RECENT DVD REVIEWS
GOD OF GAMBLERS- Well it took me 20 years to finally see this oft praised early classic of 80s Hong Kong Cinema, but finally seen (a nice wide-screen anamorphic version from Thailand) I have to say… it lives up to the hype.
A little more comedic than the blood ballet films of John Woo, Ringo Lam, and Tsui Hark that fueled the Hong Kong Action craze of the 80s, it mixes a ludicrous, but engaging storyline and some fun, inventive set pieces, with that everything but the kitchen sink outrageousness and melodrama that is a hallmark of HK films… to create a film, that just works. It’ll keep you entertained from first frame to last, and as ever Chow Yun Fat proves himself a charismatic and adept leading man.
Equally at home with comedy or Action, he’s been called Hong Kong’s answer to Cary Grant, and while that may be a bit much (there’s only one Cary Grant) there’s no denying Chow Yun Fat is likewise… unique. I had a lot of fun with this film, recommended. B+.
ADDRESS UNKNOWN- Kim Di Duk is one of the directors fueling the Korean New Wave film explosion. His film 3-IRON being not only one of my favorite discoveries of last year, but quickly skyrocketing into my list of favorite films.
That said I was aware that 3-IRON was a departure from his earlier films, which have not appealed to Koreans, and have been labeled as misogynistic, and sensational for sensational sake. So given that, I went into ADDRESS UNKNOWN with low expectations. They weren’t low enough. The negative comments leveled against this film are apt. The film is as bad as 3-IRON is good. The characters are wild irrational, stereotypes, and the plot is likewise irrational and sensational. Depravity for depravity’s sake. (I almost turned it off with the puppy scene, and when you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about. Just jaw droppingly absurd. depravity for depravity’s sake.)
The frustrating thing about this film, is that with a little subtlety and restraint it could actually be a good film. And I kept hoping the film would be more than just worst common denominator stereotypes, but unfortunately it wasn’t.
Subtlety is not a word in the vocabulary of early Kim Di Duk, and the film suffers for it. I could go into detail, but you know what… the movie just isn’t worth it. F/F-.