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 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)

Raito [userpic]

A wuxia retelling of the classic tale, this one definitely has its detractors. In fact, I'm not sure I've read a good review of it yet. Though, I'm sure they're out there...somewhere. The story is pretty standard Romeo and Juliet. A girl and a guy fall for each other, but politics and family issues fatally get in the way. In fact, it goes right down to the part where the girl takes the fake death pill, but the only person who knows dies and so the guy has no idea and well, kills them both. That part is actually a revision to the original tale, as far as I can tell. So Jingle Ma essentially made it more like R&J that it really was.

Anyway, I'm going to do pros and cons on this one, because, as I said, the story is simple and it's really more up to your tastes if you like it or not.


- Even though I have said that a girl posing as a guy in wuxia is as simple as a different hairstyle, Charlene Choi really didn't even do that. There was nothing that really suggested she was posing as a guy even. Especially since her teacher knows, you initially assume Wu Chun knows too.

- Wu Chun's acting was rather dubious. His range of emotions was simply not there. He was good at angry, but that was about it.

- It was a little hard to buy their falling in love. Too much like, oh bam, they're in love, that's how it is.

- Which leads to the pacing was bad up until the last part, and the costumes and staging were lackluster.


- the fights were good. I was particularly impressed with Wu Chun

- Ah Sa is a funny gal, you can't help but like her infectious perkiness.

- when it came right down to it, they got the ending act right. I won't even lie, I had tears streaming down my face by the end. And ultimately that's why I would somewhat recommend it, just because it still ended up being a pretty affecting drama. But maybe less if you're a fan of the original tale, and more if you're a fan of R&J or Shakespeare in general. It had that vibe.

Mood boredMood bored
Tags: charlene choi, romance, wu chun, wuxia
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