Posts tagged "Richard Ng Yiu-Hon"

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Review)

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

aka Di Renjie

2010
Directed by Tsui Hark

What they say: This is Tsui Hark’s best film in years, it’s one of the best films of 2010, Tsui Hark, Tsui Hark, Tsui Hark!

What you really need to know: Andy Lau gets into a kung fu fight with CGI deer.

Do you like yo-yos? Yo-yos go up and down, and so does Detective Dee. Some sequences in Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame are awesome, but other parts of the film are embarrassing and make you wonder why people were lavishing praise upon it.


If you’ve read any book on Hong Kong cinema that came out in the 90’s (which is when most of the books started appearing in the US), then you remember every single one had chapters on Tsui Hark. Tsui Hark was one of the Hong Kong New Wave directors that shook the industry to the core, and helped modernize Hong Kong film. Many of his earlier films are classics, though he had a few misfires. But even as the industry changed, Tsui Hark has seemed incapable of making film that is watchable since the mid-90’s. Those Jean-Claude Van Damme films were terrible, the Zu Warriors redux was boredom, and Seven Swords is a film so long that no one has ever gotten to the end of it. Despite all the technological achievements, Tsui Hark just wasn’t making good films anymore, and no amount of technology can change that. While Detective Dee isn’t a great film, it is at least the most watchable Tsui film since Black Mask, and something you should eventually get around to watching. You know, when it’s raining outside or something.


With Tsui Hark in the director’s chair, we are at least assured the film will look good, and it does. The cinematography is top notch. Elaborate CGI effects are needed to create ancient Chinese cities, palaces, giant Buddha statues, and underground meeting places – some are more believable than others, but you always know you are looking at a bunch of 1’s and 0’s in picture form. We do give props to action director Sammo Hung, as the actions sequences are the best parts of the film.


The stylized elements Tsui loves sometimes help the film, and sometimes hurt. As the opening scrawl is stylized to appear and disappear in wisps of smoke (which is nice), but a problem is the crawl is Star Warsian in length. In fact, the long text openings of Reefer Madness and Alone in the Dark are brought to mind. We are forced to read like half a sentence at a time, and have to wait for each piece one by one. It is what I like to call “annoying”.

Detective Dee (Andy Lau Tak-Wah) – Detective Dee is based on the real Di Renjie, who is a famous official during the Tang Dynasty. There have been countless books and references to Di Renjie over the years in both the East and the West. You should probably look them up if you want more information, this is only a small character box. Andy Lau is in every movie ever made! Just click on the Andy Lau tag to see all we’ve done…
Empress Wu Zetian (Carina Lau Ka-Ling) – Empress Wu Zetian is another real historical person, China’s only Empress and legendary for her ruthlessness. Though supposedly Di Renjie helped calm her down some. Carina Lau is also a real historical person, being an actress who has been in the industry for over 25 years and is married to the Tony Leung who is not in this movie.
Shangguan Jing’er (Li Bing-Bing) – Shangguan Jing’er is a made-up version of Shangguan Wan’er, famous female poet. As events transpire you can see why they went with a fictitious person for this character to keep with the stunning historical accuracy of the rest of the film. Li Bing-Bing was here before with white hair in The Forbidden Kingdom.
Pei Donglai (Deng Chao) – It’s an albino who isn’t a depraved mutant torturer! Although he does threaten people with torture… Pei Donglai is an investigator in the case who assists Detective Dee and whose own boss has burst into flames. Deng Chao is primarily a television drama actor.
Shatuo (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) – A former buddy of Detective Dee who now works in building the giant Buddha statue. This is the Tony Leung who was in 1992’s The Lover, not the one who was in Lust, Caution. Keep them straight!
Donkey Wang (Richard Ng Yiu-Hon) – A famous doctor hiding in the Phantom Bazaar, probably to escape taunting schoolkids over having the name “Donkey Wang”! Please don’t reveal the shocking secret of Donkey Wang. It’s good to see Richard Ng working again, as he is at the point in his career when he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to and can live in semi-retirement. I am a big fan of his through much of his earlier work through the 80’s and 90’s, including when he pops up in Future Cops.


Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 28, 2011 at 12:17 am

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

Future Cops (Review)

Future Cops

aka Chao ji xue xiao ba wang

1993
Directed by Wong Jing

They’re cops from the future, FUTURE COPS! Actually, these future cops look a lot like characters from Street Fighter 2, because they are! This is a film loosely based on the manga adaptation of Street Fighter, and great liberties were taken with some of the characters and the story. Granted, this is a Wong Jing film (writer of Naked Weapon, director of My Kung Fu Sweetheart) so it will be pretty silly regardless. Street Fighter characters would return again in Wong Jing’s City Hunter, based on a different manga and starring Jackie Chan, who becomes Chun Li at one point there. For this encounter, I went to help from others to organize just who is who in the movie, as I was not a big player of Street Fighter games. Mortal Kombat, yes. So besides a vague knowledge that some creepy guys are obsessed with Chun Li and her high kicks in skirts, I knew little to nothing about the characters before beginning. Thanks to my girlfriend and Wikipedia, I was able to piece together most of the characters. Wong Jing took many liberties, including changing most of the names, flipping people from hero to villain and vice versa, and throwing in a few random things just because he’s Wong Jing. There is also a parade of famous Hong Kong celebrities, too many to list in this paragraph, we will deal with them in the lengthy Roll Call section. This would be like taking the Oceans 11 casts and putting them in a Super Smash Brothers movie. Future Cops is full of wild action, crazy stunts, and zany antics. And it is a whole lot of fun! So sit right back and prepare, this video game don’t need extra quarters or furious button smashing, it is on autopilot!

The Future Cops:

Broom Man (Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau) – Broom Man is the representation of the character Guile. Called Kwan-lo in the film, he is actually used as a broom in the movie, and he goes undercover as a teacher, wooing one of his students. Broom Man gets the music video that spontaneously happens in the middle of the film. Special weapon/move is Crescent Knife. Jacky Cheung has been a popular pop singer in Hong Kong for over twenty years now, a rare feat to last that long. One of the Four Heavenly Kings.
Ti Man (Andy Lau Tak-Wah) – Ti Man (or Ti-Men) is the representation of the character known as Vega in the US and Balrog in Japan. In the video game storyline he is a villain, but in the world of Future Cops he is a hero. Takes Chun Li on a date, and into a video game. His metal claws and mask makes him look like some sort of Wolverine/Phantom of the Opera hybrid. Nice trivia for Andy Lau: he used to wash my girlfriend’s mom’s hair when he was a young hairdresser before he became famous. One of the Four Heavenly Kings.
Ah Song (Simon Yam Tat-Wah) – Ah Song is the representation of the character known as Dhalsim. His people are called Sa Ah Men in the film. Has fantastic stretchy powers, and overacts with the Indian guru-ness. Simon Yam is usually an action star, and often costars with Chingmy Yau.
Lung (Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing) – Lung is the representation of the character known as Ryu, he stays behind in 2043 during the mission because the Captain married his sister. Therefore, he’s not in the film much. His Special weapon/move is marrying relatives of important people. Aaron Kwok was a big pop star in Hong Kong in the 90’s, his popularity had dwindled for much of the new millennium but seems to be hitting an upswing recently. There was a scandal about a “sex tape” that someone tried to blackmail him with, he won the case and the tape is sealed, supposedly it is just him touching a girl’s thighs, but you never know. One of the Four Heavenly Kings.

The villains (Future Rascals):

General (Ken Lo Wai-Kwong) – is the representation of the character known as M. Bison in the US and Vega in Japan. He is the super evil leader of the Future Rascals, and his trial is set to be judged by Yu Ti Hung, sparking the rest of the Future Rascals to go back into the past to find Yu Ti Hung and hypnotize him to let General go. Eventually escapes and goes back into the past as well, only to be defeated by the combined Future Cops team. Speaks without moving his mouth. special weapon/move is Flaming Bison. Is a robot, and is nuked. Ken Lo was in Rush Hour.
Kent (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) – is the representation of the character known as Ken, he is the most honorable of the Future Rascals. Armed with rejuvenate serum, and special weapon/move is Swaying Fist. Ekin Cheng is in most of the Young and Dangerous films, as well as Protégé de la Rose Noire.
Thai King (Billy Chow Bei-Lei) – is the representation of the character known as Sagat. Has an eyepatch and a goatee, which all evil people have. Billy Chow is probably best known here for Fist of Legend with Jet Li.
Toyoda (William Tuan Wai Lun) – is the representation of the character known as E. Honda. I hope you caught the automotive joke. He doesn’t say or do much in the film, probably because the actor isn’t a Hong Kong superstar. In fact, I’m not 100% positive I have the actor right!

The People of 1993:

Chun Li (Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching) – Chun Li is Tai Hung’s sister, who is popular with the boys, so many that they are constantly hounding her. Special move is the whirlwind kick. Chun Li is the character all the guys play, then hit pause while she does high kicks and rotate the camera trying to get a panty shot. Chingmy Yau was a big star in the early 1990s, as she dated Wong Jing she was in many of his films, most notably Naked Killer, but hasn’t done that much since she got married to a businessman.
Chun Tai Hung/Yu Ti Hung (Dicky Cheung Wai-Kin) – Age 28 but still in school. Will become the famous judge Yu Ti Hung that the Future Rascals are looking for. Befriends the Future Cops. Becomes Akuma (Gouki in Japan), but called Ng Hung by Toyoda, and says he is Ng Kwan Yu in response. I have no idea. Dicky Cheung was a low paid movie actor until he starred in a Journey to the West TV series as Monkey King and became super-famous. He then went to Taiwan to do more TV series, which he continues to this day both there and back in Hong Kong.
Choy-Nei (Charlie Yeung Choi-Nei) – The love interest for Tai Hung. A big star in Hong Kong in the mid-90s, Charlie Yeung was previously seen here in Task Force. She retired in 1997, but went back to show business in 2004, starring in New Police Story and other films.
Kei-On (Andy Hui Chi-On) – The local school bully, with giant hair. His huge lock of hair will destroy all those who oppose him. Joins up with the Future Rascals to betray Tai Hung, only to be betrayed himself. Andy Hui is a hardworking singer who is only recently being recognized for his pop styling. One of the New Four Heavenly Kings.
Siu-Wai (Winnie Lau Siu-Wai) – Also known as Crab Angel, is Kei-On’s girl until stolen away by Broom Man. Future Cops seems to be Winnie Lau’s biggest movie roll.
Tai-Hung’s Mother Chun Tai (King-Tan Yuen) – Does the whirlwind kick like her daughter. King-Tan Yuen is in tons of films as supporting roles. Was also seen here in My Kung Fu Sweetheart and Haunted Office.
Uncle Richard Yu (Richard Ng Yiu-Hon) – Uncle Richard is Tai-Hung’s mom’s boyfriend. He can speak a few lines of English, which excites his girlfriend. (Actor Richard Yu knows more than a few lines.) He will become Green Wolf (Blanka.) Usually enters attacks while spinning in a Green Ball. His special move is Electrical discharge. Richard Ng is a famous comedian in Hong Kong who is semi-retired now.


Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 7, 2007 at 12:07 am

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

%d bloggers like this: