to help the audience take what they are watching seriously. Like the British realist films of the 1960’s. The pace of the editing is often absolutely frantic, with much use of the montage technique and, like Vertov did in the 1920’s Tsukamoto drops in black frames here and there, along with other shots for a rhythmic sense in many sequences. Despite my great adoration for the film, I would say that it sometimes seems to suffer from underdeveloped plot. There is at least one lengthy (but quite stunning) chase sequence, concluding in a great deal of violence that for its duration does not add a great deal to the plot. Prior to seeing ‘Bullet Ballet’ I had seen Tsukamoto’s ‘A Snake of June‘ which I found to be equally impressive.
The sexual overtones of the movie are quite obvious, while the stated theme of “man’s need to create violence” is a little more subtle. One thing I really liked about this movie is that although it’s quite stylized, like most maverick Asian entertainment out there, Tsukamoto shows a real grasp of montage and experimental film-making on top of the narrative continuity needed to direct the audience’s emotions as much as compel their intellect. Some of the most memorable uses of back-projection, intercutting, and hand-held cinematography are used with a movie that is not afraid to take a contemplative moment aside to build real tension. It’s not just eye-candy, this one. Of course, neither is anything else of Tsukamoto’s I’ve seen, but sometimes a movie is so well-done it bears worth mentioning. The final scene is the catharsis of the story, when the two characters finally experience all the chaos, finally witnessing all the death, seeing its effect on others, are free from their emotional blockage. Beyond all the horror of death, beyond all the disturbing scenes of violence, beyond the sociopathic behavior, ‘Bullet Ballet’ shines with its search for humanity at the darkest places, at the darkest moments, at the darkest times.
Sion Sono has spent the last few years directing uneven dramas. Why Don’t You Play in Hell marks a return to energetic pop cinema. A familiar cast, which includes “Versus” star Tak Sakaguchi as one of the Fuck Bombers, brilliantly executes the script. Hirata is the leader of The Fuck Bombers (FBs). He’s a devout soldier of cinema and swears to the “Movie God” that he will die to make one masterpiece. He’s possessed with a powerful, but naive, determination. The other members of FBs are a giant lesbian who calls herself the Queen of the Handheld Shot and an overweight man perpetually on roller-skates so he can act as a human dolly. When we first meet them they’re out on the street, capturing a real life rumble between junior Yakuza members. One of the, Kitamura, joins FBs as their wannabe Bruce Lee action star.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell best compares to Love Exposure in Sono’s filmography. The first half is a blast. The director throws in violence, romance, yakuzas, and samples a thrilling music selection like Tarantino in his best days. If this spinning vortex of rinse-and-repeat violence for fame is Sono’s version of purgatory, he at least assures that everyone has a great time paying the price. Sono understands that being an auteur requires being this sort of brilliantly naive, semi-delusional quasi huckster. Why Don’t You Play in Hell is his ode to the kind of filmmaker he’d like to be, in the form of a satire about filmmaking as it is. With the characters on their inevitable collision course, it all eventually flames out in a supernova of violence and ridiculosity that probably could’ve been five or ten minutes shorter.
Every possible photographic technique is showcased here, integrating the fast zooms, slow mo, and stop action utilized in the earlier segments. It’s as if Sono is saying that what worked then can still work now. What the masters achieved with dollies and analog craftwork is no less relevant today. Audiences will always appreciate the power of the moving image and experience the same emotions regardless of the technology in use. Jun’ichi Itô is Sion Sono’s go-to editor. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is their 12th collaboration. Their rich experience and team synergy is apparent from the start with an economical editing style that has no down time.
If the opening of the film featuring a little girl singing about toothpaste is any indication, it’s that absurdity is catchy and infectious when used in the right hands. With Sion Sono’s masterful direction and genuine passion Why Don’t You Play In Hell? is a gift to film lovers and possibly the bloodiest love letter to the medium we’ll ever see. Tune in, tune out and let the chaos drown you until there’s nothing left. Making the film really fun is a set of talented actors who carry on as if they’re in an episode of Scooby Doo but in the best way possible. This isn’t a film about subtlety, nor does the film take itself seriously, and you can tell that the cast is having fun with their zany quirky characters.
Jong-Woo (Shin Ha-Kyun) went to prison four times for petty crimes likes burglary and car theft, but he now works as an auto mechanic. He has a 17-year-old son named Gi-Hyuk (Lee Min-Ho), which he raises by himself. Gi-Hyuk is a smart kid, but troubled. The father and the son also do not get along. Although, Jong-Woo might appear like an irresponsible father, he tries his best and even works at night as a private taxi service. One evening, Jong-Woo drops off a couple at a ritzy hotel. Suddenly, another man hops into Jong-Woo’s car and tells him to drive off. Once the man pulls out large stash of cash, Jong-Woo is happy to drive the man wherever he wants. The man asks Jong-Woo to drive him to a delivery company. Jong-Woo walks into the delivery company and asks for directions to the bathroom. He then notices the man mailing off a small electronic device. The man then comes up to Jong-Woo and offers him $1,000 if he will drive him to an apartment and then to the airport. Jong-Woo happily agrees, but he first grabs the man’s cellphone and calls his own cellphone.
Once they get into the parking garage of the apartment complex, Jong-Woo’s life is about to turn completely upside down. He runs out of the garage on foot and becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. Meanwhile, Gi-Hyuk is shocked and confused that his father is now a murder suspect. Gi-Hyuk attempts to uncover the truth. This was an OK action/thriller with a couple of good laughs. It is not as good as I have come to expect out of South Korea, but that bar is set high due to the fact that South Korea has produced some amazing movies in the last decade or two. This was a one time watch. If you have already watched the cream of the countries crop, then this will be fine.
Personally, I find Lee Min-ho’s portrayal of Gi-Hyuk slightly lukewarm…and pales in comparison to Shin Ha-Kyun’s Jong-woo. Maybe this is not fair to Lee Min-ho, since the spotlight of the whole movie is on Jong-woo. But I do think that the conflict Gi-Hyuk felt towards his dad could have been better dealt with. It is easy to turn from disliking Jong-woo (the cheesy sloppy dad) to finally rooting for him, partly from Shin’s realistic portrayal of Jong-woo’s desperation, then later his need to protect his son (above his own well-being), and finally his determination to take the bad guys down (with him, if necessary).
The film succeeds in providing it’s audience with laughs and moments of awe for the endless stunts that the story rides on but where it fails is it seems to be half hearted and struggling to float it’s secondary storyline. Over all Running Man is a funny getaway film, filled with great stunts and solid CG work. In fact I haven’t laughed at a film so much in a while, so this was refreshing. It’s ambitious not just because comedy is hard to do but also due to the amount and scale of stunts performed in the film. Well worth the price of admission and well acted by it’s cast.
To say this film is great is a grave understatement as its uncompromising nature and cinema verite approach to story telling elevate it above all other films of the year. What this film does so well is connect you with the protagonists in a simple, yet very effect manner. Once the initial setup and character introductions are complete, the rest of the film is spent following them through the harsh wilderness. In doing so, Lu Chuan places the viewer in the same dire situation as the mountain patrol. We’re with them as they brave harsh winds, freezing water, sun-baked plains, and treacherous, snow-covered mountains. We feel their anguish as they come under attack from seemingly invisible assailants. We sense their fear and pessimism as they struggle to survive in this breathtakingly beautiful, yet ultimately deadly landscape. All this to protect Tibetan antelope. The fact that they’re willing to risk everything for this unseen animal says more about their character than any amount of dialogue. They do this without a paycheck and with the knowledge that they’ll probably have little to no success. By giving the antagonist so little screen time, Lu Chuan is able to broaden this story and give it global context, declaring that attitudes and actions such as this should be condemned outright. It also serves to elevate the protagonists above ordinary heroes as it can be interpreted that they’re not just doing this for the Tibetan antelope, but endangered animals everywhere.
Filmed as a semi-documentary, Mountain Patrol does not portray the patrollers as one-dimensional heroes as some Hollywood flicks might have done. We see them, during their red-hot pursuit, rough-handling a minor offender caught with antelope hair instead of cotton padding his coat and a couple of worm catchers who happened to have witnessed the poacher passing by. But these are minor, as we gradually come to understand that desperate for financial resources, as they were only semi-official and not paid by the provincial government, the mountain patrol resorted to selling some of the pelts they confiscated from the poachers. But the lasting impression left with us of the mountain patrol would be their humanity, their simple zest for life, their comradeship, their self-sacrificing spirit and their absolute dedication to doing what they believe in. Kekexili is a deeply moving account of a true story crying out to be told, and has won awards in Tokyo and Taiwan. It deserves to be seen by the rest of the world.
Adding to this, Mountain Patrol is certainly also a must-see for anybody interested in the “Tibetan Question”, as it shows life in the Tibetan highlands from a very uncommon angle: It’s a Chinese view of “Shangri-La”, torn between admiration of its spirituality and humanity and, on the other side, shocked amazement by its harshness and inhumanity. Generally, it’s a universal approach independent of ideology, and that’s never to be taken for granted whenever Tibet is involved (needless to say that this concerns the American or European image of Tibet as well). Tibet is a country that many in the west have a very romantic image of – a culture and lifestyle as far removed from modern, urban society as any on earth. The reality of Tibetan life in the modern age is probably that it’s tough, first and foremost. Kekexili is a simple film, telling the story with no bells and whistles or attempt to shoehorn in clichéd dramatic devices, or to make the characters fit particular archetypes. People and events are presented plainly as the patrol pursue a group of poachers over the gorgeous backdrop of the mountain wilderness, risking their lives to protect the endangered antelope – but compromising themselves ethically along the way too.
In addition to the breathtaking scenes of the Tibetan plateau, better seen on the wide screen than on TV, in a range of extremely challenging weather and geographic elements (one scene in quick sand is particularly harrowing), the views of Tibetan towns and quotidian life in the mountains are an intriguing sidelight. Mountain Patrol is a tricky movie to classify even when it’s clearly grounded in thriller and action roots due to the overpowering nature of the place where it’s set and its refusal to romanticize its two lead characters. If anything, it can be seen as a silent film, one that tells its story in mute yet powerful images, and in doing so, gets its message across. For the most part, the Tibetan actors are amateurs, but it works unbelievably well. The landscape will take your breath away just as quickly as it did for the patrolmen when they began to get bloody noses from the high altitudes. The film crew had a grueling time with this film; one member was killed in a car accident. Unforgiving climates, harsh and unvegetated terrain, and miles and miles with no towns…it’s quite a spectacle, like a frozen desert.
Secretly, Greatly is billed as an action-comedy. But, the first half of the film is comedic, with the lead character acting foolish and funny. However, right from the start, the viewers know he is just pretending to be stupid, as he makes many mental calculations on all possible permutations of events in his head. Such a double life requires a lot of dedication and perseverance. Secretly, Greatly tells a captivating story of three young man, trained to be killing machines, sent to South Korea as spies and assimilate into the local society. While they await further instruction from the party, they forge a friendship with the local community.
The second half of the film turns into a adrenaline fuelled action film, with much brutal fist fights and valiant defiance of orders. It is presented so well, that it keeps people captivated with the three men’s psychological struggle and physical struggle. They manage to take down tens of tough guys in fist fights normally is unrealistic and even annoyingly silly, but in “Secretly, Greatly” their seemingly omnipotent fists provide something for viewers to marvel at. Maybe it is because they are not just fighting for the sake of fighting, but fighting for survival, both physically and ideologically against a tyrannical regime. The interspersed subplot about the idiot’s longing for his mother is very touching. In the three men’s native country, people are brainwashed to believe that the party is way more important than their blood family. Hence there is a constant deep seated struggle; and their longings could never be fulfilled. The plot is profoundly powerful towards the end of the film, when everything culminates to an emotional and action climax.
This had my attention most of the way through but thought the build up and interaction between the characters could have been better for the ending to leave more of a impact. And for there to be a bit more action between scenes but that is just my opinion. And even the ending which is probably the ending in the webtoon seems to be a bit abrupt and out of nowhere and maybe even a bit rushed. Like I said, I think there should have been elements which lead to more of a attachment to the lead characters. But it does have enough good elements to make it a entertaining summer film from Korea. It would have been better if they polished up on those good areas though. Hollywood has DC and Marvel, well this is another Korean movie based on a webtoon that is adequate.
I am sure that if this movie were made in America, it would win many Oscars. Of course then it wouldn’t be the same movie. I hope it at least comes up as a best foreign film nominee. Going from working as an assistant director to one of the most well-known, most controversial filmmakers of all time and debuting with a much-praised film, it seems quite odd that he chose to do this movie as his next step. Also, in addition to being insanely good looking, Kim actually has what it takes to be a bonafide actor and it’s quite disappointing to hear that his next project will be another TV series. There aren’t too many actors his age that have that much talent in South Korea, so here’s hoping he will be given more chance to shine in the near future.
When Prince Sungwon (Kim Dong-Wook) first sees Hwa-Yeon (Jo Yeo-Jeong), the daughter of a wealthy nobleman (Ahn Seok-Hwan) for the first time, he quickly falls in love with her. But Hwa-Yeon faithfully loves Kwon-Yoo (Kim Min-Jun), a commoner which Hwa-Yeon’s father doesn’t particularly agrees with their relationship. So both Hwa-Yeon and Kwon-Yoo end up running away from their home especially when her father decides to send her to the royal palace as a concubine. But the two forbidden lovers get caught by Hwa-Yeon’s father and his men after their first night together. To spare Kwon-Yoo’s life, Hwa-Yeon makes her ultimate sacrifice and agrees to her father that she’ll be going to royal palace to become concubine.
The problem with this movie is that it goes in a complex and jumbled direction and some parts of it lead to hardly anything all that effective. The cinematography and acting is good and some parts are just cruel which leaves a bit of a impression on how things worked during the Joseon Dynasty. When it comes to males their manhood means just about everything to them(well for most men at least) and their pride comes from the length of it all. Even when they compete it comes down to their ego which is basically a penis measuring competition. The plot contrived of something more than what it is. And when it comes down to it the moral of this movie is to never mess with a man’s penis or you will face the consequences. As comedic as that sounds that is basically the message of this movie although everything is a bit jumbled. Besides the penis aspect of it all it sort of reminded me of the 2010 Korean movie “The Servant” which Jo Yeo-Jeong who is the lead actress in this was part of. Because both movies are erotic and sexual while dealing with the distance a man would go for their love or the person they lust over. While also dealing with a person that is constantly getting in the way of if all. So the plot in this is basically about a woman that tries to save his lover’s life when they decided to run away together and get caught. And thus she volunteers to become a concubine for the king in order to save her lover’s life. But soon a bunch of conspiracies happen in the palace when the king passes away and the prince is in love well in lust over the concubine way before she became a concubine and finds her in the palace before the king’s death.
After the movie is finished nothing much about is memorable and the plot just doesn’t stick. The plot isn’t bad, in fact some parts of it is actually quite well written but there really isn’t anything special about it and is unfocused as times. The Concubine is a dual-genre picture. Because it’s set in the early Joseon period, it’s obviously a costume period piece. It’s also a film noir of sorts, and in the hands of Kim Dae Sung, that means there’s a lot of nakedness and humping. When it comes down to the core of it all besides the whole penis thing, is that just about all the characters in this act for their own self interest…I guess somethings never change.
Although The Concubine comprises of many subplots, it offers substance and ample entertainment to mature audiences. The manner and build-up of the characters is simply so amazing – that during the film there is a real sense of emotional attachment to them, especially the emperor. Described as an “intense, multi-textured journey that is certainly worth the effort“, with “psychological depths that demand multiple viewings,” by the Korean Times, this film brings semi-disappointment and since I don’t agree, it doesn’t actually live up to its hype.
Akira Kurosawa’s 1955 meditation on the fear of imminent nuclear war flopped at the box office, was released internationally only years later, and remains one of his least-known films. It was sandwiched chronologically between Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood, both great triumphs. I Live in Fear also stars Toshiro Mifune, but this time as an aging industrialist (Kiichi Nakajima) rather than as a jidaigeki samurai. Still, Mifune remains Mifune: intense, emotional, and constantly in motion. We never see Nakajima looking at the camera. His restlessness is a physical analog to his psychic turmoil.
Nakajima’s turmoil comes from two sources, and there are really two films in one here. The overt subject of the film and source of anxiety is the threat of nuclear war. A decade before 1955, of course, the United States had dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the fear of nuclear war was more real and its potential consequences more tangible in Japan than anywhere else. The film begins just after Nakajima’s wife has petitioned to have him declared mentally incompetent because he “harbored delusional fears about atomic and hydrogen bombs and subsequent radioactivity” and put in motion plans to move his entire family to Brazil, which he believed to be the only safe refuge from fallout in the event of nuclear war. Everyone is afraid of nuclear war, it turns out, but remain calm because they can’t do anything about it. In between domestic scenes Kurosawa shows us takes of normal urban life, of people going about their lives as if there is no looming threat. The question of who is being irrational, Nakajima or everyone else, is something Kurosawa never really answers. We watch through the eyes of Dr. Harada, a court-appointed mediator played by another Kurosawa favorite, Takashi Shimura. Nakajima’s “family” turns out to be complicated – he wants his illegitimate son from a woman who has passed away, two current mistresses and illegitimate child by each of them, as well as his legal wife and their three children and spouses all to come to Brazil. Ultimately the court declares him incompetent not because they think his anxiety irrational, but because he proposes to sell his property and force his family to move to Brazil or be left destitute.
The second film in I Live in Fear that Kurosawa gives us is about the fate of patriarchy in modern Japanese society. Nakajima’s seething anger comes from the unprecedented challenge to his authority by his children. It becomes clear that what he fears most is powerlessness, whether from the court’s actions or from his inability to do anything to assuage his fear of H-bombs. The disintegration of Nakajima’s authority over his family is parallel to the potential destruction of the world. In one scene the sounds of fighter jets screeching overhead induce an imagined nuclear flash and a panic attack. He believes that distant bomb tests even control the weather. Nakajima collapses from exhaustion, but recovers enough to deliberately burn down his foundry to force his family to move to Brazil. He is arrested for arson, has a total mental breakdown from his double emasculation, and ends the film insane and institutionalized.
Beyond the twin plots, I Live in Fear is most enjoyable because of the acting. Kurosawa gives his veteran cast time and freedom to communicate internal feelings with facial expressions and body language rather than dialogue. The film is about gestures, about how people communicate wordlessly. There are long takes with no dialogue or music. Kurosawa heightens this in key scenes by placing the camera low and directly behind the main speaker, so that we look at his audience watching him. It creates a suspense and tension more tangible for an audience today than the more extreme fear of nuclear war or social collapse that haunts Nakajima.
Legendary Hong Kong director Tsui Hark returns! A prequel of the colossal moneymaker Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, which dominated the box office of Chinese National Holiday week (starts from 1st October) three years ago, and a similar (if not higher) lucrative income will repeat this year in the 7-days stretch too. But the film is at best to be referred as satisfying, compared to its predecessor, the whole “dragon king” case doesn’t measure up to the intelligent reasoning required for a grave and ambitious scheme such as toppling over an entire nation, maybe it is because of a “young” detective Dee, not weathered enough yet. The freshly-recruited cast brings new and drop-dead gorgeous faces to the franchise (quintet of beauty,Chao, Feng, Lin, Kim and Angelababy in their prime appeal), but they are all employed as chessmen to follow the procedure without any further digging into their personalities or plainly reduced to eye-candies.
The film tells how the young Dee rise to become a respectable detective for the Tang Dynasty, befriends the doctor Shaluo (similar to Sherlock Holmes and Watson) and his rival, Chief Commissioner/Detective Yuchi, unravels and solves an intriguing mystery case which involves a plot to assassinate the royal family and palace officials to overthrow the entire kingdom. In order to fully enjoy the film, it requires some suspension of disbelief from the audience for some of the fantasy or action elements shown in the film such as riding a horse underwater, ‘Kraken’ beast, parasites that can change a person’s looks and behavior entirely, flying around fighting in the air, etc. Although the wire-action choreography was great and well handled throughout the film, but the action scenes gets a little too much and it feels tedious to watch as the film moves on. It took away the focus of the mystery plot and a lot of potential character development required in the film. However, most of the lead and supporting actors did a fine job in portraying their character roles.
Also, instead of having a single conundrum to mull over at a time, having a multitude of inter-linked puzzles makes for brilliant, brainstimulating entertainment. Chao puts in a noteworthy effort, while Angelababy is spectacular eye candy. Just don’t cringe when the beast kisses her because, well, he actually turns out to be the prettier one. The two hour plus story arc, holds us rapt as it tells a riveting tale, enough to have us gripping our seats. Being a huge fan of Jerry Bruckheimer, I can confidently put Tsui Hark in his category.
As with Tsui Hark, one can expect fantasy elements to appear in his films. And also with Tsui Hark, you know the plot is quite predictable, it’s not too hard to guess what’s the “mystery” behind this film although it’s supposed to be a crime solving film. Well, though I just said the plot is predictable, there are several things that keep you watching on, all of which I have described above. I enjoy films like these and I have no qualms whilst they are continually being made. The next two hours of non-stop action are another example of Tsui’s typically convoluted brand of storytelling – one which ropes in at least three loosely linked missions for our protagonists.