Reviews written by Lam
Ocean Heaven (2010) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)2 people found this review helpful
November 14, 2010 effective tear jerker.
Jet Li's non martial arts film is a success in affecting the audience emotionally, the simple tale of a father with a terminal illness striving to teach and care for his son is handle so well, the audience genuinely feel the emotions.
the director handles thing subtley and effectively, hardly ever going over board with the emotional moments, this makes things feel real. camera shots linger on scenes adding to the emotions and things are shown or hinted at rather than spelt; again giving a sense of reality. music is also used sparsely relying on the onscreen actions and performance making for some tear inducing moments.
performances are top notch; jet li makes a credible average joe making you forget his star status, the supporting cast is also in top form but it is Wen Zhang that shines. his performance as the autistic is outstanding; he makes the audience believe that he is simple minded, almost child like and channels a likable character.
jet li recieve next to no salary making this film highlighting his great support of the subject matter. filmed using a modest budget but featuring a host of talents the film makes use of all its assets and truly delivers
the only negative is that there is minor romance or relationship that never becomes fully realised but due to great performance they make the relationship credible. sometimes the score can become a bit over melodramatic compared to the quieter emotional moments but thats a minor quibble.
highly recommended. a morale uplifting and heart warming film that deserves recognition.
Kung Fu Chefs (VCD + Bonus VCD + Booklet) (Hong Kong Version)(1)Our Price: US$11.99May 28, 2010 another fail for vaness wu
from the people who brought you the abysmal kung fu fighter comes kung fu chef. though better than kung fu fighter this is still a terrible film. the story is poor and the acting is even worse. alot of the time the film tries to copy god of cookery but comes of as direct rip off and with out the charisma of stephen chow the delivery of the comedic moments comes of as protentious. things happen at random; e.g starts singing in the kitchen, and are supposed to be funny but just falls flat.
things happen in this film but in all honesty it is handled in such a boring manner that the audience just would not care. Sammo hung is decent enough in this film along with bruce liang but they alone cannot save this film. it is Vaness Wu that drops the ball his character and acting is just bland and for someone who carries little expression to play a comedic role is just poor choice. Fan siu wong goes over board with a horribly written character his villain is just characture.
the only good thing is the fighting which is well choreographed and well performed but this alone does not make up for the mess of a film.
Bad Blood (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)May 28, 2010 great martial arts but boring film.
with fatal contact and fatal move under his helm the director should have improved on his directional skills but unfortunately he has made one of the most boring film to date. the director does not employ any fancy camera work to enhance an already boring script but instead films things in the most pedestrian way as possible; cameras pan from side to side, scenes lingering on for to long etc.
what hurts the film the most is the lack of editing involved in some scenes, the audience has to witness some mundane tasks, such as making coffee or changing clothes, that add nothing to the proceeding. the camera seems to linger on for no apparent reason except for just lazy film mamking.
the good thing about this lack of editing is that the fight scenes are shown in all its glory, this is where the director excels. wide lengthy shots are used allowing the audience to follow the excellent choreography which are scattered through out the film. Andy On does an admirable job in the fight department but doubled for acrbatic moves and certain kicks. it is new comer Jiang Lu Xia that really shines though, with her martial arts skills. Bernice Liu is the main antagonist but she fails to convince as master of martial arts which she portrayed as.
another plus for fight fans is the return of Xiong xin xin in a minor fighting role and the chance to see ken lo dish out some kisks again.
As for the acting Bernice Liu is just horrifically bad as the villain her acting is just comical villain. Andy On does a decent job and as for the veterans they are in fine form but are never really explored that much.
everything is bad about this film but is saved by some really good old fighting if you can stomach poor film making then watch this.
Confucius (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Confucius (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region All(2)Our Price: US$40.99List: US$45.99Save: US$5.00 (10%)May 28, 2010 a decent effort.
Confucious is a hard film to make for there is a lot of philosophy that needs to be touched upon but in the case of a film scenario it can make the proceedings rather boring. though there are moments that do drag on the film is rather compelling, the political turmoil is intriguing and the nature of Confucious makes you care about the character.
chow yun fat emboidies confucious really well and makes the role convincing, zhou xun also puts on a good performance but unfortunately her character lacks developement. her interaction with confucious hits at a deeper character but never really explored upon, whats worst is she ends abrutly.
confucious features many of his diciples but unfortunately they are rarely devepoled, this could be because there are too many to really touch upon. what makes this odd is the inclusion of text of the characters name appearing along side them when the character just dissappears soon after.
though there is some combat involved they are very minor which is for the better allowing time to focus on characters.
the 1st half focuses on the political turmoil and is very compelling watch but the second half when confucious is forced into exile things are skimped over, things are shown then moved along. there are interesting elements that could have been explored but it would have extended the running time to an already lengthy film.
this is a hard film to recommended for a film with out martial arts but is actually a beautiful film artistically and does offer some entertainment.
14 Blades (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)2 people found this review helpful
May 18, 2010 daniel lee improves is directional skills.
with each outing the director, daniel lee seems to improve; gone are his overly used shaky cams, extremely fast editing and uneven pacing. here we get to see a well put together story featuring one mans redemption of dignity with some good old martial arts thrown in along side it.
donnie yen gives a restrained performance and is in top form. vicki zhao is excellent; her eyes are really expressive and her delivery is spot on. unfortunately wu chun and kate tsui have little to offer in there respective roles, their characters are really under developed so there motivations are not quite clear. sammo hung makes a welcome non fighting cameo. other cameos include wu ma and fung hak on.
the fight scenes are plenty here and fortunately the shaky camera has been ditched, though fast editing is still present it is not as overly abused as his previous efforts. a minor gripe is that the fight scenes are rather short but that is compensated by great choreography. fights are evenly interspersed through out and are quite varied in styles, quite a bit of wire work is used.
the story is not too original but features archetype characters that the audience can relate to.
if you were skeptical about daniel lee's effort then rest assured he has actually delivered a reasonable piece here.
Little Big Soldier (2010) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)(3)Our Price: US$14.991 people found this review helpful
May 1, 2010 Jackie chan's creativity back on form.
Surprisingly this film is actually very good it harks back to the old days of jackie chan comedy and martial arts, though the martial arts is mainly delivered by his co stars.
instead of palying the heroic type jackie chan plays the coward and it is here where his creativity flourishes; instead of confronting his enemies he uses evasive moves allowing for some well choreographed ducking, flipping and weaving in order to escape attacks. His character is very lighthearted and jackie chan pulls it of with his likable persona throwing in some funny moments.
Wang LeeHom plays it straight opposite Chan and it is Leehom that gets to let lose in the martial arts department with some well staged fight scenes. a small gripe; the editing is quick but not too destracting in which moves cannot be seen.
there are not many fight scenes so those looking for constant action will be dissapointed but they are well paced throughout the film, opting for quality rather than quantity.
dont get fooled though this is not an epic war picture like warlords etc. though it hints at it, it is more confined with the main characters, it is this method of filmmaking that makes you care for individual characters. not all characters are what they seem and their agendas are revealed well enough for the audience to be engaged.
it is an entertaining piece and the comedy is well executed with an underlying message to be had and in all actuallity it is quite an emotional piece towards the end.
True Legend (2010) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)1 people found this review helpful
May 1, 2010 Apes Fearless but still enjoyable.
Yuen woo ping returns to the directors chair and he delivers a truely enjoyable film, the fight scenes are top notch albeit heavily wire assisted but what sets it appart is the exceptional editing and direction of these fight scenes; audiences get to see the delivery of moves.
the problem is that the story suffers Yuen woo ping moves things along at too fast a pace leaving less than developed pivotal moments and revelations. this also affects characterization; Su Chan relevation comes about too quick. Zhou Xun plays his wife but unfortunately she isnt required to show a range emotions leaving the audience feeling a bit cold towards her character.
Vincent zhao puts on a good performance but it is his wushu skills that truly shines and he is more than capable of handling himself. Andy On is barely developed but makes a worthy opponent for So Chan.
As for Jay Chou, he is heavily miscast as god of wushu; he is just too young and inexperienced to convince as a martial arts master to Vincent Zhao, even worse his scenes are in front of a green screen making it feel at odds with the authentic environments featured throughout the film. Gordon Liu, Michelle Yeoh and Leung Kar Yan make welcome cameos but add nothing to the film.
the first two acts are similar to Fearless but it is the third act that is the worse offender when the westerners are intoduced; the film shifts and apes Fearless.
with all these problems though it is still highly enjoyable because in all honesty a Yuen woo ping film is all about the fights and there are plenty here that are highly creative.
a welcome return, highly recommended.
Wing Chun (AKA: Yong Chun) (DVD) (End) (Hong Kong Version)
Wing Chun (AKA: Yong Chun) (DVD) (End) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All(1)Our Price: US$78.993 people found this review helpful
April 5, 2010 a decent effort.
for a t.v series this features some finely choreographed fight scenes though they do lack the polish of big film productions but that is forgivable.
featuring an impressive cast of hong kong and mainland actors in which most of them do good job in their performances. it is nicholas tse that drops the ball here, his acting his poor and fails to deliver the range that is required of him what does nt help matters is his character, he is just mopes around during the duration of most of his scenes they can become grating, in fact he is the least interesting of characters in the entire feature. it is hung tin chui (sammo hungs son) that steals the show, he puts on the best performance aptly conveying his tortured character and his turn as the villain is the most interesting of the bunch all though he sometimes approach comical villain due to the scripting.
other characters are sadly unknown but do a reasonable job but sadly they are dubbed which can distract.
sammo hung and yuen biao do a fine job but not much is required of them except for some breif fighting. for a 40 part episode there is surprisingly few fight scenes instead we are given more of soup opera drama that chinese series have been known for but when there is fighting they are tightly choreographed and handled really well by the young stars help along by some good camera framing.
if you can swallow the over abundance of romantic love stories and young drama then you will probably enjoy this, for those looking for fight scenes then there will be lots of waiting for till they do come.
Seven Swordsmen (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (US Version)
Seven Swordsmen (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (US Version) DVD Region All(2)Our Price: US$63.99April 5, 2010 poor effort.
the idea of seven swords should work better as a t.v series opposed to a 2 hr long feature because you get the opportunity to flesh out individual characters, but here things move at such a slow pace that you just dont care any more. there is off course romantic moments in the series but they too seem forced never do they develope the relationship and they just happen.
Vincent zhao does a compotent job but unfortunately we do not really get to see him loose in the martial arts department in the 39 episodes, CGI features dominatly through out and all actors are required to do is flay the arms about for effects to takeover.
ada choi is wasted here is such a pointless addition, her scenes add nothing to the overall series, in fact when ever her character is featured the series slows down to a crawl with a romance that comes out of nowhere.
for a t.v. series though the technical side is impressive featuring some nice locations and the scale is huge but that not be forgiven for its shortcomings.
never was i excited watching this and story is just too convulted, would recommend watching the tsui hark film instead which is far more enjoyable.
Accident (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)1 people found this review helpful
April 5, 2010 good film that requires patience.
accident is a film is more of a character driven piece it does not have any over blown moments that will blow the audience away, instead it a subtly handled affair. the audience follows Louis koo's character as he becomes obbessed by Richie ren it is this that makes the film tense we too are placed within the films paranoia - is there others who are with in the same profession and are out to kill Koo's character.
the story is well constructed and leads to events carefully, but this results to a problem because they are too carefully planned out that it does slow the pace down. this makes the film hard to recommended because of the slow proceedings lacking the flamboyance of the directors previous efforts. suspenion of believe is sometimes required as it does become a bit odd at times such as the ending in which a moment of convient film making turn events around.
Louis koo and Richie ren handle the respective roles admirably, especially koo who is required to carry the film.
it is the films slow pacing and the lack of any major events that turned me off but in all honesty it is a really well crafted piece and kudos need to be given to the director who has focused on character rather than spectacle.
Still Fantasy (CD+DVD) (Taiwan Edition)1 people found this review helpful
April 5, 2010 exceptional album.
this is my first jay chou album and i have got to say that i was impressed and have become fan at once. production of the tracks are phenomenal with a flavour of r&b and dance, it successfully blends western style with an asian backing. as for the vocals any jay chou fan will be acustomed to chou's monotonous delivery and this took me awhile to fully appreciate but once you do you start to hear some carefully constructed flow of lyrics.
unfortunately my mandarin is really poor so i cannot really touch upon the subject matter but what i do know of, is that they are varied sometimes focusing a real life experience and morale messages and others are fictional stories. Jay chou switches between hip-hop tracks to pop tracks but the mojority falls under the latter category.
the album opens with an interesting piece, it a fictional story that focuses on the exploits of jay chou as a detective and the unravelling a mystery (the accompanying music video is well directed), as we get further into the album tracks start to mellow out and becomes more ballad focused, some are easy listening material and should appeal to fans.
in total there are about 3 tracks out of the 10 that are more unbeat in tempo akin to american produced music but with jay chou signature vocals and a hint of asian instumentals.
the problem that i had was that all the best tracks (in my opinion) were featured on the opening of the album where as the rest became familiar and a bit bland.
the album comes with a dvd that includes to music videos and a making of (one of the music video) the music videos are extended versions of the tracks on the album but add no new lyrics to the music itself just fleshes out the story. this is worth a watch as it shows what a talented musician jay is.
credit needs to be given to Jay chou for composing, producing, writing and directing.
Kung Fu Fighter (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)April 3, 2010 horrible cash in.
kung fu fighter brings nothing new to the screen it tries so hard to ape kung fu hustle so desperately it fails in all departments. the story is really bad as it is, adding to the directors lack of directional skills everything is bland - ten fold. for a comedy the humour is poor, in both the writing and a decent actor to pull it off.
Vaness Wu is is a terrible actor as it is and here he is just bland for a central caracter he is just unbearably boring to watch. certain characters return from kung fu hustle who does a decent jobs in there roles but are so unoriginal they just become tiresome.
the only saving grace is the fight scene (singular not plural), the final confrontation is well choreographed and is fluently executed by real martial artists which is a joy to watch. adding to that is the return of Fan siu wong in a figting role which is always a pleasure. speaking of fan siu wong though he is such a pointles addition to the film not once is he shown yet he just appears at the end.
the end fight scene is the only real enjoyment to the film but in all honesty you can watch that online. everything else is just plain bad.
Mulan (2009) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)(2)Our Price: US$19.99April 3, 2010 Familiar territory.
Another epic period piece from hong kong that actually entertains. mulan is a an excellent character concept that is been returned to countless times over the years on t.v. and the likes here is her major film adaption. Jingle ma created an commercially successful piece he checks all the boxes that a period piece like this needs in order for it to capture the audience.
vicky zhao puts on a really good performance she carries the film and you can sympatheis with her this is due to her likable character who is humanised through good character development. Aloy chen and jaycee chan also brings aboard good performance. jaycee chan's character could have been more refined as in more screen time but that is only a minor gripe.
there are some nice moments of choreography with in the film but these are more down and dirty realistic fighting on the battlefield so those expecting fancy moves will be disappointed.
a fault with the film though is how things happen at a really fast pace - right from the beginning mulan is recruited, next she is to be executed, next her identity is known, next she is promoted and so on and all this happens during the first half of the film. it would have been nice if these moments were expanded on. nearer the ended things do slow down to a decent pace but as it does, it is time for the end of the film.
along with red cliff, warlords, battle of wits and the likes it is a worthy addition to hong kong war epics.
The Treasure Hunter (2009) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)1 people found this review helpful
April 3, 2010 poor effort but better than kungfu dunk.
This is hong kongs answer to indiana jones and it does not shy away from it in fact its main character apes the harrison fords character but with less charisma. here jay chou gives one of his blanded and most bored performances granted that he hasnt actually really shown any exceptional acting talents in the past.
what ever plot there is, it is apallingly crafted together - characters are not established enough for audiences to care and relationship between them is scarce yet they try to convince audiences that there is more to it than there is. in fact a lot of characters add nothing to the over all plot but are in all actuality more interesting than jay chou's character. the director tends to mention one element but then a few minutes later ignores the whole thing, example - Jay mentions an open land of poisonious air that is impossible to traverse but next scene we witness them crossing the land??? there are lot of pointless moments that add nothing to the proceedings.
as mentioned before Jay chou lacks any emotion and is verging on horrible, Lin chi ling fairs better with her performance but she is regulated to a flower vase role, Eric tsang and chen dao ming do a good job as well but as far as characters go they have nothing to add to the picture.
fight scenes lack any intensity, there is never any danger during the fights and they look comical with the heavy usage of wire work and hovering in the air. there is some decent choreography but overall it is all familiar material. most impressive though is Lin chi ling's fight where she handles the staff admirably, almost like a pro and even dropping into the splits.
CGI is also really well done but like with all CGI infested films from Hong Kong they tend to be the main selling point of a film and here it is no different because they sacrifice everything else.
compared to recent films such as kungfu cyborg, storm warriors and even kungfu dunk this is good stuff. the lowest of enjoyment can be had here but that is if you are really really easily pleased.
The Storm Warriors (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)April 1, 2010 all looks, no substance.
Visually, storm warriors is impressive everything looks gorgeous and is comparable to hollywood productions, but Pang brothers make a major sacrifice opting for heavy usage of CGI oppose to a decent plot, characterization, action and pretty much logic as well.
The plot is overly basic it is almost laughable - if you have watched any wuxia pan films in the past you pretty much no what to expect. Simon Yam (name - Godless) plays an evil warlord who is pretty much invincible even to Wind and Cloud but later on we learn that when combined Wind and Cloud is comparable to Godless yet they never attack together. Then we learn that in order to defeat Godless one of them have to learn evil martial arts in which it will empower them yet once mastered he is still pretty much useless against Godless. This it self promotes the wrong morale of how you have to go to the dark side in order to conquer the bad. in fact there are a lot of useless moments within the film.
Never do we see any civilians therefore making the plot pretty much redundant because we dont actually witness any danger to the citizens so we dont actually care for what Simon Yam does to the world. in all honesty we dont actually see any natural enviroments again lessening anything the audience can relate to. characters are never established fully and the directors assume that every one has seen or remembers the first film so characters come and we are expected to know what relation they have with everyone else. the final confrontation is uneventful because the audience just doesnt care for the 2 protagonist. Charlene choi is more mature in her role but she is reduced to a flower vase role and pretty much everyone else is pointless to the proceedings.
as for the action - what ever action there is it is covered with CGI and heavy editing along with a really frantic camera work. which is a shame for there is some decent choreography hidden beneath the mess but most of the time characters dont actually go toe to toe they just flay there arms and effects does the rest. and "oh my god" - slow motion is used constantly and pointlessly extending the overall length of the film.
a positive.........................its good to see kenny ho return to screen and sammo hung's son makes film debute.
a star for the impressive visuals.
Old Boy (2003) (DVD) (Korean Version)1 people found this review helpful
March 31, 2010 a true masterpiece.
old boy is pure genius film making, the director has created something really intense and suspenseful. the audience are intrigued from the get go, imediately we want to know who is holding him captive?, when we get the answer we want to know why he has been held captive? why 15 years?
everything moves at a brisk pace and the acting is top notch.
the film is truly violent and wont be suitable to the sqeamish, there is animal cruelty, torture and explicit sex involved. the director employs some very nice camera movements and the hghlight of the film is the one shot fight scene showcasing an awesome brawl between one man against a group of thugs.
everything is rounded off nicely but it is no happy ending as such.
this is one of my favourite films but i can understand why some may not like it.
The Promise (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
The Promise (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All(23)Our Price: US$10.99March 31, 2010 beautiful film but failing to live up to prmoise.
this film truly beautiful to look it, visually everyting is well concieved; costume, choreography, the world and the actors/ actress. putting that aside though we have an intriguing premise for a film and the fantasy elements should have proved a winning formula but unfortunately the director has selected some questionalbe elements; the crawling man evolving to a running human is laugable in execution on film but thinking behind was plausible, being able to run fast enough to see the past is another "what the F...." moment. through out the film we are shown so many things that we have to believe, the director is never able to sell it.
you can see what the director is trying to convey but alot of times he shows things to literally for it to work, i think if he used subtle metaphors it would have made the film more forgiving.
acting is fantastic all round with nearly all the cast giving a good performance alot of them being dubbed though. it is nicholas tse performance that makes you cringe, never is he convincing. in fact his acting channels comical and the props it not in his favour; a stick with a hand on it.
what was truly amazing though is the fight scenes, they are few of them but when they occur they are so well choreographed, wire work is used extensively but along with the whole film it is so beautiful to look at and well executed.
although of its short comings i still found enjoyment in the film, just discard all believability and you can too enjoy the visual treat. plus alot unintentional laughter occur.
The Avenging FistMarch 31, 2010 hong kong's video game adaption.
this film is an adaption to the game tekken but due to several copyright laws the title and names of characters have to be changed. that aside the film is mildly entertaining you have a very basic plot involving revenge for what the goverment has done to a certain individual so on and so forth........ the premise itself (an untapped part of the mind making humans capable of doing more) seemed intriguing but never is it explored enough.
this is an all star cast feature; Yuen biao, sammo hung, chin kar lok, stephen fung, ekin cheng etc. and it is fun just to see these recognisable faces. what is unfortunate though is the action scenes, as asthetically beautiful they look (CGI and wirework) they lack any real skills that actors like yuen biao and sammo are capable of. the fights are similar to those seen in films like storm riders but in the future. enjoyment can be had seeing people unleashing pulsating punches and the ilk but if you expect clean fighting martial arts you are out of luck.
Leehom wang is the lead but lacks a character that we can care for or relate to, he spends most of the time trying to court this girl. involving one of the most rediculous dance scene put on film. the veterans fair better they put in good performances and handle their respective roles well.
if you enjoyed storm riders, a man called hero etc. you may also enjoy this and there is alot of eye candy on offer here too.
Ip Man (2008) (DVD) (2-Disc Special Edition) (Hong Kong Version)(10)Our Price: US$10.991 people found this review helpful
March 30, 2010 really good film marred by unoriginal story.
its hard to review a film that many has deamed amazing, Ip man is such film, on some levels the film is outstanding like the fight scenes which shows donnie yen dishing out relentlessly fast punches but it is the story that is its major down fall unfortunately it has been done countless times; depicting the rise of a heroic figure against foreign oppression, here the film depicts the japanese one sided - evil. in fact the story is pretty similar a certain film called Fearless. you have all the archetype characters like seedy character, fighting antagonist, righteous hero, good friend etc.
as mentioned before fight scenes are fantastic donnie yen embodies wing chun with power and his speed is phenomenal. wire work is used occasionally which can prove distracting for a film so rooted in reality but they are minor annoyances. the fights are a refreshing change from what we see in the cinemas.
Donnie yen gives a subdued performance carrying the film, giving his character confidence. All other actors carry them selfs well, Gordon lam is one of the best in the film requiring him to flip from sleeze to tortured with ease.
maybe im being a bit harsh but for a film to be given so much praise and recognition faults are hard to ignore.
Wing ChunMarch 29, 2010 light hearted kung fu action
for a film named wing chun there hardly seems to be any real wing chun executed except for some minor moments of wing chun stances. criticism aside the film is thoroughly enjoyable it contains some very well crafted fight scenes with the aid of some creative wire work.
This picture is more of a comedy/ martial arts picture opposed to being serious, the comedy works well albeit at times a bit too slap stick for some but that is expect from yuen woo ping who has always incorporated a weird sense of humour. its worth pointing out that no one actually dies in the film so you can tell by the tone it is more of a friendly approach.
donnie yen has some minor fight scenes and they are handled really well similar to his work in iron monkey. he also acts like a goof ball throught out the film and does so really well adding to the comedy. michelle yeoh is doubled an awful lot during the action department and can be distracting but does not hinder the enjoyment.
(the visual quality of this dvd is poor at night images are too dark and the image occasionally flickers to a yellowish tinge.)