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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 ‘Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema’ Category

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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A Message for the LoveHKFilm.com Readership

OUATIC

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 LoveHKFilm.com’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 LoveHKFilm.com, 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.

 

Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema #3: Chan Ho-Nam Beats a Guy with a Plastic Chair in YOUNG AND DANGEROUS

Ekin Cheng Innocent

Don’t be swayed by the man’s innocent act. He’s dangerous. And, uh, young, too.

[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.]

While studies say we’ve become increasingly numb to movie violence in recent years, I would argue that there are some filmic displays of violent acts that stick with you long after the film has ended. Perhaps Joe Pesci’s demise in Casino (1995) really got to you. Maybe the torture porn gore of the Saw and Hostel series was too much for you. Or maybe you even flinched at what that carpenter had to suffer in Mel “I’m not racist, I’m insane” Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004).

No matter. All of those violent scenes pale in comparison to what poor Shing Fui-On (RIP: Big Sillyhead) had to endure in the first installment of the Young and Dangerous series. In the film, LoveHKFilm.com’s favorite actor, Ekin Cheng, plays a young and dangerous (naturally!) triad member named Chan Ho-Nam who has a bone to pick with Brother Sau (Shing Fui-On). For reasons I’ve never particularly understood, Ekin is absolutely obnoxious as Ho-Nam in this first film. Thankfully, his character improved in the sequels. Still, it was this first film in which we were introduced to his altogether unconventional triad weapon of choice — a plastic chair. Prepare to wince at the ferocity!

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Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema #2: The Final Gun Battle in A BETTER TOMORROW 2

ABT2

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.

A Better Tomorrow 2 is not exactly a great film. Aside from Chow Yun-Fat’s “EAT THE RICE!” scene (itself a candidate for a “Great Moment” retrospective), there’s not many memorable moments in the film’s first half. For the most part, A Better Tomorrow 2 seems like a dud, as it doesn’t quite live up to the dizzying heights of its illustrious predecessor. But thankfully, that initial disappointment evaporates the moment the film enters the climax. Almost immediately, director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark are pretty much forgiven for what came before.

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Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema #1 — Mark Gor Gets Revenge in A BETTER TOMORROW

 ABT 01

Chow Yun-Fat in John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (1984)

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 May 6th episode of the NBC comedy Community  featured a dead-on parody of some of John Woo’s films (particularly those featuring Chow Yun-Fat), which got me to thinking about some of the best scenes from Woo’s filmography. For the first installment of “Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema,” I chose a stylish action scene from John Woo’s 1984 classic, A Better Tomorrow. The sequence, partially an homage to Martin Scorcese’s Mean Streets, features a dashing gangster named Mark (Chow Yun-Fat) getting a little payback for his friend, Ho (Ti Lung). What’s so “great” about it? Well, you’ll just have to watch for yourself.

(more…)

 
 
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