Posts tagged "Tsui Hark"

Cat-it-tude Links!

Cat it tude forever 21
Above is a shirt I tried unsuccessfully to get my wife to buy. And below are a bunch of links I’ll successfully get you to click on, along with some random movie news that didn’t warrant their own updates.

**Fist of B-List meets Angelfist!

**Derek Yee Tung-Sing (爾冬陞) has begun work on his next director’s gig, a 3D film called The Sword Master (三少爺的劍), which is written by Tsui Hark! The Sword Master is about a retired master swordsman who returns to the martial world to try to settle a dispute with his longtime nemesis. It will star Lin Gengxin (林更新), Peter Ho (何卓榮) Jiang Yiyan (江一燕) and Jiang Mengjie (蔣夢婕). The lack of big name stars was apparently controversial, which caused Derek Yee to say “If a collaboration between Tsui Hark and I still need big stars to get you to waste your time and spend your money on a ticket, then we might as well pack up, go home, drink whiskey and shoot the breeze.”

**Pre-Code.com meets The Man From Monterey!

**The teaser trailer is out for High Heels (하이힐). The film stars Cha Seung-Won (차승원) as Detective Ji-Wook, who solves violent crimes and also desires to become a woman. The film will costar Esom (이솜) as mysterious woman Jang-Mi, and Oh Jung-Se (오정세) as Heo-Gon, who didn’t get a character description in English. High Heels is directed by Jang Jin (장진), who did the classic Guns and Talks and the more recent The Quiz Show Scandal .

**beyondasiaphilia finds That Demon Within!

**Have a nice list of the 100 best Mainland Chinese films to argue about!

**The Film Fiend is drafted into Frankenstein’s Army!

**Five cool Bengali directors

**Teleport City meets the 13 ghosts of Golgo-13!

**An Evening With Jim Henson and Frank Oz – July 1989 at the Puppeteers of America

**Jeremy Blitz feels that Black Torment!

**Newsreel archive British Pathé just released 85,000 films onto YouTube! Holy crap!

**The Vern watches Shorts!

**Reminder that Kate Mulgrew was tricked into narrating a documentary where it’s alleged that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun.

**FilmiGeek declares OMG – Oh My God!

**A cool essay about African American women in the silent film industry

**At Monster Island Resort the TCM Classic Film Festival Hosts TCM Party!

**RIP Pervert Dave

**The Horror!? makes bets with Daredevils of the Red Circle!

**Hey, Ju-On (The Grudge) is getting another Japanese installment!

**Hey, The Grudge (Ju-On) is getting another American reboot!

**Will there be a Gamera reboot? Probably if the Godzilla remake doesn’t bomb.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain

Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain

aka 新蜀山劍俠 aka Xin shu shan jian ke
Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
1983
Written by Shui Chung-Yuet and Sze-To Cheuk-Hon
Directed by Tsui Hark

Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
My life having gone through the binge period of renting blurry Hong Kong VHS second generation dubs with hard to read subtitles from locally owned video stores in the 90s, Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain is one of those films that unleashes giant waves of nostalgia. Despite the bad conditions it was being viewed under, the energy and effects magics caused it to rise above the masses. I’ve since seen it on first generation VHS, vcd, and DVD, each time being a fun experience as an idealistic young fighter is caught in the world of wuxia masters, who turn out to have just as many problems as the normal folk (only their problems are a million times more dangerous!) With Tsui Hark’s direction (and choreography work done by Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Biao, Fung Hak-On, and Mang Hoi), Zu is visually distinctive. The choreography and effects jumpstarted the look of modern Hong Kong film from the 1980s, while the color and humorous tone helped distinguish it from the Shaw Brothers films that it often shared rental store space with.

The effects look a bit dated now, flying people on obvious wires, old school makeup effects, and cartoon lasers zapping around. But a lot of the practical effects still look nice, and the pulsating monster seems more dangerous as a jiggling puppet than it would as just a bunch of lifeless CGI. The effects were pushed to show that Hong Kong could produce films on par with Star Wars and other early 80s effects-laden films from Hollywood. While I don’t think they quite match the talent, much is accomplished on what is obviously an insanely smaller budget (and Hong Kong effects would develop much further thanks to experience from producing films like this one!)
Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
Despite the effects, much of the film is character driven. Dik Ming Kei’s endless idealism, Ding Yan’s tough exterior hiding a lonesome and good man, Yat Jan being a royal screw up, and the Ice Queen being the total opposite of her name when it comes to Ding Yan. It’s Moon Lee’s first major role, she would go on to be a major player in the Girls with Guns films of the late 80s/early 90s. Brigitte Lin began her domination as a martial arts queen that would ripen with Swordsman II and The Bride with White Hair.

The energy of Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain is infectious, it covers so much that we’re sprinting from concept to concept. Despite that, the basic story is simple to follow. They even stop to remind everyone that it is just good vs. evil!
Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain

Dik Ming Kei (Yuen Biao) – A former scout turned man fed up with war, who then gets entangled in drama in the martial world. He will become involved on a quest to literally save the planet. Through it all, his optimism and hope for the future becomes almost as powerful a weapon as the martial art skills he learns along the way.
Ding Yan (Adam Cheng Siu-Chow) – Ding Yan of Nam-Hoi, a lone martial fighter who fights against evil and lives a solitary life. Ding Yan is proud and stern, but he’s also loyal to his friends.
Yat Jan (Mang Hoi) – The student of Hiu Yu, a goofy klutz who doesn’t feel he is worthy to carry on the legacy of the Kwan-Leung school. Needs a healthy dose of confidence. Wears a turtle shell on his back.
Hiu Yu (Norman Chu Siu-Keung) – Leader of Kwan-Leun school and trains his student, Yat Jan. Is called Heaven’s Blade. Poisoned early in the film, requiring the help of the Ice Queen.
Ice Queen (Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia) – the Lady lives in her secluded palace and has the power to heal those injured by supernatural means. But it also costs her much energy to heal them, and she usually decides to heal or not to heal based on fate, things ouside her control. Her isolation is argued to cause her to be cold, but she does have humanity in her (as evidenced by her interactions with Ding Yan)
Ice Queen’s Guard (Moon Lee Choi-Fung) – One of the guards of Ice Queen’s palace, she is tricked by Dik Ming Kei and Hiu Yu when they embarass her to try to get past. She gets revenge on them by embarrassing them much more, and is the only member of Ice Queen’s crew to escape her palace. She joins the heroes on their quest as she has nowhere else to go.
Chang Mei (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) – Founder of Ngo-Mei School and fighter against evil. He holds the big villain at bay for 49 days with only a mirror and his eyebrows, surviving only with the hope the dopey goofs he sent on the quest to save the planet actually get their act together.

Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
Read more…

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D – Posters and Stills

Feast your eyes on some posters and stills for Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D released ahead of the American Film Market. Tsui Hark directs this return to Inn-based wuxia swordplay films, starring Jet Li, Zhou Xun, Chen Kun, Kwai Lun-Mei, Mavis Fan Hiu-Huen, Fan Siu-Wong, and Li Yuchun
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Jet LiFlying Swords of Dragon Gate Zhou Xun
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Chen Kun

Sina via Roast Pork Sliced From A Rusty Cleaver

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: