The title says all I want to say, but Leo tells me that I should write a bit more. So if you don't really want to read what I have to say, just head to the video store you go to for your HK film fixes and rent some Hark films.
Tsui Hark, is one cool motherfucker! It just so happens that he makes cool ass movies as well. This past week and a half, I watched 4 Tsui Hark directed films and 2 that he produced.
The Produced by Tsui Hark films:
A BETTER TOMORROW
This is a John Woo flic about a pair of brothers. One a criminal, and one a cop. Throw Chow Yun Fat into the mix and you have a flic that's entertaining at times, but nothing special.
Starring Jet Li as a drunken swordsman, this is a really fun and exciting flic. The plot's a little too confusing at times for its own good, but you can follow it. Characters have similar names, or are only called by their titles (ie: Chief, etc.), and it gets a little messy. The film's got a bunch of fun action though. If you like swordplay films you certainly won't be dissapointed by this, from an action standpoint.
The Directed by Tsui Hark films: ZU: WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN
This is one of the first big special effects films made in HK. It's fairly dated, but still a lot of fun. It's got some dumb plot about having to get a couple of magical swords in order to defeat an evil presence. It's all about flying swords, and other various effects. Again, this is a real pleaser for action fans. Be warned that there are some weird versions of the film out there with strange bookend sections, featuring the main character in the present day, as a university student or something. I'm not sure because I stopped watching that version (which was dubbed), went and bought the subtitled DVD, and have been happy since. Miramax has bought the sequel (ZU 2), which was just made, and will be releasing it later this year to cash in on the CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN TIGER thang, as THE LEGEND OF ZU. We can only hope that it'll be released subtitled as well.
A BETTER TOMORROW 3
A prequel to A BETTER TOMORROW focusing on Chow Yun Fat's character. Hark's direction is the only thing that keeps this thing afloat. It's a pretty stupid movie, but I was entertained for the most part. If you really need to know where Chow Yun Fat got his trenchcoat and sunglasses though, check the flic out.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA
This is the best of the bunch. It stars Jet Li and is soooo damn good! It's set against a lot of racial and territorial conflicts between England, France, the U.S., and China (hope I'm getting everyone). The action is this film flat out rocks!! The second to last fight rivals stuff from DRUNKEN MASTER II (a.k.a. THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER). Go rent it now!!! Ladders. That's all I've got to say. Ladders.
TIME AND TIDE
Hark's latest film, and certainly one of his best. It's the most fun I've had watching a movie so far this year. TIME AND TIDE is a crazy little fucker of an action film. Sheer brilliance as far as I'm concerned. It rarely lets up and keeps a smile on your face with its style and sense of fun. Columbia/Tri-Star is supposed to be giving TIME AND TIDE a limited release in theatres this spring or summer. There's a HK VCD that was just released (which is sadly how I watched the film). It's P&S, which sucks, but it looks great for a VCD. So, if you've got a Chinatown where you live, go pick it up. Or wait until it gets its proper release here. Just make sure that, if you like amazing action films, you see it.
Also, if you live in NY, you're a lucky bitch or bastard. There's gonna be an anthology series on Tsui Hark's films from May through July (sadly TIME AND TIDE won't be shown). For more information check out http://www.subwaycinema.com .
Here's what I'm gonna watch this week and a bit, if ya care:
MEMENTO (dir. Christopher Nolan)
PEKING OPERA BLUES (dir. Tsui Hark)ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA III (dir. Tsui Hark)SISTERS (dir. Brian DePalma)NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 (dir. Renny Harlin)IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (dir. Wong Kar Wai)