LOVEHKFILM.COM
- reviews - features - people - panasia - blogs - about site - contact - links - forum -
 
 
Search LoveHKFilm.com
Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The FAQ Page
 
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit YesAsia.com
 
 
 
 
 
… On this day, I see clearly, everything has come to life.

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with 聚言莊﹕The House Where Words Gather.

Archive for the ‘Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing’ Category

Production News: June 26th, 2009

News on a couple of major productions that were announced this week:

Lau Ching-Wan and Louis KooOn June 23rd, China Star held an opening lens ceremony for their new project POKER KING (撲克王). The film stars Lau Ching-Wan as a gambling mogul and Louis Koo Tin-Lok as a gambling master. Stephy Tang Lai-Yan will play Louis Koo’s love interest.  Also appearing in the movie are: Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Josie Ho Chiu-Yi, the lovely Jo Koo (Kuk Tso-Lam), Wong You-Nam and newcomer Jacky Heung — the son of China Star head Charles Heung Wah-Keung. The duo behind last year’s LA LINGERIE, Chan Hing-Kai and Janet Chun Siu-Jan, will be behind POKER KING.

During the press conference, Lau Ching-Wan revealed that he is not much of a gambler in real-life as his gambling is limited to playing mahjong with friends and relatives during Lunar New Year and the occassional purchase of a lottery ticket.

As for Louis Koo, reporters seemed to be more interested in rumours that he was about to buy a HK$150 million luxury flat in Repulse Bay than anything related to POKER KING.  Koo admitted that he has looked at property in the area but that since it is a family matter, he does not want to comment further on the issue.  Back on the subject of the film, Koo has been preparing for his role as a gambling master by practicing card tricks for hours on end. He has practiced so much, his fingers have started to feel numb.

Stephy Tang, who plays Louis Koo’s love interest in POKER KING, revealed that she has no “heavy romance” scenes with the Tanned One but she is nevertheless feeling very nervous because she has never worked opposite actors of the calibre of Lau Ching-Wan and Louis Koo.  While her character in the movie is a gambling addict, she finds gambling distasteful and would not want a boyfriend who likes to gamble.  Asked what else would take a guy out of the running to be her girlfriend, Tang replied: “I don’t want a boyfriend who is obssesed with video games because I’ve no interest in that.  I’d really hate it if my boyfriend made me play video games with him.  He’d have to make a compromise.”

Quick Notes and Thoughts:

  • Looks like it’ll be an amusing movie.  I’ll see anything with Jo Koo in it.
  • It does feel like a step up for Stephy Tang.
  • Jacky Heung … Boy, I don’t know … Then again, the bar will be set pretty low.
  • This will be Cherrie Ying’s second HK movie of 2009.  The first was the little seen KUNG FU CHEF with Vanness Wu and Sammo Hung.  This one will be higher profile.  After her run as a minor “It Girl” earlier this decade, she’s been working mostly in the Mainland.

Related Links:

Aaron Kwok and Shu QiOn June 24th, an opening lens ceremony was held at the Yuen Long district’s Clarence Film Studio for the Universe - Enlight Pictures co-production CITY UNDER SEIGE (全城戒備).  Directed by Benny Chan Muk-Sing (CONNECTED), the actioner stars Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, Shu Qi, Collin Chou, Zhang Jingchu and Jacky Wu Jing.  With a budget in excess of HK$100 million, the movie will be heavy on special effects and spend more than one year in post-production.  Producers hope to have it ready in time for a National Day 2010 holiday release.  Billed as “China’s answer to X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE“, the film tells the story of circus performers played by Kwok and Chou who develop super-strength after accidentally inhaling a gas.  Shu Qi plays a reporter.

Although a descendant of Lee Chum-Foon, the hero in Gu Long’s Little Lee Flying Dagger book series, Aaron Kwok’s character is an unremarkable, low-lever circus clown/knife thrower. Admitting that while playing a “down in the dumps” character will be a challenge, Aaron Kwok anticipates that working in front of blue screens will ultimately be the bigger challenge.

Reporters spent most of their time with Shu Qi asking about her love life but when talk centered around the film, the leading lady revealed that she was going to request that she be allowed to do her lines in Mandarin because she felt her Cantonese was rusty.  Unfortunately, when it came time for shooting, she was asked to do her lines in Cantonese.  When the subject turned to how many action scenes Shu Qi has in the movie, co-star Kwok joked: “She has many ‘mind versus heart’ action scenes”.

CITY UNDER SEIGE is the first collaboration between Shu Qu and Aaron Kwok since STORM RIDERS in 1999. Asked for thoughts on the issue, Kwok replied: “I hope that the roots we laid down ten years ago will bear fruit for this project.”

Collin Chou plays a circus troupe leader in the film.  His character and Aaron Kwok’s character start off as “hing-dai” (兄弟) but end up as bitter rivals when the gas not only gives Chou’s character super-strength, it turns him into a villain.  Commenting on his participation in the film, Chou revealed that, so far, it is the most satisfying filmmaking experience of his 25-year career because director Benny Chan has given him a lot of creative space and allowed him much input into the development of his character.

As she plays a cop in the movie, Zhang Jingchu was ready to engage in heavy training for action scenes.  However, preparation time for the film was limited so she will be a “projectile weapons expert” and her action scenes will be done predominantly in front of a blue screen.

Shooting for most of CITY UNDER SEIGE should be completed this summer but, because of the long post-production process, shooting may continue until next April.

Quick Thought:

  • Sounds like it will be good but I fear that there’s also great potential for sucky, bloated mess — especially with the heavy reliance on special effects.

Related Links:

BECAUSE I’M NOT ON TWITTER:

Rest in Peace: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and, shockingly, Michael Jackson …

Accuse me of having the mindset of an old Italian woman if you must but these things really do come in threes …

Setting aside, for the moment, the legacy of the self-proclaimed King of Pop, an interesting study of new media versus old media is emerging.  TMZ.com, of all places, was the first to break the story yet no one in the traditional media is giving them props for the scoop.  Conversely, if the TMZ report had turned out to be false, I’m 100% sure that the traditional media would be lining up around the block to slag TMZ and dismiss it as a “blog” or a “celebrity entertainment website”.

To many, Michael Jackson is going to be remembered as “the King of Pop”.  Others will remember him as a “freak” or an “alleged pedophile”.  I think my mental epithet for him will be “tragic figure”.  The guy had all the talent in the world yet suffered through a messed up childhood and an even more messed up adulthood.  This is tragedy on a Shakespearean level.  It rivals that of Othello, Macbeth, King Lear and Hamlet.

Favourite Michael Jackson songs: “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, “Rock With You”, “Smooth Criminal” and “The Way You Make Me Feel”.  To be honest, I don’t think the songs from THRILLER have aged that well.  It could be that I hang out with a bunch of creeps and degenerates but no one I know thinks, anymore, that “Beat It” is a cool song.  Whenever the subject of the song comes up in mixed company, someone inevitably cracks a masturbation joke.

Favourite Michael Jackson video (YouTube link):  It’s actually not one by Michael Jackson but a spoof video about Michael Jackson from the folks who used to do IN LIVING COLOR.   Before today, I hadn’t seen it in sixteen, seventeen years but the first line of the second chorus still cracks me up.

“Yeah but how does this affect ME?”: Feeling incredibly old today.  Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson were icons from my youth — especially Farrah and Micheal Jackson.  THRILLER was the first album I bought with “my own money” and I believe, at one point, I owned Farrah Fawcett’s famous poster.  (It was either the Farrah poster or the Loni Anderson poster.  Maybe I had both?)  Anyway, nothing makes you feel older than hearing news that an icon from your youth has passed.

Farrah Fawcett poster     Loni Anderson poster

Laugh at me now young ones but — hopefully not until many, many years later — you’ll be feeling aged when the Jackie Chans and Sammo Hungs of the world depart to join Bruce Lee, Shih Kien and Kwan Tak-Hing up in the sky for the greatest martial arts cast ever assembled.

Image credits: Sohu.com (Louis Koo, Lau Ching-Wan), Sina.com (Aaron Kwok, Shu Qi), Life Magazine (Farrah Fawcett)

27th Hong Kong Film Awards Preview: Best Actor

Previously: Best Film

Like the situation in the Best Film category, if LUST, CAUTION had qualified for this year’s HKFAs, there is little doubt that Tony Leung Chiu-Wai would be well on his way to winning a sixth HKFA Best Actor title. Leung’s performance in the film is outstanding. Without the benefit of big scenes or big speeches, Leung impressively conveys his character’s thoughts and feelings with small gestures and small expressions. He even manages to fill the film’s infamous sex scenes with so much emotion and tension that it’s impossible to argue that the scenes were included just to draw a box office crowd with the promise of some titillation.

The nominees, minus Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, are:

Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing (THE DETECTIVE)
Andy Lau Tak-Wah (THE WARLORDS)
Simon Yam Tat-Wah (EYE IN THE SKY)
Jet Li (THE WARLORDS)
Lau Ching-Wan (THE MAD DETECTIVE)

5. Andy Lau Tak-Wah (THE WARLORDS)

Back when I was getting treatment for cancer — sometime in between round five and round six of chemotherapy — I got a delightful gift basket and a wonderful package of cards and letters from people I met over the years while running my old website. There were get-well messages from, among others, YTSL (Yvonne Teh of bc Magazine), Paul Fox (who used to run Cantonkid.com), Tim Youngs (of Another Hong Kong Movie Page and cameos in Pang Ho-Cheung films), my pal John Charles, Jennifer and Laura from San Francisco and, of course, our beloved Kozo (the Lord and Master of LoveHKFilm). Since I lost all of my Eudora inboxes and address books in the Great Hard Drive Crash of ‘07 (but mostly because I’m a terrible person and a lazy, lazy man), I haven’t properly thanked many of the people who wished me well. If anyone out there sent me a get-well message but didn’t receive a personal note of acknowledgement and thanks from me, please accept my apologies. My bad manners belie the fact that your cards, letters and e-mail messages really helped pull me through a difficult time. It was really great to know that I was loved and appreciated.

What does this have to do with Andy Lau and his Best Actor nomination? Well, included in the package of cards and letters was a get-well message from the Heavenly King himself! I was stunned — though, based on stories of Andy Lau’s many good deeds, I shouldn’t have been surprised — that a big star like him would take the time to write little ol’ me a note of Get-well note from Andy Lauencouragement. Needless to say, it was a huge shot in the arm so even if a future edition of Next Magazine publishes photos of Andy Lau eating “rejuvenation” dumplings made from baby flesh, I’d still have something good to say about him. That said, he shouldn’t have been nominated for his performance in THE WARLORDS.

Lau’s performance can, at best, be described as workmanlike. At worst, an argument can be made that Lau was unconvincing and ineffective. The main problem is that Lau is badly miscast for the role of Cao Er-Hu. The real-life Cao was, as I understand it, chivalrous and loyal but quick-tempered with a rough-hewn disposition that helped drive his wife into the arms of the more refined Ma Xin-Yi. Lau naturally projects a suave and sophisticated image so when the story calls for him to behave brusquely, he has to strain to make it convincing. An intense Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Tony Leung Ka-Fai or Francis Ng Chun-Yu type of actor should have been cast for this role not a “cool as a cucumber” Andy Lau or Simon Yam Tat-Wah type.

Speaking of whom …

4. Simon Yam Tat-Wah (EYE IN THE SKY)

Had he been nominated for his intricate performance in EXODUS, Simon Yam would rank higher on this list. Unfortunately, it’s hard to consider him a serious contender for the Best Actor award based on his performance as Surveillance Unit leader Dog Head. The problem does not lie in the quality of Yam’s work, it lies in the quality of the Dog Head character. There is little depth to the role beyond the “grizzled veteran who takes a newcomer under his wing” that audiences have seen in countless movies. The performance is fine but the role has a very low degree of difficulty. Besides, it wasn’t even the best acting performance in the film — that would belong to the work done by Tony Leung Ka-Fai as meticulous gang leader Shan.

3. Jet Li (THE WARLORDS)

Jet Li in THE WARLORDSBuilding upon his commendable performance in FEARLESS, Jet Li continues to evolve as an actor with his work in THE WARLORDS. Instead of playing his usual seemingly invincible fighting hero, Li does a creditable job portraying a flawed late-Qing era army general. It’s a solid individual achievement but it doesn’t rise to the level required of an award winner. It would have been interesting if the powers-that-be behind THE WARLORDS didn’t play it safe and unleashed Li to play a duplicitous, greedy schemer who stabs his sworn brother in the back for personal gain instead of the conflicted nobleman who compromises his morals for “the sake of the people”. Regrettably, no one will know if Li would have been able to meet the challenge.

2. Lau Ching-Wan (THE MAD DETECTIVE)

On an objective scale, Lau Ching-Wan should rank higher on this list. Inspector Bun, Lau’s character, is one of the tent poles of THE MAD DETECTIVE and if he doesn’t get the audience to buy that he is a detective with a “special ability” then the high-concept film has no chance of working. While he succeeds in convincing the audience, subjective factors put him in the second spot on this ranking. First, the other shoe never drops with his character. Inspector Bun is a brilliant cop whose gift is as much of a curse as it is a blessing but that’s where the character development ends. Nothing else really happens with him after his ability to see “inner personalities” is revealed. Second, the Inspector Bun character is just another variation of the kind of quirky, offbeat personality that viewers have seen Lau play many times before. THE MAD DETECTIVE provokes and challenges audiences but it certainly doesn’t challenge Lau Ching-Wan’s acting abilities. Third, Lau won last year so it feels like it’s someone else’s turn to win the top prize. Namely …

1. Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing (THE DETECTIVE)

Last year, Aaron Kwok was the heavy favourite to win in this category for his role as a deadbeat dad in AFTER THIS OUR EXILE. As a result, it was a pleasant surprise when Lau Ching-Wan won because he was sentimental favourite — the “entertainment circle veteran who deserved to win a Best Actor HKFA at some point in his career” (a mantle that he has since handed to Simon Yam). However, if one gives it a little thought, Lau’s victory wasn’t the HKFA equivalent to Martin Aaron Kwok in concert February 2008Scorsese winning a Best Director Oscar for THE DEPARTED. Lau truly deserved to win because he played his character in MY NAME IS FAME so well, it’s impossible to imagine any other actor in the role. By contrast, several actors could easily do a comparable job to Kwok in AFTER THIS OUR EXILE.

This year, the shoe is on the other foot. While Lau gives a flashier performance in THE MAD DETECTIVE, Kwok deserves to win because he absolutely owns his “loser private detective” character. From the first shot of him waking up to the catchy “Me Panda” to the last shot of him finding satisfaction in solving his case, flamboyant Heavenly King Aaron Kwok totally disappears behind a rumpled, sad-sack facade. Like Lau and his character in MY NAME IS FAME, it’s difficult to picture anyone other than Kwok playing C+ Detective Tam. While THE DETECTIVE and the Tam character don’t have the typical award winner gravitas, it’s a worthy substitute in a year where the best performance didn’t qualify.

Image credits: Applause Pictures (Jet Li); Xinhua (Aaron Kwok)

 
 
LoveHKFilm.com Copyright © 2002-2017 Ross Chen