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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 ‘Herman Yau’ Category

Laugh Riot Encore: Herman Yau’s TURNING POINT

Turning Ppint

What is the point of a prequel? Is it meant to flesh out the backstory of a popular character in order to understand how he or she came to be the hero or villain audiences have come to love? Or is it merely a crassly commercial move made to capitalize on the success of a character or series that has probably run its course, but just might have enough juice left to make a few bucks at the box office? I don’t think it’s necessarily an either/or proposition.

Still, there’s a tendency to roll one’s eyes at the mere mention of a prequel (a film trend that is already being supplanted in Hollywood by the reboot — see the back-to-basics Spider-Man 4 for evidence of that). Let’s call it “prequel fatigue.” After all, the most anticipated prequels, if not films of all time were Star Wars: Episodes I-III, which after all that fanfare, ended up disappointing both die-hard and casual fans alike. Of course, not all prequels are bad, but for every one Infernal Affairs 2, there are dozens of shoddy “origin” flicks like Hannibal Rising (Lecter was a samurai!) and Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (Who needs Newman and Redford? We got the Greatest American Hero and the Substitute!).

Why do prequels often suck? Well, sometimes they tell us a story we already know, so there’s no dramatic tension. We’re basically just watching a movie go through the motions to reach a predetermined outcome. At least with Star Wars, there was a central mystery to be uncovered — what made Anakin Skywalker  turn to the Dark Side and become Darth Vader? And as we all found out, it was something we never anticipated: yep, mass genocide was a direct result of everybody calling him “Annie” all the time. But I digress. The point I’m trying to make here is that sometimes prequels just can’t live up to the originals.


Laugh Riot, Part 2: Laughing Gor Boogaloo

 .EU 001

I did it! I completed all thirty episodes that comprise the TVB drama known as E.U. Is this a real “accomplishment” worthy of praise or a complete waste of time meriting nothing but scorn and pity? You decide.

I’m working on a review for the website, so for now, I’ll just shoot from the hip in terms of my general observations on the show.

At least at the beginning of the series, the limitations of television — both in terms of the show’s production values and perceived audience expectations — impact E.U. in ways that you’d NEVER see in a major Hong Kong film or American television show. These constraints make for some very “un-cinematic” heroes and villains. If you look at American television shows like Law and Order, CSI, 24, or NCIS, the characters retain a slightly larger-then-life feel. Not so in E.U. That obvious difference is something I’m really interested in talking about in a full review — as cool as Laughing Gor (Michael Tse) may be, he and his brethren aren’t Johnnie To/John Woo/Young and Dangerous-style gangsters. Further, the cops ain’t exactly Hard Boiled’s Tequilla Yuen or Infernal Affairs‘ Chan Wing-Yan either. The strangely  “ordinary” feel of all these characters is something I’m interested in analyzing.

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