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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 ‘Andy Lau’ Category

Tomorrow, As Soon As Possible

Yesterday Once More

Sammi Cheng and Andy Lau in Yesterday Once More (2004)

I have to admit that my curiosity was piqued by the recent announcement that Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng would be reuniting with director Johnnie To to make their fourth film together. At the very least, I’m hoping it’ll make up for the last movie they all worked on, Yesterday Once More.

While the Hong Kong megastars sparkled in Needing You and Love on a Diet, their third collaboration with director Johnnie To seemed like a sure thing. Sadly, it wasn’t. All told, 2004’s Yesterday Once More amounts to nothing less than a crushing disappointment.

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LoveHKToys: SHAOLIN

ShaolinAndy

On their homepage, Dragon Models, Ltd. has announced that figures based on characters from Benny Chan’s Shaolin (2011) are “coming soon” to toy stores, presumably in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Since I live in the currently snow-covered town of Ann Arbor, MI, I’ll have to rely on my friends overseas to keep me informed of the actual release date.

In the near future, toy collectors can look forward to ponying up some serious dough for super-detailed figures of warlord-turned-Shaolin monk Huo Jie (Andy Lau), Cao Man (Nicholas Tse), Wudao (Jackie Chan), Jing Neng (Wu Jing), Jing Kong (Xing Yu), and Suo Xiang-Tu (Hung Yan Yan). Two of these figures even come with horses to play with, so I suppose when you’re tired of re-enacting your favorite scenes from the movie, Andy and Nic can take Barbie and Skipper for a ride. Click on the thumbnails below to get a slightly better look at all the figures in the proposed series.

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Hong Kong Round-Up

Sandra NgIp Man 2Andy LauRun Run ShawJet Li

With the weekend upon us, I thought I’d give a brief round-up of Hong Kong cinema-related news, notes, interviews, and gossip in today’s edition of Ronin on Empty.

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2011 Preview: WHAT WOMEN WANT

What Women Want

Andy Lau and Gong Li team up for a Mandarin-language remake of Nancy Meyers’ box office mega-hit, What Women Want (2000). The original U.S.-made romantic comedy starred Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt and grossed $374 million. Of course, this was before we truly knew how terrible the former Mad Max could be. Man, if you thought the racist jokes in Lethal Weapon 4 were bad enough before, try watching it now. But I digress.

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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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China Wars - Episode I: The Founding of a Republic

Mao

A long time ago in a country far, far away…

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire — WHOOPS! Wrong epic saga.

If you’re wondering how I could confuse The Founding of a Republic – a star-studded Mainland Chinese film made to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China — with one of George Lucas’s blockbuster space operas, let me explain (and reveal my once fervent Star Wars fanaticism in the process): The Fall of the Republic was one of many rumored titles for the third film of the Prequel Trilogy, as we all presumed the Republic made way for the Empire in the Original Trilogy (in fact, the Republic is the Empire — just under new management).

Anyway, to get back on point — I finally caught The Founding of a Republic over the winter break, and boy was I disappointed! What a snooze! I have to admit that the movie is often pretty to look at despite the required presence of numerous unattractive and/or middle-aged political figures. And I suppose it’s sort of amusing when each of the big-time Chinese celebs (Jet Li, Andy Lau, Zhang Ziyi, Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, etc) show up for their thirty-second cameos, but let’s be real about this — the movie could use a LOT of work.

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Calvin’s Top 10 Hong Kong Films of the Last Decade (10-8)

Since Kozo recently asked the readers of LoveHKFilm.com to send in a list of their favorite Hong Kong films of the last decade, it got me to thinking about what my top picks would be if I had to come up with a list of my own. That bit of brainstorming turned into – wouldn’t you know it? – my very own top ten list!  Originally, I planned to talk about twenty-five Hong Kong films that I really, really liked, but after hashing out all the flicks I could possibly mention, I soon realized that this would be too big a task to complete in so short a period of time. I mean, I should be spending my holiday celebrating Christmas and the New Year (not to mention passing my qualifying exams for the PhD), right?

So, I’ve whittled down my choices to cover what I think are the top ten Hong Kong films of the last decade. Be warned — when I say “Top Ten,” my definition lies somewhere between “best” and “favorite.” As with any list, my personal biases will become blatantly obvious, and I make no apologies for them.

Some of you may bristle when you see that this list is not filled to the brim with all of Johnnie To’s creative output between 2000 and 2009. I’ll try to address the reason for this potential ”oversight” if any of To’s films actually make it onto my list. Similarly, you might see a slight bias in favor of films that came out in the early part of the decade. The reason for this inclination is simple — I think they made better films back then (or at least more of them anyway). If that makes me sound like a gruff old timer, so be it.

In any event, the list is meant  as a) a fun little celebration of the last decade of Hong Kong cinema and b) the perfect jumping off point for you to discuss your own top picks in the comments section. So don’t take ‘em too seriously, enjoy the walk down memory lane, and, of course…

Happy Holidays!

10. Infernal Affairs (2002)

IA

Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai square off in an iconic scene from Infernal Affairs

If Infernal Affairs 3 had been a better movie, I would’ve bent the rules and listed all three films here as a trilogy. Although the third film has grown on me (like a fungus!), it’s not nearly as good as the first two entries in ”The Legend” (as the series was billed in HK advertisements. I think they meant to say ”saga.”). I’m sure some people might have a beef with this choice because they think Infernal Affairs 2 or Colour of the Truth is a better film. While I acknowledge that both films are solid genre flicks, I find that I have little interest in revisiting either of them when perusing my own back catalog of Hong Kong movies. To put it bluntly, the first Infernal Affairs has something that those two films simply don’t possess – across-the-board star wattage.

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