[Warning, this post contains some spoilers]
Nope. Not NEW MOON (which I have not seen, I didn’t watch TWILIGHT too). But two recent Hong Kong/China movies that has a very dark tone.
The first is STORM RIDERS 2. I attended the launch of the movie in Hong Kong in 2008 and was looking forward very much to watch this movie. So while in Brunei with nothing much to do, Xinwen, my wife and I watched it in one of the cinemas there and yes, thank goodness, it is presented in the Cantonese language and not dubbed!
In general, it is quite a good entertainment with some good CGI work but the predictability of the story solicited some yawns. Since I have never read the comic book series, I do not know how true the interpretation is but for most of the part, I did not feel too good about the movie. And I almost burst out laughing when Charlene Choi called out to the master, “Master, I am Second Dream”. “Second Dream”?? Hahahahaha. What a name.
And of course, the movie is dark with Wind turning to the evil ways and started killing innocents while Cloud tries to save the world and sacrifices himself along the way. Of course, there is going to be Storm Riders 3, no?
The next movie just watched is BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS, a story about the protection of Dr. Sun Yat Sen during his trip to Hong Kong in 1906 to get the leaders of the revolution together and topple the Qing dynasty, which eventually happened in 1911. In this fictional account, it tells how the idealistic students tries to save China from itself and how the kungfu masters protects Dr. Sun during his trip, a true depiction that the pen is as powerful as the sword.
With Donnie Yen being featured so prominently in all the marketing stuffs, one naturally expects some big time kung fu but in general, the tone of the movie is dramatic with endless streams of tears from man, which we also see in STORM RIDERS 2 (for potential movie makers out there, note that it is a trend now to make man cry shamelessly on screen, not that it is bad but this is a new trend! hahaha).
All in all, the production quality in BODYGUARD AND ASSASSINS is top grade and it has a very good story backdrop, and the message it drives through is that mankind need to sacrifice for the better good of the future. But what is the eventual meaning of this? Did the Chinese really live a better life after the revolution? Maybe not but somehow, Dr. Sun and his gang thought that China needed to change.
We can get started and talk about China post 1911 and what a mess it became right after that up to the huge mess that Mao did after coming into power in 1949, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution just to name two of the most hideous. And post Mao, Tienanmen and such. But did the Chinese live a better life post 1911? Well, I don’t know and I don’t really think so, until perhaps recently with the economic reform.
So what is the real point of the revolution leaving so many good people dead? One of the good thing that BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS did was to show us the story of the heroes that sacrificed their life, that their life has meaning, and they actually did sacrifice their life thinking that there is a better future. Say for example Ah Si (character played by Nicolas Tse). He is about to be married. He has a really good heart. And he is going to have quite a good life if he didn’t die. So did he die in vain and his widow suffering through her life in vain?
So at the end, what was in my mind is not that I am disappointed that it is not a kung fu flick and I was cheated my money but it makes me reflect on the true meaning of a revolution and in this, I think the film succeed tremendously.