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YesAsia 2011 Bestsellers - Movies

Written by YumCha! Editorial Team Tell a Friend

Chinese period movies, in particular action epics, is the genre of choice among YesAsia's best-selling movies of 2011. Hong Kong period action films take up a good half of the top ten ranking, and superstars Andy Lau and Donnie Yen headline the top four spots with two movies each. Korean action also made a strong showing, with Kim Jee Woon being the only director to appear twice in the top ten.


1. Shaolin (Hong Kong/China)
One of the highest-grossing Chinese films of 2011, Benny Chan's martial arts epic also captivated action fans around the world with its mix of explosive action scenes, splendid martial arts choreography, and deep spirituality.

2. Wu Xia (Hong Kong/China)
Director Peter Chan returns from a four-year hiatus with this exciting crime procedural that's part CSI and part Shaw Brothers. Donnie Yen is excellent as a simple paper maker who may be a martial arts master, but it's Kaneshiro Takeshi who steals the spotlight as a Sichuanese-speaking detective.

3. The Lost Bladesman (Hong Kong/China)
Two of China's biggest stars play two of the most famous warriors in Chinese history in The Lost Bladesman, the first period action film from Infernal Affairs creators Alan Mak and Felix Chong. While Donnie Yen handles the action as the legendary General Guan Yu, Jiang Wen keeps us guessing with his morally ambiguous take on Cao Cao.

4. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Hong Kong/China)
The winner of six Hong Kong Film Awards, this period mystery-thriller has been heralded as a return to form for director Tsui Hark. The veteran Hong Kong filmmaker's take on the detective procedural genre is wildly entertaining, visually dazzling, and definitely the work of a master director.

5. The Man From Nowhere (Korea)
A critical and commercial hit in 2010, this action-noir is our best-selling Korean film of 2011. In addition to the no-nonsense action sequences, The Man From Nowhere also boasts the performance of a career by superstar Won Bin as a former secret agent who will let nothing stop him from rescuing a little girl.

6. Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy (Hong Kong)
One of the most talked-about films of 2011, much of the excitement around Sex & Zen: Extreme Esctasy was not only due to it being Hong Kong cinema's long-awaited return to the erotica genre, but also because it was shot using state-of-the-art 3D technology. Sex & Zen: Extreme Esctasy offers eye-popping visuals that will make you look at the genre in a whole new way.

7. Reign of Assassins (Hong Kong/China)
Double Vision director Su Chao Pin and John Woo do old-school wuxia with a tale of hidden identities, secret assassins, and a magical corpse. Michelle Yeoh leads an excellent ensemble cast that includes a sexy Barbie Hsu, a noodle-making Shawn Yue, Korean star Jung Woo Sung, and a scenery-chewing Wang Xueqi as the villain.

8. A Bittersweet Life (Korea)
Kim Jee Woon's neo-noir classic hit the Blu-ray format for the first time in 2011, and so many fans were excited to grab their copy that it managed to get on this year's bestsellers list. Featuring a new digitally remastered transfer supervised by Kim and his cinematographer, A Bittersweet Life may never look better than it does here.

8. Space Battleship Yamato (Japan)
An adventure to the edge of the universe and back, Yamazaki Takashi's adaptation of the classic anime series boasts state-of-the-art special effects and a charismatic performance by superstar Kimura Takuya. Thanks to fans of the science fiction genre, the Yamato anime, and SMAP, Space Battleship Yamato is the best-selling Japanese film of 2011 on YesAsia.

10. I Saw the Devil (Korea)
I Saw the Devil attracted plenty of curiosity from horror fans and those who want to see how director Kim Jee Woon takes on the serial killer genre. The film's Korean video releases feature both the international cut (more violence) and the Korean theatrical cut (more sexually explicit), giving viewers the choice of deciding how to enter the disturbed mind of a killer.

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Published January 31, 2012

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