Each year I am later than I want to be in posting a top ten films of the year. Partly because I still haven't seen most of the films released in 2011 that I want to see. This year I picked 9 films and then a list of films that I am still waiting to see.
1. The Yellow Sea (Na Hong-Jin, South Korea)
The story of a North Korean man living in China who is sent to South Korea to assassinate a South Korean gangster. Lots of twists and plans being shot to hell. Good stunt and chases, the director's first film was The Chaser. Saw this at the Alamo under the title "The Yellow Sea" but it is listed on netflix as "The Murderer"
2. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, USA)
I didn't think that the director of the Pusher trilogy would make a better crime film, but he did.
3. Reign Of Assassins (Su Chao-Bin, China)
John Woo produced this martial arts film. Michelle Yeoh finally has made a good action film since breaking out in the West with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. No US release scheduled.
4.The Unjust (Ryoo Seung-Wan. South Korea)
Cops and prosecutors search for a child murder. From the director of City Of Violence. Much more of a police procedural than an action film. If you liked Memories of Murder you'll probably like this. On Netflix streaming.
5. Wu Xia (Peter Chan, Hong Kong)
Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro star in this period martial arts film with a touch of the CSI police series thrown in. Not action packed but the fight scenes are really good. Might get a US release this year but I wouldn't hold my breath.
6. 13 Assassins (Takeshi Miike, Japan)
Samurai action. On netflix streaming.
7. Haunters aka Psychic (Kim Min-Suk, South Korea)
One of the problems I have with most superhero films is that the villain never figures out how to use his powers that well. Most of the time the villain is bigger, stronger and faster and yet he will still loose to the hero because of poor script writing. Haunters is the story of a crippled villain who is able to freeze time and people. On one of his thefts he encounters someone who is able to resist the time freeze and from that point they are mortal enemies. Might get released as The Psychic.
8. I Saw The Devil (Kim Ji-Woon, South Korea)
Kim Ji Woon, Bong Joon-Ho, and Park Chan Wook battle it off in my mind as to who I think is the best Korean director. Kim Ji Woon is currently at the top as every movie he has made is completely different from the rest. I Saw The Devil is his revenge film and it pushes the limits (the Korean film ratings board asked for 7 cuts to the film). Kim's next film is Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback film "The Last Stand".
9. Man From Nowhere (Lee Jeong-Beom, South Korea)
Yet another South Korean crime film. Ex special agent tracking down a gang that specializes in children's organ trafficking.
Movies that I've yet to see from 2011. Ra.One, Punished, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Flying Swords Of Dragon Inn, The Great Magician, Life Without Principle, Overheard 2.
Thanks for reading and watching the trailers.