Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

Merantau – the next Ong Bak

May 11, 2009

The trailer for a new Indonesian silat movie, Merantau – sure to achieve a cult following in the US and Europe.  It’s worth watching all the way to the end, for a pretty chase sequence amongst rooftops.

Shinjuku Incident website is up!

February 26, 2009

jackiechan

The Shinjuku Incident, starring Jackie Chan in a non-Kungfu-sidekick role, finally has a website up and running!  Here’s a synopsis of the film, which IMHO, gives away too much of the plot:

The foreign migrant communities in Tokyo live shadowy lives. The Japanese neither acknowledge nor welcome them. They are shunned by the mainstream society, hounded by the yakuza, and go about their days under fear of being discovered and repatriated.

It is an alien world for Steelhead – an honest, hardworking tractor repairman. Steelhead had decided to take the perilous journey to Tokyo after he lost contact with his girlfriend, who had arrived in the city earlier.

Trying to exist in the underbelly of Tokyo long enough to find Xiu Xiu, Steelhead has come to realize the migrants had to stand united if they wanted to go about their lives without fear of oppression by not only the Japanese underworld but also gangs formed by foreigner.

In his search of a decent living, Steelhead unwittingly finds himself pit against the Japanese yakuza. Ironically, he also discovers that Xiu Xiu has adopted a Japanese identity and married Eguchi, an ambitious up and coming yakuza chief.

Steelhead wins the respect of his friends by establishing a base for them and forms an uneasy alliance with Eguchi. When he helps Eguchi dispose of a rival, he is given the control of Shinjuku’s night establishments. But, uninterested in living a gangster’s life, Steelhead finds a new love and takes the chance to start a tractor repair business outside Tokyo. However, his peace is shortlived when word gets to him that his former compatriots were now being used by Eguchi to front the yakuza’s drug business.

Steelhead feels responsible for this turn of events and feels obligated to bring Eguchi down. He also has to bear in mind that if he goes after Eguchi, he would be destroying the newfound life of the woman he once loved. In any case, can one simple migrant take on the yakuza alone?

Indiana Jones

May 30, 2008

I left the cinema feeling pretty good after watching the latest Indiana Jones installment. As a big fan of the original trilogy, I thought that this was an entertaining if not groundbreaking sequel to the first three films.

A lot of people have complained about how unrealistic it the movie is, e.g. the tarzan scene, psychic powers, alien, etc. Lucas and Spielberg took a gamble by moving from the archetypal “adventurer stops evil army seeking religious relic” to the “adventurer stops evil army seeking extraterrestrial relic”. For some reason, people are a lot more forgiving when the origin of mystical powers is a god rather than a non-human intelligent species. To play devil’s advocate (no pun intended), I’d argue that this exploration of extraterrestrials in this Indiana Jones was necessary, for two main reasons:

1) Something fresh – The story of Nazis chasing a holy artifact to give them the power to overrun the Earth had been explored twice in the trilogy. Cries of “formulaic” would abound if they substituted “Nazis” with “Communists”.

2) Historical context – The Soviet Union was officially atheist, nein?  It wouldn’t have made sense for them to be searching for an Ark or a Holy Grail.  Also, remember the Roswell incident occurred around 1947, so the concept of intelligent life seemed a much more plausible concept then than it did in either the 30s or even today.

The cheese factor was high on certain sequences, but I thought the alien story was actually weaved into the script in a not-that-cheesy way.  The story might sound ludicrous to someone who hasn’t watched the film, but it didn’t seem that ridiculous on screen.

Well anyway, it might have been worse.  At least this wasn’t the Phantom Menace of the Indiana Jones franchise.  Rumor has it that George Lucas had even more outrageous ideas for the script, and if it wasn’t for Spielberg taming him, we might have had a Jar-jar Binks in place of Mutt Williams in the story.   This cartoon from Jolly Jack sums it up nicely: