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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 ‘Ekin Cheng’ Category

LoveHKToys: A MAN CALLED HERO

Chinese Hero

Can you tell I’m a fan of A Man Called Hero? While I know there’s a lot of new and interesting toys on the market, this regular column will also be dedicated to the various Hong Kong cinema-related action figures I own, and — for good or for ill — a large portion of those toys include characters featured in A Man Called Hero and Storm Riders.

From what I can gather, Dragon Models, Ltd. created this now decommissioned figure of Hero Hua Ying-Hung sometime around 1999, which you can find listed under the name of “A Man Called Hero,” “Chinese Hero,” and even “Oriental Hero.” I own the figure pictured on the right, which is based on Ma Wing-Shing’s popular comic book, but apparently there were at least three more versions of the figure created. One looks exactly like mine, except with a different hair color and costume (pictured below). The other two share a dramatically different head sculpt.

In conjunction with the 1999 movie A Man Called Hero, Dragon Models released two editions of the figure that bore the likeness of the film’s star, Ekin Cheng — an “old version” dressed in the same black wardrobe as the one I own and a “young” Ekin dressed in a brown-colored costume. From what I’ve seen, the box for both the comic and movie versions of Hero Hua appear practically identical. Too bad a scale version of the Statue of Liberty playset was unavailable for purchase.

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LoveHKToys — Ekin Cheng is Statuesque

Wind 01

Wind from Storm Riders

Many moons ago, I received two statues in the mail from my family in Singapore — Wind, one of the main characters from Ma Wing-Shing’s popular comic book, Storm Riders, and Hero Hua, the protagonist of Ma’s earlier manhua hit, Chinese Hero (aka: A Man Called Hero, The Blood Sword). Both characters have a Hong Kong movie connection as they were each famously portrayed by Ekin Cheng in the respective film adaptations.

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Delusions of Grandeur — Seven Films to Save Hong Kong Cinema

AMCS

While prepping some blog posts about a gaggle of promising Hong Kong films scheduled to be released in 2011, I remembered a piece I once wrote for the very first installment of my old “A Man Called Sanjuro” column for LoveHKFilm.com.

Way, way, way back in 2003 — perhaps in anticipation of what I presumed would be the long, slow death of Hong Kong cinema as we know it — I published a list of Hong Kong movies that I arrogantly believed would “save” the nation’s film industry in one fell swoop. Really, all I did was propose a list of movies that I would make if I had the power, connections, and/or talent to do so.

Interestingly enough, at least one of them is coming to pass — my proposed Monkey King movie — albeit not in any way influenced by me and to be shot in 3-D with a different cast and crew. As far as the other films on my list, I don’t think anything remotely resembling what I proposed is any closer to getting made.

Still, I personally think What Now? would be a great, if challenging concept for a romantic comedy in any country, as I think the genre is incredibly stale and almost offensive to watch in its contemporary iteration (Damn you, Katherine Heigl!). Also, a film in the vein (get it! Vein!) of The East Runs Red could be fun, especially in the wake of the vampire craze kicked off by Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. Some might say this movie has already been made, but I’m not sure that Vampire Warriors is exactly what I had in mind. Oh, and the less said about The Trouble with Twins the better.

As far as LoveHKFilm.com The Movie is concerned, it’s especially amusing to look at the main characters of this proposed in-joke of a film. Aside from Kozo and myself, you’ll probably be left wondering “Who the heck are these people? And what happened to them?” Honestly, I’d like to know myself.

Anyway, looking back, I think I would recast myself slightly younger and thus closer to my own age. Hmmm….

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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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Remember My Name…Fame!

 My Name is Fame

One of these men may be the greatest actor of his generation.

In Laurence Lau’s 2006 film, My Name is Fame (read Kozo’s review), Lau Ching-Wan stars as journeyman actor Poon Kar-Fei, a committed artist who has found it increasingly difficult to nab all the plum roles, critical accolades, and/or celebrity status that seemed destined for him after bursting onto the scene with an award-winning debut oh-so many years ago. Just as his career is reaching its lowest ebb, our hero crosses paths with Faye Ng (Mandarin-speaker Huo Suyin, who’s dubbed over — sometimes distractingly — in Cantonese), a young ingenue from the Mainland who seeks guidance from her idol. Relegated to work as an extra, Faye dreams of making it big in the Hong Kong film industry, but doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to achieve that goal.

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The State of HK Film Geek Culture

Comedian Patton Oswalt recently set the Twitter-verse aflutter with a piece he wrote for Wired magazine entitled “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.” With its title reference to a bit of dialogue from Blade Runner, Oswalt’s article laments the death of nerd culture as he once knew it, calling for its necessary death in its current form as a way to “save” it for future generations. Or something. He kind of goes off the rails in the last few paragraphs in an attempt to make some kind of big poetic flourish. Even so, I think Oswalt’s larger point still stands — things ain’t how they used to be. Anyway, you can take a look at the article here and see where you fall on this issue.

While Oswalt is speaking to a larger geek culture that enjoys Star Wars, Marvel Comics, Lord of the Rings, and various other iconographic cultural texts of geekdom, that have gone on to become real cultural forces in the twenty-first century, I want to focus on something far less ubiquitous — Hong Kong and, to a larger extent, all of Asian cinema — or to be more precise, the people who enjoy it. I think of the things Oswalt mentions about geek culture still applies to HK/Asian cinephiles, even if our numbers have dwindled rapidly since the early 2000s. Could it be that we’re on the brink of extinction?

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The Best Hong Kong Films of 2010 (I wish!)

Ekin Ponders Sanjuro Pondering

This would be so much funnier if I still called myself “Sanjuro.”

I have to level with you: the title of this post is purposely misleading, as I have not seen anywhere near enough Hong Kong films this year to be even remotely qualified to assemble a proper “Best of” list for 2010. I’d love to do it; it’s just not possible. To tell the truth, you can count the number of 2010-released Hong Kong films I’ve seen on one hand  — Crossing Hennessey, Fire of Conscience, Ip Man 2, Little Big Soldier, and True Legend.

So, that makes only makes five movies I’ve seen total; well, I suppose if you were getting creative, you could say I’ve seen six — that is, if you count Jet Li’s performance in Sylvester Stallone’s incredibly disappointing action extravaganza, The Expendables.  If a) Jet’s totally out-of-sync performance with the rest of the cast didn’t make me think he was just there to cash a paycheck and b) his one-on-one fight with Dolph Lundgren hadn’t been so terribly, terribly choreographed, I might be persuaded to think that it somehow “counts” as a Hong Kong film. Either way, it doesn’t.

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