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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 January, 2011

Very Young and Very Dangerous

Young and Dangerous: The Prequel

Nicholas Tse as Chan Ho-Nam

How many prequels are better than the original films that spawned them? Origin stories like the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Hannibal Rising, or even shlock like Tremors 4: The Legend Begins never really come close to even matching their illustrious forebears, let alone exceeding them. Sure, you have your occasional Infernal Affairs 2 or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but for the most part, prequels tend to leave viewers with a bad taste in their mouths. To a degree, these lackluster films haveĀ  spawned a bad case of prequelitis among moviegoers, who have perhaps grown leery over the overuse of the form. After all, it seems like most movie studios tend to view prequels as a new avenue to milk a cash cow franchise. After all, unlike sequels, the expectation is that prequels won’t use the original actors — who not coincidentally, probably happen to have hefty asking prices — and instead will turn to younger, cheaper talent to fill out their main cast.

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Retro Review: WORLD OF DRUNKEN MASTER (1979)

World of Drunken MasterSince I didn’t review Drunken Master II for the main website (check out Kozo’s take here), I can’t follow up yesterday’s Drunken Master retro review with another one focusing on its stellar sequel. However, you can read my thoughts on Drunken Master II here, if you’re curious. To cap off this weekend of retro reviews centering on the Drunken Master series, I spotlight one of its lesser heralded follow-ups. And no, don’t worry — it’s not the embarrassingly atrocious Drunken Master III.

While parts II and III both came out in 1994, there were actually contemporaneous additions to the Drunken Master series, including the Yuen Woo-Ping directed Dance of the Drunk Mantis (1979) and Story of Drunken Master (1979), which both featured Simon Yuen in the role of Beggar So (called “Sam Seed” in English dubs and the subject of the recent True Legend). However, the film that’s getting the retro review today is an unofficial prequel/sequel that focuses on the life and times of Beggar So and his longtime pal, Fan Ta-Pei — World of Drunken Master.

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Retro Review: DRUNKEN MASTER (1978)

Drunken Master

An essential kung fu classic for every HK fan’s movie library, Drunken Master is a film that not only gave a comedic twist to the Wong Fei-Hong legend, but allowed Jackie Chan the chance to hone his kung fu/comedy shtick. Just as Evil Dead 2 can be called both a sequel and a remake of the earlier Sam Raimi flick The Evil Dead, so too can Drunken Master be viewed as a “re-imagining” of its immediate predecessor, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, a film released only months before with practically the same cast, crew, and storyline. But make no mistake: Drunken Master isn’t some quickie rehash. Instead, the film takes the best elements from Snake to craft not just an excellent kung fu comedy, but a landmark film in the Jackie Chan canon.

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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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Gwailo Corner: ROCKY IV (1985)

Rocky IV

Year: 1985

Director/Writer: Sylvester Stallone

Cast:

Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Dolph Lundgren, Brigitte Nielson, Tony Burton, James Brown (cameo)

Plot:

Rocky Balboa singlehandedly defeats Communism, signaling the beginning of the end of the Cold War some six years before the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. Just kidding.

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Jackie Takes the White House

Jackie and Biden

Both Biden and Chan agreed not to make fun of each other’s hair.

On his official website, Jackie Chan recently blogged about his experience visiting the White House. Attending a State Dinner in conjunction with Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States, Chan got a tour of the White House and met with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Bill and Hilary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, among others.

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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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