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Chin gei bin (2003)
Could have been so much more...
I had heard mixed reviews for this film, but since it was one of the biggest films in Hong Kong last year, and considering it subject matter, I gave it a try. Immediately after the first action sequence, I thought this wasn't bad, for once the special effects were Hollywood quality, and the choreorgraphy was tight. The plot was interesting, involving some kind of vampire ancient book, and the vampire royal family. But then 'Twins' number one showed up and as usual gave the same annoying performance as her other films, completely destroying the tone of the film which was serious and had some mystery to it. The whole restaurant scene was so painful to watch, the script is very lazy indeed, with characters telling you exactly how they feel and why, with relationships that have no substance. The whole vampire/human romance subplot wasn't developed enough, the wedding scene where the vampire prince is wearing sunscreen was the second worst scene, why Jackie Chan is even in this movie is a mystery, he clogs up the plot, the ambulance sequence was unncessary and was not funny. The humour in the entire film did not work, some scenes were there for no apparent reason than to show some cool action.
Edison Chan gives a good performance having not much to work with. 'Twins' number two was emphatically better than number one, the plot was promising but gets forgotten until the finale, too many comedy scenes/moments that were not funny. Not enough story/tone direction, the beginning is deadly serious, the middle is played for laughs, the finale is then back to deadly serious, undeveloped plot strands, annoying/unnecessary cameos, inconsistent character behaviour and continuity. Worst of all is the dialogue, especially from the female characters.
This film could have great if it had stayed serious and played it straight as a Hong Kong version of 'Blade'. The above-average special effects were wasted on this disappointing yarn, once again a HK film is let by the script.
Supreme Sanction (1999)
I saw this film in the TV guide and decided to give it a go, since it had Kristy Swanson. Anyway seeing her as an government assassin was new. The opening credits were encouraging, but then my expectations went down the drain as soon as the shooting started. Swanson does not look in anyway like a hitwoman, the 'action' scenes are laughable. The reporter she is supposed to be protecting look s bored most of the time. Michael Madsen is such a over-rated actor, it occurred to me that he plays the exact same character in every movie. The attempts at humour are so bad that they're funny, the best lines go to Swanson's sidekick. Ron Pearlman is wasted as the big boss, and dies cheaply. In one scene the reporter has been interrogated (Tortured) by Madsen's people, but when we see him afterwards he doesn't have a mark on him!!!
Kadokyaputa Sakura (1998)
Better than I expected
I caught a few of the American versions on TV before watching the original series. I think everyone who has seen the original series that its superior to the US version. Sakura is very cute (although so is everyone else in the series). There is real character development as the story progresses (although slowly/gradually). The magic sequences are tremendous (especially when she takes out her keychain). This is a comments section so I won't go into the plot, suffice to say halfway through the series there is a huge turning point, full of mystery. Sakura's relationship with her family is very sweet, and sometimes moving, especially with her mother. I was cheering on Li Shaoran all the way (I'm chinese)
Thundercats was, as many of you have commented one of my favourite cartoons when i was growing up. I kept mistaking it for Anime, because i watched mostly the dubbed chinese version. Anyway i bought the Thundertank!!! Just like i bought Castle Greyskull!!! The most memorable episode i remember is definitely when Mumm-ra kills the Sword of Omens with Excalibur. Most of the other episodes are hazy in my memory, i got the feeling that most of the stories consisted of Mumm-Ra trying to steal the Sword of Omens, by mind-controlling one of the Thundercats, or kidnap one, then pretend to be one of them, sneaking into Cat's Lair.
The Demon Headmaster (1996)
Forget Harry Potter meet Splat!
I picked up this film in a dodgy part of the city, thinking it might be fun. It didn't seem too old and was produced by the BBC. Firstly the plot is your usual evil headmaster trying to take over the world. This story is very similar to a book i once read called 'My Teacher is an Alien'. Anyway, don't be put off by the child-heavy cast, the acting is not bad, compared to the first Harry Potter film.
The brothers are great-fun in a Weasley Twins kind of way. Dinah is sort of a Harry/Hermione fusion, being the main character, smart, brave, and an orphan. The rest of the gang are under-used, Ingrid is sassy, Ian is the scared one, and i forget who the last one is.
A case of presentation over substance
I expected great things from this addition to the trilogy, but was disappointed. Firstly I'll get the good points out of the way before i am slaughtered by other fans. The scenery is great, the action revolutionary & epic, the music was atmospheric, the whole Tatooine sequence very moving & had a huge impact on me, Yoda kicks ass, we learn more about each character, the Sith's master plan is beginning to reveal itself, Natalie Portman manages to look flawless in every scene.
Now for the disappointments 1. The romance which was crucial in the triology did not do itself justice, Anakin was way over the top in some scenes, or he was very wooden most of the time. Natalie Portman being a good actress did not manage to show much feeling in her delivery of her lines, he was trying to be Princess Leia but lacked the fire or presence. 2. The relationship between Obi0Wan & Anakin was not developed enough, the funny banter between the 2 fell flat. 3. The film had its moments especially the "Why do i get the feeling you'll be the death of me" line. But on the whole the 'funny' moments were not funny. The problem is that everyone is too serious, the Jedi being all noble & honourable etc, Padme being a senator was regal & polite, the villains didn't have much to go on. The original trilogy had rogue characters like Han Solo & Lando etc, people who were not goody-two-shoes, and so had a charm, & witty dialogue to go with their character. Phantom Menace lacked this element, and so does this film. 4. Anakin being the main focus of the film was just not arrogant enough for someone of his skills, the Tusken raider scene was good but could have been much better.