Tag Archives: action

MIFF 2014: Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013)

Director: Shion Sono


Movies about making a movie are so cliché now that you may as well make them out as joke from the start, which is what this film does and is not even trying to hide the fact that the entire film is a meta joke in the infinite mirror sense. It is also quite a savage backhander to the type of film makers who talk more than they make movies with the Fuck Bombers being all talk and so little action that ten years pass and they still have not made a movie despite filming every day.

The Yakuza in the movie are the standard stock characters with Muto (Jun Kunimura) in his tacky threads, Michiko (Fumi Nikaidô) his wild daughter and the rival Yakuza leader Ikegami (Shin’ichi Tsutsumi). The look on Ikegami’s face when he finally gets to meet Michiko after obsessing about her all those years is priceless.

I am being a bit light on with the plot as that is half the fun with the movie as you don’t know what it is going to do next. There is a point in the film where they decide to drop any suspension of disbelief and heads and limbs start flying and the film crew suddenly has machine guns that they use to gun down the Yakuza while filming the dolly shots.

Michiko is a terror and the broken glass kiss is one of the more intense things in the movie. I had to watch that part of the film through my fingers.

Deranged carnage has been one description of this movie, well yes, but it knows why it is doing it and it has a lot of heart. It is not like Tokyo Gore Police that was all gore and no plot, you are actually engaged with these characters and want to see how it turns out.

If you are a fan of Yakuza action movies or appreciate films that question the medium I would recommend this film. Some people may wonder what the hell is going on and are probably best to watch something else that is more straight forward.

MIFF 2014 – Sessions purchased

The only one I missed out on was Advanced Style as all three sessions were on standby tickets already.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Canon Films
The Known Unknown: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Don’t Throw Stones
The Imp
Irma Vep
Mr Vampire
The Search for Weng Weng
The Gold Spinners

A Century of Chinese Cinema – Swordsmen, Gangsters and Ghosts – Trailers

Swordsmen, Gangsters and Ghosts

A Chinese Odyssey (Part I: Pandora’s Box)

A Chinese Odyssey (Part II: Cinderella)

A Touch of Zen

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Drunken Master

Drunken Master 2


Election 2

Fist of Fury


Infernal Affairs

Long Arm of the Law

Once Upon a Time in China

Once Upon a Time in China II

One-Armed Swordsman

Police Story

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

The Banquet

The Story of a Discharged Prisoner – can’t find it, this’ll do

Anyone know Italian?

Wong Fei-hung: The Whip That Smacks the Candle

Action, HK Style – Aces Go Places (1982)

Director: Eric Tsang
Starring: Samuel Hui Koon-Kit, Karl Maka, Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia, Dean Shek Tin, Chan Sing, Tsui Hark

A daring high-wire diamond heist by master thief King Kong (Sam Hui) and his sidekick Gigolo Joe (Dean Shek) gets the attention of the authorities as neither of the parties that were robbed reported it to the police. The Governor of Hong Kong and top government officials decide to get Sargeant Kodojack (Karl Maka) in to catch King Kong as he is on the case of the international thief White Glove (Robert Houston).

Tough Superintendent Nancy Ho (Sylvia Chang) likes all her police to treat her as one of the guys and ends up arresting Kodojack after he unwittingly becomes the getaway driver for a separate robbery, leading to much amusement.

Not so good for King Kong is when Mad Max (Chan Sing) turns up vengeance on his mind and Gigolo Joe ends up being killed before he can tell him where the diamonds are hidden. Kodojack decides to trap King Kong into helping the police and even the White Glove helps behind the scenes as he also wants the diamonds for himself. Lots of wacky tomfoolery ensues including the strange scene of RC cars taking on full grown cars and winning with the help of explosives.

This reminds me very much of a live action cartoon similar to the Lupin series and this movie was the first in a series of six. It is very fun and pacey and full of interesting characters including a cameo by Tsui Hark as a ballet director. The scenes with the gang boss Mad Max are strange as he appears in riding gear and has his own synthesiser sting.

The bad hair and fashions are just a joy to watch as this movie couldn’t be more 80s if it tried. Special mention must go to Mad Max’s leather cat suit and also Kodojack ending up on stage dressed like Ming the Merciless in one scene.

Even with the killings and violence it does not seem to change tone and is more of a romp and James Bond spoof than a serious action movie. I liked that it had its own version of the hang gliding scene from the Man From Hong Kong although this one is part of a longer scene.

The characters are drawn very broadly as you would expect with this type of movie with the Lady Superintendent either being really tough or very girly after Kodojack at first pretends to like her to get her onside.

I understand this movie was released as Mad Mission in western markets. If you can, try to get the Hong Kong release as it is uncut.

Well worth your time if you are looking for something light and breezy, I am going to try and see the rest of the series.

Action, HK Style Report

Australian Cinémathèque, at Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
18th – 20th October 2013

Full program runs 6th September – 8th November 2013

I was actually doing something for work when I found out about this screening program. No doubt I would have eventually heard about them from someone else, but not so early and I would have already had something on all the weekends I wanted to come up.

As I could not find it on the website at the time, I quickly put together a calendar for the three months with all the screenings marked out to try and pick out a good weekend to go up. September was already a washout unless I went up on the weekend of the Federal Election, although Drunken Master was appropriate for the night and I had booked tickets to see the Handsome Family in October.

Action, HK Style screenings September 2013

Action, HK Style screenings October 2013

Action, HK Style screenings November 2013

I found out about the program in mid-August when I was still recovering from going to see 20 movies in 10 days as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival and after thinking about it for a week or so booked my flights and accommodation. I also went and found the tailers for 69 of the 70 movies (could not find King Kong in the Heavenly Palace) http://blog.timchuma.com/?p=202

The dates I narrowed it down to were as follows:
Friday 4th October 2013
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow 2

Saturday 5th October 2013
The Big Boss
Fist of Fury
Bullet in the Head
Hard Boiled

Sunday 6th October 2013
The Killer

Friday 18th October 2013
Drunken Master
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow

Saturday 19th October 2013
Aces Go Places
Pedicab Driver
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle

Sunday 20th October 2013
Dirty Ho
My Young Auntie

Friday 25th October 2013
City on Fire
Full Contact

Saturday 26th October 2013
Police Story
Police Story 3: Supercop
Dangerous Encounters – 1st Kind
Long Arm of the Law

Sunday 27th October 2013
Full Alert
Cold War

Friday 1st November 2013
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs 2

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Prodigal Son
One Nite in Mongkok
Ip Man
Ip Man 2

Sunday 3rd November 2013 (I have a soft spot for ape movies)
King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace
Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla

While 4-6th October was the “power” weekend, I had already seen most of the films on the big screen and there was only one I had not seen. It might have been a bit too much for me to watch that much gun violence and melodrama in the one weekend also, however awesome it would have been. Special note that several of the John Woo movies were 35mm prints from his own personal collection, you are certainly not going to see that again.

25th-27th of October was about half and half with movies I had seen. I already have Police Story 1-3 in a box set and have seen them on the big screen. The same with City on Fire and Full Contact. The other movies did look good though.

1st-3rd November seemed pretty good, but it was Melbourne Cup weekend so I was not sure if I would get flights. I had never heard of King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace or Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla.

18th – 20th October had the most movies I had not seen and also one of my favourite movies Kung Fu Hustle that I had not seen on the big screen since 2005. I enjoy kung fu comedies and had somehow managed to miss the two Jackie Chan films that were on this weekend. Pedicab Driver was a personal recommendation from a friend, it is not available on DVD and rare on VHS. I do have Dirty Ho on DVD.

I may have annoyed some of my acquaintances who also love Hong Kong movies, but did not have the money or resources to make it to the screening by talking about it so much, but it was a culturally significant event and I had not seen that many HK movies concurrently since 2001 when they were the only thing I went to see. These movies are more than likely not going to screen again in Australia in this format and not this many either.

Friday 18th October 2013

I had booked everything before I arrived in Brisbane including airport transfers, I just happened to be the last stop for the bus as we slowly wound our way through most of the inner Brisbane CBD. For some reason I had promised to go over to the Low Road café in Windsor and was running late.

Checked into my room and walked the wrong way down Vulture St away from the shops towards South Bank. I did eventually find the station and only managed to miss one train while trying to buy a ticket. Made it to the café but they were just about closing due to the storm coming, was happy to have a sandwich. Ben Corbett did not recognise me, but that’s probably for the best.

The storm hit just as I boarded the train back to South Bank and dumped a lot of rain. Had to dodge waves walking back towards the shops after walking the wrong way again. I did eventually find the bar Jungle I had been looking for and had a few cocktails.

Not wanting to be running late on the first night I walked down to GoMA in the rain about 4pm and got there while they were setting up the bar. There were even HK themed cocktails and I had a Five Venoms and a Snake in Eagle’s Shadow. I did end up talking to the bar staff quite a bit as I did not want to disturb the box office staff although I did talk to them also. The staff at GoMA were very nice to me all weekend and made me feel welcome. I did tell them that I flew up from Melbourne just to see the movies and did not have to justify it like some people have made me do.

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow screened first. The only surviving print they could find was dubbed, but a digital version with subtitles in Cantonese was screening five minutes after the movie started in the theatre across the hall if anyone was bothered by dubbing. The print was sourced from a private collection in the USA and took months of negotiation to acquire as there was a condition on it that it was not to go out of the country.

Drunken Master was the second film of the night and I am not sure why I had not seen it. It was a lot different than Drunken Master II, that I have seen many times.

I did not end up having dinner until 11pm, was pretty hungry by then and I had to remember that for the next day when it was going to be a long day.

Saturday 19th October 2013

I had set the alarm for 10am as usual for Saturdays when I go shopping, but ended up getting up earlier. Walked down to the shops and bought an apple and banana for breakfast. My sunglasses fell on the ground and I walked around for half an hour or longer with one lens missing, did not find this out until I was down at the Wheel of Brisbane.

I did go have a look in the museum and the science exhibit with a whole lot of screaming kids running around. Was pretty hungry by then so I just bought a sandwich at the café near the State Library.

Films seen over the course of the day:
Aces Go Places
Pedicab Driver
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle

I did not drink as much at the bar this time, but I did try the Young and Dangerous cocktail, it was quite nice.

Another late dinner and I decided to try out the place that served the Philly Cheese steaks, only to find they had sold out so I had to settle for a chilli dog and a couple of sides with a Birch Beer soda. Might not have been the most healthy to eat, was still tasting and burping it the next day.

Sunday 20th October 2013

I woke up even earlier and walked down to South Bank to see if one of my relatives was working, I did get to say hello to them this time.

After that I went to the Queensland Art Gallery to have a look through it and then the exhibition about the live music scene in Queensland at the State Library http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/live/live I ended up watching some of the documentaries in the exhibition and enjoyed them.

A quick run through the GoMA collection and I was ready for the last two films.

Films for the day:
Dirty Ho
My Young Auntie

I did get to say goodbye to the box office staff after Dirty Ho and the person checking the tickets after My Young Auntie, she was especially nice and hoped I had a good flight home the next day.

As I had not had lunch I was pretty hungry by then so I ended up going to Chop Chop Chiangs for dinner, a lot more than I would usually pay but it was a celebration for getting through all the movies. I had also tried to go to the restaurant on Friday night, but they were closing when I arrived and I promised I would try and make it back on Sunday as I asked one of the staff where I could get something for dinner that night.

I was going to have a couple of cocktails at Jungle, but only ended up getting the one and giving the bar manager my five free movie pass for the screening program (which I won after I had bought the tickets to the screenings, whoops!)

Back to the hostel and I read my book for a couple of hours and went to bed early. Even though I would have liked to have had someone to talk to about the movies, it was still a great weekend and I recommend people check out the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane as it has some funny and surprising artworks.

Photos from the weekend:

Action, HK Style – Reviews, write up and feature coming

I just got back from Brisbane today after travelling up for the weekend to QAGOMA in Brisbane to see the screenings for Action, HK Style http://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/cinematheque/current/action_hong_kong_style. This was the best week I could find given all the other things I have on.

I will try to get in touch with one of the curators of the screening program as I would like to ask them some questions and I did not get to on the weekend.

Some reviews of the films I had already seen before I went up

Kung Fu Hustle

Dirty Ho