Skip to main content

#41 City on Fire

From Blogger


Recently, I stumbled upon this list of the 100 Greatest Hong Kong Films. I've been a fan of Hong Kong cinema since the mid-1980s, when I discovered the section of martial arts movies at my local video store where I was dazzled by the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. In the last few years, I've again been watching the movies that are made in the Hong Kong industry and many of my very favorite filmmakers have multiple films on the above linked list. And while I've seen many films from Johnny To, John Woo, Yuen Woo-Ping, Stephen Chow, Tsui Hark, and Wong Kar Wei there are still several of their films that I still haven't taken the time to watch. In addition, I still haven't seen much at all by Fruit Chan or very many HK movies that aren't genre films. So, I plan to use this list as a guide to try to broaden my knowledge of Chinese cinema.

We started with City on Fire, the film from Ringo Lam that was the inspiration for Reservoir Dogs. Ko Chow (Chow Yun Fat) is an undercover cop who in infiltrating a group of jewel thieves. And while I immediately appreciated that many of the plot points from the second half of the film along with one of the shots were lifted for Tarantino's film, City on Fire really only appeared important for the establishment of several action tropes that I have seen used numerous times in more recent films; the lack of any uncomplicated heroes, the Mexican stand-off, the bullet riddled walls creating dozens of pin-points of light, and the final death of the protagonist. How the plot actually unraveled appeared simplistic and even a bit jokey and heavy handed.

But then, I discovered to my annoyance that this may be due to seeing the Dimension, US release. Sadly, it was dubbed and while the dubbing was better than average, this results in the dialog being simplified. Also, there were quite a few bizarre jokes and puns that apparently were added to this version. And the entire soundtrack is changed for the US release, which can have a huge impact on the atmosphere and tone of a film. Therefore, much of what I was interpreting as being bizarrely comedic elements, were most likely not in the original release. Granted, some of them are, as I'm slowly becoming accustomed to Chow Yun Fat's screen personae being comedic after having seen him a a few comedies. Oddly, he manages to juggle being goofy and cool.

So, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to re-watch this one in the future once I find a better version. Could be fun to do a comparison with Reservoir Dogs as that is probably the one Tarantino movie that I've only watched a couple of times. It is so irritating to forget to closely scrutinize the version of the movie when renting.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan

Right after seeing Sacha Baron Cohen's film, Borat, I was disappointed. I didn't laugh nearly as hard as I had hoped and it wasn't quite as outrageous as I had expected. But in retrospect, I have to admit the comic brilliance of Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen has adeptly created a film about a fictional man, Borat, from a fictionalized Kazakhastan and used this creation to show the hipocracy of America. Using tactics pioneered by reality television shows, Borat travels across America on a quest to find his true love, Pamela Anderson. On this journey, he meets numerous people who share their thoughts about a multitude of things, exposing the way some Americans really believe about race, class, homosexuality and the other sex. It is a very interesting film. Sure, it gets laughs from ambushing Pamela Anderson with a wedding bag, traveling with a bear, and a bit of naked wrestling, but this film is also very smart in its sly portrayal of the wealth of prejudices that are ali

Girls who are boys, who like boys to be girls...

Where does one begin? Peaches Does Herself is a German concert movie of Peaches. Written by, Directed by and starring Peaches. But how does one describe this experience? Normally, I skip the Face the Music program of films at SIFF each year, but Peaches Does Herself was described as the queerest film in the festival. As it turns out, I knew exactly one Peaches song prior and still know little to nothing about her, but it didn't matter. I enjoyed the music and most of all, I loved her persona. Her sexuality was on display and was not only unapologetic, but read as loud as if it were a billboard with "fuck normalcy and judgement, this is who I am" in bright pink neon. To give an overall impression of the film, I've decided just to lay out what happens along with stills. I suspect that is the best I can do for readers to decide whether this is something they should seek out. The film begins in Peaches' bedroom and after the dancers climb through a giant vu

My attempt at Filmspotting's Top 5 List

I just finished listening to Filmspotting podcast, episode #296, and I've been inspired to begin a small project. My concept of great cinema has changed now that I live in a place with so many choices. When I lived in Anchorage, I primarily saw movies at the local Art House, Capri Cinema. Rand, being an out gay man, tended to show a lot of GLBT cinema as well as the better known independent/art house films. The years I lived in Columbia, I watched more mainstream film and really, just about everything that came to town that sounded at all interesting. But in Seattle, the choices are overwhelming by comparison. Sometimes I'll see a classic film, or a film with a lot of buzz, and there are a lot of foreign language films, because of the wide variety of cinema I have access to, I am now a very devoted fan of Asian cinema. The filmmakers in Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan, Thailand are incredible. And this isn't at all limited to the genre films that have made Asian film