Considered by many to be the architect of wuxia cinema, King Hu was to martial arts was John Ford was to the western. Beginning with his 1966 Shaw Brothers adventure Come Drink With Me, Hu took a pulp genre associated with little more than cheap entertainment and period adventures, and fashioned from it some of the industry’s most revered and enduring cinematic offerings.
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.
The New York Asian Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, boasting an impressive array of selections from the best of Asian Cinema past and present. Below I’ve collected together my reviews of any films screening, but I can also recommend Little Big Master, Partners in Crime, The President’s Last Bang and Solomon’s Perjury. This year’s festival also features some fantastic spotlights on Ken Takakura, Bunta Sugawara, Shota Sometani and Ringo Lam.
The Udine Far East Film Festival is currently ongoing in its idyllic Italian setting. Unfortunately I am not there this year (in fact I have never been), but I have reviewed a number of the films playing at this year’s fest. You can find links to those reviews below, which are published either at ScreenDaily.com or TwitchFilm.com:
Dragon Blade (dir. Daniel Lee, China)
Breakup Buddies (dir. Ning Hao, China)
Women Who Flirt (dir. Pang Ho Cheung, China)
Kung Fu Jungle (dir. Teddy Chen, Hong Kong)
Helios (dir. Longman Leung/Sunny Luk, Hong Kong/China)
Meeting Dr Sun (dir. Yee Chih-yen, Taiwan)
Port of Call (dir. Philip Yung, Hong Kong)
The Taking of Tiger Mountain (dir. Tsui Hark, China/Hong Kong)
Parasyte – Completion (dir. Takashi Yamazaki, Japan)
Taiwanese teen romance about the college princess, worshipped by every boy on campus, who is rescued from a dried up lake by the most awkward geeky guy imaginable. However, this simple action invokes a college curse, wherein any boy and girl who meet when the lake has dried up are destined to fall in love. Try as they might to avoid each other, Kiki and Lucky can’t help running into each other again and again, until eventually they join forces to put an end to the curse once and for all…with inevitable consequences. Frequent co-stars Ivy Chen and Chen Bo Lin play the leads, with the gag being that Chen Bo Lin has been uglied up for the role, disguising his studly good looks with greasy hair, awful complexion and zero social skills to play the ironically monikered Lucky. While everything plays out much as we expect, with both individuals learning the importance on judging people on their character rather than their looks, a bizarre Fincher-esque third act threatens to dispel this message and shoot for something far more interesting, only for things to right themselves in time for the cliched coda to be enforced.