Chasing the Dragon (Review)

Chasing the Dragon

aka 追龍 aka Chui Lung aka Zeoi Lung
Chasing the Dragon
Written and directed by Wong Jing and Jason Kwan Chi-Yiu
Chasing the Dragon
A stellar performance from Donnie Yen elevates Chasing the Dragon to being a film that Hong Kong fans need to see. Yen gets to stretch his acting muscles underneath some early ridiculous wigs, and is joined by Andy Lau, who also spends some time doing actual acting while taking bribes and consolidating power. Wong Jing proves he can still put out some good stuff, and every time he does it just makes his bad movies even worse. If Wong Jing was consistent, he’d be the greatest filmmaker of all time. But then he wouldn’t really be Wong Jing, so I guess this will do.

Despite a slow start that fumbles around before it gets focused, Chasing the Dragon becomes a pretty good crime drama. Yen plays Crippled Ho, who is based on real gangster Ng Sek-ho (his story was previously told in 1991’s To Be Number One, of which this is a sort of remake, though I’m confused on if it is an actual official remake or just similar.) Andy Lau plays his Lee Rock character from the Lee Rock series (which was based on real life corrupt policeman Lui Lok), which makes this one of those weird films that is a remake but also a reboot but also based on real life. You know, something very easy to classify!

Crippled Ho begins as an illegal immigrant from the mainland who turns to fighting with street gangs for easy cash, and soon catches the eye of up and coming policeman Lee Rock. Fate binds them together through series of ups and downs of both characters as they begin flexing their muscles in controlling the various criminal elements in a very corrupt Hong Kong. Lee Rock has learned that just being the honest cop sort of sucks when everyone else is on the take, while Crippled Ho is forced towards crime by the same system that keeps the Hong Kong people down, Mainlanders even below them, and the corrupt and brutal British on top.
Chasing the Dragon
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All’s Well Ends Well 2011 (Review)

All’s Well Ends Well 2011

aka 最強囍事 aka Ji keung hei si 2011

Directed by Chan Hing-Kar and Janet Chun Siu-Jan
Written by Chan Hing-Kar, Ho Miu-Kei, and Fung Ching-Ching

All’s Well Ends Well 2011 follows in the footprints of it’s four predecessors in presenting a series of couples who spend the majority of the film bickering about the nature of love and then end up all marrying or getting together at the end. The previous film a year prior reset the action to ancient China, but we’re back to modern day and with an almost entirely new cast, save Louis Koo and a few brief cameos (AngelaBaby, Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei, Stephy Tang Lai-Yan, and a billion others!) The story is a mix of several stereotypical lovers stories, with a healthy mix of fantasy scenes and goofy side characters to keep things going until everyone gets married.

Sammy (Louis Koo Tin-Lok) – Sammy is a famous makeup artist who obsesses over women, despite putting on an air of homosexuality. But all shells must crack, and Sammy meets his match in his personal assistant, Claire. Louis Koo continues to be in every movie ever made in Hong Kong. See him here in Mr. and Mrs. Incredible.
Claire (Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi) – Sammy’s personal assistant at the cosmetic company. She takes her job serious and doesn’t waste time chasing after money. Sammy defends her through all the crap she takes from other people, causing her to have feelings for him instead of the billionaire chasing after her. This is Cecilia’s big return to the screen after the Edison Chen photo scandal and taking a break to have some children. Between the time I watched this film and the time the review was published, Cecilia and her husband Nicholas Tse became embroiled in a huge divorce drama. Cecilia is also here in The Promise and My Kung Fu Sweetheart.
Clerk Chan (Raymond Wong Pak-Ming) – Clerk Chan is a billionaire businessman too busy to spend time with his girlfriend, so he gives her a cosmetics company to keep her busy until he has time to marry her. This backfires when Dream begins to spend all her time making the company work. Raymond Wong has been in all of the All’s Well, Ends Well films.
Dream (Yan Ni) – Clerk’s girlfriend who he puts in charge of a cosmetics company to keep her busy while he does business deals. Dream takes the job serious and becomes very involved in her company. Clerk must work to keep her heart.
Arnold Cheng (Donnie Yen Ji-Dan) – A cosmetics salesman and friendly rival to Sammy, who recruits him to his new company. Arnold is also friends with Mona. Donnie Yen co-directed Protege de la Rose Noire
Mona (Carina Lau Ka-Ling) – a writer who gets invested in her books and is friends with Arnold. Carina Lau was also in Detective Dee

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Wuxia is now Dragon

Because what movies need is a dumb and generic name! Blame Weinstein Co. for the dumb new name, but since Wuxia had a dumb name to begin with it’s more like a lateral move. Wuxia, mind you, is the obviously made with foreign distribution in mind film starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Donnie Yen, Tang Wei, and Jimmy Wang Yu. The plot sounds similar A History of Violence, with a regular guy Jinxi (Donnie Yen) who foils a robbery from two super bandits, attracting attention from Detective Xu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), who wonders how a regular guy could do it. It’s getting okay reviews, but it will probably be more widely seen than other recent Asian films so we might as well talk about it so TarsTarkas.NET looks hip and current.

The film is brought to us by some Warlords alums, director Peter Chan Ho-sun and writer Aubrey Lam. I thought Warlords was generic and predictable, getting lost in the mess of other giant spectacle films that came out that year. Maybe Wuxia will surprise me, the praise for the script sounds like it will be at least good enough that I’ll finish the film.

And now I have to differentiate this Dragon from the Dragon from Asylum. Thanks a lot!

My wuxia brings all the boys to the yard


and they're like, its better than yours,


damn right its better than yours,

Wuxia Tang Wei

I can teach you, but I have to charge!

pics ganked from here and here

Protege De La Rose Noire (Review)

Protege De La Rose Noire

aka Gin chap hak mooi gwai

Gillian Chung as Gillian Lo
Charlene Choi as Charlene
Ekin Cheng as Jim Lo/J-Lo
Teresa Mo as Rose
Directed by Donnie Yen and Chun-Chun Wong

The TWINS! Hong Kong pop stars Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi star in their second vehicle movie, partially directed by Donnie Yen. It’s campy eye candy.

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