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Review Roundup - Annual Thing

2022 CATCH-UP: PART TWO

The summer days have come and gone, and so have all the tent-pole movies. Which is fine by me as I ponder the best way to fit in more than twenty Zatoichi stories or everything that Anthony Wong has ever shown up in. The allure of modern blockbusters fades as the days get shorter. How can I spare time for yet more Doctor Strange when there are Ringo Lam movies to revisit? However, there are some glimpses of imagination out there in the wilderness, even if they're too weird for mainstream tastes and are likely to mean the artists involved won't be given a budget to work with again. The individual components might not be fresh, but they're assembled with creativity.

Weekend Retrospective - State of the Art Bang-Bang

ROBOCOP (1987) 

As one of the all time science fiction greats, RoboCop goes beyond a straightforward blend of futuristic ideas and 1980s satire. It's a film that has it all; the biggest squibs, the biggest guns, the best men's room scene. There's a lot of horrifying violence and a lot of horrifying corporate ambition. But at the same time it still manages to be darkly funny. Which is thanks in part to the way everything is so excessive, from the amount of blood to the amount of over acting. These ingredients perfectly portray a world full of excess. A film about a cyborg that fights crime is a recipe for trashy B-movie cinema, however the whole thing is crafted with precision. All the moving parts are engineered to be exactly right, from the script, the performances, and of course the robot effects.

HCF Review - Part Two

 RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2 (2001)

In the past there seemed to have been an unspoken rule in which hit movies from Hong Kong got weirdly overwritten sequels. Certain key elements, usually major stars, would be lost along the way. In their place were odd story developments that tried to overcompensate for this absence. The likes of Project A Part II and A Chinese Ghost Story 2 come to mind. The charm of the original character dynamics are gone, replaced by convoluted story lines that are fun but don’t quite work. In the case of Running Out of Time there’s an immediate problem – the original premise cannot be repeated. But since well received films demand a follow-up here we are again. It wants to be cool, and it wants to maintain the magic. The slick visual style and the quirky music are still present and correct. However the script and the characters leave a lot to be desired.

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Scorecard

AUGUST

FILM OF THE MONTH: Ikiru ☆☆☆☆

HCF Review - Countdown

RUNNING OUT OF TIME (1999)

Everyone loves a good ticking clock, after all it’s the rhythm of time… and life. Except of course those who are given a set number of days left to live after their blood tests come in. But as various movies of the past have explored, perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe having only four weeks left to live, at least in a fictional setting, could push someone to new extremes they never thought were possible. Johnnie To certainly thinks it could get a criminal genius and a master of disguise to put one last plan into action. But the director is also clearly a fan of adding buddy comedy elements and offbeat humour to the storyline. With the clock running down can he maintain a cool and slick tone as the cops try to solve a series of crimes? Or will he be unable to resist throwing in a few gags along the way?

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