So, anyone fancy Sherlock Holmes meets Jack Chan meets House full of Daggers?? Well, that’s what you get with this rather cerebral martial arts movie, certainly a take on the genre I have not seen before, less chop suey and more cous cous. Out-and-out martial arts films are always fun of course, however silly, but nice to see something different pop up now and then in the genre.
It stars - and part directed - by Honk Kong cinema superstar Donnie Yen of Seven Swords, the IP Man trilogy, Hero, Shanghai Affairs and Blade Two. This guy is good and very charismatic on screen. I watch most of his stuff although in the early days of his career it was very Kung Fu and 6 movies a year type churn. He stars along Japanese likewise superstar Takeshi Kaneshiro, House of the Flying Daggers, Red Cliff and the Chungking Express. It’s a great mix on screen and not to be missed. Think De Niro meets Pacino in Heat.
Its 1917 in Republican China and there has been a killing in a small village and Detective Xu Bai-Jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) has been sent to investigate. The hero is bakery worker Donnie Liu Jin-Xi (Donnie Yen), who foils a robbery by two sword wielding thugs, both ending up dead. And the main the guy who died is no ordinary robber but one of China’s most wanted. Xi is lorded by his village and honored by the major of the region. But Xu does not believe a man like Xi could survive their attacks, let alone defeat such villains, without, at least, having advanced martial arts skills and sets about unpicking the baker’s story of events.
It’s not long before Xu’s super detective skills extracts some clues from the crime scene and secrets from Xi. Xi appears to be not who he says he is, quickly moving from hero to under suspicion by Xu. Xi confesses to doing ten years for murder and says he served his time and could the detective possibly leave him and his young family alone in peace now to get on with their lives. But that killing was not self-defense and Xi far more skilled and connected than his persona suggests. Xu became a detective because of a similar traumatic experience in his childhood and the two men find common ground. But the detective has to do his job and bring in the suspect, even though significant others have found out Xi’s whereabouts and on their way to settle some scores.
I enjoyed this, over-the-top martial arts meets Sherlock Holmes an apt description. Two top actors go head-to-head and the film more entertaining because of. The martial arts part of the film is limited until the final showdown and plenty of that wirework Crouching Tiger digital stuff, fun but also silly sometimes. It may be time to go back to basics with these movies because since they flew through the tress on Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon style there has been a lot of that exaggeration in martial arts movies. Jacky Chan doesn’t need wires for his balletic choreographed stuff and Bruce Lee basically did punch people through walls for authenticity.
It has some comedy, some serious stuff and an intelligent edge to it. These third world movies are often made for a likewise audience and so have to appeal visually and verbally to them so hard to sneak clever stuff in to effect. The subtitles are minimal if you don’t like that sort of thing and the film looks pretty good visually. In fact the scenes are well crafted and offer clues to who is the hero and who is the villain hidden here. You kind of want a little bit more to martial arts films these days and director Peter Chan has achieved that with this.
It cost $20 million to make and raked back $29 million to date, which is good for a western movie playing in China but not a Chinese movie playing in China and Hong Kong, which this is, and does. I’m sensing some sort of rejection here by the people of China to Honk Kong Cinema today. Maybe they don’t want to be stereotyped as martial arts types any more and being rather mature about it? But who cares as it’s a decent little film packed full of those stereotypes and beats the reality of the real China.
World Rally Championship - Advantages: Great coverage of events, Instant feedback on each read, Gives viewers all the facts and figures over weekend's event - Disadvantages: Programme scheduled far to late for majority of people. Scheduling this event after programmes such as 'Eurotrash' won't maximise S4C's viewing ratings. , Rally followers who can't or won't stay up late are forced to explore other alternatives - Digital or Sky!, S4C are losing many viewers due to poor scheduling of this event. Wales is full of rally enthusiasts, its one of our national sports, therefore why can't you programme this event at the same time as Channel 4, or at least before 12 midnight
Yes, I do hate S4C. Dont get me wrong, being a Welsh person myself the idea of a national welsh only channel is great, and I'm not a great fan of the English Channel 4 either. But thats the main point, Channel 4 is in English! When i'm in university, All I can get is S4C. I don't speak Welsh so most of it I can't watch and when they do show great shows like Angel, they are usually on in the early hours of the morning, which means I can't watch them. So having S4C and not being able to get Channel 5, means i've only really got 3 channels. It would be better if they broadcast Channel 4 as well as S4C in Wales, so all the people who DON'T speak Welsh, can enjoy the programs. I'm not only talking abou the Welsh people, All the student from outside Wales complain as well (However, on a lighter note, it is a always funny hearing them trying to pronounce program titles lol)
S4C is a channel which is picked up in Wales, or on Sky Digital, or NTL (I think you can get it on all digital packages). Its not just pronounced as S four C. Oh no, to be correct you have to say it as: "S pedwar ec" Becuase four isnt 4 in Welsh after all!! :P Neither do you pronounce C as "see" in Welsh, its "ec" (sort of, although you cant really spell the alphabet can you?!) If you cant speak welsh, then dont fear, teletext is a great invention! Neither my mum or dad can speak Welsh, so they watch the occassional programme on S4C with the aid of sub-titles. Fortuantely I can speak and understand welsh, up to a point, mind you! Well I got an A in GCSE Welsh (second language)...so I guess thats a good thing! Its not ALL in Welsh though, after all S4C viewers get to see most of the ordinary Channel 4 programmes, for example The Big (no sorry!) The Bigger Breakfast, Hollyoaks, As If, T4 Sunday, Dawsons Creek, Brookside....infact near enough all programmes Channel 4 has, S4C also show. The only regular programme I have noticed isnt shown on S4C is Pet Rescue, 5pm weekdays, its handy though, becuase where we used to live, in a valley, very Welsh indeed! we couldnt pick up Channel 4. We only had S4C. Now we've moved to the North Coast of Wales we can pick up Channel 4 and S4C (very handy indeed!) Aswell as we now have Sky Digital! S4C also have their very own programmes aswell, which are made in Welsh, not just translated into Welsh. For example, we have our very own Soap. Called Pobl Y Cwm. Meaning People of the Valley. (Well sort of, Cwn isnt exactly "valley" [well not atleast in North Wales it isnt!], seen as North and South Welsh language has slightly different words! [very confusing!]) We also, and this is my favourite programme, have a programmed called "Bryn Y Maen". Which is a bit like "Pet Rescue" and comes from the
local RSPCA centre, and one of the local vets' in the next town from me! Infact one of the nurses who's shown on the programme helping out with operations comes to teach me in my veterinary nursing class (studying that along with A-level phys, chem and biol). So its really great that programme! Definately worth watching, with sub-titles or not!
S4C is a channel which can only be picked up in Wales, UK (I think). It has a lot of programmes in Welsh which is good for the Welsh speakers in Wales, but as I can't speak Welsh even though Im Welsh it's no good for me. S4C is probably my favourite terrestrial TV channel though, as it has lots of good programmes like The Big Breakfast is on every weekday morning 7 until 9. On Sunday mornings we are treated to a helping of Dawsons Creak acompanied by the Hollyoaks omnibus. S4c shows a good selection of films, and also some good adult films in the evenings :o) All in all, S4C is a good TV channel and well worth watching.