wuxia tagged posts

Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Inn (1967)

Dragon-Inn---Blu-ray-coverDirector: King Hu

Writer: King Hu

Cast: Shih Chun, Shangguan Lingfeng

Cert: 12

Running time: 111mins

Year: 1967

Language: Mandarin (English subtitles)


 


What’s the story: 15th century China, the Jingtai era. Minister of Defense Yu Chien is executed after being framed by the evil eunuch Zhao, controller of the Eastern Agency and Palace Guards. Zhao orders Yu’s children also be killed, but warriors sympathetic to the minister spirit them away. Assisted by the mysterious traveller Xiao, they must face Zhao’s forces at the remote desert tavern, Dragon Inn.

Dragon-Inn---remote-tavernDragon-Inn---Shangguan-Lingfeng-2

What’s the verdict: Relatively obscure in the West, in the East Dragon Inn has cast a long shadow over wuxia (martial arts hero) movies...

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The Assassin (2015)

The-Assassin-posterDirector: Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Writers: Hou Hisao-Hsien, Zhong Acheng, Chu T’ien-wen, Hsieh Hai-Meng (screenplay), Pei Xing (short story)

Cast: Shu Qi, Chang Chen

Cert: 12

Running time: 107mins

Year: 2015


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The lowdown: Celebrated Chinese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien turns his hand to the wuxia-pien (martial arts) genre for his first film in eight years. But, those expecting House of Flying Daggers or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon may be surprised at what an anti-martial arts film Hou has produced. The plot, a female assassin is sent to kill the man to whom she was once betrothed, is standard fare. Hou’s telling is more focused on costumes and scenery than a compelling story or choreographed combat, meaning it’s pretty to look at but likely to leave scratched heads and soft snores.

The-Assassin---Chang-ChenThe-Assassin---Shu-Qi,-orange-decor

The fu...

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Must-See Films at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival

Steve-Jobs---Michael-Fassbender,-glasses-reflection

The 59th London Film Festival runs Wednesday 7th to Sunday 18th October.

12 days.

240 movies and documentary features, plus hundreds of shorts from all over the globe.

Even the most rabid movie buff will concede defeat in trying to see all those films in less than two weeks. So what to watch?

In the best tradition of internet Top Lists, we proudly present the Top 10 movies we are most hotly anticipating. And then looked again and had to expand it to 15.

They may be great, they may exhilarate, hell they may even frustrate… The only guarantee is they will be memorable. Which is what makes the London Film Festival such an essential event year after year.

Enough of the preamble, let’s dive into the idiosyncratic Electric Shadows 59th London Film Festival Must-See list...

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The Assassins (2012)

The Assassins - DVD coverDirector: Zhao Lin Shan

Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Liu Yi-Fei, Qui Xin-shi Alec Su, Hiroshi Tamaki

Cert: 15

Running time: 103mins

Year: 2012

The lowdown: Lavishly presented historical epic in the Curse of the Golden Flower tradition, charting the dying moments of the Han Dynasty which spanned 200 BC – 200 AD. Chow Yun-Fat is Chancellor Cao Cao, a warlord who has vanquished enemies threatening Alec Su’s foppish Emperor Xian. But, power plays in the Emperor’s court plus assassins targeting Cao Cao for death continue to threaten the nation’s peace. Low-key despite sumptuous visuals and beautiful costumes, this is still compelling historical drama.

The Assassins - Chow Yun Fat, Alec SuThe Assassins - Liu Yifei

The full verdict: Zhao Lin Shan makes a confident directorial debut with this drama about one of China’s (many) turbulent eras.

Over recent ...

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Ashes of Time Redux

Ashes of Time quadDirector: Wong Kar-wai

Cast: Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Brigitte Lin, Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Maggie Cheung, Charlie Yeung

Cert: 15

Running time: 93mins

Year: 1994 / 2008 (redux version)

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The lowdown: Wong Kar-wai’s stunning 1994 film is (in)famous for its troubled gestation. Taking over two years to reach the screen, Wong made his international breakthrough movie, ‘Chungking Express’, as a breather from this when editing spiraled out of control. Assembling a who’s-who of New Wave Hong Kong action cinema, Wong’s meditation on love and loss, memory and chivalry is as majestic in this slightly adjusted Redux as it was back in 1994, and is a colourful, enigmatic and energetic precursor to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and his own The Grandmaster.

AOT - Leung, horsemen AOT - Leung Ka-fai

The full ver...

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