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29 reviews in total 
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Hwaomkyung (1993)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Find the Little Buddha Within, 25 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A little boy goes on the quest for his mom and touches on enlightenment along the way. Visions, a Monk and illusions as well as a few of the trappings of life and the inevitable lessons of death are interspersed in the little boy's wandering.

I was taken in like a vision or a dream and I was transported to the wondering of a little boy that was maybe me or even you. I remember wondering these things before and even sitting silently and hitting the Buddhist scriptures and zen books when I was a teen. I even remember being at a temple after ingesting something and thinking I lost may way in life. The Nun at the temple was answering questions from a middle aged man who had the same longing. I was in awe of her as she broke things down for the gentleman and she was at peace while he was grasping for answers and struggling against not knowing. Well, for those of you who like a good zen film I heartily recommend it.

Check also: "Aje Aje Bara Aje" and "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring Again"

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
I appreciated some things others may have overlooked., 24 March 2006

First of all let me tell you why I paid attention to this film. Chen Kaige!!! Jang Dong Gun!!! Hiroyuki Sanada!!! Cecilia Cheung!!! I am definitely a big fan. There is some East Asian fusion going on here and I like it! This film was more than a worthy vehicle for these Mega Stars from China, Japan, and Korea. Too bad many people don't think so.

I grew up watching Hiroyuki Sanada in "Shogun's Ninja" and loved him as the swordsman in "Last Samurai". Jang Dong Gun is definitely it for Korean film stars. "TaeGukGi" is a masterpiece and I loved "Chingoo". Cecilia Cheung has a special place in my heart after "Failan" and "Running on Karma" among many others. As for Chen Kaige, my heroes are great film makers, and "Life on a String" and "Farewell My Concubine" are just burned into my memory. They all have achieved greatness in my book.

I was thrilled to see Jang Dong Gun and didn't recognize him until he spoke. That piqued my curiosity but I was hooked as soon as I saw the plot unfold when the Goddess made her predictions for the Child and the General. I loved the characters. Each had their issues to deal with in life and they all headed towards destiny and evolved in the process. I saw interesting messages of honor, sacrifice and personal evolution as well as second chances and retribution. I also saw vivid costumes, wire choreography and of course cg. The camera techniques were very nice and some scenes are definitely vivid and graceful. Mostly, I just felt the star power and they didn't disappoint. Props to Hiroyuki Sanada for his bravado and vulnerability. He stole the show. Jang Dong Gun is always cool somehow. His super powered, innocent, slave character was very likable. His expressions while running super speed would pump me up. They also played with his appearance often to make him seem haggard and then very regal and then back again to haggard. Cecilia Cheung did her turn as seductress and tormented lover very nice and I'm glad it wasn't Zhang Ziyi. Come on guys. Don't wear her out like that. Variety is the spice of life.

OK, check it out if you aren't nit picky and just want to kick back and enjoy a light fantasy with some serious international star power. If you are romantic of course you'll like it but if you are stuck in reality maybe not. Cheers.

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Loved it for so many reasons beyond the film itself., 24 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I got to watch Kim Il wrestle in Korea as a little boy and then when I came to America I was hooked on all the wrestling I could get on my TV and cable through the years. I wish I was alive back in those days to see Rikdozan in the U.S.

I remember hearing about the legend of Yeokdosan from my friend's father as he told me of his divine Karate chop and how he was assassinated by jealous Yakuza men for his Korean ancestry. I just marveled like a little boy as I listened to him describe the great Legend wide eyed and impressionable. Almost two decades later I waited with anxious breath to finally see the movie based on this man and boy was I hooked. I must have watched it 10 times already. I have to admit it was more for the story of the man than for the movie itself. Props to Sol Kyung-Gu for gaining weight and jumping into Japanese language for the role of his life.

Can't say enough how I was moved by his refusal to accept defeat no matter what the powers that be would order him to do. Yeokdosan-A man who achieved greatness while having the odds stacked against him in nations other than his own back in those days? Priceless. I am humbled.

Can we get an Eddie Guerrero film as well?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Definitely something..., 16 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not flashy, but definitely captures something personal. It grabs you like a drug and keeps you stuck on the downward spiral. I think maybe people who have experienced cocaine/crack addiction can definitely identify with Angel and hope desperately like him for redemption. That was what resonated with me. The insights into the life of crack addiction and drug dealing will hit home for those in the know. It seems appropriate that it was developed from someone's journal. It made me see the inner workings of Angel as his lesson learned is shared. Kids, please stay away from Cocaine/Crack and Heroin. Look at how sick those addicted to it are and you'll see there is nothing cool about it.

44 out of 69 people found the following review useful:
Not as bad as some reviewers claim and definitely should score higher., 6 January 2005

Did you know that George Lucas was inspired to make "Star Wars" from a Japanese film called "Hidden Fortress"? Bet some of the reviewers here didn't. Why get all bent out of shape when the person who made "Blade Runner" did the same thing. Every film maker is inspired by someone else's work.

OK, the action and visuals are nice. The characters are very mechanical and they don't go deep into them so the movie seemed more focused on action and CGI. There were some slow spots between the action and the characters really didn't pull me in much. Yes, there is plenty of borrowing from Blade Runner but it didn't bother me much. Hollywood borrows plenty as well. I don't get upset about it. Without sampling there would be no Hip-Hop or Star Wars.

If you like action, sci-fi, and CGI and don't need a lot of character development, give it a go.

Aragami (2003)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Stylish piece of work. Get a lot from a little., 27 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cool dance music + Cool demonic atmosphere + Cool kung fu type Swordplay = Nice little Samurai campfire story made into a film. If you enjoy martial arts and the supernatural done in a manga/anime style, you'll have a blast.

No it's not Akira Kurosawa, more like Onimusha the video game. (The director also worked on the video game Metal Gear Solid the Twin Snakes.) Enjoy the hairstyles and the wisecracks. Little smirks go a long way. Ninja stars really wouldn't do against a sword would they? Imagine an acid trip of a Samurai tall tale. You get the picture.

The dialog had me in stitches at times as well as the expressions on the faces. Masaya Kato the "Aragami" steals the show. You can tell he had a good time being Samurai/Demon/Comic. Already a cult film in my view. More movies like this please!

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Last Samurai? Get Real. I Don't believe the hype., 25 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a decent action flick. The fights are entertaining. Cruise is decent with a bokken but I doubt the good Captain could match a real lifelong practitioner after one season of training. The male bonding is familiar and Watanabe is interesting mostly for his deep voice and macho posturing. The line about spending a whole life looking for the perfect blossom is rubbish--useless words for a Samurai. The Japanese Emperor would not consider an American as one of his subjects back then, either. Yeah, it seems even American white people are tired of the self hating American white guy going native story. Maybe not, though, according to the many favorable reviews. It's hard to justify a fantasy by grounding it in historical reality-- Too many things to nit pick about. They should also avoid pompous statements like Last Samurai if they are trying to be serious. I don't think they were trying to be serious, though. I think they were trying to make a blockbuster movie that people liked, so good for them.

I must admit I was biased when I heard the title and then there was a picture of Tom Cruise in Samurai Armor. I was like,"Please, don't go there." As for all the acclaim, all I can say is Cruise must have some type of mojo. More Power to him. Well, I liked the culmination of the battle near the end. It was like you killed a part of your self and your ancestry and you lost something for it. The resolution of it all is confounding and and contrary to history. Why engage in a war to modernize and then refuse the thing over one Samurai and his sidekick American renegade? History shows the opposite occurred as well. Oh wait, it's a movie...and of course the ugly, greedy guy has to get it in the end. Not Bad. At least it's not Black Rain. Check out "Yakuza" with Robert Mitchum. It goes way deeper into Samurai Spirt than this one. That movie deserves all the acclaim this one got and more. Done with a whole lot more believability, craftsmanship and sincerity. Enough said. Cheers!

I, Robot (2004)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Will Smith toned down to film's benefit. CGI and Robots Rule!, 25 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was apprehensive to see a Sci-Fi story from Asimov with Pop Icon Will Smith initially thinking it would be overshadowed by him instead of the story. This was not the case though and I can happily say NOT BAD! Sonny, the Robot under suspicion of murder, definitely stole the show. Will was effective as the paranoid suspicious cop, who holds a bit of self loathing and a definite grudge against the Robots for reason not apparent initially.

The Plot turns just fine while the acting and characters are subdued, it seems, to let the robots take center stage. I did think the wrong person was behind it all when I was watching it, but somehow the sense of mystery seemed secondary to the action and visuals. Gotta read Asimov's original novel.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
So glad to see Jackie make Hong Kong movies again!, 24 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love his better Hong Kong works. The Hollywood made ones of late left me thinking they watered his essence down or changed his formula in a wrong way. Anyway I'd rather watch Asian films made in Asia than watch Hollywood films marginalize, stereotype and misrepresent people.

I for one still want him to make more movies! Like billions of others out there, I was mesmerized by Jackie as a boy and still imitate the heck out of his moves even today. Anyone who disses Jackie should try to do 1% of what he's accomplished.

The story was pretty good and the production slick. The tension and pace is just right for action. Some interesting themes are brought up about kids and their obsession with games as well as criticism of poor parenting. The struggling inspector played by Jackie was an interesting turn because he was less of a clown and more of a troubled soul. Maybe some people were put off by the sadness of some events in the film but they sure pulled me in.

It's hard to get really raw emotion when the production is so slick and the action over the top but one scene between Jackie and his love interest really got to me and his lovable sidekick left a bittersweet taste in the end.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Like they say it's no "My Sassy Girl.", 22 December 2004

I guess it's a tribute that everyone brings up "My Sassy Girl" as a sort of standard for this particular genre. If you haven't seen it yet, give it a go.

As for 100 Days with Mr Arrogant it's a fair way to waste some time. Funny thing is the movie was better when they focused on the lowbrow, physical comedy at the start. The romantic resolution was a little forced and predictable--more formulaic than original. Originality is hard to come by nowadays anywhere, so I at least hope for good execution and nice production. The leads do look nice and the comedy and production were the strong points to me. Just a little diversionalong the way and no way near as magic as "My Sassy Girl"

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