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Tag Archives: Zhang Hanyu

 

Special ID Donnie Yen, Jing Tian, Andy On, Zhang Hanyu, Ronald Cheng, Collin Chou, Paw Hee-ching, Yang Zhigang, Ken Lo, Terence Yin, Evergreen Mak Cheung-ching, Yen Ji-dan,

Special ID (Tè Shū Shēn Fèn, 特殊身份): an undercover cop finds himself in danger when he’s set on a collision course with an old protégé. Tonally, this film is an absolute mess; there’s Loony Tunes style moments of slapstick comedy in the middle of realistic MMA-Style fight scenes; despite it being a big-budget movie with slick intentions it continually returns to the super-cheese with bawdy music and silly melodramatic over-acting; there’s also a few sleep-inducingly boring scenes (one about Tattoos in particular). The timeline is all over the place, jumping around with no explanation, unaided by the lax direction and editing. There’s some woeful Volvo product placement: not satisfied with having their ‘City Safety’ mode blatantly pimped, there’s an entire fight scene AROUND THEIR CAR – it also doesn’t blow up when it’s dropped from height, unlike those rubbish Land Rovers!!! Ppsschhhtt!!! On the plus side, the action is generally impressive (particularly the two elongated fights at either end of the movie) despite some superhuman abilities being thrown in to the mix here and there. I love Donnie Yen and will watch anything he’s in, but he’s going for a Jackie Chan style cheeky-chappy role here, and doesn’t quite have the charm/charisma to nail it. In the end, this is amounts to little more than another completely forgettable Asian undercover cop film – with two decent fight scenes.

Score: 4/10

Special ID 2 Donnie Yen, Jing Tian, Andy On, Zhang Hanyu, Ronald Cheng, Collin Chou, Paw Hee-ching, Yang Zhigang, Ken Lo, Terence Yin, Evergreen Mak Cheung-ching, Yen Ji-dan,

 

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Hard Candy: a character-driven modern thriller that feels like the most extreme episode of ‘To Catch A Predator’. Right from the opening IM conversation you know this film will be difficult to watch, and the first 20 minutes are among the most awkward I’ve seen. Because there’s only two characters the story’s very neat and wrapped up tightly: Ellen Page is nothing short of phenomenal and Patrick Wilson was great. David Slade made a good job of making the film feel cold, minimal and clinical, although colour is used very effectively, and his direction throughout is spot on. Guys will always remember what happens off-screen and there’s a few more scenes that stuck with me since I originally saw it in the cinema. By the end, it begins to feel a little stretched out, and it does make you question how a kid could execute this plan so perfectly. Fantastic feature-length debut, but hard-hitting content will be too uncomfortable for some.

Score: 8/10

Assembly: an epic Chinese film of one man’s struggle through two wars and his quest for recognition of his fallen soldiers. The first 60 minutes of the film shows 4 battles, 3 of which are so realistic that it makes Private Ryan look like a scouts training exercise – the only downfall is they cranked the ‘shaky cam’ up to advanced Parkinsons level in the first one. Some great suspence sequences leading up to the fights. The second part of the film drags on a little as the story weakens but the acting / cinematography / Chinese scenery keeps it more than watchable – and the ending picks up a bit. It’s brutal but humane, and Zhang Hanyu’s performance is utterly jaw-dropping.

Score: 7.5/10