Asian Cinema on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ChrisBEA, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Jul 19, 2003
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    That's awesome! You have to see the movie, especially if you're a Godzilla fan. It may be my favorite of the bunch, Although I think I would have preferred Angilas to Baragon. Another Godzilla note is that the original is being released uncut and subbed to theaters this year for the 50th anniversary by Rialto studios. Hopefully this will lead to a nice DVD release (possibly by Criterion?)

    I have really enjoyed both waves of Fox releases. I think the 1 I cared for the least was Eastern Condors, a good movie, but it didn't hold me like In the Line of Duty IV or Magnificient Butcher grabbed me. I look forward to whatever other titles they have to offer.

    As was mentioned earlier regarding this thread becoming too positive, I hope that both sides weigh in here. More often than not I enjoy a lot of what I've seen, I am still just enamored with the differences in story and tone than we get from Hollywood, I'm sure that will wear off.

    I wish I could say when the moment really hit me about loving Asian films. I honestly have no idea. Most of friends don't understand it, they have a thing about subtitles. Oh well, their loss, hopefully one day they'll come around[​IMG]

    Maybe a few of us should post a list (partial or not) of Asian films in their collection to try and get a look at where our preferences lie? I'll post mine this weekend.
  2. BryanV

    BryanV Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 16, 2004
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    Well, if you saw my top movie list of all time you would probably run screaming.

    That being said most of my above recomendations all one some sort of prize at Cannes im sure. And when your watching HK movies like tokyo raiders you have to take them with a grain of salt somtimes and just laugh along with them. There are jokes that we do not get because of them being a different culture. They also do not have the budget that bad boys 2 did, but seriously, what would you rather have to watch.
  3. Lloyd White

    Lloyd White Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 19, 2000
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    I really didn't mean to badmouth Tokyo Raiders that badly, it really is a fun movie with some parts I liked, but wouldnt be something that I'm looking for (Charlies Angels is also pop, and I can't stand that movie series). I have no problem with people listing reasons why they liked something instead of just listing movies, which does nobody any good

    Now, I'd want to avoid silly comedies, romantic comedies (like the god aweful Georgous), those weird fantasy movies for sure. Same thing I do with American movies. Topnotch action and very good drama is more like it, though not too mundane like many of those European movies about family problems or something too normal.

    Basically, since I'm a huge fan of Hard Boiled and the Killer, I want to complete the collection of John Woo's best of that era. Not so easy since damn near everything John Woo in R1 is going to be cut up, and I'm not going for that. I'm a big fan of Jackie Chan, but only really want his best action films, something like the Police Story series, uncut, as well as those series of movies with sammo hung and crew, and those duels with Bobby Chet or whatever the hell his name was (short white guy with badass skills).

    Also interested in finding any good movies with Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung. I have seen a couple like Chungking Express. Now, about that movie that I really liked was the on location shooting. So any movie that has a lot of footage of Asian countries I would also be interested in.

    Check out my dvd collection and wish list for stuff that I'm into. Offhand, I cannot think of one drama Asian movie (non animated that is)that I have seen that has blown me away, so besides those action movies I listed, that is what I'd like to find. I am very enthusiastic about Asian films, and I'm willing to bet there's plenty of gems that I haven't even heard of that I haven't seen yet. My jaw still hasn't left the floor from the first time I saw Hard Boiled.
  4. LorenzoL

    LorenzoL Second Unit

    Feb 20, 2004
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    I read posts on the Criterion Forum that they are thinking of making the above movies.
    Criterion has done an excellent job in bringing Japanese films to DVD especially the Kurosawa's films and I think it's time for them to pay attention to other Asian countries.
  5. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Aug 6, 2000
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    Infernal Affairs might be something to look into. It's not a straight up action movie like John Woo's, but it's a cool cop thriller with Tony Leung in it, and one of the more popular Hong Kong movies in recent years. (FWIW, my girlfriend, who's basically an Asian film newbie, quite liked it as well [​IMG])
  6. ChrisYK

    ChrisYK Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 21, 2004
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    I wholeheartedly agree. I think they eventually will as they realize the market for movies coming out of Asia has blown up in the past several years. I say this with the caveat that being a Criterion movie does not legitimize it as a "groundbreaking" or "classic" movie (i.e. Armageddon).
  7. WillKTaylor

    WillKTaylor Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 3, 2003
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    In response to your (Chris') suggestion in the posting of Asian collections, here's mine. Without venturing into too much depth (as I may do a follow up on how Asian films have influenced me), I'll just post the list for now with ratings. This is what I own and the rating is based upon a weighted average between story/film interest and DVD quality.

    [out of ***** stars]

    A Better Tomorrow (Ying huang boon sik) [***1/2]
    A Better Tomorrow II (Ying huang boon sik) [****]
    Branded To Kill (Koroshi no rakuin) Criterion [****1/2]
    Bullet In the Head, A (Die xue jie tou) [****1/2]
    Contract Killer (Sat sau ji wong) [***1/2]
    Full Contact (Xia dao Gao Fei) [****1/2]
    Fulltime Killer (Chuen jik sat sau) [***]
    Hard Boiled (Lashou shentan)Criterion [*****]
    Hard Boiled (Lashou shentan)DTS [*****]
    Hidden Fortress, The (Kakushi toride no san akunin) [*****] Criterion
    Ichi The Killer [***1/2]
    Killer, The (Die xue shuang xiong) [****]
    Kiss of the Dragon [***1/2]
    Volcano High [not seen]
    Musa: The Warrior [****]
    Chungking Express (Chong qing sen lin) [***1/2]
    Battle Royale [****]
    Fallen Angels {****]
    Hong Kong 1941 (Dang doi lai ming) [****]
    Infernal Affairs [****]
    Suicide Club [**1/2]
    Underworld Beauty [not seen]
    Wasabi [***1/2]
    Ran [****]
    Rashomon [****1/2] Criterion
    Daimajin: The Complete Collection [***1/2]
    Audition (Oodishon) [****1/2]
    Kaidan (Kwaidan) [****] Criterion
    Versus [***1/2] would have been a four for coolness factor
    Bride With White Hair, The (Bai fa mo nu zhuan) [****]
    Buddhist Fist (Fo Zhang luo han quan) [***1/2]
    Butterfly Sword (Xin liu xing hu die jian) [***]
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wu hu cang long) [***1/2]
    Hero (Ying xiong) [****]
    Iron Monkey (Siuin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau) [****]
    Iron Monkey II (Jie tou sha shou) [***]
    Kung Fu Cult Master, The (Lord of the Wu Tang) (Yi tian tu long ji zhi mo jiao jiao zhu) [****]
    Legend, The (Fong Sai-Yuk) [***1/2]
    Magnificent Butcher (Lin shi rong) [****]
    Master of the Flying Guillotine Du bi quan wang da po zue di zi) [***1/2]
    Once Upon a Time in China (Wong Fei-hung) [****1/2]
    Once Upon a Time in China II (Wong Fei-hung ji yi: Naam yi dong ji keung) [****1/2]
    Once Upon a Time in China III (Wong Fei-hung tsi sam: Siwong tsangba) [***]
    Return of the Street Fighter (Satsujin ken II) [***1/2]
    Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) [*****] Criterion
    Storm Riders (Feng yun xiong ba tian xia) [****1/2]
    Street Fighter, The (Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken) [****1/2]
    Street Fighter's Last Revenge, The (Gyakushu Satsujin ken) [***]
    Wing Chun (Yong Chun) [***1/2]
    Yojimbo (The Bodyguard) [****] Criterion
    Returner [***1/2]
    Tetsuo II: Body Hammer [***1/2]
    Legend of Zu, The [***]
    Tokyo X Erotica [**1/2]
    Tora, Tora, Tora [****1/2]

    Looking forward to seeing Underworld Beauty and Ikiru this week. Next week, if deepdiscount comes through, In the Line of Duty 4, Bichunmoo, Tokyo Drifter and JSA will be on the board. Can't wait.
  8. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Jul 19, 2003
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    Andy, Infernal Affairs is a fantastic movie, have you seen either of the sequels? Haven't gotten around to ordering them yet...

    I also have a couple of questions.
    1. regarding John Woo's work, I have only seen a few of his HK films, The Killer, Hard Boiled, and both A Better Tomorrow's. What other titles would you suggest?

    2. about the Once Upon a Time in China Series. I have seen parts 1,2,3 and ...In China and America(part 6?). How are the others? I know Jet Li isn't in them, but are they worthy additions, or should they be avoided?

    I still plan on getting my list up, just haven't gotten to it yet!

    Will! You made it!
  9. WillKTaylor

    WillKTaylor Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 3, 2003
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    Lol.. yeah. Had to do it. Unfortunately, I can't contextualize some of the films that I have seen as well as some of the other posters on this board. So, I'll leave it at that .. and the ratings. Any questions on a particular film, I'll do my best.

    I've seen two of Woo's earlier films that fit the response you're looking for, Bullet in the Head and Heroes Shed No Tears. I can't recall much about Heroes, so I won't comment. Bullet in the Head on the other hand left an impression. It's seeks a more dramatic ends than Woo's usual story lines or style .. albeit some may argue "barely", but realistically, it's a truly more sadenning and deep affair. Three fellows head off to Vietnam, I believe is the location, to resist arrest and the story pretty much follows the trials of friendship and the implications of the choices made of the three main characters to get to where they desire to be and run from where they had been. Without getting into too much detail, I'd say that if you enjoy Woo's work, don't miss out on this one. IMO, it is one of the most crucial works that he has taken on, never leaving out the traditional style that he is known for in his earlier days. Great performances by Tony Leung, Jacky Cheung and Simon Yam. It's a bit more sensitive than usual, I'd even say a gut wrencher that really makes you feel for the characters. Well done, I must say. Anyway, enough talk about it .. just go get it. A definate blind buy if I ever did recommend one. Let us know what you think.

    As far and the Once Upon A Time series, I haven't seen any others than 1 through 3, so I can't comment.


  10. Chris_Morris

    Chris_Morris Screenwriter

    Jan 4, 2002
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    I've never seen them either, and I'm not even sure they are available, but without Jet Li, I don't even want to think about how horrible they would be. As if pt. 6 wasn't bad enough....

    Though OUATIC 1-3 are my all time favorite HK/MA movies.

  11. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

    Nov 3, 2000
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    I just watched Takashi Miike's Audition for the first time. Now, I'd seen some of his previous films (Ichi the Killer is constantly finding its' way into my player), but this one takes the cake.

    A wonderfully mundane and innocent tale for the first half-or-so... the tension slowly builds in the next 1/4 of the movie... almost without effort into a violent and psychotic last 1/4. It's quite a beautiful bit of filmmaking and screenwriting.

    The disc is non-anamorphic (with the subs outside of the 16x9 area, which means you won't be able to zoom it on an HDTV), but still nice to my eyes. I noticed 1 or 2 translation errors and dropped lines (just a "hai" [yes] and a "baka" [idiot]), but nothing to really get upset about. Extras are non-fluffy interviews with the Miike-meister himself... and I found them quite enjoyable along with the trailers for the film.
  12. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

    May 13, 2001
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    Tokyo Story

    I've found myself fascinated by forties and fifties Japanese cinema over the past few months.. Akira Kurosawa's films have been a constant source of joy to me with the genre-bending Rashomon, the deeply felt and brilliant Ikiru, the exciting Samurai films.. and the famous Hidden Fortress (almost everyone knows that this was the inspiration for Star Wars) with his innate mixture of Western storytelling, and quintessential skill of making his films unique and memorable among filmgoers. Further to my investigating Japanese film, Yasujiro Ozu was recommended next. Given that 2003 was the centinniary of his birth, and forty years from his death, many arthouse cinemas are getting prints of a select few of his films, including his masterpiece Tokyo Story.

    Throughout the many essays on Ozu, the one word that kept cropping up was "universal". Tokyo Story is a film that can work to any audience, since the story is told so simply, the acting is concise and tells a lot through body language, eyes, and subtle movements in the face. Tokyo Story is the telling of two old people who visit their sons and daughters during a trip to the suburbs of Tokyo. They visit relatives, friends and a frightfully noisy hotel during their visit. After which, they return home. Shortly afterwards, the elderly woman dies, and it's time for the children to make a visit to pay their respects to their mother.

    After finishing the film, I started watching the DVD of it again, trying to understand the cinematic structure, but I gave up, still mostly baffled. His choices of filmed angles stem from the piercing need to look directly at the characters, while conversing, he blatantly ignores the line of sight rules, and forces the audience to see themselves as the people that are being talked to. The choice of square angles, perfectly composed within themselves, and leisurely edited together, allowing a few seconds before the actors enter the shot, and a few seconds afterwards. This is due to the nature of his story, it's a slice of everyday life, skillfully and above all simply told. Indeed, truly universal, it trascends boundaries through inviting the viewer to share themselves in the story.

    His choices of imagery resonate with some real depth. The generation gaps in the family is impossible to dispel, from the two grandparents always sitting together some distance from their children and grandchildren, to the distance between the grandmother and the youngest child playing in the grass. Another interesting image was the repeated use of tombstones as a kind-of "stairway to heaven" after the mother dies. Ozu's use of filmed angles and the repeated imagery, the intermediate shots, which some refer to as "pillow" shots, give the audience a few moments to orient themselves and prepare for the ongoing storytelling. This is because Ozu's Tokyo Story is so serene, and sincere. It's an especially gentle film, although not without light comedy, or even some irony, but never dares to step into cheap melancholic sarcasm. It respects it's characters and audience too much for that.

    Is it a masterpiece? Almost certainly. Only time and repeated viewings can help me with that.
  13. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Aug 6, 2000
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    Heh, I felt like someone had disemboweled me after seeing this one. IIRC, it's Woo's take on remaking The Deer Hunter and I remember it being kind of rough around the edges but it definitely had a powerful effect while watching it. I felt horrible for every single person in the movie, which I think was the main idea [​IMG] I should probably rewatch this one some day.
  14. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Jul 19, 2003
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    Well, I said I'd do it, whether you like it or not.
    Here is the list of Asian films in my collection:
    While putting this together, I had no idea I had this many Asian titles in my list, many of which are sadly still unwatched.

    Comments are welcome:

    2 Champions of Death
    3 Evil Masters
    Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
    The Assassin
    Attack the Gas Station
    Avenging Eagle
    Bangkok Dangerous
    Battle Royale
    Battle Royale II
    A Better Tomorrow
    A Better Tomorrow II
    Big Shot's Funeral
    Bio Zombie
    Black Angek
    Brutal Boxer/Shaolin 1
    Drunken Master Killer/Breakout From Oppression
    Kung Fu Zombie
    Black Dragon(aka Miracles)
    Black Mask 2: City of Masks
    Brave Archer
    The Bride with White Hair
    Bullets of Love
    Chinatown Kid
    The Chinese Connection
    A Chinese Ghost Story
    Chinese Super Ninja
    Chungking Express
    City Hunter
    City of Lost Souls
    Contract Killer
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    Dark Water
    Deadful Melody
    Destroy All Monsters
    Dirty Ho
    Dragon Inn
    Drunken Master
    Duel to the Death
    Eastern Condors
    Eko Eko Azarak: Wizard of Darkness
    Eko Eko Azarak II: Birth of the Wizard
    Evil Dead Trap
    Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki
    Executioner from Shaolin
    Fearless Hyena
    Fist of Legend
    Fist of the White Lotus
    Fists of Fury
    Five Deadly Venoms
    Flag of Iron
    Freeze Me
    Fudoh: The New Generation
    Full Contact
    Fulltime Killer
    Fury in Shaolin Temple
    Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
    Gamera: Attack of Legion
    Gamera: Revenge of Iris
    Ghostly Bus
    The God of Cookery
    Godzilla: King of the Monsters
    Godzilla v Mothra
    Godzilla's Revenge
    Terror of Mechagodzilla
    Godzilla v King Ghidorah/Godzilla & Mothra: The Battle for Earth
    Godzilla v Space Godzilla/Godzilla v Destroyah
    Godzilla 2000
    Godzilla v Megaguirus
    Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack
    Happiness of the Katikuris
    Heart of Dragon
    The Hidden Fortress
    Hong Kong 1941
    Ichi the Killer
    In the Line of Duty 4
    Infernal Affairs
    Inner Senses
    Invincible Shaolin
    Iron Monkey
    Iron Monkey 2
    JSA - Joint Security Area
    Jackie Chan's First Strike
    Jackie Chan's Who Am I?
    Kid with the Golden Arm
    Killer Army
    The Killer
    The Kung Fu Master
    Kunoichi: Lady Ninja
    The Legend
    The Legend 2
    The Legend of Drunken Master
    The Legend of Suriyothai
    The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
    The Legend of the Swordsman
    Legendary Weapons of China
    Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
    Magnifienct Butcher
    Magnificient Killers
    Masked Avengers
    Master of the Flying Guillotine
    The Master
    Mr. Nice Guy
    Mr. Vampire
    Musa: The Warrior
    My Lucky Stars
    My Schoolmate the Barbarian
    Naked Killer
    The New Legend of Shaolin
    Odd Couple
    Once Upon a Time in China
    Once Upon a Time in China II
    Once Upon a Time in China 3
    Once Upon a Time in China & America
    Operation Condor
    Pistol Opera
    The Princess Blade
    The Quiet Family
    The Red Spectacles
    Return of Master Killer
    Revenge of the Kung Fu Master
    Running Out of Time
    Samurai Fiction
    The Seven Samurai
    Shaolin Challenges Ninja
    Shaolin Mantis
    Shaolin Master Killer
    Shaolin Rescuers
    Shaolin Soccer
    The Shaolin Temple
    Shaolin: Wheel of Life
    Snake in the Eagle's Shadow
    So Close
    Tattooed Life
    Ten Tigers from Kwangtung
    Time and Tide
    To Seduce an Enemy
    Tokyo Raiders
    Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters
    Twin Warriors
    The Twins Effect
    Vampire vs Vampire
    Volcano High
    Wild Criminal
    Wing Chun
    Women on the Run
    Zatoichi: The Tale of Zatoichi
    Zatoichi 2: The Tale of Zatoichi Continues
    Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo
  15. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Jul 19, 2003
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    Now back on track.... [​IMG]

    Rob, Audition was my introduction to the works of Miike and it totally freaked me out. This was such a bizarre, beautiful, disturbing piece of cinema. I was breathless afterwards. Probably the best Miike film I've seen and one of the better films in general.

    Re: Infernal Affairs, I heard the third was better than the second, and neither as good as the first, but I am still interested to see what directions this story goes in. I'll probably pick them up at somepoint.

    Re: Ozu, I've never seen any of his films, although I have heard they are very good. I still have to watch more Kurosawa, the only one of his I've seen in its entirety is Rashomon. I have the Samurai box and I am interested in getting Red Beard, Throne of Blood, and Ran.

    As someone's sig says:
    So many films, so little time.
  16. Raymond_H

    Raymond_H Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 31, 2001
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    Definetly watch Seven Samurai, then watch it with the commentary. Its just a incredible movie and with the commentary you get to learn alot about just how advance Kurosawa was with his techniques.

  17. JohnAP

    JohnAP Second Unit

    May 20, 2003
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    I'm glad someone started this thread. I like hearing what other people have enjoyed so I don't feel completely lost when buying asian films. I think it's hard for people to get into asian films sometimes simply because the only outlet is actually buying movies releatively blind since video rental stores rarely have many and almost none get theatrical release.

    I'm a relative novice on asian films, but my interest in them has been growing throughout the last year. Also, I think I just made four new converts when I showed my roomates Battle Royale the other night. I bought the Korean special version of that one, which I heard was one of the best for Region 0, though the subtitles were a little poor.
  18. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Jul 19, 2003
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    Welcome John!

    Just ordered some titles from
    Bullet in the Head
    Hard Boiled
    Gen-X Cops
    The Storm Riders
    Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain
  19. WillKTaylor

    WillKTaylor Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 3, 2003
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    Ended up picking up Miike's Ley Lines today after all. Not a bad little film, but not Miike's best, nor his typical. It's about two Chinese born brothers and a friend shooting off to Tokyo, with no better place in mind, and trying to survive the local streets of Shinjuko. They cross paths with a local boss and the story branches from there.

    It's pacing is like some Miike's other stuff, with very little soundtrack movement. The there's some decent comical aspects to take the edge of, notably the sidekick. There's seemless branching of Miike's usual plot line being fairly innocent, the next you're in the middle of someone dying like it's another walk in the park. No big deal. Funny really. And lastly, there's a rather interesting POV shot during one particular scene that reads Miike all over it.

    On the video side, the colors are a bit washed, leaving a fairly dark transfer. The audio is not the worst I've heard for 2 channel, but not bad with some rear surround effects. Don't know if I'd dish out 30 for the Tartan release, but if you're a fan of Miike, it's a worthy enough addition.

    Also picked up Shaolin Soccer today.. what a wacky story that is.

    Anyway, good to see you picking up Bullet in the Head and Hard Boiled. Great films. .. Storm Riders as well. If you can deal with martial arts fantasy movies with a comic book feel, this one will do it for you. The effects, as aged as they could be considered still hold ground today. The audio is great as well. Just wish I managed a DTS copy of this film.

  20. Chris_Morris

    Chris_Morris Screenwriter

    Jan 4, 2002
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    They make other types of movies? [​IMG]

    DDDHouse still has Stormriders DTS for $25 HK

    A good site for news on HK movies I've found is MonkeyPeaches

    And I'm hoping that Shi Mian Mai Fu hits R0 DVD by the end of the year (its theatrical debut will be around July). The production stills look amazing, and who doesn't love a wire fight in a bamboo forest?


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