Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Recent movies

Last night KH and I went on a 'date' to watch The Forbidden Kingdom. Just some thoughts about it: first, crappy script. Even Jackie Chan was quoted to have said the plot was thin but he only accepted the role because of the sparring scenes with Jet Li. So I did warn KH before the movie started, to leave his sense of logic at the door.

What I liked:
Great fight sequences. The CGI and flight lines aside, the fight scene with Jet and Jackie was mainly old-fashioned fisticuffs. Having watched good ol'fashioned wuxia pian - the old Chen Kuang Tai movies, Ti Lung, Wang Yu (the One-Armed Swordsman), down to Jackie Chan's ground-breaking earlier movies (Drunken Master) and Jet Li's (Shaolin Temple), it was fun to watch a fight scene that was choreographed in the old way - with the old moves eg the "Snake move" or the "Crane move", the "Preying Mantis", the "Tiger", the "Buddha Palm" and the "Wuying jiao" (No Shadow Kick). Gosh, it brought back great memories!! And how I wish we could have a movie like that today - no western gimmicky stuff, poor plot lines, but sheer good fighting fun done w/o too much CGI!

What annoyed me:
The angmo lead - could not imagine a more annoying male lead (kinda like The Karate Kid goes the China!) the female lead - gosh, what the heck was she doing speaking in the third person??? At first it was bewildering and both KH and I wondered: Huh? What is she saying? Who is the 'she' she is talking about? Then it just got annoying. Sample sentence she spouted: "She will not stop until she gets vengeance for the deaths of her mother and father!" ("She" of course referring to herself!!) And of course, the fact that everyone in ancient China suddenly spoke impeccable English! Plus too much reference to LOTR - stone fortress high up on impenetrable fortress accessible only across vast desert, pit of volcanic lava in which magical staff should be flung, the Silent Monk making his appearance as the White Rider on white horse aka Gandalf, etc.

One day I hope they do a great fisticuffs kungfu fight movie the right way - in Cantonese or Mandarin, with minimal special effects and with a great plotline. That's the only way to do justice to a great fight scene with Jet and Jackie.

Till then, think I might head down to Sembawang or Gramophone to pick up a copy of Shaolin Temple.

The other movie I watched a week ago was Definitely Maybe. KH wanted to watch Street Kings so we parted ways at the cineplex.

So - Definitely, Maybe - Definitely long-winded and only Maybe a bit entertaining. Too long, and with a cast that is less than engaging, you do feel the minutes ticking by. Male lead was ho-hum and non-exciting and all his 'girlfriends', with the exception of the lovely Rachel Weisz, also not great. For a romantic date movie/'chick flick', I really didn't feel particularly inspired after watching this.

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