Tai Chi Zero

TaiChiHero If I need  use just only one word to describe this movie, it would be — surprisingly good. Okay, okay, two words.

I had three TGV movie vouchers which is expiring on the day I went for the movie itself and with no interesting movies to watch, my parents and I chose this. Honestly, this isn’t something I would pay to watch – dialogue is in Mandarin, don’t know the cast (except for Shu Qi, Angelababy and Tony Leung – and all three are notorious for some other types of ‘adult’ movies)

The movie is the first part of two, starring a newbie who is also a wushu champion in real-life. Branded as a ‘steampunk action comedy’, Tai Chi Zero has various kung fu actions, video game elements and steampunk genre.

The storyline is quite predictable actually, with a country bumpkin setting out in search of a clan known for their kung fu skills. When country bumpkin finally found them, the clan refuses to teach him, reason being the skills are only passed on to family members. In the meantime, the village is attacked by the British, led by a ‘traitor’ cum ex-villager who studied engineering overseas but looked down by everyone else.

Of course, in the midst of the fighting and protecting the village, our kind-hearted country bumpkin gets seriously injured. Every one else was shocked to discover that this outsider had somehow managed to learn some bits of their Chen-style kung fu (thanks to his photographic memory) and demands him to be killed.

Unwilling to see the poor boy die, the Grandmaster suggests that his daughter marry the boy, thus making him family.

The show ended abruptly at this point, making viewers hungry for more – so will kind-hearted country bumpkin boy turn into a kung-fu legend?

Although predictable, I found the choreography highly entertaining (thanks to Sammo Hung) and will definitely catch the sequel!

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Breakout

I saw about 10 minutes worth of Breakout on Astro one day and thought it was good. Googling it to find more, I came across the complete set of serials in Youtube and like what people say, the rest is history. I managed to watch the whole serial within a week – and some in the mornings when I reach the office early.

This serial was not produced by TVB, but rather, Mediacorp – a Singaporean company. The cast comprise mainly of Singaporeans, of course, but also a Malaysian (Christopher Lee) and two Chinese (Dai Yang Tian and Zhou Ying) I was not a huge fan of Jeanette Aw but I found her performance in this astounding as a girl with split personality disorder.

Synopsis:

On her 12th birthday, Tang Ying lost her parents and older brother to a tragic road accident. Although she survived, she lapsed into a coma for 13 years. When she came out of her coma, she was stunned to realize that she was no longer a 12 year old girl but a 25 year old young woman. Trapped in an older body with her memory still frozen at age 12, Tang Ying struggles to cope with reality which includes the cruel truth that her family is dead.

Tang Ying suspects that there is more to the tragic road accident which claimed the lives of her entire family. As a result, Tang Ying embarks on a rigorous routine to learn and to familiarize herself with a society that has changed tremendously in the years when she was unconscious.

During this time, she befriends Zou Jie Ming, an autistic but highly intelligent savant, and Situ Dong Cheng, a down-and-out former lawyer whom has lost everything he treasured in his life. Together, they embark on a battle against Yang Tianwei, a cruel, ruthless and cunning man. Tianwei’s children, Yang Zhenfeng and Yang Nianqing, assist him in his evil deeds. The truth is finally revealed that Tianwei was the one who planned and executed the murder of the Tang family, making it appear like a road accident. Will Tang Ying, Jieming and Dongcheng be able to nail him and bring him to justice?

The plot was interesting enough for me to keep watching one episode after another and the interplay of the complexities of the characters are marvellous. Although ruthless, Yang Tianwei was someone who loved his wife and children to bits and one wonders if he really regrets putting both his children through the hell-hole. It was no wonder both his children turn out to be as ruthless as him, although Nianqing still has a bit of humanity in her.

As far as I understand, she is the only one of the three who has not committed murder at all, except for the final episode when she stabbed her father.

Another good series from Mediacorp, which sometimes I think is worth watching compared to some TVB serials.

Insidious

This is another movie which I have seen quite some time ago and yet the now is the only time I got to put this up. Indeed, this is a horror movie (which I liked) and yes, it didn’t disappoint me as a good one. The catch-line ‘It’s not the house which is haunted, it’s your son’ is already intriguing enough for me to pay for my ticket and parking and head to the cinema.

Insidious saw a family of four moving into a house only to result in their elder child slipping into a deep coma and  themselves being haunted by presences from the other world soon after. Efforts to wake the boy up proved futile as doctors could not find out what’s wrong and the husband and wife relationship starts to strain when wifey keeps insisting that their house is haunted.

Turning to her mother-in-law, who was surprisingly trusting and supportive (unlike other MILs) the reason for the happenings were soon revealed.

Apparently, their boy is an experienced ‘traveller’ where his soul wonders off too far into forbidden realms during his sleep. This time, it seems, his soul was trapped and unable to come back to his physical body, other ‘souls’ with ill-intentions crowd beside him, waiting for a chance to take over his body.

The only way to save the boy is to get his soul back from where he is trapped and voila, the fact that he has this ability was because his own father – the skeptic – is  a traveller himself.

And so, there exists a perfect person who could cross-over and save the boy’s soul.

A highly interesting movie with lots of scenes jolting you from your seat.

Sini Ada Hantu

I watched this months ago and it is only now that I had the time to post this. I am not the type who will usually go for Malay or locally made movies, especially in the cinema but this has received quite a bit of good reviews, so I thought why not.

Both Alvin Wong and Baki Zainal make a hilarious pair – yes, I found the movie more hilarious compared to scary. So much for a horror movie, huh? It also blends in what all Malaysians will be familiar of, rather than the jumpy Chinese vampires, we have the ‘Hantu Nombor Ekor’ and ‘Hantu Asrama’ which many of us could relate to, since all our primary schools used to be a camp during the Japanese Occupation.

So, two sleepy drivers, Bakri and Ah Meng are supposed to make an overnight ‘delivery’ – a coffin holding a dead man who was supposed to reach his ‘wake’ in the morning. To make things livelier, both start sharing horror stories in turn, Malay and Chinese. Bakri shared a tale about a beautiful Hantu Pokok Pisang while Ah Meng, a Hantu Nombor Ekor. The third story is about a Hantu Asrama.

While taking turns telling tales and all, their delivery van broke down a couple of times and this has led to more confusion and hilarity.

Watch this if you are looking for some light hearted horror movie – and find out what’s the difference between hantu melayu and hantu cina.

Sanctum

I didn’t really want to watch Sanctum, mainly because I sorta guessed how the storyline will go. Few people trapped in a disaster (in this case, an underwater cave). The bad guys die first, the good guys struggle to look for an exit. The hero and heroine fight to stay alive, promises they’ll date/marry each other if they get out alive. One of the good guys sacrifices for others, leaving just three or four persons getting out alive.

Okay, after watching the movie, my guesses were almost 50% right.

Sanctum tells the story of a group of underwater cave explorers. To me, anything underwater is no good news. I can’t swim, simply because I panic when I go underwater. Thus, throughout the movie, when the ‘trapped group’ went underwater, I found myself holding on to my breath as well. There were those obligatory jolting and cringing instances where people drown horribly, get hurt and drown, badly decayed corpses resurface and cutting of bodily parts to save oneself. Other than these nail biting moments, most of it were a lil bit boring and predictable.

Back to the cave explorers. A group were trapped after a fierce storm on the surface forced them back into the cave. Looking to find a way out, all but one member died. Thus, I was half right, since there was no heroine for our sole survivor to date or marry. Overall, I would say that this movie was just so-so, quite predictable and nothing too spectacular about the plot.

Perhaps it was just because I never wanted to watch it in the first place or it wasn’t something I look forward to, but if you are the type who like movies like this, you may just find it interesting.

 

Little Fockers

Honestly speaking, with its title, I thought I was going to get more action from the children instead of adults. However, I was in for a disappointment because the adults had more screen time than the kids. But then again, it is not a bad movie, afterall. Funny, entertaining, and most importantly, family oriented. It is one of those movies where you’ll find people bickering and hating each other, but at the end of the day, everyone lives happily ever after.

The central theme revolves around dealing with your demanding in-laws who think that you are never good enough for their son/daughter and at the same time feeling a bit self-conscious when your kids adore another man whole lot better than yourself. Throw in an ex-boyfriend of the wife who still loves her, and the father-in-law who encourages the daughter to dump her husband, Ben Stiller seemed to be facing a crisis no man wishes to face. But then again, he wonders if he is that bad of a loser when a young, hot pharma company sales rep, Jessica Alba starts flirting with him. Hilarity follows when father-in-law discovers some erectile dysfunction drugs in Ben’s possession and suspects him of having an affair.

This wasn’t good news as the husband of his second daughter was just caught cheating on her, resulting in their divorce. Left with no choice, father-in-law makes the decision to ‘hand over’ the new role as the head of the family to Ben. Trying to live up to becoming the ultimate ‘Godfocker’ was not easy. However, as he soon learns, trying to become someone you are not isn’t going to impress anyone and obviously, you are definitely not going to be successful in doing so.

Ben Stiller is a natural in comedies. If you are looking for something light-hearted, Little Fockers will satisfy that need.

Tron: Legacy

I am not a huge fan of sci-fi movies but at the insistence of a colleague and impressive trailer, I went ahead to watch this. It was not a disappointment, of course, and much better than I expected it to be.

Tron: Legacy was supposed to be a spin-off from the first movie, Tron, produced back in 1982. It took them almost 20 years later to come up with this sequel. I am not sure why it is titled Tron, however, as the movie made no reference to the original ‘Tron’ with the exception of a few minutes of it.

Sam’s father, Kevin, disappeared years ago and growing up, he yearned to see his father again. Unlocking the ‘arcade’ that Kevin used to own, he inadvertently discovered a hidden office, where daddy used to work, beneath the arcade. Fiddling with the computer programmes, he was transferred into the virtual reality world – the gaming world his father created, called ‘The Grid’.

And it is in The Grid that we are presented with excellent CGIs. I must admit that the glowing, tight suits, the Light-Cycle battle scenes, the de-rezzing and transportations the ‘individuals’ used within the programme are highly impressive.

Sam surprisingly met Kevin again within this world where he was told that Clu – a programme created by Kevin – had betrayed him, seizing control over the Grid and was planning to transport himself into the real world. And as with all other good movies, Sam proceeded to fight Clu, hoping that he could bring dad back to the real world. With the assistance of Quorra, a pretty programme who had stayed by Kevin’s side all these years, the battle began.

Alas, Sam managed to defeat the bad guys, barely make it in time to reach the portal where he is transported back into the real world. Sam’s father sacrificed himself trying to hold Clu back, destroying both himself and Clu. A happily-ever-after scene closed in on Quorra riding on Sam’s bike, watching the sun rise for the first time.