Mo seung (2018) Poster


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A Cinematic Homage to A Better Tomorrow, A Perfect Counterfeit in Non Liner Narrative Style
hilaryswank20116 October 2018
Project Gutenberg (2018) is clearly a non liner narrative structure film because audiences find that every thing we see after the arrest of the protagonist, counterfeit artist Lee Man (Aaron Kwok) who is extradited from Thailand to Hong Kong police jurisdiction ''counterfeited'' his background story and the mysterious antagonist "Painter" as someone played by the Hong Kong super star Chow Yun-fat.

Every one knows Chow Yun-fat as Mark Lee. And this film actually paid homage to the well known legendary character. However "Painter" 's personality in this film is cruel, bloodless and more close to mafia.

Like Rigor Mortis (2013), audiences also realise that the entire story is layered fictional reality which created by the inner character. 'Fictionalised reality within the fictional tale' was consciously dealt by its fictional character itself.

It's typical defamiliarization in narrative structure however the risk is possible disappointment of audiences who want and believe the simple and not layered fictional reality in the simple fictional tale.

Non-linier narrative can create parallel world, a small universe with in narrative structure like In the Mouth of Madness (1994; Dir. John Carpenter).

For instance, the cruiser sequences are repeated twice from different action Lines of HK police and the counterfeit bank notes organisation led by "Painter". This is a surrealistic intercut rather than cross cutting in liner narrative films.

For editorial aspect, the uniqueness of ''montage sequence'' is that its aesthetics is more affected by photoshop-like layer concepts. We can see characters shapes are turned into layers in mono colour, and dissolve into the next land scape layer which appears from the cropped shapes of characters.

When Lee Man (Aaron Kwok) travels through Europe, Asia, North America with his counterfeit colleagues to seek perfect counterfeit technology to imitate the new US dollars in 1996, this kind of montage sequences appear.

Besides this, the fake explosion scene in the testimony of Lee Man (Aaron Kwok) especially represents the aesthetic nature of the entire film.

This methodologically deceptive solution fits the theme ''counterfeit''. In which Lee Man's testimony about the upcoming violence from ''The Painter"ends up with '' imaginal explosion'', after that film reverses the time to back to ''reality'' from this imagination.

The director Felix Chong throughly did his research on counterfeit bank notes and purchased a 7-ton real currency press, which cost HK$100,000, which was able to create realistic looking counterfeit currency, which had to be reported to the Monetary Authority. The art director Alan Mak should be mentioned due to his huge contributions to this film.

You can not find more realistic counterfeit banknotes film in the past decades. Moreover, this counterfeit film's methodological solutions and its non liner narrative structure fit the nature of its theme ''counterfeit''. This artistic achievement should be complemented.

This film explores fictional reality and its fictional universe with in a fictional film. The content and form are perfectly unified in to ''counterfeit'' structure and its ''counterfeit''stories. This is one of successful Asian film cooperation among Mainland China, Hong Kong and Thailand. The quality is only getting better.
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Generic movie but with a star cast
shujoshua-132-77999815 October 2018
If you are expecting something epic or new with this film look elsewhere. The plot is very familiar and has been used many times by other films.

Though it is entertaining throughout the 2hrs, it lacks that spark of originality which brings the film down to becoming very predictable. Chow Yun Fat leads this film with a very enjoyable performance although him alone can't prop up this entire film.

The ending of the film brings down the whole presentation with a cheap and unsatisfying way of concluding the movie. It feels as though the audience spent 2hrs for nothing, you'll know what I mean after you've watched the film. There were no clever hints that helped build up to that sort of conclusion. They can honestly do better without that specific choice of an ending.
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classic HK movie!
gwunlou29 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
No one can deny how Chou is important in HK movie in 80s. You cannot imagine that he is actually an unimportant role in the whole story :)

It is not that kind of traditional police and gangster movie with only boom and block buster. The process of counterfeiting cash is also new to audience, at least to me! The mystery of "painter" is well worth discovering as the plots goes on. It is not simply about split personality as the usual movies, which is unable to finish a complete story without it. The ending matches "counterfeit" pretty well, given 90% of movies is talking about how they successfully cheat and hide.

The idea of the story is awesome! However, 2 points are deducted for ending. Don't know if it is for the reason to be on publicly for all audience. The final explosion seems unnecessary.

This movie still gives us hope as Infernal Affairs: HK movie is not dying.

Looking forward to the sequel! (I believe there will be)
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Worth seeing
madbird-6124327 January 2019
Hugely invested, super casting, the movie should have been a classic action film. The acting of Chow is beyond doubt fantastic. Aaron, to me, is the first movie that showcase his best actor acting skill. All his previous movie is lawyer or police officer. This role here as a villian gives him ample chance for applying his already matured acting ability. Female lead is not first line actress in television. But she is surprisingly able to carry her role quite well together with the 2 male superstar.

The plot of the movie is not in par with the super casting. The story in the first half is ok. But towards the second half the storyline is a bit loosened, losing the excitement that the first half is carrying. Scenes of killing are excessive and unnecessary. It is as if the killing scene is added only for the purpose of showing off Chow's previous hero role in movies. It is not in line with the original plot where Chow should never be caught.

Otherwise the film is on the whole above standard and worth seeing. It is my impression wherever Chow is present in movie, the movie would be biased towards showing off his hero quality. And hence the continuity of the story is destroyed ans unnecssary scenes are added. This is the cost of seeing Chow in movie.
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A Smart Adaptation
e-707331 October 2018
Obviously, the basic structure of the whole story comes from Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects" in 1995, but the focus of the former is the shock when the puzzle was revealed. The focus of this film is to expose the characters. Therefore, if the audience does not overstate the specific behavior of the scriptwriter in the process of writing the script, the two films actually have their own wonderful points. In addition, the surface story of the Hong Kong-style crime film really maintains the entertainment effect in the first half of the film, and Chow Yun-fat's highly romantic performance is actually a kind of figurative externalization of the character, which can be understood as an extension of the theme of the story.
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A heavily copied movie with too many twists
huey208818 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The title of this movie refers to Johannes Gutenberg who invented a printing press 500 years ago and hence it's about a gang of professional counterfeiters. The acting is solid from Kwok and Chow - two Hong Kong veteran actors with decades of experience - the former seemingly coming of age, finally. However the copycat Unusual Suspects plot just takes away what could have been a great film. And that's not the only movie it borrows from.

The cinematography is clean and modern. The operatic compositions and stylish songs make it feels like it's treading on Ocean's Eleven territory. Then the element of replacing a face through plastic surgery is pure rip off from John Woo's Face Off.

The plot apart from relying on past movies tries to absolve itself two-thirds past the running time of 130 minutes which consists of many flashbacks. The twists upon twists start coming of who the Painter really is. I already figured out who it is within ten minutes of the film because like Usual Suspects, the protaganist is hauled into the police station for interrogation. The many layers trying to distort and distract towards the end really feel cheap, you can almost hear the director crying out in desperation, "You didn't see that one coming. Or this one and this one." They just don't tie together the rest of the movie. Neither does the improbable shoot outs, explosions and finally, nor an added romantic scene with scantily clad actors round it all off nicely.

We've come to the age of film making where not much is original anymore. But perpetuating this current formula of reboot is not the way to go. It's just plain boring and lazy script writing and directing. Here's hoping that HK film industry reinvents itself again rather than pander to Hollywood with remakes.
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Hong Kong movies can tell stories well.
yoggwork18 February 2019
Hong Kong movies can tell stories well. The plot is only a turning point, so that there are some plots in the story, without proof.
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It's not Original but it's good. But why the name, "Project Gutenberg" though?
mr-shekhar889 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I honestly don't understand the relevance of the name. I rate movies on how likely I am to watch it again and I don't think I'd watch this one again but it doesn't mean it's a bad movie but only that it's a good one time watch. It's a tried concept and it's not because the movies loses it's second watch excitement because of the twist reveal, that's not it, I've watched The Usual Suspects, Shutter Island a lot of times,this movie is just not very original.
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A Chinese replica
siderite9 February 2019
It is ironic that a movie about counterfeiters is itself a replica of an American film. The plot is different, but the idea is basically the same. If you want to be surprised (even though I've seen where it was going since the very start) stop reading reviews now, because some people did not refrain themselves from naming the film I am talking about and then the only pleasure is the rundown of film which, frankly, is too long and bland. You might say it's a character piece, with two very good Chinese actors doing their best in a what is a pretty banal movie. If you are looking for the great visuals of Crouching Tiger or the heavy action in The Corruptor you are going to be disappointed. It's an entertaining film, though, without being anything over average.
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A good movie. Believe me: Should see it.
boomboomkent31 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A good movie. First I have to say that I watched The Usual Suspects and it was not difficult for me to recognize the similarity. I saw many people complaining because the first part seemed long and redundant, but I was excited about it. A good movie is a movie that builds a logical story. The story of the character must convince the viewers to be convinced that the police in the film, the feelings of the characters touched me, the explanation of the process of making fake money makes me believe. Minus: The action is spectacular but absurd, it seems the director has tried to cram in to create a bit of compelling atmosphere. Emotion of female characters (fake face) with male characters has not yet reached. The ending part follows the classic: bad people must die. (I do not like it).
  • storyline: excellent
  • Actors: Excellent acting
Compare: <The Usual Suspects. The film is good but The Usual Suspects are better
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Felix Chong's Four Seasons
aarakis7 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
As I was blabbering to my girlfriend how this movie has Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, and Ocean's Eleven all over itself, she turned to me and said, this movie is actually director Felix Chong's "Four Seasons".

At the "It'll End in Tears" exhibition (4AD? nice touch!), Painter started dissing Lee's Four Seasons painting, saying how it was just a piece of monstrosity, a mishmash of popular ingredients, lacking heart and originality.

For all intents and purposes, Project Gutenberg is Chong's Four Seasons.

Chong had Chow Yun-fat say, "when it's done to perfection, the copy becomes art." And this line even appeared twice in the movie: "sometimes the copy is better than the original."

Chong is actually laughing at himself, at the movie industry, at his investors, and the audience. Has Chong let loose the Tyler Durden in him? Is it safe?

Overall the movie is very enjoyable though it drags in a few places. The one thing that bugged me the most was that awful song. Oh, just awful.

To go with the theme of the movie, I would choose music like John Luther Adam's Four Thousand Holes. This is a piano + xylophone piece that imitates wind chimes, at times sounding better than real wind chimes...
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It is already quite a good production - in Chinese movies
ParisImpressionH-Y-25 December 2018
Several dark lines and reverses are arranged quite well. Even at the beginning of the movie, you can guess the main puzzles like me, and there are still many clues to attract the audience to watch. Most of the actors' performances are in place. The gunfire and action parts, quite a bit of the romanticism of Hong Kong films in the 1980s and 1990s, are somewhat not logical enough. Overall, in Chinese movies, it is already quite a good production.
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A rip-off of The Usual Suspects
TheBigSick1 October 2018
The plot is copied from the 1995 thriller The Usual Suspects, which though I don't think is a good movie. The pace, screenplay and execution are actually worse than those in The Usual Suspects, which make the film even more problematic.
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Great Movie with Great Actors
jeymatt16 October 2018
This turned out better than I expected actually. Although some reviewers had mentioned that it's a copy of 1995's "The Usual Suspects" but nevertheless it's still a great plot. Almost everything in this movie is worth complimenting. Great cinematography effects, the music, the acting, etc. Except that the movie was indeed a bit slow at some scenes. Go and watch it in cinema, the film is worth seeing.
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A documentary about counterfeiting techniques that evolves into a plodding drama with some explosions
kluseba17 October 2018
Project Gutenberg isn't an action movie but rather a crime drama that feels at times like a lengthy documentary about counterfeiting techniques. The film tells the story of Lee Man, a man who was part of a counterfeiting gang around a mastermind called Painter. Lee Man got arrested by the police who wants to know more about Painter in order to arrest him. Lee Man explains how they met in Canada and how he joined his gang while abandoning his dream of becoming a famous painter and having a family with his former girlfriend. After a theft had turned terribly wrong, Lee Man started to question his actions, grew distant from Painter and tried to find a way out of the gang. Their fatal conflict would soon lead to dramatic consequences for everyone involved.

Even though the movie is just above two hours long, it feels much longer than it was. It takes at least an hour before the actual rising action started and the film finally quickens up the pace. However, it loses some steam towards the end and despite an explosive finale, the resolution is somewhat unsatisfactory and exaggerated. The story is told with the help of numerous lengthy flashbacks instead of offering a coherent and fluid delivery.

However, there are also some positive elements about this movie. The acting performances are solid and the characters are quite fleshed out and intriguing. The locations are quite diversified as the film takes place in China, Taiwan and Thailand to just name a few locations. The few action sequences are quite vivid and visually stunning. The twisted story isn't predictable and will keep you interested until the very last scene.

In the end, Project Gutenberg is a movie with interesting characters and some great special effects that wastes some potential with its complicated storytelling and overlong delivery. The film would have been much better if it had been shortened by at least thirty minutes and scripted with a story in chronmological order. In the end, Project Gutenberg is good enough to be watched on a rainy or stormy autumn evening but nothing really worthwhile as the positive reviews are quite exaggerated.
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aboiement7 February 2019
A nice Hong Kong movie. Impressed !! Chow Yen Fa is the best celebrity ever !! How can he be still so cool and handsome in his age ?!! The story is very interesting. There are many threads talking about who is the real " Painter ". I doubt anyone will figure it out, because it might be none of the stories from different point of views is true. We will never know. So many details in this movie, and the actors were doing a great job too. They nicely performed different characters in different versions of stories. Would love to watch this again.
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Wow movie
luvtiramisue26 January 2019
It's reallt good. It's been awhile Hong Kong . Played with your mind that you had to rewatch it again . Interesting from beginning till end.
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Confusing storyline, unrealistic and waste of great actors
yeolit23 October 2018
Without any former knowledge of shows like "the Usual Suspects" or any other knowledge of intricacies in the art world or counterfeiting subjects, I merely came in to see the 2 great actors of the previous generation in this film. It was much hyped in radio and the internet, so I was quite interested to watch this.

However, this was a disappointment, to say the least.

Firstly, for the first part of the show, there was very little excitement. Most of it was simply boring storytelling and introduction of people, techniques etc., which was frankly a waste since most of it didn't need much acting skills. Most people there just talked normally and it was kind of monotonous.

Then it became unrealistic, to the point where it almost overturns the ultra down-to-earth style in the first part.

The ending part was very confusing, and left me wondering just what the scriptwriter was thinking of. It was presented in such a confusing way that it basically turns the earlier parts into a joke.

Overall, while there was some enjoyment in seeing the stellar acting of the 2 great main actors (in scenes which actually need acting), the storyline is basically so confusing and unrealistic that great actors couldn't make the film great.
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Average remake of the Usual Suspects
mitzz-kai17 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Average remake of the Usual Suspects, with a shoehorned and unconvincing "moral" ending to show that bad guys never prosper.
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Awesome Story with Two Great Actor!
yksamsungrox23 October 2018
Definitely one of the most enjoyable Cantonese Movie I ever watch for the past few years! Strongly recommended to anyone
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Cinema Perfection
mathakgamothapo8 February 2019
Brilliant acting from lead actors couples with John Woo styles action makes this a personal action movie favourite of 2018. Long live Gun-fu
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