Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bodyguards and Assassins (2009, Hong Kong)

With it's big budget and all star cast and years in the making, Teddy Chen's Bodyguards and Assassins had a lot to live and up to and thankful it did. The story is about a ragtag group of people getting together to provide protection for Sun Yat-Sen on his trip to Hong Kong in 1906. The Chinese Empress Dowager wants him assassinated to prevent him from fermenting rebellion. The first 80 minutes introduce the cast and has some action but it is the last hour that takes place in real time as the heroes try to protect Sun Yat-Sen from a seemingly limitless supply of bad guys. Stand out sequences include Donnie Yen versus Cung Le, and Leon Lai against 30-40 henchmen. The performances are good, with Nicolas Tse winning Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 HKFA Awards. The film also won for Best Director, Art Direction, and Action Choreography. The movie is streaming on Netflix and is highly recommended.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Mafia, The Salesman, 2007 Korea

Netflix added the mother lode of Korean films recently and I presume that if you're reading this blog then you've seen Oldboy and The Good The Bad & The Weird, so I'm going to review some of the lesser known Korean films (at least in the US) now streaming on Netflix. First up, The Mafia, The Salesman from 2007. Directed by Seung Bo Shim and starring Lee Sung Jae. The netflix description makes the movie seem to be about the effects of globalization on the Korean mafia which piqued my curiousity. Unfortunately it is more of a fish out of water film. The young mobster is picked by his boss to go work for a corporation and learn "globalized management". The mobster joins an insurance firm and ends up having to sell door to door life insurance. Wacky hi-jinks ensue and they are moderately funny. The action is okay. As is standard in Korean mobster films, it is mostly large groups of people attacking another large group. Here is the unsubtitled Korean trailer. The streaming version has easy to read subtitles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herman Yau's On The Edge (2006)

Netflix has recently added a lot of Asian movies to their streaming service and I've decided to review some of them. First up, Herman Yau's On The Edge from 2006. It stars Nick Cheung, Francis Ng, Anthony Wong and Rain Li. After the success of Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong movie theaters were flooded with stories of undercover cops and their struggles as triad members. On The Edge was one of the better ones. Nick Cheung is Harry Boy, a cop who has spend 8 years undercover as a triad member, starting as a street brawler and moving up to a key position under triad boss, Don Dark, played by Francis Ng. After Don Dark is arrested, Harry Boy becomes a regular police officer working with Anthony Wong. Harry Boy is treated with suspicion by his fellow cops, and his only friends are triad members who no longer want anything to do with him. Francis Ng and Anthony Wong are playing roles that they are very familiar with, both of them were in the Infernal Affairs series, and they have worked with Herman Yau many times. Nick Cheung is good as the troubled cop. He made the Election films with Johnnie To around the same time. The movie has some good car chases, courtesy of action director Bruce Law. While not as good as Infernal Affairs or the Election films, On The Edge is definitely worth watching, particularly on netflix streaming.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jennifer Lynch's Hisss

A while back I posted the trailer to Jennifer(David's daughter) Lynch's Hisss. It is a Bollywood horror film about a snake god's revenge on the people who kidnapped her mate. No singing. Good performances from Ifran Khan and Mallika Sherawat, but the bad guy's acting is really bad. It's on netflix streaming. There was a dispute between Lynch and the producers and I believe the version of the film on netflix is not Lynch's official cut.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The pilot episode of Warren Ellis' Global Frequency

It was probably written in 2004 so the then futuristic phone tech is now outdated. If you read the comic it is definitely worth checking out, and I would have watched it had it ever made it's way to tv.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

prequel to George Pelecanos' The Cut

George Pelecanos is a DC based crime writer who wrote for The Wire. All of his books are recommended. His latest book is The Cut, is about an ex-marine invest run and his run ins with drug dealers (I know that's a crappy review, but I don't want to spoil it). There is an audio book prequel that you can listen to for free on facebook.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Peter Watts The Thing short story from the point of view of the alien

I just read this and thought it was so good I'd pass it along. A version of John Carpenter's The Thing, this time from the alien's point of view. Originally found on

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kongo - 1932 revenge film with Walter Houston

Kongo - Pretty cool revenge film set in the Congo from 1932, it's pre code and stars Walter Houston. It is a remake of a Tod Browning Lon Chaney silent from 1928.