Music Obsessions [January 2017]

Welcome to 2017’s first Music Obsessions! 

Its only been 2 weeks since the Christmas Special and music has been a little slow. I have to say that Duck Tales Theme with the new cast is still a huge obsession of mine. If you missed it, you can find it in the post HERE. That also has given me some odd feeling of revisiting older songs that I used to like a lot, which means some Hong Kong Pop. It probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it made up a lot of time in my life plus, it also shows a nostalgic thing I have going for some Hong Kong movies that I’ve been missing a lot of late. Some I do own but others, I really need to find, like do a huge Young and Dangerous movie marathon when I compile all of them.  Or like a Nicholas Tse movie marathon.

Let’s check it out!

戰無不勝 – Jordan Chan
(from Young and Dangerous 4)

友情歲月 – Ekin Cheng
(from Young and Dangerous)

前前後後左左右右 – Nicholas Tse
(from Young and Dangerous prequel)

Young and Dangerous is a huge franchise in Hong Kong movies. Its rather violent but focuses on this incredibly loyalty and friendship. It also brought out some of the most iconic roles from Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan along with their friends, Jerry Lam and Michael Tse. I have yet to see all of them but I’ve watched a few of the spinoffs. I just love Ekin and Jordan so much, even though now, they aren’t quite on the scene anymore. Trust me, when I get all the movies, that Young and Dangerous marathon is happening. And while Nicholas Tse might be more behind the scenes these days, and was considered the “bad boy” of the industry back in the early days of his career, I still loved him quite a bit. In fact, I still love him a lot now. And that is why the remaining two songs are also his, also in movies that he’s done.

You Can’t Stop Me – Nicholas Tse, Stephen Fung & Sam Lee
(from Gen-X Cops)

潛龍勿用 – Nicholas Tse
(from Heroes in Love)

It is funny how researching for Music Obsessions sometimes is a ton of fun as I look at how some of these people have changed in the recent years. For example, I didn’t know that Sam Lee is actually part of LMF which is a rap group in Hong Kong. No one assumes that Hong Kong and rap go together and they are the rare one which is pretty behind the scenes now as well but they  have some good stuff that raps about life and politics and things that matter in Hong Kong mostly, while at times uses some vulgar language, I do enjoy listening to as well. Maybe I’ll show some of that later this year. Also, how I own Heroes in Love but never actually watched it yet, which is a anthology of sort with three short stories about love and obsession. Oh yeah, and Gen-X Cops is really fun and good plus it has the cameo of Jackie Chan in there.

A much more talky Music Obsessions than normal but these are also more upbeat Hong Kong Pop. Hope you enjoyed it!
Have you seen any of these movies? Do you know the Young and Dangerous franchise?

What have you been listening to?

Tai Chi Zero (2012)

Yesterday was my best friend’s birthday.  I’ve showed some pictures of us together and all but she’s like my sister.  She’s actually been reading my blogs lately and I’m extremely happy about that.  So I decided that since she’s been talking about wanting me to check out Tai Chi Zero on Netflix for a while,  I’ll do it just because its her special day! I’ve been meaning to for a while but I get a weird vibe from the movie itself so lets see what I thought about it…

tai chi zero posterDirector: Stephen Fung

Cast: Jayden Yuan, Qi Shu, Angelababy, Eddie Peng, Tony Ka-Fai Leung, Mandy Lieu, Da Ying

Lu Chan/The Freak (Jayden Yuan)  was born  unusual with a weird horn-like growth on his head.  His mother (Qi Shu) always believed that he was special unlike his father who constantly neglected him.  His mother’s last words to him were to do one thing well and that was to perfect his gift, the ability to learn kung-fu steps quickly and be  a master of kung fu. He was taken in by the Divine Truth Cult that exploited his gifts in war, however, the doctor advised him to leave and seek the Chen Style Kung-Fu which was a powerful form of Tai-chi in Chen Village which was never taught to outsiders.  That was the only chance to save his life to balance the energy in his body. At Chen Village, Master Chen is not there and his disciples including Yu Niang (Angelababy) stops him with stages to make him get through before allowing him to learn the arts.  However, at the same time, a previous resident, now a chief engineer, Zi Jing (Eddie Peng) for the government to enforce a railroad that the town opposes to be built through their village comes with his technology to force his way.  Luchan may be the town’s only chance of survival.

tai chi zero fight

Tai Chi Zero is a peculiar Chinese action movie.  It reminds me of a mash-up of Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer with combat video games and comic books style (similar to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World).  For a good part of the beginning, I felt like it was ripping off those movies.  I can’t say its a great film because the story wasn’t really all that good, however, it did have some pretty good action sequences.  I mean guess who the action director is? Sammo Hung, guys! No one can really beat Sammo Hung at this.  I have immense praise for him.  In the position of director, we have Stephen Fung. I like Stephen Fung a lot when he was an actor.  As I looked through his earlier directing efforts, I realized that I have seen two of them.  I really can’t say I enjoyed those much which makes this one shine in comparison.

tai chi zero angelababy

Its a pity that the script wasn’t more engaging because the cast did a great job at the character portrayal.  I didn’t have many hopes for them since I can’t really take an actress with the name of Angelababy very seriously and she hasn’t really done any impressive roles before this, but I have to say she did alright.  She’s slowly earning my respect.  Our main character was played by Jayden Yuan, 2008 Olympics Wushu champion.  I can’t say he had to do an incredible amount of dialogue or acting but hey, he sure can fight.  I’ll give him that! He was pretty incredible.

tai chi zero tony ka fai leung

The person I think deserves mention is definitely our Grandmaster, Tony Ka Fai Leung.  I’ve reviewed a few of his movies before, most recently being Cold War (check out the review HERE). After his exceptional performance in the Hong Kong mob flick Election, this actor has been way off the charts awesome. I used to ignore his movies and I really can’t get into his appeal but to me, he’s really been involved in some pretty great movies and in this one, he really brings out everything.  He adds hints of humor, great fights and has some of the relevant and meaningful dialogue.  He was the perfect choice for the role. Playing the bad guy in this one is Eddie Peng, who coincidentally was also in Cold War and played Tony’s son.  You know how some people just have that bad guy look? Eddie Peng has that! He looks bad-ass all the time, which makes him really good when he’s being really bad.  Does that even make sense?

tai chi zero monster

The main thing you need to remember when walking into this movie is to throw out that whole balance of everything working out.  This movie is plain weird.  The best part are definitely the fight scenes.  Everyone does great.  Everything single one is worthy of applause and that last final battle was set in stages and man, just one *spoiler* (maybe the trailer has it, but I never seen it), once you see stage one and all those fruits and vegetables flying out the doors and windows, I couldn’t help but to laugh at the craziness of it all! *spoiler ends* That last fight is so much CGI, its ridiculous! The only way you buy into this movie is to buy into that.

Its tough to say whether I recommend it.  Its definitely an original and unique martial arts movie.  Stephen Fung deserves every bit of credit in that.  Its definitely worth a watch, however, I did have to take a good 15-20 minutes to get used to it and the beginning didn’t really appeal to me as much.  But, once the movie starts flowing and we get into Chen Village, things start getting a whole lot more fun and entertaining and its full of amazing fights and kung fu/tai-chi moves.  If thats your thing, you might just enjoy this peculiar little film.