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]

Woman Knight of Mirror Lake (2011) - A historical film about revolutionary Qiu Jin, I liked it for the most part.  The fighting was really fantastic.  Some of the best choreographed kung-fu I've seen in awhile.  However, on the other hand, the constant fighting distracted somewhat from the story, which had its own distraction problems in the way that it was told, jumping all over the place in time.  Huang Yi did a fantastic job though.

City Under Siege (2010) - On the other hand, this movie could have used more fighting and less attempts to make an already fairly silly premise into something sillier by adding drama to it.  The story is about some people in a circus, including hapless Aaron Kwok who wants to be Flying Dagger, but sucks at it.  They dig up some random Japanese bunker and get hit with mutant powder.  For some reason, Kwok's character gets all the powers but none of the bad looks.  Then there's the recently-fired news gal, Shu Qi, whose main job is to look amazing and the buttkicking team of Zhang Jingchu and Wu Jing.  Again, if this had just been loads of fights, it would have been quite entertaining, but the attempts to make it into something more fell pretty flat.

Shaolin (2011) - Another quasi-historical piece about an arrogant general who is overthrown by the inferior that he treats like crap.  He then learns the error of his ways by falling in with the monks of Shaolin.  It's a pretty obvious redemption story, but with some fantastic scenery-chewing by Andy Lau and Nic Tse.  You could almost see the sparks when they were in the same scene together.  Jackie Chan has a sorta brief turn as a Shaolin cook and demonstrates random crazy kung-fu.  Fan Bingbing is somewhat of a flower vase, but still has some good parts.  This was actually a really riveting movie so don't let the driveby status fool you, I'm just feeling lazy right now.

Raito [userpic]

So here we have an amazing slice of life movie.  To me, these movies rarely work because let's be real, slice of life isn't very interesting and the only thing that makes it interesting is extremely colorful characters and that's where most of them fall short.  However, that is not the case here.  Here we have three friends, two guys and a girl who need to find a new place to live and end up renting a room from a retired Peking opera singer.  She's a lounge singer who, at the start of the film, ends up injuring an audience member and is eventually required to pay his medical bills, and she also has an alcoholic and dysfunctional family.  One of the guys has a dad who is remarrying and he is basically resentful about this, not to mention, blames his dad for his mom's death.  The other guy is extremely overweight and that seems to be the extent of his problems, lol.  Throw in the fact that he (the first guy) and she (played by Berlin Chen and Fan Bingbing respectively) have feelings for each other that they hide and the other fact that the opera lady is still grieving the loss of her son in an auto accident and hey, things are pretty interesting already.

I can't really give away much more without sort of ruining it, but the movie essentially follows these four characters through a point in time and it doesn't even have a real conclusive ending, further emphasizing the slice of life that it is.

This is one of these movies though that I felt so strongly that I have a hard time describing how good it was.  I will say though, that Fan Bingbing hit it out of the yard with her performance.  I have seen some decent stuff from her, but this movie really cemented in my mind how good of an actress she is.  The movie was both funny and affecting and easily kept my interest through the hour and forty run-time.  Highly recommended.

Mood impressedMood impressed
Tags: drama, fan bingbing, slice of life
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.

Raito [userpic]

Ahhhh I see, I see, this was just a vehicle for Donnie Yen to have a long, drawn-out, and bordering on boring fight scene at the end. I don't like Donnie Yen at all, he's a terrible actor and he kinda looks like Adam Sandler. I don't like his martial arts either. But anyway, I didn't watch it for him. It sounded interesting and also starred Louis Koo and Fan Bingbing, two of my favorites.

Ahh the story. There was one. Kinda. There's these three Vietnamese brothers who run a gang. Tiger, Archer and Tony. Tiger's the punk that likes to brutally beat people up, Tony's the martial artist psychopath, and Archer's the more normal, business-like guy. Pretty much all tried-and-true Triad character sketches. So Louis Koo is the undercover cop, trying to bring these guys down. Donnie Yen is his partner, who is apparently always in trouble for beating the crap out of people. Eventually Louis Koo is discovered and things go all to pot. And Louis Koo gets the crap beaten out of HIM multiple times. This leads to the ending sequence where Donnie Yen attempts to get Koo and his girlfriend (Fan Bingbing) out of the bad guy's clutches using Archer as bait.

It sorta works. But not really. Cue long sequence of gun chases, random beatings, Louis Koo should be dead, but like the Terminator, he keeps going, and finally a final fight between Donnie Yen and Tony. The latter is played by Collin Chou who actually turned in a pretty damn convincing performance as the sadistic gang leader. The fight was interesting the first five minutes or so. But then it went the way of bad guy beats good guy until he's half dead but then good guy gets really angry and some new reserves of energy and proceeds to beat the crap out of the bad guy.

It was almost as boring as the Muay Thai fight at the end of A Fighter's Blues. Say what you want about Wing Chung, but it looks WAY better on screen. However, as I was watching the fight, I came to the conclusion that Collin Chou really is a martial artist. I can usually tell. And I just proved myself right by looking him up. He is indeed.

Anyway, this was a pretty decent action flick. Nothing I'd watch again, but good for one viewing. Or maybe I was just really angry and needed the release, Idk.

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