My unintentional focus this year was on the films of Korean action star and self-avowed nightclubber Ryoo Seung Beom. I picked my films this year largely on the mood I happen to be in that day, and that day I happened to be in the mood for a lot of slick, big-budget crime and espionage films.
At first glance, Last Tycoon is a movie that seems custom-made for me and based entirely on some of my favorite obsessions: Shanghai during the 20s and 30s, old-time fashion, Jazz Age decadence, shidaiqu, a title stolen from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and Chow Yun-fat in a cool suit blowing suckers away. Pretty perfect set of ingredients, right?
Bloody Tie sports all the polish and big budget precision typical of Korean action films but combines it with a frenetic, almost anarchic approach that makes the entire thing feel like it’s totally bonkers. The closest comparison is Nowhere to Hide, but you’d have to mix it up with Goodfellas and Battles Without and Humanity.
The script should be giving us something more to root for in Sang-hwan other than “he’s the Chosen One,” but he never really gets much character redemption. He’s a lunkheaded, inconsiderate buffoon when we meet him, and he remains as such throughout the movie. I was wishing he would just get shuffled to the background.
The movie hits the ground running with ice-cold North Korean spy Pyo involved in an arms deal in Berlin that rapidly goes south. The South Koreans, led by disillusioned veteran Jeong, were looking to make a bust they hoped might lead them to a secret bank account that was kept by recently departed Kim Jong-il.
I didn’t know if Noboru had it in him to make a ‘real’ movie. But he really nails it with Karate Robo Zaborgar. The story is funny and surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the original material
Yatterman was like a self-indulgent child banging pots together, desperate for someone to pay attention to how hilarious it is.
Shinjuku Incident seemed to be saying that it was time to start paying attention to Jackie Chan again. And then, in 2010, came Little Big Soldier, and Jackie Chan fans, covered in cobwebs and the dust of the wasteland, knew that our time in the wilderness was finally at an end.
I really should write a full review of Tsui Hark’s landmark Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain, but until that happens, I wanted to pop in with a few random […]
Benny Chan overplays everything to the point where attempts at tragedy simply become comical. He doesn’t try to jerk tears from you; he tries to rip them from you using a drag car.