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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.

THE KILLER 2011 in 3-D and Smell-O-Vision!


“Jung Woo-Sung, huh? I’m holding out for Colin Firth.”

While composing a review for the surprisingly good remake of The Karate Kid yesterday, I happened upon the news that John Woo’s The Killer is also being remade — in 3D, no less. A Moment to Remember’s John H. Lee will direct and Korean star Jung Woo-Sung will headline the film. John Woo himself has apparently given the project his blessing, as he, along with his partner Terence Chang, will be serving as a producer on this 3D, Los Angeles-set re-imagining of his 1987 classic. How involved he’ll actually be remains unclear.

Personally, I like Badass Digest writer, Devin Faraci’s idea that Woo is basically taking a John Carpenter-style approach to the remake, as the legendary horror director (Halloween, The Thing, They Live) served as a producer on the updates of The Fog and Assault on Precinct 13, but really didn’t have anything to do with the creative process. If I remember Carpenter’s words correctly, he had no problem with remakes, “as long as the check clears.”

As some of you will remember, there was an earlier remake of The Killer planned by Walter Will in 1992, set to star Richard Gere and Denzel Washington in the Chow Yun-Fat and Danny Lee roles. According to Christopher Heard, however, some American producers balked at the seeming homoeroticism between the two male leads. Homophobia, it seems, derailed plans for the 1992 version. That was almost twenty years ago. God, I feel old.

Anyway, what do you think of the prospect of a Killer remake? Are you excited about its potential? Angered at the heresy? Resigned to the fact that every movie you ever loved will be remade in 3-D? Whatever your take, you can read the full press release under the cut.

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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


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


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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