Me and Chinese Movies

One still has to get utterly bored to get out of the house.  I would rather stay in, read a book or watch Blu-Ray movies.  There is a kind of simple joy in being home alone without the hassle of  being out in this humid weather.

As i finish through transitions and small things like appraisals for the team i’m about to leave behind, i am consumed by movies that i may have missed all this time.  These days my pre-occupation for movies goes by historical themes.

THE MESSAGE

In a classic whodunnit caper, Feng Sheng (English title: The Message) is a spy thriller based on a 2007 novel written by Chinese author Jia Mai.  Set within the backdrop of the Second World War in Japanese-invaded China,  the movie revolves around an insurgent group led by the mysterious and elusive “Magnum” who infiltrates the intelligence bureau of Japanese-controlled government through a mole codenamed “Phantom.”  A Japanese commander, a young upstart who seeks to redeem his honor, takes upon himself to root out the source of the leak by trapping suspects inside an ancient Chinese castle using ruthless torture and sordid mind-games.  The twists and turns of the movie make it an enjoyable and intelligent film to watch.  I recommend this for all “film noir” fanatics out there who, like me, may to take a breather from mainstream movies.  Despite some weird acting inconsistencies and poor characterization of a seemingly detached, unspoken, homoerotic relationship between the two female characters, the film is definitely worth watching for its core message: courage, sacrifice and heroism.

RED CLIFF

I was ecstatic when finally i got hold of Blu-Ray copies of John Woo‘s acclaimed  two-part movie, Red Cliff (lit. Chi Bi in pinyin).  It reminded me of the grandeur of colossal films like Lord of the Rings, however this film is a true jem of profound Asian military strategems like the Tortoise Formation.  It is an exhilarating movie that is not rushed as most Western movies seem to feel.  Tony Leung was splendid as he was in the film Hero.  But what really enthralled me was Takeshi Kaneshiro‘s portrayal of Zhuge Liang.  With a brilliant, Zen-like quality that lends to his character, Zhuge Liang’s subtle wit truly exemplified what it is to be truly smart despite the foreseen odds.

Red Cliff is a visual experience that is both enthralling and mesmerizing.  The cinematography and the art direction are both laudable aspects of the film which tells the viewer of how enormously creative John Woo is.  This is one Chinese movie that any Asian must not miss.

I have a whole stack of Asian movies and anime films that are up for watching.  And somehow i am still not bored.

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