Reviewed by: JohnR
Summary: A Modern Pig-Sty Alley: Recommended
I used to avoid mainland China films because they were always serious, grim, and about the Cultural Revolution. Crazy Stone is a product of the 21st century. It's styles and techniques are not new, but are new in the context of Chinese cinema.
Reviewer Score: 8
Similar to the "traditional" Chinese films that show humanity at the low end of the spectrum, the folks in Crazy Stone are venal, short-tempered, selfish, rude, and willing to screw anyone to get ahead. The movie shows a society that is a society in name only; just a collection of people hustling each other to get ahead. (Sounds similar to the way people used to think of Hongies.)
So what's different about the older Chinese films and this one? The "Raise the Red Lanterns" show their characters as tragic victims and ask us to bear witness to their tragedy. Crazy Stone laughs at them.
And we get to laugh along because the movie is very funny. Most of the humor here is situational, not a series of gags or jokes. Some of them you can see coming, but they're still funny on arrival.
I don't know any of the actors but they do a great job. The weaknesses in the directing/lighting were only the result of the unbelievably small budget, not the skills of the people involved, which seem very high.
My guess is that Crazy Stone was cathartic for many Chinese. Instead of dancing around politics Crazy Stone just throws politics out the window and holds a mirror up and invites the mainlanders to take a look, laugh, and then, maybe, move forward. Chinese society has come a long way over the last few decades; that a movie like Crazy Stone exists shows what a long trip it's been.
But forget all the sociology. Watch it because it's a good movie and will give you some good fun.
Reviewed by: dandan
Summary: shine on you crazy , er, jade...
now, 'crazy stone' has been one of the year's cinematic talking points; a small mainland production, that has beaten off competition from imported hollywood blockbusters. made under andy lau's focus first cuts imprint, the film cost less than us$500000, but made back over us$2million...
the film is set in chongqing, a smoggy port on the yangtze river; this is a modern, yet built up, over-crowded and pretty grimy urban china. a factory owner, has found a priceless piece of jade, which he plans to exhibit at a run-down temple that he also owns. he's hoping to raise money and sell the jade, in order to be able to pay his workers and keep his land from the clutches of an evil, bald-headed, cross-bow wielding property developer.
to cut a couple of corners, he gets bao, an ex-cop who works for him, to assemble a security team, who can guard the precious stone. meanwhile, the the corrupt property developer has employed a professional thief, to steal the stone and a small gang of small-time crooks, have had the idea of stealing the stone as well...
the film plays out like a classic heist film, somewhere between (the excellent) 'the hot rock' and (the not so good) 'oceans eleven'; it is packed with humour, both in the situations that it manufactures, it's characters and it's dialogue. there's bags of style, some nice editing and a great atmosphere, created by the grimy surroundings of chongqing.
this film is fun, it's funny, clever and stylish. i recommende it and i shall be seeking out 'mongolian ping pong' (which has just got a r1 release), another film from the director, ning hao.