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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A couple of days ago, E and I have been joking about her recent Mira Nair kick. I have to say, her films seem more personal than many other filmmaker's. Anyway, my joke was that for all the beauty and depth of her films, she still takes an international backseat to John Woo, a male director who peddles in beautifully choreographed near-pornographic violence who pretty much beats the same theme to death with the same bunch of symbols he pulls out of his worn-out bag of tricks. In his films, you're guaranteed to see at least one, but usually two or three, of the following (except I can't speak for Windtalkers -- I've been throroughly discouraged from seeing it by too many people)
  • A face-to-face standoff involving weapons.
  • People using two weapons, double-fisted.
  • At least one "bad-@$$" in a black suit, black tie and a white shirt.
  • In any of his films with firearms (i.e. 99.9% of them), you will always see: an automatic pistol, a revolver, a shotgun, and a sub-machine gun.
  • More bullets than the entire run of TV's The A-Team.
  • A flock of randomly-placed doves, usually before the final, bloody climax of the movie.
  • A shot of a church, with a close-up of a Crucifix and/or the Virgin Mary.
Remember, it's a joke. Please don't hurt me! That being said, though, I'm definitely coming back to A-Town from my parents' with my copies of Hard Boiled, The Killer, and A Better Tomorrow.

Going back to topic, every time I walk through either of the video stores in A-Town, I always happen upon the movie Vampire Effect (originally, Twins Effect), which if you know nothing about it, would look like one of those hokey kung-fu zombie type movies. It boasts "a special appearance by Jackie Chan" which, in kung-fu movie terms usually means "a fight sequence with Jackie Chan that has nothing whatsoever to do with the main plot and characters of the story." Plus, seeing that the fight choreography was done by Donnie Yen didn't help, either. I always thought the fight scenes from Highlander: Endgame were too inconsistent and Blade 2 was just silly.

Anyway, out I chanced upon Donnie Yen's website today (that is, I typed out http://www.donnieyen.com and hit "enter"), and saw that he not only won an award in China for his work on Twins Effect, but its sequel is about to premiere. In this sequel, Cory Yuen choreographs a fight between Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan. Did I mention this sequel also stars Tony Leung Kar-Fai? I have to see this movie, now.

Not only that -- Donnie's website and Kung Fu Cinema say Donnie's doing a new film:
Tsui Hark taps Donnie Yen for 'Seven Swordsmen'

Donnie Yen is set to replace leading man Song Seung-heon in Tsui Hark's Seven Swordsmen Leave Mt. Heaven after the Korean actor quit as a result of being tied up with other projects. Donnie, who is currently in the United States to promote Miramax's release of Hero, was recently in Hong Kong shooting Sha Po Lang as action director and leading man with co-stars Simon Yam, Sammo Hung and Wu Jing.

Seven Swordsmen is the first of six installments in Seven Swords of Mt. Tien, an epic wuxia pien scripted, produced and directed by Tsui Hark. As if that weren't enough, Tsui is also overseeing a 74-episode dramatic television series with the same name to be run parallel with the feature films. The TV series is budgeted at US$10 million while the first film is estimated at US$12 million.

In Seven Swordsmen, Donnie will be joined by Kill Bill star Gordon Liu Chia-hui who will reportedly play a major villain. Other main cast members include Canto-pop and Hong Kong film star Leon Lai (The Heroic Duo), Hong Kong actress Charlie Yeung Choi-nei (New Police Story) Mainland Chinese actresses Zhang Jing-ru and Wang Li-kun, and Mainland actors Sun Honglei (The Road Home) and Lu Yi.
Tsui Hark, Sammo HUng, and Gordon Liu. I'd see this film if it had only these three in it. Anyway, maybe now E and I won't have to fight between Mira Nair and John Woo movies for a little while.