Archive for the Nicolas Tse Category

Review: Shaolin (2011)

Posted in Andy Lau, Jackie Chan, Jacky Wu Jing, Nicolas Tse, Xing Yu, Yu Hai with tags , on September 10, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Andy Lau, Jacky Wu Jing, Nicolas Tse, Jackie Chan, Xing Yu, Fan Bing Bing, Yu Hai

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by Benny Chan

Years ago the Shaolin temple teamed with a film production company to bring an awareness of Shaolin to the masses, and made the film Shaolin Temple, which turned little know wushu star Jet Li into a star. Fast forward to 2011, and the Shaolin have once again opened their doors to a large scale production that many call a remake of Shaolin temple, but it is really more of a reimagining. An all star cast jumps aboard, along with Corey Yuen and director Benny Chan (Who am I? and New Police Story) and a $200 million dollar budget to tell the story of the destruction of the Shaolin temple…

The film opens as we find China in the midst of a war where warlords feud against each other, and after a brutal battle the lord of the province is taken in by the Shaolin monks, who try to tend his wounds, but the beaten lord is found by Hao Jie (Lau) and his right hand man Cao Man (Tse). Lao is a brutal and evil man who shows no mercy and kills the lord. Hao takes DengFeng City, the city nearest the temple, and is not too thrilled that he has to share it with his wife’s uncle Commander Song, who wants to marry his son with Hao’s daughter, but Hao has other plans, and plots to kill Song. During the night of the attempted assassination Hao finds the tables turned on him and his family as Cao Man betrays him, and Hao must flee, and is taken in by the Shaolin temple, where Hao must face the consequences of his actions against others, and with the help of the cook (Chan) and the head instructor Jing Neng (Wu Jing) Hao must save the prisoners Cao Man has taken and help the Shaolin monks repel an army bent on destroying what’s left of the villagers…

Shaolin is a great film, but be warned it is really more of a drama that has martial arts in it than the other way around, but for this story that’s fine. Toward the end there is still enough martial arts to satiate the palette of the most discerning martial arts film fan, or to put it bluntly plenty of asses get kicked. Corey Yuen’s fight choreography is well done here, and is staged perfectly. The only caveat is that there is just a bit more wirework than I would’ve wanted, but that’s more of a personal issue for me. Shaolin is also a beautiful film, and the first thing you’ll notice is the fantastic cinematography. The scenes are staged so that the sets and backgrounds can be seen in all their glory. The destruction of the temple toward the end of the film is nothing short of spectacular.

All of the actors involved do a fantastic job, starting with Andy Lau, who is great as Hao, and is convincing in his transformation from confident evil warlord to repentant monk. Nicolas Tse is also good as Cao Man, a man more ruthless than Hao, and his story arc and conclusion is satisfying and appropriate. Jacky Wu Jing is also good as the head instructor, but isn’t as memorable as his character should’ve been(this may have been due to the interpretation of the character within the script). His fights were excellent, however. One other possible reason why he’s not as great as he should’ve been was because of the work of Xing Yu as his second, and this is an actor who has been in many martial arts films (Ip Man and Flashpoint come to mind) and dang it, he needs to get a starring role in something. He’s got a great on-screen presence, and his kung fu is pretty darn good as well. He outshines Wu Jing in every scene they have together. Jackie Chan is also good as the Shaolin cook Wu Dao who isn’t disciplined enough to be a monk, and the Abbot is trying to get Dao to see the world, but he’s too scared to leave. He gets a good fight scene that isn’t classic Chan, but close enough to see he has one last good/great fight scene left in him.

One great bit of casting is bringing back Yu Hai, who played the original head instructor in Jet Li’s Shaolin Temple, now plays the Abbot in this film, and shows that he’s still got a few fighting moves left in him! If you are a fan of Shaolin Temple, you’ll be tickled pink to see him again. It’s an extra bonus to an already good film.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (8) The fights are really good, and there could’ve been more, but this is a drama first before an action film, but Corey Yuen does a great job here. Wu Jing’s final fight is great, but Xing Yu really steals the show here, especially at the end. Nicolas Tse versus Jacky Wu Jing toward the beginning is also a highlight.

STUNTWORK: (9) They really went all out for this, and the fall of the temple was impressive, especially since the explosions take place so close to the stuntmen. Andy Lau did some impressive stunts himself.

STAR POWER: (10) Heavens, just read the cast list. ‘nuff said.

FINAL GRADE: (9) Shaolin is a great film, that explores one man’s spiritual transformation amidst the backdrop of the spectacular fall of the Shaolin temple.

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Review: New Police Story (2004)

Posted in Andy On, Benny Chan, Daniel Wu, Jackie Chan, Nicolas Tse, Reviews with tags , , on October 25, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jackie Chan, Nicolas Tse, Daniel Wu, Andy On

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan

Directed by Benny Chan

After making some successful but not great films here in America, Chan took himself back to Hong Kong to film a new chapter in the series that turned him into an international superstar, but there are some changes as this is more of a reimagining of Police Story rather than a sequel.

Chan plays Senior Inspector Chan Wing, the best cop on the force who is looking to retire but is training a new generation of cops to take over when he’s gone. In this case he may as well by Supercop Kevin Chan, but the attitude of this film is much more dramatic, but to me, he’s Kevin Chan. He still carries that character’s confidence and swagger, both of which are decimated early on in the film, thanks to a new group of criminals, teenagers who get off on extreme sports and taking everything to the limit, led by Joe, who has some serious daddy issues that become more apparent later. After yet another successful bank robbery that results in a quarter of the Hong Kong police force to be killed, Chan vows to bring the robbers to just in just a few short hours. Of course Joe takes offense to this, and lures the Supercop and his team to a warehouse that is tricked out with traps that would make Jigsaw proud. One by one Chan’s men are injured and captured, until Chan and his future brother-in-law are all that is left, and before long only Chan is left, and he finds himself playing elaborate games for the lives of his men, and he fails every test, causing the deaths of each of his men. Joe and his crew escape before Chan can kill them, and Chan is barely able to escape with all of the bodies before the warehouse explodes, taking with it his confidence and bravado.

The traps are well done, as is his first fight with Tin Tin Law, played by Andy Oh. It’s a great reminder that Jackie Chan can still bring a good fight, but this must be the first film to really acknowledge Jackie’s real age, and his character is beaten because he’s an old man trying to fight as a youngster. If any fans wondered what Jackie has left physically, this is the answer, and that answer is that he’s got quite a lot, but has to modify his fights for what he can still do.

We catch up to Chan, now a drunk in an alley, scared and ashamed to see his fiancee Ho Yee after getting her brother killed, when out of no where comes Frank Chen (Tse), a mysterious young man who decides to help Chan get his life back together and stop Joe and his gang for reasons you won’t find out about until the last scene in the film, but it all makes sense in a pay it forward kind of way. Soon Chan, Frank, and another police operator Sasa go after Joe and his crew, who refuse to go down without one last reckoning…

Even though this is called New Police Story, it share more in common with the first two entries than it does with Supercop and First Strike. It was refreshing to see the action come back to street level crime, instead of the James Bond style adventures of the previous two. It also has the big stunts that we come to expect from Jackie Chan, including a fall from the Bank of Hong Kong, and stunts on a bus reminscient of Police Story 2. He even smacks a lawyer, and we know Kevin Chan doesn’t like lawyers.That’s some Kevin Chan shit right there for you. The film is slickly shot by Benny Chan, but is still gritty in some places. Jackie Chan gives a great dramatic performance here, and make no mistake this isn’t an action comedy. It’s an action thriller with some light moments here and there, mostly provided by Nicolas Tse.

The final fight between Andy On and Chan in a Lego store is fantastic, and shows that Jackie can still do a complex choreographed fight scene if given the time. It’s great to see his character fight using his experience rather than trying to match youthful speed and power with the same.

New Police Story may be a reboot, but it does a great job of starting—and ending—the Police Story series. That makes me excited to see how Jackie will end his Armor of God series that is in preproduction now…

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (8) Not quite as great as the other Police Story films, but a good return to form for Jackie after his hiatus making Rush Hour sequels.

STUNTS: (9) Great stunts this time around. The gliding down the side of a building with a bicycle, iron bar, and handcuffs was fantastic.

STAR POWER: (8) Jackie looks better here than he has in a while, and Nicolas Tse and Daniel Wu, both of whom Jackie found for the film Gen-X Cops are getting better and better.

FINAL GRADE: (8) A dramatic reboot and ending of a great series and a huge return to form for Jackie Chan. One of his best of the 2000’s.

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