Infernal Affairs
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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 an odd movie.  It was made in the PRC, but it appeared to be dubbed, even in the case of Kimi, who is Chinese, but the rest of the main stars were Hong Kong and were obviously all dubbed.  The dubbing wasn't as distracting as it often is to me, but it may have helped lend to the oddly detached quality the movie had.

The plot was fairly sparse, basically Kimi and Lam Suet are good for nothings who randomly get a will that makes Kimi in charge of his dad's hotel.  The dad is in a coma, but he's also not actually his dad.  Francis Ng is the adoptive son and/or manager.  There are some undoubtedly funny scenes as the two pretend to be upper class, but then things just get confusing.  Kimi wants to get money for his blind kinda-girlfriend and that's about it.  But he takes care of his not-dad in the meantime and when the dad wakes up, well, he's grateful.  It's really kind of an obvious, cheesy plot.  And other than Kimi and Lam, who were pretty animated, everyone else  basically seemed to be phoning in their performances.  Well, Christy Chung wasn't bad either.  Like I said, I really can't decide if the movie really was that detached or it just felt that way because of the dubbing.

Either way, it's clear that PRC can't make a decent Hong Kong comedy even if they are using Hong Kong stars, lol.

Mood blahMood blah
Tags: chinese, comedies, kimi qiao
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  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]

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]

The other TVB drama Stephen Chow had a big part in, this one is a modern dramedy. Like Final Combat though, it takes a long time to set up the ending sequence. Now, it started out really interesting, with this quirky family kind of all living together and running a mahjong parlor. Alex Man is the ex-Triad, and Stephen Chow is his cousin. Ng Man Tat is Stephen Chow's father, and Alex Man's mother's brother. Then there's Old Hen who is Stephen Chow's grandmother on his mother's side and aunt to Teresa Mo who makes an early appearance.

Stephen Chow's character is an obnoxious taxi driver who constantly insults people and is just sarcastic as a way of life. The people around him seem to only tolerate him, except for his grandmother who spoils him unmercifully and dotes on him ridiculously, probably mostly only to spite Tat. So it takes a few episodes to properly introduce everyone, and it's all funny and interesting.

But then it takes a bit of a downward spin in the middle, like a lot of dramas, I've noticed. The main problem is paying a lot of extra attention to minor characters. The whole thing with Yu Gau was tedious and annoying and stretched believability on many fronts. There was also the focus on Ming Tin's (Alex Man) cop friend and his brother, the penny-pinching banker, much of which didn't need to be there. The exposition involving Ming Tin's Triad family was probably nessa, but God, Anthony Wong was annoying, lol. Of course, the other problem with all these minor characters taking a spotlight was lack of Stephen Chow, as he was the main cause of hilarity in the series.

Fortunately, by the time it starts to wrap up, there really is a good amount of suspense in the final episodes. And the scenes with Shui (Chow) and Chi are hilarious. So all in all, it was a good show, but like Final Combat, would have suffered immensely without Stephen Chow, whose acting was both funny and affecting. I can really see why both of those shows helped make him popular.

Mood blahMood blah
Tags: comedies, drama, stephen chow
Raito [userpic]

I don't know quite what to make of this movie. On one hand, it's got some pretty funny gags and a fantastic scene of almost total nudity from Mr. Chow (forgive me, I'm a fangirl). But on the other hand, the plot is somewhat pointless and the dark, violent undercurrent tempers a lot of the funny. It's different from Out of the Dark, where the violence, while definitely violent, is also obviously comic. Here it's more like someone spliced together a normal violent triad movie into a Stephen Chow movie, and the results are not all that great. Because, you see, I like both separately, but together they're kinda like...Idk, two things that don't go together. I tried to think of something clever, but I failed.

The story is that Chow is a comic-book reading waiter who thinks being a triad would be cool. And for some reason, which I guess I missed, he ends up getting in the good graces of a boss and becomes one. He also manages to climb the ladder without doing much. Until eventually, triads do what they do best, betray each other and kill you. So then he finds out that triad life actually sucks. And...that's pretty much it. In the meantime, there's plenty of shooting and beatings and torture interspersed with jokes.

That's the entire movie. Stephen Chow does a good job with what he has to work with, but he's the only one turning in any kind of above average performance. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times; his presence is all that's required to turn a crappy film into a watchable one.

Mood annoyedMood annoyed
Tags: comedies, stephen chow, triads
Raito [userpic]

I did finally decide to watch this one all the way through. Mostly after reading how Stephen Chow managed to make "enemies" of Johnnie To and Danny Lee in the aftermath of this movie. The former vowed never to work with him again, and he has not, and the latter apparently wasn't pleased about the appropriation of his name for Chow's character, which culminated in the message on the wall "Lee Sau-Yin, I will kill your whole family."

This is the second and last movie Chow was in directed by Johnnie To, and like that first one (Justice My Foot), it's mildly entertaining, but decidedly unfunny. In it, Chow plays Dragon Fighter Lo-Han, a belligerent god that raises a bunch of havoc in heaven, only to get sent to Earth to redeem 3 unrepentant sinners; a begger, a whore and a killer. That is, they've been at their respective vices for 9 lives. If he can do that, his own transgressions will be forgiven and he'll be promoted. If not...well. Anyway, that's the gist of it. He has a magic fan and that's all the magic he can have. Oh, and he also has Tat following him around in retard-mode, not doing a whole lot.

Mostly Chow just spends his time making fun of people, kicking them in the face, and trying to keep the killer among the scoundrels from killing the other two. It gets a bit muddled towards the end, but like I said, it really wasn't all that funny. However, while in Mad Monk mode, Chow reminded me an awful lot of Jack Sparrow, and it makes me wonder if those people ever saw this movie. So, I suppose, in the end, I was only in it for his oddly attractive scruffyness and to add another tick to my list of Stephen Chow movies I've watched. So I figure maybe Chow did whatever he did to put Johnnie To off his breakfast to keep him from making more boring movies like this.

Mood cynicalMood cynical
Tags: comedies, stephen chow, wuxia
Raito [userpic]

Well, on the surface, this is just your basic goofy Stephen Chow/Wong Jing pairing, including an almost starring role by the director. But, allegedly, Wong Jing couldn't afford much of Stephen Chow's time, and so the Grandmaster is in more of a supporting role here with Nick Cheung taking over star responsibilities.

The plot is relatively simple. Nick Cheung plays an undercover cop who hates swindlers. So when he's directed to take down master swindler Ferrari (Wong Jing), he gets swindled left and right, embarrassed and made fun of, often by buxom Kelly Lin who smirks her way through this one. At the end of his wits, he finally agrees to enlist the talents of Wong Sifu (Chow) who is his girlfriend's sister's husband. Sandra Ng is pretty hilarious as the Sifu's wife too. The movie is rife with parodies of other movies and some of it is hilarious, some of it not so much.

But to be honest, the most interesting thing about this movie to me is Stephen Chow playing against type. And I mean, really against type. Normally this sort of arrogant asshole character of his would get shown up, or brought down and discover a heart or something, but not in this one. Wong Sifu is an ass from the very start. He swindles his family, even his kid, and he refuses to help Nick Cheung for anything less than 10million dollars. Or unless Nick Cheung can trick him. Which is of course impossible, and Chow punches him in the face when he fails. And even when he finally does help, it's because Ferrari sends people to kill him and he gets pissed.

Stephen Chow plays this role with an attitude that's like barely restrained annoyance, and it comes out in everything he does, even his trademark grin. His hair is flecked with grey, he wears glasses for most of the film, and he just has a completely different air from anything he did previously. In fact, he honestly never does anything goofy. Like I said, he has a dangerous, annoyed air about him the entire time. Even in the obligatory kung-fu scene. He's ambushed by a baddie who grabs his shirt. It rips off his shoulder as he mercilessly pummels the guy into the ground. He doesn't smile even once. He looks positively pissed, in fact.

This was, of course, also the last film he did before Shaolin Soccer, 3 years later. And he hasn't done a movie for someone other than himself since. So, Idk, you can probably read something into that. But it was interesting to see him play such a dangerous, not-nice character and well, still chew scenery like he always does. It was pretty sexy, ngl.

Mood hungryMood hungry
Music SCANDAL – Ring! Ring! Ring!
Tags: comedies, nick cheung, sandra ng, stephen chow
Raito [userpic]

Your basic cop buddy film featuring a pre-superstar Stephen Chow and Heavenly King Jacky Cheung. I've only seen Cheung in one other thing, that being As Tears Go By playing the guy that nicely brought everyone down. He's alright as an actor, somewhat compelling, but not really. But as usual, this show is stolen by Stephen Chow, who wasn't even a big star at this point in his career.

The plot is fairly simple. Chow and Cheung are cop buddies, best friends, roomies, all that good stuff. They aren't at odds, quite the opposite. But Chow's character is Pepper, hot-headed, kind of a jerk. And Cheung is Curry, nicer, more easy-going, at least makes an attempt not to get into trouble. But either way, they're trouble-makers in the force that nevertheless, manage to get things done. Then a woman comes between them. I know, cliched, right? Lol. It's ok though, because this is a funny movie, so it doesn't take you down annoying roads of sap and emo.

Meanwhile, the rather frightening Blackie Ko wants to kill them. Mostly because Chow shot him after he killed their undercover. So eventually you know these guys have to make up so they can get the bad guy.

As I said, it's pretty standard stuff. But there's some great action sequences, it's plenty funny, and you gotta love how Stephen Chow steals nearly every scene he's in right up to really stealing the whole damn movie. Someone had to be watching this back then and thinking, wow this guy's gonna be big.

Raito [userpic]

As a hardcore Stephen Chow fan, I was almost turned off from this movie because of reviews saying how he was barely in the thing. However, those reviews said the same thing about The Tricky Master, and that turned out to not be the case, so yes, I watched it finally. And can I just say that those reviews are massively misleading. Stephen Chow is all over this film. In an hour and 28 minutes, he appears onscreen quite often, and when he's not, you don't miss him, because as I said, this film has his persona all over it. That, and the boy who's really a girl is incredibly engaging, with comic timing Sing Yeh himself was obviously quite enamored with, since he apparently became her godfather, lol.

But anyway, yes, it's a very good movie. Simplistic, but perfect in its own little way. It's cute, it's serious, it's funny, it's clever and Stephen Chow still somehow manages to continue his career-long parody of his own work in it.  Not to mention insert his trademark mo lei tau and it just seems so natural. Because the man is a genius and could probably do just about anything in movie form if you give him half a chance.

The story, as I said, is simplistic. A kid and his dad live in poverty, and the dad tries to teach the kid about being a good person, but the kid, being a kid (annoying little buggers) would rather have nice toys and the respect of his prickish classmates. Along comes strange alien thing, CJ7, who may or may not give the kid what he wants. But in the end, it comes down to what's really important. When that becomes clear, everything else will fall into place. Or at least, that's what the movie seems to be trying to say. But it gets there delicately, not heavy-handed or even overly sappy. The drama is so believable, but then so is the resolution.

A really amazing little film. And one I'm pretty sure could only be done by the grandmaster.

Mood drunkMood drunk
Tags: comedies, stephen chow
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