Been slowly getting back in the groove lately with Asian cinema ever since Kim Ji-woon’s latest film (that would be “I Saw the Devil”) has rekindled my interest. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen 2 pretty solid ones: Golden Slumber and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. You’ll be hearing my impressions on these flicks pretty soon, most likely at the end of the month where I usually wrap things up.
Anyway there are 2 Asian movies I’m super excited to see in the next two weeks. I’m gonna start with the one that’s coming out sooner which is Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.
The movie stars Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Hero) in another action romp where he plays the titular character, that heavily resembles Jet Li’s Black Mask and/or Kato from The Green Hornet. Visualize that concept –assuming you’ve seen Black Mask, Ip Man or even the recent Green Hornet movie– and you can expect another amazingly-choreographed martial arts epic featuring Donnie Yen being badass for probably the nth time. I have no problem saying that last quip to be honest since he’s always a thrill to watch in all of his movies (especially the recent ones).
If you are not a Donnie Yen or a martial arts fan by any chance and if you think this movie is just gonna be “another wacky kung-fu movie”– think again! It is in fact directed by Andrew Lau, the man who helmed Infernal Affairs which was then remade into The Departed by Martin Scorsese. Interesting eh? ‘Affairs was an amazing movie and clearly a favorite of mine. So in short, there’s a good chance I’m gonna enjoy this movie and I heard really positive things about it. Here’s the trailer:
The other film, and it’s the one that I’m more enthusiastic to see, is Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins. It’s a samurai epic where –and I quote– “a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to take down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne.”
I’m a fan of chambara (Seven Samurai, Beat Takeshi’s Zatoichi, the Kenshin OVAs) and I really really can’t wait to watch this one. I’ve known the existence of this film for a while now and ever since I read Twitch’s review last year –I believe when it was screened at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)– I’ve been really curious. This so-dubbed “Miike masterpiece” has generated a lot buzz and everyone’s been raving about it at that time.
Takashi Miike has sort of been described often as Japan’s fused version of Tarantino & Scorsese, and I have to admit: his films can be a hit-or-miss sometimes. Well based from the movies I’ve seen which, I have to be frank, aren’t even a lot to begin with. So don’t start dissing me on that regard pretty please? But I do love his style and 13 Assassins seems like just my kind of umm… crack. I mean a period film with samurai, Miike-gore and a stellar cast that includes Koji Yakusho (Babel, Tokyo Sonata) and Yamada Takayuki (Densha Otoko/Train Man, Crows Zero, Sono Kare)? How can you be NOT that excited! Trailer:
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen and 13 Assassins are scheduled for a limited release in the US on April 22nd and April 29th respectively. I’m crossing my fingers they’ll show it here in IL on those dates. If not, there’s always On Demand…