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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 ‘Chungking Express’ Category

A Message for the Readership


As some of you may have noticed, Ronin on Empty has not been updated in more than a month. Prior to this steep drop off in productivity, I had been updating my blog on an almost daily basis, as I was intentionally trying to fill the void between’s closure and its eventual return. To some degree, I achieved that feat, but I meant for this increase in activity to continue beyond the main site’s re-opening.

Not only did I have the intention of writing more, but I also had the means, opportunity, and motivation to do so. Sure, I had an impending cross-country drive from California to Oklahoma. And yeah, I’d be heading to Michigan a couple weeks later. But I was prepared for how the trip might negatively impact the blog. In advance of the drive, I’d written a few rough drafts that I’d planned to polish for future use. At best, I’d post them using the free wireless at the various motels on our road trip. At worst, Ronin on Empty would go on a three-to-four day break. After that, I’d be back to my regularly scheduled blogging.

Well, life had other plans.

Unfortunately, due to reasons beyond my control, Ronin on Empty has been closed — and will be, at least for the time being. Now, I know what you’re thinking: like Webmaster Kozo’s once frequent, presumably tongue-in-cheek threats to quit, you’re probably wondering if my hiatuses  — for school, for summer vacation, for general burnout — are turning into some kind of unintentional running gag. And perhaps these announced breaks were in danger of becoming a recurring, unfunny joke, but the reasons for this latest absence are all-too serious.

A family crisis of some magnitude has compelled me to return home. I’m hesitant to even discuss it online, largely because the gravity of the situation is difficult to convey in words, much less deal with in the real world, so please pardon me for my reticence. Some may be surprised that anything at all is going on with me, as I’ve maintained a veritable mask of normalcy on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. But the truth is, things have been far from normal lately.

Days before my road trip, my Dad was diagnosed with leukemia. He’s been hospitalized at OU Medical Center for more than a month with various additional health complications. It’s been said that “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” and I have to admit my family has seen some dark days in the last month or so. No words can express how bad it was.

But I’m also happy to report that, in the last few days, we’ve just seen the dawn on the horizon. We’re just waiting for it to shine through. I have confidence that it will. As things develop, I’ll keep you posted.

Until next time, I leave you with a bonus installment of my running column, Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema. It’s from a little movie called Chungking Express, one the very best films Wong Kar-Wai ever made. If you haven’t seen this movie and you’re a reader of this site, please do yourself a favor and rent/buy/see it now. The ending won’t mean much to you out-of-context, but for those who have seen the film, you’ll know that it ends on a note most Wong Kar-Wai films don’t.

…on a note of hope.


My Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s — WKW is A-OK

Chungking Express

Lesson learned from watching Chungking Express and Amelie: stalking is totally okay…if you’re a doe-eyed cutie

I’d wager vital parts of my anatomy that Chungking Express is probably the first Wong Kar-Wai film that most Americans saw. It took the top slot in the Reader’s Poll, and although I didn’t vote it #1, I probably would’ve if you’d asked me ten or eleven years ago. When I first saw this flick via Quentin Tarantino’s now defunct Rolling Thunder label (The fact that they never released Rolling Thunder itself  boggles the mind), and I honestly didn’t know what to think of the movie once I’d finished it. Confused, challenged, yet strangely exhilarated, Chungking Express was like no Hong Kong movie I’d seen before — and that’s actually saying something if you think about how weird, wild, and downright nutty Hong Kong cinema can get. Interestingly enough, it was an experience that I would have repeatedly when watching other Wong Kar-Wai films.


My Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s


With the official 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 critic, Jeremy “Mr. Beaks” Smith’s ambitious Top 100 Films of the Decade countdown, 2) a’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.

(more…) Copyright © 2002-2023 Ross Chen