A film – based on the historical event – billed as “the Chinese Titanic”, The Crossing tells the true story of the Taiping, a heavily overloaded Shanghai-Taiwan ferry that sank in 1949, killing more than 1,500 passengers. Or at least, the final half-hour of John Woo Yu-sen’s sprawling two-part epic does. Eventually.
On this week’s show I talk to Phil about No Escape, the Asia-based thriller starring Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan, before touching on Mabel Cheung’s A Tale Of Three Cities, apparently inspired by Jackie Chan’s parents.
Dante Lam returns to sports-based drama after the success of 2013’s Unbeatable, which scored US$5.7m at the Hong Kong box office (and US$18.5m in China) to become the year’s most successful homegrown offering. Throwing his net wider than the MMA cages of that film, To The Fore follows a trio of professional cyclists as they ascend into the sport’s top tier.
Former Dreamworks animator Raman Hui has scored a major commercial success on his return to Hong Kong with Monster Hunt, a polished fantasy adventure that blends broad comedy with period hijinks alongside first rate CG character work. Hui’s film broke China’s single-day record when it opened on July 16 and stormed past the RMB1 billion ($162.2 million) mark in just 8 days. But its uneven tone and wayward plotting could prove a bar to similar levels of success in international markets, despite its family-friendly tale of a baby monster being smuggled across medieval China.
Packed with action and steeped in tradition, Chen Kaige’s return to the wuxia genre is an exhilarating drama, as concerned with the philosophy behind martial arts as with their lethal execution. Wang Baoqiang embraces a rare starring role as the titular monk sent on a journey of self-discovery, whose travels see him cross paths with the likes of Aaron Kwok, Chang Chen, Lin Chiling and Yuen Wah.