Terrific!! I'd had the old vhs tape of this for a while, but this film was long overdue for a dvd release and it finally got one from Mei Ah! that gave me the chance to enjoy this film even more, it it really is a great film! it's an early effort by Derek Yee, and like a lot of work from him, as well as Ringo Lam, etc. it's characters are painted in shades of grey. Ti Lung is excellent in the lead, but a young Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is equally good in a strong supporting role. starting off with a bank robbery gone wrong, the film doesn't waste any time and the tension is extremely high throughout. the new dvd out is great, and will hopefully give this film the chance to be seen that it deserves. highly recommended!!
I would certainly consider Ashes of Time to be one of Wong Kar-Wai's masterpieces, as well as being one of the most interesting Wuxia-pian pieces of all time, at least from a character standpoint, although the film truly needs to watched a 2nd time to fully appreciate it. It has an excellent cast with Leslie Cheung, both Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Brigitte Lin, etc., the only thing I could ask for would be more of Maggie Cheung, but according to her she was only on set for 2 days. Christopher Doyle's cinematography is terrific as always and captures the desert landscape to it's full effect (especially with an incredible shot of lightning streaking through the sky), and Frankie Chan has created a moody score that fits perfectly. unfortuantely for some people, Sammo Hung's action choreography is largely obscured here, but the action isn't the film's focus in a Wong Kar-Wai film anyways so it really doesnt matter. it's probably best viewed alone, but the Mei Ah dvd is the one to find, as the US release is terrible.
Pang Ho-Cheung is definitely one of the best of Hong Kong's younger generation of filmmakers, and Beyond Our Ken ranks among his best work. although Gillian Chung and Daniel Wu are both good, the real scene-stealer is Tao Hong...too bad she hasn't done anything since this film, because she was excellent. thoroughly engaging, and ironically mirrors the real-life photo scandal involving Gillian Chung, which happened only 4 years later. Highly recommended.
I can understand why Sammi Cheng took 3 years off after this movie. Sammi's normally bubbly personality gets restrained here, and the result is very boring. honestly, the only Stanley Kwan film I've seen that I can fully recommend is Rouge. most of his other work looks great, but tends to be surprisingly boring. Daniel Wu's potential is wasted here in a brief dubbed part, and the characters are introduced and then done away with so quickly, you really don't care about what happens to any of them. I realize that Stanley Kwan was trying to relate one woman's changes and life choices to the city of Shanghai, but the result is a failure. even the editing looked terrible at times. the only thing good I can say about this was William Cheung's art direction, which is up to his usual standards. everbody else wasted their time!
this sequel to the original classic is nowhere near as good. the romance between Aaron Kwok and Wu Chien-Lien is not as believable as it was between her and Andy Lau in the 1st film. it's worth a rental due to a fun part by Anthony Wong and some excellent car stunts by the always dependable Bruce Law, but at times this one can be very laughable.
with Ip Man, Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip have created an instant classic, and continue to raise the bar with this being their fourth collaboration. this time around, the action choreography was handled by Sammo Hung and Tony Leung Siu-Hung, which allows Donnie more time to focus on his performance, which indeed turns out to be the best of his career acting wise. naturally the action is on a whole other level than the others, so I have little doubt that it will win the Best Action design award for which it was nominated at the HK film awards. besides continuing to deliver the best action around, the film manages to also contain some real emotion which was present in SPL, but absent from Yen and Yip's subsequent pair of films! Also, although his screentime is limited, Simon Yam brings the most to his character, and is a joy to watch as always. the supporting cast is solid as well, with Gordon Lam and Fan Siu-Wong having large roles. in conclusion, Ip Man is the finest Hong Kong film of 2008, and I really look forward to sharing it with others.
Chen Kuan-Tai directed this tale of brotherhood starring himself and the recently deceased Jimmy Lung Fong. the story has been done dozens of times, but Chen Kuan-Tai keeps it well paced and engaging, and as always he stands out in the lead role. easily worth the 5 bucks it costs to get the recent VCD release from Joy Sales/Fortune Star.
Ann Hui's Vietnam-based drama explores the conditions of life in Communist ruled Vietnam after the war, from the view of a Japanese journalist. George Lam is very solid in the role of the journalist, but the people he connects with help bring the most to the story, like a young girl played by Season Ma. also of note is that this was Andy Lau's feature-film debut, and he kicked off his career nicely in a strong supporting role.