Infernal Affairs
Raito
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Infernal Affairs
Hello, you've reached Raito's movie review blog. Most of what you'll find here is reviews of Chinese movies, because that's pretty much all I watch. :'D

November 2012
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Raito [userpic]



This was billed as a sequel of sorts to Beast Stalker, but in the manner of Hong Kong films, it's only a sequel because of the two leads, Nic Tse and Nick Cheung.  It also stars Kwai Lun Mei and Sherman Chung.  Well, let's see, I expected this to be pretty good as I very much enjoyed Beast Stalker and had heard good things about it.  Sadly, it does not live up due to a litany of problems including Nic Tse's wooden acting and Nick Cheung's even MORE wooden acting.  The only good spot of acting is delivered by Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun Mei who shows herself capable of an expression and emotion.  The other problem with this movie vs Beast Stalker is that it utterly FAILS at making you care about any of the characters.

The plot is...honestly pretty thin.  It takes the title a little too seriously, being all about stool pigeons, or people in the criminal realm who betray their ilk to the cops for cash.  IN a role reversal, Nic Tse is the criminal and Cheung is the cop.  Nic Tse wants money for his sister, Nick Cheung wants to arrest some jewel thieves, Kwai Lun Mei wants to go back to Taiwan, and she might want Nic Tse too, but that's hardly played out in any tangible way.  What follows is a brutal montage of, well, brutality.  But the movie takes such a blase, monochrome look at it that it just sort of slides by on screen without any emotional attachment.  Again, compared to Beast Stalker that pulled you right into the lives of everyone involved.  Even the criminal as awful as he was, you could sort of see his point of view.  There is none of that here.

Another general problem is that Nic Tse really cannot play this type of role.  He simply isn't that versatile and the sad-sack low-life or the sad-sack good guy (Bodyguards) is just not in his range.  Instead he is overly wooden and fails to make you see anything in his character other than Nic Tse.

In conclusion, this is not a good movie.  Avoid, unless you really want to see Nic Tse get beat up for some reason.

Mood hungryMood hungry
Tags: action, buddy, nicholas tse, nick cheung
Raito [userpic]



I was actually really looking forward to this movie when the info about it came out last year I think it was.  But, in all honesty, it was disappointing.  Not straight up bad like the previous movie I reviewed, just not...that gripping. 

The plot is basically somewhere between Marvel comics and wuxia.  A superhero movie in the Qing Dynasty.  Now, reading that, you'd probably think this could be really awesome or really atrocious.  But sadly, it's neither.  It just...is.  Louis Koo and Sandra Ng are the titular superheros, and as the movie starts, you don't really know that, but gradually it becomes apparent that they've retired.  Eventually there's a flashback of what they did and how they met, then there's the part where they realize they're bored and want a child, but they can't because they're too boring.  So, naturally some drama ensues and eventually a martial arts tournament and a very ill-conceived baddie, and yeah, it's just not very interesting, ultimately.

It was occasionally funny at times, but not enough for me to want to see it again or even recommend it.  There was a lot that COULD have been done, but really, it was a wasted idea and a waste of the two stars' considerable comedic talent.  The other thing, is Louis Koo's way of speaking was EXTREMELY distracting.  I'm not sure what he was trying to do, if he was trying to mimic that one voice of Stephen Chow's where he sounds all tired and put-upon, I can't think of an example right now, but anyway, it was not working.  It was amusing at first, but then it just became really distracting, took me out of the movie.

It's funny, a similar silly movie, Future X-Cops, was actually a lot more enjoyable than this one.

Mood hungryMood hungry
Music 버즈 – Monologues
Tags: comedies, louis koo, sandra ng, wuxia
Raito [userpic]



I now feel absolutely fine with having not watched any of the All's Well Ends Well series that doesn't contain Stephen Chow. I hadn't watched a movie in awhile, so last night I made the mistake of trying the 2011 version of the aforementioned movie. Despite Louis Koo's sort of hilarious gay act, the novel concept of Donnie Yen playing a cosmetic salesmen and my fangirly love for Cecilia Cheung, the movie was interminably boring and it wasn't long before I didn't care what happened. I think that was about an hour into it.

In all honesty, I'm not sure I can even recount the plot, because there really wasn't one. It was more of a loose collection of largely unfunny skits. And these are talented people too. It's a pretty amazing thing when a director/writer can waste that much talent in one movie. Amazing, and headache-inducing.

Raito [userpic]



This is, uh, an interesting movie.  Basically there are two tea tribes and somehow they don't like each other, and so there's some sort of curse, I never really got that part.   Vic Zhou plays Yang and he has the male black tea and lives in Taiwan, running it kinda like a black market.  Then there's Mikiko who apparently has, or her father has, the female black tea, and yes, she's from Japan.  She goes to Taiwan to learn more about tea, and find the other tea...I think.  And her father comes looking for her.

It sounds much lamer when written down, lol.  Idk, it was pretty entertaining though, and funny in parts.  Vic Zhou is always a good jerk.  But the ending was pretty lame and sort of abrupt.  Maybe they could have fleshed it out more and made it a drama instead.  That's kinda what it felt like, a drama squashed into a movie.  Oh well, it wasn't as bad as people say...however you want to take that, lol.

Mood annoyedMood annoyed
Tags: vic zhou
Raito [userpic]



This is apparently director Susie Au's debut and before she was a music video director. That definitely shows. There's also a lot of Wong Kar Wai going on here. But in all honesty? I liked it. It was entertaining, Zhou Xun was gorgeous, Daniel Wu was hot, and the whole thing was just nice to look at and attention-grabbing, not to mention keeping.

Essentially there's this superchick named Ming Ming (Zhou Xun). She has a thing for D (Wu), apparently some kind of mob enforcer. He wants to go to Harbin with 5 million. So she steals this money and a box from Brother Cat. In comes Tu, whom she hands the money to. And takes off running. He eventually meets another Zhou Xun in the form of an orange-haired girl named Nana. He thinks she's Ming Ming. Most of the movie is them running from Cat's cronies, with Ming Ming making occasional appearances to shoot her black balls at people. Eventually D comes back into it, and the true theme of the story is his story and what he wanted to go to Harbin for.

If that sounds convoluted, it kinda is, but I didn't find it as extremely so as some of the other reviews indicate. I found the style of the film extremely cool, and that by itself kept me into it. Zhou Xun did an excellent job in two roles and I was pretty surprised to realize that she was speaking Cantonese and not being dubbed. In fact, it seemed everyone was, which is weird because none of the stars are HK stars. But the director is, and I guess that's why.

Anyway, enough babbling. I really liked this movie.

Mood blahMood blah
Music Dear jane – 穿梭機
Tags: action, daniel wu, zhou xun
Raito [userpic]



Odd, jilted-lover revenge flick starring Gillian Chung, Daniel Wu and some other chick I don't know. The plot seems simple. Daniel Wu is a jerk and posted nude pictures of former girlfriend Gillian Chung online, and then the latter enlists his current girlfriend to help her retrieve them from his computer.

The problem is, nothing much happens. There are random sex scenes that reveal nothing, a chase scene that isn't all that exciting, and lots of scenes of the girls making eyes at one another. The ending was a little too contrived for my liking, and not entirely believable. Also, I hate when people purposely destroy electronics. In the pro column, there's some really cool French Italian music throughout, and tbh my first thought afterwards was hmm, I might save this for the music.

Then I said, nah.

Mood blahMood blah
Music Hilcrhyme – LAMP LIGHT
Tags: daniel wu, drama, gillian chung
Raito [userpic]


I.....think I liked this movie. Or maybe I'm just being shallow because Chen Kun and Shawn Yue were extremely nice to look at. The problem comes with the pacing, which, I'm starting to realize, is Jingle Ma's biggest failure as a director. The plot wasn't entirely nonexistent, you could sort of understand how it got set up that way. And I guessed the villain right about as the shit started hitting the fan. The only problem with the love story though, was that I only saw any kind of convincing emotion from the girl. The guys just reminded me of Jordan Chan in Shopaholics; they just wanted what the other guy had.

Some setup. Shawn Yue is probably the cop of the title. He's rich, but only by virtue of his dad, and he uses his dad's money to solve crimes. Like catching poor Philip Ng at the start. Amg, I hope that man gets some real roles soon, he's such a qt. (that's not why, but how sidetracked do you want me to get here?) Then, Chen Kun comes in as a rich cop from the Mainland (yes, we buy that), and naturally the two hate each other at first sight, well, actually Shawn hates him, it's not really clear that Chen returns the favor. But Chen is looking for his brother's killer.

And that's basically the plot. It meanders around at a leisurely pace, with occasional bursts of action. Then suddenly, with about 30 minutes left to go, it turns into New Police Story. And the two leads look about as shellshocked as the audience (i.e. me) when it does. It's like, wtf, did I accidentally put in another movie? All of a sudden we have an over-the-top, twisted bad guy, a crapload of money, uncomfortable psychological games and an eventual bloody outcome. And in spite of it all, it still fails to wring much emotion from you.

One thing I will say though, it was nice that they let Chen Kun speak Mandarin, instead of having to be dubbed into Canto. He actually did speak it at the start and sounded decent though, lol. And even though all the Canto speakers understood him and vice versa, which is probably not likely, I was able to suspend that disbelief because I'd always rather hear the actor's own voice. I wish both places would do that more often. Isn't that what the Chinese subs are for anyway? C'mon.

Mood blahMood blah
Music MoNoLith – Fairy-tale
Tags: action, buddy, chen kun, crime, shawn yue
Raito [userpic]



I'm not entirely sure how this movie escaped my notice when I was picking and choosing from Cecilia Cheung's filmography. It's always bothered me that she was in a lot of romances with older, unattractive guys. I've most enjoyed her in things like Cat and Mouse and White Dragon. Anyway, this is a Wong Jing movie. Which means it may not make sense at any given time, may contain cringe-worthy crude jokes, and is probably freakin' hilarious anyway.

I didn't realize, but apparently Wong decided to steal Stephen Chow's genius pairing of Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu for several other movies after Kung-fu Hustle. And here they play Cecilia Cheung's parents as awesome martial artists. The story is kind of like Harry Potter. The martial artists live in the normal world, hide their powers and send their kids to a "magic" school when they come of age. And there's also the scary Lord Voldemort character, called White Eyebrows, who really isn't all that scary, lol.

Leo Ku plays Cheung's extremely dopey love interest (but he's still cute), and it's sort of his fault the whole thing starts, because White Eyebrows is trying to kill him for surviving a massacre. There's also a lot of Stephen Chow movie regulars in this, and Wong Jing naturally makes a cameo.

There's not much point in running down the plot, because it's ridiculous. But suffice to say, it was pretty laugh-out-loud funny and plenty entertaining. And I really enjoy this kind of nonsensical, movie-parodying, crass humor, so I'll probably always like Wong Jing. His haters can step to the left, lol. Y'all got no sense of humor, I'm sorry.

Mood blahMood blah
Music 鍾舒漫 – 強者的誕生
Tags: cecilia cheung, comedies, wong jing
Raito [userpic]



This is a Beggar So tale. At least, that's what they tell me. Anyway. Vincent Zhao stars as Su, a awesome general who just wants to go be with his family and start a wushu school. So when he's offered a governorship, he hands it over to his adopted brother, played by Andy On. Then, as we get a little further in, it turns out that Andy On is still butthurt about Su's father killing HIS father for dabbling in a dangerous art called Five Venom Fists. So, when he comes back after some years, Su has married his adopted sister (Zhou Xun) and has a kid.

Well, Andy On does some evil things, and beats Su up and throws him in the river. His wife jumps in after. They're later rescued by Michelle Yeoh's doctor character and similar to the Stephen Chow story, Su just lays around and drinks, wallowing in his broken arm. But then, he gets motivated to save their son, and so as he's wandering around the mountain, he runs into the God of Wushu, played horrifyingly enough by Jay Chou. Let me just pause to say that Jay Chou should not be anywhere near any movie EVER. He's an awful actor and mumbles his lines like a drunk person or a retard.

But anyway. The plot proceeds in a logical direction, obviously Su learns kickass skills and uses them to beat on Andy On. And then there's a second part to the film that I don't really get. It was like a scene from Fearless and further, it seemed like it skipped forward a ton of years, Idek. However, I won't keep babbling on about that, because here is why you should watch this movie. THE FIGHTS. The fights were insanely awesome. Probably some of the best fights I've ever seen crammed into one 2 hour movie. Vincent Zhao is an irl martial artist and so is Andy On, so their final fight was epic. And the one with the wrestlers at the end was too.

And there you have it. Regardless of the odd plot stuff or Jay Chou's irritating presence, none of that can take away from how awesome all the fights were. And honestly, it was pretty close to 2 hours of fighting. There wasn't a ton of exposition or ~touching~ scenes. So if you like kung-foolishness as much as I do, you HAVE TO see this movie.

Mood blahMood blah
Music Eat You Alive – Coke in a vein
Tags: andy on, martial arts, wuxia
Raito [userpic]

So then. I read nothing but bad reviews about this, from mostly American movie fans re:the special effects. And that, to me, just illustrates what the crap is wrong with both the fans and the industry. THERE WAS NOTHING GLARINGLY WRONG WITH THE SFX. Srsly. A few bits might have been a bit unconvincing, but otherwise, um, they mostly did what they were supposed to do. GOD. This makes me feel old, because that's what I hate about video games these days too. That's all people freakin' care about.

Ok, rant aside. It was an entertaining enough movie for an hour and a half. I'm sure if Hollywood did such a thing, it'd be at least 30 minutes longer and with more car chases. *insert eye roll here* Yes, this might be my most sarcastic review ever. I think I'm mostly irked that people thought it was so horrible for stupid reasons. I'm still ranting, ok then, lemme stop.

Basically, there's some cyborg people and...actually I'm not sure what they're trying to do. Kill some doctor perhaps. But they're thwarted, so they go back in time. And Andy Lau (he's the hero) goes back to stop them, or locate the kid version of the doctor, I'm not sure. But there's some funny stuff, and some action bits, and Mike He was really hot. Anyway, so there you go, the bigger problem was the lack of plot, not the sfx. But oh yeah, I forget, American movie fans don't care about plots anyway. *coughavatarcough*

Honestly, I'm more concerned that I didn't spot Wong Jing. He always makes a cameo.

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