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Musings from the Edge of Forever

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 RONIN ON EMPTY.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vagabond Blues: A Ronin on Empty Says Farewell

Ashes of Time

As the old proverb goes, all good things must come to an end.

Although I’ve been handing in a steady stream of reviews for several months, Ronin on Empty has only been intermittently updated as my schedule permits. After an extended hiatus due to my father’s passing, I attempted to resume steady “publication” last month for a little while, but aside from an April Fools’ Joke a couple weeks ago, this blog has remained conspicuously inactive since March 12th. And there is a good reason for that.

It has been a little over two months since my dad passed away. Following this sudden, tragic, and life-altering loss came numerous and ever-mounting challenges for both myself and my family. I won’t go into the sad details of the event or the disappointing, troubling issues that emerged in the wake of this experience, but I will say that this has been — without a doubt — the worst time of my life. To paraphrase Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, I feel like somebody has taken the lid off life and let me look at the works.

For all these reasons and more, I have decided it’s time to leave after almost nine years of writing for the site.


In Memory of My Dad

On the Tractor

Robert McMillin (December 22, 1943-February 17, 2011)

Today, I have been granted both the honor and the privilege of paying tribute to the life of Robert McMillin – husband, father, family member, and friend. We have all gathered here today in mourning, but also in gratitude. Yes, we mourn my father’s death, but we must also be grateful for his life – for just getting the chance to know him. That in itself is a blessing.


A Long Birthday Break

Save Ferris

Well, it looks like my day off turned into a whole week! On the bright side, the time off from updating the blog gave me the chance to take in some Asian-related films I’d been itching to see — the Thai actioner Raging Phoenix (starring Chocolate’s Jeeja Yanin), the Japanese cult classic horror/comedy/WTF experience known as House (Or Hausu, if that helps you from confusing it with the 1986 William Katt movie), and the ground-breaking, all-Asian American cast musical, Flower Drum Song, starring Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong) and James Shigeta (The Crimson Kimono). Reviews for these and other films should be ready for the eventual December site update. And although I’m back in Oklahoma for the next week-and-a-half, I’ll be updating the blog as frequently as time permits. Although I can’t always provide up-to-the-minute news and reviews, I hope you’ll at least enjoy the occasional trip down memory lane. Heck, maybe some of it will be new to you.

Takin’ the Day Off

Today, I turn 32. It seems like just the other day, I was still playing with Star Wars figures. Oh wait, that was the other day. Whoops! Anyway, despite my occasional bouts with George Lucas induced immaturity, I think my underlying point still stands.

Time flies. Honestly, I don’t feel very old at all.

Jodo Kast

Clearly I wasn’t kidding. (image courtesy of

So due to the requisite birthday festivities, there will be no update of any real substance to the blog today, as I’ll instead be perusing one of my birthday presents, contemplating a possible frivolous purchase or two, grabbing a bite to eat, and  watching some quality programming on the idiot tube. If I can sneak a Hong Kong movie into the day’s proceedings, that would be ideal. I’ve been working on my dissertation every single day, and I need a break.

For other HK/Asian related news and notes, do yourself a favor and check out Kevin’s recent blog posts on the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and maybe even catch up on some past blog entries by Kozo and Sanney.

But most importantly, try to find some time to really enjoy the day, wherever you are. Today may not be your birthday, but who cares? The day is yours. Commence seizing. Life’s just too damn short, innit?

Native Oklahoma

Thank You


I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who sent their positive thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers for my Dad. He’s been out of the hospital for a little while now and doing much better.

I just wanted to say that it’s been incredibly touching to see the love and support emerging from our family members, friends, colleagues, and the like, and I’m especially thankful for those of you who took the time to reach out to us in whatever way you could. As this is a situation that is ongoing, it is difficult to know the proper venue, if any, to express these thoughts. Since I have this blog, I thought I would do it here.

As to the readers who have sent their well-wishes via blog comments or e-mail,  I am very grateful for your kind words. In addition, I’d like to thank Kozo for allowing me to share this deeply personal situation on this otherwise fun-loving blog and, more generally, for providing me with such an excellent venue to talk about the wild world of Asian-related cinema and entertainment news. My apologies to anyone who had their comments deleted in the last month or so, as all our blogs have been inundated with spam. As a result, sometimes — quite unfortunately — a legitimate comment unintentionally gets the axe.

In any event, I just wanted to take time out to thank you folks for your support and concern. Much obliged.

Translation Service

Opening Titles

The first reader who correctly translates the above text for me wins an as-of-now undetermined prize of some sort. I know that doesn’t sound very promising, but believe me, your assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks to any and all participants!

Ong Bak 2: Muay Thai Boogaloo

The film that almost made Tony Jaa go all Col. Kurtz on everyone as a result of soul-crushing directorial pressures and scary budgetary overruns has been available in the United States and elsewhere for a while now. I saw it on a plane ride overseas, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to discuss it. Although I loved the film’s  final reveal, the ending isn’t remotely what you might expect from an all-out action movie. On the bright side, he didn’t spend the whole movie looking for an elephant and/or precious artifact. As a conversation starter, I’d like to pose this question to those that have seen the film:

What do you think of Ong Bak 2’s ending? Is it a cliffhanger? A philosophical anti-climax? What? How did you interpret it?

 Ong Bak 2 Copyright © 2002-2023 Ross Chen