Tuesday 25 June 2019

The Current Cinema - John Snadden notes new commercial releases from East Asia

The Gangster, the Cop and the Devil
We're finally seeing some of the first releases of Asia's big budget films for the Northern summer season. 

South Korea's THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL is a visceral big screen showcase for tough guy, Ma Dong-seok (TRAIN TO BUSAN) aka Don Lee The movie aint real subtle and it's very brutal (What must an Asian action film do to receive an R-rating from the OFLC?!) as a gang boss and a detective join forces to track down a serial killer. Director Lee Won-tae looks to be taking his visual cues from Tarantino/Rodriguez films. The storyline is uneven to say the least...but I doubt Don Lee's legion of fans will be fussed by poor plotting. Of his three most recent movies seen in Oz, two have already been picked up by Hollywood for remakes.  

CHASING THE DRAGON 2: THE WILD WILD BUNCH (Yes! What a title!) follows the successful formula of the original and this time around tells the story of one of Hong Kong's most colorful gangsters of the late 1990s, Logan Long (Long and his movie brother are based on real life crims Cheung Tze Keung and Yip Kai Foon). The film barely covers the facts and invents a lot more about an infamous kidnap and ransom of a filthy rich Macau casino tycoon (played with a sleazy relish by Michael Wong).
Co-directors Wong Jing and Jason Kwan have delivered a first-rate crime pic. The movie's set up is well done and the following extortion bid kicks the film into high gear with some very tense and well-crafted sequences as this once untouchable gang begins to splinter. Tony Leung Kar-Fai is surprisingly good as the central character.

Another Canto pic worth keeping an eye out for is Benny Chan's THE WHITE STORM 2: DRUG LORDS which is slotted for a mid-July release at the Chinatown Cinema in Melbourne and selected multiplexes nationally.

Bong Joon-ho's Cannes award-winner PARASITE opens this Thursday at many cinemas. It's being distributed by local company Madman Films and it will have a fairly wide commercial release.

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