James Bond Month – Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Gotz Otto, Joe Don Baker

 

Plot: James Bond heads to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.


Tagline – The Man. The Number. The License…are all back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Non-Stop Action

 

Story: Tomorrow Never Dies starts as James Bond (Brosnan) completes another high-risk mission, before heading home. We move to the Chinese sea, where a British military ship a sunk after a clash with Chinese fighter planes, with both sides suffering causalities at the hands of media mogul Elliot Carver (Pryce) who is building stories for his own benefit.

James must investigate this latest case using his connection to Elliot’s wife Paris (Hatcher), James is joined by Chinese agent Wai Lin (Yeoh) as they look to stop Elliot’s plan before the next world war is started.

 

Thoughts on Tomorrow Never Dies

 

Characters – James Bond is back once again, his past is once again the reason he is selected for this mission, we know how he acts, how he can be stealth with his investigation and survive being outnumbered, we don’t learn to much new about him here, just more of the same. Elliot Carver is the media mogul that wants to create his own headlines by starting his own war between China and Britain. He believes he will control the worlds media if this war starts. Wai Lin is the Chinese agent who starts working with James for her side of the potential terrorist attack, she can handle herself in combat, being given fight sequences unlike most female Bond characters. Paris Carver is the wife of Elliot, she did once have a fling with James, which is how James gets into the party to start with, she gets put in the difficult position of choice her power hungry husband or her former fling.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan’s second outing as Bond, sees him handling the comic moments better, he feels like he has grown even more into the role, where he has made his own version of the Bond character. Jonathan Pryce does make for a great villain, his character needs to be well-spoken which Jonathan does bring to the part. Michelle Yeoh does seem to break the trends of the Bond girl figure, being able to handle herself in the fight. Teri Hatcher might have a smaller role, but it works for what the film needs.

StoryThe story here follows a media mogul that wants to create a new war between Britain and China, so he can have full control of the media outlet in the world that only James Bond can stop. This does bring us a new villain with a master plan that is way over the top which does work, the investigation does seem to feel like it blends into the action, unlike most of the film in the franchise. The idea the media wants to control the affairs of the world does seem more realistic to what is happening now. The story might end up playing out how you would imagine, though it does feel more connected than the previous ones.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is brilliant, we have one of the best chase sequence in the franchise has ever offered, we have the Bond girl bring able to handle herself in fights too. The adventure does take James around the world, might like what we have come to expect.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to make memorable moments, be it the chase or the final base battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Motorbike chase,

That Moment That Annoyed Me It has dated with the media moguls plan.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the franchise, it does have the smoothest action which seems to be strong in the 90s film and a villain that does feel realistic.

 

Overall: Fun action film.

Rating

 

Donnie Yen Weekend – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay) Du Lu Wang (Book)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, Harry Shum Jr, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jason Scott Lee, Eugenia Yuan, Roger Yuan

 

Plot: A story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.


Tagline – The past returns with a vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny starts 18-years after Yu (Yeoh) saw her love die returns to safeguard the sword of destiny, after a warlord Hades Dai (Lee) goes in search for the sword believing it will give him the power to conquer the land.

Needing to protect the sword, Yu puts out a call for warriors to come and help defend it, which sees Silent Wolf (Yen) put together a five-person army, while Yu takes on a new student Snow Vase (Bordizzo) with skills advanced of her age.

 

Thoughts on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

 

Characters – Yu has returned from her isolation and mourning after 18-years away only to stumble into the next attempt to steal the Sword of Destiny, here she must learn who to trust, reunite with an old ally and put herself in the teaching position. Silent Wolf has lived a life in isolation, where his loved ones believed him to be dead, he returns to help defend the sword for the greatest honour in his life. Wei Fang is a young warrior that is being forced into stealing the sword to protect his master, he learns about his past and along with Snow Vase who also has a decision of her own to make, provide the unsure future for Yu on who to trust. Snow Vase is the talented young fighter knowing skills beyond her age, she askes to be taught even if she isn’t as disciplined as she should be.

PerformancesMichelle Yeoh returns to this role, she brings the fight skills that made the first one fantastic and must play the role with an emotionless feeling of being broken, which she does with ease. Donnie Yen takes up the mysterious fighter role which is a role that he could take any day and never look out of place. it is the new comers that impress in the fighting side of things, where they struggle in places with the emotional factors at play in their characters.

StoryThe story here returns Yu back to the land she once fought for, where she must defend it from a new warlord that wants the sword which could bring power to control the land. This is a sequel that does well to return one of the favourites which also dives into her past to bring a new character, while also offer people that could become the new leads if the series was going to continue. When we break down the story it does play into tradition of being loyal and honour. It would have been nice to see more from the villain which only has a few moments which are just generic villain style, without seeing him do anything truly villainous.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film is the martial arts material we have enjoyed for years, we have the weightless effects which were famous from the first which add the style required to be unique. This does play into the fantasy of the action which goes against the physics of fighting.

SettingsThe film brings back the settings we knew and still look fantastic, with the final showdown being in a new location which is used to add to the fight.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make the fights feel like they could be real, the weightless style is the best part of the fights.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments of the Wei Fang and Snow Vase does drag at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel to a much more superior original, it will entertain without being anywhere near the level original.

 

Overall: Entertaining for the fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Police Story 3 (1992)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma, Lee Wai Yee (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Wah Yuen, Bill Tung

 

Plot: A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.


Tagline – Meet the cop that can’t be stopped!

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Jackie Chan Movie

 

Story: Police Story 3 starts when a Hong Kong gangster Panther (Yuen) is rumoured to broken out of a Chinese prison, Inspector Ka Kui Chan (Chan) is sent to China to work with the authorities, Inspector Jessica Yang (Yeoh). He must break Panther out and escort him back to Hong Kong so he can face his own countries law.

When back in his home city, Chan must work with Yang as the crime boss Chaibat (Tsang) is preparing to free his wife from prison, while trying to keep his cover from his girlfriend May (Cheung).

 

Thoughts on Police Story 3

 

Characters – Inspector Ka Kui Chan (or Kevin in the dubbed version) he is considered a super cop in Hong Kong and must go undercover in China to bring down a gangster, he can handle himself in a fight even if certain moments it looks like luck over judgement. Inspector Jessica Yang is working for the Chinese police and works with Ka as she looks to use her strict style which clashes with the laidback nature of Ka. May is the girlfriend of Ka Kui and she is the one that blows his cover because the two have no form of communication. Chaibat is the gangster that is trying to get his wife out of prison, he runs Hong Kong and taking him down is just what is needed for the city.

PerformancesJackie Chan is one of those actors you can watch do anything, he is committed to his art form and this shows that he has a little bit of everything, from his pure energy in the action, but his comic timing too. Michelle Yeoh showed us that she was going to become a big action star in this film, handling the comedy just as well as the action. Maggie Cheung is mostly wasted here, her character doesn’t have much to do, while Kenneth Tsang fills the villainous role without any problems.

StoryThe story follows two cops from different countries working together to try and take down a big crime group who find themselves split between the two countries. We get the undercover idea here which works well, the awkward chemistry works well, thee action blends into the story taking our attention away from the simple side of everything involved. This does end up being by the books, we know they will get made and will be forced into action police wouldn’t consider and by the end we will see the cop come out on top with the criminal needing to face him in a final battle. The twists are not going to shock and the major turning point comes from somebody else’s stupidity.

Action/Comedy/CrimeWe are going into a Jackie Chan movie, we know the action is going to be big fight sequences and crazy stunts, this hits all the required expectations for this movie, certain stunts or fights get the laughs required too, which surprises with the number of funny moments that don’t take away from the action.

SettingsThe film keep the settings ready for the set pieces, we have the big cities, the working prisoners and the hideouts, everything you would expect to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The badly dubbed version shown on TV.

Final ThoughtsThis is a purely entertaining Jackie Chan movie, it has the action we would expect, the comedy that works without trying to be more than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Best of 2018 – C – Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim (Screenplay) Kevin Kwan (Novel)

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Harry Shum Jr

 

Plot: This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.


Tagline – The only thing crazier than love is family

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful

 

Story: Crazy Rich Asians starts as economics professor Rachel Chu (Wu) gets invited to meet her boyfriends Nick (Golding) family back in Singapore for a family wedding. Rachel meeting up with an old college friend Peik Lin (Awkwafina) she learns that Nick is from the richest of the rich family in Asia.

Rachel must meet countless member of the family with most looking down on her, while Nick must continue to be the humble man that Rachel fell in love with.

 

Thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians

 

Characters – Rachel Chu has worked her whole life to become an economics professor, daughter of a single mother, she has had to fight for everything she has. She is dating Nick whom is from a rich family one she didn’t know about, she must meet the family and learn where her place might be in the family if her relationship became more serious. Nick Young is the man Rachel has fallen in love with, he wants her to meet his family, one which he is expected to follow in the footsteps of his family, a life that he hasn’t told Rachel about. He faces a big decision in his life, to be with Rachel or to take over the family business. Eleanor Young is the mother of Nick, she has been helping in the business her whole life, she has also been wanting to handpick a wife for her son, she doesn’t approve of Rachel for the most part because of how she was treated coming into the family. Astrid is the one friend that Rachel finds in the rich society group, they have been friends as she is the only member of the family has met with Nick, she is also going through her own tough times with Rachel being the only one she can talk to about things.

PerformancesConstance Wu is wonderful in the leading role, she shows us the emotional impact her characters situation gets put through, while remaining strong a balancing act to keep up through the film. Henry Golding is wonderful on his film debut as the man trying to prove himself to his family. Michelle Yeoh is great as the disapproving mother while the supporting cast are all strong throughout the film, with Awkwafina getting the most laughs.

StoryThe story follows one lady that comes from poor background that has met the love of her life who just so happens to be from one of the richest family in the world, she must meet her family who disapprove of their relationship. This is one of the movies that goes for the meet the parents angle, it has a different culture for both sides to get through, the American Chinese meeting with the Chinese only culture, which shows us just what we needed to see for something different, I have experienced this before seeing two cultures you think would be smoothly together, there is differences. This is the first part of a trilogy and luckily this doesn’t end with a cliff hanger which will make us want to come back for more.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is balance very well not to be over the top just to have a moment of fun here or there, Awkwafina brings most of the comedy which in a supporting role only. The romance in the film shows us just how much love can complicate the rich hierarchy in certain positions.

SettingsThe film starts in just New York before showing us the beauty of Singapore as we see just how rich live in this country.


Scene of the Movie –
Mah-jong

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does fall into the generic meet the family film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful rom com that gets the feels, the laughs and the heart behind everything correct.

 

Overall: This is one of the most enjoyable movies of the year.

Rating

 

 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

crouchingDirector: Ang Lee

Writer: Hi-Ling Wang, James Schamus, Kuo Jung Tsai (Screenplay) Du Lu Wang (Book)

Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Sihung Lung, Pei-Lei Cheng

 

Plot: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Visual Experience

 

Story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon starts when Master Li Mu Bai (Chow) a warrior turned devoted monk medicates great sorrow leading him to ask Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh) to give up him sword to a trusted friend Sir Te (Lung). Putting the sword in safety Shu Lien meets a young governor’s daughter Jen Yu (Zhang) who dreams of being a warrior like Li Mu Bai and Shun Lien.

When the sword is stolen, it appears the Jade Fox (Cheng) has returned and this bring Master Li Mu Bai out of retirement to avenge his master’s murder at the hands of the Jade Fox. Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien go in search for the sword as the two get to face an enemy they didn’t see coming with powers unlike anything they have fought before, one that can be trained to continue their art of combat in Jen Yu who for now has been led astray by the Jade Fox.

 

Thoughts on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

Characters/PerformanceMaster Li Mu Bai is a character that we have come to identify in martial arts films for years, the one who has complete calmness in his action and always in control during combat. It is the two female lead characters Yu Shin Lien and Jen Yu that all reach the next level for the characters in a world that is often male dominated having these two character in a mix of good versus potential evil on Jen Yu is a character that could go either way through the film.

The performances from Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang are both brilliant as they both show their skills in the arts along with the men in this film. Yun-Fat Chow is also great through the film is the male lead at a time when we all wanted a new leading man for the martial arts film.stars

StoryWith the story we dive back into ancient China to see how the beliefs between the people with honour and training could create the moment you needed for peace. We do have an action story in here about how easy it could be to be led astray by the darker side of these abilities as we watch the two heroes of the story try to show the young soon to be master the right path to follow while she is being led astray by the villainous Jade Fox. The story is easy to follow and you can full understand how important it is to have both sides of the story being told to teach Jen Yu the right path.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is unlike anything you would have seen before which is great to see because too many films just copy and paste action together. The romance side of the story is also strong because it tests the characters to push their honour for love with the fantasy coming from how the action is constructed.

SettingsThe breath-taking ancient China setting makes this one of the most visual treats you will see in any film.

Special EffectsWhile mostly practical effects with wires the effects captured between the character’s fight sequences are brilliant through the whole film.genre

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the best martial arts films you will see, based on more than just the fight sequences but the training to make it happen.

 

Overall: Nominated for Best Picture and you can see why it was.

Ratingrating