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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 ‘Maggie Cheung’ Category

Who You Callin’ Easy?

Boys Are Easy

Yep, that’s Maggie Cheung in Boys are Easy.

By all rights, this 1993 Wong Jing-directed farce should not be as funny as it is, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t entertained all the way through. A lot of the film’s charm is a direct result of the game performances given its all-star cast. Consider the big names involved: Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching, Tony Leung Ka-Fei, Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau, and the man himself, Ekin Cheng! The plot — or what passes for one — is all over the place, but what do you expect in a Wong Jing film?

Eager to get all of his daughters married off, Ching Sing (Richard Ng) hatches a daring plot with his son, Ching Siu-Pei (Jimmy Lin) to achieve this incredibly old-fashioned goal: he fakes a cancer diagnosis, telling them he only has a month to live. And so, due to Ching’s manipulations, the three girls do their best to pretend they have boyfriends to placate their “dying” father.

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It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green

Green Snake

Maggie Cheung has never been as mischievous nor as sensuous as she is playing the title role in Tsui Hark’s 1993 film, Green Snake. Adapted from Lilian Lee’s novel, Green Snake retells the story of Madam White Snake from the perspective of her younger sibling, Qingqing (Maggie Cheung). The main storyline involves two snake spirits — Qingqing and her older sister, Madame White Snake herself, Bai Suzhen (Joey Wong) — who assume human forms to experience the pleasures of the human world. Along the way, Bai Suzhen falls for a scholar (Wu Xing-Guo), and their inter-species love affair sparks the ire of repressed Buddhist monk (Zhao Wen-Zhou). Of course, a showdown proves inevitable.

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Retro Review: POLICE STORY 2 (1988)

Police Story II

Jackie Chan and Maggie Cheung in Police Story 2

The original Police Story (read Kozo’s review) was a slam-bang action movie that was high on stunts, but low on plot. Still, the movie had some of the greatest action sequences ever put on film, not to mention a strong cast and a winning performance by Jackie Chan, so quibbles about the script are pretty much beside the point. Three years later, Jackie Chan and company returned for Police Story 2, a film which was more plot-driven, had better camerawork, and boasted somewhat higher production values. The results are pretty much the same as its predecessor. Still, nobody comes to a Jackie Chan flick expecting Hamlet. Believe me, when the action heats up, Police Story 2 delivers. While the finale of the original is hard to top, the last fifteen minutes of Police Story 2 comes pretty damn close.

You can read my LoveHKFilm.com review here and view an old-school, English language trailer after the jump.

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Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema #5: Reader’s Choice — AS TEARS GO BY

As Tears Go By 01

Round 1, Fight! Alex Man vs. Jacky Cheung in As Tears Go By

[Periodically, Ronin on Empty will be taking a look back at some Hong Kong cinema classics, albeit with a specific emphasis on “Great Moments” — i.e. classic scenes that no Hong Kong cinema fan (old or new) should miss. Of course, “classic” will not only entail super-cool, gobsmacking moments, but also the downright ridiculous stuff, too. The numbers — #1, #2, etc. — are not indicators of ranking, but merely a way to keep a running tally of how many “great moments” we can list here. Readers are welcome to send in their own fave scenes as well.]

From Ronin on Empty reader “Jason” comes a personal film pick that he wants to add to my ongoing “Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema” column. Jason writes:

The confrontation between Tony (Alex Man) and Fly (Jacky Cheung) at the end of Wong Kar Wai’s “As Tears Goes By” deserves to be the next greatest moment. The movie also marked the directorial debut of one of the greatest HK director, and the rare collaboration of two of the biggest “teen wong” of HK.

Ask, and ye shall receive.

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My Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s — Tian Mi Mi

Comrades

Maggie Cheung — McDonald’s Employee of the Decade

Comrades, Almost a Love Story is my favorite Hong Kong romance of all-time.* I love this movie more than Needing You, Chungking Express, and In the Mood for Love, and I’m extremely fond of all three. This Peter Chan-directed film garnered numerous prizes at the 16th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards, and with good reason, it’s a wonderful film. Comrades tells the story of Xiao-Jun, a dopey, goodhearted Mainland Chinese immigrant played by Leon Lai, who arrives in Hong Kong looking to make a few bucks to send back home as well as save up for his eventual wedding to his hometown sweetheart (Kristy Yeung). As fate would have it, our hero befriends a tough, street savvy “local” girl named Chiao (Maggie Cheung). The two make an unlikely pair; they certainly don’t seem all that compatible on the surface, but as you might expect, sparks start to fly. What happens next is a decade long “romance” that takes us from the streets of Hong Kong all the way to New York City.

Who doesn’t love that bicycle scene? Or the way that Teresa Teng’s music is deftly interwoven into the fabric of the story as a kind of thematic parallel? This is, by far, my favorite Maggie Cheung performance of all-time, and this movie definitely made me see Leon Lai in a completely different light.  The most surprising performance in the film is Eric Tsang’s;  he is flat-out is great in this movie. Tsang’s role as Maggie Cheung’s possible love interest may seem absurd on paper (see Wo Hu for a similar Eric Tsang romance that stretches the limits of believability), but he really makes it work. Initially, you think his character is going to be just another menacing gangster cliche, but Tsang (and the scriptwriters, one assumes) give the character a wise, “seen-it-all” maturity that makes him incredibly endearing, even if you’re rooting for a Chiao/Xiao-Jun romance to take flight. His “exit” from the from the movie isn’t just a case of removing a second suitor from the proceedings — you actually care what happens to him and mourn his loss. Speaking of heartbreaking, how about Kristy Yeung’s character, Xiao Ting? A more stereotypical romance would have given her a fatal flaw to make her character much more easily dispensable — except she isn’t; she’s the sweetest character in the whole movie. And that’s one of the things I really like about this film — there are no bad guys. Nobody is a lout. Love happens when you least expect it, but not without a few hearts getting broken in the process.

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My Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s

 LoveAndy

With the official LoveHKFilm.com reader poll on the Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s now complete, I thought I might as well share my own top choices with everyone. The moment this poll was announced, I scribbled down what amounted to about  twenty-five or so 90s era Hong Kong films that I absolutely loved or really, really liked. After consulting our archive and recommendation lists to make sure a really wonderful movie hadn’t completely slipped my mind, I whittled the list down to twenty choices and sent them in to Kozo. Of course, there are so many films to choose from, so even personal faves like Lost and Found and Rave Fever got cut out in the process. Before I begin, let me be clear about one thing, I had ZERO desire to create a list that would be considered as “representative” of the decade. That’s a tactic  we often see in random magazine and website top ten lists (I’m looking at you, Entertainment Weekly), as a few “respectable choices” are mindlessly tacked on to add some air of legitimacy. Well, NONE of my choices were made because I thought I should fulfill somebody else’s expectations of what a top ten (or twenty in my case) list should look like. I went with my head, my heart, and my gut.

The last time I composed a top ten list, I chose to do a countdown. I did so for at least three reasons: 1) I was modeling it after current AICN and former CHUD.com critic, Jeremy “Mr. Beaks” Smith’s ambitious Top 100 Films of the Decade countdown, 2) a LoveHKFilm.com’s reader’s poll countdown was already under way, and I thought that readers might be interested to know if my picks coincided with their own, in anticipation of the final ten, and 3) it seemed like writing and posting about my choices in piecemeal fashion made a lot more sense than crafting an overlong and unwieldy blog post that nobody would want to read. Sounds logical enough, right?

Well, this time around, I’m going to do things a little differently. Not only is the 90s readers’ poll long over, but I just really don’t have a desire to write about every movie that I chose with the same level of depth. Instead of a countdown, I’m gonna just lay it all out here and then talk about some of the films in separate blog posts.

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