Category Archives: Film

Ghost in the Shell: ARISE

Ghost in the Shell: ARISE

Nowadays it takes something of pretty significant importance for me to post on Today, one of those pretty significant things has happened…

Production I.G surprised fans in January with the announcement of a new Ghost in the Shell project. We were to wait by our persocom’s for further news… Then on Tuesday I saw this via the GITS Channel on YouTube. There isn’t much in the trailer that needs translating but the basics are that this is a prequel. It’s a four part mini-series. The first instalment is to be released on June 22 in Japanese cinemas with a Blu-ray and DVD version following closely behind on July 26. Subsequent episodes will be released after that but no dates (at this point) have been leaked.

The storyline is unavoidably the origin story of the lead protagonist of the series, Motoko Kusanagi. Geek food for this comes in the form of the voice actor that spoke the last line in the original Ghost in the Shell film, where Kusanagi is placed into the cyborg body of a young girl, will be handling the voice tasks for this series.

More news will undoubtedly follow and I will be following with extreme prejudice. Stay tuned…

Starship Troopers: Invasion

CGI Starship Troopers: Invasion – Japanese Trailer

Starship Troopers: Invasion

From Director Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed, Appleseed EX Machina), comes the surprisingly cool looking Starship Troopers: Invasion — A CG epic based on Robert Heinlein‘s book and continuing ten years on from Paul Verhoeven’s ’97 effort (and thankfully, ignoring all subsequent sequels).

Trailer below:
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And Now Fan Bing Bing for Iron Man 3?

Fan BingbingThe rumour mill is at work again with yet another Chinese name being added to the running for the next instalment of the Marvel Studios(read Disney)/DMG Entertainment co-production of Iron Man 3.
Earlier this year, Fan Bingbing (pictured) was touted as saying that she wanted to make the move towards Hollywood. This could be her opportunity as the list of Marvel Comics films are gaining strength with every release. With the draw that Downey Jr. and co brought in for Avengers, then you can expect that the third of the Iron Man films could easily do similar business. With this in mind, Bing Bing’s management would surely be champing at the bit to get her on board.

Nothing is written in stone as yet, but with other names such as Andy Lau, Yao Chen and Liu Ye in the mix, it looks like the producers have a keen eye for the talent that is to be involved.


Trailer for Soi Cheang’s Motorway

Johnnie To‘s never ending stream of production awesomeness hits again with the driving action film Motorway from Accident Director, Soi Chang. Starring Shawn Yue, Anthony Wong, Guo Xiaodong, Barbie Hsu and Josie Ho.

A driver for an elite undercover police squad called The Stealth Riders, comes up against underworld racers and cons on the run. His task is to bring down the legendary getaway driver who hasn’t been heard of for fifteen years.

The film is released in Hong Kong cinemas on the 21st of June, so it’ll be a few months before it surfaces on Blu-ray. In the meantime, check out the trailer:
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Throne of Blood

Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood + ScreenTalk with Yukio Ninagawa

Throne of Blood

Barbican Film is showing the magnificent Akira Kurosawa adaptation of Macbeth in June. Hosted Japanese film specialist Tony Rayns with a ScreenTalk by Yukio Ninagawa.

Kurosawa’s 1957 epic stands tall among his films and is one of my own personal favourites. Starring Toshirō Mifune, Isuzu Yamada and Takashi Shimura, Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jō) sees the Bard’s tale of spooky apparitions and unbridled guilt transferred to medieval Japan where the famous tale of treachery and murder are expertly etched into celluloid to tickle our tastebuds.

Throne of Blood (Kumonosu jo) (12A) + Screentalk with Yukio Ninagawa
2 June 2012
Cinema 1

Standard – £11.50 online / £12.50 on the door
Barbican Members – £9.50 online / £10.50 on the door
Concessions £10.50

from Barbican


Review: Punished (2011)

PunishedI have just gotten around to watching Punished, the Johnnie To produced kidnap thriller starring Anthony Wong, Richie Jen and Maggie Cheung.

A top notch cast show their chops with this gritty tale of a kidnap and ransom gone wrong. Wong shows that he is still box office draw with a great performance as a real estate developer Wong Ho Chiu, whose wayward daughter is kidnapped for a hefty HKD$50 Million pay off. Chiu entrusts his loyal bodyguard Yiu Kai Chor (Richie Jen) to track down and take out each of the perpetrators involved in the botched kidnapping but he has to live with his decisions as Yiu keeps him appraised every step of the way.
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Andy Lau – Switch – Official International Trailer


Switch, the latest Andy Lau effort takes from James Bond and Ethan Hunt and by the looks of the trailer, it’s going to be a fantastic action romp.

Directed by Jay Sun and also starring Zhang Jingchu, Lin Chi-ling and Tong Dawei. Not much more information to offer as it’s just had the trailer premier at Cannes, which you can see in full HD below.
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Review: Chinatown Kid (1977)

Set first in Hong Kong and then in San Francisco Chinatown, this Shaw Brothers classic pits studio favourite Alexander Fu Sheng against the Venom Mob.

Fu Sheng plays Tan Tung, an illegal immigrant to Hong Kong where is tries to find work to help his Grandfather. His unlucky streak starts after he saves a young girl from a prostitution ring and ends up fighting the local gangs. The gang leader frames him on a drugs charge and he has to flee Hong Kong for San Francisco. Here his luck carries on as he ends up fighting the local gangs again.

One of the better contemporary films to come out of Shaw Brothers Studios. Although the seventies look to the film has its moments. There’s a great scene where Tan Tung gazes longingly at a digital watch in a jeweller’s window, which is to become a theme through the movie . where if you own a digital watch then you’ve somehow ‘made it’.
The comedy still holds up to a certain extent and the fight scenes are of a typically good standard, although they are quite bloody and violent depending on which version of the film you watch. The added gun play (unusual for a Shaw Brothers film) adds to the Americanisation of the film but doesn’t detract from it’s genre roots.
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The Killer

John Woo’s ‘The Killer’ To Be Remade

The Killer

In what seems to be a never ending flow of remakes, John Woo‘s 1989 Action flick The Killer is to be remade by Seven Stars Film Studios.
Seven Stars Film Studios is a new Chinese/American studio backed by Bruno Wu and will oversee the Lion Rock Productions much anticipated remake. The man in the Director’s chair is to be John H. Lee (A Moment to Remember, Sayonara Itsuka, 71: Into the Fire) and he will be working with Josh Campbell‘s screenplay.
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Jackie waves to fans whilst filming in Latvia

Jackie Chan Announces Retirement + China Zodiac Teaser Trailer

Jackie waves to fans whilst filming in Latvia

With the news today from Cannes that Jackie Chan is retiring from Action Films, his latest epic, Chinese Zodiac (aka CZ12), will be his last – we can at least rejoice that it is a sequel to the much loved 1991 caper Armour of God II – Operation Condor.
Jackie reprises his role as Asian Hawk as he battles to bring back bronze statue heads of the twelve zodiac animals.

“This is my last action film,” he said. “I tell you, I’m not young any more. I’m really, really tired. And the world is too violent right now. It’s a dilemma – I like action but I don’t like violence.”

Jackie is in Cannes for the yearly film festival to promote the upcoming film, and also to showcase his 1983 Masterpiece Project A, which is being screened at the Cinéma de la Plage tonight (18 May).

Check out the teaser for Chinese Zodiac (courtesy of after the break Continue reading


Wild 7 Trailer (Blu-ray)

Wild 7

Director Hasumi Eiichiro (Umizaru) brings to the small screen, Wild 7. Starring Eita [Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai]), this action epic sports an all-star cast depicting a gang of reformed criminals who have been strung together by police to take down criminals that are protected by corrupt government officials.
Based on Mochizuki Mikiya‘s classic manga series from the 70’s, the film has been ported to modern day Japan and utilises blockbuster effects with fantastic results.

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John Woo to Remake Suzuki Seijun’s Youth of the Beast

Since the 2003 film Paycheck, John Woo has been quiet when it comes to English language films. He did, however, make two epic blockbusters with Red Cliff 1 & 2, which had a limited run at our cinemas but there hasn’t been much in the way of activity on the Hollywood front. News today that he is back in the director’s chair and once again tackling an English language project. However, this project is actually a remake of the classic Japanese Gangster film Youth of the Beast. The Yakuza film, originally being released in 1963, is to be retitled Day of the Beast and is scripted by Rob Frisbee.

In a press release, Woo stated: “This remake is my salute to the great films and film makers produced by Nikkatsu’s 100 years in cinema history. It is exciting for me as well as an honour.”

synopsis from the press release:

DAY OF THE BEAST follows a western outsider with a grim past as he becomes embroiled in a global turf war between a vicious new breed of Yakuza and old school Cold War Russian mobsters. It’s an action-packed saga of loyalty, revenge and redemption which erupts in the heart of Tokyo.

Mitsuko Delivers

Mitsuko Delivers (ICA Cinema)

Mitsuko Delivers

The ICA is showing the fantastic ‘Mitsuko Delivers’ a film by Yûya Ishii (A Man With Style) and starring Riisa Naka (Summer Wars).
The story is centred around a thirtysomething woman, nine months pregnant and at a point in her life that is full of strife. Her family believes her to be living in the U.S. with her GI partner but she is in fact a working class prostitute. She lives in a dirty run-down area with other like-people but her up-beat attitude towards life compels the other residents to restore the area to its former glory.

Dir: Yûya Ishii, Japan, 2011, 109 mins, PG cert.
Japanese with English subtitles Cast: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Yukijirô Hotaru, Miyoko Inagawa, Yoshimasa Kondô

Running at the ICA Cinema from the 16 – 30 May 2012.

More information can be found on their Films website.


Silenced Wins the Top Prize at Far East Film Festival in Udine

Scene from Silenced

Korean drama Silenced won top prize at the 14th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, which was held from April 20-28. The film also received the highest number of votes ever from festival movie goers, winning the Udine Far East Film Audience Award as well.

The story follows In-ho, an art teacher at a school for deaf children. Amid bribery requests by the principal and administration head, and obvious physical abuse by other teachers on the students, he is forced to take this information to the local authorities.

Dir: HWANG Dong-hyuk, Korea, 2011, 125 mins
Cast: JEONG Yu-mi – SEO Yu-jin, GONG Yoo – KANG In-ho

Silenced was released in September last year in Korean cinema’s. As yet there is no Blu-ray/DVD release date.

Bruce Lee

That Bruce Lee Question

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee websites are not exactly few and far between, but one thing that they all have is the LIST. That list usually has every screen appearance of the Master of Jeet Kune Do, however, if you’re someone that doesn’t want to waste time on watching an episode of Ironside for just a quick glimpse — well the list should be a proper one. It should be a list that contains only the projects that he was an integral part of the production, or in other words, “What films was he the star in?”

Lee starred in six major motion pictures, however of those six he was really only a ‘proper’ participant in four. Game of Death was in production when he received the call for Enter the Dragon, and because of the nature of the production, he chose to put his own project on the back-burner to concentrate on it. Hollywood was pumping an unprecedented amount of money into a martial arts film, which was only going to benefit him and future martial arts films in the coming decades.

Nearly two hours of footage was shot for the original production of Game of Death before it was put on hold, most of which was lost from the Golden Harvest editing rooms. The small amount of footage that still exists is now a forty minute film entitled Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, and can be found on various incarnations of DVD and Blu-ray as an extra feature. For a full movie to be released, this footage was put together and scenes added by Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse. Stand-ins were used in alternating scenes, as well as footage taken from earlier in Bruce Lee’s career and Game of Death was released posthumously in 1978.

Although Game of Death II is billed as a sequel, it has no link to its predecessor other than its title and Bruce Lee‘s character’s name, Billy Lo. It was a pieced together by Ng See-yuen (Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, Drunken Master, No Retreat, No Surrender, Once Upon a Time in China franchise), most of the footage coming from cut scenes of Enter the Dragon. The film was released in 1981, eight years after Bruce Lee‘s death.

So, without further ado, here’s the LIST:

  • 1971 The Big Boss (aka Fists of Fury)
  • 1972 Fist of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection)
  • 1972 The Way of the Dragon (aka Return of the Dragon)
  • 1973 Enter the Dragon*
  • 1978 Game of Death*
  • 1981 Game of Death II* **

* released after his death
** stock footage from Enter the Dragon utilised

If you want a full list of all Bruce Lee appearances, then you can’t get any better than his IMDB page.

Andy Lau for Iron Man 3?

Andy LauNews out of Hong Kong suggests that Andy Lau is possibly lining up to star alongside Robert Downey Jr in the next instalment of the Iron Man franchise.
The Disney production is being co-produced by DMG Entertainment, the Chinese based production company, and with at least some of the filming to take place on Chinese soil, it makes sense that Chinese talent be included.

The question looms as to whether Lau will be portraying a villain or not. With his diverse background it’s not that he’s unable to perform such a task and fanboys the world over will be longing to see Iron-Man’s arch nemesis, The Mandarin, make an appearance. However, this is not likely to be the case. With the amount of money involved from the Chinese side it would be a pretty ill conceived idea to make them out as the bad guys…

In any case, with Guy Pearce and Sir Ben Kingsley already confirmed, I think there is already a wealth of possible bad guy talent.

Iron Man 3 is due to start filming in in Shanghai and Hong Kong later this summer with a release date tentatively given as May 3, 2013.


Coming Soon: Anthony Wong in Punished


Cult favourite and hardest working man in the Hong Kong film industry Anthony Wong, is donning our screens again, this time in the Johnnie To produced kidnap thriller Punished. Directed by Law Wing Cheong (Tactical Unit: Comrades in Arms), the film centres around Wong’s character, Wong Ho Chiu, a property developer, as his rebellious drug addled daughter is kidnapped for ransom. Chiu tasks his bodyguard, played by Richie Jen to hunt down the perpetrators.

Audience reaction from its cinema release was nothing but positive, so if you like your thrillers with a bit of an edge, then look no further than this.

Available to order from Yes Asia in the usual formats:


Ebizo Stars in Miike ‘Seppuku’ Remake

Hara-KiriWay back in March 2010, I posted about the amazing Ichikawa Ebizo as the Kabuki actor returned to London to perform ‘‘Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura’’ (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees) at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre which ran for a short time in June of the same year. Well this time, Ebizo moves to a Silver Screen performance as he teams up with Cult Director Takashi Miike for the remake of the 1962 film Seppuku, retitled Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai. The film was presented at Cannes but was beaten in the Palme d’Or by Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’.
The film will reach Japanese theatres at some point in the Autumn and with Miike’s recent ‘13 Assassins‘ hitting UK theatres about now (even though it was a Japanese TV production), there’s hope that we will see this latest effort at our Multiplex’s too.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai also stars Koji Yakusho, Hikari Mitsushima and Eita. Check out the official Japanese site for more…