Posts tagged "Barbie Hsu Hsi-Yuan"

Reign of Assassins (Review)

Reign of Assassins

aka Jianyu

2010
Directed by Su Chao-Pin and John Woo

Reign of Assassins left me angry, not because it is a bad film, but because it could have been an outstanding film. Reign of Assassins had the potential to be an awesome and unforgettable film experience. Instead, we have just a good film, with parts I remember more because of how they could have been and not what they are. Yes, there are some great sequences in Reign of Assassins (RoA for those of us who are cool), mostly the action sequences (which is where it looks like John Woo just completely took over), but there are many other parts that look great in screencaps and as stills.

Interesting characters are introduced, only to be barely in the film or have suspect motivations, while other characters get far far too much screen time. Why we had like 30 minutes of the land lady vs. five minutes of the Magician I will never know. The villain’s big secret reveal was a let down, as was his secret identity. Why does the undisputed master of the biggest circle of thieves need a secret identity? And it isn’t even a secret identity that he uses to get information no one else can get, he’s just… Gah!

One is tempted to compare this to John Woo’s Face/Off, what with all the face-switching, but he didn’t write the film and seemed to be just hanging around the set all day telling Su Chao-Pin what to do. I guess he just sort of took over and Su Chao-Pin was so impressed that John Woo is hanging around he just let him. John Woo’s daughter Angeles Woo even shows up near the beginning of the film! So we can say that Su Chao-Pin got Wooed. Big time.

Just imagine one day you are directing a film, and then Steven Spielberg walks in and says he loves the script and wants to hang out on set. Of course you’re stoked, you are in the presence of a master and probably learn a lot. Then the next day, Steven comes back. And that’s cool. And he has tips and helps out your crew. Then he comes back again the next day. And the next. Soon your crew starts deferring to him and he virtually takes over directing most of the major scenes. The press gets wind, and suddenly your film is now “Steven Spielberg’s…” and his daughter is suddenly cast in it. Soon, no one even remembers who you are. Your star asks you to go get coffee. Spielberg is sent on a ten city tour to promote the film, while you get yelled at for forgetting the hazelnut syrup in the latte. Bitter and dejected, you then log onto TarsTarkas.NET, only to find even he is making fun of you. Your life is ruined, and there is nothing left to do but jump off the Empire State Building. But don’t despair, I think they got suicide nets now. Try the Golden Gate Bridge, it is still net free at the moment.

Now, I’m not saying that’s what happened on this film, I’m just saying they need to get the barriers on the bridge built faster.


So let’s start the Roll Call for John Woo’s Reign of Assassins!

Zeng Jing aka Drizzle (Michelle Yeoh) – Change your face, change your life. Also steal half of a dead body and realize you can’t really leave the underworld unless it is on a trail of dead bodies. Michelle Yeoh is famous enough I shouldn’t have to explain who she is.
Jiang Ah-Sheng (Jung Woo-Sung) – Zeng Jing’s husband with a secret of his own. He’s a delivery guy who enjoys hiding from the rain and being rejected by Zeng Jing. Until she finally marries him because we’ve wasted enough time in the village and the plot demands we continue on. Jung Woo-Sung was in Musaand The Good, The Bad, and The Weird.
Wheel King (Wang Xue-Qi) – Leader of the Dark Stone, the super thieves gang that rules the Chinese underworld. He has a secret identity and a secret. He also has a goofy nickname. Just because he did awesome on Wheel of Fortune and even scored a date with Vanna White, he’ll never live it down….
Turquoise Leaf (Barbie Hsu Hsi-Yuan) – Barbie Hsu plays a good crazy woman, you almost forget she can play likable characters (cough cough Adventure of the King), or characters that are the living embodiment of a gloomy rainy day (cough cough Future X-Cops).
The Magician (Leon Dai Lap-Yan) – The coolest character who is completely ignored and quickly eliminated. That’s what you get for not being a boring guy who likes noodles!
Lei Bin (Shawn Yu Man-Lok ) – The needles guy likes noodles. This guy is pretty boring, and throwing needles is something that you usually see women doing in martial arts films. Another Dark Stone assassins. Did you know Dark Stone members are called “Dark Stoners”? Now you do! Shawn Yu has been in the Infernal Affairs trilogy and tons of other films I have seen but not written reviews of.
Drizzle (Kelly Lin Hsi-Lei) – Here is Drizzle pre-face surgery, because she was played by someone famous so we’re namedropping her. Largely because Kelly Lin was in Asian Charlie’s Angels.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 3, 2011 at 12:16 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Adventure of the King (Review)

Adventure of the King


2010
Directed by Chung Shue Kai

Adventure of the King is way the hell better than Flirting Scholar 2. Why am I bringing that up? Because Flirting Scholar 2 was made along with Adventure of the King as part of the same group (Chinastar’s 5510 production plan – 5 years, 500 million yuan budget, 10 films), and is a sort of spinoff from Flirting Scholar 2 (which is a prequel to the Stephen Chow film Flirting Scholar) Adventure of the King is also an adaptation of the play The Matching of Dragon and Phoenix, which has been made into film several times, most recently as Chinese Odyssey 2002. So just imagine that Micheal Bay directed Romeo and Juliet and had Sam Witwicky wandering around going “No no no no no no no!” just because he wants to set classic plays in his universe.


Flirting Scholar 2 was absolutely awful. The worst films are bad comedies, because their entire reason for existing is to make us laugh. Failing at that becomes a big ball of sadness that can rarely be fixed by just going to town and mocking the film. Flirting Scholar 2 had no reason to exist except to make money off of dumb people who thought Stephen Chow would show up. He didn’t. It is basically a Hong Kong version of those Jim Carrey-less Jim Carrey movie sequels like Ace Ventura Jr., Dumb and Dumberer, and Son of the Mask. With that wonderful film as the opening movement of the 5510 plan, one would think that things would only go downhill from that low valley. How wrong I was!


Emperor Zhu Zhengde/Lee Siu-Lung (Richie Ren Xian-Qi) – He’s the emperor, and he had an adventure. And he’s also a king. King Emperor. Not one of them evil Emperors like in Star Wars. At least not in the film, maybe in real life he was a jerk, I don’t know, I wasn’t in China back in the day when he was in charge. While with amnesia, takes the name Lee Siu-Lung (aka Bruce Lee)
Phoenix (Barbie Hsu Hsi-Yuan) – Phoenix’s character a delight, constantly beating everyone with a whip and yelling. This is the first Barbie Hsu character that I didn’t find annoying or boring. Even her over the top crazy lady turn in Reign of Assassins pushed my patience.
Lord Sima The Royal Historian (Law Kar-Ying) – The Royal Historian’s job is to chronicle the life of Emperor Zhu Zhengde, and spends most of the film making proclamations and writing them down in his Royal Log. This is both annoying to everyone in the movie and hilarious to everyone watching the movie. Law Kar-Ying is in both Metallic Attraction: Kungfu Cyborg and Future X-Cops.
Commander Chen The Royal Bodyguard (Bruce Leung Siu-Lung) – When you bodyguard is Bruce Leung, you’re in pretty good hands.
Mr. McFortune (Wu Ma) – Kentacky Fried Chicken’s answer to Colonel Sanders is Mr. McFortune. Have you ever been to Kentacky? They really need a new decorator… Wu Ma’s been in film forever, and was recently seen here in Haunted House Elf.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 9, 2011 at 2:24 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Future X-Cops (Review)

Future X-Cops

aka Mei loi ging chaat

2010
Directed and written by Wong Jing

The background spinning enrages me!

Future X-Cops is a mixed bag, a film that is part-action, part-comedy, part-drama, part-romance. We got robot guys, time travel, yelling kids, loved ones dying, weird slapstick, a dude with a microwave on his head, a guy who is trapped in a TV, an insect cyborg gang, a giant industrial machine, a cyborg cat lady, and hundreds of cops murdered. It’s all part of Wong Jing’s strategy of throwing the whole buffet against the wall and hoping it turns into a Monet painting. But instead we get more of a Thomas Kinkade.

When Future X-Cops was first announced, it was announced as the title Future Cops, which instantly made everyone think it was a remake of Wong Jing’s Future Cops, especially since Wong Jing was writing and directing this one. But as more details came out, suddenly the film was titled Future X-Cops and bared little resemblance to Future Cops except ripping off the basic plot of cops from the future being sent back in time to protect someone from being killed by bad guys.

In the future, gas shortages lead to go-kart madness!

It has been nice seeing Hong Kong start to pump out some more SciFi movies, but between this and Kung Fu Cyborg we have a ways to go before Hong Kong becomes a SciFi action mainstay. But some day they’ll produce things on par with I Love Maria again!

Like recent movie Beauty on Duty, there are a bajillion production companies and a bajillion producers for this flick. At this point, anyone with a spare $5 can be a Hong Kong producer and you can just have your named added to the wall of text during the opening credits.

Originally I was going to write a short version of this review, but the more I kept watching, the more I kept getting confused and angry and weirdly entertained, but not at the parts I should be entertained at. Thus, the review now is pretty long. Feel free to skip reading it and just look at the pictures, I’m under no delusions that 90% of you don’t do just that anyway. This text is just for us cool 10%ers. You know, the ones who are awesome.

Every one of these characters miss

Kidd Zhao (Andy Lau Tak-Wah) – He’s a cop, he’s from the future, and he’s an x. Whatever that means. But it does mean he’s a Future X-Cop! He’s also a robot, which sorts of makes up for his awful name. Andy Lau was in Future Cops besides being in Future X-Cops, making him the expert of Wong Jing films involving cops and futures.
Holly Wang (Barbie Hsu Hsi-Yuan) – Holly Wang is a cop from the present who likes Kidd Zhao, but he can’t like her back because then history will change and JFK will marry Hitler or something. So instead Holly Wang has to just be sad and look pale. So, so pale.
Kalon (Fan Siu-Wong) – Kalon is a evil cyborg guy who used to have a whole gang of cyborgs until Kidd Zhao killed most of them. Kalon’s crab claw cyborg stuff are upgraded to wings, snake arms, and other goofy stuff. Fan Siu-Wong was just on TarsTarkas.NET in Beauty On Duty, but he just couldn’t stay away!
Fiona (Tang Yi-Fei) – Kalon’s girl is a cyborg cat lady! She also goes back in time with her man so when they’re defeated by Kidd Zhao they’ll die together. Tang Yi-Fei is having so much fun being an evil cyborg cat lady it’s awesome. Just enjoy her over-acting cat moves and ridiculous smile as she does her moves.
Kiki Zhao (Xu Jiao) – Hey, that boy from CJ7 is a girl now! Kidd Zhao brings his daughter back in time with him for some reason because I guess they don’t have laws against bringing your relatives into harm’s way in the future.
Millie (Fan Bing-Bing) – Speaking of relatives in harm’s way, Kidd Zhao’s wife was also a x-cop in the future. Notice how I used the past tense? That’s because she won’t make it past the 20 minute mark!
After The Dark Knight, there was nowhere for the franchise to go but down

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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