Saturday, June 19, 2004

woo and woo

John Woo becomes the reason I (a) get a long-overdue Movies Worth Seeing membership (b) rent movies (the Indian store rentals aside).

Woo has often noted Bullet in the Head as a personal favourite [ref: the concise yet superficial Ten Thousand Bullets: The Cinematic Journey of John Woo]. It's interesting to see that a director so widely acknowledged as a visionary with action sequences would pick a film like this. There is action, most assuredly. Woo trademarks all over the place. But there's also a good storyline, with doses of humour. The overall tone, though, is downbeat. Things to note (aside from tagging off trademark action) include the use of [a cover of, AFAIR] I'm a Believer by the Monkees. An authoritative print is a rarity, and even the video tape we watched seemed to have omissions.

Next up was Woo's shot at an action/comedy excursion, which has Chow Yun-Fat and Leslie Cheung as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Woo acknowledges this debt with a poster featured in the house near the close of the film). The overall tone is light, and some of the jokes are funny. There is, however, a certain synthetic quality to the film, which makes even the action sequences (admittedly Woo's forte) seem a tad disjoint. While I enjoyed watching the flick (how they could make a DVD for this one and ignore Bullet in the Head is beyond me!), it's not really something I might readily recommend to someone who wants to sample Woo. There's also a cool villain in the climax whose weapons include a boundless cornucopia of razor-edged playing cards and flame throwers.

Must also note the eerie coincidence of a wrong phone call in the middle of the first flick: an asian voice began speaking at the other end ...

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