Jeremy's Reviews Blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another quick movie review....

The Mission - A HK movie starring Simon Yam. Or so I thought. I've liked Simon Yam a lot, ever since seeing "Full Contact" where he really stole the show as the flamboyant Judge.

Anyway, he's in this, but his role is pretty minor. Basically, his brother is a mobster, and someone is trying to kill him. So he puts together a team of 5 guys as bodyguards. They are the ones the movie is really about. Most of the movie is about them protecting this guy from various hit attempts. And the bond that forms between them.

Okay movie. A fair amount of violence. I didn't think the characterization of most of the 5 was developed enough. Pretty much just the leader, Curtis, who was sort of odd (he dressed like a shop teacher), and even then, it never really did much. One other guy was fat and ate a lot of nuts. The other 3 were almost interchangeable.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some short movie reviews.....

First Option - a HK police movie about a SWAT team. Pretty good. Fairly realistic in terms of the gunfights, in terms of violence and tactics. 8/10. Strange in that the lead actor was asian, but an American, and apparently didn't speak Cantonese, so almost all his dialogue was in English. But everyone else mostly spoke Cantonese.

Still, I can see why they picked him, he was very good looking. Not being gay (or a woman), I generally don't notice this sort of thing. But he's one of those like Brad Pitt that it's sort of obvious.

Also stars the very cute Gigi Leung, who I fondly remember from the movie The Contract Killer (with Jet Li and Simon Yam).

Also very good use of a Yoda quote.

Visible Secret - another HK movie, this time a Ghost story, starring the incredibly hot Shi Qu. Good movie, almost more of a romance than anything else. And funny at times, especially one scene involving the main character's father biting the nose of his best friend.

Weird ending. Didn't understand it until I watched it again. And I'm not sure I get all of it.

Inner Senses - Yet another HK Movie, also a Ghost story of sorts. Somewhat simlar to the 6th Sense in set up, but with an attractive young women instead of an annoying kid that can see ghosts. But that's about where the similarity ends. This was really more a love story/psychological drama.

I liked it, but it was kinda slow. And not really a horror movie or supernatural. Maybe.

Sky High - A Japanese movie. This was one of the greatest movies I've ever seen, or at least lately. It's from the director of a cult classic movie called "Versus", which is sort of a Zombie/Gun Fu movie, with tongue in cheek style humor.

This was also sort of a horror movie, but serious. Very serious. Very deep. Basically it was about a serial killer, who pulls the hearts out of his victims. One of the main characters is one of his victims. She is a ghost. In the movies mythology, they get 3 choices when they get murdered - to be reborn again; haunt the living world as a ghost or ; Curse their killer, but be condemned to hell forever.

Also unlike most serial killer movies, the killer was not crazy. His motive was rational.

I would say this movie is very existentialist. Because every character was basically responsible for his actions. They had to make choices. Not easy ones, either. Would you kill someone for love? Would you go to hell to save the world? Would you kill yourself for love? And what about revenge? Just what is it worth.

Also notable because it had a very large cast of characters, maybe half a dozen of them women, and all of them were really gourgeous. Except for one, who looked like an asian version of Tori Spelling. Before she had all that weird surgery.

2009: Lost Memories - This is a Korean movie. An Sci-Fi action movie. After watching this, I have to think that Koreans really really hate the Japanese. But maybe that's overkill, but it really portrays the Japanese badly. But after thinking about it, pretty much like the British were portrayed in Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" (about the Revolutionary War) or Braveheart.

Basically the premise is, that that Japanese used a Korean magical device to go back in time to stop a Japanese official from being assassinated by a Korean nationalist. This act changes history so that Korean never really becomes a nation, but stays a province of Japan. And that Japan was allied with the US during WW2, fighting against Germany, and actually parts of Germany were nuked.

It's not a bad premise at all. But the portrayal of the Japanese was pretty bad. They pulled out every cheap trick to paint them as villainous (most of which were employed in those two Mel Gibson movies). And it never really takes a look at the big picture - it's solely focused on what this mean to Korea. And even then, not so much.

Because we never really see how Korea was run by the Japanese. The scenes we saw looked pretty nice, like Tokyo. How is that worse than the way N. Korea is being run today? (See those night maps where all of asia is lit up with electric lights, except N. Korea). How did this affect the cold war? If the US was allied to Japan, would be fight against Soviet Russia? The Russians killed a whole lot of people though the forced famines. And what about China? Mao probably killed 100 million. Why couldn't Korea become a sovereign nation in that other timeline, much like many countries dominated by the Soviets have reverted back to their old selves.

The Wicksboro Incident - A fake documentary in the vein of the Blair Witch project. About a town which supposedly completely vanished 30 years ago.

Interesting premise, but basically it turned into "They Live" in terms of plot. Only running, instead of kicking ass like Rowdy Piper.

Also, it was a finished documentary. Even up to the last scene, it had music and documentary style graphics added (cut aways to photos and such). Which just didn't make sense.

The Tube - A Korean action movie. Sort of the Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 meets Speed. Weird movie. It starts with one of the best shoot outs I've seen, maybe 15 minutes, but the rest of the movie is pretty dull. The main actor also channels Chow Yun Fat and does a decent job, but kind of obvious who he's immitating. (Still, better than immitating someone like say, Richard Simmons. Chow Yun Fat is sort of like Steve McQueen - just dripping with cool).

Iron Monkey - A Wuxia movie, which I generally don't like. But unlike the Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger/House of Flying Daggers/etc movies, this is not an arthouse film first. This is an action movie first.

Stars Donnie Yen (who should be a bigger star, IMHO) and a bunch of people I didn't recognize. Basically the Iron Monkey is a Robin Hood style hero, stealing from corrupt officials to help the poor. But trouble comes, first in the form of a famous doctor whose fighting skills are as good as his own (Donnie Yen); then with the Governor of the area, who is even better, and fights dirty, using poison and has corrupted the Shaolin Monks.

Lots of fighting, good characterization, an annoying kid who is annoying, but not overly so. I liked it a lot. The fights are largely on wires (being a wuxia film, I guess) but not completely over the top.

Witches of the Carribean - Sort of "The Craft" meets , I dunno. Basically a group of troubled teens are all gathered on this island resort as part of a group therapy deal. But it turns out one of them is a witch. And she turns most of the others into witches. Which mostly consists of them dressing like a Goth - black clothing, black lipstick. But what's hillarious is that the scene of them turning into a Goth is accompanied by this really upbeat dance song. Somewhere between trance and eurodance. (Faster than eurodance and a bit harder, but extremely bouncy and happy)

Despite that, some of the dialogue is pretty good, and most of the characters are enjoyable. Predicatable, though. But I enjoyed it.