Monday, August 31, 2009

New Fist of Fury - 新精武門

New Fist of Fury (新精武門) is a 1976 film out of Hong Kong. It stars a very young Jackie Chan and Nora Miao. This film was a sequel to Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury.

The movie is about Nora Miao escaping Shanghai and setting up shop in another town. However, I can't recall the town (silly me, it's been less than 24 hours since I watched it). Jackie is a local kid that makes a living as a thief. Jackie steals some nunchucks. Eventually, Jackie decides to learn kung fu and resist the Japanese that occupy the area.

The movie was super long and super "not good". Avoid it if you can. I had it on while washing dishes so it wasn't a serious watch. The fights were completely whacked. This is pre humor Jackie. I think the movie played off of Bruce Lee's movie. Including Nora Miao being in this movie.

With so many classic films from the 70s era, its a shame that this gets more attention just because it has Jackie Chan. Look at the DVD cover, Jackie has guns on. Makes him look like Rambo.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Undercover - 危險人物

Undercover (危險人物) is 2007 film out of Hong Kong. It stars Shawn Yue and Sam Lee.

Shawn Yue plays Feng. Feng is currently on the police force. But before this, Feng was deep undercover. However, during his time as an undercover, something bad happened. Now that he's back on the police force, no one likes him there. With the triads, no one likes him there either. Feng keeps flashing back to his undercover days and starts to slowly pine for those days more than his current police days. When old players are introduced again, what will he do?

I thought this movie is average. It was dark and Feng had no redeeming value. So, I didn't seem to care for him. If his police comrades bullied him, I didn't care. If his old life triad friends hate his guts, I didn't care. Mainly because Feng didn't care, so I didn't care for him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Duel - 決戰紫禁之巔

The Duel - 決戰紫禁之巔 is a 2000 film out of Hong Kong starring Andy Lau and Ekin Cheng. It also stars a bunch of others, look at the cast credits for more. This is considered the third film of the martial arts trilogy from Andrew Lau. The film is based on a novel by Gu Long.

The story follows Nicky Cheung as a super detective for the imperial court. A governor played by Andy Lau of a region shows up to issue a duel challenge to the reigning number 1 swordsman, played by Ekin Cheng. The special thing about this duel is that it'll take place on the rooftop of the imperial palace. But before the duel happens, there are mysterious deaths and the disappearance of Ekin. But, in the end, the duel happens and its a CGI event to behold.

There are lots of fighting, cheezy interactions. But its a little bit of HK movie madness at work and I loved it. Watch it for the great cast, CGI, and modern martial mythos.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hooked On You - 每當變幻時

Hooked On You (每當變幻時) is a 2007 film out of Hong Kong starring Miriam Yeung and Eason Chan.

The movie was related to the 10th anniversery of the turnover in 1997. The movie spans 1997-2007. Within that time, we follow Miriam as Miu and Eason as Fishman. Miu is a fishmonger at Fortune Market and Eason is a rival fish monger. Miu and Fishman start to fall for one another. But Miu does not want to marry into her current "class", but wants to marry up so she doesn't have to work so hard. Miu and Fishman have this back and forth in the film. Will they or will they not get together situations.

HK events from 1997-2007 were brought up as landmarks in the 10 years. From the turnover, to SARS, to modern super centers.

I was bored watching this film. I am no HK resident and some of the events didn't register until I read other reviews for it. Catch it if you're a Miriam or Eason fan. If you're not a fan, skip it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

蕭亞軒 (Elva) - 1087

1087 by 蕭亞軒 (Elva Hsiao) was released in 2006. I picked it up in the bargain bin for $5 USD back in December 2008. I've recently had a chance to re-listen to it and had it on in my car via my iPod.

The music is pop, but there isn't a song that stands out. That's probably why I've only listened to 1087 a handful of times. I tend to find that one song or two on an album and put it on repeat. This one didn't have it so I moved on to the next CD in my queue.

You should check out the clips from youtube and decide if you like it.

This is the first Elva CD that I've purchased.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Host - 駭人怪物

The Host (駭人怪物) is a 2006 film out of Korea.

The film is about a mutated beast or monster that grows in the Han River. For some reason, the monster has been found and feeds on humans. The story of the monster and beast revolves around a family that has a convenience store around the Han River. The monster attacks people that they are serving and panic and chaos ensue. The story than follows the family as they try to reunite and ultimately destroy the beast.

I thought it was a good film overall. I wouldn't want to watch it again. But the hype surrounding this film back in 2006 and 2007 when it made it to states was undeniable. I didn't care for the family as much as I should and I was never in suspense. It was a very predictable movie overall. It's one of those summer flicks like Twister. You watch it once, enjoy it, and forget it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kamikaze Girls - 下妻物語

Kamikaze Girls (下妻物語) is a 2004 film out of Japan. It stars Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya.

The movie is about the friendship between Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya. Kyoko is Momoko and Anna is Ichigo. Kyoko is a girls girl type figure. Kyoko is into the Lolita type person who likes to do girly things. Ichigo is a Junco (walmart type store) shopping, spit in your face, and loud girl. Ichigo is part of a gang of women that ride bikes.

The two meet up as Ichigo buys some knock offs from Momoko. They become friends and their lives are explored. In the end, its a coming of age story for both of these teenage girls.

Does their friendship stand the strain of 2 different worlds? Can a girly girl and ultimate tomboy stay friends?

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Wife Is a Gangster 2: The Legend Returns - 我老婆是老大2

My Wife Is a Gangster 2: The Legend Returns (我老婆是老大) is a 2003 film out of Korea starring Shin Eun-kyung with a brief cameo by Zhang Ziyi.

This is sequel to the first "My Wife Is a Gangster", also starring Shin Eun-kyung. Shin is struck with amnesia and gets domesticated.

The comedy of the first film is not recreated here and the comedy was bad. Skip it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brothers - 兄弟

Brothers (兄弟) is a 2007 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Michael Miu, Eason Chan, Andy Lau, Crystal Huang, Felix Wong, Ken Tong, and Gordon Lam (苗僑偉,陳奕迅,劉德華,黃奕,黃日華,湯鎮業,林家棟).

The movie starts 20 years in the past (fashion looks 70-ish which is 30 years ago). Yiu (Miu) and Shun (Chan) are brothers who hit a person while taking their fathers car out for spin. Yiu and Shun's father is at a temple and a fortune teller predicts that if the brothers are together, they will be at odds. Yiu stays in Hong Kong while Shun goes to the US with the mother. Yiu and Shun's father is a head of a Tam triad syndicate.

Fast forward 20 years. Yiu is now the head of the Tam triad syndicate now. The father is now retired. Nine Yim orders a hit on the father, but he survives. Shun comes back to Hong Kong to see the father. The father passes within hours of seeing Shun. The mother is now senile and cannot recognize her own sons.

Shun is feeling his way around Hong Kong and coming to grips with of his families triad ways. Shun doesn't like the triad ways and wants things to change. Yiu sets in motion a series of events that kills both Nine Yim and the son. Shun gets dragged in and spends a little time in Thailand.

Andy Lau's role in the movie is that of the police. Lau wants to take the triad bosses down. Gordon Lam plays his sidekick.

In all, the movie wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It played off a lot of assumptions about triad movies already. It was good to see Michael Miu back in action. This movie featured 4 of the "TVB Five Tigers" from the early 80s (sup Tony?).

It's not a bad watch, but not something you "have" to see.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wonder Women - 女人本色

Wonder Women (女人本色) is a 2007 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Gigi Leung and Fiona Sit.

The movie spans 10 years starting from the handover of Hong Kong (1997-2007). It starts with Gigi as Joy. Joy is a successful government worker with a successful boyfriend. Fiona as Sung is Joy's assistant and is looking to hook up with a well to do guy. Or at least a guy that gives her lots of stuff. But things go bad for both, but they bounce back. Wonder women they are. Women have skillz.

There you have it. That's the movie. I fell asleep several times while watching, so I didn't have a chance to fast forward.

I dare you to watch it. I took that dare. Look at where it got me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

聽說 - Hear Me - Upcoming

聽說 (Hear Me) is an upcoming film out of Taiwan. The movie stars Eddie Peng and Ivy Chen. The supporting cast also includes the lovely Michelle Chen. The movie is scheduled for release in Taipei next week on August 28, 2009.

The movie is a romance between a deaf swimmer played by Ivy Chen and her admirer played by Eddie Peng.

From the trailer, it looks like Eddie falls for Ivy. Ivy is deaf and with the relationship comes the hard task of communication. Sign language.

I am going to look for this movie as it makes it way to Los Angeles.

Help support this movie, not only for Taiwan cinema but also for the hearing impaired.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ocean Flame - 一半海水,一半火焰

Ocean Flame (一半海水,一半火焰) is a 2008 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Liao Fan, Mo Xiao Qi, and Hai Yi Tian. Supporting roles include Simon Yam and Lam Suet. It is the second movie of Liu Fen Dou.

The movie is about a group of con artists. Li Chuan is a normal working girl. The leader of the con artists starts a relationship with Li Chuan. Li Chuan starts her descent into a destructive relationship and even more destructive life style.

The movie's characters have this unspoken code and set of rules. They don't reveal much about it, but you start to assume what they are. For this pack, they can only trust themselves and the people that are in their line of work.

So, what do you make of this? No one really has any redeeming characteristics. You don't care for any of the con artists. You can only guess what will happen to the 2 lead protagonists. One also doubles as the antagonist as the movie progresses. It is a bizarre mixture.

It leaves you wondering if you are suppose to accept their lifestyle or appall it. It is artsy in its storytelling and film making style. What do you make of it?

The combination of characters on a destructive path, a story that preludes tragedy and rather unsatisfying ending tells me that I should have skipped it.

The don't like the mixture of Mandarin and Cantonese in the movie. As I could only guess what the Canto was as I don't understand it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Children of Huang Shi - Escape from Huang Shi -- 黄石的孩子 -黃石任務

The Children of Huang Shi (黄石的孩子) is a 2008 film about children who travel the silk road during the China-Japanese war. The movie stars Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh.

In 1937, the Japanese have invaded Nanjing and George Hogg sneaks in to report on it. Hogg is saved by Chow, a communist officer and eventually lands in Huang Shi to recover. While there, he sets up a mini society with the children. But as the Nationalist are driven closer to Huang Shi by the Japanese from Nanjing, Hogg decides to take the children to Shan Dan. This prevents the children from being targeted for involuntary enlistment into the army and is far away from the heart of the war.

The movie is loosely based on Hogg's life. From Hogg's profile on Wikipedia, the events of the movie and the real life children are very far apart. In real life, Hogg lead the children in 1944, but the movie places it in 1937.

I was really surprised at Rhys-Meyers and Mitchell's Chinese. If you compare it to RDJ's Chinese from Topic Thunder, this was so much better. I could understand it for the most part.

In Hollywood, the normal procedure is that the Asians can't save themselves but its the white guy that swoops in and cultures them to salvation. This film is no different, but it is based on a true story. It is what is is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kogi Truck

I was able to hit up Kogi when the truck made its way out to Rowland Heights. It's been consistently coming out here for the past few months now. Usually on a Tuesday, I got my fix on a few Thursdays ago.

If you don't know what Kogi is and you live in LA, you must be living in a cave. Kogi has been featured in the LA Times and LA Weekly. All the local news channels have covered Kogi at one time or another.

The best way to describe it is that its a gourmet Korean take on tacos and burritos. Hard to believe that Kogi hasn't even been around a year yet. Jumping on the Twitter craze as it started to heat up in 2008, its one of the premiere gourmet food trucks running around LA.

The truck was suppose to arrive at 10:30pm. I got in line at 9:20pm. Truck was late and got there a few minutes before 11:00pm. I finally got my grub at around 12:15pm. Roughly 3 hours of waiting! But it was pretty chill as I had 3 others waiting in line with me.

It's hard to believe that this is my first food post. I am too busy getting my children ready for their meals that I rarely remember to take pictures. "Food" is in the description of my blog. Only after 350 or so post do I make my first food post. And its about the trendiest Asian food in the Los Angeles area for 2009.

I've experience Kogi once. Unless my wait is in the 30 minute or less range, I won't be having it a second time anytime soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

America's Best Dance Crew (Season 4) - Episode 2

I was able to catch all of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 4) - Episode 2 - The Beyonce Challenge. I am not a fan of Beyonce, but the music on ABDC has not been or should be the focal point of my like or dislike for the show. The dancing should.

We Are Heroes started the night off and boy did they ever. Those 5 gals put on a show that has me thinking about sticking around for the third week.

But the other 7 crews performed. Unlike the judges, I was totally uninterested in all 7 routines.

I give up. If We Are Heroes is the only group I can support, I can't go on.

But than they revealed next weeks challenge. Martial Arts!

Oh man, what to do? I would love to see the theme and I think Massive Monkey would give an insane performance.

At this point, I am giving up on Season 4. I'll watch some clips if I can. But consider me out.

I will not post anymore weekly reviews. The next post about ABDC Season 4 will prolly be about the winner.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rule #1, 第一誡

Rule #1 (第一誡) is a 2008 film out of Hong Kong. It's a ghost story movie starring Shawn Yue and Ekin Chen.

Shawan Yue is a stand up cop, named Lee, that stops a child killer in a parking lot. But he's shot 5 times, but with the help of a ghost, he kills the child killer. 49 days later, he awakes and his official statement is that he saw the girl get up. Now, he's transferred to the "ghost" department headed by the smoking and boozing Ekin Cheng, named Wong. Wong is set to resign and wants to get Lee trained ASAP. The motto of the department is, "It is not what it seems, so don't assume".

These ghost act more like demons and can jump from body to body via skin contact.

This was a very interesting movie. Mainly because of the reveal factor. It was a slow reveal of all the parts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shamo - 軍雞

Shamo (軍雞) is a 2007 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Shawn Yue, Annie Liu and Francis Ng. Dylan Kuo, Terri Kwan, Bruce Leung, and Masato have supporting roles. The story is based on a Japanese manga.

The movie is about Shawn Yue. Shawn murders his parents at age 16 and is sent to juvenile prison. He gets out when he turns 18. But while in prison, he's picked out and raped. A fellow inmate decides to train him in a form of karate. Shawn gets really good at it and survives prison. Out of prison, Shawn is drawn to the world of kick boxing while searching for his sister.

Man! I don't know where to start with this movie. Its all over the place and completely hard to follow. One moment, Shawn is kicking ass, the next, he's getting his ass kicked in. One moment, he seems sane, the next, he's a crazy lunatic.

Other than Annie Liu's character, no one has any redeeming value in this movie. There's no good guy to take sides with.

Some may say its a guilty pleasure, I say to skip it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kung Fu Cult Cinema - - Shutting Down

It is with great sadness that I report that the good fellas at Kung Fu Cult Cinema are calling it quits. Brian Goodwin made the announcement on August 8, 2009. I will include the text for historical purposes:

As many of our dedicated members have noticed over the past few months the site's forum has been down. To all the members who have sent me e-mails asking about the status of the site, I do apology for not replying back quickly enough. Our forum was hit with a virus a few months back and we were hoping to fix the problem. Sadly things were more serious than we expected and we were not able to fix the forum.

Unfortuately after 10 years online, Kfccinema will be closing its doors for good. I personally, along with team members past and present, would like to thank all the members over the years who made Kfccinema what it is today. We would like to thank our extended family who have grew old with us over these interesting 10 years.

I personally would like to thank Kfccinema co-founders Janick Neveu and Peter Zsurka for giving me the chance to work here. A big thanks to all the team members and forum members past and present for all the crazy memories over the years.

Though the original Kfccinema site will be gone in a few weeks, this is not the end. Team members past and present will be bouncing back with a brand new site. I would just like to take this time to say thank you to all our members.... And we will be seeing everyone again.... very soon.

Posted on 08 08 09 by Brian

I've been a regular to the kfcc site since around 2002 or so. The site didn't just focus on Kung Fu flicks, but covered much of Asian cinema from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan. The content was pretty diverse and I was hooked. I don't go on the site as much nowadays because I just read the RSS feed.

I don't know much about the site and how its run. I think they are a company because of "Copyright Kung Fu Cult Cinema Ltd." tag they have. I get zero $$ from this blog that I run for fun to document my viewing activities for myself. I can imagine how hard it is as a company.

In any case, its a sad day when another English language site that covers Asian cinema bites the dust. With 10 years of content, where will it go? It would be a shame to lose that slice of coverage that was pretty good.

I've included some text about the site here for historical purposes.

Here's the history of KFCC:
The Legend of Kung Fu Cult Cinema

In the year before the turn of the century, 1999, there was much despair and hopelessness in the world. The millennium was dying, and soon, another would reign in its place. Over the past few decades, a force was rising and slowly taking over the hearts and minds of The People. There was no place to run, no place to hide. There was no stopping this power and if none would stand up to it, it would soon take over without any direction or control. We would all be at its will.

That force was Asian Cinema… and it was unstoppable.

The Gods threw down the gauntlet in the form of John Woo, Jet Li, Beat Takeshi and Toshiro Mifune. An echo was heard across the wasteland for those to heed the call of the almighty, asking for one and all to leave their temples, gather their weapons and face the enemy. Who would answer? Even yet, who would survive?

As the coming war followed, many suffered and even more lost. At a time when everything and anything almost seemed abandoned, a light shone at the end of the katana, foreshadowing two great warriors who would change Asian Cinema forever.

Emerging from the dusty and smoky mountain ranges of Montreal, Canada, Janick Neveu and Peter Zsurka stood at the top of these peaks, with the sun bouncing off of their backs; they held their swords in their hands.

This very moment, both raised their swords in the air, commanding a power that drove the sun away, the moon into darkness and changed the skies forever. An indescribable energy was unsheathed and their blades burned with intensity and vigor.

Kung Fu Cult Cinema was born. And the two became Samurai Journalists.

Though, a never ending struggle, their love for Asian Cinema would eventually tame the beast. Using their Shaolin Writing techniques, they attempted to bring balance to the world and knowledge to The People.

A society of Asian Film warriors who loved their movies transpired.

As Asian Cinema grew, Samurai Journalism would need more heroes and champions to become guardians of this relentless entity. Across the world, many would fulfill their destiny and come onto the Kung Fu Cult Cinema battleship to partake in the great efforts.

There would be exclusive reports and news from the lands of China, Japan and Korea. Even other countries that were infected with the Asian Cinema addiction became known. Interviews and articles were written about the stories and myths of these adventurers and their epics journeys. Ultimately, everything would become part the Samurai Journalists Legend.

This is the beginning of the Kung Fu Cult Cinema Era.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fast And Furious - 玩命關頭4

Fast And Furious (玩命關頭4) is 2009 film about street car racing. The film stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster. I had an Upcoming and Box Office post for this. I caught this via Netflix the other day.

The movie is directed by Taiwanese-American Justin Lin. You'll see Sung Kang reprise his role as Han. You'll also see some peeps from Justin's Finishing the Game movie.

The movie starts with a oil truck heist with Dominic and Letty. Han and gal pal are in car #2. Tego and Rico are in car #3. They make off with 3 of the 5 cars, but not before there's plenty of mayhem and explosions. Dominic thinks its too dangerous to have Letty follow him now and decides to leave for Panama. Letty goes back to LA. Letty is murdered in LA however. Dom goes back to LA for revenge. It is there that Dom and O'Conner meet up again and try to take down the Braga cartel.

The movie was pretty much non stop action. The pacing was crazy and the dialog was minimal. It's a wild ride that's closer to the first installment. Since most of it is based in LA and has many of the original cast. The movie ends with a the possibility of a follow up.

Props to Justin Lin for the movie. It was a box office success and revived the career of Vin Diesel. Sequel(s) are in the works. I hope they give the movie(s) to Justin.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That's The Way I Like It - Forever Fever

That's The Way I Like It (Forever Fever) is a 1998 film out of Singapore. It stars Adrian Pang and Medaline Tan. I watched the Miramax version. I remember watching it in 1999 or 2000. I recently picked up a budget copy from amazon marketplace.

The movie is based in 1977, at the height of "Saturday Night Fever" popularity around the world. The movie follows Hock, played by Adrian Pang, and Mei, played by the lovely Medaline Tan. Adrian Pang is oldest of 3 siblings and works at a supermarket. Adrian dreams of Bruce Lee and his dream bike. When he happens on "Saturday Night Live" with his gang of friends, Hock gets hooked on disco. Disco dancing! Hock and Mei join a dance class and enter a competition with a $5000 grand prize. Things get tricky when a rich boy Richard and Julie enter the picture. Adrian shows an interest in the rich and well dressed Julie. But than there's his best gal buddy, Mei.

The movie was light hearted and very very entertaining. I was blown away by the Singlish and the over the top premise. Watching it again years later, the premise is even more intriguing as my appreciation of Singapore has grown.

It's too bad Medaline Tan isn't in the entertainment world anymore (at least my googling isn't producing any results). The world has missed out. Not even a transition to Singapore dramas. Oh well.

The miramax cover doesn't even have Adrian Pang and Medaline Tan. Its just 2 asian ppl there. Strange whacked cover.

Watch it, enjoy it, and do the hustle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - 特種部隊:眼鏡蛇的崛起

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (特種部隊:眼鏡蛇的崛起) is a 2009 film based on a toy franchise. The movie stars a bunch of people. You'll need the cast list to keep track.

The movie is based on a toy franchise from the 80s that was also turned into a cartoon series. The man characters from both the Joe side and Cobra side are from this series.

The movie starts with a 1641 event that shapes into what we see today as MARS. Nanotechnology is created that can inflect mass scale damage. When on a mission to deliver the nanotech warheads, Cobra attacks the transport, but fails to get warheads. But Cobra fails only because G.I. Joe comes to the rescue. So, now that G.I. Joe has the case, the home beacon is on. Cobra eventually takes the warheads. They are going to use it.

The movie seemed to be 75% or more focused on the action. The story moves very quickly and the events are chained together very closely. If you missed just 5 minutes, you'll prolly be confused.

I am still not sure how I feel about the movie. I didn't hate it nor did I like it. I was entertained in many parts of the film. But I also had a few "that did not just happen" (cheezy) type events.

Lee Byung Hun was a pretty significant role and speaks English quite well in the movie. However, the voice did seemed unnatural in some cases. The young snake eyes and storm shadow training grounds looks like the Japanese Garden at The Huntington Library.

It did well enough for a August release at the box office too. This pretty much guarantees that there will be a number 2. They left the ending wide open on Cobra Commander, Destro, The Baroness, and Storm Shadow. However, if they follow the same type of formula for number 2, we've already been duped once.

Monday, August 10, 2009

America's Best Dance Crew (Season 4) - Episode 1

I was able to catch all of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 4) - Episode 1 - Crew's Choice Challenge. This first episode introduces us to 9 new crews. 4 from the West and East each and 1 from the South. However, 2 of the crews from the West feature international folks currently based in LA.

Unfortunately, I have the same feeling about this season as I did for Season 2. No one impressed me off the bat. If I am cheering for anyone, its Massive Monkees and We Are Heroes.

I'll give it a go for another couple of episodes. But my guess is that I'll lose complete interest in this season and just tune in for who the winners are.

As I mentioned in my Upcomings post about Season 4, the focus was on introducing "new" elements. Unfortunately, I'll be tuning out of these "new" elements. But than again, I am not in the MTV demographics. So, I am worthless to them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jay Chou as Kato

2 days ago, it was announced that Jay Chou (周杰倫), Taiwanese music and movie superstar, was cast to play Kato in the upcoming Green Hornet movie starring Seth Rogen.

I am actually pretty shocked by this announcement. But also a little excited as its Jay Chou. Jay Chou continues to make great music out of Taiwan and land roles in interesting movies out of Asia.

If you didn't follow the rumor mill for the Green Hornet, the first star attached to play Kato was Stephen Chow of Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle fame. When Stephen Chou drop out of the project completely, the casting call for any "Asian" was broadcast. Korean hunk Kwon Sang Woo was than rumored for a week or so, before Kwon denied the rumors.

So, my initial thoughts are that he's got very little time to prep his English. The movie is set for release on July 9th, 2010. I don't know where Jay's English is now, but in the past, there's a strong FOB accent to it. Second is that we're not going to see the normal Jay Chou output for the next 12 months. Jay seems to work like a madman to release a CD every year with crazy videos. Jay has also been attached to several movies.

Being on the Hollywood schedule means he's going to have only 1 thing a year. And if the Kato role rumors are true, this will be the only thing he does in 2010.

Best of luck to Jay. I've included Jay's Double Blade MV as it seems to be filmed in the US and has a little of his English on display.

And for those of you that do not know who Kato or what the Green Hornet are. Kato was the sidekick to the Green Hornet made famous in the 60s by the late Bruce Lee. The Green Hornet was only able to last 1 season.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Simply Actors - 戲王之王

Simply Actors (戲王之王) is a 2007 film out of Hong Kong. It stars Charlene Choi and Jim Chim. It also has many many cameos. It's almost like a who's who of HK peeps from around the 2007 time frame. The movie also seems to feature the debut of Kathy Yuen.

The movie is about a cop that joins a arts school to learn acting so he can go undercover and infiltrate the triad. At the school, he learns about acting and life.

The movie ran way way too long. Way way long! I am emphasis "way way" for a reason. The movie should have been 80-90 minutes, but dragged to 120 minutes. I did fast forward because I was waiting for it to end. And it just kept going!

If it weren't for the few glimpse of Kathy Yuen, I would have stopped the movie.

Friday, August 7, 2009

痞子英雄 - Black And White

痞子英雄 (Black and White) is a Taiwanese Police Drama starring Vic Zhou, Mark Chao, Ivy Chen and Janine Chang.

The series runs 24 episodes. During its initial 12 week broadcast run in Taiwan, April to June 2009, two episodes were broadcast each week. Because of this, you'll notice a "previously on" for all the odd numbered Actions (episodes) and a "preview" for all the even numbered Actions. The episodes were typically 45-50 minutes long. I've been looking forward to this series since April, had a first thoughts post, and found it was airing here in Los Angeles on LA 18.

The main drivers of this series were also behind Mars and The Hospital (白色巨塔). You'll notice quite a few familiar faces from all those series. If you wanted to go even further back, you'll notice Meteor Garden folks in bit roles in Black And White as well.

If you've seen Mars and The Hospital, you'll know that they represented the highest production value for Taiwanese Dramas during their year of release. In this case, I haven't seen any drama out of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China that can match the production value of Black And White for 2009. I don't watch Korean and Japanese dramas, so I cannot compare. In any case, the production value is very high. The story is intense and characters pop up left and right and you need a chart to make sense of it all.

Black And White is a series about 2 cops. Vic Zhou plays the "Black" cop named Chen. Mark Chao plays the "White" cop name Wu.

Chen's nick name is "Pi Zi/痞子", which I think translates to "rascal". Pi Zi can also mean riffraff or ruffian. But the way I see it from the series, Chen is more of a rascal.

Wu's name is "Ying Xiong/英雄", which literally translates to "hero". You'll noice Wu's car has "HERO" engraved on it.

You put their names together and you get the Chinese name of the series, 痞子英雄. As for the English translation, it's the contrasting cop styles of the two. Chen is willing to bend the rules to get to a goal and doesn't ask if its right or wrong. Thus, you give Chen the "black" label. Wu on the other hand, is a hard nosed cop who plays it strictly by the rules. On Wu ends, there's only black and white. Wu has chosen to stand completely on the white side and everyone better get out of his way.

My brief review is going to be only high level and superficial. I will try not to spoil anything for you.

First Quarter (Episodes 1-6)
Introduces all the main characters. Which include all the supporting staff of the 2 Kaohsiung police divisions. The 2 divisions are separated into North and South. Our main protagonist are officers in the South division in the detectives department. The support staff include the department head, the division head, forensics department, and hi-tech department.

During these first few episodes, you get a glimpse of the "character" of Chen and Wu. And the female interest are introduced. Janine Chang as Lan Xi Ying is part of the forensics department and is super close friends with Wu. Ivy Chen plays Chen Lin, the daughter of the head of the biggest triad in the area, San Lian Hui. Ivy Chen is a rocket in a bottle type character.

It's also during this time that you'll see that they play Chen to the womanizer side and introduce the Pi Zi for which he is nicknamed. Wu's a cop that wants to bust any and everyone willing to break the law.

The main arc resolves around the pursuit of the people responsible for "Dreamer". Dreamer is a hallucinogen that makes you very very happy.

Second Quarter (Episodes 7-12)
Things start to get interesting here. Chen's background is further explored and the female love interest start to complicate work and everyday life. A special person to one of our heroes is introduced.

Third Quarter (Episodes 13-18)
Another special person to one of our heroes is introduced. Sonia Sui as Lei Mu Sha is it and she lights up the screen. The series takes a very dark tone at this point.

Fourth Quarter (Episodes 19-24)
Conspiracy? Check! Mysteries revealed? Check! Surprise development? Check!

As if the first 3 quarters didn't turn your head, these last episodes introduces as much as it resolves issues.

If you want the epitome of Taiwan's high production value on TV in 2009, look no further than Black And White. It was a wild ride and i was glad to be on it for the roughly 2.5 weeks it took me to finish it.

I am definitely looking forward to the movie now. Set for release in the summer of 2010. Let's go Taiwan, let's support these type of endeavors.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Third Eye - 小心眼

The Third Eye (心眼) is a 2006 film out of Hong Kong. The horror film stars Race Wong, Wong Yau Nam, Derek Tsang, and Joman Chiang.

The film is about a voyeur that lands in a Tai O hotel/motel. The hotel has a bunch of interesting characters. Among that group is also a beat cop. Although the movie uses "eye" in the name, it does not contain any supernatural elements like I was expecting. It was a straight line to the end of the film for all the characters. No real curves in the road thrown at you. Seriously, its a mind trip. The story is hard to follow and the characters are even more whacked. All but the killer has a heart of gold though.

Race Wong kinda has a psycho look the whole film. I think it was intentional. But when the attention was put on Joman Chiang as she played Ah Hua, a reality challenged adult taking care of her bed ridden father.

If you're not into supernatural horror as is common place in many Asian horror film, this is a change of pace. The horror is based in reality.

I couldn't find any YouTube clips.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

痞子英雄 - Black and White on LA 18

痞子英雄 (Black and White) is a 2009 Taiwanese Police Drama starring Vic Zhou, Mark Chao, Ivy Chen and Janine Chang.

It will start to air at 7pm here in Los Angeles on LA 18 (KSCI) starting Thursday, August 6th. My best guess is that it will NOT have English subtitles.

I finished the series recently and wanted to sit on it for a few days before I wrote up a review. I had a first thoughts post a few weeks back. I'll have my final thoughts posted in a couple of days.

In my opinion, Black and White is the most hyped series out of Taiwan this year. So much hype that they broadcast the whole series on a daily basis the week after the last episode was aired.

Last years hyped show was Destined to Love You.

The series seemed to show up in a lot of English blogs during its 12 week run from April to June. The hype carried it to a movie deal. They will follow up the series with a movie next summer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sacrificed Youth (The Sacrifice of Youth) - 青春祭

Sacrificed Youth (The Sacrifice of Youth) - (青春祭) is 1985 film out of China by the late Zhang Nuanxin. I saw this movie in 1995 as part of my Chinese film class. It is the only film I remember from that class and it continues to be a movie I search for.

I recently remember to search for it in HKMDB and found it again. But a search of yesasia, amazon, craigslist, and ebay did not give me any results. So, if you know where I can buy this, let me know!

The movie is an episodic one that follows Lee Jun as she's sent to the coutryside for re-eduction during China's cultural revolution. It goes through about 5-7 episodes and is a heart wrenching to see Lee Jun's decline. Is there a timeline? I don't know. But it does not matter to the flow of the film.

If you ever see this movie, put on your thinking cap and be prepared to be schooled on classic filmmaking. The story is something to note of too.

Monday, August 3, 2009

六號出口 - Exit No. 6

六號出口 (Exit No. 6) is a 2007 film out of Taiwan. The movie stars Eddie Peng, Ethan Ruan, Yoo Ha Na, and Olivia Chen.

The movie is based around the 6th exit of the Taipei MRT. Which exits out to Ximending, a popular area for trendy folks.

Eddie Peng plays Van Dine. Ethan Ruan plays Vance, Van Dine's best friend. Olivia Chen plays Vivian, a run away. Yoo Ha Na as Fion, the goody two shoes. Van Dine is a magazine vendor and photo op worker. Van Dine dreams of being a DJ and is most likely to whistle at any pretty gurls walking by. Vance is a skateboarding, shoe runner, and computer hacker with some mean dreads. Olivia is a run away that's still spending her parents $$. Fion is looking to get in charge of her life.

The first half of the movie runs through the typical interactions of all 4 major characters. What they do for a living, how they play and how they live. Vivian has a not so secret crush on Van Dine. When Van Dine chooses Fion, things get complicated. The mystery starts and all confusion breaks loose. Seriously. Confusion.

I don't know what to make of this film. The Sodagreen background song was awesome. The slice of Ximending was impressive. The comedy of Van Dine's life is refreshing. But the story was way confusing.

I had this on my list of Taiwan movies I wanted to watch last October in my Taiwan Moviea Roundup.

The style of the film was great. Very very stylist. Ethan's dress code is something I would reflect and want to emulate.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

BOTY 2009 – Korea, China, Thailand, Asia

BOTY Korea 2009 was held on July 12th. The results were:
Semifinal: Gamblerz Crew Vs. TG Breakers
Semifinal: JinJo Crew Vs. Maximum Crew
Final: Gamblerz Crew Vs. Maximum Crew
Winner: Gamblerz Crew

BOTY China 2009 was held on July 17th. The results were:
Semifinal: Dragon Style vs Jing Wu Men
Semifinal: KGS vs STO
Final: Dragon Style vs STO
Winner: STO

BOTY Thailand 2009 was held on July 25th. The winners are 99 Flava.

BOTY Asia - August 1 in Singapore
1. All Area Crew (Japan)
2. Gamblerz (Korea)
3. Formosa (Taiwan)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 - Upcoming

America's Best Dance Crew (Season 4) premieres tomorrow night. But its the top performances from the past show. The new groups will be on August 9th show. But the season starts tomorrow.

As you know, I loved Season's 1 and 3. Koba from season 1 is still my favorite with Quest right behind it. Both are very different styles, but they perform some pretty good stuff. Jabba is also very nice.

Now that I've actually got Fios TV, I don't have to wait for MTV to post it online. I can watch it from the comforts of my sofa. We'll see if my daughters corporate. Daddy duties come before TV. I don't have Tivo or a DVR.