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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

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,’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!


Today, We Celebrate Our Independence Day!

For some of you, July 4th marks the anniversary of the day Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman saved Planet Earth from a horde of Martian invaders. For Americans, however, it’s a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. We also like to set off fireworks.

Liberty 01

Fun fact: The Chinese invented firecrackers.

Now, I don’t think it’s too much of a generalization to say that Americans of my generation and earlier were given a largely whitewashed version of history when we were students. That was most certainly the case in elementary school (how many myths about George Washington were presented as fact?), and for those who didn’t have really good history teachers in junior high and high school, they probably didn’t get the whole unvarnished truth until college, if at all.

As an academic, I feel it is my responsibility to shed light on these darkened corners of our own history. The Glenn Becks, the Bill O’Reillys, and the Ann Coulters of the world may cling to a distorted version of our own country’s past, resorting to juvenile name-calling and vicious attacks when anyone dare paint the United States in an unflattering light.

Chinese Hero Liberty

Invincible: Where’s he going with this?

Hero Hua: I don’t know.

We, too, may not wish to look too deeply into our nation’s past for fear of what we might find, but as responsible citizens we must endeavor to search out the facts wherever they may lead. And so, on this Fourth of July, 2010, I present a Hong Kong film that attempted to rectify a typical US history book omission. Do you remember reading ANYTHING about a well-coiffed Chinese laborer having a swordfight with a blind Japanese guy on top of the Statue of Liberty…before obliterating Lady Liberty herself in the process? I didn’t think so.

I guess that goes a long way in explaining the Chinese Exclusion Act.


“Give me your tired, your poor, your super-powered martial artists…”

Happy Birthday, America!


 Storm Warriors United

When Wind and Cloud unite…you’re in deep $#!t.

Hi, I’m Calvin McMillin, and I like Storm Riders.

Now, of course, my lack of even the most fundamental Chinese reading skills puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to truly immersing myself in the world that Ma Wing-Shing created in his beautifully illustrated comic books, but that hasn’t stopped me from being a fan of the franchise. Still, I’m pretty familiar with the early story arcs since I own almost the entire run of the English language translation of the comic book published by the now defunct company, Comics One (those graphic novel reviews should be coming sometime around 2046). During my trips overseas, I’ve bought several Storm Riders artbooks, desk tchoktkes, and a pretty badass poster of Nameless that I keep threatening to hang up against my girlfriend’s wishes. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my bad habit of collecting those little Storm Riders figurines that come out every so often. And of course, I own both Andrew Lau’s initial Storm Riders film as well as Dante Lam’s animated “sequel” Storm Rider: Clash of Evils. Heck, I even introduced the original film at a student-run film festival back at my alma mater, Oklahoma State University (in hindsight, we should have shown Shaolin Soccer instead, but I digress).


Storm Warriors

As promised, in anticipation of the new HK movie, here are some photos from the Storm Warriors exhibit at VivoCity at Harbourfront in Singapore. After making the rather long trip on the MRT (subway to Americans like me) to see the exhibit, I was a little annoyed that the people at the Information Counter had no idea what I was talking about. You would assume that a major Hong Kong star like Ekin Cheng coming to a mall in Singapore would be kind of a big deal, but not only did the young man that I talked to NOT have an earthly clue who or what I was talking about, but he had the nerve to say — when I asked whether his co-worker might know — “She doesn’t know either.”

Ah, so helpful.

Thankfully, I found the exhibit all by myself. It was hidden away in the lobby of the theater. For more information on Ekin Cheng’s visit to Singapore to unveil these props, click here. Sorry about the image quality!

Display CloseupWind SwordCloud SwordSRDisplay

Since those pics aren’t exactly earth-shattering, I’ve embedded a link to a high quality version of the Storm Warriors Final Theatrical Trailer that was released a little while ago. Enjoy!

The Blog That Wasn’t There

On some level, I knew this would happen. And by “this” I’m specifically referring to my steadily declining output for this wonderful website. Every time I check the main page for updates, I find the blogroll mocking me on a daily basis, reminding me that I haven’t updated this blog in close to two months. And so, I sincerely apologize to you few, you happy few who actually take the time out of your day to read my stuff. Thanks a million for your support. But I have to tell you, my hiatus from blogging was not without good reason.

Stefanie Sun

To make up for Sanjuro’s two month blogging hiatus, Singapore’s very own Stefanie Sun wishes readers in the U.S. a belated Happy 4th of July!

For one, I’m in a PhD program. My areas of interest are 20th century American literature, Asian American literature and film, hard-boiled detective fiction, and American film noir. I’m taking my qualifying exam in the fall, so that basically means I’ve been spending the last several months of my life and will be spending the next several months studying my ass off for what I am certain will be the hardest final exam I have ever taken in my life — which, by the way, has a timed written component as well as an oral one in front of a wizened council of elders. In my worst nightmares, I imagine it looks something like this:

Krypton High Council


So to make a long story short, the last few months and the next few months for me means reading a lot of fiction and a lot of critical theory, as well as watching a lot of films that don’t have anything remotely to do with Hong Kong cinema.


Welcome to RONIN ON EMPTY!

 Sanjuro Logo

Hello, my name is Calvin McMillin, a.k.a. Sanjuro. You might remember me from such film reviews as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Swordsman 2, or perhaps the strangely infamous Flowers of Shanghai. I’m here today to give you the skinny on my new blog, Ronin on Empty. Now, you might be aware that I once had an irregularly updated column on the site called A Man Called Sanjuro or that I most recently maintained a blogger account also called Ronin on Empty. Those previous writing venues have been folded into this brand-spankin’ new blog. I wasn’t sure how or where to begin, so I did a few test posts to start out, which you can read underneath this one. With that initial tomfoolery out of the way, I thought I might use this first substantive posting as an opportunity to reflect on the past, consider the present, and speculate on the future.

(more…) Copyright © 2002-2023 Ross Chen