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]

This is your basic gilded idol vehicle starring Wu Chun, Han Geng and Barbie Hsu.  The costumes, set and soundtrack were fantastic, but overall, it wasn't enough to save the movie from mediocre acting and a thin, stretched plot.  At the start of the movie, a boy's whole family is executed in front of him.  He is spared because he sings a bit of opera and a boy apprentice asks his master to save him.

The two "brothers" are, of course, Han Geng and Wu Chun.  But first, the latter's master has his special  plaque taken from him in a duel with another master and they retreat to the mountains to learn to be "opera warriors".  When they grow up and come back to Shanghai, Barbie Hsu is the apprentice of that other master and they want to fight him to take back the plaque.  So that happens and they get all famous and stuff, then suddenly Han Geng wants to go back and kill the people responsible for his family's death.

There's really not much more to it than that, if I said more, it would give away what excuse for a plot twist there even is.  I suppose the plot was thin to accommodate the mediocre acting talents of the male leads.  Han Geng was completely unbuyable as his vengeful character and neither one of them did anything to convince me that they were as close as brothers.  So the inevitable betrayal or whatever you want to call it got no real reaction from me.  More like, an, oh, is that so.

The one bright spot was that Barbie hit it out of the park with the sad script she was handed.  Her character had a wide range of motivations and emotions and even though her story was just as thin, she actually put life into it.  That's acting, boys.

So yeah, mediocre movie.  Watch it for the stars or the pretty, but not the plot or acting.

Mood awakeMood awake
Tags: barbie hsu, historical, wu chun
Raito [userpic]

I have the urge to be snarky and mention all the bad actors in here, but I won't, because I actually really enjoyed this stylish, action-packed, cool cinematographied movie.  Even Donnie Yen wasn't insufferable, and Kate Tsui was so cool as the evil assassin chick.  There was also Zhao Wei's amazing smile and Wu Chun's amazing abs, so really, who cares if 3 out of 4 are barely passable actors?

Story!  Check!  Qinglong is the captain of the brocade guards.  He's a badass, but then his bro betrays him and there's this whole seal he needs to get back.  He falls in with Zhao Wei and her father's Justice Escorts, and he eventually kidnaps her and goes looking for the seal.  Kate Tsui eventually comes looking for him, and somewhere along the line he enlists the Judge of the Desert (Chun) to help him take down the convey with the seal.  Ok, the plot is barely there.  But the movie looks so damn good and the action scenes were truly awesome.  Not to mention all the stars had unique RPG character looks about them.  Like I said, stylish.

As long as you don't go into it looking for something super complicated, and you like lots of wacky smacky, you'll be fine.  It wouldn't hurt to be a fan of any of the main stars either.  (In my case, Zhao Wei and Wu Chun for purely shallow reasons)

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