I have been waiting for this movie to be released in the US ever since I saw the trailer on Youtube.com last month and read all the hype. Plus, one of my favorite Korean actors, Cha Seung Won, is one of the four leads. This guy can do it all--comedy and drama, and he does not disappoint as the North Korean commander in this movie. This is the first time I have seen him on a big movie theatre screen and the camera loves him. DVD rentals on my TV are not quite the same--too bad more Korean films don't get US theatrical releases. Also giving excellent performances were Kim Seung Woo and Choi Seung Hyun--two actors who I first saw in last year's Kdrama, "Iris". Rounding out the lead actors is Kwon Sang Woo--another good performance and my first time seeing him in a theatrical film. All the supporting roles were also very well cast. If one likes war movies, this one is not to be missed--especially since it is based on a true incident during the Korean War. Direction, sets, costumes, music--all were well done. This film merits more than one viewing at the movie theatre.
The only good thing about this little film series is looking at Diana Rigg. The producers must have been trying to capitalize on The Avengers, as this series was released a year after her stint on the show was over. She does look good, but the plot, writing, and production value are so poor that one can only take this for a couple of minutes before having to hit the eject button. And the music--like someone is driving nails into your ears! At first I thought the sound was so bad because it was on a VCR cassette, but I was mistaken. The music used for each scene truly hurts ones ears. Many of the scenes were shot on Spain's Costa Brava. Unfortunately, the attractive scenery of the Costa Brava cannot help this disaster of a film. What was Diana thinking when she accepted this role? Oh my....
This first film of Daniel Wu bites hard and is hysterical in the process. I hope he plans on directing more films--this was very well done. If you have ever wondered why so many pop stars sound OK recorded, but really bad on live TV or concert? Autotune is the answer! Great scene where the engineer shows how it all works. Actors were funny, especially Conroy Chan and Terrence Yin. Definitely worth more than one viewing. I saw it at the SF international Film festival and have rented it a couple more times. During the festival, the local SF Chronicle did a review of the film and a biographical piece on Daniel Wu. Since Daniel Wu is from the bay area, i think the piece added a lot of local interest--people not normally associated with Chinese films would really see how big Daniel Wu has become in the Hong Kong film scene. It would be interesting to see what he would do with an American script. After viewing his first film, I think Mr. Wu definitely has the skills.
I have to agree with most of the"Funny, but predictable" review. If the narrative line of a film is going to be predictable, the dialog writing must be sharp and inventive the entire length of the narrative. Unfortunately, some of the zingers and replies made one cringe--some very tired and stereotypical comebacks. Christopher Colquhoun as "Jonathan" was the strongest actor of all the leads--making the best of some mediocre dialog. Tyler Smart as "Poppy" had some of the best lines and delivery. Topher Campbell as "Randy" was very funny as the clueless straight boyfriend of "Jasmine". The direction of the movie was more like a television show, rather than a movie. I look forward to this writer/director's next film--as he seems to have potential in the romantic comedy genre.
The English subtitles were incoherent on this DVD. It appears there was no review by the distributors of the DVD. Too bad--as the visual look and cast were attractive. It would have been nice to understand what the actors were trying to convey. It would be interesting to know what Korean speakers thought of this movie. It has a fairly well known cast--successful in previous films. Uhm Jung Hwa, who co-starred with Daniel Henney in "Seducing Mr. Perfect", is one of the female leads. She appears to have made a nice transition from pop singer to actress. Park Yong Woo from "World of Silence" and Lee Dong Gun of "My Boyfriend is Type B", play the two male leads. Han Chae Young of "Wild Things" rounds out the cast as the other female lead. Hopefully, a re-release of the DVD with a better translation is in the works. As an English speaker who really enjoys Korean films, this was a very frustrating experience.
I saw this film last night and was just stunned with the visual beauty and the quality of the acting by each cast member. If this film doesn't make Hollywood draft Tony Leung ASAP, then nothing will. I want to see him in an American film. I have been waiting ever since "Happy Together". I was sure we would see him after "In the Mood for Love", I was sure some American director would immediately use him. He will certainly take the Golden Horse & Hong Kong awards next year. The question is will Hollywood have the smarts to nominate him. A fabulous actor! Ang Lee is just superb at his craft. How soon can we have another film from him? The details in every scene will require repeated viewings. It was great to see Joan Chen & the new young actors. A wonderful assembly of young talent. Ang Lee always seems to get the best out of actors--in every film.
Very good commercial narrative film about the Japanese Internment.
This film premiered Sunday at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. While there have been a number of excellent documentaries on this subject, this is the first commercial film I have seen which has the potential for such broad appeal with American audiences. The director has assembled a wonderful cast of actors--both veterans and new, young actors. Gary Cole gives a subtle, but authentic performance as the military supervisor of the camp. Excellent supporting roles by Seth Sakai,Sarah Drew,Judy Ongg and Susanna Thompson add to the vitality of this ensemble. Newcomers Aaron Yoo and Leonardo Nam as the Namuro brothers are impressive. Not enough good things can be said about the Japanese veteran actor, Masatoshi Nakamura, who plays the father of the Namuro family. It is a dynamic performance and his character is the strength of this story. Shot on location in Utah, the film delivers a hard look at the Topaz internment camp and the realities of the daily lives of the interns and their captors. The mixture of period archival footage frames the story for the audience whose knowledge of the subject is minimal. Using baseball and jazz as a narrative device, this is a film the children and grandchildren of the World War II generation need to see.