Monday, December 21, 2009

Holidays ho!

My 2 weeks of fun and relaxation have begun. Which means my immersive experience in film is about to take another leap forward. But will it bring?

Vengeance - I'd heard mixed films about the film, but it's Johnnie To, and when does he make a bad gangster film? Well, apparently never. I absolutely loved it. His attempt to seek both the usual Johnnie To fans and a broader international audience may not have the end result they were seeking, but his take on vengeance is pretty stunning. Its almost a companion piece to Exiled, using Macao as a backdrop, playing out almost like a western, and having some of the same Johnnie To stock of actors playing almost the exact same roles. The shootouts are breathtaking. The script is surprisingly refreshing. Honour amoung hitmen, an aging gangster who's losing his memory due to a bullet lodged in his skull. Its almost like a heroic bloodshed film, without the melodrama. And no one creates gun splatter like Johnnie To.

Le Tueur - It's almost like a planned this, but I didn't. Going from an almost classic re-imagning on the hired gun film with Vengeance to the genre-bending anti-hired gun film Le Tueur was pure syncronicity. Cedric Angers feature length debut is the opposite of everything a film like this should be. Its quiet, its intimate and its in no hurry to get where its going. Kopas arrives in Paris with one thing on his mind. To kill a man named Leo. Then the games begin. A cat and mouse game that isn't really a cat and mouse game. A car chase that isn't really a car chase. Leo knows someone is after him, and his paranoia grows, until he does the unthinkable. He confronts his killer, and not only does he talk to him, but he embraces him. And its this embrace that helps break down the walls of the cold, distant killer Kopas, bringing life to his otherwise miserable existance. This is a film about a hitman like no other, because its really not a film about a hitman at all.

In the Line of Duty 4 - After the disappointing Cung Le fight Saturday night via Strikeforce, I needed to prepare myself for his upcoming appearance in Bodyguards and Assassins. To do this, a searched through the Donnie Yen archives and pulled out one of my favourites, In the Line of Duty 4. More of a Cynthia Khan vehicle than a Donnie Yen film, it still manages to showcase both actors stellar martial arts talents. Plus, it has Donnie Yen's buddy John Salvitti who helped him with the MMA action in Flashpoint, as well as another Yen regular Michael Woods. Plus, its directed by Yuen Woo-ping, so its most definetly filled with some amazing stunt work and fight choreography. It's obvious that during this time Yen was coming into his own, and assembling his crack team of fighters that he would use to great effect in his more recent efforts. All I have to say is, whatever happened to Cynthia Khan, because man that girl could kick some ass!

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