Donald Simmons (theengineer) wrote,
Donald Simmons

Film Festival Report #1

On Saturday I saw The President's Last Bang, a fictionalized version of the assassination of the president of South Korea in 1979 (as there are conflicting versions of exactly what happened). Quite good. The director (in a very short intro, with no Q&A) said it was his intention is portray a time in his country's history where violence was considered the only sensible option to resolve problems. This he does by having the director of Korean intelligence decide the shoot the president on the spur of the moment, with no real plan other then just bull through. Which may be what really happened. Nice scenes of completely bewildered bodyguards and security agents shooting each other. There's nothing like Korean violence at 10:45 AM.

Afterwards my brother and Janet went over to Over Easy, a brunch place on Bloor near the museum. I've wanted to try it for a while, but won't be going back. Janet liked her waffles, but the English Breakfast was mediocre to unappetizing.

Sunday was Seven Swords at Ryerson, the new Tsui Hark film. His recent movies have been infrequent and frankly not very good (my brother likes The Legend of Zu much more than I do, and even he will admit the movie is a complete mess), but this one was a strong leap back to form.

Emperor bans martial arts, roving army of bad guys chop up known martial arts villages, three people travel to Mount Heaven to meet up with legendary sword-maker who provides them with swords and four of his disciples, many title scream moments ensue.

The movie looks great, completely lived-in, with everyone dirty and dressed in rags. Hark moves away from the non-stop wire-work he's used recently, preferring a more scrambling type of fighting for this movie. And he makes a romantic hero out of Donnie Yen, which as several reviewers have pointed out earns him major bonus points.

On the bad side, the editing is choppy and confusing in places, while other scenes run way too long. And replacing the wire-work was impossibly complicated weapons that are often more confusing than awe-inspiring.

Still, the pluses outweigh the negatives, and if he makes the sequels (the story is adapted from a long sequence of novels) I'll be waiting in line.
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