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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:04 am
by Brian Thibodeau
Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:-Vincent Sze backgrounder: has belts, collects jeans, did Christian flicks.
It would have been interesting if he stated how many and what color belts and jeans he had..

Actually, the belts are various martial arts belts. The jeans are just something he collects apparently. Gotta have a hobby!

The commentary overall is typical Logan. Genial, with a basic overview that's pretty good for beginners, but lacking real meat for die-hards. Thus my beef that I really wish he'd share the duties with others once in awhile, preferably those who read these films at a university level. I know that goes against the populist, action-centric leanings of the Dragon Dynasty label, but it would be a nice alternative. I know it won't happen, though. Dragon Dynasty is still a niche label, barely outselling most of the other U.S. distribs handling Hong Kong product these days, so I guess folks will just have to make do with Logan for the surface texture, and various books for context.

The commentary he does with Donnie Yen over the behind-the-scenes footage of the film's two big fights is much better, as it allows Donnie to expound upon his choreography and fighting styles, the Hong Kong way of making movies, and his recent--and very much progressive-minded--mission in making films like this one and FLASH POINT, and Bey, to his credit, feeds him the right questions. Say what you will about Yen, but he's matured into a key figure in what's left of a Hong Kong film industry increasingly given over to "stars" who just look beautiful and not much else.

Subs on some of the interviews seem to be Mandarin-centric. For example, in one of the short making-of docs, when Donnie says the name of a co-star, the subs have the Mandarin-transliterated English spelling rather than the Cantonese. Odd. Also, when Wu Jing mentions "Paco", the presenter of the film, without the slightest inflection, the subs spell it out as "Parcal." :?

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:28 pm
by cal42
Chungking Express - Blu-ray Region B - Artificial Eye

The Blu-ray disc from Artificial Eye is a Godsend for fans in this country having had to put up with the crappy Tartan VHS-port for so long. Although the film itself is deliberately a bit gritty and grainy, the upgrade is quite noticeable. So while the visuals won’t blow you away, certain shots (like He Quwu’s birthday run in the rain) do look fantastic.

There are only a couple of proper extras though. First of all we get the now-obligatory introduction from Hong Kong cinema expert Quentin Tarrantino, who thankfully graces yet another home cinema release with his necessary and important presence. Personally, I was thinking of giving this release a miss until I saw his name on the box, and his endorsement of the product meant I was safe hands and ensured that I was not wasting my money.

Actually, I never bothered watching it, me being the kind of person who doesn’t give two shits what Tarrantino has to say on the movie.

Thankfully, the other two main extras are a little better. The best one is the interview with Wong Kar-Wai, which is surprisingly enlightening given its all-too-brief running time. He talks about Faye’s unpredictable style of acting and how it was throwing Tony Leung off his game, leading the latter to change his approch to acting forever (and I suppose Wong should know, having cast him a few times since). We get some deleted scenes in this segment too, which are pretty fascinating for fans. The real gem, though, is Wong claiming (probably truthfully) that they shot the whole film on location in Hong Kong without permission from the authorities.

Cinematographer Christopher Doyle also gets a short featurette, going through some of the locations used in the film. I’m not entirely sure when this was filmed, but it’s quite depressing that almost all of the locations are now gone or changed forever. The Midnight Express is still there, but I wouldn’t have recognised it f I’d walked past it. Doyle takes us to the bar where Takeshi Kaneshiro meets Brigitte Lin, and this too has been changed beyond recognition. He even disturbs a party of young ladies having a drink at a table, telling them it was where the jukebox used to be. His passion for filmmaking is much in evidence, commenting on filming the ever-changing urban landscape: “do it now or you’ll never get the opportunity again”. After watching this short piece, it’s easy to see what he means.

The rest of the extras is just filler: a couple of text-based biogs and a trailer. But while the disc is nothing to write home about, the film itself is well worth the price.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:40 pm
by Brian Thibodeau
cal42 wrote:There are only a couple of proper extras though. First of all we get the now-obligatory introduction from Hong Kong cinema expert Quentin Tarrantino

I wonder if this is just ported over from the original U.S. release. That had a Tarantino intro as well as it was part of a (thankfully short-lived) series of "Rolling Thunder Presents" releases. You can search it at YouTube fairly easily for comparison
(while I just finished decrying the uploading of full length Asian movies there of late in another thread; I'm still on the fence about extras: still not a legit practice in any way, but at least they're more likely to compel someone to actually buy the movie than just popping the whole movie up there wholesale. But I digress . . .)

His passion for filmmaking is much in evidence, commenting on filming the ever-changing urban landscape: “do it now or you’ll never get the opportunity again”. After watching this short piece, it’s easy to see what he means.

This is a key reason why I love Hong Kong cinema (shot-on-video warts and all :lol:), more than virtually any other cinema in the world. The place evolves so fast--taking its cinema along right with it--that most locations in a given film--will look vastly different in less than a few years' time, if they even exist at all. On the commentary for FLASH POINT (which I just listened to today), Donnie Yen talks about the challenge of shooting fresh on locations that have literally been filmed to death over the years, but I don't think he realizes (possibly because of his many features shot in the city) that while he or his directors may have filmed a particular scene in an area we've all seen before, the appearance of that area has probably changed so significantly over the ensuing years that it's all but recognizable even without a few choice camera angles, lighting schemes and the like.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:58 pm
by dleedlee
cal42 wrote:Chungking Express - Blu-ray Region B - Artificial Eye

Cinematographer Christopher Doyle also gets a short featurette, going through some of the locations used in the film. I’m not entirely sure when this was filmed, but it’s quite depressing that almost all of the locations are now gone or changed forever. The Midnight Express is still there, but I wouldn’t have recognised it f I’d walked past it. Doyle takes us to the bar where Takeshi Kaneshiro meets Brigitte Lin, and this too has been changed beyond recognition. He even disturbs a party of young ladies having a drink at a table, telling them it was where the jukebox used to be. His passion for filmmaking is much in evidence, commenting on filming the ever-changing urban landscape: “do it now or you’ll never get the opportunity again”. After watching this short piece, it’s easy to see what he means.

The Midnight Express in now a 7-11 according to this: ... ress-film/

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:07 am
by Brian Thibodeau
dleedlee wrote:The Midnight Express in now a 7-11 according to this: ... ress-film/

Time marches on.

7-11 is to Hong Kong cinema what J&B Whiskey is to Italian cinema. :lol: In a way, it's appropriate, too: colourful, fast-moving, lots of selection; whatever you need, whenever you want it; the city's reputation for consumption and disposal reduced to microcosmic form. I doubt that's why it shows up in so many movies, though.

I wonder if this particular 7-11 has been on film since it was built? That would be cool to see.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:45 am
by cal42
dleedlee wrote:
The Midnight Express in now a 7-11 according to this: ... ress-film/

In that case, even the Doyle featurette is outdated and obsolete! Which proves his point more than ever...

A little part of me just died :cry:

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:56 pm
by cal42

The Artificial Eye BD has a great anamorphic transfer, although the film itself suffers from a high level of grain (see below). One very noticeable difference between this disc and their release of Chungking Express is that this film has quite a lot of extras. These are mostly interviews shot during the film’s showing at Cannes. Here are a few notes on each (timings very approximate):

Interview with Wong Kar-Wai 1 (5 mins): Wong discusses the appalling state the film was in when he retrieved the negative [sadly a common occurrence in Hong Kong cinema] and claimed a full restoration would be impossible. The redux was therefore an attempt to make a definitive version of the film with what was left. Talked about shooting new cutaway shots to insert into the footage and confirmed that this was the only new footage shot. Admitted it was his most complex film he’s ever made.

Interview with Wong Kar-Wai 2 (18 mins): Wong goes into more detail in this lengthier interview, discussing everything from the shooting schedule, the reasons behind shooting in the desert in China (he wanted to do a film on location after seeing so many studio-locked Shaw Brothers films from yesteryear) to the practicalities of shooting a film over an entire year through the changing seasons. He discussed his reasons for wanting Sammo Hung on board, and claimed to defer to him when it came to the action scenes, which surprised me a little. He also addressed the “grain” issue, and admitted it was not intentional but explained that they had to shoot in poor light sometimes and this had the result of creating a very grainy image at times. He says that in the end, he thought it suited the desert setting quite well. Finally, he talks about the remade music track and says the original was sounding quite dated.

Interview with Christopher Doyle (16 mins): Doyle gives a lot of insight in this interview. Starting with how he met Wong, he talks about how the directors and crew he works with are primarily friends, so he can occasionally say “f*** you” without the fear of losing his job [I wish this was true with my job]. He talks about Wong’s way of pushing him to be better by saying “Chris, is that all you can do?” He talks about Ashes of Time being an ecological film about climate change [can’t see much evidence of that, personally] and discussed the trials of shooting in the desert. Claims not to understand how martial arts films are shot and so said Sammo had a lot of influence in that area.

Making of (14 mins): A clip-heavy featurette that reuses a lot of footage from the other interviews on the disc; this extra is a total let-down. However, there are short (and I mean short) contributions by Sammo and Yo Yo Ma that you don’t get elsewhere.

Interview with Leung Chiu-Wai (8 mins): A very insightful Little Tony talks (in almost perfect English) about how he did all his own stunts for the film and how Wong wanted to make this a two-part film. As it bombed at the box-office, Tony was disappointed that they never got to make Ashes of Time Part II. Talked about listening to Dire Straits’ “Private Investigations” a lot during this time and the alienation of the song seemed to suit the film. Tony discussed his working relationship with Wong and revealed that they don’t talk to each other all that much. He then goes on to say that Wong asked him a lot of questions early on in their relationship and so Wong knows everything about him but he knows virtually nothing about Wong [which sounds downright weird to me, but Tony seemed to find the situation humorous]. He then talked about making this back-to-back with Chungking Express even though he could only spare ten days on the set due to commitments with his singing career.

Interview with Charlie Yeung (9 mins): not the most insightful interview on the disc, Yeung mainly talks about how she got the job, the fact that it was her first film and her hitherto undiscovered ability to burst into tears on demand. Was surprised that she only had to do a few takes of her scenes.

Interview with Carina Lau (4 mins): This short interview gives a little more information on Wong’s working methods, saying he mainly just lets the actors play the scene the way they want [which doesn’t seem likely to me, but who am I to say?]. Interestingly, she talks about how many takes she had to do for each scene, as opposed to Charlie Yeung’s account [maybe playing the scene how she wanted wasn’t working out so well after all?].

The disc is rounded off with the obligatory trailer (which I didn’t bother with) and is refreshingly free of Tarantino, for which we should all give thanks. On the whole, a rather good little disc.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:46 am
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Opium and the Kung-Fu Master (1984) BCI:

Chen Kuan-Tai (12 min English; no English subs):
On Starting Kung Fu: 1969 Fight in Kung Fu Championship
Began as stunt man than action director.
Was going to action direct Bruce Lee in first film [it ended up being Han Ying-Chieh, I'm not sure of exact reason he did not do this though]
Had 6 year 24 film contract with Shaw Brothers.
Made money on The Iron Monkey (1977) [He directed this movie]
New actors do not know Kung Fu; just director teach them [he has said this in several interviews]
Favorite film – Human Lanterns.
Talked about directing new film; not acting in it [I have no idea what this movie is]
[his interviews on Challenge of the Masters is better]

Lee Hoi-San (17m Cantonese w/English subs):
[I'm a fan of his so this is a treat]
Started Kung Fu in teens; was taught Wing Chun
Taught for more than 30 years.
Chiu Wan was sifu; Chen Kuan was student also.
Said Bruce Lee's father sent Bruce to states because of fight at LaSalle School.
Does not have favorite Kung Fu style.
Did not learn Peking or Cantonese Opera.
Ti Lung brought him into the industry; he founded Chang Gong Production Company [I believe Ti Lung cofounded this with Chang Cheh and David Chiang]
Appeared in The Drug Addict (1974) and Motorcycle [this is known as Young Lovers on Flying Wheels]
[interviewer not too knowledgeable about him]
Great praise for Jackie Chan "He's a role model for all actors, new and old."
Was fighting Gordon Liu with real weapons in 36th Chamber of Shaolin.
Talks about directors being wary of hiring "masters" because they are too opinated.
He likes 36th Chamber of Shaolin but does not have a favorite.
He still prefers action movies, then comedies does not care for love stories [we wouldn't have it any other way]
Been working more for TV
TV helped his acting skills.

Robert Mak (Mai Ti-Lo) (8:30min English no English subs):
Learned Judo, Kung Fu and other styles when young.
[wearing funny shirt (open like Travolta) with razor blade necklace]
Was dancer.
Quick talk on Shaolin Temple (1976); student of Ti Lung.
Hurt in Thunderclap (1984).
After Shaw Brothers, went to Taiwan for TV Series, Kung Fu, Dance and made Album too.
Does Thai Boxing.
Current project is a TV Movie (Drama).
Favorite genres: action, comedy and dinosaurs [not in that order]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:00 pm
by ewaffle
Was fighting Gordon Liu with real weapons in 36th Chamber of Shaolin.
This credible but still amazing--the director must have had complete confidence in both of them that neither would get hurt badly enough to delay anything.

He still prefers action movies, then comedies does not care for love stories [we wouldn't have it any other way]
Lee Hoi-San may have done it but it is hard to imagine him as a romantic lead, although that is probably due all the thugs, bodyguards and killers he usually plays.

Thanks for posting this (and all the other precise of commentaries). I am also a fan of Lee Hoi-San--never have seen him in a bad performance.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:23 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
For those who do not want to buy the Miramax release (extra notes; my comments are in []):

Original Hong Kong Trailer (2:45m) [this is not on the Criterion release]
U.S. Theatrical Trailer (1.28m)

Quentin Tarantino Introduction (2.40m English no subtitles)
Explains Rolling Thunder Label: 1) Art films that would not be released without him [humble] 2) Exploitation films that he loves [and one of the reasons the label went under]
Says Wong Kar-wai is one of the most exciting filmmakers to come out since he has been making films.
Says Wong had Godard influence makes him different from other HK auteurs.
Saw Chungking Express first in Stockholm at festival with Pulp Fiction.
Saw Days of Being Wild before this film.
Loves this film; says life in HK if faster pace so that translates over to the film.

Quentin Tarantino Wrap Up (10:18m English no subtitles [subs would help understanding QT])
Discusses why Chungking Express was made. Ashes of Time was taking long time to edit; Wong wanted to take mind off of AOT so decided to film Chungking Express.
[dislike diagonal close up shot of QT]
Ashes of Time came out a little after Chungking Express [CE came out July 1994 in HK; Ashes of Time came out in Sept. 1994]
If you like this film checkout As Tears Go By – like Mean Streets set in HK [don't quite agree with this one], Days of Being Wild – first film saw by QT, says Tony Leung in DOBW [that's a bit weird to say since he is barely in it], DOBW is an HK American Graffiti [huh] and Ashes of Time.
His newest movie is Fallen Angels [sure dates this interview], says CE was to be made with three stories like Pulp Fiction but felt two was enough; Fallen Angels is third story.
Bridgette Lin (blond wig) considered Greta Garbo of HK [I do get tired of reading about American analogies to every single HK star/movie; though sometimes they are appropriate, but sometimes they are just reaching like this one].
(on discussing Lin's roles)
Did Swordmaster 2 with Jet Li. Mentions Peking Opera Blues as one of the greatest films ever made [Tsui Hark directed film in 1986; still haven't seen it myself]. Talks about how Lin mostly played female as male, god roles and eunuch roles. Discussed The East is Red (1993) sequel to Swordmaster 2, The Bride with White Hair and her last role in Chungking Express.
Reasons why Wong has her wear a wig: homage to John Cassavetes's Gloria and Greta Garbo.
(on discussing Faye Wong)
Her first movie [this is actually wrong it is Beyond's Diary (1991)], single most popular "rock star" in HK now. Says she is known as the "Madonna of Mandarin" [she has had very popular albums in both Mandarin and Cantonese]
Doesn't know anyone who does not have a crush on her. [I do know several who do]
Says Wong Kar-wai influenced by French New Wave especially Godard [here we go again]
(explains French New Wave) Says to check out Godard's Breathless, Band of Outsiders (tells his production company is named after this), My Life To Live. Uma Thurman's character in Pulp Fiction influced by Godard's wife Anna Karina.
First film in Rolling Thunder Video Collection.
Next time will be Switchblade Sisters.

Criterion extra:

Moving Pictures (12:08 English no subtitles):
Wong Kar-wai/Christopher Doyle 1996 episode on British Television.
Introduction: quick laudatory statements in CE; mentions Quentin Tarantino; Fallen Angels is latest; talks about handover anxiety.
WKW states that he can only make a film in a place he knows very well.
WKW shows the location to the film [much has changed and/or been replaced since then]; says this is like a mini-HK; shows Midnight Express [which is no longer there]
Christopher Doyle shows apartment [which was used in the movie]; laments loss of stuff by film crew; dances funny.
WKW doesn't know his own style; changes from time to time; more western influenced but Eastern at heart. Very aware of time [I wonder if he has read The Sound and the Fury]
WKW: HK cinema different from Chinese cinema. HK more flexible, China more organized. Discusses some of Fallen Angels.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:30 pm
by Brian Thibodeau
I just watched the Tarantino bits at YouTube about a week ago after stumbling across them by accident (hardly surprising they've been uploaded). Have the DVD but watched it years ago. I was struck by the comparison of be-wigged Brigitte Lin to Gena Rowlands in GLORIA. Not sure that was Wong's intention or Tarantino's reading, but I suppose interpretation is one of the joys of film. ;)

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:27 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Life Gamble (1979) BCI - R1

[On these interviews I removed a few headlines (they are bolded and are text on the screen when you see the interview) because they do not get answered or nothing of interest is said]

Lo Meng (7:26 Cantonese with burnt English subs)
On When you learned Kung Fu: Learned Mantis Style About 13, teacher monk at Shoalin Temples named Master Chu. Says Southern Style tougher than Northern.
On Getting Into The Movie Industry: Chang Cheh came back from Taiwan to make Shaolin Temple. Was selected out of 8000. Was fortunate Chang let him act in 5 Deadly Venoms and The Kid With The Golden Arm
On Five Deadly Venoms: Says popular in HK and states; says preference for MA has gone from masculine to artistic. "Nine out of Ten African Americans recognize me".
On Your Favorite Films: The Kid with the Golden Arm and Five Deadly Venoms
On Favorite Actor: "I practically worship myself." Likes Clint Eastwood, Stallone [Sylvester not his brother Frank], Bruce Lee, was told he looked like Arnold the Governor [in a way he does]

Ku Feng (17:03 Mandarin with burnt English subs)
On Joining the Movie Industry:
Started in 1950s mainland, followed bishop [not sure what he meant by this] to Hong Kong, classmate got him work before Shaw Brothers. Only a few Mandarin films then; was also acting in plays to supplement income; joined traveling shows then came back to HK in 1960; Mandarin speaking movies were getting more popular [this was part of the Shaw Brothers strategy; read "China Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema"]

On Choosing a Career in Acting:
Did play in elementary school called "Angel Grape" played a white rabbit. His father owned a theater.

On Peking Opera:
Stopped performing to flee war; had tough time in HK, was called "Lao Xiong"(Northerner) [老兄; this is a somewhat derogatory term, I believe depending on how you pronounce it]

On How Many Movies You Have Made:
[Did not answer this question: but if you are curious check here: ... ay_set=eng for a decent list of his films]

On Learning Kung Fu:
Did not study; learned on set. Learned from Liu Chia-Lian, Tang Jia, Yuan Xiaotien (aka Simon Yuen Siu-Tin) [Not a bad group to be learning from]

On Your Talent:
Says senior actors are considered useless in HK; says west is different uses Paul Newman as an example [was quite angry about this]

On Current Work:
Sometimes makes VCDs, TV soaps and movies [he is in Rob-B-Hood which you should all be familiar with]

On Preference of TV or Movies:
Can't afford to be choosy; acting is career.

Lee Yi-Min (8:27 Mandarin with burnt English subs)
[most of his responses were short and not as interesting as the other interviews and he meandered a bit]
On Peking Opera: Learned Peking Opera when 8; classmates with Robert Tai.
On Making Future Films: tired mentally; practiced Taoism for six years. [He has not done a film since 1986 (at least in HK)]
On Injuries: has hurt lower back, broken foot, cast for 4 months when 19.
On Learning Kung Fu: Peking Opera background; learned from director/choreographer

Sun Shu-Pei (9:20 Mandarin with burnt English subs)
[like the previous interview most of his responses were short]
On Peking Opera: Did it to help family.
On Styles you learned: "How to be a clown"
On Joining The Movie Industry: graduated from school; became an action actor, stuntman, worked for Chang Cheh [did several films for Chang in 1976 with Seven Man Army (1976) being the first]
On The Shaw Brothers: Almost fought with director Liu Chia-Liang [did not talk about this unfortunately]
On Favorite Shaw Brothers Films: Five Deadly Venoms, Life Gamble, Heaven & Hell [not too many people say this], King Eagle, North & South Shaolin, Five Shaolin Masters

Robert Tai (2:01)
[this guy seems like a bit of a jerk; you cannot trust everything he says]
Said had to reshot almost whole film; had to fix ending.
"Though it was my idea and my work I did not put my name in the credits."

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:04 am
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Ashes of Time (R1: Sony)

Born From The Ashes (14:10 English/Cantonese with removable English subs):
The Making of Ashes of Time
Found negative of film in pieces (1999)
WKW: says it is the most complex story he has made.
Based on a novel which is a trilogy.
Original novel Eagle Shooting Hero [this is written by Jin Yong in 1957]
WKW: Tony Leung's character was shown with slow motion footage and Jacky Cheung shown in fast motion (during fight scenes).
Structure of the film is based on the Chinese Almanac.
In Redux, he introduces the chapter (thought audience would catch it in first incarnation).
How we react to nature is the them of film.
Did work with Frankie Chan on the rescore [I was not sure how much he was involved]
Soundtrack is cross between original Frankie score and new interpretation by Wu Tong and team.
Chris Doyle: couldn't have done Hero or Rabbit Proof Fence without doing Ashes of Time.

Q&A with Wong Kar Wai (41min English with removable English subs)
Host: Laudatory opening statement; small history of opening festivals for WKW's films.
Host: First time Tony Leung's were together [not true; forgetting about The Banquet (1991)]
Talks about changes; mostly the score.
WKW: doesn't like revisiting film once it is done; always finds something he would like to change.
Had to do it for AOT; 1998 financial crisis hit; had to pick up negative because lab where stored went bankrupt; materials not good. Got materials from oversea distributors, Taiwan, Chinese cinemas in U.S. Had to recut, remaster the film and resound.
Says he does work with a script: a loose one. [reminds me of how Johnnie To works]
A Writer should not be too concise; the writer should not be the director.
Likes his scripts minimal.
AOT only adaptation he ever did [As Tears Go By sure reminds me of Mean Streets]; not faithful to the source.
WKW: Louis Cha (aka Jin Yong) said book inferred some Shakespeare plays he admired.
Picked 2 characters from novel; invented younger days.
The character of Bridgette Lin came from another novel from Louis Cha
Had a chance to make AOT in 1992 because of success of Swordsmen II.
Compliments Bridgette Lin; says like Grace Kelly; after Swordsman II made five films that year [I've seen three of them: Dragon Inn, Royal Tramp and Royal Tramp II; I have not seen The Peach Blossom Land or Handsome Siblings]
Mentions that she plays All Guy characters; plays with this character type in AOT.
Talks about Wu Xia -> States that only a few MA films address the philosophy not just the action [I don't quite agree with that, but I've seen a plethora of Shaw Brothers and Taiwanese derived Wu Xia] Uses Touch of Zen as an example [damn OOP now]
Talks about audience [western I believe] not knowing Bridgette From Maggie [if you get to listen to the Bey Logan/Brett Ratner commentary on Police Story I, Brett makes this same mistake though I think neither actually look alike] or knowing Tony Leung Ka-Fai from Tony Leung Chiu-Wai.
Thinks people now have a better sense of the genre.
Talks about filming in China near Mongolia.
Leslie Cheung stayed during filming; stayed in desert from beginning to end.
Maggie Cheung's scenes were filmed in Hong Kong.
Q&A Portion:

Which Filmaker's Inspired You?
States he never went to film school.
Came to HK when 5; mom liked watching movies; spent a lot of time watching films [like all of us]
Cannot single out one director which inspired him.

Can you talk about your collaboration with editor and production designer William Chang?
It is not only my film. I think of it as a collaboration and William is definitely a part of it. Both him and William are Shanghaise.

Can you talk about your collaboration with cinematographer Chris Doyle?
There are two type of DP: soldier and sailor. Chris is sailor. He never reads the script. "You should give him some music with drinks or some beer, and that works perfectly."

Can you talk about camera placement as it relates to character development in your films?
Our films are basically interrelated. [Chungking Express] half film in Tsim Sha Tsui and half in Doyle's apartment. Worked without work permits. No handheld for In The Mood For Love.

How does your background in design influence your work?
From photography you understand the frame; frame should be director's choice. "So all the shots of my films are decided by me."

Can you talk about working with well established actors on Ashes of Time?
They do things too perfectly. Must get them tired to do different results [must Bresson them]. They see the result in the dailys.

Can you talk about the role of music in your films?
Film is about music and sound. Use is to enhance emotions or at the most important moments, or to indicate the rhythm of the film, or reference of time, period and locations and where we are.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 7:36 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Sparrow (2008: HK) Universe R0:

Johnnie To Interview (7:22 Cantonese w/burnt English subs):
Story evolved from a few years ago.
Government needs to keep Star Ferry Pier, Queen's Pier and other older buildings [like designating historical buildings here in the States]
Made Sparrow to capture Hong Kong cultural history, details.
Sparrow are pickpockets – a dying profession because of cost.
Sparrow can also be interpretered as a character in the movie [but of course]
Kelly is a girl from Mainland China, HK is a temporary home a stepping stone [much like Mona in Throw Down (2004)]
"I didn't purposefully portray something solid in the film so everybody knows where this building is when you see it or what this building or this place signifies."
When he shot the finale he thought of making a light-hearted musical, but cost was too high [there are many similarities between To and Woo]. Decided to make the finale in rain.
This film was influenced from "Umbrellas of Cherbourg"
Can't tell what time period this film represents.
"I like Hong Kong best in the 60s – like in a Suzie Wong movie." [I'm not sure what he is referring to here; there is the 1960 The World of Suzie Wong; there is no HK actress by that name.]
Music in film should represent HK at this time mixture of Western and Eastern time of integration. [reminds me of a Wong Kar-wai film]

Simon Yam Interview (13:05 Mandarin w/burnt English subs):
"To is famous for having no script at all when he makes movies." [many HK directors do this though]
Put 6 razor blades in mouth; hard to be a pickpocket; harder to ride a bike with 4 [this is repeated a lot in these extras]; plays pickpocket for first time.
These is how to forgive someone [first time I've heard this for this movie]
An actor should be well rounded [check out how many films he has been in: ... ay_set=eng]
People in HK don't ride bikes anymore.
Movie is a tribute to old HK buildings [this is also repeated a lot in these extras]
Took 4 years to make.
Two actors gained wait during filming [this was also a problem during the long filming of PTU] and broke bike "Sorry you two actors are too fat."
In every To film there is a sense of team spirit.
[he is such a ham on camera; fun to watch]

Kelly Lin (4:25 Mandarin w/burnt English subs):
Likes brotherhood/loyalty in To's movies.
Likes that her character leads this film.
Was over 3 years in making.
Style differs from To's previous work.
Sparrow means pickpocket in Cantonese [slang term: Man jeuk].

Lam Ka Tung (8:34 Cantonese w/burnt English subs):
Sometimes rehearsed 4-5 days because To likes long takes [check out the beginning scene in Breaking News]
Shot umbrella scene for 2 weeks.
States you will be impressed by Law Wing-cheong dressed as woman [I hope you are not]
"Mr. To said that the film is about collective memory."
The movie is about generosity and brotherhood."
[also repeats much of what has been stated above]

Making of (2m Cantonese w/burnt English subs):
[just shows some of the Johnnie To interview above and some scenes from the film]

Gala Premiere (4:12 Cantonese w/burnt English subs):
[not much of interest until …]
Simon Yam shows off his skills of hiding a real razor blade in his mouth to the groans of the audience.

Press Conference (9:08 Cantonese w/burnt English subs):
Film is in Berlin Film Festival
A lot of talk about him being a masculine director [have they not seen his comedies; he does get stereotyped for his triad movies]
Johnnie To: Trying to express multiracial HK.
Simon Yam: I can hide 5 blades in my mouth; practiced for a month eating and drinking with blades in mouth.
[superfluous scenes of posing with sparrows]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:23 am
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Throwdown (R0: Tai Seng 2-Disc Set):

Making of Featurette (11m, Cantonese w/English subs)
JT: watched TV drama series "Sanshiro Sugata"
JT: did not want to use wires; wanted to show Judo moves.
JT: having good ethics is most important.
[lots of behind the scene scenes; character analysis]
Louis Koo: Biggest obstacle for his character is his illness, values loyalty, left dojo because of illness.
Cherrie Ying: Like her character Mona: lonely and brought up in a foreign country.
JT: the three main characters would have different understanding of Judo at the ending.
LK: always have hope, motiviation, dreams otherwise no future.
Aaron Kwok: Different goals, always set goals.
Mona: even if others don't believe you can you must believe you can.
JT: most important reason for making film was to tell a story about perseverance.

Interview With Johnnie To (40m Cantonese w/English subs)
Throwdown Exclusive Director Interview
Felt Judo was slowly going away in HK.
Noticed a lot of the recent comedies in HK were not funny.
States society in the 70s was more positive.
Live for today. Must not have pessimistic attitude.
Didn't want to have any villains. Didn't want to pressure the characters.
"Are the film's charactes representative of today's Hong Kong people?"
Louis Koo main character: main theme of film "Live for Today".
Aaron Kwok was someone with enthusiasm in contrast to Louis Koo.
Cherrie Yen's character lives only for her dream. Told Cherrie not to sing well.
Jing (son of Master Cheng): treats life as a game.
"Why did you choose such a stylish way of lighting?"
Only want you to see specific things. Talks about King Hu using lots of smoke to blur things that he did not want you to see. Wants things to be more stable
"Why do you like to use long takes?"
Wants audience to get into the mood.
"Talking about Lo Hoi Pang"
Very good comedian. Liked his looks and age for this character. Was not easy to direct.
Painful to him. "For people like us, who know what film is about, we know that all actors have only a few tricks."
"Talking about Cheung Siu Fai"
Wouldn't let him raise his voice, wanted him to talk about things he knew nothing about. Said every actor performed well including the ones that are not good actors like Calvin Choy. The fastest way to get a new (or bad) actor to perform quickly is to strip away the bad and leave the good.
"Talking about Louis Koo"
His rhythm is too quick. He is a drunk and shouldn't have such quick reactions.
JT: "Pretending is useless." Doesn't like to give actors the complete script.
"The Four Scenes: Four Tables"
JT: "I don't need the audience to understand everything." wanted chaotic feeling.
"The Four Scenes: Casino and Running"
This scene is presenting a romanitic world. Mona and Szeto To see good things.
"The Four Scenes: The Red Balloon"
Perhaps unrelated to film, but wanted to capture the feeling of growing up. Did not want them to utter a single word. Shows "Team Spirit".
"The Four Scenes: The Final Duel"
It is important that Szeto To keeps his promise and his opponent forgives him. The spirit of the film is put in the final scene. Grass field versus city is "primitivism versus modernism".
"Why did you want to pay tribute to Akira Kurosawa?"
remembered seeing Kurosawa's films in late 60s after the riots. Then in 70s saw his films again while working at a TV station. Wasn't until the 80s when he was making films himself that he became impressed with Kurosawa. "I started re-watching these masterpieces as a film director. They were the same films as before, but as I have aged, I began to realize that these are truly masterpieces." Kurosawa was able to put his philosophy into his films and present it. RED BEARD: long scene where Red Beard feeds congee to patient it is how Kurosawa shows generosity of RB, his patience towards his patient. When he was making A HERO NEVER DIES or EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED [he is not official director] or even RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2 wanted to show how people faced situations and happenings. With EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED people always ask him why they all have to die at end? (answer: anything can happen). Anything can happen, it is how you face it. Everything derives from Sanshiro Sugata even though the story is different.
"Are you aware of the similarities with Kurosawaa's SANSHIRO SUGATA?"
Was not aware of the similarities except for the one thing about the shoe. "Fate dictates whether they'll meet again or not."
"Epilogue: Values, box Office, and Film Festivals"
Box Office is not true indicator of the film's value. Biggest indicator is to let people from different cultures be influenced by it.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:06 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Eighth Happiness (Fortune Star R0):

An Interview with Raymond Wong – The Producer (5:29m Cantonese w/English subs)
Parents used to take him to lively musicals like Cantonese opera films starring Yam Kim Fai
When Cinema City was set up made Aces Go Places. Broke box office record. 82-84. 84 BO record was broke again.
Everyone fought for CNY release.
First time he actually played a part was Eight Happiness in 1988.
Cinema City had no CNY film and there was no Aces Go Places so this fell into the CNY slot.
Auspicious name Eighth Happiness replaced original title "Love Around the Phone"
Gave another box office record grossed 37 million.
2 Chows and 1 Dragon. dominated (Chow Yun Fat, Stephen Chow, Jackie Chan)

Ten Tigers of Kwangtung (R1 Tokyo Shock):

The Director of Transcendent Genius – Chang Cheh 18m (Mandarin, Cantonese w removable English subs)
[I believe this is on a few DVDs; I will check later]
Includes interviews from: John Woo, Andy Lau, Tsui Hark, Ti Lung, Jimmy Wang Yu, Wu Ma, David Chiang, Lo Meng, Samson Chiu, Film Critic Luo Ka, Editor of Chang Che's Memoir Huang Ailing, Tu Yu Ming, He Ping (Wheat (2009))
John Woo – First director to make MA films artistically.
TL – Without Cheh he would not been as successful.
JW: "I've been influenced by him more or less." [for awhile I know Woo was not always willing to give Chang credit over his body of work]
He made first film to gross 1 million HK dollars. [This would be One-Armed Swordsman; took me awhile to find this]
Real name Chang Yik Yang. Born in Hangzhou in 1923. Father Chang Bing Lan was a warlord.
Moved to Shanghai then Hong Kong. At HK he wrote reviews under "Ho Kwan" and "Deep Thought"
"The Butterfly Chalice" (1963) his first film at Shaw Brothers.
He reversed the trend from actresses being the main focus to men. Golden Swallow (1968) is given as an example.
Wang Yu – We used real swords. [reminds me of Lau Kar-Leung]
Work was focused on youth challenging authority.
Wu Ma – He was called "Tomato Director"
Huang – Most of his figures are from Chinese literature or folk tales.
John Woo [nice description of why Chang Cheh uses slow motion shots]
Handheld cameras were used in early films to enhance reality.
He wrote reviews that were scathing. He liked James Dean and Marlon Brando.
Lo Meng – Did not give actors any pressure. Crew could not interfere with actor's performances.
He did not discriminate and would hire foreign workers if appropriate.
Andy Lau – When he worked with him, he would fall asleep on the set. [Shanghai 13 (1984)]
Made six films in China [not sure what six these are though]
Was Awarded Lifetime Award at HKFA

"In bold Jianghu, how light is a sword
As good as it is though not known
What does opulence amount to?
Only a dream across the silver screen!
-- Chang Cheh, 2001

[one of the best links on Chang Cheh is here:]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:33 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
The Warrior From Shaolin (Tai Seng):

Ric Meyer's commentaries are a mixed bag. You get a very enthusiastic person who is self-deprecating who spouts sometimes misleading or just plain wrong information in his commentaries. To be fair the commentary for this movie was done in 2000 where information was not as easy to come by and Meyer's was slowing improving in how to deliver his information (this is better than the one he did for Shaolin Drunken Monk). Normally I would take notes on commentaries, but I was tired and he makes enough mistakes that it does get a little tiring. Plus he doesn't usually put too much information that you can't find from looking at HKMDB and this one did not have any in depth information about the filming.

Various and Sundry Comments:
His constant mentioning of all the different names for several of the actors like Gordon Liu got a little annoying. He mostly stuck with the Mandarin pronunciation of them, but as he stated himself he is not good at pronouncing the names correctly.
Most likely the movie was made to make extra money for the Lau brothers in between shoots for the Shaw Brothers.
His comments on working for Ocean Shores is quite interesting and the best part of the commentary. He put together a couple of compilations of Kung Fu for them (one of them I think is THIS IS KUNG FU), but was set up in the middle of a factory to do it and had to personally tell the employees to be quiet in order to get his work done. He still feels bad about it.
He talked quite a bit about the filmographies of the Lau family throughout the movie as well as Lily Li and a few others.
Talked about obvious plot holes in the film. [I agree with him that much of the movie, especially the hopping vampires segment, was added as filler]
I find it hilarious that Ric doesn't know when someone is being doubled. He literally thinks that Gordon Liu is doing all his acrobatics, splits etc... I don't think he knows that Gordon is not actually an adopted brother to the Lau brothers.

I would recommend for most to avoid this commentary (and possibly the movie as well :D).

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:21 am
by Masterofoneinchpunch
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk (1993: Dragon Dynasty R1):

Hit Hard & Fly High: An Exclusive Interview with Directory & Legendary Hollywood Fight Choreographer Corey Yuen-kwai (20:54m Cantonese w English subs)

Grew up studying Beijing Opera with JC and Sammo [Hung] All started there between 1960-62, after studying for 10 years started doing stunt work in films.
Worked on Fist of Fury; Lam Ching-ying [Mr. Vampire] was in charge of casting
Tells that Bruce Lee’s side kick was amazing everyone.
Jackie was in that film as a body double [does an amazing stunt as the double of the Japanese boss when he gets kicked]
[subtitles are putting names in wrong order; change order throughout]
Expalins Fong Sai-yuk character.
Film takes place at the end of the Ching Dynasty [aka Qing; most likely late 1800s or early 1900s]
The role gave Jet Li more room to perform; less serious; he is outgoing in person.
First person had in mind for the mother was Josephine Siao [luckily they got her]
In the beginning there wasn’t a script; just an outline [nothing new there]
Talks about Josephine’s hearing problems. Says great things about her.
Chen Sung-yung easy to work with; from Taiwan like Siao.
Thought of casting good looking villain to go against type.
Met villain (Man Cheuk Chiu) at training school. Seemed arrogant.
First problem in China was language [Mandarin vs. Cantonese]
Weather was cold during filming during November and December
First movie he shot in Beijing
[subtitles keep referring to move as The Legend]
Dec. 3 finished filming; spent Christmas in editing room.
Jet Li was named producer to help raise money; he was purely an actor.
Talks about shooting film “Enter the Eagles” with Shannon Lee.
Jet Li had been cast for Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) had come with him to US.
“American audiences love Kung Fu I think even more than people in Hong Kong” – Corey Yuen

The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword: An Exclusive Interview with Writer Jeff Lau (13:07m English w/English subs)

Start movie business 1980 with Man on the Brink [came out early 1981]
Became director 1987; first movie script with Wong Kar-wai (Haunted Cop Shop)
Corey Yuen is favorite partner; met in 1989, admires his action directing.
Talks about Fong Sai-yuk character representing Cantonese fighting; Northern style uses more legs [Jet Li is trained in Wushu which is different than the Southern styles; this has led to some criticism of him in these Southern hero roles]; lots of B&W movies have done this character.
Was uncomfortable watching those with female as male character
Man Cheuk Chiu found by Corey in MA place in Beijing.
Di not writer violent scene in film – Corey did.
Says you cannot change Wong Fei-hung [forgets about Jackie’s Drunken Master with this strange statement]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:34 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Fists and Guts (1979: Tai Seng) Hong Kong commentary by Ric Meyers (2000)
If you have heard The Warrior From Shaolin commentary many of the stories here are the same. I remember him doing a lot of the same stories in The Shaolin Drunken Monk as well (all part of the three pack Master Killer Collection) though it has been several years since I have heard that one. This commentary was done before The Warrior From Shaolin since he mentions Fists and Guts in that commentary. Early in the commentary I was wondering if it was the same commentary as The Warrior From Shaolin since several statements are almost the same word-for-word.

States Gordon Lau was first Shaw Brother star to take on English name before edict came down preventing the use of English names for their stars [I wonder how true this actually is].
Talks about career of Lau Kar-wing. He Has Nothing But Kung Fu was first directing job [decent independent film]
Berates Ocean Shores [again; rightfully so] Later states that they didn’t have a lot of respect for their videos like the use of widescreen and subtitles; goes over dubbing issues [good to here he doesn’t prefer dubbing]
Gave opening date of film as Dec. 27, 1979 [HKMDB has it as Dec. 21, 1979; close enough]
Talks about Beast Cops (1998) as recent.
Says Lau Kar-wing’s first film is The Inheritor of Kung Fu (1977) [this isn’t even close; he’s been acting since 1963]
LKW co-founded Gar Bor with Sammo Hung and Karl Maka.
Sometimes he comes up with annoying statements like (paraphrasing) “she can open up cans with her sideburns.” Sometimes he comes up with something interesting: “You can tell the budget by the supporting casts dental work.”
Stated Lo Lieh started work in 1968 [actually it was in 1965] and still acting today [he would die a few years after this commentary]
States Black Magic (1975) as first HK horror film [not entirely wrong I think such films as The Killer Snakes (1974) is early, but is more sleaze; nice article on this topic: ... ticle.html]
Says On The Run (1988) is a great film. [I need to see this]
Comments that the leper scene could have been more extreme.
Talks about meeting Lee Hoi-sang, Lo Leih (who speaks good English), Lau Kar-wing.
He calls Chinese Ninjas mo-sha [I’m not sure where he gets that; I know they are called忍者 renzhe; argh hate when I can’t find info]
Makes mistake that Gordon Lau does stunts when he doesn’t.
Makes strange statement that Hitler ruined swastika and mustache [I know where he was going with the swastika since it has been around for centuries; but the mustache statement was hilarious]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:49 am
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Shaolin Drunken Monk (1982: Tai Seng) Hong Kong commentary by Ric Meyers (2000)

Kids about calling it “Greatest Martial Arts Film Ever”
Calls it Plan Nine From Outer China
Says made in Mainland China [I think it actually might be made in Korea; can’t find good info on this]
Talks about Gordon Lau’s hair changing length throughout the film [it does]
Says cheapest film master killer has done [apparently hasn’t seen Breakout From Oppression]
Repeats Ultimate Warrior, Gordon Liu bio, Shaw Brothers English name edit stories again [also in Fists and Guts, The Warrior From Shaolin commentaries]
[for dating purposes he does mention Lethal Weapon 4 and Shanghai Noon(2000)]
[this commentary has many more empty stretches compared to Fists and Guts and The Warrior From Shaolin]
States boss of Ocean Shores is (was?) Jackson Hung [no idea]
He states that he tried to contact Shaw Brothers about their films; thinks the films are no longer in existence [obviously wrong now; he just didn’t have enough money as Celestial did]
“solar-powered martial artists” referring to their clothes.
[Says Gordon Lau’s Cantonese name of Lau Kar-fai was Japanese]
[I don’t know why he keeps stating Heroes of the East as the Kramer vs. Kramer of HK; he has said this in the other commentaries as well]
Goes over other peoples injuries in other films like Cat vs. Rat [I’m not sure who exactly got injured but the injury was apparently a broken leg that got healed by herbal medicine] and A Better Tomorrow 2 (the explosion that made Chow Yun-fat partially deaf)
States that US films have no training sequences [has he not seen Rocky and its sequels]
Only Gordon Lau film to have “master killer nookie” [this might be true; but this was a hilarious statement]
I think he’s right when he states that the flashbacks contained scenes that were not in the film.
He states that here is the place where a Mandarin film would put a song where the female would sound like Yoko Ono [he can certainly put his foot in his mouth over and over]
Says Challenge of the Masters (1976) was Lau Kar-leung’s first directoral film [actually was The Spiritual Boxer (1975)]
Discusses the styles of some of the fights.
Correctly states that The Mask of Zorro (1998) referenced a training scene from Drunken Master.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:31 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Chungking Express Criterion R1 commentary by Tony Rayns

Two part title: Chungking refers to Chungking Mansion area; Express refers to fast-food counter (Midnight Express).
Talks about Jet Tone productions with inside joke with Chinese name.
Talks about early growing up influence of Wong Kar-wai.
Cop 223 (lives on HK side; working primarily on Kowloon side)
Chungking Mansion was played by Mirrordoor Mansion (down the road; could not use because of permission difficulties)
Movie pairs newcomer (Kaneshiro Takeshi; born in Taiwan with mixed parentage; does speak Japanese) with experienced actor Tony Leung. VO is in Mandarin. Dialogue is mostly in Cantonese. Talks about it being his second role with Executioners being his first. Was picked because of his looks.
Mentions that Wong normally refers to literary influences. Rayns mentions Godard influence, but not stated by Wong himself.
Talks about Wally Matt (gay bar; laments missing jukebox a few times in commentary).
States that smuggling operation was more media inspired than reality since it is too difficult to split the heroin into so many different containers (and couriers).
Andrew Lau shot early sequences would become director later with co-direction of Infernal Affairs being most famous. Kai Tak airport in Kowloon [closed down in 1998; shooting was not allowed here]
Three glimpses in first story of story two characters with the first being the girlfriend waiting for a taxi.
Dennis Brown song “Things in Life” (recurs many times)
Haruki Murakami Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World influence (later talks about Pinball 73 influence).
Bridgette Lin: final film [last acting film; she did do narration for Bishonen (1998)) and talks about bio. Talks about her debut Outside the Window (1973), roles, move to California and back to HK and now her reclusiveness.
Glimpse of Tony Leung while talking about Wong’s visual style.
Bashes his own article “Poet of Time” states his theme is more dealing with memory with time.
Subway system opened up in 1980s.
States rationale for VO from Wong is that people are more likely to talk to themselves these days. Talks about real reasons for them [David Bordwell goes into detail in his Planet Hong Kong book on why]
Talks about Piggy Chan casting who was the stills photographer for the film[he has actually acted twice before this]
Scene was not shot in Bottoms Up which is an Australian topless bar.
Talks about how Wong Kar-wai got to this point (small bio).
This was made less than 3 months during post-production of Ashes of Time.
[this is not Faye Wong’s screen debut, that is Beyond's Diary (1991)).
Wong Kar-wai doesn’t like to prescript his films before he starts to shoot them.
Old Cantonese movie filling up time on TV (both TVB and ATV used these old films for graveyard times).
Does not know who Gweilo is [I can’t find who it is either]
California Dreaming is song done Ad Nauseum in the second story.
Compares the influence of this film to Godard’s Breathless.
Faye Wong talk: Born in Beijing, didn’t do films until several years after [about six years; her next appearance would be Okinawa: Rendez-vous (2000)]
WKW started her to do non-dialogue shots for several days so she could get used to shooting/acting.
Says Valerie Chow’s (Stewardess) finest moment on-screen.
Dinah Washington’s song “What a Difference A Day Makes”; also featured in Pan Am commercial (another connection).
Christopher Doyle shot second story (and part of the last story); the two did not always get along; Andrew Lau had to go off and do a project of his own [I believe this was To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui (1994) he had to get to, correct me if I’m wrong]
Says WKW was not a major flop locally, just only marginally successful.
The movies international success helped Jet Tone.
HK release was shorter; deleted scene was Lin kidnapping daughter of Indian.
Talks about Christopher Doyle’s apartment building (featured in the film) becoming attraction especially for Japanese where someone published a guide to Chungking Express.
Tony Leung talk: TVB, TV serials, would moonlight in movies, breakthrough was “Love Onto Waste”(1986).
WKW interested in routines, repetitions, variations, doubling. Chris Doyle quit shoot (ITMFL) because of excess repetition.
William Chang art director: Shanghai descent, close collaborator, gay, states reason why WKW shot Happy Together [I’ve never heard WKW state this]
Flooding incident upset Chris Doyle [ha ha, completely understandable]
States WKW challenged Doyle in 1994, but by ITMFL his look was homogeneous. He says he angered Doyle by stating that WKW no longer needed input from his cinematographer.
Garfield purchase is shown earlier.
Keeps iterating about directors, critics calling WKW an MTV director [doesn’t state who though; who are they?]
Talks of world premiere, midnight shows [David Bordwell has a great explanation of these in Planet Hong Kong], how the last reel didn’t show up to many theaters and many got there money back.
He states that WKW’s later films lack the spontaneity of this film. His later films had to live up to this one.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:35 am
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Along Comes The Tiger (1977: Taiwan: Rarescope): commentary by Toby Russell, Wang Tao

Can’t always follow what Toby Russell states [sounds a bit garbled] I might want to go over this commentary again. I’m writing this used on notes I took when this release came out (2006).
Finished film in 22 days.
Wang Tao never wanted to produce another film again.
No notes for Tommy Lee’s fighting (Gam Ming).
Wu Ma was also shooting another film angering Wang Tao, stating again he did not like being producer. [not sure which film this would have been, Wu did a few that year]
Wu Ma would drink on set.
Several girls used were models.
No regulation shooting with kids
Wang Tao understand 60 percent of Cantonese
Says Jackie Chan was doing stunts in Hong Kong at this time.
Like HK martial art directors better than Taiwan.
Tommy Lee had outside problems.
Film did OK when released; Wang Tao put up money for it.
Shot a few scenes in Korea.
Loves Once Upon A Time In The West (which this is partially based on)
Tommy Lee left to HK then to USA to cook.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:21 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
One-Armed Swordsman (R1 Dragon Dynasty) commentary by David Chute and Andy Klein

This is actually a pretty good commentary. David Chute knows quite a bit more than Andy Klein, but Klein has decent knowledge. Klein voice is a bit raspy in this.

The Invincible Fist (1969) influence on The Killer; favorite of Chute [I need to see that film]
Ku Feng very prolific; in Peking Opera Blues (1986), Black Magic [very prolific indeed, check here: ... ay_set=eng ; has a good interview on Life Gamble (1979) BCI - R1]
Broken sword motif;
They were discussing is this movie had one of the first uses of the “stomach wound” which is a trademark for Chang Cheh death blows. Later they discuss the possible allegorical meaning behind this aka one of the homoerotic meanings associated with his work. They state that it is most likely because it is an easy place to put blood packets [I agree with this]. Much talk throughout about possible homoerotism in movie. AK films it is a possibly cultural misunderstanding.
States that the screenplay took from Jin Yong’s Return of the Condor Heroes [Jimmy Wang Yu states this in his interview as well]
Chang Cheh took his rebellious youth aspects from American cinema
States Chang Cheh is not known for his visual flair [I partially disagree with this; while he is mostly known for his characters, violence etc… the more I have seen from him the more I’ve seen a strong use and command of film movement and aesthetics]
DC like Golden Swallow better; claims handheld first use by Chang Cheh in HK cinema (DC says this is stated by Cheh himself)
Long Armed Devil named because of his whip.
Good talk about two different types of swords: Dao (刀) which is used in this film and the Chinese Character is used in the Chinese title of this film and Jian (劍 or剑) which is more of an upper-class weapon.
There is talk throughout the film about the Tsui Hark remake of this film called The Blade (1995)
Lots of talk about Jianghu (江湖) The mythical setting that many wuxia films take place. Later discussion is on jianghu versus civilian life.
DC states that this is the first big hit of it’s type [this was the first film to make a million HK dollars].
Sword putting away flub [this one is funny if you watch it and think about it; how could they put their swords in the sheath at that angle]
DC states blue screen use in HK was unheard of at this time period.
They talk about how some fans complain that there is not enough fights [some kung fu fans will complain about anything]
Talk about flashback scene doesn’t really serve much of a purpose [miss the fact that scene has different functions for the themes in the film]
Tong Gai is weapons guy for the film [actor and co-action director for this film]
Keeps Long armed devil from being seen until much later in film [1 hr 38m to be exact]
Need to do research to find out how popular westerns were for HK at that time period [me too]
Points out correctly the plot points of kidnapping the daughter.
Talks about reversal shot; questions when the first use in HK was [I am curious of this as well]
[while watching this again I noticed the continuity of JWY’s beard seems off; will check that again]
Music cue takes From Russia With Love
They talk about needing Quentin when trying to figure out an American version of Crippled Avengers [this gets me to speculate that they were originally going to get Tarantino for the commentary; his name is actually on the back of the DVD stating he is on the commentary which he is not; no idea about the movie though]
They can’t think of another one-armed film after The Blade.
DC thinks The Blade is the last great MA film to make an advance in cinema [I personally think SPL has a case for this]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:46 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
continued ...

The Master Chang Cheh (17:30): Mandarin, Cantonese w/English subs):
This is the same documentary that is on Ten Tigers of Kwangtung (R1 Tokyo Shock) except it has a different translation.

Interview with star Jimmy Wang Yu (10:55 Mandarin w/English subs):
Was swimmer and was practicing MA [I know some of you will not believe this] at the time he went to audition for the Shaw Brothers. 5000 showed up, three were chosen.
When he joined Shaw Brothers he thought he would join Japan and Chinese martial arts [I would have though Chang was more responsible for that]
Chang Cheh thought One-Armed Swordsman had personality like Wang.
He couldn’t refuse part [not if he wanted to keep working for the Shaw Brothers]
Paid 400-500 HK dollars per movie in early career; actors paid little;
film usually finished in 40 working days.
1964 basic actor paid 200HK per month; people in normal jobs paid 800 HK dollars per month.
Family was well off; family bought him a sports car; didn’t live at dorm.
He’s right handed but had to learn to use his left for film; fell down a lot.
“Other actors needed 10 to 20 takes for an action scene, but I rarely did. I shot in one take after practicing the move two or three times.”
3 shifts at Shaw Brother studio.
Zhang Peishan did voice over; from north, Mandarin was perfect
JWY from Jiangsu (
Most memorable scene was rescuing teacher (used trampoline).
Credits team work for film’s success.
“I’m 70% Fang Gang and 30% myself.”
Get raise because of film. Went to over 6000HK per month from a few hundred per month. Bought two cars and had four total.

Interview with film critic/scholars David Chute & Andy Klein (8:08 English):
DC: Transitional film; first modern wuxia film [The Magnificent Trio (1966) might actually fit that bill; same with Tiger Boy (1966) except that movie is not on DVD anywhere].
AK CC into James Dean, Marlon Brando; JWY brooking hero
DC: JWY wears lower class garb (or like samurai) while other students wear older style wuxia garb
[lots of plot recap]
DC: this spawned two sequels [he means Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969) and New One-Armed Swordsman (1971); though there are other OAS films]; grossed over 1 million HK dollars.

Has original and new trailer for this film.
This disc has an awesome lot of original Shaw Brother’s trailers.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:23 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
The Legendary Strike (1978: Tai Seng) Hong Kong commentary by Ric Meyers (2001?)

Normal Ric Meyers Intro
Gives akas Fist Too Fast and Iron Maiden
Released Nov. 30, 1978
[throughout the commentary he overdoes biographies of everyone listed; naming off way too many movies per person; however, he is better on correct information here then in earlier commentaries though still makes some snafus which I’ll explain later as well his faux pas style of humour]
Frankie Chan bio: Composer on this film, [I blame him for the irritating sound whenever the pearl shows up], Taekwondo expert [couldn’t verify this] talks about films he has done including directing work with JC on Armour of God [though technically he was Executive Director not co-director]
Huang Feng bio: Director on this film; well respected, states directed first Golden Harvest film The Angry River [the first actually I believe is The Invincible Eight (1971)], states helped make Angela Mao a star [that pretty much is true; while she acted in a few early features, several films directed by Huang did help her popularity out a lot; possibly why she was in this not-so-good movie] This was his last directing job.
Ric corrects a mistake he made in a previous commentary on The Heroes (1980) aka The Shaolin Heroes (Amazon link: where he credited The Himalayan to King Hu instead of Huang Feng.
[quick mention of I believe Graffon Film Co. as being founded by Huang Feng which only did The Victim according to HKMDB and IMDB]
Many, many comments on Cassanova Wong looking like Spock.
“Do you know how many commentaries Tai Seng makes me do in a day? This is our third one out of four?” He will not mention what the others are.
Shaw Brothers have not released DVDs [they would in 2002]
Ocean Shores talk: do no remastering [duh]; hardcore fans like dub and full screens
Theorizes that American directors cut too close to the action because they grew up on Full screen versions of HK MA.
Frank Jang at Tai Seng would translate songs, this was not done in this film; original song was kept.
Chan Sing bio: credited for bring sai to HK; started in 1969 with Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, uses mostly upper body fighting. Started getting fatter in the 80s.
Kam Kong bio: student of Tae Kwon Do. Stereotyped because of tall size.
Talks about womens roles in HK cinema.
“Chang Cheh who wasn’t that into women.” [you had to go there]
Not sure what the Legendary Strike is [I’m not sure what it is either]
Talks about Stoner (film with Angelo Mao) and how she spent most of the film as a dirty boy [this isn’t true; she is dirty in a few scenes, but never a boy and not most of the film]
Talks about George Lazenby. Doing a boneheaded move is called a Lazenby [saying a faux pas in a commentary is called a Ric Meyers]
Paul Chu bio: “Lucked out because of looks”, hasn’t worked since 2000 still hasn’t to my knowledge]
Cassanova Wong: discovered by Sammo Hung, from Korea, Tae Kwon Do, now a film producer in South Korea …
“You career is going down if you appear in a ninja movie or a sexy film.” [for ever several faux pas he makes he has a gem like this]
Carter Wong: “No one can look constipated like Carter Wong.” Says other actors scoffed at his MA abililty.
Mars: not sure why his name is Mars. [HKMDB states it is a take from a stage name he had -- Martian Monster; doesn’t say how he got the stage name]
“Nobody can play a corpse like Mars”
Talks about Deadful Melody commentary.
Does not like Big Trouble in Little China because it is based on and not as good as Zu Warriors (1983) and Bastard Swordsman (1983).
Ends the commentary a bit early.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:20 pm
by Brian Thibodeau
[quote="Masterofoneinchpunch"]Theorizes that American directors cut too close to the action because they grew up on Full screen versions of HK MA.[quote]

Interesting theory. Probably doesn't hold water, but interesting. If Americans are known for getting in closer to the action, such a technique could just as likely have been part of a natural progression of American action filmmaking techniques in general. It seems to me that another flaw in his thinking would be that a close-up is a close-up, even in a scope frame. Granted, panning 'n scanning, and thus lopping off the sides of the image, would certainly contribute to unnatural tightness in a composition—and I suppose some directors weaned on full-screen versions of old martial arts films could have been subconsciously replicating such compositions as they'd seen them in their youth, but there's still the same amount of space between the top and bottom of the image area whether it's a scope or fullscreen print, so Hong Kong filmmakers weren't exactly averse to using close-ups in action sequences from what I've seen over the decades. Meyers seems to be reaching.

The bit about Tai Seng having him do multiple commentaries in a day is telling. ;)

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:30 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Brian Thibodeau wrote:
Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Theorizes that American directors cut too close to the action because they grew up on Full screen versions of HK MA.

Interesting theory. Probably doesn't hold water, but interesting. If Americans are known for getting in closer to the action, such a technique could just as likely have been part of a natural progression of American action filmmaking techniques in general. It seems to me that another flaw in his thinking would be that a close-up is a close-up, even in a scope frame. Granted, panning 'n scanning, and thus lopping off the sides of the image, would certainly contribute to unnatural tightness in a composition—and I suppose some directors weaned on full-screen versions of old martial arts films could have been subconsciously replicating such compositions as they'd seen them in their youth, but there's still the same amount of space between the top and bottom of the image area whether it's a scope or fullscreen print, so Hong Kong filmmakers weren't exactly averse to using close-ups in action sequences from what I've seen over the decades. Meyers seems to be reaching.

The bit about Tai Seng having him do multiple commentaries in a day is telling. ;)

Yeah, I found it interesting at first glance, but the more you think about it the more holes it has. Hollywood action directors tend to shoot in close (or very far away) to help put in the stuntmen (and women or men for women) in the shot without as much notice. This is done because the actors are either not skilled in risking their lives or insurance reasons prevents them from doing many things as well. On a side note, it is amazing how much Steve McQueen did in many of his films, especially some of the motorcycle scenes (even doubling as Germans in The Great Escape). Later action films cut way too much (MIchael Bay style; David Bordwell constantly talks about this), but I think that is done more out of ignorance and copying previous styles then out of fully thinking about cohesive editing aka they haven't seen that many HK movies :D.

Many of the Hollywood directors are also weened on cinema as opposed to tv and VHS releases (Tarantino would fit the bill on both though).

I found that statement on how many commentaries he did interesting and it certainly matches up with his output. This certainly pushes him into making more errors (it would do the same to me as well) and strange non-sequiters(sp). But the commentaries I commented on above with him, he repeated information so much that I knew they were done closly together. I noticed in this one he didn't repeat himself about thinking the Shaw Brother's master's no longer existed. I think at that time more rumours were getting around about Shaw films. Though honestly I think if someone offered the Shaw's enough money before Celestial they could have gotten the films out earlier.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:38 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
Mad Detective (R0/NTSC/MOC #71):

Q&A with Johnnie To at the Cinémathèque Française Johnnie To retrospective (Paris, France, March 2008) – 35 minutes (French, Cantonese, English w/ removable English subtitles):
[on my machine it actually comes out at 33 minutes; this also takes place March 5]
this starts with much talk on The Mission; I’m glad I have this extra. They had the opportunity to watch 30 of Johnnie To’s films in a month’s time. I would have loved that as I’ve only seen 30 Johnnie To films. They also published a book “Ten Years of Milky Way Productions” which they gave to everyone there [no idea where to get this now].
JT states it is difficult to get filmography books published in HK [not quite true, Hong Kong University Press puts out a decent amount of books out on film]
Commentator states that The Mission is a turning point for JT [JT has stated in both interviews and books that he considers Loving You (1995) his turning point]
JT: Made film within month; only given 2.5 million HK dollars for budget; cheapest film he has ever made [I really think it is probably The Enigmatic Case (1980)], script was written while film was being shot [nothing new for him or the HK film industry], filming took 18 days; had 2 days for the mall scene.
JT: “waiting is part of their work.” Former boss at China Star used to have five bodyguards.
Commentator: many later films resemble The Mission.
JT: “I’m a bit of a chauvinist.”
JT: after school he applied for four jobs: police, apprentice engineer with telephone company, footballer, messenger of TV Station TVB.
Once became TV director wanted to direct films.
JT: founded company to make something that represent HK.
JT: “Originality is the most important thing in film-making.”
Mad Detective talk:
Had so many night scenes because it is easier to control; also wakes up late.
JT: “I am a director and I’m not good at writing scripts.”
Relies on the shot to tell the story, that’s why he likes wide angle shots.
Set to direct Red Circle later that year [it seems that he has been removed from that project]
Says he personally hates criminal gangs; criminals disrupted scene in The Mission.
Heroic Trio:
Interview question states that Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung were not known at the time of this film. [not even close; Yeoh had already several hits in HK way before this and had already married, retired and divorced before this move; Maggie had done tons of films (at least 40 plus before that movie)]
JT: hired them because actors were too pricey.
Celebration of friendship with the other two directors (Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark) all worked at TVB.
He would like to work with Martin Scorsese, Kubrick [a little late here] and Tarantino [that would be interesting]
Favorite HK director is Wong Kar-wai.
States HK filmmakers do steal from foreign films [actually this was in response to a kind of asinine question]
Imagine if Robert De Niro played Jackie Chan films.

Exclusive cast interviews shot during the Far East Film Festival featuring Lau Ching Wan, and Lam Suet (Udine, Italy, April 2008) – 14 minutes (Cantonese w/ removable English subtitles):
[my machine has this at 16 minutes]
Lau Ching-wan & Lam Suet [Lau mostly responds]
“Do you feel a need to make a different kind of film?”
“How much of yourself have you put into the role of Bun?”
Never asks himself that or analyzes that.
“Would you even want to become a director?”
Depends, no intention. LS – no intention either.
“Has increased cooperation between Hong Kong and China altered the way you work?”
Yes, will continue to happen, story will have to suit Mainland.
“Each character you have played has a distinctive look. How does this influence you?”
He doesn’t usually have a say in this. It does affect his acting though.
“Did you experience a culture clash shooting abroad?”
Pleasant experience. Cameraman John? Canada? [I’m a little confused on this one; was this film filmed in Canada?]
“Do you still need to prepare?”
LS: no, uses all life experiences.
LCW: agree with LS, has to have desire to play character.
LCW: uses magician allegory to explain why he doesn’t talk about his acting method.
“How did you prepare for your role in Mad Detective?”
LCW: chatted with psychiatrist; LS: director gave advice.
“Is there a director with whom you’d like to work?”
LCW: none in particular; likes to work with new directors.
“What was it like cutting your ear off?”
Hired make-up artist from Hollywood [Mark Garbarino; he has done several jobs in HK], hard cutting ear off; did not quite know where ear was.
“Do you specifically prepare for your roles?”

Interview with Johnnie To for the French theatrical release of Mad Detective (France, 4th March 2008) – 21 minutes (French/English/Cantonese w/removable English subs):
This takes place at Hotel Scribe in Paris
[Here is an interesting interview, some of the questions range from mildly interesting to a bit more sagacious and informed than the Cinémathèque Française one that takes place the following day]
Milky Way is aproduction company, will work with many other companies. Lately working more with Media Asia [including some of these: Breaking News, Triangle, Exiled, Vengeance (2009), Death of a Hostage (2010)].
Him and Wai last worked in 2003 [I believe Running on Karma (2003) was the last; not my fav :)]
They worked together on the first film Milky Way produced: “Too Many Ways to Be Number 1” [I have been looking for a decent priced copy of this for a few years]
Says he left Election 2 open for possible sequel in the future. [I strongly recommend watching his interview on Election notes are [url=""]here[/url]]
JT: “I write the script as I film.”
Mission took 19 days to film [says 18 above]
Mind got stuck during PTU, went half a year before filming again then got stuck again.
Did not have screenplay for Mad Detective.
Longer: had script ready, a genre never attempted before, testing his own disciple. [I really wish this had a R0 or R1 release]
JT: “I just can’t work with a completed script.”
The Big Heat: has great things to say about Tsui Hark, thought differently then him though; had trouble processing what Tsui told him (making production difficult).
Talks about recent scandal dealing with Edison Chan [funny that scandal still has affect Edison to this very day]
Alain Delon is his idol; would like to work with him.
JT: “All the films before “Loving You” were for the only consideration was the box-office takings.”
in 1995 did not make a single film. [this doesn’t make any sense; Loving You was made in 1995 and so was “Tomorrow”; ok I think he meant to say 1994 he didn’t make a single film which is true]
States that after he completed Mad Monk he asked himself what was he to become in the future.
Only wanted to make films for self.
Puts Lam Suet in films because he is rounded and he also represents mischievous side.

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:31 pm
by Masterofoneinchpunch
The Victim (1980) commentary by Ric Meyers and Bobby Samuels (2001)

BS: worked with Sammo in 2 features; lived with Sammo 3 years; Sammo helped him in Cantonese and helped with action with camera.
BS: Sammo written with 2 n’s [title has one]
Curious statement from both that this was Sammo’s first directed film [his first credited film is The Iron Fisted Monk (1977)]
BS: had to tone down acting when he got back to States.
BS: states how Sammo got facial scar because of broken bottle in face technique.
RM: compares camera style to Chang Cheh [I don’t see it]
RM/BS: reiterates Sammo/Bruce Lee confrontation story [I wonder who won that one?]
BS: Sammo lived next to Leung Kar-yan for years; helped him get into acting; states story that Leung did not know martial arts at all [would repeat this throughout commentary]
States The Postman Strikes Back was Chow Yun-fat’s only MA role until Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
BS: says you need to have 3 prolific stunt directors sign for you for stuntmen card.
BS: Sammo idolized Bruce Lee.
RM: notes Sammo’s obsession for nudity as well as Jackie Chan. BS says this is because they grew up together nude so it was more normal; RM points out scenes where it goes beyond normal.
BS: was directed by Yuen Wo-ping in Red Wolf. Has great things to say about him. Says he is cigarette guy and that many smoked too much. Says only individual choreographer that has complete control of his vision.
Many actresses from pageants.
Chan Lung’s nickname ma goo; won’t state what it means [no idea; if anyone has the characters for his nickname please PM me]. He had problems, was institutionalized.
[Dark Was mentioned as this year; puts the commentary around 2001]
RM: states that Sammo’s career started with 1971 Angry River [not even close; actually his math gets a little weird when he states that sammo had worked for 32 years and Beady at 26 years]
BS: was not happy about Lee Hoi-sang being in blackface in Enter The Fat Dragon; Sammo could have hired a black actor. Says he could write a book about racism in the industry. He talks about difficult sequence in Don’t Give A Damn until RM breaks him off [on purpose] [this was getting interesting; I have not seen that film, but reviews do not paint it kindly; he later seems to still be upset with Sammo about particular issues dealing with race]
RM: Sammo likes to fill his films with interesting looking characters; hypothesizes because Sammo is scarred and overweight.
BS: Says Chang Yi is one of his favorite villains; from Indonesia [according to HKMDB he is from Huizhou, Guangdong Province], real martial artist.
RM: white is not color of wedding it is color of death; red is color of wedding; BS agrees
RM: Sammo knows how to move camera, says Sammo has hand on camera.
BS: Sammo told him camera was third arm.
BS says he has seen this about 50 times; RM says about six.
Both talk about possible doubling including use of Chung Faat, Sammo possibly being doubled and later use of Yuen Biao [which is very obvious doubling for Wilson Tong Wai-shing].
BS: favorite scene is Sammo versus Leung.
RM: filmed completely on location; “worst things happen to chickens”
BS: Sammo well over 200 pounds; Yuen Wo-ping is godfather of two of Sammo’s sons, Jackie Chan is godfather to younger son.
RM: says fans started to turn on Sammo after Lucky Stars Go Places (1986) [I don’t quite agree with this because Eastern Condors and that film both made over 20m HK; now he didn’t direct for a few years as EC and Millionaire’s Express was a real hit unlike what he states]
RM: started to have sexist, racist mysogonist streak [umm; has RM not seen his first directed film The Iron Fisted Monk (1977) which is very mysognositic]
BS: Sammo well known for his gambling [Bobby definitely is still a little angry with Sammo]
RM: pole stands up to sword, not possible [actually this is funny if you think about it]
BS: not happy with sister (Yuet Yee) not showing emotion after her brother’s death; RM tries to explain why then gives up.
BS: got to work with Lam Ching-ying before he died [not sure when]
RM/BS: could not find other roles for girlfriend played by Fanny Wang [reason why she’s in four films: Fame of Chess (1977), The Victim (1980), All’s Well, End’s Well ’97 (1997) and A Decade of Love (2008) and I’m not even sure about Fame of Chess or A Decade of Love :D]
BS: Sammo love American films.
Both: terrible scene ghost/Dracula sequence; RM: where did he get the tux? “Sammo Size” “Enter the Fat Vampire”
RM: What year is this supposed to be? [?]
RM: plot issue; get Mom out of room [actually this is funny] “pillage then burn, not burn than pillage”
BS: Sammo wanted Martial Law to go on longer.
RM: says took out Sammo from fighting in second season; took out humor, was top 20 show, TV Guide award; almost as if they wanted it to fail. [Interesting article here:]
BS: most difficult when you fight multiple people [unless you are Fezzik]
[RM confuses MA audience with mainstream audience]
BS: Sammo spoke English at end of film [can’t tell with this dub]

Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:44 pm
by Brian Thibodeau
PUSH (2010)
Commentary by director Paul McGuigan and actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning

I was only mildly impressed with this picture, though it certainly has some interesting ideas and often stuns on a visual level. Paul McGuigan admits he's not much of an action or sci-fi guy (PUSH represents his first attempt at both, apparently), meaning this is a bit heavy on the exposition (especially with so many different . Of course, for fans of the city of Hong Kong, that's a good thing - we can better savour the city's unique locations when characters aren't careening through them at Jason Bourne speed. Despite its shortcomings as an American production -- hardly surprising it was a January release -- I couldn't help but wish that Hong Kong filmmakers could've come up with something this unique, as the filmmakers here use of the city and its surroundings in much the same way as their Hong Kong counterparts.

This commentary has the usual abundance of "I like this scene", "I like these visuals", "let's explain what this character is" and the usual cast/crew back-patting, so I've left most of that out in favour points of interest for fans of Hong Kong, where the film was entirely shot:

- Color palette in opening scenes are gray and blue to contrast the big boost in colour when the action relocates to Hong Kong
- McGuigan says photos taken of Evans' character's apartment block during pre-production are what convinced him to set the film there. (He doesn't confirm it, but they look like the exact same apartment blocks where the big shootout was staged in Tsui Hark's TIME & TIDE :D
- Fanning on HK: didn't know what to expect when she first arrived. Realized quickly how many people live there. It's like a huge mall. You're never alone, always somewhere to go. Really liked HK (sounds quite genuine)
- McGuigan on HK: bit hard as a photographer because you're always so close to other people
- Evans on HK: loved the "built-in set design you couldn't dream of" with so many places to shoot.
- Movie shot mostly handheld (and quite well, I'd add).
- Explanation of "Cup Cam", where glass mug was anchored to camera, then moved around apartment while maintaining position in frame, with resultant footage mashed into a "Sniffer" flashback. Cost: "ten bucks"
- McGuigan: as film goes on, green and red colours appear frequently, but that's more because of what's actually there in HK as opposed to anything thematic.
- Fish market was located outside of HK; crew expanded on it. Place was active, pungent, violent (says one non-crew person was beaten nearby)
- Evans on Hong Kong: like a "tangible soundstage", much better than a set. "You're in the reality"
- McGuigan's first time shooting a film where it's set, rather than passing off one city as another, as in most movies.
- Dried seafood hanging in market stalls grossed out Evans and Fanning
- McGuigan claims Evans and Fanning really ran through the exploding fish market. Probably true, though I'm sure it wasn't very difficult. Then again, it IS Hong Kong . . . :)
- Preview audiences hated the screaming "bleeder" brothers (members of the film's evil Pop family)
- Many scenes shot with real crowds (won't surprise any HK cinema fans!)
- Temple for the Dead was a real location (like everything else)
- Crew hid cameras in boxes and vans to shoot street scenes, letting the actors mix into the real crowds to play their scenes. (definitely one of the key things I LOVE about HK cinema, and glad to see it replicated here, though they probably had no choice :LOL: ) "Way to go, Hong Kong!" says Evans.
- Fight coordinator was Nick Powell (though many HK stuntpeople are on utilized)
- Evans not fond of the "yellow dust" but admits it makes the fights look better. McGuigan promises to explain it later, but never does. I'm assuming it's that powder that makes the impacts look stronger in fights.
- THE DARK KNIGHT was shooting at the same time. (oddly enough, real-life weirdo Andy Tsang's appearance in this is about three times longer -- and affords him more face time -- than Edison Chen's appearance in TDK)
- Evans had two buddies in HK with him, so toured the nightlife until the wee hours.
- Everybody loves Djimon Hounsou.
- Tried to keep away from the "tourist" Hong Kong and stick to working class areas like Kowloon.
- Worked out of Johnnie To's offices (he's given credit at the end). McGuigan is a fan, and likes Wong Kar-wai's work).
- All seemed to find Siu Yin-Ming (playing a PR girl in Cliff Curtis' intro scene) a very funny lady behind the scenes, but they don't elaborate
- First meeting with Cliff Curtis shot in actual Club B-Boss
- Everybody loves Cliff Curtis
- Ming Na's apartment set difficult to work in because of it's size. These scenes heavily rewritten.
- McGuigan momentarily forgets the name of the pier (Kwun Tong) where a meeting scene takes place. Fanning reminds him it's "Koon Tong" pier. Hey, it's not like she's a local.
- A scene in a real grocery market (can't tell where this is). McGuigan says he heard it was to be torn down to accommodate the building of a mall.
- Cast trailers were very small. (Do HK actors even GET trailers? LOL)
- Scene between Fanning and "Pop Girl" (Li Xiao-lu) in alley at night, filmed in the wee hours of the morning, was interrupted by residents up above dumping "buckets of stuff" onto the street below. :D
- McGuigan wanted a Rockabilly look for the Pop Brothers (Jacky Heung and Kwan Fung-chi)
- Quick scene of Evans walking down the street talking on his cell was filmed in the "Thai area of Hong Kong where Buddhist monks come out and people give offerings to them", according to McGuigan (he doesn't specify where this is). As with other street scenes, all the background activity was real, the camera was hidden, and Evans simply walked through the crowd in character. Second part of the sequence, with Evans getting off the bus and walking toward camera was also shot on an open street, though McGuigan believes they should have locked it down, since more people started looking at Evans, mainly because he towers over everybody in the shot! :lol:
- Big Restaurant Battle: Evans says sliding across the floor shooting guns was the most fun he's ever had on any move he's ever done.
- Skyscraper that figures prominently in the film's third act -- and in many panoramic views of the city -- was a CG creation.
- First appearance of "modern" Hong Kong (Central) at 1:13:00 (lead-in to final act)
- Evans on Andy Tsang (whose big scene is opposite Cliff Curtis): "This guy was great too." McGuigan: "There's lots of great character actors in Hong Kong. Great faces"
- Climax is a mix of footage shot on a real skyscraper under construction and an "infamous" set. They promise to elaborate, but never do.
- Hau Woon-ling plays the old woman psychically "hiding" the building. They don't point that out. I'm just doing it for them . . .
- Interiors of skyscraper shot on the unfinished portion of a Hong Kong studio.
- Bamboo scaffolding collapse was tried several times because bamboo was too strong. Had to be augmented with CGI.