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Mulan 2009 Review

MulanDisney has recently released its own version of a real-life Mulan film which has come under heavy criticism globally creating a Boycott Mulan movement.

There are various reasons why they are boycotting the movie, which I can’t be bothered to get into here, but as the film makes it’s way around the world the more calls there are for boycotting it. Chinese State Media slammed it and it hasn’t been too successful there. It’s about to be released in South Korea and there are calls to boycott it there.

I saw some discussion about a Mulan movie that was made in 2009 so we decided to check that out.

About The Film

I guess everyone knows the story of Mulan, where Hua Mulan goes into the army to replace her ailing Father as a female disguised as a male, and rising up the ranks to become a commanding officer.

I recognised some of the cast instantly, most notably:

  • Vicki Zhao (赵薇) who played Mulan. She was previously in the two Red Cliff movies both of which were awesome.
  • Aloys Chen (陳坤) who played Wen Tai. He was previously in The Rise of Phoenixes, a Chinese drama on Netflix.
  • Hu Jun (胡军) who played Men Du. We previously watched him in the first season of Ever Night.

So, a really impressive cast list.

Review of the Film

Some western review sites gave it an average rating but Chinese sites gave it around 8+ out of 10.  I agree more with the Chinese rating.

The acting was really good, you just can’t go wrong with the cast they had chosen. I believe they made the film what it was.

I thought the film was very well done, it was darker and grittier than I had thought it would be. There was some violence which I didn’t enjoy but closed my eyes during those bits. There are usually many strong female characters in Chinese films but this was done particularly well where Mulan was trying to deal with the emotional impact of the horrors of war and the loss of her love interest (allegedly).

The cinematography was quite well done, especially portraying the vast number of soldiers and the wide-open spaces.

I wasn’t too keen on the ending of this movie. I haven’t seen any other Mulan films and maybe this is what happens but had preferred something else.

So, I would rate this film a 4/5. I can’t compare it against the Disney version but at least this one not being made by Hollywood it would portray Chinese culture in a much fairer way.

2020-09-16T17:57:57+00:0016 September 2020|Film|0 Comments

Double World Review

Henry LauDouble World is a Chinese movie that was released this year, it very quickly appeared on Netflix.

Note this review contains spoilers.

Storyline

The film derived from a very popular online game. Set in fictional Central Plains which consists of ten nations. A neighouring country is said to becoming more and more powerful so a warlord organizes a competition to see whose the strongest.

About The Film

It was first released in Hong Kong in 27 December 2019 then was released in the US on 24 July 2020 and that was straight to Netflix.  It’s just a tad over 1hr and 50min in duration. It was produced by China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), Filmko Film Co. and Giant Pictures with Netflix Netherlands receiving the distribution rights.

Actors

  • Henry Lau as Dong Yi Long – Henry is a very popular Taiwanese-Hong Kong Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and actor. His acting portfolio is increasing of late. [Instragram]
  • Peter Ho as Chu Hun – Peter is a Taiwanese-American singer and actor and was born in Los Angeles. He was raised in Taiwan and Canada.
  • Chung Him Law – this is the only actor I recognized through his appearance in the film Little Q and TV series Tiger Cubs. He is a Hong Konger with a large film and TV show portfolio behind him. [Instagram]

Review

I’ve seen many mixed reviews about this film, many give it between 8.5 – 10 but some would like to give it minus points. I suspect this was due to the high level of action and special effects than story-line. Some complained that is was a showpiece for Henry Lau but not sure that was the case.

The special effects were good with a few glitches here and there. Other reviewers were more or less thinking in the right direction about the script, didn’t have to use too much brain power with the film. There were a couple of female leads  who unceremoniously got killed off at different times of the movie. I’m not sure what the purpose of knocking them off was, they could have quite easily left them in to enhance the script further.

It was good to see Chung Him Law in the film, I am pleased he finds different roles to excel in although he could have played a more pivatol role in the cast.

I have to admit I did enjoy some of the buildings they had created for the movie especially an outdoor elevator, who knew the Chinese invented those (?).

2020-08-22T23:01:33+00:0022 August 2020|China, Film|0 Comments

10,000 Miles Review

Every Sunday we watch a different Asian movie and this past weekend it was Taiwanese film 10,000 Miles.

About

Kevin is from a rough neighbourhood in Taiwan and his dream is to become a champion runner. He is connected to a coach named Ellie, a former runner, who he falls in love with. He competes in the Silk Road Marathon to win her heart however she is hiding the truth about her health.

Celebrities

Darren Wang (Wang Da Lu | 王大陸) plays Kevin. Darren is a very much in demand Taiwanese actor who is most famous for his role in the 2015 film Our Times, playing the character Xu Tai Yu. [IMDB]

Megan Lai (Lai Ya Yan | 賴雅妍) plays Ellie. We are more familiar with Megan’s work through the iconic TV Shows Two Fathers and Bromance, one of the reasons we wanted to see this movie. Megan is a Taiwanese actress, singer and model. [IMDB]

Chun Liao (Liao Zi Yuan | 廖峻). I’m not sure of the name of the role he plays, but the owner of a store. He has a long career going back as far as 1979 and has played many roles over the years, he is more familiar to us in the Taiwanese TV Show Two Fathers, he played the stage Dad to Megan Lai. [IMDB]

Review

First off it was so good to seem some familiar faces in this film, playing other characters than we have seen before on the TV screen.

The story was promising, two brothers stuck in the slums trying to make something of themselves. There were some great scenes, even some CGI, but there were also some not so good scenes. The plot was a little confusing at times, maybe parts of it went by too fast to catch what was going on in the storyline.  Maybe the direction could have improved. The action scenes seemed a little far fetched as well as the evil doctor otherwise it could have been a little bit more realistic.

Most of the actors gave a really good performance especially Darren Wang and Megan Lai.

The cinematrography was really good especially the outdoor scenes, some of them did look like a tourist brochure wich was good.

Despite the highs and lows it was a good movie to watch with a mixed ending of happy and sad.

Out of 5:

2020-05-26T21:41:21+00:0026 May 2020|Film|0 Comments

The Enchanting Phantom Review

Enchanting PhantomEvery Sunday night is Asian Movie Night for us and this week we saw a Chinese Ghost story called The Enchanting Phantom.

Background

A scholar, Ning Cai Chen, falls in love with a female ghost, he tries to free her from marrying a demon. The ghost, Nie Xiao Qian seduces men to absorb their life essence as an offering to Lao Lao, one of the head demons. Lao Lao orders Nie Zia Quian to get the life force of Ning Cai Chen, will she be able to do that to the man she has fallen in love with?

Actors

Oliver Chen [陈星旭] is the lead actor playing scholar Ning Cai Chen. He is a Chinese born actor, only 24 years old, and has appeared in many TV and movie productions. His character in the movie was very cowardly and somewhat over the top.

Eleanor Lee [李凯馨] is the co-lead playing female ghost Nie Xiao Qian. She is a Singapore born actress, only 20 years old, and has been appearing in TV shows since 2017. As far as I can find out Enchanting Phantom is her first film production.

Review

I heard such bad things about this movie I had really low expectations, however, I should remember than western sites generally review Asian movies pretty badly. Internet Movie Database reviewed it as 5.6/10 but some Asian sites scored it as much as 9.0. It was actually pretty good.

It was a little thin on the storyline but made up for that through other aspects of the movie. It was very artistically done. The acting was pretty good, although a little over the top in the Ning Cai Chen character. The two demon slayer characters were my favourite, they added some more comedy to the script, it would have been interesting to include more about them in the movie. The special effects, I would say, were the best element of the movie. China has really kept up to date with the latest technology in putting these special effects out and of course, they do it in their own style.

I would definitely recommend this movie and don’t take any notice of any review sites.

Score out of 5:

2020-05-18T04:43:52+00:0018 May 2020|Film|0 Comments

The Bros Review

The BrosThe Bros is a South Korean film released in 2017 which I wanted to see as it starred Lee Dong Hwi who played Mr Moon from Pegasus Market, which I enjoyed very much.

Storyline

Two brothers, leading their own lives, come back together after they hear the passing of their Father and are determined to find a priceless heirloom. On their way to the Father’s home they have an argument in their car which leads to knocking over a mysterious female named Aurora.

Review

I would say the story is rather “quirky” and the sense of humour seemed a bit odd in places some of which I didn’t understand. There were two major twists in the story which I wasn’t expecting at all and it turned the film into a completely different direction, not just being a comedy but touching the grounds of a fantasy. It wasn’t comedy from start to finish, there were touching scenes at the end.

The acting by all the cast was good, I’m not sure if they were trying their best to save a fairly bad drama or just being professional as they could be. They all did a good job but wasn’t enough to save the script.

I see on other sites it did receive a positive review with a score in the region of 7.1, so not too bad. Not in the top list of Asian movies we have seen.

Where to See It

The movie is on Netflix but we saw it via another Asian online service.

Score Out of 5:

2020-05-15T04:05:29+00:0015 May 2020|Film|0 Comments

Crazy Rich Asians Review

Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asian’s is the story of Rachel Chu (Wu), an American-born Chinese economics professor, who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, to go to a family wedding. Unknown to Rachel her boyfriend, Nick Young, is from an obscenely wealthy family.

My review may contain spoilers.

There are some good things about this movie, as follows:

  1. It is a lot of fun with humour interspersed
  2. There are a lot of Kleenex moments so go to the cinema prepared.
  3. The acting is very good and had an excellent cast.
  4. The film provided a stage for Asian actors, especially in lead roles.  Hopefully, this will start a trend of hiring more, in film or television. I hope studios are wise enough to engage them.

Being married to an Asian I noticed they got some cultural things spot on:

  1. No one is ever going to good enough for my son/daughter, no matter whether they are rich or poor
  2. Divorce or violence towards a wife is not a shame on the husband who committed the acts but the wife’s fault.  Often after a divorce, it will take half a generation to forgive them.
  3. The senior member of the family often has the last word
  4. There is a strong commitment to not let the old ways die out.
  5. The wife should be at home and the husband is the money earner.
  6. Everyone sits at the table to assemble food.

Some negative points I found:

  1. The film was too westernized maybe to appeal or dumb it down to a US/British audience.
  2. Some of the characters were very over the top, maybe that’s what you would expect in film and television but they were more “camp” or “pop art” style than I have seen in Asian shows (and I have seen a lot of them)
  3. I would like for them to have focused on some of the more interesting storylines, about Rachel’s mother.
  4. The film wasn’t long enough, as I said, more could have been included.

I recommend the film, there is something in it for everyone. It’s safe for all the family to watch.

Summary

So I am very happy to of seen this film, it was fast-paced, fun and emotional.  Looking forward to seeing more.

2018-08-22T01:40:24+00:0022 August 2018|Film|0 Comments