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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 ‘Derek Yee’ Category

Drunken Master: The Romantic Comedy

Drinky-Dranky-Drunky

Miriam Yeung and Daniel Wu in Drink-Drank-Drunk

If you have yet to see Derek Yee’s Drink-Drank-Drunk (2005), you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t really a film about the joys of alcoholism, despite what its title, premise, and pre-release advertising might have led you to believe. Instead, this romantic comedy centers on a  beer hostess — Siu-Min (Miriam Yeung) who may be able to hold her liquor, but is getting a little long in the tooth for her job. Soon, she meets Michel (Daniel Wu), a globe-trotting chef specializing in French cuisine whose restaurant just isn’t connecting with the locals. While drinking his sorrows away, Michel ends up sleeping it off at Siu-Man’s apartment. After the impromptu sleepover, the two become fast friends and — not surprisingly — faster lovers.

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Shinjuku Incident Now Playing in the US

Shinjuku

Fan Bing-Bing and Jackie Chan in Derek Yee’s Shinjuku Incident

Derek Yee’s dark 2009 drama Shinjuku Incident is getting a limited stateside release courtesy of the folks at Barking Cow Distribution.  For now, the film is showing in California, Hawai’i, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Click here for specific theater listings. I’ve actually already seen the film, albeit on a Singapore Airlines flight, but if I get a chance, I might catch a screening at the AMC Van Ness 14 here in San Francisco. The airline version seemed to be slightly edited for violence, although I don’t think seeing the reinstated footage would do much of a difference in terms of altering my opinion of the film.

In rereading Kozo’s original review, I have to admit that I concur with much of what he has to say. Shinjuku Incident does try to be, as he writes, “an immigrant drama and a gangland thriller.” For what it’s worth, I really liked the immigrant story much more than I did the “emerging criminal empire” angle that emerges halfway through. Part of the reason for the film’s difficulty in transitioning well between the two genres is the casting of Jackie Chan. To be fair, he does a fine job in the role, but — through not fault of his own — he simply can’t transcend his iconic onscreen persona. Jackie Chan’s character, Steelhead, does some very bad things in this movie, but it’s easy to forgive him because of that familiar, affable “I don’t want any trouble” personality he’s cultivated in a myriad of films in the last two decades. We shouldn’t be giving his character a pass during these moments, but strangely, even the worst crimes all feel very justified.

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The Best of the Rest, The Best of the Worst

Compiling a top ten list of the decade’s best movies is tough work. There are a ton of great Hong Kong films out there, and some just couldn’t make the cut on so short a list. To compensate for any perceived oversights, I’ve decided to list choices #11-#25. I’m certain that some of my picks might be a little unorthodox or downright surprising, but I’m just going to have to follow my gut here, folks — critical or reader consensus against me be damned.

BEST OF THE REST

Timeandtide

11. Time and Tide (2000) — I unabashedly love this movie, and it came very close to making the top ten. Whatever hesitancy I had in embracing Nicholas Tse as a leading man disappeared completely thanks to this movie, as his little brother/big brother chemistry with rugged rock n’ roller Wu Bai (who provides a killer soundtrack) is just part of what makes this movie so good. The other part is the action — in particular, that breathless, suspense-filled sequence that makes up a good chunk of the film’s second half. I’m hard pressed to forget that pulse-pounding tenement assault or the decidedly unconventional baby delivery sequence that caps the film. Time and Tide is an action fan’s dream, and, the last great Tsui Hark movie (so far) – and yeah, I saw Seven Swords.

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