When watching Hitman,released in Hong Kong in 1998 and starring Jet Li*, I find myself comparing it to a later Jet Li film, Rogue Assassin(US, 2007). Both these films cast Li in the role of an assassin for hire. Both are set in a contemporary urban setting, although both have settings that very much reflect the different countries (Hong Kong and the United States) that they are set in. And, in both, I feel that there is a certain moral hollowness (much more so with Rogue Assassinthan with Hitman).
I intend to blog more about Rogue Assassi...Read more
Things have been quiet for me on the blogging front lately. I have a couple of blogs finished and waiting to be posted, but haven’t been motivated to stuff about with the process on posting them online yet. I haven’t written anything for over a week now. My intellectual and emotional energies have been directed into dealing with some career issues and some naggingly persistent health problems (although nothing life threatening) over the last couple of months and this has left me feeling devastatingly tired. However, I...Read more
How do I hate this movie, let me count the ways. This is my least favourite Jet Li movie by a country mile. Everything is wrong with it, from the [Worzel Gummidge type hairdo on the actor
playing Billy](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiP0j-LHv88) to the nasty synthesized music.
“The scrīpt, which was written as the film was being shot, is unfocused” (David West, Chasing Dragons,p 186). This is putting it mildly. The plot basically ...Read more
When I was doing my Arts degree at the University of New England in the late 80s I, as a shy and wretched country bumpkin, was in thrall to my best friend of the time. Izabella seemed to be sophisticated and exotic – she was Polish, dressed beautifully and came from the big city. With all the naïve arrogance of a confident sophisticate who had assumed the role of moulding her gawky friend, Izabella very much dictated what we would listen to, how we should do our hair, what we should drink and what movies we should watc...Read more
Dr Wai in the scrīpture with no Wordsis a flawed film but it certainly has its entertaining moments. It could be seen as a Chinese version (or even spoof) of an Indiana Jones type story. I think the Indiana Jones movies are far more disciplined and better crafted but I do prefer Dr Wai –it’s just more fun. Its plot involves “a serial adventure writer with problems in his personal life lives out the adventures of his literary hero, King of Adventurers”*. A full cast and crew list can be found
A “… theme began to emerge in Li’s modern-day films as they become more self-conscious; that of the hero as a fiction or illusion. Major has referred to a ‘creeping identity crisis’ in Li’s later Hong Kong films (2000: 165), filled with secret identities and multiple personalities, even amnesia; Black Mask, the ‘King of Adventurers’, the ‘Angel of Death’, ‘God’s assassin’ in Hitman / Sha Shou Zhi Wang (1998).”
Leon Hunt, Kung Fu Cult Masters,p. 151
Soon I will post my review of Dr Wai and...Read more
Choreographer / director Yuen Wu Ping and Jet Li have made several films together. Released
in 1996, Black Maskhad the most contemporary setting of any film they had made together up to that point in time. In Black Mask,Yuen has not constructed the dancelike choreography on Li that was a defining aesthetic of their earlier films (like Tai Chi Masteror Once Upon a Time in China 2)but the less florid style of movement that Yuen makes on Li as Black Mask is entirely appropriate for the look and setting of this movie.
Last Thursday the Astor cinema here in Melbourne had a double bill of Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns – A Fistful of Dollarsand A Few Dollars More.I am becoming an appalling grouch in my middle age, and am becoming more and more reluctant to venture out to watch movies in a cinema these days. I have a problem with the audiences. They can’t concentrate any more. They talk, giggle, eat food with noisy packaging, text and tweet, wriggle and generally disrupt the viewing experience of everyone arou...Read more
In my previous blogI discussed how Black Maskreferenced several film styles including film noir, cops and robbers action, war films, science fiction, and horror as well as giving a nod in the direction of erotica (while keeping firmly on the right side of a middle of the road film classification all the while).
All of these genres could be described as being tough and looking at the darker side of life i...Read more
“An emphasis on striking moments leads naturally to a scavenger aesthetic.” David Bordwell, commenting on Hong Kong films in Planet Hong Kong,p. 11
I found myself thinking of Bordwell’s quote when I watched Black Mask.I feel that this “scavenger aesthetic” is manifested and actually put to good use by this film’s constant referencing of a plethora of different movie styles, while still remaining essentially an action movie. Film noir elements such as the lighting and Black Mask’s coat and hat rub up aga...Read more
I am quite addicted to martial arts movies, which is odd when you consider that I hate violence. But when I declaim my love for these films my offline friends s