Bey Logan is back

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Bey Logan is back

Postby steve_cole1 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:28 pm

I noticed looking through new dvds coming out ive pre ordered my exiled copy Bey Logan is back doing commentries for Dragon Dynesty which is part of that famous destroyer of hk films weinstein corporation killzone e.t.c( i dunno whether this is old news!! but forgive me!!!)
I liked his commentries on hong kong legends dvds he is doing one with brett ratner of dubious rush hour fame about police story could be intresting or an ad for rush hour 3
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:53 pm

Logan never really went away, unfortunately, and because of that we must now contend with an endless parade of gushy and largely UNinformative commentary tracks on a new label. And now he's teamed up with Brett Ratner, the man who openly admitted in the commentary to RUSH HOUR that Jackie Chan needed a crummy script like that to break big in America. Sadly, he was right, and look at Chan's American projects since then - pale imitations of his Hong Kong work, and way too many co-starring and/or sidekick roles.

But I digress. Bey Logan is a master of deception in his tracks, making the listener THINK they're getting more information than they really are simply because of his authoritative tone and his proximity to the industry, where he's probably the only caucasian to go from fan-boy to publisher to Professional Friend of Donnie Yen® to unsuccessful screenwriter to Weinstein shill. As I've stated repeatedly, there are FAR MORE APPROPRIATE PEOPLE that should be doing commentaries for Hong Kong cinema classics. These films don't need one more "look who I'm pals with" track that offers about 35% enlightenment and 65% cheerleading, ESPECIALLY in unison with someone who's only there because he's the director of Jackie Chan's latest film and another fan boy.

Jackie Chan did once record a commentary for the American DVD release of one of his films. Forgive me if I can't remember it now, but I think it's the only one he did. Perhaps he knows his English skills are not strong enough to maintain a listener's interest for 90-plus minutes, but clearly SOMEONE was able to convince him to give it a try. The man if probably a fountain of memories and knowledge and would be fascinating to listen to in subtitled cantonese.

Barring that, I just don't understand why they don't treat these films with a little more respect and bring in more studied scholar/authors (Stephen Teo? Shu Kei?) to bolster the endless enthusiasm —and general LACK of accuracy, technical enlightenment and cultural revelations— foaming forth from the likes of Logan, Ratner (RATNER????) and the current crop of go-to guys for these sorts of things.

It's sad. Japanese films on DVD from smaller labels like Criterion and even Tokyo Shock get commentaries by original participants in the films themselves and/or respected scholars and authors like Donald Richie and so many others, and the information to be gleaned from these tracks enriches the experience of the film immensely. But when it comes to re-issuing classic pieces of Hong Kong cinema to the western masses, who do they inevitably turn to?

Bey Logan.

Bey Logan.

and Bey Logan.

And sometimes Ric Meyers. Who's arguably worse.

It's just not fair. To the films or the fans. There desperately needs to be a better variety of commentators on Hong Kong films.

Do Hong Kong filmmakers—and the long list of well-researched scribes who've written about them in the wake of Logan's Hong Kong Action Cinema book (which even I can admit was a key factor in repopularizing Hong Kong cinema in the west)—really consider their contributions to world cinema so disposable as to not want to record their thoughts on older films for posterity, so that films like POLICE STORY can be properly assigned a place in the pantheon of world classics instead of the realm of "cool" exploitation?

Or is it the view of American and British distributors that Hong Kong cinema, unlike Asia's other two dominant cinemas (Japanese and Korean), is of such reduced status that a track by Logan—which invariably repeats some of the more generic information from his previous tracks—is somehow considered enough to satisfy all and sundry who might pick it up? (and yes, I'm aware that a least A FEW of Logan's HK Legends DVD tracks involved actual HK talent involved with the films on display, but they were exceptions to the rule, which was usually solo Bey).

Logan's commentary on the Dragon Dynasty DVD of KILL ZONE (the laughable retitling of SPL) offered almost NO insight into the production of that film (and really suffered from the absence of Donnie Yen, who was scheduled to participate, and Wilson Yip, the director, whom the Weinstein fart-catchers apparently didn't try very hard to involve).

And now with the release of POLICE STORY, the addition of Ratner not only gives Logan yet another name to drop on future commentaries, but also adds some much needed "industry cred" to POLICE STORY.

Sigh.

Glenn Erickson's review at DVDtalk also hints at the pointlessness of the commentary track, as well as suggests —in the footnote—that the DVD may or may not be the original Hong Kong edition, although Erickson is admittedly no expert on Hong Kong cinema, so we may have to wait for further verification before deciding if the Weinsteins and their shineboys have done further disservice to another Hong Kong classic.

www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=25649
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i guess u dont like him

Postby steve_cole1 » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:10 pm

im reasonably new to asian films about 5 years so the HKL discs were the only ones of HK films i could get hold of in england and at the time had no internet my asian film knowledge at the time was not as good so he was informative for me seeing you have probably seen a load more hk films than me so it is like a repeating record but he had done some good HKL discs with Gordon Chan Donnie Yen maggie q and er Michael Wong Clarence Ford
Steffan Hammond did a few good ones with the hk stuntman Jude Poyer on that label
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Postby cal42 » Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:10 pm

I like Bey Logan's commentaries :shock: .

BTW, I believe it was Gorgeous that Jackie did the chat-track on. I never did listen to it - I threw the DVD in the bin when I realised half the film was missing.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:59 pm

I like Bey Logan's commentaries


They have their moments. But Bey is NOT the only authority on Hong Kong cinema in the world and, frankly, if you listen to enough of his tracks, you start to see the patterns of misdirection and generic information. Still, he's far from the worst, I'll give you that. I just get tired of distributors (or perhaps just the folks at the Weinstein Smug Factory and Hong Kong Legends) simply assuming there's no one else even worthy of seeking out for additional—or completely NEW—input on these classic works of world cinema.

The people who release Japanese cinema on DVD in the west seem to realize it's better NOT to go to the SAME FRIGGIN' GUY for nearly every high-profile release. What's worse, executives at many of these companies could have easily gotten hold of original filmmakers and scholars and bypassed "Mr. Connections" altogether.

But still, I don't dislike the guy, despite how all this sounds. I just firmly believe he's one of many people who can do these tracks, and now it's time to let somebody else have a go, someone who was either present on the set or whose unique cultural knowledge can suss out additional cultural layers in these films for the layman. With Bey Logan, you just don't get that. The day he ends up doing a Criterion audio commentary will be a sad day indeed, sadder if they use Ric Meyers instead (although he's probably the more sincere of the two, so that gets him extra points). That's assuming that Criterion would ever consider showcasing a Hong Kong movie that wasn't made by John Woo or Wong Kar-wai. :roll:
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Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:12 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote:The people who release Japanese cinema on DVD in the west seem to realize it's better NOT to go to the SAME FRIGGIN' GUY for nearly every high-profile release. What's worse, executives at many of these companies could have easily gotten hold of original filmmakers and scholars and bypassed "Mr. Connections" altogether.

... That's assuming that Criterion would ever consider showcasing a Hong Kong movie that wasn't made by John Woo or Wong Kar-wai. :roll:


I completely agree with this. Yesterday I bought the two new Dragon Dynasty DVDS (The Protector and Seven Swords) and Logan has commentary on both of them too (Hark is also on Seven Swords). I have yet to listen to Logan's commentaries and I have nothing against him except for an occasional sarcastic comment :) so I cannot comment on the quality of them (though I will comment on the Police Story one when I write a long-winded review on the film -- like my other reviews :D).

I doubt Ric or Logan would be on a Criterion commentary if not that Criterion just doesn't seem to pick Hong Kong films much (only three HK and one Taiwanese films) and the John Woo Criterions are OOP so only 1 in-print pick (at least there are three Canadian Cronenbergs on CC; had to mention him Brian though I have no idea on your opinion of his work) . I believe Dragon Dynasty is going to release The Killer and Hardboiled (along with other Woo such a Bullet in the Head). I have no idea if they are going to use the Woo commentary or the extras that are on the Criterion discs.

Here's an interesting thread on this topic with RUnning Man having the same feelings toward Logan that Brian does: http://adg.invisionzone.com/index.php?s ... 0&p=14416&

Here's where I read about DD's releases: http://www.filmwad.com/the-weinstein-co ... 317-p.html
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:43 am

Don't know who that Running Man fellow is, but I like his views on Bey Logan. In fact, that review of the Police Story disc is spot on. What a mess. Might as well stick with the very first original Megastar releases for heaven's sake!

I also got a kick out of the link to the cover art for the Dragon Dynasty release of POLICE STORY 2. Looks like the Jackie Chan "black shirt sessions" strike again! I have that exact same photo from the original theatrical press kit for SUPERCOP. And dig the credibility in that quote! Unreal! :D :D

Image

I happened across the Dragon Dynasty (what a shitty name, eh?) DVD release of THE PROTECTOR (aka TOM YUM GOONG) tonight on the way home from work and actually noticed the reduced running time before reading Running Man's review at Asian DVD guide (http://adg.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=1571). While they at least include the original Thai version, it now sounds like Bey, in his obligatory expert commentary, has taken to repeating info verbatim from the making-of documentary AND pointing out plot holes that don't exist. You really gotta polish the right knobs to keep up an act like that and get away with actually saying something like this (taken from the commentary, as quoted in Running Man's review): "I think as long as the film maker's original work is respected and revered, then you can actually have a bit of leeway to re-edit and re-score films so that they go out to the broadest possible audience". :evil:
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Postby ewaffle » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:37 am

cal42 wrote:BTW, I believe it was Gorgeous that Jackie did the chat-track on. I never did listen to it - I threw the DVD in the bin when I realised half the film was missing.


You didn't miss a thing. The commentary was worse than bad. Chan either didn't have anything to say or was unable to express it in English. My wife is a stone fan of Jackie--she insisted (successfully) that we see "The Tuxedo" on its opening weekend for example--and she wasn't able to listen to it.
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Postby mrblue » Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:31 am

The answer to why HK movies don't have better DVDs is pretty simple.

The local audiences really don't care for the most part about big "special editions" with commentaries, deleted scenes and whatnot. They're perfectly happy with VCDs or bootleg DVDs.

The US distributors like Dragon Dynasty still treat HK product like they are bottom of the barrel disposable films - and the fact that most US viewers don't like to read subtitles wouldn't make me think that there would be much call for more in-depth stuff on the discs.

Hell, the majority of US viewers still need to be convinced that widescreen is a good thing. I was in Target the other day and some lady was swearing up and down that her DVD was "broken" bacuse it had black bars :/

I'm not complaining too much though - after sitting through innumberable bootlegs and Tai Seng tapes, I'm fairly happy with any disc that has a decent transfer and decent subs. Sure, I'd love to see nice 2-DVD sets for tons of movies out there, but given the current financial state of the HK movie industry, it's not likely to happen.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:00 am

I'm in total agreement with you, MrBlue, and despite what seems like my consistent whining about the current state of U.S.-created special editions of Hong Kong films, and the heavy reliance on ONE MAN as the world's only "expert" on the form, I'm not as bothered by them as some might think, largely because I never buy them!! :lol:

But since American companies DO make these special edition versions, and since they DO bother to put any kind of commentary on the better ones at all, I just wish there were more variety amongst the commentators they choose. That's it. Hell, seeing Stephen Teo or David Bordwell's name on a special features listing for an R1 release of just about ANY HK film would probably give me a stroke right there in the store! For me, at least, this really isn't about how the Hong Kong companies treat their product; it's about how the Americans treat it. They treat it well, just with little diversity. Which wouldn't hurt.

Imagine, seeing a listing that says "Audio commentary by noted author..." or "Audio commentary by professor of..." instead of yet one more "Audio commentary by Hong Kong cinema EXPERT..."

There's an old adage about "experts" but for the life of me, I can't remember it now...

But I'm with you when it comes to just SEEING these films. I don't care about every new special edition that comes out, since I've probably had the movie in my collection for the better part of a decade! (I'm thinking about stuff like the recent re-re-re-re-issue of POLICE STORY, for example). And the basic thrust of the movie has not changed. People on other forums debate these alternate versions down to the nano-second, and I'm actually glad that someone does it. It makes for interesting reading sometimes, but it almost never makes me want to replace an old disc I picked up in Chinatown eight years ago.

That the beleagured HK industry itself doesn't do a ton of 2-disc sets is a good thing in some ways. Most of the ones they DO put out have enough "bonus" material on the second disc to fit nicely on the first disc with room to spare, so they're hardly that "special." I think that you're absolutely right that the local audience could, for the most part, care less about tricked-out DVDs, since the city's cinema has long seemed like a disposable commodity even in the best of times. And that's part of its charm, you learn a lot about Hong Kong cinema simply by watching A LOT of Hong Kong cinema. The "how we did it" stuff is really not that necessary, and most of what HK companies produce as "special features" (a comparitively recent phenomena, to boot) is the worst kind of fluff (even the extras on the recent EXILED Special Edition were largely a waste of time). A lot of us watch SO MUCH of this stuff, we practically adopt the prevailing wisdom of the locals towards it. See it, appreciate it (or don't) and move on.

And much like the people of Hong Kong, I'm all too happy to load up on VCDs these days. This city is loaded with places selling off old stock for about two bucks a pop. A lot of it is DV junk that carried the industry after the handover, like the Bonds Angels series I talk about in my Blog (and have updated in the DB recently), but I just can't get enough!

And yet, when all is said and done, I still don't think it would kill Bey Logan to offer up his microphone to someone else for a change. The impact of the finished product will still be the same for the vast majority of people who buy it.
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Postby mrblue » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:46 am

Well, the simple fact is that people like us that actually post on forums or write reviews about movies are still an extremely small niche. I'm sure many of us here could do a much more in-depth and informative job, but, again, HK movies are treated as disposable and are generally handled in the US by people that know jack-shit about the movies.

Case in point - when there was the big Shaolin Soccer brouhaha about how badly the US version was going to be cut, Miramax reps were still contacting me to promote the movie, even though my site was hosting an anti-Disney/Miramax site. When I replied back to their emails saying how I wouldn't prmote such a tainted product, a typical response would be "Really? I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know what's different." Things haven't changed a bit even after the (relative) success of SS and Kung Fu Hustle - Dragon Dynasty wanted me to "feature" (schill) their DVDs as "kung fu" and "chop socky" "epics".

I've been doing my site for nine years now, and while it is much easier to get films now, they're not really being taken more seriously by US companies, distributors, critics or the general public. I guess when the top TV show is "American Idol" and the top selling CD is by Nickelback, you can't expect them to see what a Johnnie To or Wong Kar-Wai movie is really all about, much less the more obscure stuff.
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Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:03 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote:Don't know who that Running Man fellow is, but I like his views on Bey Logan. In fact, that review of the Police Story disc is spot on. What a mess. Might as well stick with the very first original Megastar releases for heaven's sake!

While they at least include the original Thai version, it now sounds like Bey, in his obligatory expert commentary, has taken to repeating info verbatim from the making-of documentary AND pointing out plot holes that don't exist. You really gotta polish the right knobs to keep up an act like that and get away with actually saying something like this (taken from the commentary, as quoted in Running Man's review): "I think as long as the film maker's original work is respected and revered, then you can actually have a bit of leeway to re-edit and re-score films so that they go out to the broadest possible audience". :evil:


I finally got around to listening to two Bey Logan commentaries (finished The Protector this morning). On the Protector: He does add information that is not in the making-of documentaries (he actually misses a lot of info from the docs in Police Story) but he does adds information. He does concentrate way too much on naming every actor possible (especially with minor Aussie actors he knows; though I can't fault him for that too much), plot holes from the uncut film and explaining why they cut scenes from the original. Playing Devil's Advocate, Logan did state they got the blessing from the director on this film about the cuts they made. Running Man should have stated this but he tends to waver from dialectic argument. NOTE: I strongly disagree with this statement by Logan (though I'll leave that rant for another time); though this edit is nowhere near as bad as Brazil's Steinberg Edit. Unfortunately, I think Pinkaew blessing about the edit is more about getting Ja out there (publicity) then the actual edit itself.

Everytime Logan discussed the cuts from the film he would always use the word "we" so I'm guessing he is defending these cuts because he was part of these editing process. Though it was funny that he stated that he did not like the title of The Protector (yes he goes off and talks about Jackie Chan's Protector) though he stated he wanted the film to be named Red Scarf (I hope he is kidding here).

On Police Story he made a few mistakes (such as stating that Young Master was the first film in which Jackie did outtakes). So he might have the personality that even if he doesn't have an answer he will still say something (but I know a bit about Jackie films and not so much about Thai films so I may be wrong on this point).

Small note: I'm surprised on how little Ratner knows about Jackie (he knew nothing of Winners and Sinners as well as Dragon Lord). He had some decent info on Jackie now but mostly he was quieter as the commentary went on. So I would say I prefer listening to Logan more than Ratner. I've heard his Rush Hour commentary but not his Rush Hour 2 commentary; if anyone has listened to this I would like some opinions. His Rush Hour commentary was lite and less filling. Playing Devil's Advocate again: as much as I've complained about Logan's commentaries (and will complain more as I listen to them) they are better than many I've listened to (why are Tim Burton's commentaries so dull) though I've heard better too.[/b]
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Re: Bey Logan is back

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:05 pm

Brian check out the last few pages here: http://kungfucinema.com/forums/showthre ... 23&page=21

I swear there is a cult of Logan out there. No matter what you say, well just read some of it is hilarious. There is more to HK then just action :D.
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Re: Bey Logan is back

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:58 pm

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Brian check out the last few pages here: http://kungfucinema.com/forums/showthre ... 23&page=21

I swear there is a cult of Logan out there. No matter what you say, well just read some of it is hilarious. There is more to HK then just action :D.



Interesting discussion. I can understand why some people find Bey Logan to be perfectly acceptable as a commentator, especially those not well versed in Hong Kong cinema. He does have some knowledge and experience, that can't be denied. He's personable, engaging. But his commentaries, as someone noted, ALL seem to be aimed at audiences who have little to no familiarity with Hong Kong cinema (this probably explains how he can get away with so many factual errors).

To those who would say, as one member there does, that it's all in what you prefer to listen to--populist name-checking, filmography reading, personal opinion and location-pointing, or dry thematic analysis and cinema aesthetics--I would have to agree. The problem is, to date, we've been given nothing but the former. It would just be nice to have a little variety. No one, I think, is calling for Logan's head on a plate.

I'm tempted to add a few comments over there, but I think a few others have already expressed what my own beliefs as good or better than I could, including you Shawn, summing up perfectly one of my own biggest complaints: that being how Logan is "presented" on these DVD releases:

Of course because the vast majority of films that are consumed outside of HK are action oriented. He knows a particular genre (martial arts action) in the industry very well. He doesn't know all genres well for HK. This is why I'm a stickler for when someone states him as a Hong Kong Cinema expert which he is not. Add in the extra "Action' and then I have no problem (though I'm not sure on how strong his triad/cop knowledge is).


Well said. ;)

Also, I'm a bit puzzled that Mark Galloway isn't familiar with David Bordwell. I suspect he's just pretending not to know about him as a typical internet forum defense. Seriously, I can't fathom how anyone supposedly working on a book about Hong Kong cinema--as he has hinted on occasion at Asian DVD Guide--wouldn't include Bordwell's book as part of the research. It's invaluable. Unless Galloway's book is more about cast/crew lists, various edits, tech specs, etc., which seems possible if you've read his routine "queries" of other users at ADG.
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Re: Bey Logan is back

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:31 pm

Thank you Brian (I noticed today that this site has been getting MySQL errors; but I digress). I was starting to feel frustrated over there :D (I have a few times; though I do enjoy a lot of the conversation when it is longer than a sentence).

What's funny is that the reason why I am spouting off like that is not because I dislike action cinema, but because I have grown more and more in love with HK Cinema. I want others to take HK comedies more seriously :D as well. I feel HK in general has not been given as much respect as it should in the film communities, but I also feel much of the action cinema has not been represented as anything other than entertainment (I like entertainment, just sometimes there is much allegorical content that is ignored).

I know, no one is calling for his head on a plate. I like him, I just find that he has certain faults and one single voice is not enough for all this cinema :). It's weird that a commentator has fanboys, it just throws me off a bit.
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