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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 ‘Toshiro Mifune’ Category

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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Retro Review: THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (1958)

Hidden Fortress

From right to left: Toshiro Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, and Kamatari Fujiwara

If the idea of an epic tale told through the eyes of two bumbling characters sounds familiar, it should. For some, the names C-3P0 and R2-D2—the robotic supporting characters that anchor the Star Wars trilogy—will come to mind immediately. However, creator George Lucas has admitted that an earlier Japanese film — Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress served as the inspiration for his own phenomenally successful space opera. But even so, there’s certainly more to The Hidden Fortress than just being the answer to a Star Wars trivia question.

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