aka 消失的子彈 aka Xiao shi de zi dan aka Ghost Bullets 2012 Written by Yeung Sin-Ling and Law Chi-Leung
Action Directed by Nicky Li Chung-Chi
Directed by Law Chi-Leung
Bodies begin appearing at an ammunitions factory that have been shot but with no apparent bullet. The mystery crimes draw the investigators into a web of corruption, murder, and betrayal. Thus, The Bullet Vanishes sets the tone, as a mystery/police procedural that has all the layers of government and business corruption that you’d find in an episode of The Wire.
Part of the fun of The Bullet Vanishes is just watching Inspector Song (Lau Ching-Wan, Black Mask) do his thing. Song is methodical and deductive, not afraid to put himself in danger in order to get to the truth. Song values the truth above all else, this integrity is why he’s appointed as an officer to weed out corruption.
Song immediately attaches himself to Captain Guo Zhui (Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung, Treasure Inn), who is Song’s new department’s best detective, in that he doesn’t let the rich and powerful get away with anything, either. Captain Guo is more brash, more likely to threaten and fight, but he’s also the fastest draw in town, so his threats are backed up with deeds. Guo’s also showing the ropes to his partner, the junior detective Xiaowu (Boran Jing Bo-Ran, The Guillotines), including advising Xiaowu to take some bribes so he doesn’t become a target.
Guo’s instincts and Song’s scientific approaches mesh well, helped by both of their obsessions with finding the answers. Much of their time is dealt with impatient factory owners, rude foremen, panicked workers, and their annoyed corrupt Chief, who is just trying to get to retirement with all his bribe money before these murders muck everything up. Continue reading →
aka Choi San Har Jan aka 財神客棧 aka God of Fortune Inn
2011 Directed by Wong Jing and Corey Yuen Kwai
Written by Wong Jing
Wong Jing scores with Treasure Inn, a blend of action and comedy with just the right ratio for a pleasant viewing experience. Like most Wong Jing movies, Treasure Inn borrows from a variety of sources, the most obvious are the classic King Hu wuxia films that revolve around inns (Dragon Gate Inn, The Fate of Lee Khan, and even A Touch of Zen) Jing makes the most of the sweeping desert landscape and the cinematography and nature shots are among his best work. Jing wisely brought in Corey Yuen Kwai (DOA: Dead or Alive, So Close) to direct the action sequences, giving them the fanciful look that Yuen brings to his projects. But before we get to the inn, we have the journey along the way.
At this point, I’m no longer impressed by opening credits animated in Flash. Luckily, the credits are quickly over, and we jump into the film proper as good guys are slaughtered and villains strike a deal. But let’s meet the cast!
Liu Jianmeng aka Young Master (Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung) – An apprentice cop stuck on laundry and cook duty while the incompetent bully actual police bumble their way through life. Young Master was taught kung fu by his grandfather, who taught him speed is the most important aspect and that true love is worth sacrificing for. Nicholas Tse has been on TarsTarkas.NET in The Promise.
Chen Yungren aka Brad (Nick Cheung Ka-Fai) – Young Master’s whiney friend and partner. Brad has big buck teeth that he’s shockingly using the entire film and not just for a throwaway gag. As the comic relief, Brad is usually horribly injured. Yes, this film has two actors named Nick as the two leads.
Lady Water Dragon (Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin) – Lady Water Dragon and her sister are reward scammers and thieves. Lady Water Dragon falls instantly in love with Young Master upon seeing him in the prison cell. No one would believe for one second she is a dude, especially with the tiny Hitler ‘stache she’s sporting. Charlene Choi is also here in Protege De La Rose Noire, Beauty on Duty, and Hidden Heroes.
Lady Fire Dragon (Crystal Huang Yi) – Lady Water Dragon’s sister, who winds up with Brad, and the contrast of the two characters’ personalities gives us many moments of merriment. A tough chick not taken to falling in love at first sight to a random guy in jail. Is just as unconvincing disguised as a man.
Wen Wenqie (Tong Dawei) – A wandering doctor who is probably asleep in the ceiling of your house as you read this! Is an expert in kung fu, though always tries the peaceful path first. Wen Wenqie is in love with Yue Linglong.
Yue Linglong (Liu Yang) – Owner of Treasure Inn and badass swordswoman and dancer. Object of Wen Wenqie’s affection, and even Young Master becomes smitten with her. Some of her anctics reminded me of Moulin Rouge, though I don’t know if it was intentional.
Captain Iron (Kenny Ho Ga-Ging) – leader of the Gold Shield Constables, tracking the villain who stole the White Jade Goddess statue and trying to keep Young Master and Brad from getting the villains before he does.
[adrotate banner=”1″]Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Wu Jing, Yu Shaoqun, Fan Bingbing, and Nicholas Tse will star in an update of Shaolin Temple (a film that made Jet Li a big star) filmed on the grounds of the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, China called Shaolin. The update will be moved forward several decades so it takes place during the Pacific War (aka World War 2.) Benny Chan directs and the action choreography is by Corey Yuen. Expect it out in 2010.
Nicholas Tse will play a wealthy young man who finds refuge in the temple after a tragic incident in his family. He meets his kung fu master, played by Jackie Chan, in the temple as well as future enemies.
Jang Dong-Kun as Kunlun
Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming
Cecilia Cheung as Princess Qingcheng
Nicholas Tse as Duke Wuhuan
Liu Ye as Snow Wolf (Ghost Wolf)
Chen Hong as Goddess Manshen
Qian Cheng as The Emperor Directed by Chen Kaige
Chen Kaige brings you the most expensive film in Chinese history, with a budget of 282,572,490 Yuan ($35 Million.) Does this increase in budget bring us a film far superior to many to exit China? The answer is sadly no. What should be an outstanding film with beautiful images instead becomes an example in mediocrity, a living example that more money does not make a better film, something that Hollywood should be learning for the past 10 years, but somehow isn’t picking up. The Promise reminds me of the lyrics of Linkin Park’s In The End: “I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.” Now before I scare all of you off with more Linkin Park lyrics, let me explain myself. This movie tries to be a great Chinese epic, and tries to be a beautiful film, and tries to be an international success. But in the end, all of that is for naught, because the film isn’t well written. The main weakness is with the story, and following that, the special effects the story tried to portray. I’m used to bad CGI in films, but in something that’s supposed to be a beautiful epic the results are jarring, looking cartoonish and pulling you out of the fantasy element into the world of Bugs Bunny.