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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.

Vagabond Blues: A Ronin on Empty Says Farewell

Ashes of Time

As the old proverb goes, all good things must come to an end.

Although I’ve been handing in a steady stream of reviews for several months, Ronin on Empty has only been intermittently updated as my schedule permits. After an extended hiatus due to my father’s passing, I attempted to resume steady “publication” last month for a little while, but aside from an April Fools’ Joke a couple weeks ago, this blog has remained conspicuously inactive since March 12th. And there is a good reason for that.

It has been a little over two months since my dad passed away. Following this sudden, tragic, and life-altering loss came numerous and ever-mounting challenges for both myself and my family. I won’t go into the sad details of the event or the disappointing, troubling issues that emerged in the wake of this experience, but I will say that this has been — without a doubt — the worst time of my life. To paraphrase Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, I feel like somebody has taken the lid off life and let me look at the works.

For all these reasons and more, I have decided it’s time to leave after almost nine years of writing for the site.

So from this day forward, Ronin on Empty will no longer be updated. It’s a real shame, considering all the fun I’d been planning, as those ideas will have to be shelved, at least for the time being. I’m uncertain of what will become of the blogs in the near future, but whether Ronin on Empty remains archived here or disappears from the site entirely, I can assure you that it will return someday, perhaps in a new form or with a new name somewhere down the road.

As far as my review output for the main site is concerned, I recall turning in reviews for the Shaw Brothers classic, Crippled Avengers (1978) and the HK-set American film, The World of Suzie Wong (1960) several months ago, but if those don’t see the light of day, my recent critiques of Japanese anime favorite Ghost in the Shell (1995), the influential Korean romance, Christmas in August (1998), and the cross-cultural American Western, Walk Like a Dragon (1960) shall be my last reviews for the website.

In parting, I want to extend my sincere thanks to Ross Chen, aka Kozo, who allowed me a space here to share my opinions on Hong Kong cinema and other related subjects. Way back in 2002, I joined fresh out of college, right after a summer trip overseas renewed my love for Hong Kong and Asian cinema. Although I haven’t quite made it to the nine year mark, I’m proud that I’ve been here longer than any other contributor, save Ross himself. I will always maintain fond memories of my time at, an era characterized by a genuine sense of camaraderie and community, a shared enthusiasm for the cinema, and an informed, albeit occasionally tongue-in-cheek approach to the material. Those days will be sorely missed.

To fellow site contributors Kevin Ma and Sanney Leung, I want to send my appreciation for your fellowship, hospitality, and, yes, even the occasional friendly Tweet. Best of luck to you both with your respective blogs as well as your future endeavors, wherever they may take you.

I’d be remiss if I left the site without properly acknowledging its unsung heroes, Les (aka the Wongsaurus, cousin of velociraptor and younger brother of T. Rex. No relation to thesaurus) and AmyLynn (AL5430). With this final post, I’d like to take this opportunity to express a big, big thank you to the both of them. As forum moderators for the Community, these two have done a tremendous amount of work for the site, and their efforts over the years are well-deserving of acknowledgment.  Les, Amy — if we ever have a San Francisco reunion, dim sum is on me. But Les, it’s your call on John’s Grill, Red’s, or Li Po for drinks.

Last but not least, I want to thank the readers of this website, who have been so incredibly kind, generous, and supportive of my writing during my tenure here. I have met so many wonderful people and made so many great friends through this website. Some benefits cannot be measured in dollar signs or material goods. In fact, in this particular case, the benefits have been priceless. So to every reader who has ever visited the site, I want to extend my sincerest thanks for your interest and support. It’s been a real pleasure.

In the words of my former namesake – Toshiro Mifune’s title character in Sanjuro — I say to you all “Abayo!”

In other words, this ain’t goodbye; it’s just “See you later.”

Calvin McMillin, April 19, 2011

The Last Crusade

16 Responses to “Vagabond Blues: A Ronin on Empty Says Farewell”

  1. Jeff Says:


    Thanks for all the fun times you have brought to this site. I know you have been through a lot this last year. May time heal your sorrow, and hopefully one day you will return. You will be missed……

  2. TheGoldenRock Says:

    Hi, Calvin,

    Sorry to see you leave the site. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and please drop a note if you return to reviewing work. Until then, I wish you the best for you and your family.

    Thanks for the support for the blog, and as you said, see ya later.

  3. Mike Says:


    Thanks for all the reviews. When I needed an opinion on whether to watch a movie or not, I relied on yours. When I’d watch a movie and needed someone to articulate what I could not, your reviews offered insight and even a sense of camaraderie and community that I was not alone in feeling that way. I wish you the best of luck.

    - Mike

  4. KH Says:

    Thanks for all your efforts !
    Enjoyed reading your writing very much !
    Sorry to hear about your lost.
    Good speed & Good Luck in all your undertakings.
    Come back when you’re ready.
    Don’t forget to drop by once in a while…
    HK cinema needs people like you…
    See ya soon…Abayo !

  5. darren Says:

    Even though I rarely post, I have visited this site regularly since its inception.

    With that said I am very sad to see you leave, and I wish you all the best.

    Thanks for keeping me entertained when I should be working :)

  6. Sanney Leung Says:

    It’s a good thing you didn’t take that 30 ryo from Boss Kozo. Blogging is a hard lot. Go back home to the farm. A long life eating mush is best.


  7. Yinique Says:

    We’ll miss you :( Wishing you nothing but the best!

  8. JS Says:

    Aw Calvin, I hate to see you go. Your movie reviews are not only the best on this entire site, but the best on the web! (No seriously, this website would be crapulous without you). The clarity and humor of your movie reviews and blog posts will be missed.

    Long live, Sanjuro!

  9. Jessica Says:

    Good luck, Calvin! Thank you for your posts and reviews.

  10. TheGoldenRock Says:

    Hi, JS,

    Thanks for your support of everyone on!

  11. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    It’s really a sad day for the website. Calvin has been with us since the very beginning, through all the lean years where we were eating dog food and drinking McDonald’s coffee instead of Starbucks. I’m thankful to him for sticking with this site as all the other ones passed us by in traffic, relevance and pictures of hot babes. He will be missed.

    During his time here, Calvin has grown as a writer and also as a person. He was just an ex-student when he started but now he’s almost a professor. Times were not always great, and I am a notoriously difficult person to work for (ask Kevin or Sanney, and they’ll agree), but Calvin put up with it and me all these years. That makes him a true gentleman.

    Calvin, enjoy your ride into the sunset and when you return, don’t forget to drop by these parts. Best of luck with everything!

  12. Wongsaurus Says:

    Auf wiedersehen bis spater and Aloha!

  13. Ben Says:

    Thank you for insight and commentary. I really enjoyed reading your work. Good luck to you and hope to read you again, real soon.

  14. Peter Says:

    Thanks for years of interesting commentary.

    Also, thank you for announcing that you are winding down your blog. Several times in the past, I have seen blogs freeze up and then disappear, or sometimes even disappear abruptly. Your webmaster has posted that you are a gentleman; by signing off with proper etiquette, you confirm this.
    A small suggestion if you (or more likely Kozo) has time for it. There is a site called the Internet Archive. I don’t know much about it but it claims to archive internet sites. It looks like their last snapshot of your blog was taken two years ago in April of 2009. See

    As blogs become increasingly part of our cultural heritage, we need to give a little thought as to how they can be retained for future reference.

    The best of luck in your future endeavours.

  15. KH Says:

    Frankly speaking, this is the only site for me where HK cinema is concerned. Come here every single day…
    Grew up watching & loving HK movies..
    Nothing like this site…
    Keep up the good work guys…

  16. Vipula Says:

    Hi Calvin,

    Wishing you the best for the future. Your post reminds me of when I went through a similar experience a few years ago - loss of my father immediately followed by several sad events in my family. Though having friends and family close helped me, I felt that sometimes the deepest sorrows in our hearts are best fought with strength drawn from within. Things do get better with time.

    Hope you see the silver lining to your cloud soon. We will miss you, but won’t stop wishing well for you.

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