Double Feature: Chasing the Dragon (2017) & Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Welcome back to the next double feature! Its been a while, right? I’ll try to be better…I guess I was more burnt out from writing reviews that even I could imagine. Overall, I’m just feeling mostly burned out and not in the mood for writing lately but I’m slowly getting back on track.

With that said, no specific reason when I first chose these two together but the banners are looking like there is a versus vibe to it. ūüėČ This double feature is 2017 Hong Kong film Chasing the Dragon starring Donnie Yen and Andy Lau, which had its wave of popularity when it was announced and released in Hong Kong (judging from Facebook activity) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a DC film that I honestly didn’t care too much about to begin with but it was going to leave Netflix and I just went for it, hoping that low expectations might make it a little more entertaining. One high hopes and one low expectations, lets see how they truly fare, right?

Chasing the Dragon (2017)

Chasing the Dragon

Director: Jason Kwan, Jing Wong, Aman Chang

Cast: Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Philip Keung, Wilfred Lau, Kang Yu, Kent Cheng, Bryan Larkin, Ben Ng, Ken Tong, Dongdong Xu

An illegal immigrant from Mainland China sneaks into corrupt British-colonized Hong Kong in 1963, transforming himself into a ruthless and emerging drug lord. – IMDB

Chasing the Dragon is said to be based on a true story of real life gangster, Ng Sek-ho and also a remake of the 1991 film, To Be Number One. I don’t know much about the history and I don’t think I’ve seen that movie before so I have no idea how it compares. However, Chasing the Dragon is a good one. Its a bit different from how you would normally perceive in a movie solely focused in Donnie Yen’s fighting abilties.

In this one, he plays the gangster Crippled Ho who while has one or two really good fight scenes, he spends most of it being a triad leader. For audience who don’t speak Chinese, it is a pity because the achievement here is how Donnie Yen takes over the character and nails this really fantastic accent while not making it sound goofy but still manage to feel threatening especially since the movie is set in characters sitting in grey areas. On one hand, there’s a lot of bad that has happened and it feels like Crippled Ho was pushed into the situation and we can’t help but to fight for his escape and Andy Lau (the awesome actor that he is) plays Lee Rock, a corrupted cop who will do anything to be number one and finds his support with Lee Rock. You can see where his grey area is because he becomes fairly ruthless.¬†Their appearances are aided a lot by an even more evil cast by Bryan Larkin as Hunt, an arrogant and even more ruthless British cop who is the top dog and feels threatened by Lee Rock’s promotion. This guy is scripted in such a¬† way that makes him so hard to like, and it was the intent.

Chasing the Dragon is very much a Hong Kong film and rather meant for a Chinese speaking audience. Be it the way the movie is and how the language, especially the slang nature of Cantonese can get lost in translation easy. The successes of the film also rely on various elements that rely on understanding why Donnie Yen is so convincing in his role. I’m not sure that if I was just reading subtitles and not totally understanding some of the history (the little bit that I know), how it would changed my enjoyment for it. There are some pacing issues and some rather forced bits possibly over-dramatized. While its a pretty good film, its definitely not the best. It met my expectations but I have to say that might have to do with my respect for both of these actors as well as the great supporting cast that was on screen.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot

Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. – IMDB

Let’s make it really clear that I haven’t seen Man of Steel so I don’t know what happened to make Batman so angry except for the little recap snippet in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As I said before, my expectations for this one wasn’t high. My difference here is just that I¬† didn’t feel convinced about this film from the trailer. I have no issue with Ben Affleck as Batman, maybe a tiny issue with Henry Cavill as Superman, mostly because I haven’t seen a movie he has done that I like. The issue with the film might not exactly be the cast because they are all great actors and do a pretty good job. Where this film falls apart is its length which made the pacing so horrible. The story itself falls apart and is flat out boring. It never feels like much happens. There’s some stealthy useless stealing scene, Wonder Woman gets in the way, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor does his crazy act and then takes them down a notch from their high superhero ways and they put aside from issues and team up to fight him. Not exactly a riveting story in my mind but some basic stuff with a lot of padding in between. I wonder if its because I haven’t seen Man of Steel that I don’t have that connection with Superman so I don’t have any stake in how much I care about his making it out of this or not. But the movie itself just wasn’t good because it was boring and at times, felt so pointless.

Either way, not one that I’ll go visit. So far, the top DC film out of the two (and a tenth of Man of Steel) that I’ve seen is definitely¬† Wonder Woman (review). Not in a hurry to catch up with the DC films just yet. I had low expectations and this one possibly even went a bit lower than that.

Triple Feature: As Tears Go By, Stop-Loss & Tell Tale

I rarely do triple features but Netflix has been driving me nuts on movie expiration on January¬†1st. I’m literally racing with time and its hard to decide if I should be watching TV series or movies. ¬†The movies that make the cut are the ones that I find intriguing or that I haven’t seen in the bargain bin because I’ll just eventually get around to buying it if thats the case.

Between watching Numb3rs (which I know I can’t get another 5 seasons done in 4 days because that would be insane), I managed to get these 3 movies in. Word to the wise, in order to enjoy happy holidays you really shouldn’t watch dramatic movies (aka As Tears Go By).

As Tears Go By (1989)

as tears go by

Director: Kar Wai Wong

Cast: Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Man Chi Leung

Mid-level gangster Wah falls in love with his beautiful cousin, but must also continue to protect his volatile partner-in-crime and friend, Fly.-IMDB

I’m going to confess right now that I’m not a huge fan of Kar Wai Wong (or maybe its just because I really didn’t enjoy 2046). ¬†He makes some really complex movies. ¬†I’m not saying I don’t like complex movies either because I like really messed up movies but his are just way too much for me. ¬†I didn’t even know As Tears Go By ¬†was his directorial debut until I was doing some research for this one. Before you start telling me, what about In the Mood For Love? I’m going to just tell you right now that I haven’t seen it yet so I really can’t tell you. ¬†Its not for lack of trying to find it either. ¬†I’m working on it.

as tears go by

Either way, As Tears Go By is actually pretty good.  It has the last 80s-early 90s kind of Hong Kong film style of making triad/gangsters lifestyle and mixing it with the whole romance angle.  I can remember a few of those when I was a kid.  Andy Lau was at his peak during those times (and he is still talented as ever if not more).  Maggie Cheung has proven herself to be a great actress over the years.  There is no doubt the performances are fantastic.  As Tears Go By is a pretty intense movie to watch.  There was one part where it was really brutally violent (well, two parts) and I had to look away because it was just too much.  The connection and chemistry of the love story was good.

Apparently this is based on Mean Streets by Martin Scorsese but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t seen it. ¬†The story is a little cliche but the style ¬†for a directorial debut is there, along with the awesome performances, it is one of the more enjoyable Kar Wai Wong movies I’ve seen. Then, the next few directorial efforts: Chungking Express and Ashes of Time was pretty epic also.

Have you seen As Tears Go By? Thoughts on Kar Wai Wong? Any comments on Mean Streets?

Stop-Loss (2008)

stop-loss

Director: Kimberly Pierce

Cast: Ryan Philippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Rob Brown

A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army. –IMDB

I’m not very saavy about military terms but being stop-lossed is what it means to be ordered to return back to field duty.

Stop-Loss is a good drama. ¬†I’m not one to like war movies but this is more of the impact of soldiers and how it affects their life afterwards. ¬†Its an emotional and psychological toll more than its a physical one. ¬†Sometimes, its enough and they want to return but circumstances are brought upon them differently and they have to go back to the field and thats exactly what happened here for the lead, Brandon King (Ryan Philippe).

stop-loss

Watching Stop-Loss was pretty intense (and I watched it the day after As Tears Go By). ¬†There’s a huge test here. ¬†There is no way to escape being stop-lossed and if you do, its against orders so either way there is really no way out. ¬†Its a complex issue in itself. Brandon King tries to run from it and the story makes us see his own struggles and just how much him and his team has gone through, the friendship its built and how its affected his brothers in the army with him. ¬†It brings on a burden to his family and in the end he has to make the choice of whether to run away or to go back. ¬†The story is the winner in this one. ¬†It does try to cover Brandon King but also carries a little more with adding in a focus on Channing Tatum’s character and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, which was also two very good performances.

Stop-Loss is a little heart-breaking to watch.  Its a lot to take in but the movie is honest and sincere and it really does bring up some complex issues that will make you think a little about it all.

Have you seen Stop-Loss? 

Tell Tale (2010)

tell tale

Director: Michael Cuesta

Cast: Josh Lucas, Lena Headey, Brian Cox

A man’s newly transplanted heart leads him on a dangerous journey to find out who murdered its donor. –IMDB

Tell Tale is supposedly based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, which I haven’t read.

Okay, so how do I start this one? Lets say that I’m a little confused with how I feel about this. ¬†On one hand, I thought it wasn’t all that great. ¬†I predicted a part of the¬†ending twist like halfway through. ¬†Then, I’m trying to really understand the whole concept of how a donated organ, like the heart is what is compelling its recipient to act without control in avenging the donor’s death, in a way. Its a little far-fetched, but then I thought about The Eye and figured if I could accept that movie, why not this one?

tell tale

On the other hand, I really liked the performances. ¬†Josh Lucas was great with what he had and Lena Headey was also fantastic. ¬†My only issue was that it felt a little one dimensional. ¬†Goodness, I never knew I’d actually know how to use this word related to movies. ¬†The story itself is so slow, uneventful, predictable and just seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere. ¬†I feel like I’m being harsh but this could’ve been better especially with the extraordinary cast they had on hand. ¬†Everything that happened was really predictable even if there were moments, I kind of wondered what the whole deal was until it kind of started to make sense about the same time that I figured out that ending twist.

Tell Tale kind of put me to sleep a little especially when I really wanted to like this because it sounded interesting. ¬†I just couldn’t get into it. Plus, its not a long movie, okay? So feeling boring and dragged out shouldn’t happen and it unfortunately did.

What did you think of Tell Tale? 

THERE YOU GO!

Three reviews! I expected to make them a little shorter so I apologize if it was extremely long. Netflix is just killing me here. ¬†So, after some late night movie watching and spending some much needed quality time with my boyfriend after a busy holidays running around having fun with family and friends, we sat down and binged through a few movies so guess what? Another triple feature tomorrow but I promise, it’ll be shorter ūüėČ At least I’ll try.

Infernal Affairs III (Director’s Cut) (2003)

We’re at the last part of the Infernal Affairs trilogy!

How are you feeling about it so far? I’d have to say that the first two was a decent run. ¬†Obviously, nothing quite beats the genius in the first one but the second was surprisingly well done. ¬†Lets move along to the third one. ¬†I have nothing much to say about it. ¬†Only that, when I saw it a few years back when it first came out, this one confused me so much to the point that I wasn’t too happy with it. ¬†But with an open mind, I walked right back in fully positive that this time around I was going to understand what was going on. Lets see if that did happen ūüėČ

**If you haven’t seen the first one, please stop right here if you intend to see these. ¬†The description will have spoilers regarding the first one.**

infernal affairs 3Director: Wai-Keung Lau, Alan Mak

Cast: Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Leon Lai, Daoming Chen, Kelly Chen, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang

Six months after the events of Infernal Affairs, Inspector Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau) is finally finished the arduous investigation on the events that happened resulting in the deaths of Yan (Tony Leung) and the mole. Resuming his position in Internal Affairs, he catches news that there was 5 moles seeped in from Sam’s triad organization and in the past six months, they have been dying one by one. ¬†It is suspected that Sam has another internal man who was asked to kill off all of them in case of his death. ¬†Fearing for his life, Lau starts to suspect the Security unit chief, Inspector Yeung (Leon Lai). At the same time, the story flips back to Yan finally penetrating Sam’s triad and having his first mission with the Mainland China connections for their future illegal practices with their leader (Daoming Chen).

infernal affairs 3

First things first, I know you are all wondering the same thing: Did I get it this time? The answer is that: I kept myself very much awake and since my mom was watching this without watching the first one, she was all full of questions and after explaining things to her during the movie, it all clicked together. At least one goal was achieved.

Infernal Affairs 3

Now, the second thing ¬†I have to talk about is how I felt. ¬†I took a few days to sit back and let it sink in a little because this one is very confusing and for some, they even find its a pretty unnecessary addition. ¬†If they had stopped it at the first one or even the second one, it would have been perfectly fine. ¬†With that, I pretty much agree. If you watch the theatrical version, its even more confusing. ¬†I think its because I watched the extended Director’s Cut that it adds in parts that link things together in a better way.

Infernal Affairs 3

The concept behind it was okay. ¬†Its a follow-through with a nice twist at the end. ¬†Its just that it kind of does raise some questions as in: why is the psychiatrist suddenly so trusting of Ming? If Sam was dead, why would someone still answer his orders to kill off the moles? And these sort of story flow questions keep coming up. ¬†I can’t remember them all and I’m sure I’ll hit some spoiler territory. Honestly, I can’t get too detail with anything because I feel like it does lead to the big finale and that was the best part of the movie even if the pieces before it wasn’t all too memorable.

Infernal Affairs 3

However, there are some notable additions. ¬†This one does add the guy up there: a very talented Chinese actor Daoming Chen. ¬†I first saw this guy in a historical drama about one of the emperors and I’m not much of historical stuff but he was so awesome. ¬†That gave Infernal Affairs 3 extra points. Although I honestly felt like his character was a bit fuzzy and could have been done better but the runtime is already pretty intense. ¬†On the note of actors, in the second picture we have Leon Lai (who I don’t like very much) but surprisingly, I was pretty impressed with his whole act. ¬†It kept me guessing whether he was a good or bad guy the whole way. Andy Lau delivers a fine performance and Tony Leung does well also. ¬†Kelly Chen is still rather green as an actress as she is primarily a singer that went into acting.

Overall, Infernal Affairs 3 is unnecessary and confusing. ¬†I didn’t get a chance to watch both director’s and theatrical to compare but since I did watch director’s cut this time, I’d suggest watching that so you get a better idea. ¬†There are still all around notable performances from the original cast and the new additions along with some surprises. ¬†The plot was a bit too much for its own good but they did give a really decent ending to pull everything together. ¬†Its worth a watch if you’ve already gone through the first two but I wouldn’t say its necessary to rush to see it either.

Have you seen the Infernal Affairs trilogy? What do you think of it? Was this sequel necessary? 

Genre Grandeur – Infernal Affairs (2002)

Check out my review for Movierob’s May Genre Grandeur for Crime month of Infernal Affairs. Its one of my absolute favorite crime movies and this re-watch was long overdue. I’m going to be watching the next 2 also in the near future. Look forward to my reviews of those.

However, June’s Genre Grandeur is for Superhero/Comic book movies so if you have a favorite you’d like to write about, send it over to Rob. All the details are in the post before the review.

A huge thanks to Rob for putting this together. I had a lot of fun revisiting Infernal Affairs and now I’m all pumped up to rewatch the entire trilogy!

MovieRob

For my next guest post for this month‚Äôs Genre Grandeur ‚Äď Crime, I present you with a review by Kim of Tranquil Dreams of Infernal Affairs (2002).¬† Her site is filled with movie reviews, photo challenges, travel posts, and of course very interesting recipes.¬† If you don‚Äôt already follow her site, I urge you to do so.

If there are any of you out there who still want to submit a post for this months genre ‚Äď I am willing to give you a two day extension (until 27th May) to send me your review (crime@movierob.net).¬† If you are planning on it (ERIC!!) :), please shoot me an email to let me know to look out for it.

Just a quick reminder that next month’s Genre, which was chosen by Zoe is Superhero/Comic book movies, so feel free to start sending those in too (comic@movierob.net)

Now on to…

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Cold War (2012)

Prior to this past week or two of movie watching, I’d have to say that Resident Evil: Retribution was almost the best one I saw in 2012 (guilty pleasure and fun). ¬†I still have a lot to catch up and right now, I’m saying that 2012 movies kicked some serious ass. ¬†It was the year of amazing animated films and then we had the record-breaking The Avengers, then yesterday I reviewed The Bullet Vanishes and says that its been a while I’ve seen something so awesome in the Hong Kong industry. ¬†Hong Kong entertainment has successfully regained my hope in it. ¬†Cold War was a masterpiece, okay? Wait, wait…I’m getting ahead of myself!

cold war posterDirector: Sunny Luk, Longmond Leung

Cast: Aaron Kwok, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Kar Lok Chin, Charlie Yeung, Ka Tung Lam, Andy On, Terence Yin, Andy Lau, Michael Wong, Eddie Peng

The Commissioner of Hong Kong Police (Michael Wong) is away for conference to talk about Hong Kong raising itself to be called the safest city in the world through their technology and security systems set up and protocols. ¬†Shortly after their departure, one of their emergency unit vehicles have vanished off the grid and no tracking devices on the 5 officers and the car itself could be located, while at the same time, a building ¬†explodes in the middle of the heart of Hong Kong. The police has to now find the balance between not ruining their safest city reputation but not threatening the citizens either. ¬†Normal protocol is that the Deputy Commissioners usually take over the role as Acting Commissioner to lead the assignment. ¬†Right away, Deputy Commissioner Lee (Tony Ka Fai Leung), responsible for the operations takes the reins and summons everyone to an emergency meeting to start reacting with project “Cold War”. However, Deputy Commissioner of management Lau (Aaron Kwok) forces him off due to his connection to one of the missing officers being his son Joe (Eddie Peng) and takes over the operations instead to prevent him from overreacting and treating the situation too subjectively, especially if this was now considered a kidnapping and possibly a terrorist attack.

Deputy Commissioner Lau and Lee fighting for the role of Acting Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Lau and Lee fighting for the role of Acting Commissioner

The plot thickens as we hit the continuing plot that enters, but if I told you all that, then what would be the fun of you watching it, right?

This crime thriller is intense as hell! My brain is overloaded by ¬†how to even start describing this. ¬†Its smart and fast-paced. ¬†There will be some twists in the story especially seeing it has a 2 level plot line, that happens where you won’t even guess and then some that you probably might see but still be wowed afterwards. ¬†The story is pretty incredible and held up by literally *almost* everyone in the entertainment business. ¬†Most of them are veteran actors and if they aren’t, they will possibly one day get there. ¬†On the contrary, both directors are green and its their first directing effort but their days working in as art director and assistant director really helped them out. ¬†My mind was totally absorbed and my eyes were glued to the screen. There was some action that had me on the edge of my seat and then some parts that had me wondering who was behind all this. ¬†I mean thats the first thing we, as the audience, and the police want to figure out, right?

Aaron Kwok as Deputy Commissioner/Acting Commissioner Sean Lau

Aaron Kwok as Deputy Commissioner/Acting Commissioner Sean Lau

A lot of you may not know Aaron Kwok but he was red-hot at the same time as Andy Lau. ¬†He was the youngest of the four singers to reign in the industry in the 90s. ¬†I loved this guy for a time even more than I loved Andy Lau as a singer. ¬†When Aaron Kwok first started in movies, he didn’t do that many. ¬†He was in Future Cops (which I reviewed HERE) but it was more of a cameo. ¬†In the past 8-10 years (I have a lot of catching up to do on Hong Kong movies), he’s been staring in a lot of action thrillers. ¬†I have a few that I haven’t seen sitting on my shelf but I’m pulling them out and watching them pronto. ¬†This guy was amazing. ¬†Pllus, there’s this whole having brushes of grey hair showing that makes him even more attractive. ¬†There’s this thing that he does with his eyes to emote that is hilarious but also intensifies the whole situation. ¬†Its awesome! He was totally in the role and man, to see him become such an outstanding actor makes me so proud.

cold war andy lauI talked about Andy Lau before! Hey, whats he doing here? He has a cameo as the Security official and comes out in 2-3 scenes. ¬†What more do I have to say about him. ¬†He’s great. ¬†Now, if we look at Tony Ka Fai Leung who plays Deputy Commissioner Lee, there is really nothing to say. ¬†He’s a Hong Kong equivalent Academy Award Best Actor so his skills are top notch. ¬†I’ve always seen him doing gangster roles or slimmy perverted husbands (like in the horror movie Dumpling). ¬†Seeing him as a police officer was a shock but at the same time, he proved to me that he fit the role even with his strong and stubborn character. ¬†As much as there was a clash with the internal police HQ with the management and operations, they both had amazing sparks every time they hit the screen together.

cold war police

“We Serve with Pride and Care”

On the image above, its to point out, this is the 3rd Chinese movie in a row that I’ve watched with Kar Lok Chin. This guy is not particularly on my radar but from 1995 to his two movies in 2012, I can see now that he’s changed his acting style and especially in this one, he has earned my respect. ¬†This guy came out from doing stunts and in this one, he gets to show off some of it again and goes all Bruce Willis (making fun of himself getting old). ¬†On top of that, on the left standing up, we have Ka Tung Lam. ¬†I’m not sure if anyone knows him but this guy has grown also. ¬†I haven’t seen him in movies in a while (maybe its because I stopped watching it) but he always does these jerk roles but he is quite convincing at them. ¬†One other person I’d like to mention made me jump with absolute joy was the cameo of Commissioner played by Michael Wong. ¬†I haven’t seen the guy in ages. ¬†I used to love his movies, so I was super excited about it ūüôā I kept going through the movie hearing his voice and being like, “hmm, that voice is so familiar. ¬†Who is it?” Then BAM, there is he! *sorry, excuse the minor fan girl moment*

cold war icac confrontation

Awesome crime thriller with so many intense moments. ¬†Loved the whole cast, maybe a bit less the young dude up there, but he was still pretty good. ¬†Its officially my favorite movie of 2012 ūüôā I don’t really see how anything else could’ve been better! I’m not going to go on with it because I’ll keep have fangirl moments. ¬†I’m pretty sure they will have a sequel so GO SEE IT (if its accessible to you)!

I’ll leave you and go to my corner and continue drooling over this movie ūüėČ

Full Throttle (1995)

Okay..just to clarify. ¬†My boyfriend and I are working on the not seen pile because its getting ridiculously high and coincidentally that includes a bunch of Hong Kong flicks so foreign films will be a bit more frequent. ¬†At least I have another review coming up shortly. ¬†We’ve been working hard in the last 2 weeks, that pile has decreased quite a bit. ¬†I have one tower instead of two on my shelf. ¬†Actually for this movie Full Throttle, I saw it when I was very young. ¬†I remember a bit of the story but its a crossover of racing and drama with the fantastic Andy Lau in his beginning of his red hot days in the Hong Kong film industry. ¬†He’s still red hot now especially after Infernal Affairs and winning the Best Actor in the Asian equivalent of Academy Awards a few years back.

full throttle posterDirector: Derek Yee

Cast: Andy Lau, David Wu, Gigi Leung, Paul Chun, Kar Lok Chin

Joe (Andy Lau) is known to be Hong Kong’s top motorcycle racers. ¬†However, as his father Paul (Paul Chun), who owns the best official racing team in the industry, he has banned Joe from being near his bikes. ¬†This lead him to rebel and eventually this caused him to lose his license for 7 years. ¬†Regardless of that factor, he still joins in illegal underground street races and has proven that he is still at par. ¬†One night, he meets a young racer David (David Wu) who has just returned from America and wants to make a name for himself. ¬†When things turn sour, David joins Paul’s team while Joe and his best friend Jimmy (Kar Lok Chin) decide to challenge them and he ends up in an accident. ¬†As his health slowly improves and his girlfriend Annie is by his side convincing him to not do this anymore, he has to question what is important in his life and reevaluate his path. Should he challenge David for the top racer and fight his fears? Is racing what defines him? Is this worth losing his relationship over?

Race

Race

I feel like I’ve said too much in the synopsis but to be fair, this is a drama more than action. ¬†There are a few race scenes but its a lot about Joe finding his path. ¬†The story is pretty good however, with the many movies that has come out in between 1995 to today in Hollywood, you will be able to figure out most of what happens. ¬†I stay true that the characters in this story, especially Joe’s character is very well-developed. ¬†Plus, they have quite the top supporting cast for this flick and it earned a really good reputation. Although, some characters were on the annoying side.

Joe reevaluating his life

Joe reevaluating his life

Andy Lau was a pretty decent actor back in the 90s (not just nowadays).  He did some pretty remarkable movies and in fact, I own and rewatch a lot of them regularly.  Some is because he did them with Stephen Chow and as the years went by, he tackled all the movie genres and developed himself into a great actor.  He is a respectable actor as well and back then, he worked hard.  He was one of the least annoying parts of this movie.  For the most part, I found his character development to be very full as we watch him fall, get up and fall again and then stand back up to find himself and  in between make tough decisions. I was totally convinced me that he was going through a bad time.

Joe (Andy Lau) and Jimmy (Kar Lok Chin)

Joe (Andy Lau) and Jimmy (Kar Lok Chin)

I can’t say the same for some of the other actors because they aren’t as good. ¬†However, I blame the dialogue and the characters they were given. ¬†For the most part, Gigi Leung’s Annie drove me absolutely crazy frustrated most of the time because I found her bordering annoying. ¬†However, I love Gigi Leung not mostly as an actress but more a singer. ¬†Kar Lok Chin does his usual roles of being the jealous lesser person who has too much pride to admit that and ends up in bad spots. ¬†However, he does do those roles really well so for the new viewers who don’t expect it, he will be convincing and if I`m not mistaken, he is more of a stunts guy.

full throttle scene

One of the best supporting actors is Paul Chun who plays Joe’s father. ¬†Paul Chun is one of the respectable older actors. ¬†When he was younger, (according to my mom) he was cast as handsome main actor roles and I may not see the handsome part but he definitely has the acting thing down really solid. ¬†He has an engaging role where you will hate but question his motives for how he treats Joe. I have been watching this guy in TV drama and movies since forever, so he is awesome!

I really enjoy this movie. ¬†Its a nice action drama and Andy Lau is really good. ¬†The story is decent and for the most part, it shows a lot of Hong Kong streets and life back in the 90s. ¬†Hong Kong changes too much for it to stay the same but I mean, the road designs and structure do stay the same. ¬†Maybe you’ll enjoy the difference of the filming style to Hollywood. ¬†Its definitely worth a watch if you get a chance!

Future Cops (1993)

Its been a while since I’ve done a foreign movie so I’ve been all about changing it up, so I went to my collection and pulled out this flick! The other name for this one is Street Fighter. Just to give you an idea of what you will be expecting. Its one that I’ve been looking for since forever. ¬†I had it on VHS and then it just didn’t work anymore..so I went hunting for a new one and it was impossible to find. ¬†I ended up finding it a few months ago.

future copsDirector: Wong Jing

Cast: Dicky Cheung, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Simon Yam, Chingmy Yau, Charlie Yeung, Ekin Cheng, Andy Hui, Richard Ng, King-Tan Yuen, Aaron Kwok

In 2043, the world is completely different. ¬†Judge Yu is about to send the triad leader Vega to jail. In the midst of all the chaos during his imprisonment, the future cops, Ryu (Aaron Kwok), Balrog (Andy Lau), Dalsat (Simon Yam), Guile (Jacky Cheung) are trying to stop his gang leader, Ken (Ekin Cheng) leading two others, Honda and Sagat. ¬†However, they learn that Ken and company have time travelled back to 1993 when the Judge was only in his 20s to brainwash or kill him, so that it will change the course of events in 2043. ¬†Shortly after, Balrog, Dalsat and Guile also travel and end up landing on the roof of Tai Hung (Dicky Cheung). ¬†They end up making a deal to help Tai Hung gain respect at the high school and get the girl he likes, Charlie (Charlie Yeung) while he helps them search for the young Judge and protect him. ¬†It now turns into a race between the future gangs and the future cops to see who can find the young Judge first. ¬†In the process, they get a bit of help with Tai Hung’s sister (Chingmy Yau), his mom (King-Tan Yuen) and her boyfriend (Richard Ng).

Right off the description up there, you can already see that its going be a cheesy flick, especially now that its 20 years after and we have such good CGI.  This movie is based right off of the characters of Street Fighter.  We have the more noble characters trying to protect justice while there are the triad members who will do anything to not be caught.  Its not going to go down in the greats and some people will even find it a horrible watch.  For me, it may have laughable CGI effects when they are doing all the fighting sequences with the Street Fighter moves, but its just a silly action comedy. I still find it incredibly funny and ridiculous in a good way.

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Why do I like this? First of all, its my type of comedy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. ¬†Comedy is very personal. ¬†Your genre could be different from mine and its going to be hard to appeal to everyone. ¬†This one appeals to me and I find it incredibly cheesy funny. ¬†On top of that, they have a great strong cast. ¬†No doubt though, that they did try to build it on the 4 biggest male superstars in that era of Hong Kong show biz: they were known as the 4 Kings in the entertainment business. ¬†This one features 3 of them: Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Aaron Kwok. ¬†Aaron Kwok does only a cameo so we’ll leave him out for now. ¬†You all should know Andy Lau by now, he did Infernal Affairs for one. ¬†I’ve also talked about him in a previous review for Tricky Brains. Andy Lau is amazing at what he does. ¬†He may have started as a singer but his acting skills are fantastic and as a comedian, he does a great job.

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I have never been a huge fan of Jacky Cheung and his movies.  Not that he did a lot either.  He focused on his forte and thats singing.  He has an awesome voice and in this one, he does sing a bit.  However, as mature and friendly as he always seems to be on stage, this movie really showed his humorous side and its just fun to see a new character for him.

The rest of the cast definitely deserves some mentioning and introducing.  The lead is possibly Dicky Cheung who is awesome in the area of jokes and being stupid.  That is his forte and he is damn good at it. King Tan Yuen and Richard Ng are now older in the business but still, they were red hot back then as supporting comedy actor and actresses.  King Tan Yuen eventually went on to do supporting roles in Hong Kong TV series where she shined with comedic roles as well.  Of course, how can we forget the great Simon Yam? He did Killzone with Donnie Yen and I personally think he has aged into a very handsome man.  Aside from that we have Charlie Yeung, who has made a comeback in recent years in some action films, her first being New Policy Story across Jackie Chan  (I should rewatch that one soon).

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Being based on a video game, probably did this one crazy wonders, it put a really nice spinoff to the game that was super popular in the 90s.  It brought alive the characters and even though it was horrible CGI, back then, I think in the 90s it would be at par to most of it.  The storyline was pretty decent and they used really awesome jokes.  Some moments were ridiculous, but they were ridiculously funny.  They gave a twist to what the future would be like as well.

Looking back at these movies, cheesy as they are, they were a lot of fun to watch. ¬†Of course, its part of nostalgia to me. However this one held up really well. I had a crazy laugh rewatching this the other day. Its definitely a great source of entertainment. If you can take cheesy action movies, get right on board and give this a shot (its on Youtube, I believe), you won’t regret it!

Tricky Brains (1991)

Its been a really long week and frankly its gotten me a bit down.  I always go to my Stephen Chow movie collection because it just makes me topple over with laughter.  This one is one of my long time favorites probably from when I was 8 till now.  I pretty much have it all memorized but every time its still super fun to watch.

trickybrainsDirector: Jing Wong

Cast: Stephen Chow, Andy Lau, Man Tat Ng, Rosamund Kwan

Jing Koo (Stephen Chow) is the famous Handsome Tricks Expert.  He gets hired to pretend to be the son, Chi Man-Jing of a former affair that this man called Yan Chi (Man Tat Ng) had.  The goal is to get them fired from the current corporation that Yan Chi and his son, Chi Man-Kit (Andy Lau) now work at and distance them from the CEO`s daughter, Lucy Ching.  Lucy is currently undercover at the corporation to understand how the upper and lower levels are working together.  In the process, she meets Man-Kit through her best friend, Banana.  Shortly after they start dating and this is when Jing Koo gets hired and he tries to destroy their relationship.

This movie is one of Stephen Chow’s best movies. ¬†Its hilarious. ¬†What you need to know is that Stephen Chow is a man with absurd humor. ¬†You laugh at his expressions, his movements and his reactions. ¬†That is the part that makes it funny. ¬†In all honesty, if you knew Cantonese this really helps because the dialogue actually consists of a lot of humorous puns. ¬†However, my boyfriend who knows next to zero Chinese except for the random word enjoys this one a lot also. ¬†Stephen Chow is definitely one of my absolutely favorite comedic actors that I have ever seen and I promise that there will be more. As much as Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle put him on the map, this was 10 years before Shaolin Soccer and to me, that was his peak period in the Hong Kong industry and he had the top notch performances. ¬†Tricky Brains is the one that I have known the longest among his movies but there will be a series that I will marathon called the God of Gamblers which I will review once I gather them all.

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So back to Tricky Brains, the second known actor here is Andy Lau. ¬†You probably know him best in Infernal Affairs. ¬†I really don’t know what happened to Andy Lau because he has stopped doing his comedic roles now but has turned fully and mostly into drama or action. ¬†However, he is still a very good actor. ¬†What makes it even better is that he is a famous singer turned to actor and his performances are very awesome.

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There another aspect that I can`t leave out. ¬†In most of Stephen Chow’s successful movie (even in Shaolin Soccer) he always has his partner in crime, Man Tat Ng. ¬†This two make the movie super fun to watch. ¬†They have one of the best on-screen dynamics ever. ¬†I watch these constantly with a huge smile on my face and then roll over laughing.

Overall, Tricky Brain is a fun Stephen Chow movie.  You have to embrace the silliness! Its one of my go-to pick me up movies!  I highly recommend it!  I heard from my friend that they have it on YouTube so if you ever want to, check it out if it is actually there.

Any Stephen Chow fans out there? How about Andy Lau? Have you seen them in other movies? Any other favorite Hong Kong actors or actresses that you like?