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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 ‘Red Cliff’ Category

Calvin’s Top 10 Hong Kong Films of the Last Decade (7-5)

With the results of the LoveHKFilm.com reader’s poll slowly trickling out, I give you a few more of my personal top ten. Will they in any way reflect the choices of the readers? I have no idea. Let me know what you think!

7. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kung Fu Hustle

Stephen Chow is all out of bubblegum in Kung Fu Hustle

How great is this movie? Well, let me put it to you this way: Kung Fu Hustle is so great that comic genius-turned-filmmaker extraordinaire Stephen Chow can disappear for long stretches of the narrative, and I didn’t even miss him. Think about that for a second. The star of the film (and likely the singular reason why people bought tickets for the movie in the first place!) occasionally gives up screen time to lesser known actors in an A-budget picture. Sure,  familiar faces like Yuen Wah and Shaolin Soccer alums Chan Kwok-Kwan and Lam Chi-Hung round out the supporting cast, but a lot of the story hinges on the performances of a bunch of relative unknowns — the residents of Pigsty Alley. During my first viewing, I found myself asking, “Who are these guys?” And better still, “Why am I so riveted to what’s happening to them?”

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Red Cliff — The Condensed Version

Red Cliff Tony

In the early press releases for John Woo’s Red Cliff, it was announced that the film would be split in half for Asian audiences. Part I was almost two-and-a-half hours long, while Part II was only slightly shorter than that. With the split-release of Kill Bill already well behind us, this announcement was certainly nothing new, and I’m sure most John Woo fans were glad that he wouldn’t have to compromise his vision by cutting his film to fit a conventional theatrical running time. However, that wasn’t the only announcement that was made in regard to the film’s release. It was also mentioned that there would be an American version of the film, one that would run only two-and-a-half hours total. For purists, this probably seemed heretical, and for the rest of us, it just seemed odd. How can you squeeze over four hours of story into a movie that’s only a little over half its original running time?

Well, while watching the first installment of Red Cliff I became convinced that it could be done. Later, I watched Red Cliff II and started to have other ideas, but whatever my reservations, I’ll transcribe my thoughts on how to rework the first installment for your amusement.

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