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Certainly worth the wait
When the first news broke out that Rurouni Kenshin will have a live action movie, as a fan of the manga series, i was honestly afraid. I've felt that it would work out as a comic and animation, but as a live action movie; i had my doubts. Thankfully as i saw the trailers and eventually caught the movie, i'll say that it is worth the time spent waiting for it and every cent spent to catch it on the big screen.
Anyone reading the manga series would know that this is the earliest "adventure" of a wandering Kenshin in the manga/animation and the premise is definitely suitable for a movie. Even non-fans would be able relate to it instantly, so it does a pretty decent job of holding everyone in place for whole ride.
But fans of the manga would definitely notice that there's been some changes of the story, but thankfully the change doesn't feel out of place. The other thing that bugged me a bit was how little purpose Saito Hajime had (fyi - he wasn't even supposed to be involved in this part in the manga) and poor Sanosuke's character entered the story without much purpose or explanation which kind of downplay his role and might be hard for non-manga reading viewers to ask, "So what was his purpose?". My friend and myself also recalled that Kenshin had a habit of covering up his cross-scar but somehow, he doesn't do that in the movie.
Speaking of the scar, i personally felt that the flashback scene of how he ended up with his first scar, became comical as opposed to something serious. You have to watch it to understand why.
All in all, this is one movie that is awesome from start to finish but i'll be even more worried if they ever decided to do a sequel ...
Fung wan II (2009)
So much that could be done well but yet ...
That pretty sums up how i felt when i watched it. I really believed that this movie had a chance at doing justice to the comic series. I remember that the 1st one was not as bad as part 2. I am not a fan of the comics but part 1 was able to set the story decently for me to enjoy it. Yet part 2, so many years on with improvements in graphics and effects, still failed at the most critical element ... the story telling.
I was very lost at several points of the story and fought hard not to jeer at the many parts that mimics other movies. Watched "300"? If you did and liked it, you'll see how this movie "plays tribute" to it. I honestly believe there would be better ways to use those effects into their story telling and fight scenes.
The plot is really simple. You have Lord godless who wants to dominate the whole of China, and it's up to our 2 heroes, Wind and Cloud to team up and defeat him. The 2 men each train differently and that difference ended up giving them more problems than godless himself! That's it!! But the movie does showcase some decent CG that i must admit surpassed my expectations in some ways. It does go to show that Asia (not including Japan)'s CG standards have started to be taken seriously. I was quite impressed by the effects used during the duel between Nameless and Cloud. We may have seen better in other movies but that was good enough and well used to tell the power of the fight. Music and sound wise, the sound effects are pretty decent, my ears did hurt abit at certain parts of the movie, especially when there are sword blades clashing and coming into play.
If you still want to bother with the movie, i'll suggest you rent it. Skip the big screen, this movie in many ways is not worth revisiting again after one session with it. And add to that, i'm pretty sure we'll be looking at a 3rd part soon. And yes, it ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. Let's hope they learn from this mistake of a movie and get back to part 1's standard of story telling with part 2 good use of CG effects!
Surprisingly simple and effective ...
I'll be honest. I didn't quite put this movie on my "must watch" list until i was invited for free to watch it with a friend. And i have to admit, i'm honestly "taken" into this movie! First off, it's a movie that does not have a lot of special effects. So really, if you do catch it on DVD, it's not an entire loss also, so don't worry if you're missing out.
The story is really simple. Father is a former government agent who retired, living away from his daughter and ex-wife. Daughter goes for a trip to Paris and gets kidnapped away in a mishap (that could have been very very easily avoided, but i won't spoil it for you), and reactivates himself to hunt down the people who did it and rescue his daughter in the process.
Real simple story, so it's up to Liam Neeson to keep your attention span active and in tune with things ... and i have to admit, he does a great job. I recently played and completed FALLOUT 3, a video game that he does voice acting in - as your character's father, and really, he has the magic to play the role of a father ... assuring and for sure, able to bail you out of situations even if it means risking his life. You see that a lot in Taken ... from start to end.
Action wise, i was told that Luc Besson is involved in this movie, yet i don't honestly feel his magical presence in this one compared to his other movies. But Liam does a nice job of being quick to attack and get the upper hand before you could even say ANYTHING. I'm convinced that he can go into the action genre from time to time ... he's got that magic! One personal comparison though ... i did compare this movie to Man on fire and it seems like between these 2 kidnap theme movies, Taken really takes a backseat to Man on fire ... but this doesn't mean it's not worth a watch ... it's just my own 2 cents and my friend feels Taken is a better movie between the 2.
Otherwise, just enjoy the movie!
Chi bi (2008)
Beyond my wildest imagination that it would be so well done
I admit, John Woo has a brilliant mind in portraying fight scenes and action movies and i think this one is a masterpiece that he's involved in.
I'm sure this has been said many times before, this movie (or saga) is based on one of the most famous (naval) battles in China's history. Already the 3 kingdoms era has many great tales of epic battles and struggles, this would be one of the most epic battles to showcase to people all over the world.
I've read how some readers have commented about the movie so far, i'll give my 2 cents on why i think this deserves at least a nine stars to ten stars rating. Yes, it sounds like overkill but really, I've been very impressed watching it and it has my vote as a possible movie of the year already.
First off, casting of the characters. I think most of the characters are quite well cast, i was quite uneasy with Takeshi taking the role of Zhuge Liang but he managed to pull the role quite well. Not that he's a bad actor or anything (his acting in Sleepless Town has impressed me to no end) but i think Zhuge Liang does deserve someone more cunning by nature to play the role. Tony Leung is perfect for the role of Zhou Yu, who historically is known to be a handsome and intelligent man; Tony is a perfect match to the role. Zhang Fengyi who plays Cao Cao is brilliant, he was able to showcase Cao Cao's ruthless & greatness so easily.
The story is quite decently paced, with the intentions of all the characters well drawn out and delivered to viewers to understand their intent and motivation. This is useful considering that non-Chinese viewers can easily pick up the story and run with it, without having any prior knowledge of the 3 kingdoms saga. The story will take you from part to part in a smooth transition without much confusion.
The CG for the movie is fairly decent. We're not watching the Matrix, so just expect the CG to decently tell you what's required. The movie needs to show you Cao Cao's fleet, CG is then used to take you on a tour of his naval fleet and that's all it's supposed to do. You'll awe at the massive fleet and that's the CG's purpose. You'll not be seeing a ship turn into a robot, so don't expect explosive CGs.
The fight scenes are pulled off quite well. It's John Woo's moment to shine and the scenes are quite well done. Zhao Yun, Gan Xing, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu really live up to their namesake as an one-man army, beating down lesser skilled soldiers with ease. Gamers who like Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors will be in for a treat as the fights pull off as well as the ones found in the video games. You'll be impressed by the battle formations, tactics involved at certain points of battle too.
Some people have complained about the music too, i personally think everything is quite decent, nothing really annoys me. I must have been too sucked in by the movie to notice, sorry! The movie is about 2 hours in length and it's not over yet. This movie is only part one and by the end of the movie, you'll be hungry to see how the battle turns out. Historically, we know it ends up with Cao Cao having to eat the bitter pill of defeat, but we'll always want to see HOW the battle occurred and how it all turned out! I can't wait for part II to complete the whole saga and then wait for it to be released on blu ray!
Was there really a point to make with this movie???
There are superhero comics ... superhero movies ... and then there's Hancock. Anti-hero by nature, blessed with strange powers but he's a bum in reality. Quite honestly, the first few minutes of the movie makes sense, but as soon as you start to see if the movie picks up in it's plot, a strange twist just drives the movie downhill (at least for me).
I'm quite okay with superhero movies, to me, even an anti-hero is a hero at the end of the day with the right story and motivation. Sadly Hancock's story and plot doesn't seem to be driving to anywhere. I'll say that if the story had a better 2nd half of the movie, i'll gladly accept the story for a superhero flick. However, right now, i'll just hint that it's an aimless movie after one point.
You might say that i'm not looking with a broader perspective of the movie but really, the plot doesn't seem to be driving to a conclusion. Some movies drive it to a sequel, some drive to a prequel ... but sadly, Hancock drives the viewers away more than anything else. Quite honestly, even the decent CG for some of the scenes can't even save this movie from being labeled a "what exactly is the story about?" type of movie.
Sadly, Will Smith did not quite pick the right movie to act in this time. If you thought "I AM LEGEND" was a bad movie (it's a decent but not the best around), you'll change your mind about it after you are done Hancock-ing in the cinema. I'll leave you to your opinion, but i'll share mine in case you come out of the cinema asking yourself, what were you watching for the past hour or so? Decent concept but bad execution. Will Smith did not strike gold with this one sadly!
Meet the Spartans (2008)
In summary: Any reason to watch this show at all?
I know from the trailer that this was meant to be a spoof of the 300 movie, but i think even spoof movies can be done with more taste. What was shown in this movie from start to the end were scene-by-scene rip-off jokes that either come off as a great laugh or just plain tasteless for the viewers.
For most part, i think there wasn't much to laugh at.
To me, the experience was an agony but i do know of people who laughed their brain off; i felt bad that the spoof was so poorly pieced together, guess the people who wrote and directed it never took a close look at other spoof movies (e.g. Spaceballs, Scary Movie 1 & 2) before doing this one ... this would have been one of the all time great spoof movies, i think the casting was the only good thing about this movie, everyone could act their respective roles really well, but for a spoof to be good, even a spoof-plot has to be properly written and directed ... which you would not find in this movie, sadly.
An utter waste of money indeed ...
Best way to know how bad it is, is simply drag someone who enjoyed 300 to see this, and record their opinion down on tape!
Funny Games (2007)
There's something missing ...
I'll be real frank about this movie. When i first read about it, i felt that it would be something worth my time in the cinema, the idea of 2 polite terrorists holding a family hostage and psychologically teasing them sounds like one of those movies that will be remembered as a gem.
It turns out, at least to me and my good friend who joined me for the movie, that it's a good idea but just not very well executed. I know, reading the forum and looking at everyone's view of the whole thing, you have to appreciate this with an "out of the box" view ... there will be a scene or two where one of the characters will talk to the audience for their thoughts ... and that infamous "remote" scene that people have debated as "nonsense".
Point to make here is that i do appreciate the concept of the film, that was the draw for me to pay a good 10 bucks for it, but i just felt the execution of the story didn't quite live up to what it should have been. More dark humor, more "funny games", more fear injected into the family (sick as it sounds, but i think it will really make the victims more convincing) The opening part of the movie was decent, the story welcomes us to the family, the 2 polite strangers coming into the picture ... but once the family gets held hostage, it seems like the movie starts to become clumpsy. While other people in the cinema gripe about how stupid the movie is, i'm appreciating the overall idea and concept but just disappointed that it wasn't as good as it was made out to be.
The actors weren't quite able to convince me of how serious they took their respective roles. I have caught a glimpse of the original version, the scene where the last game was play and i seem to find the original actors able to convince the audience and the victim involved how serious they were. Yet that same magic didn't quite show in the same scene in the English version. Quite a pity indeed.
All in all, as bad as my rating is for this movie, i would say that it STILL watchable on a home release. Guess that's how some movies are ... the scare and fear factor can be better experienced in a homely environment ... just like poor George, Anne and Georgie sitting on the sofa ...
Maybe i'll go catch the original and make up for this "could-have-been-so-much-better" experience!
It could have been REALLY better than this
Zhao Zhilong, a legend might not want to spend his hard earned money on this movie about his life. Really, i think this movie doesn't quite live it up to the hype that it should be, and if you had watched "The Warlords" before this one, you'll really be disappointed with the whole setup of plot and action.
I give credit, the costumes are quite decently well done, the only complain i have is that the soldiers, commanders and Maggie Q's Cao Ying are too Japanese armoured. Yes, their armour reminds me abit of those armour worn by soldiers, samurais during the warring period. I wouldn't have minded if both Shu and Wei had the same armour but different color in this case. I give credit also for the work done for Andy Lau when he appeared as an aged Zhilong, the make up really bring out the age and favour when you see the aged Zhilong.
Other than that, the plot strings itself quite weakly with some narration to string the viewers from one event to another. Fact is, it almost felt like those cut scenes in video games, where they want to bring you right into the action ... and that's how it felt at some points of the movie ... I just felt that it could be far better executed.
The action scenes are nothing much to write home too. Like i said before, if you had watched "The Warlords", you'll find it a yawn. I'm not implying i want a lot of violence and gore, but there wasn't much intensity in the fights, from the soldier to soldier clashing up to duels between characters, i just feel a lack of intensity in most of the battle scenes.
You will get to see some additional 3 Kingdom characters appearing in this movie, and I really think some of the casting of characters is quite wrong. The 2 big disappointment for me was how Guan Yu looked liked (way too short!) and the casting for Guan Xi.
All in all, i wouldn't catch this movie again honestly, wouldn't recommend it. To end off in a positive note, i do have to say that Andy Lau is able to play a decent Zhao Zhilong, just felt bad the movie doesn't really help to showcase his role!
Something new for the newbies ... former fans will NOT be disappointed!
When I learn that there was a remake of the classic series, i asked myself, what kind of mess are they getting themselves into? After the opening few moments of the movie, i only said to myself, how wrong was i to underestimate the decision ... because easily this could be one of the best animes ever made in history.
First off, years ago, i was decently hooked on the TV series version. When i finished it, i was honestly quiet upset that the plot was going to heck at many points, not providing a decent link to things. I always liked the earlier episodes where Shinji and gang battle all the angels that attacked, but i didn't quite enjoy how things were towards the end ...
Death & Rebirth was a good attempt to try to provide a better ending to the series. But frankly i always felt it wasn't enough ... years later, thank god we may have the best version of the Evangelion saga in the making ... starting with "You Are (Not) Alone".
Not just additional artwork and more CG enhancements are added into the movie, the story summarizes the opening few episodes of the original series and (this is my own opinion) tweaked the script alittle. It's a lot easier to understand the plot and intention of the characters, and with all the plot making more sense than the original series, all you need next is the action.
The fights between the angels and the Eva 01 (and 00') are much more interesting to watch, as the fights seem much longer and more details are added into how the battles are fought. Remember the first time Shinji pilots the EVA01 into battle and it went berserk? I'm much more excited this time when i watched the fight scene! As for the cinematic experience, i don't think watching it on DVD does this movie any justice. If you can, do attempt to catch this in a CINEMA because the experience is very much rewarding! I'm thankful i didn't miss this movie version, it's worth every cent i paid! I don't need to go into the plot of the movie, you can easily pick it up from internet sites, just know that this isn't the end yet and business is going to pick up once the next one comes along. Shinji is still how everyone remembers him to be ... the hedgehog dilemma comes into mind when you talk about him and he's still like that in this movie! I hope this comment will send more people rushing into the cinema to catch this movie, after i was done, i felt sorry that so many seats in the cinema are empty ... everyone has missed out on this masterpiece edition of the Evangelion series!
Kogitsune Heren (2006)
Feel Good Movie
I'm pretty sure those who want to watch this movie will go for two things; cute little Helen the fox or the Handsome Takao Osawa. For me, what caught my attention about the movie was the ending theme song for the movie; Taiyo no Shita by the Remioromen which was suited the feel good atmosphere about the movie. (Saw the trailer and the music was the instant draw for me to the movie) A poor boy who is left behind by his mother who in pursuit of her own ambition, encounters a little fox after school one day. The two seem to have an interesting chemistry, forged because they are seen as "abandoned" by those who should be rightfully taking care of them.
The little fox herself (as she was named as Helen later) is a disabled one. Without the right care, you would expect her to fall prey to the surrounding dangers. Yet, the kindness of one little boy led to a completely different fate, one which will leave you smiling when you walk out of the cinema at the end.
I would recommend it for anyone who loves animal or if you're looking for a movie that has a lesson to be learnt at the end. A simple story that speaks in volume about the importance of caring for someone. If there was a movie that Disney wants to adopt into an American version ... I'm guessing this one has a shot.
Oh yah, forgot to mention this, the soundtrack is pretty good too. Aside from the song i mentioned at the beginning, the instrumental soundtrack is well done, and you will remember it for the visuals that accompany the music. I personally enjoyed it for more the audio experience, but that's just me. :)