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… 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 ‘Nick Cheung Ka-Fai’ Category

Kozo Entertainment Group Presents: LOVE FOR HIRE

A little business to conduct before we get to the holiday festivities:  My 12-year “artistes” contract with the Kozo Entertainment Group obligates me to remind you that voting is underway for the “Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s”.  Go here for details.

With Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day falling on the same day, it’s the perfect time to release the Kozo Entertainment Group’s first feature film.  It’s a holiday release called LOVE FOR HIRE.  I got the idea for the movie after reading news articles about demographically-challenged Mainland males “renting” girlfriends to bring back home for Lunar New Year gatherings.  Being a fan of LAW & ORDER for close to twenty years, ripping a story from the headlines came naturally.  After running it up the flagpole to my superiors at the KEG, we got some funding from The Feinstein Company and the China Pajama-Producers Co-operative.  Consider this our “red packet”/valentine to you …

* * * * *

LOVE FOR HIRE:

A romantic comedy/drama about the lives and loves of people who work at an agency that provides fake girlfriends to guys who need someone on their arm for a social occasion.  The movie has two main plots:

Chrissie Chau

MAIN PLOT A:  Normal but shy guy hires a girl to practice social situations with (asking her out, going on dates, etc.) because he’s in love with a hot girl in his office.

Normal/shy Guy: Jaycee Chan (Fong Cho-Ming)
Girl For Hire: Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin
Hot Office Girl: Chrissie Chau Sau-Na

Due to his shyness, Jaycee has never dated a girl before so he wants to work out all the kinks of dating with Charlene before asking Chrissie out.  Naturally, over the course of a few practice dates, Jaycee falls in love with Charlene but, because she’s only doing this to make a few dollars for a plane ticket to see her boyfriend who’s studying in Australia, he doesn’t want to admit his love — even though it’s clear she loves him back.  He ends up going through with asking Chrissie out.

On his date with Chrissie, Jaycee realizes that he has to profess his love for Charlene so he races to the airport to stop her from getting on the plane to see her boyfriend for the Lunar New Year holiday. (Thus satisfying the romantic movie commandment of always having a scene where one of the main characters is racing somewhere to declare their love for someone.)

MAIN PLOT B:  Widower needs to hire a fake girlfriend because his parents are flying in from Canada to visit him and his cute kid for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Widower: Andy Lau Tak-Wah
Agency Owner: Michelle Reis

As Andy’s wife has been dead for four years, his parents have been on his back to get a new woman in his life and the life of their grandchild.  He wants to get them off of his back so he goes to the agency to hire a woman for a Lunar New Year “performance”.  He has a specific type of woman in mind so he asks to meet directly with the agency owner to pick out the right girl to play the part.

Andy and the agency owner end up meeting several times because they can’t agree on the right girl for the job.  During these meetings, Andy begins to admire Michelle for her work ethic and professionalism while Michelle begins to admire Andy for his dedication to his kid, his parents and, most touchingly, his late wife (ie. I’m still in love with her, I’m not ready to find another woman).

Since Michelle knows exactly what Andy is looking for, she decides to take the job herself and, during their “show” for Andy’s parents, Andy and Michelle end up falling in love.

Besides the two main plots, the film also has three mini-plots that fill out the movie:

MINI-PLOT A:  The Assistants

Agency Owner’s Assistant: Stephy Tang Lai-Yan
Tycoon’s Assistant: Ronald Cheng Chung-Gei
Obnoxious Tycoon: Jim Chim Sui-Man

Stephy has been working with Ronald because Ronald’s boss (Jim Chim) is an obnoxious jerk of a tycoon who has been hiring arm candy to get photographed with in the tabloids.  As the tycoon has been doing this for months, Stephy and Ronald have been talking to each other over the phone for a while.  Through casual bits of conversation between making arrangements for the tycoon, Ronald starts to wonder what it’d be like to date Stephy while Stephy begins to imagine what it would be like to have Ronald as a boyfriend.  Obviously, there’s mutual interest but, since they just have a professional phone relationship, neither has acted on it.  One day, they happen to be in the same Starbucks and when they hear each other order, they realize who the other is and it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Donnie Yen

MINI-PLOT B: Husbands and Wives

Husband: Eric Kot Man-Fai
Wife: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah
Businessman: Donnie Yen (looking to show his skillz in a non-action role)
Businessman’s wife: Lynn Xiong (because she’s Mrs. Ip Man)

A businessman (Donnie Yen) needs to hire a companion to sit in with him for business meetings.  He wants to avoid all-night negotiation sessions that are actually just excuses for the other business guys to do heavy drinking.  So, he hires a “wife” (Miriam Yeung) as an excuse to get business done quickly or to bail out of booze-soaked all-nighters.  Sometimes Miriam goes with Donnie to the meetings, sometimes she calls on the phone to interrupt, sometimes she shows up to interrupt.

Donnie has been working with Miriam for months and everything is strictly platonic.  However, Miriam’s husband (Eric Kot) is jealous that she’s spending all this time with Donnie.  Things come to a head when Donnie invites Miriam over to his flat for Lunar New Year dinner.  Eric is blind with jealousy and goes to the dinner with a chip on his shoulder.  When they arrive at Donnie’s place, both Miriam and Eric are surprised to find that Donnie has a wife and two young daughters.  When Donnie’s wife (Lynn Xiong), thanks Miriam for helping Donnie come home at night to be with his kids, Eric realizes the foolishness of his jealousy.

MINI-PLOT C: The Ex-Con

The Ex-Con: Nick Cheung Ka-Fai
The “Mainland” Girl: Vicki Zhao Wei

A guy (Nick Cheung) hires a “Mainland” girlfriend to bring home to his parents for Lunar New Year.  He’s been telling his parents that he’s been away “on business” in the Mainland for the past three years but, in actually, he’s been rotting in jail after being framed by a former friend for a crime he did not commit.

Vicki Zhao misses her own family back in China so she feels kind of sad to see this sham of a Lunar New Year gathering.  Nick Cheung feels the emptiness as well.  After the dinner, Vicki Zhao tells Nick Cheung to be straight with his parents, she points out that they may be more understanding than Nick Cheung thinks.  This story ends with Nick Cheung coming clean and truly reconciling with his family.

* * * * *

I think that’s enough plot for a 90 to 120 minute movie.  What do you think?  Even with stiff competition from 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY and ALL’S WELL THAT END’S WELL 2010,  this makes HK$10 million - no?

Now, as the late-Michael Jackson said repeatedly in THIS IS IT, I wrote this story out of “love” for the readers who have been reading my nonsense over the years.  As I said earlier, it was my “red packet”/valentine to the readers.  It’ll be upsetting if some knock off, possibly called LOVE FOR RENT, pops up in the Lunar New Year 2011 movie slate.  It’ll be especially upsetting if the knock off includes stories about a shy guy, a widower, a jealous husband, an obnoxious tycoon, assistants and an ex-con.  Not only will it upset me, it’ll upset the mighty KEG, the Feinstein Company and the China Pajama-Producers Co-operative.  Most people know better than to upset the CPC - especially in China. ;-)

To avoid all the nastiness, get in touch with me.  My demands may be as simple as a cameo role as one of the business guys at a Donnie Yen business meeting or the barista who hands Stephy Tang her latte at Starbucks.

All right … time for the traditional House Where Words Gather Lunar New Year greeting.  As you can tell from years past (Ox, Rat), my wishes for all of you are less grandiose than unimaginable wealth.  Sticking with that tradition, I’m going to channel Dan Rather and Al Pacino by wishing you:

Greeting for the Year of the Tiger

I’m hoping that the Year of the Tiger gives you courage to make improvements in your life.  May you find the courage to inch your way towards greater happiness be it finding the guts to ask that cute girl out, the courage to find a better job or the cojones to change an unhappy circumstance in your life.

And, as always, 身體健康!  Happy Year of the Tiger!

News Links: May 18th, 2009

Many, many links today so let’s just get straight to the nitty gritty …

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Screen Daily review of VENGEANCE

Variety reviews VENGEANCE

Variety reviews CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH

bc Magazine reviews:

NIGHT AND FOG

ASHES OF TIME REDUX

IN PRODUCTION:

14 BLADES:

Donnie Yen in for Bond-esque actioner

Donnie Yen Longs for Romance in New Film

Photos from the 14 BLADES press conference

Focus, Edko seal three film deal

Dadi Film moves into sales for Confucius

Confucius Chow

We Distribution closes sales on Bodyguards And Assassins

More: Variety, Hollywood Reporter

China Daily: “Bodyguards and Assassins” posters released

Sina.com: Large-size photo gallery of BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS posters

RELATED: Production stills featuring Fan Bingbing

Peter Chan, Dante Lam news: Cinema Popular unveils China’s first superhero movie

Peter Chan Brings Demon-Slayer to Life

Michelle Yeoh: Fortissimo takes on Tian’s Warrior, Indian doc

Cast Promotes MULAN at Cannes

PHOTOS: Vicki Zhao and Aloys Chen promote MULAN at Cannes

I’m a red-blooded hetrosexual male but, damn, Aloys Chen is a handsome man.

Universe releases poster for STORM WARRIORS 2

The film, which reportedly has a budget of HK$93 million, opens on December 17th.

Top Actresses Pass on ‘The Message’

Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing production stills courtesy Sina.com

Production stills from THE MESSAGE

Korea’s Sidus to co-produce One Armed Swordsman remake

Ethan Ruan replaces Jay Chou as triad member in new film

GENERAL NEWS:

New H.K. sales firm embraces actresses

Tiger8 and Wuxi launch $150m fund to take Chinese films global

Faye Wong’s Comeback Ad Released

Zhang Ziyi’s rude antics exposed

Zhang Ziyi coy over marriage and baby plans

Zhang Ziyi Shows Care for Children

Andy Lau’s girl moves out after wedding is called off

Michelle Reis antagonises mother-in-law on mothers’ day

China Daily on Michelle Reis and Charlene Choi

Charlene Choi makes plans for motherhood

Jackie Chan:

Jackie Chan Sings with Young Quake Survivors

Jackie Chan’s Pandas

Barbie Hsu: Vic Zhou was overly possessive

Want a date with Taiwanese female stars? Pay up

Taipei Times Pop Stop

‘Celebrity’ love dolls in hot demand in China

SEXY PHOTOS GATE:

`Killer’ on loose as techie jailed for Edison pics

Chen Sex-Pix Thief Gets Prison

Gillian Chung: The end of innocence

OPINION:

Ambitious Lu Chuan Succeeds with CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH

FEATURES:

Reality Bites: bc Magazine feature on HK documentary filmmakers

Don’t bow down to vices, says Tsai Chin

PHOTO GALLERIES:

Shu Qi at Cannes:

More Shu Qi at Cannes: Sina.com, Xinhua

Nick Cheung Ka-Fai celebrates his HKFA Best Actor win

On May 9th, Nick Cheung celebrated his HKFA Best Actor win with a party at a Tsimshatsui area restaurant. Among the attendees were his wife Esther Kwan Wing-Ho, their daughter Brittany, Ann Hui On-Wah, Julian Cheung Chi-Lam and Anita Yuen Wing-Yi, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Danny Lee Sau-Yin, Wong Jing, Francis Ng Jun-Yu, EEG boss Albert Yeung Sau-Sing and EEG manager extraordinaire Mani Fok Man-Hei. No word on whether or not his pal Kozo attended the party.

TVB 5-12 Earthquake Anniversary Show

Stephy Tang Lai-Yan, Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Sheren Teng Sui-Man, Myolie Wu Hung-Yi, Fiona Sit Hoi-Kei, Annie Yi and others made an appearance on a TVB show to commemorate the one year anniversary of the 5-12 Earthquake.

Chinese Stars back in Sichuan

Vicki Zhao poses for the Chinese version of Harper’s Bazaar

Zhang Ziyi promotes Armani

Barbie Hsu shoots an ad for Tissot

Vivian Chow shoots ad for a weight loss company

Gaile Lok promotes Neutrogena

Nic Tse and family promote his latest music video

Stefanie Sun Embarks on World Tour

Lee-Hom Wang celebrates his 33rd birthday

CULTURAL NEWS:

Bruce who?: Review of Ken Ing’s WING CHUN WARRIOR

‘Evil’ China sex park torn down: state media

Online car hysterics drive Shanghainese round the bend

28th Hong Kong Film Awards Preview: Best Actor and Best Actress

The signs are all here.  The sweet showers of April have pierced the drought of March.  The Ram has run half its course through the Zodiac and Zephirus, with his sweet breath, has breathed life into the tender crops.  It’s mid-April and time to preview the Hong Kong Film Awards.

These aren’t my predictions for the awards, rather they reflect what my votes would have been if, by some fortuitous machination of the Universe, I ended up getting a ballot.

Let’s start with the Best Actor and Best Actress categories …

* * * * *

The nominees for Best Actor are:

MY VOTE GOES TO:  Nick Cheung Ka-Fai (THE BEAST STALKER)

Nick Cheung in THE BEAST STALKER

Of the five nominated performances, the one by Nick Cheung shows the most range and the most depth.   Moreover, of the five, his job is the most difficult.  On one hand, he has to create enough tension as a villain to move the story forward. On the other — for the “one stone, many ripples” theme of the movie to work — he has to generate enough sympathy from the audience so that they care about the story behind his relentless Terminator-like menace.   Cheung pulls off both tasks with great aplomb.   If he does not win the award on Sunday night, it will be a major injustice.

Why?  My cousin Tony, Simon Yam and Louis Koo all turn in fine performances but their roles were not challenging as they’ve all given similar performances before.  In HERO, Tony Leung portrayed a man of strategy and action in a historical epic.  Over his long career, Simon Yam has played so many suave and sophisticated criminals, he could probably do it in his sleep.  As for Louis Koo, Kozo summed it up best in his review of RUN PAPA RUN:

… Koo has yet to become a truly accomplished actor, but he has cornered the market on certain character types.  Among them are the weak macho hero, the hen-pecked playboy, and other variations on the comically emasculated drop-dead gorgeous male.  What makes Koo so special at the above roles is he can play them while retaining audience identification and sympathy, making him a likable lout that’s less than a caricature and more than a simpering loser.  Basically, if you need an actor to play a character like Lee Tin-Yun, Louis Koo is your go-to guy, as he can wring comedy and even some affecting emotions from potentially weak, easily-assailed men.

Last but not least, Donnie Yen is a different kettle of fish.  He successfully reins in his natural “preening schmoe” tendencies but his portrayal of Ip Man is more like Jean Claude Van Damme playing Frank Dux in BLOODSPORT than it is Philip Seymour Hoffman winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Truman Capote in CAPOTE.  I can’t say this with 100% certainty but I’m 99% sure that Yen’s portrayal of Ip Man bears very little resemblance to the real-life Ip Man.  As I said when I shared my thoughts on the film, Yen wasn’t playing Ip Man, he was playing a Chinese superhero fighting against the evil Japanese.

* * * * *

The nominees for Best Actress are:

MY VOTE GOES TO: Barbie Hsu (CONNECTED)

Barbie Hsu in CONNECTED

This category presents a real head-versus-heart dilemma for me.  My head says that Bau Hei-Jing, daughter of all-time great Bau FongBau Fonggave the best performance but, in my heart of hearts, I think I would toss my vote to Barbie Hsu.  Objectively, CONNECTED is merely a well-made popcorn movie and Barbie Hsu’s performance isn’t overwhelmingly superior to that of Bau or the other nominees.  However, it stuck with me.  About a month after I watched CONNECTED, I sat down to watch THE BEAST STALKER.  Whenever Zhang Jingchu popped up on the screen as the “mother with a child in peril”, I couldn’t help thinking: “Zhang Jingchu is really doing a nice job here but she isn’t even coming close to matching Barbie Hsu in CONNECTED.”  It’s a purely idiosyncratic reason to vote for Hsu but hers is the performance I liked the most in this category.

Another reason my heart beats out my head is that something about Bau Hei-Jing’s performance in THE WAY WE ARE bothers me.  After the film, Bau’s Mrs. Cheung remains opaque.  The audience doesn’t learn much about her beyond the fact that she’s a hard-working, magnaminous, straight-arrow.  We don’t know why she avoids visiting her mother in the hospital and, apart from one brief snippet, she doesn’t show any emotion.  Granted, many people don’t show much emotion in real life but you’d think there would be a shade here or a shade there to give the audience some insight into what makes Mrs. Cheung tick.  The screenplay may be more at fault here than Bau Hei-Jing but the nagging inscrutability of the Mrs. Cheung character helps tip my vote over to Big S Barbie Hsu.

Bau Hei-Jing in THE WAY WE ARE

As for the rest of the field, Prudence Lau delivers a striking performance as a drug-addicted prostitute in TRUE WOMAN FOR SALE.  However, at various points throughout the film, she lays it on a bit too thick so that puts her performance in the “good, really good, but not great” category.  Zhou Xun shows some allure while playing a heart-eating demon in PAINTED SKIN but it’s a role that doesn’t have award-winning gravitas.  I suppose you could say that the same thing applies to Barbie Hsu and, you know what, I wouldn’t argue with you but what can I say besides Hsu’s performance really connected with me.  In any case, the prevailing winds seem to be blowing towards Bau Hei-Jing for the win.

Now, you’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Karena Lam or her work in CLAUSTROPHOBIA.  Well, that’s because it doesn’t come out on DVD until April 30th so I won’t be able to see it until well after Sunday’s ceremony.  To get some insight on how Lam fits into this puzzle, let’s call our old pal Kozo on the Neway Karaoke LoveHKFilm.com hotline:

Phone ringing … and ringing … and ringing … and ringing …

KOZO: Hello.

SANNEY:  Hi.  Sorry to bother you on a busy work day but I’m putting together my annual HKFA preview posts and I’ve run into a bit of trouble because I won’t be able to see CLAUSTROPHOBIA until after the awards ceremony.  I was wondering if you’d give everyone a little insight into how Karena Lam stacks up against the rest of the field in the Best Actress category.  But first, I was wondering if you’d like to talk about those pictures of you that got floated out on the Internet …

KOZO:  That’s in the past, I want to talk about the future.  I’m marrying my secret girlfriend of 20 years later this month …

Speaking of my secret girlfriend, I really enjoyed Karena Lam’s performance in CLAUSTROPHOBIA.  The film can be frustrating thanks to Ivy Ho’s opaque storytelling, which requires the viewer to “read between the lines” far more than most films starring popstars do.  Lam’s performance is subtle yet compelling, and Lam pulls it off without big speeches or regular outbursts of emotion.  CLAUSTROPHOBIA asks its actors to create characters far beyond what’s on the scripted page, and Lam does that for both her character AND Ekin Cheng’s.  If acting assists were an actual statistic, then Lam would get one here.

As for her chances come Sunday, Karena Lam’s are small.  I doubt she’ll pull out a win for CLAUSTROPHOBIA as it’s a movie that people respect rather than really like. I think the award is Bau Hei-Jing’s to lose, with Prudence Lau being the only one who can upset her. In a related prediction, either Nora Miao or Chan Lai-Wun will win for Best Supporting Actress. Call it the “Susan Shaw factor”.

Image credits: Emperor Motion Pictures (Nick Cheung, Barbie Hsu), TVB (Bau Fong), Class Limited (Bau Hei-Jing)

Thoughts on THE BEAST STALKER

Having completed the arduous task of sorting all of my pills according to colour, I’m ready to share some thoughts on THE BEAST STALKER.

THE BEAST STALKER
証人

Official Site: http://thebeaststalker.emp.hk/en_main.html
Director: Dante Lam Chiu-Yin
Cast: Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung (Sergeant Tong Fei), Nick Cheung Ka-Fai (Hung Kin), Zhang Jingchu (Ann Gao), Liu Kai-Chi (Sun), Miao Pu (Hung’s wife), Derek Kwok Jing-Hung (Michael)

Synopsis (from Yahoo! Movies): A traffic accident brings together the lives of a wanted criminal, a police sergeant, a public prosecutor and her daughter.

PRE-CONCEIVED NOTIONS: Kozo gave this movie a positive review and YTSL from Webs of Significance recommended it to me so I’m expecting to see a good film.  I’m also watching it as part of my quest to see all of the Hong Kong Film Awards nominees (Nick Cheung is nominated for Best Actor, Liu Kai-Chi for Best Supporting Actor plus the film nabbed a Best Screenplay nomination).  In addition, I’m curious to see the continuing evolution of the Crown Prince of the HK entertainment circle Nic Tse.

AFTER THE MOVIE: An enthralling film that held my attention from the moment the Emperor Motion Pictures logo dissolved to the moment the credits began to roll.  It reminded me a lot of PROTEGE in that a handful of off key moments tainted what was otherwise a fine film.  That said, it’s a better, more compelling film than PROTEGE and an eminently satisfying Hong Kong movie experience.

MORE THOUGHTS: Two aspects of THE BEAST STALKER keep it just a shade under the “great movie” category.  The first is the flashback ending that detracts rather than enhances what happened in the rest of the movie.  The second is a couple of instances of overacting by Nic Tse.

When I rated the HKFA nominated best films last year, I put Johnnie To’s EYE IN THE SKY at the top.  Other HK movie buffs derided the movie and rated it lower because they felt it was too contrived and relied too much on coincidence to move its plot forward.  Well, the contrivances in EYE IN THE SKY pale in comparison to the contrivance at the end of THE BEAST STALKER.  The “needle in a haystack” contrivance at the end of EYE IN THE SKY is easier to swallow than the “one stone, many ripples” contrivance at the end of THE BEAST STALKER.  Sure, the flashback in the closing minutes of THE BEAST STALKER ties a bow on the package.  Unfortunately, it’s an ugly-looking bow that distracts from an otherwise neatly-wrapped package.  In fact, the film probably would not have been hurt one bit if the characters weren’t bound together by a strange twist of fate.

law_order_2009.jpgMaybe my perspective has been skewed by watching 16 out of the 19 seasons of LAW & ORDER (I didn’t start watching until the third season and I missed one season because of cancer treatments) but there’s no way in real life that the Secretary of Justice would let Ann Gao continue with the prosecution of chief bad guy Cheung Yat-Tung.  Having conducted all of my criminal enterprises here in the West, I’m not intimately familiar with the Hong Kong legal system but letting Ann Gao prosecute a man who was involved in the death of her daughter screams “conflict of interest”.  Also, one of the reasons the Secretary of Justice lets Ann Gao continue is because it’s a cut-and-dried “slam dunk” case.  Well, wouldn’t that be a good reason to let another prosecutor handle the case?  If it’s such an “open and shut” case, couldn’t any semi-competent prosecutor take over?  Just another contrivance that bugs about the film.

Promotional image for TVB’s AIMING HIGH

Before I begin slamming Nic Tse’s performance, I want to make it clear that I think he’s come a long, long way from the first time I saw him in a major production: the 1998 TVB series AIMING HIGH (撻出愛火花).  He’s matured quite a bit and has added an air of gravitas to his screen charisma.  Back when I ran my old site — especially during the weeks I did daily translations of the coverage from his perversion of justice case — I pegged him to be just another pretty-boy idol who’d get a longer run than he deserved because of his pedigree.  After watching his work in THE BEAST STALKER, I’m convinced that he can, if he wants, have a long career as a respected actor.  However …

… there are moments in THE BEAST STALKER where his acting is so over-the-top, it’s unintentionally funny.  The first instance happens early in the film when he chews out a subordinate for screwing up during a raid.  Tse’s sergeant-in-charge-of-a-squad is supposed to command respect because he’s a good cop but the way Tse does the screaming scene makes him seem like the type of boss that underlings roll their eyes at instead of one they respect.  I actually started laughing during that scene because it reminded me of the comic-relief angry superiors that were staples in ’80s era cop movies like BEVERLY HILLS COP and LETHAL WEAPON.

The second instance happens near the end of the film when Tse’s character is weeping and we learn that he’s suicidal.  Tse gets the physical mechanics of crying right but it feels empty — there isn’t, as Bruce Lee would say, “emotional content” in the weeping.  I watched the movie with my friend Steve (I supplied the DVD, he supplied a bacon, cheese and mushroom pizza and a vegetarian pizza).  Halfway through Tse’s weeping scene, Steve starts laughing and doing the Nancy Kerrigan “Why? Why?” bit.  A more accomplished actor like my cousin Tony or my other cousin Tony would have found the right register for the scene and kept the momentum going instead of derailing it by going over-the-top.

Nic Tse in THE BEAST STALKER (left), Nancy Kerrigan (right)

I’m not saying Tse is a bad actor.  I think he just needs more experience to fine tune his acting abilities.  Actors like Chow Yun-Fat, Simon Yam Tat-Wah and my cousin Tony perfected their skills by doing hundreds of hours of acting in TVB dramas before they made the transition to the big screen.  Tse doesn’t have that depth of experience yet and it showed in those two scenes.  He’s well on his way, however, to being a top actor.  As Kozo pointed out in his review, Nic Tse is aging well.  I don’t think Nic Tse circa 2004 pulls off the “I’m sorry” scene with Derek Kwok Jing-Ying.

Derek Kwok (centre) and Nic Tse (right) in THE BEAST STALKER

MISCELLANEA: 

In my review of the BANGKOK DANGEROUS remake, I squeezed my friend Keri’s shoes for being annoyed by Charlie Yeung Choi-Lei’s visible panty line.  Now, the shoe is on the other foot as I was annoyed by Miao Pu’s pristinely manicured fingers.  They just seemed so out-of-place for Miao’s character.  How does a woman in her condition end up with such well-maintained finger nails?  It’s not like she can do it herself and it’s not like her almost blind husband is going to do it for her.  I suppose that Nick Cheung’s character could have hired a manicurist to come over and do it but that seems unlikely since he was keeping his wife in a hidden room and hostages in another part of the flat.

beast_stalker_1.jpg

- Speaking of Nick Cheung, he’s the leader in the clubhouse for my Best Actor pick.  I haven’t seen Donnie Yen in IP MAN or Louis Koo in RUN PAPA RUN yet (DVDs are in the mail) but I think Cheung’s work in THE BEAST STALKER is superior to my cousin Tony’s performance in RED CLIFF and Simon Yam’s performance in SPARROW.  Not only did Cheung show touching and compassionate sides in the way he dealt with his wife and his little kid hostage, he easily transformed, with his cloudy eye and marked up face, into a relentlessly menacing Terminator-like presence.  An excellent, taut performance that demonstrated Cheung’s diverse skill and great range.

Nick Cheung in THE BEAST STALKER

- As for Liu Kai-Chi’s prospects in the Best Supporting Actor category, I think he’s in tough going up against the likes of Stephen Chow in CJ7 and Zhang Fengyi’s Cao Cao in RED CLIFF.

- Flaws and all, I think THE BEAST STALKER could have easily taken CJ7’s place in the Best Film category.  PROTEGE got nominated last year and it has more holes and bad moments than THE BEAST STALKER.

Image credits: NBC Universal (LAW & ORDER graphic), TVB (AIMING HIGH graphic), ABC (Nancy Kerrigan), Emperor Motion Pictures (THE BEAST STALKER screen grabs)

 
 
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