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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 ‘Jay Chou’ Category

This Week’s Reviews

Yesterday, Kozo updated the main site, adding reviews he wrote for Lover’s Discourse, Marriage with a Liar and Reign of Assassins as well as Kevin Ma’s take on The Road Less Traveled. I contributed three reviews this week, and here’s a rundown of the films for any interested parties.

The Green Hornet (2011)

Green Hornet 01

Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in The Green Hornet

Despite a tortured production history and a non-traditional choice for its leading man, The Green Hornet turns out to be a welcome surprise, delivering an entertaining buddy comedy that successfully lampoons the superhero movie genre through a clever subversion of the conventional hero/sidekick dynamic. Stepping into shoes once filled by Bruce Lee, Taiwanese singer-actor Jay Chou shines in his Hollywood debut, taking the role of Kato and making it his own. To understand why I liked this movie — that’s getting panned left and right — you should read the review posted here.

Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

Peter Cushing explains why Twilight sucks in Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

For its next-to-last horror film and the final entry in its prolific Dracula franchise, England-based Hammer Film Productions joined forces with Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers Studio for one of the first cross-cultural, kung fu/horror mash-ups in cinema history. The result is a schlocky, largely goofy film made watchable not only by the welcome presence of the inimitable Peter Cushing and David Chiang, but also an intriguing subplot involving interracial love amidst a martial arts-infused vampire plague. Without a doubt, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is the very definition of a cult classic. For those unafraid of the vampire’s kiss, you can check out my full thoughts on the film here.

White on Rice (2009)

White on Rice

When Banana Met Monkey

A rare coming-of-age story in which the hero simply fails to come of age, White on Rice is a peculiar, largely unsatisfying film that occasionally milks laughs from its immigrant manchild protagonist, but delivers little else. If you’d like to learn more about why I didn’t like this movie, you can take a gander at my take on White on Rice  here.

Everybody Loves Kato

Green Hornet and Kato

Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in The Green Hornet

Last night, I had the opportunity to watch The Green Hornet in IMAX 3-D. While I plan to submit a full review to LoveHKFilm.com in the next few days, it probably won’t get posted for awhile, and thus, may not seem very timely for US readers of this website. With that in mind, I thought I’d at least scribble down my initial impressions here.

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Why did Stephen Chow leave THE GREEN HORNET?

Stephen Chow Director

“Creative differences” — that’s the diplomatic way in which most filmmaking break-ups are explained to the public, and that’s exactly what was said when Stephen Chow left Sony’s The Green Hornet several months after he had been tapped to not only direct the film, but co-star as the Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato, most famously played by his idol, Bruce Lee in the 1960s TV show. Chow had been quoted as saying,”The idea of stepping into Bruce Lee’s shoes as Kato is both humbling and thrilling, and to get the chance to direct the project as my American movie debut is simply a dream come true.” As many people probably wondered, why did Chow walk away from his “dream come true”? Well, now we have a possible answer, although whether or not the source is being facetious or not remains to be seen.

In the January 14th issue of Entertainment Weekly, director Michel Gondry, the man who eventually nabbed the directing gig after Chow parted ways with the Seth Rogen-led project, explains just what those creative differences were. According to a piece written by Benjamin Svetkey, Gondry says Chow had “really, really crazy ideas that you would not dare bring to a studio […] AIDS was involved. Plastic boobs were involved, too.”‘

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My Baby’s Got a Secret

Secret

If you never got around to seeing Jay Chou’s 2007 directorial debut,  I would advise you not to read this post because I’m going to be divulging the big mystery of the film (or at least, what the mystery isn’t), and I wouldn’t want to spoil the experience for anyone who’s actually interested in seeing the movie on their own. If you’re curious to know more about the movie, I’d strongly advise reading Kozo’s review over at LoveHKFilm.com. It’s an accurate appraisal that goes out of its way not to spoil the film for you.

Now before I get into serious spoiler territory, I’ll begin by saying that I was pleasantly surprised by Jay Chou’s work as a director here. I liked the film while I was watching it, and the more I thought about the movie, the more I like it — even though the plot holes just kept adding up for me. For some odd reason, the film’s failure to live up to its own rules doesn’t annoy me terribly, although I’ll have to admit that I was disappointed in the ending — serviceable, but not quite what I was hoping for.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

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Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

 True Legend

For the viewer thirsting for old school Shaw Brothers kung fu with a dash of vintage 90s Tsui Hark-style action, Yuen Woo-Ping’s True Legend is like an oasis in the desert. There’s only one problem — Hong Kong martial arts film fans are so parched that there’s a danger of lapping it all up unquestionably, despite the fact that the last 1/4 of the movie is complete backwash.

Let me explain: True Legend has a structural problem. If you don’t want to know the vague outline of the major story points, skip past the following list.

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The Green Hornet and Kato Strike Back!

GHK2011

Seth Rogen as Britt Reid and Jay Chou as Kato in The Green Hornet (2011)

I’m honestly surprised that The Green Hornet has finally been made. For a while there, it looked like it’d never see the light of day. The film has had a long, tortuous production history. In the 1990s, there were vague rumors of an impending film involving George Clooney, but the most concrete development came when Kevin Smith (Clerks) wrote a screenplay in 2004. However, Smith got cold feet about helming the film himself and backed out of the director’s chair (although he did later adapt the script into a comic for Dynamite Entertainment).

Without Smith’s involvement, the project then languished in development hell until we got the surprising news  that Stephen Chow would both direct and star in the new film, alongside Seth Rogen, who would play against type as Britt Reid, the titular Green Hornet. But soon enough, Chow was off the project as both actor and director due to “creative differences” and announced he would be instead pursuing a different superhero film with Jack Black (!). More delays ensued.

And then, Michel Gondry, director of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, came aboard as director and Taiwanese actor-singer Jay Chou was cast in the role of Kato. Still more delays ensued when Sony decided to post-convert the film to 3-D, which isn’t a good sign if it’s true what people have been saying about post-converted 3-D films like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender (i.e. the 3-D sucked).

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