Posts Tagged ‘China’

Media Update 8/29/19

August 29, 2019


The New Legends of Monkey King

I was a big fan of the two Journey to the West movies that I have seen, Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back. When I heard my friend Jill tell me about this show, I was intrigued. The show follows a similar story to Journey to the West but removes all references to Buddha. Instead, the central conflict is between demons and the long lost gods. A young woman must free the legendary Monkey King if the world has any hope against the demons who have taken over the world. I have not gotten too far yet but I love the show so far. The cast is really good. Luciane Buchanan plays Tripitaka, the young female scholar’s apprentice who is learning that all of the legends about Monkey were not exactly accurate. Chai Hansen plays the legendary Monkey King who is a lot of fun. Emelie Cocquerel plays Sandy, a confused woman who may be a demon or a god or something else. What interests me is that this is a New Zealand production inspired by a Japanese production based on a famous Chinese novel. It actually works as the show adapts the source material but provides plenty of changes and twists to keep it fresh. The action sequences are inventive and the special effects are good. I definitely recommend it.


Wu Assassins

A young food truck chef in San Francisco is just trying to navigate his life after surviving a difficult childhood. He finds himself stuck in the middle of an emerging gang war between the Triad and the newly arrived Scottish Mob. While he just wants out of it, he is tapped to be the Wu Assassin. Imbued with the skills of 1000 monks, the chef must now fulfill the destiny of the Wu Assassins by taking out anybody who would misuse the powers of Wu. These are the elemental powers of fire, water, earth, metal, and wood which make the villains actual supervillains. The problem is, the very conflict he was hoping to avoid is wrapped up in the ancient conflict between the Wu and the Wu Assassins. Iko Uwais plays the main character and he is instantly likable and interesting. He also has a lot of wickedly awesome martial arts scenes. Li Jun Li plays the main character’s friend, a successful restauranteur, and an incredibly intelligent person. Lewis Tan plays the main character’s other good friend who deals with both sides of the crime war as a front for an auto theft racket. He is joined by Katheryn Winnick who plays an undercover cop trying to infiltrate the Scottish Mob. Celia Au plays the ethereal trainer of the main character in the use of his powers and she just so happens to be the very first Wu Assassin. The show is a lot of fun so far with great action scenes, comedy, and great characters who I want to get to know. I definitely recommend it.


The Protector

This is a Turkish production about a legendary Protector who is destined to eliminate an Immortal threat to the city of Istanbul. The young man in question is the kind of guy who is scraping and scrapping to get ahead in life despite a humble upbringing. Honestly, the main character immediately gives the show a Guy Ritchie kind of feel. He is charmingly played by Çağatay Ulusoy. He discovers that he is the chosen one after stumbling randomly into the ancient battle. He also finds himself with new business opportunities. Since he is clueless, the main character is assisted by Hazar Ergüçlü who trains him with her guts and biting sarcasm. Ayça Ayşin Turan plays the main character’s new boss, a woman who got to the top and has little respect for the main character trying to take shortcuts. The show looks like it will be very interesting with many twists and turns full of intrigue. I really want to see where this show leads. I also recommend it.

 

Music of the Week:
Kaskade, Meghan Trainor – With You

Caravan Palace – Plume

VAVA – 我的新衣 My New Swag

Tarkan – Yolla

Sick Truth – War Ancestry

 

Media Update:
– This week’s theme is “Defenders from the East”
– I watched more Stargate Atlantis Season 1
– I watched more How to Get Away with Murder Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more iZombie Season 5
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 3
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 4
– I finished Mindhunter Season 2
– I finished Riverdale Season 3

Media Update 5/5/2016

May 5, 2016


Battle Royale (Japan 2000)

I had heard about this franchise a long while ago. I knew that it was a novel first (published in 1999), then a manga series and I had first heard of a tabletop RPG game based on the franchise. I never read or played any of that but I was aware of the franchise and I was vaguely interested. The basic premise is that 42 Japanese school children (our Grade 7, I think) are hauled off to an uninhabited island. They are each given a weapon and told that all but one must die or all will die in three days. This is fully supported by the Japanese government. What ensues is a very gory and very dark story of children in combat against children. The movie mostly follows a student named Nanahara and his friend Noriko. However, it also shows the audience the fates and movements of the other students through short vignettes. The movie was violent but very exciting, chilling and moving. I have heard the comparisons with Hunger Games but not only did Battle Royale come first, it is way more compelling. That is not to say that Hunger Games is bad, it is just a statement about how good Battle Royale is. The child actors are perhaps some of the best I have ever seen especially considering some of them were not given much to go on. This movie really surprised me and I definitely recommend it.


Journey to the West (China 2011)

I previously mentioned how much I loved Kung Fu Hustle. That movie was a Stephen Chow creation and, despite spelling his first name wrong, he put together a masterpiece of a martial arts film. Journey to the West is another Stephen Chow movie and his take on a Chinese novel published back in the Ming Dynasty. The original book followed the adventures and trials of a Buddhist monk journeying to obtain sacred texts. The novel added folk tale elements to the monk’s true account. I love folk tales and mythology. The movie takes that framework and makes a story about a demon hunter who fights demons through peaceful, empathetic means. The movie follows this man’s literal journey into the west to reach enlightenment and to fully accept his non-violent path given to him by his mentor. On the way, he encounters three powerful demons including the legendary Monkey King (a key figure in Chinese folktales). The movie has Chow’s great mix of comedy, strangeness and touching drama along with amazing digital and practical effects. This one does not have as much fighting but there is plenty of action and adventure to keep you satisfied. There is a very smooth merging of Buddhist philosophy with the playful brutality of the folk tales. Like most films that are similar to this one (Kung Fu Hustle, City Under Siege are two examples) there are a lot of different genres represented. I don’t want to spoil anymore so I will just say that I strongly urge you to watch this movie.


Wing Chun (Hong Kong 1994)

This was an interesting find. The movie seems to be designed mostly be a vehicle for Michelle Yeoh who would later go on to great fame in the United States due to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and one of the worst Bond films. Yeoh is a great martial artist but the choreography looked a little sloppy here in places. The acting is all in hyper-melodramatic style which makes some sense considering the plot. The movie is both a martial arts film and a romantic comedy of sorts. It shares a lot of classic Shakespearean (and older) comedy tropes such as mistaken identity and the effect of gender roles on dating. The movie is very, very silly but not in the way a Stephen Chow movie is silly. It was more Jackie Chan silly as there was a lot of mugging along with the martial arts. While it was not really a bad movie, it was not really my cup of tea. Maybe it was the mood, I was in but the exaggerated acting and the way the characters shouted almost every line was a little unnerving. It also felt like the movie could have used better ADR work in places. If I am listening to the original language track (Chinese) then it should not sound badly dubbed. This is a rare movie I would say don’t bother with.

Links of the Week:
Beach Slang – Noisy Heaven
Heaven & Hell – Bible Black
Method Man – Even If
Hank Williams – Jambalaya (on the Bayou)
Puffy Amiyumi – K2G

Weekly Updates
– Lost Girl Season 5 is really good.
– Daredevil Season 2 is awesome
– Gonna go see Keanu and Captain America: Civil War
– Started watching Kimmy Schmidt season 2 and it is hilarious
– Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday. Support your brick and mortar shop!
– This week’s theme is “Asian Action”
– Did everyone enjoy the A to Z Challenge last month?

Shield of the Ishim Pt 3

August 8, 2015

Ishim Shield

Maya woke up suddenly and started to cough, her ribs and back ached horribly but she couldn’t stop. As the coughing slowed, she started to look around and realized she had no idea where she was. There was a plush but worn couch below her and a musty basement that was definitely not below the collapsed floor she had just left. She also realized that her mask was off, her hair was undone and her right arm was in a sling. She spotted her mask and realized her boots were off too when her bare feet hit the carpet. Her vision blurred and she lost balance as she tried to stand up to retrieve her mask. She fell back onto the sofa with pain that had her left hand reaching for her ribs. She heard footsteps and creaking from the stairs and she poured power into her runes of defense.

“Stay back! I can deal with you without my gear!” Maya cried out, raising her hand like a shield in front of her. The runes on her rings and bracelets lit up enough to shine through her shirt sleeve. The strain was painful, it felt like sharp knives everywhere and she heard herself groaning against her will.

A young woman walked down the stairs with her hands up, fingers splayed to show she meant no harm. She had long red hair and matching red-tinted round sunglasses. She had a little Mona Lisa smile on her lips. “I come in peace. Sit down before you hurt yourself. Seraphim, already.” She said with a laugh.

She had said the latest Ishim code word so Maya relaxed and slumped onto the couch. “Who are you? What’s going on?”

“My name is Ivy. I’m Kerry’s older sister. Here, take some tea.” She held out a steaming cup to Maya. Maya watched it for a moment before taking the cup. She sniffed it cautiously and then took a slow sip.

“Who’s Kerry?”

“She’s my little sister, usually goes by China Gray. It’s kind of a dumb name but what are you going to do?”

“Wait, China? What happened to her!? Is she alright?”

Ivy’s smile faded a little. “You both took a bad fall. When the floor collapsed, you landed on the dragon which cushioned your fall a bit. You dislocated your shoulder, cracked your wrist and broke several ribs. Not to mention all the bad bruises. You’ll be ok though, Grand Maeve looked you over while you were out. Kerry had worse luck.”

“Is she going to be alright?” Maya asked, sitting up again.

There were footsteps on the stairs and a petite girl walked into view. She had a gray cast on one arm and several bad bruises and bandages all over. She even had a pearl white patch over one eye. There was a familiar gray jacket carefully draped over her shoulders.

“Stop leaving her in suspense, dear sister. We don’t really have the time, do we?” The girl said, she had a reserved smile but a twinkle in her eye.

“China? You’re my age? Wait, are you OK?” Maya stood and found herself carefully hugging China and then carefully touching her cast.

“We were very lucky. My sister caught the Grand Maeve just before she left to meet up with the council. She healed us the best she could and then left.” China stepped back and put some distance between herself and Maya. It was a practiced and professional gesture and Maya was barely offended.

“The Grand Maeve? Wow. But that can’t be a coincidence, right? ‘The Ishim Will Die’, right? Do you think something big is happening?” She ran a hand through her hair, trying to collect herself. She was still trying to impress this girl who was the same age. She put on her best serious face even though she was still feeling a little dizzy.

“I would think that’s right. Regardless of what we think, we have been summoned to the council to discuss the matter as material witnesses.” China said with more than a hint of pride in her voice even if she successfully kept it off of her face.

“How are we getting there?” Maya asked. Looking around for the rest of her gear but finding none of it close at hand. She was anxious to tell everything to the council and get back to normal, boring monster hunting.

Ivy stepped back into the room and held up three slips of card stock that were heavily scribed with magical runes and symbols. She had a big smile on her face. “We’re taking the Spirit Train. Three tickets courtesy of the council. Fancy, huh? Come on, let’s pack your bags so we can get going. You can rest some more on the way.”


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