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One last gasp in the 10th year

Hey everyone, it’s a blog entry! Remember when we used to do this every two weeks or so? Now we’re looking at a two year gap. It’s simply awful, but now we’re back. Yay!

Jackie Panda
“Do I look like I care about your stupid blog?
When Jackie reads, nothing else matters!”

Since I haven’t done this in a while, this will be a big blog entry with highlights of what’s coming up on the site, plus some “how did we end up here” navel-gazing. Since self-reflection is undoubtedly tiresome, the promises and other highlights come first. Even better, it’ll happen in bullet points. If I could draw up an infographic, I would.

Here then are the major points of interest: will turn 10 years old in 2012

Holy crap, has it been that long? The domain “” was officially registered on January 18th, 2002 and the actual site went online sometime in February or early March. Needless to say, this is a huge occasion for about five people worldwide, so I’ll be bringing out the cake, champagne and a series of posts looking back at the last ten years. There’s lots to talk about: the rise of China, the fall of Hong Kong and the pesky trend of China and Hollywood working together. You care what I think about this stuff, don’t you? Sure you do!

Christian Bale
“Yeah! You go, Kozo! THIS IS A HOUSE OF THE LORD!”

I’ll also post up plenty of silly photos, talk about self-indulgent website history, and thank a trillion people. Alphabetically. I’ll probably get to “F” sometime around October.’s review output
will slow even further in 2012

Last year this site only published 99 reviews, and that number will go way down this year. I myself wrote only 71, which is way lower than the 120-180 I used to write per year. This had to happen, as I’m older, have more responsibilities and have less time to spend on personal pursuits like this website. Also, besides me there is now only one site reviewer and he owes the bulk of his reviewing effort to his freelance and day jobs. So, that’s less movies, less reviews and less updates. Guaranteed.

Andy is happy
“Yes! There will be less!
This is the greatest news since Botox!
Hong Kong, are you with me?”

Fewer reviews or not, you can probably still come by here for an occasional dose of Asian Cinema reviewing and dishing. There will just be much less.

There will be a huge reduction in Pan-Asia film reviews

Originally this site wasn’t even supposed to review Pan-Asian films, but it happened because A) there are so few new Hong Kong films to review, and B) it allowed for more writers to have a voice on the site. Those writers are now gone and HK/China productions are trending up in number, meaning if I have extra time to review films, I’ll probably choose a China or Taiwan film and not something from Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. Anyway, English language coverage of international cinema is now so common that you don’t need me to tell you that THE YELLOW SEA is a rip-roaring action drama with lots of stabbity-stab-stab.

The Yellow Sea
Imagine this scene with an axe , repeat 37 times
and you’ve seen THE YELLOW SEA.

Just kidding - THE YELLOW SEA is actually pretty damn good and isn’t just a 160 minute bloodbath of run, run, stab, jump, trip, stab, bleed, hide, bleed, run, stab, bleed, bleed, bleed. So if you’ve seen THE YELLOW SEA and are upset that I dare mock such a modern masterpiece of run-stab-bleed-kill, don’t bother to write in to set me straight.

We’ll announce the 2011 LoveHKFilm Awards

Sometime in March, will announce its yearly awards, given out by 7 individuals living in Hong Kong who see the vast majority of local releases. It’s always a fun exercise made all the better by the fact that everyone who’s in our jury makes an effort to see most if not all the eligible films. This is meant to be a representative set of awards and not just a fanboy high five, so I hope people actually pay attention, even if we do give out silly awards like “Waste of Space” and “Career Suicide.” Even though we take the Best Picture and Best Director awards seriously, we do try to have a bit of fun. I don’t think anyone minds.

Aaron Divergence
“They’re making fun of me again!
Why must I suffer this horrible ordeal every year?”

Actually, after CITY UNDER SIEGE, there may not be any more awards to give to Aaron Kwok.

An aside about this latest edition of the awards: because of the pesky China issue, the rules will change this year and we’ll be opening up the awards to any Hong Kong or China funded film that was released theatrically in Hong Kong in 2011. So yep, LET THE BULLETS FLY is a candidate!

I’ll post up a full list of nominees later this month. I’ll also take some time to highlight the members of the jury because they’ve been doing this since 2007. They deserve a little more than just a hot pot dinner for their reward.

We’ll conduct a new Reader Poll
of the Top 100 Hong Kong Movies Ever

Who remembers the two Reader Polls we did for Top 50 Hong Kong Films of the 2000s and the Top 100 Hong Kong Films of the 1990s? I sure do, because they were probably the most popular thing this site has done EVER. Yep, even more popular than review KING OF SPY.

Both of those Reader Polls were popular features on the site with good reader response, and I’d like to do one last poll to pit the 2000s versus the 1990s versus every other decade. I figure this is my last shot at doing this sort of thing, what with the site turning 10 and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome destroying my fingers.

This will likely happen around end of March or early April, but we’ll publicize it for weeks ahead of time. Hopefully 150+ people participate, which is around the number of people who participated last time, way back in 2010. Fan faves like THE MISSION, CHUNGKING EXPRESS or INFERNAL AFFAIRS will still place high, but that’s fine. At least they’ll go up against A BETTER TOMORROW, ROUGE and PEKING OPERA BLUES.

“Pay attention!”
“One of my movies is winning this time. No, I’m not asking a question.
One of my movies is winning this time. Repeat after me, ‘One of my–’”

No promises, Stephen. If you made more movies maybe you’d have more chances to win random reader polls on dinky HTML-only websites. You know, like this one.

We’ll come up with a
new mission statement for

This is probably the last thing anybody cares about, but it matters to me. Hell, I don’t need to call it a “Mission Statement,” I can just call it “What this site is supposed to be about.” Basically, the site needs rules and goals because without them, people get the wrong idea.

For example, I read somewhere online that this site is “reviewing (for the most part) HK action movies.” Nothing could be more wrong about that statement. Also, another helpful netizen said that our reviews are “virtually always negative.” That is a complete load of crap. People, get some perspective.

Tang Wei
“But the reviews are always negative!
I’m going to throw a fit if someone doesn’t pay attention to me!”

About that “virtually always negative” statement, I get that a lot and it’s totally wrong because, you know, I do like movies. And everytime I like a movie, that’s a positive. So even if I dislike 70% of all movies and like only 30%, that is not “virtually” always negative. It doesn’t even come close.

Anyway, even if I post a mission statement that explains (or excuses) some of those perceptions, people are still free to have their opinions because hey, it’s the Internet and everyone either has an asshole or is one. Frequently they have an asshole and are an asshole. I sincerely hope that latter category never visits this website.

even though it’s not a Hong Kong movie

Because that’s what I did back in 2008 for THE DARK KNIGHT.

Dark Knight Rises
“WTF? Why? That Edison POS isn’t even in this one!”  

So yeah, that’s what we’ll be doing this year. If you don’t stop by to read it, I’ll never know and I also won’t be offended.

So, that’s it for the upcoming stuff. Now it’s time for the navel-gazing portion where I talk about not posting for eighteen-plus months.

“What’s that Kozo? Can’t hear you - I’m listening
to Mr. Sandman. It’s by some POS rapper.”


“Why this blog stopped” or “You don’t have to read this”

There are many reasons why Damn You, Kozo went away for so long. One is I got married in 2010 and the before and after of such an event is pretty time consuming. Here’s a photo from my wedding:

“I’m all right! Really!”

However, the main reason I shut things down is that I wanted to talk about myself less on the website. I had this weird idea a few years back that the site could do a lot more than simply review movies from a dying film industry, so I diversified and opened up blogs to have outside voices come in and give the site new life. My blog and its navel-gazing entries had become kind of an eyesore.

I did manage some helpful posts back then (the Reader Polls, for example) but by and large this blog was still personal BS, and I wanted the site to be better than that. When it became clear to me that I had nothing to offer the blogsphere beyond my personal crap, well, time to shut it. I figured if I had to run a personal blog, I should move to Blogger and not bore people who visit this site.

However, with the slowdown of the site and the lack of updates to the site blogs (two have slowed considerably, one shuttered itself emphatically and the last one is still active), I’m going to loosen the restrictions. I’ll still keep the personal stuff to a minimum but talking about the site and its many issues and evolutions is something I’d like to do. The site went through ups and downs over the past decade, and nowadays I feel like sharing some of it.

Also, I need a place to post pictures of my toys:

Luffy meets Gooey
Monkey D. Luffy meets Gooey

So yeah, I’ll spit out a couple of posts on that subject before 2011 is said and done. It kind of makes sense to take stock of things in the site’s 10th year. It’s been a good run and is never going to get bigger, so a little thought on the matter would be fine.

A warning: it could be boring.

Huang Xiaoming and his cat have been asleep since the third sentence.

26 Responses to “One last gasp in the 10th year”

  1. Veronica Says:

    Congrats on the blog update and holding the fort there for, wow, 10 years!
    An action movie review site, full of negatives? I think anyone who read more than one review from the site will be able to instantly sense its uniqueness and love for HK cinema. (And I actually don’t mind that it won’t have as many pan Asian reviews. It’s after all. )

    Without any insight nor reason,I just got this sheer feeling that this year will be great for HK cinema and At least stay still. Awesome jobs!

  2. Sean Says:

    Great job on the site and hopefully you’ll be doing this for another decade!

    The site was the beginning of my fascination with Hong Kong films and there are still no better sites out there for reviews in my opinion.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  3. Vu Says:

    I visit almost everyday.

  4. WesY2K Says:

    10 years, wow. I think I’ve known this side for 9 years now. Still love it. Even if all the reviews are negative. But 80 % of the movies you reviewed are Wong Jing flicks… :-)

    And show us more pictures of your toys!

  5. Crystal Says:

    I have been in love with this site since I came across it 5 or 6 years ago. I use it to keep up to date with new movies, and since I have the Chinese movie channel I reference a lot of reviews for older movies as well.
    Keep up the good work Kozo. There are a lot of people out there that appreciate your site and love HK film.
    I wonder if you will write reviews of older movies that you have not reviewed yet?
    I also wonder if you don’t have much comments because I didn’t see the bottom captcha part and when I pressed back I lost my entire comment.

  6. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Crystal, five comments is plenty! Especially from an inactive blog like this one that doesn’t converse with pals on his blog roll. Frankly, I’m glad anyone left a comment.

    I too hope this year will be great for HK Cinema. Will continue to review everything that comes out this year, and will decide upon 2013 later.

    About writing review of older movies, that’s long been my dream - to just sit around, watch old HK movies and fill up this site with content. I have enough unwatched DVDs to achieve that, but the problem as always is lack of time. I may have to tackle that when I retire.

    Again, thanks for reading and for continuing to follow the site after all these years.

  7. Michael Says:

    I am a supporter of the site and don’t mean to sound like an ass, but yes, the site’s constant “HK cinema is dying/dead, this site is useless/dying/nobody visits” shtick (whether intended as a misguided attempt at a running gag or not) gets pretty tiring after a while. That does not mean you have to give the new Wong Jing movie a glowing review, but less self-amused polemics would be welcome.

  8. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for reading the site and for the criticism.

    You’re not the first person to tell me that they don’t like the site’s personality. To you and anyone else who feels this way, I really am sorry. The site’s attitude is not meant to be taken seriously but I also know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    As an alternative, I suggest visiting the many Asian Cinema websites that talk to their readers in an enthusiastic and excited fashion. I’m not trying to say, “If you don’t like it, go away.” I’m trying to say, “Perhaps this site is not for you, and you may like other sites more.” If you need recommendations, I’d be happy to provide them.

    I would like to make this clear: HK Cinema really is dying. No matter how many people talk about how great SPL and IP MAN were, HK Cinema is but a shell of its former self. It’s a reality and there’s no escaping it.

    The negative stuff about the site and its dropping traffic is meant to be humor - though yes, it’s self-indulgent and easily funnier to me than it is to anyone else. Hey, I have to get something from working on this thing. It’s not like there’s fame and glory in it.

    Seriously speaking, I’ve always been grateful that people read and use the site. Because of that I’ve stuck with it much longer than I’ve intended to, plus I’ve worked to improve the site’s writing, information, knowledge, etc. In the end, I hope people see that there was hard work, effort and care put into making this website.

    Also, I hope readers can separate the site’s admittedly odd sense of humor from the actual reviews, which do take the films seriously.

    Again, thanks for the comments. If you continue to visit this website, I hope you can derive some value from it.

  9. V Says:

    Hi Kozo,

    Really appreciate this website and the work that you have put into it. I think I started following this site somewhere around halftime. Your website has shaped my understanding of HK cinema and opened up a whole new world to me. Thank you very much for that.

    Running a website for 10 years out of pure personal interest is a laudable achievement and of course, a load of hard work. Wishing you the best!

  10. ST Says:

    Woo a blog post by Kozo. Made my day.

  11. Veronica Says:

    In fact, if one doesn’t care about something, he doesn’t have to rant about its dying either. I was getting this Kozo’s routine comment as his love for the subject. :) And I think without the aforementioned (odd) sense of humour, your review is not your review, Kozo. Don’t scrap that!

  12. Tai-ming Says:

    Happy New Year, Kozo!

    Thanks for 2011 lovehkfilm recap. I missed quite a few good films, but always wonder how come you find the time to keep up watching+writng!?

    Writing reviews is definitely not just for your own but for all-round view for understanding - I can always find this rationale in your writing. I can see how your reviews gradually change over years, and how you grow with this city. As a Hongkonger, I have to say this is the only place I can find “most HK film reviews” in a systemically way, even sorted by English title/artist name! Ironically I can’t even find it in my own language - Chinese!

    10-year establishment of lovehkfilm website isn’t easy. Another decade to come for “HK Cinema” is even harder to imagine. People who treasure HK Cinema would definitely know where to go and what to believe for film reviews.

    Cheer up, Kozo!

  13. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Thanks for all the kind comments and also the criticisms! It’s good to get both, really. Puts hair on your chest.

    V, always nice to hear from you. :)

    Veronica, I don’t think the odd sense of humor is going anywhere, unless the people who find it funny tell me it’s not working anymore. And even then, I’d probably still do it, because I’m not sure I know how to write any other way.

    Tai-ming, I’m surprised that a Hongkonger would find the site’s reviews helpful, as I’m not really from Hong Kong. I’m a Taiwanese-American, so any and all understanding I have of the territory, the culture and the people is something I’ve picked up over time.

    But you should be able to find great resources in Chinese. There’s a very famous blog on Sina that covers everything!

    About finding the time to watch and write - I’m lucky, in that the people around me (i.e., my wife and family) support my Hong Kong movie hobby. That might change one day if my family ever expands, but for now, I’ll make the necessary time to do it.

    Again, thanks!

  14. Victoria Says:

    Happy New Year! And well-deserved congratulations on’s 10th anniversary!

    I won’t mince words here: I love this site and depend on your reviews, especially for older and more obscure & non-arthouse films. The “best of” polls were great fun, and instrumental in pushing me to see a handful (or two) of films that made it into my own personal best list. Lots of us lurkers are remiss in voicing appreciation. So I know I speak for many when I say keep up the great work!!

  15. k Says:

    Hi Kozo

    Congratulations on reaching 10yrs online! I think I have been visiting this site for almost all of those 10yrs. Wow how time flies!! There were times when I thought you were not going to update this site anymore due to other commitments etc but thankfully you have kept going.

    One of the main things I like about this site is your sense of humour. There have been quite a few times when I have been having a hideous day at work, only to read one of your reviews or personal blogs (yes, during my lunch hour) and have been able to have a really good laugh at some comment, photo with caption, or other remark. I miss your “Life with Kozo” blogs even if you thought they may have been a tad self-indulgent for this type of website. Also, I often find that I am more ‘in sync’ with your reviews than that of other reviewers and therefore have a better idea as to whether I will enjoy a film or should purchase it on my next trip through Asia. Or perhaps it is rather that I appreciate your passion and knowledge when reviewing something.

    10yrs is a lot of hard work and dedication and probably there are a lot of people like myself who don’t bother to say thank you but still really appreciate your efforts.

    So ‘Thanks’ Kozo, and congratulations on getting married.

    Kind Regards


  16. Veronica Says:

    Ditto, whole heartedly. How well said, K.
    I, too, have had many ‘real good laugh’ moments while reading Kozo’s reviews and blog entries. (No, not in my lunch time.) And I totally understand that ‘sync’ feel too. It’s been so good reading this guy’s ‘more-than-”just”-a-little-website’. Once I almost had a heart attack when he closed the site temporarily. Now I don’t think I’ll blame him after all the hard work that he has put in for 10 years, even if one day he announces the site closure.
    Well done and all the best. There are many who appreciate your work.

  17. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi K, Veronica and Victoria, thanks so much for the kind words, and for hoping that the site keeps going. I’d like that to happen too, but we’ll have to see how it goes. I remember when Mark Morrison of Australia’s Heroic Cinema left his post as webmaster of that great site - it was simply the demands of life and family that took priority. I can see that happening to me one day.

    Not to change the subject, but are people voting for their Top Hong Kong Movies of the Eighties? Taken in close to 20 submissions so far and will be pushing this like a madman for at least a couple more weeks.

  18. Veronica Says:

    Oh yes, I’m definitely in. But expect my vote at the very end of Feb.
    Because of this, I decided to devote my entire February to re-watching all the 80s HK movies that I own. (Ah, going to the cinema tonite to watch Romancing in thin air. That’s an exception.) My vote will be decided after that. Selecting best 20s is a hard job! But, I’ll make sure mine’s in before the end of this month. Cheers!

  19. T Says:

    Hey Kozo,

    Longtime fan of the site here — since probably late 2002 or early 2003 if I recall correctly — and of all the effort you’ve put into it over the years.

    I’m also the guy you indirectly called an “asshole” in the post above. I further suspect you might have had me in mind when you claimed in your Dec. 15 state-of-the-site Christmas greeting that some folks might visit your site “because you wish to ridicule our latest attempts at review writing”.

    I’m not so sure it’s just us negative Nellies who need perspective here.

    For someone who boo-hoo’d on Twitter late last year about the lack of “mutual respect” between Hong Kong cinema-related sites, you sure have an odd way of leading by example. The fact that you still own and contribute (albeit less frequently, and with more threats of decreased activity than ever before) to one of the most-visited Hong Kong movie-related sites on the web should, in theory, give you no reason to stoop to the level of name-calling (inferred or otherwise). I may find LoveHKFilm to be a sour experience on the surface, but I certainly don’t think you’re an asshole. Hell, I don’t even think you’re the crank you’ve been intent on portraying yourself as for so many years.

    Thankfully, though, I’m one “asshole” who’s willing to meet his own critics head-on, as I did briefly on Twitter last year and am doing here—albeit belatedly—instead of hiding away in the security of some barely-functioning discussion forums that few people read anyways.

    For those not in the know—if anyone besides me and him actually sees this—what triggered Kozo to lash out above were some comments I made — many moons ago — at the Hong Kong Movie Database (HKMDB) forums (which hardly anyone read about the seemingly chronic negativity that permeates this site. And Kozo’s right; I DID say that the reviews here were “virtually always negative”, because they ARE. Your 70/30% example above may be for illustrative purposes, but I’d wager a dollar that the actual split’s probably more like 90/10% (and would humbly apologize if any kind of scientific measurement were to prove otherwise by a wide enough margin).

    I’m not calling for 90% unqualified raves, but something’s been amiss here for awhile now. Your disillusionment with the Hong Kong film industry clearly informs most of your reviews and other writing, and because you’re pretty much the only guy covering all the bases and therefore a defacto arbiter of taste regarding Hong Kong cinema to readers in the west, the industry rarely seems to benefit from your coverage. You may in fact be causing more damage through your informing of public opinion (particularly in the west) than your supporters here realize.

    If, as you’ve claimed in this post and on Twitter, the site’s negativity isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but evidently IS taken seriously by more people than just myself (sez you above: “About that “virtually always negative” statement, I get that a lot”), then why continue adopting such a posture? As an ersatz “character” for the site, I sort of understand it, but it just doesn’t work on the whole. Not everybody “gets” that your “cranky old man” persona is just that: a gag, a lark, a laugh. Not all of your readers speak English as a first language. And when you shoot back at your critics (yes, the interwebs are full of them) by labeling them “assholes”, the “persona” seems all too discomfitingly real.

    You’ve lamented the loss of contributors and viewers repeatedly over the years—including throughout this blog post—yet have you ever stopped to wonder if the general demeanor of the site may have privately driven them away, or more importantly, that it might deter NEWCOMERS from embracing Hong Kong’s utterly unique brand of cinema?

    LoveHKFilm comes up near the top of search results when a user Googles many Hong Kong film titles (well, post-late-90’s titles, anyways). So, they click through, read an interesting, involved review, most likely negative. Maybe they read another, then some more, but they start to realize that you don’t really like a lot of what you watch, or at the very least, the negatives of a particular film far outweigh the positives. Then, perhaps, they jump to your front page, or maybe this blog, and confront your years of personal messages bitching about how Hong Kong cinema is dying, or dead, or producing so much crap (like the industry wasn’t capable of that during each of the past five or six decades?), or the frequent moaning about how the site itself is a ghost town, nobody visits, nobody contributes, nobody cares. If I was just starting to get hooked on Hong Kong cinema—and believe me, it’s still entirely possible, even via movies from the past couple of years—I’m not sure I’d come back here too often because, “hey folks, this joint might not even exist by the next time you check in!”

    Life gets in the way. THAT I can understand. Your marriage should come first. That’s all the rationale I need to hear in a blog post or site update. But repeatedly running the industry into the ground and declaring its demise isn’t helping the industry in the long run.

    Seriously, man, a LOT of us out here respect what you do, and for how long you’ve done it, and we DO take your comments seriously. And therein lies the problem: on the surface, it seems like YOU take them seriously, too, because that’s how they read (even moreso to the uninitiated that I’ve directed here over the years), no matter how many times you tell us not to take them seriously. As a result, you’re bound to hear some of us react harshly here or elsewhere if the mood arises. Such is life. You should also keep in mind that many travelers to this site may not recognize the hipster irony in your words, which only does the site, and Hong Kong cinema, a further disservice.

    As I said, no one is asking for sunshine, lollipops and rainbows in every reviews or plastered all over the site, but a little bit more of all three wouldn’t kill you, particularly if it’s genuine and not intended to mock those who might appreciate it. It’s been 10 years.

    I wouldn’t have written this if a) I wasn’t surprised at how poorly you handled some fleeting internet criticism I posted on the forum of another site that I do not represent nor do have any financial interest in, and b) if I didn’t still care passionately about Hong Kong cinema, and still enjoy a great many of the altogether UNIQUELY LOCAL pictures they produce in the course of a year (and even some of the co-productions). Like you, I’ve got literal mountains of discs here that I intend to plow through as my schedule permits. A great deal of my income goes to purchasing every new release that comes out, as well as plenty of oldies I discover in my city’s ever-contracting supply of Chinese video retailers. Finding LONG reviews of many of them is never a problem. Finding thoughtful, though-provoking ones is.

    One last thing: if down deep you really want to write MORE reviews, as you say, then write SHORTER ones. Like so much free web criticism, there seems to be this unwritten edict that an amateur/unaffiliated/unpaid review will only be taken seriously if it’s in the ballpark of 800 to a thousand words. As a magazine editor in the real world, and in spite of my very long-winded response here, I can truly say that I could condense many a run-on web review to about half or two-thirds of its extant length, and not have to jettison key points, or the tone, or useful bits of trivia or gossip. Write shorter, and you’ll have time to write more. Believe it or not, some of your “Skinnies” are near-perfect encapsulations of both a film’s plot and your opinion of the finished product.

    Anyways, I can only hope that your response to this is a measured one, and not another implication that your critics are assholes or douchebags or whatever the nom-du-jour is for those who would stand in mild opposition to the general tone of your site.


  20. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi T (Brian T),

    Thanks for leaving the comment. Honestly, you’ve interpreted a lot of what I’ve written differently than I had intended. Since you are the guy who said the site’s reviews are “virtually always negative,” I can see how you would connect yourself to this blog post, but I did not have you in mind at all when I wrote that thing about people popping up to ridicule the site. That was just some off the cuff remark.

    I’ve read forums (HKMDB and a smaller one) where you disparage the site on more than one occasion. Honestly, it hurts to have a Hong Kong film fan knock the site multiple times about its negativity, its poor writing, etc. Like I said to you on Twitter, it just feels lousy because I thought that longtime fans of HK Cinema would at least appreciate the effort that goes into this site. This, obviously, was my mistake. Similar interests do not equal mutual appreciation or respect. I did learn a lesson there.

    I did take your comments harder than I would most because it was casually thrown around the HKMDB forums - a place that I respect and care about. But in the end, I lumped your negative comments in with the other negative comments I receive, through email or on forums or whatever, and that’s what informed the mention in this blog post. The “opinions are like assholes” comment was just an extension of a commonly used phrase. I didn’t say that the people who actually said those things about the site are assholes. I just said they have opinions. Big difference.

    Also, I wasn’t trying to imply that anyone who criticizes the site is an asshole. The assholes are the people who email saying, “F*ck you, and f*ck” (Note: a true story!). I don’t think all the people who criticize the site are assholes. A commenter above, named Michael, also voiced his opposition to the site’s tone and I don’t think he’s an asshole. You and he are both welcome to criticize the site. In return, I can choose to listen, to doubt the commenter based on their tone or manner, or to reflect on myself because of it. Sometimes the criticism informs my work and sometimes it doesn’t.

    So, to make this clear: I don’t think you are an asshole nor did I imply that you are one. However, I can understand how you could infer that, so I’ll apologize for the misunderstanding. I hope that clears this up. If not, you’re free to post again and I’m free to respond or not. That is the magic of free will.

    As for the rest of your comment, I’ll take it under advisement just as I did when I first read your criticisms elsewhere, and just like I do when I get criticism from anyone. Maybe it’ll change what I do, and maybe it won’t. I have no idea right now.

    One thing: you say you’re a fan of the site and have visited it since 2002 or 2003. Honestly, I want to ask you: why do you visit a site you do not enjoy, and more, is run by a person whom you have a low opinion of? The writing is long-winded, the attitude is negative, the humor does not work, the webmaster handles criticism poorly and lashes out at his detractors - hell, the website itself is damaging to Hong Kong Cinema! You said all of those things in your comment. You also say you respect what I do, but I can’t see how that’s possible because you don’t seem to like anything about the site except that it’s about Hong Kong Cinema.

    Really, I say this with no ill will: if you feel that this site misrepresents the cinema that you love then you really shouldn’t be reading it.

    And anyway, there are LOTS of sites covering Hong Kong Cinema that you can visit instead. You have So Good Reviews, Far East Films, Film Smash, City on Fire, Eastern Film Fans, HK Neo Reviews,, Eastern Film Fans, A Hero Never Dies, plus all the great blogs by Glenn Griffith, Yvonne Teh, Sean Tierney, Sylvia Rorem, Michael Thomason, Brian Nass, and more. I am leaving out a ton of people who deserve mention, and I apologize to them.

    For forums, you have Mobius or your own forum, plus you can always visit HKMDB for reviews too. HK Cinemagic has awesome coverage, plus a fully-functional database that rivals HKMDB. Most of the above sources are likely better for you than Visit them instead and I’m sure you’ll be happier.

    Thanks again for leaving the comment and for being so open about your issues with the site. In return, I promise never to quote anything you say about this site ever again. If I had just used one of the other online comments where people say that I’m always negative, then this probably would not have happened. Live and learn.

  21. Kevin Ma Says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Brian, the asshole Kozo’s referring to is me. I enjoy internet notoriety as much as anyone else, possibly more so.

    If anyone is doing a disservice to Hong Kong cinema, it’s the industry itself. It has never been about high art, or hell, even pleasing audiences. The latter is just a means to an end: to make lots of money. The entertainment industry here is a twisted place with self-indulgent people who care more about fame and money by any means necessary, and that is the system producing these films.

    Then, why does Kozo (and to a very small degree, myself as well) keep doing this? Because this site is not just a fan site where we excuse anything out of love. This is a site that informs people about movies and the state of the Hong Kong film industry (and poke a little fun at it in the process). Yes, it’s for the people, not some industry promotional tool that will play the PR game just because “it helps the industry”. Helping the industry is one thing. To blindly love everything it does is just spoiling it. Besides, wouldn’t recommending bad movies to people be a bigger disservice to fans of the site?

    On that note, I apologized to people who saw VIRTUAL RECALL.

    Hong Kong is my home (and now Kozo’s as well, of course), and we do not look at HK cinema with an exotic eye here. We give it the same standards that Americans would give Hollywood cinema and the French would rate their own cinema by. We don’t make excuses for bad movies, because a bad movie is a bad movie, no matter where it’s from or who’s doing the action. Then again, Hong Kongers do give plenty of slack to Transformers, so maybe the exoticism works both ways.

    By the way, I was there for that scientific calculation, and the 70-30 ratio holds up. Perhaps you’re thinking of my work. In that case, you should read that parenthesis at the end of the reviews more often, because I’m the guy who only wrote one positive review in all of 2011. Hell, I still don’t get why Kozo likes half the movies he does.

    Anyway, I’m not jumping to defend Kozo because I write on the site or he’s my friend or he sits next to me at work and can kill me with one swift blow. It’s because the site is unfairly labeled as virtually negative. We (the so-called LoveHKFilm movie group) sit through more Hong Kong films than most people in the world here, meaning 80-90% of general releases. Every industry produces good films and bad films, and as much as it breaks my heart, Hong Kong produces more bad films than good films. It’s the sad truth, and if we don’t reflect that reality here, that would just make us republicans. Ha ha?

  22. Veronica Says:

    Do people truly think this site’s reviews are ‘virtually always negative’? I don’t think so. Negative reviews have menace opinions. I don’t see that in Kozo’s reviews.
    Neither ‘T’ nor Kozo would need my opinion on this and I will do shut up after this comment, so you two don’t need to write me a response to fight back. But I just honestly want to ask people. Because, seriously, that’s not the feel that I get from this site.
    I read honest, genuine and even caring attitude towards HK cinema from this site. Maybe I’m totally wrong. I’m pretty naïve too. Yes, negative comments do pop up, as you’d expect from any ‘reviews’ but altogether I think all of the reviews here live up to the site’s name: LoveHKfilm.

    What made me wrote this was T’s comment saying that this site’s reviews may drive people away from HK cinema. I’m just the opposite of that. I started fancying HK cinema very, very late when most followers already left the field. It was actually Kozo’s witty, funny, warm and honest (could be biased) reviews that helped me stick around. Now, when a new movie’s out, I first check this site. No, nowadays, I scan through his twitter messages & updates, and eagerly anticipate its arrival in Australia here. This site made me watch, cheer, be disappointed and joyful for HK cinema. Like T described, I too spend way more than what I should to keep this little hobby of mine. I even started learning this foreign language. Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy doing what I do. If I have to complain for my gradually increasing insanity, I blame for it.:) **sigh**I just thought T’s claim was unfair. Besides, when HK cinema barely produces movies in the language of own people and struggles with relevant themes, restricted rules and funding issues, where is HK cinema now anyway? Isn’t it natural to rant about the situation if one’s a genuine lover?
    I don’t want to cause controversy and degrade other faithful sites, but I have my own reasons to sticking with this site other than going elsewhere and reading their reviews.

    One more thing, if I may. Personally I feel, no one should advise anyone to write long or short, or write this or that. You’re not marking your student’s paper, right? I think we, the lovers of HK cinema should feel blessed having this site around.

    English is not my first language. I may have expressed things in a rather stupid way here, but I have no problem understanding this site’s reviews and having smile on my face.

  23. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Brian, I just wanted to clear something up.

    My Twitter comment last year was based on comments I found in this forum:

    It had nothing to do with your previous HKMDB comments.

  24. Veronica Says:

    Strange enough, when I was writing my comment, Kevin’s comment wasn’t there. My comment was made before reading Kevin’s. (Therefore forgot that he has lots to do with the site reviews too. (: ) Nonetheless, whatever the scientific calculation Kevin did and even he claims he produced one positive review out of all of his 2011 outputs, I still don’t think reviews are negative oriented, despite the industry’s fall out. OK, I’m shutting up, but Kozo, Kevin and all the other contributors who are holding the fort deserve much more than this!

  25. Kevin Ma Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Veronica. I really need to increase my output in 2012, and I’m sorry to Kozo and the readers that it’s been a slow start to the year.

    Ducking back to Twitter now.

  26. Juliana of Texas Says:

    I have been reading this site for about 7 years. I would probably have not watched or purchased more than a couple of Hong Kong films had I not found this website. Your humor and love for the films and the hard work that people put into the films, even the ones you probably will never watch more than once, is what hooked me onto HK films in the first place. I just dropped in for one review and ended up with a lovehkmfilm addiction! Yes, I tried other websites. They were just not as satisfying! Thanks to you and your merry band of cohorts for all the hard work!

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