Thursday, 17 December 2009

Memories of Bygone Days aka The Days I Spent Good Money on Lauya Movies

Pedang Setiawan
After years (decades?) of hiatus from Chinese-language movies, I succumbed to the temptation of Pang Brothers’ Storm Warriors and braved the 6pm Kota Damansara traffic for an 8pm viewing.

Shouldn’t have bothered as the movie was - to put it crudely - crap.

Sure, the action scenes were quite amazing but they were nothing compared to those which appeared in the comic itself.

The two female stars were woeful and wasted while Aaron (Cloud) Kwok and Ekin (Wind) Cheng played second fiddle to all the CGIs on board.

On hindsight, I should have waited for Teddy Chan’s gritty “Bodyguards and Assassins”, which opens tomorrow.

Listing Donnie Yen as its lead actor, the trailer looked promising for a much better ride.

In my younger days, Kung Fu movies were a staple entertainment diet for me with Sungai Wang Plaza being THE place where I could be found on weekends and weekday nights whenever a good (or so – so) movie is showing.

Ever since Jet Li moved to Hollywood and then embarked on artsy Kung Fu movies, Donnie Yen has been carrying on with the all-action theme on his own with the last being Wilson Yip’s Ip Man (2008).

Lacking the flamboyance of Bruce Lee and the impishness of Jet Li, Donnie Yen has nonetheless managed to capture fans with his moves and skills.

Just like those of the late Bruce Lee, Donnie Yen’s moves look acceptably real and raw.

SPLFor example, I could watch his showdowns with a knife wielding Wu Jing and, later, the indomitable Samo Hung in Wilson Yip’s SPL (Sha Po Lang) (2005) over and over again.

Storm Warriors was supposed to have a similar climatic showdown between Cloud and Wind, but it didn’t match the one depicted in the comic series.

Close, but not quite there. A pity, really, as the fight between the two Kung Fu brothers is quite up there where fictional showdowns are concerned.

Even Kazuo Koike’s excellent Lone Wolf and Cub – despite having the best of foes in Itto Ogami and Yagyu Retsudo – doesn’t have anything remotely close.

(My opinions only. You’re welcomed to disagree.)

Back to Bodyguards and Assassins: Should I plonk some cold hard cash to go watch it?

Probably not. I think I will make do with watching the (ahem!) original DVD version when it comes out.

Unlike those younger bachelor days, watching movies alone is not something that is fun to do these days.

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