Monday, February 12, 2007

re-cycled baby

Worst blog title ever. I'll be reviewing two films, Re-Cycle and Rob-B-Hood.

Re-Cycle (Oxide Pang & Danny Pang, 2006) - 8.5/10

Ting-Yin (Angelica Lee - The Eye) is an author who writes from her own life experiences. After finishing writing a novel of love stories, she titles her new book "Recycle", about the supernatural world.

The film starts off as a typical horror film with strange figures, strange phone calls, and scenes that try for jump scares. But the film steers and pulls you into a strange fantasy world quickly. A world created by Ting-Yin. A world filled with abandonment. A world filled with amazing visuals and effects.

In an abandoned amusement park, Ting Yin meets a man who tells her that everything which gets abandoned is discarded in that world, and recycled. The opening scene where Ting-Yin enters the amusement park contains one of the most striking piece of work I've seen. The gigantic viking ship swinging over top the giant ferris wheel, while confetti-like paper falling and scattering adds to this breath-taking scene.

In a journey (resembling Neil Gaiman's MirrorMask) to escape that world, Ting-Yin is aided by a little girl. In their journey, they stumble across abandoned toys from Ting-Yin's childhood -- another scene filled with vibrant images and colours -- aborted fetuses, and the forgotten dead. Along the structure of MirrorMask, I thought it grabbed some ideas from Spirited Away as well. Not only the fantasy world, but the scenes where Ting-Yin holds her breath while crossing the bridge. Another involves Ting-Yin's hands slightly diminishing. We see the relationship between Ting-Yin and the little girl unfold like a mother-daughter relationship.

This film works in showing symbolically through visuals, the idea and theme of abandonment -- although lacking a deep narrative. The final moments provides an emotional affect between Ting-Yin and that little girl. Another scene that left me in awe. Emotional and breath-taking in view of the visual artistry encircling their final moments.

Rob-B-Hood (Benny Chan, 2006) - 7/10

In Jackie Chan's latest HK film Rob-B-Hood, Chan plays "Thongs", a member of a trio of professional thieves. Louis Koo (Throw Down, Election 1 & 2) and Michael Hui, play "Octopus" and "Landlord" respectively, to round up the trio.

Aside from their conniving ways, all three face their own set of problems. "Thongs", a victim of a gambling addiction also has family issues. "Octopus", a womanizer, has relationship issues with his wife, played by Charlene Choi (House Of Fury). And "Landlord", the mastermind behind their thieving plots, whose wife becomes mentally ill after the loss of their child. Other famous HK actors to make (cameo)appearances (ones I recognized) include Yuen Biao, Nicholas Tse, Daniel Wu, Ken Lo).

In the trio's latest ploy, they have been ordered (paid) to kidnap a triad boss' grandson and deliver it to him. Unforeseen events occur that forces "Thongs" and "Octopus" to keep the baby longer than expected. Here, they learn to take care of the baby and a bond builds between them.

Directed by Benny Chan (New Police Story), this Chan flick follows New Police Story as a reason why Jacky Chan should stick with HK cinema. Expect laughs, Jacky Chan choreography, and stunts. A couple stunts in particular has Chan leaping from one apartment ventilator down to another, and another where he maneuvers along roller coaster tracks with oncoming carts.

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