Wednesday, January 27, 2010



Now, let’s say that BLACK RANSOM is one hell of a Hong Kong police flick.

It’s all about the GOOD (cops), the BAD (kidnappers) and the UGLY (triad gangs).

When we diligently mix these three elements, we get a story on bloody mayhem.

BLACK RANSOM is one stylish film directed by KEUNG KWOK-MAN with a lot of heart, some soul and plenty of shoot-outs.

It focuses on kidnap and ransom, though strangely, the victim is not the heir to some billionaire, but an important triad member.

We’ve a good cop played by SIMON YAM.

Now throw in a bad cop (MICHAEL MIU) who’s helming a small bunch of hard-boiled ex-cops who kidnap not just for money, but to act as self-imposed vigilantes to eliminate the baddies – those who manage to escape judicial justice.

Charismatic actor SIMON YAM leads a great cast in the role of a middle-aged cop and doting father, whose life takes on a sense of forlorn loneliness, after his wife was killed in a car accident and that he has now to fend for his teenage daughter.

‘Tis the season of Hong Kong TV land thespians crossing over to the big screen.

Ex-TVB actor SIMON YAM pitches acting skills with current TVB artistes MICHALE MIU and FALA CHAN, proving that there’s life after the TVB banner.

After all, A-listers CHOW YUN FAT and TONY LEUNG rose to fame from acting in TVB dramas, in the long years before.

In BLACK RANSOM, we find a sombre theme about the violent life that brings the cops and robbers together and the end result that takes a toll on both.

The tension is excruciating when the heat comes down on the hoods.

The cat-and-mouse challenges between the cops, robbers and triad gangs are fast-paced and clever.

It’s one of the few absorbing Hong Kong police flicks to come out in the flurry of police thrillers in recent years.

For pure entertainment value and to let your hair down, go watch BLACK RANSOM.

Some scenes may be brutal but you will get this sense of reality that will not seem contrived.

And oh yeah, all the actresses in the film are gorgeously stunning.

This Film Review is Specially Written for

Thursday, January 21, 2010



STAY BRACED to your seat in the theater.

We all know whenever DOOMSDAY comes a-calling.

How can we ever forget?

Not with this season of prophetic cinematic offerings:

ends-of-the-world, famines, tsunamis, snowstorms, killer earthquakes, natural disasters and other unspeakable destructions.

Grim questions are always screaming in our minds reminding us:

“Why won’t we be more mindful of the earth’s crust and stop brutalizing it?”

“Why didn’t we love one another more and respect cultural differences?”

"Why are we so selfish when we ignore the plight of the innocents who are being crushed, exploited, humiliated and degraded?"

to religious wars that led to mindless terrorism.

Too late!


GOD has taken in so much and is now sending his legion of ANGELS to destroy the earth, wipe away MANKIND, in short: to evoke the APOCALYPSE.

This is the main setting of the story, beginning with a small motley of strangers stuck in the middle of nowhere, in a diner, in an out-of-the-way countryside.

And this becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race where the ANGELS OF DEATH via destruction come a-visiting.

There’s a woman who is expecting this child, a baby whom we are led to believe isCHRIST in his second coming, who is the only glimmer of hope of stopping the massive slaugher.

There is also the archangel apparent who stands between MANKIND and theAPOCALYPSE.

Now, folks, don’t be too biblical if you want to enjoy this movie.

It focuses on the fallen angels versus mankind when GOD is disdainful of cruel people and their evil deeds.

LEGION the movie is a part supernatural and part horror flick and not a religious picture per se, so don’t reach for your bible.

It’s a mix of the EXORCIST and the TERMINATOR, if you must.

Will GOD finally cleanse this world of evil?

You will be jolted out of your seat when you watch this little frail old sweet lady transforming into a bloody violent demon.

You will be treated to graphic scenes of violence, guns, sexual references and language, plus grotesque images and transformations.

But you will enjoy the fast stomping action from tip to toe, heart in your mouth.

When the last angel falls,

the fight for mankind begins.

Directed by SCOTT STEWART, it’s a GEM of a movie.


This Movie Review is specially written for

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Have you watched beautiful, yet really vile women snarling, bitching and tearing one another apart?

Wouldn’t this scenario be smashing?

HONG KONG’s prime TV STATION, TVB excels as a master of reinvention.

Learn a lesson, dear silly billy competitors in ASIA who are ever-so-ready to jump on any bandwagon.

The creative content and marketing people in TVB are a formidable team, doing a great job at pushing their programs up to the fore.

As far as home entertainment is concerned for the CHINESE community all over the world, there’s nothing like a TVB drama series.

Nothing comes close.

They are adept at eleventh hour 360 degree turns, anytime, as soon as they sense that their prime time audiences are seemingly bored ….

It’s little wonder that HONG KONG is the HOLLYWOOD OF THE EAST.

Nope, you just cannot always churn out the usual bubble-gum idol drama fare,

not season after season,

Dipping ratings will account for dwindling advertising spending as well ….

These days, audiences may appear easy,

but they are equaling demanding and very discerning.

More so, the advertising clients.

You’d need them both for a successful business module.

Every advertiser wants a quick bang for their bucks.

So the current flavor of the season offers peaches and bitches, pretty-but-scheming damsels all in a row.

Welcome to the devilish stares and snorting aplenty…

All the gorgeous actresses who are playing “bitches” need to undergo dramatic highlights on make-up over their eyelids and squinting their eyeballs sideways to emphasize that ” don’t-mess-with-me evil glare” in key scenes.

The actors are but second fiddle here …

It is a woman-dominated series, mind you.

A case in point would be the refreshingly successful drama series BEYOND THE REALM OF THE CONSCIENCE (period drama extolling scheming palace shrews) and THE BEAUTY OF THE GAME (modern fare that points out that even your two-timing best friends can backstab you in this competitive game called FAME).

With ice-cool pretensions aplenty, the principal subject is WOMEN positioned as either as PEACHES or LIMES, metaphorically.

Women may be liken to ovens exuding electrifying heat waves.

They can also be HOT but OH-SO-SCHEMING.

They may stir the male libido.

Yet, please remember:


You may love beautiful women or PEACHES,

PEACHES are ever so sweet and succulent.

Or shall we say, yummy?

But do you relish LIMES or scheming shrews?

Guess not.

LIMES are ghastly sourish

and leave behind a sharp acidic aftertaste …..

Stay braced, folks.

Let’s see which rival station in ASIA is going to jump on the bandwagon first,

After all, there are always loads of copy-cats around.

‘Tis the season when the prime time audiences are bored and are looking for a new angling on TV entertainment.

Throw in a sultry plot, lots of beautiful bitches spitting venom and spite.

And you have a saleable product at hand.

Now, did I hear that stunning female model out there screaming at someone, “DON’T YOU FUCK AROUND WITH ME!”

Awwwwhhh ……..

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So you are an ACTOR and you have your set of problems too?

Don’t we all?


We face these from time to time.

What would you do when you find that your entire emotional world collapses around you, and that you are left alone to fend for yourself ….

that you have fallen from your pedestal ….

that producers and directors are eluding you ….

and that fortune and fans are out of your grasp?

You cannot hang on to glory and fame forever,

Every dog has its day,

you have come to realize this now …

Where’s your “icy cool facade” you once adopted?

It’s not going to be easy, but you are this ACTOR, and you must play your card well.

Pride and anguish, you must embrace in one stride.

You are in the acting profession, all the world is a stage and all men and women are merely players.

Everyone has his own exits and entrances.

Whatever it is, you must find always, a time for the great “calm”, a time to reinvent, maybe to improve your acting skills.

There should be a time for reflection, to look back with few regrets, to change positively, and then move on.

FRANCIS BACON described it aptly when he wrote:

“Little do men perceive what solitude is,

and how far it extendeth.

For a crowd is not company,

and faces are but a gallery of pictures,

and talk but a tinkling cymbal,

where there is no love.”

Chill, but take note, chum.

Saturday, January 9, 2010



Arghhh ….

I thoroughly enjoyed CARRIERS the movie.


It’s a poser, a human mirror.

It makes you think.

It’s thought provoking.

It urges you to take a walk “outside of yourself” ….

and assess your exterior image.

Don’t you like what you see?

Aren’t you a prick?

So you don’t like yourself very much?

What if you are placed in this situation:

you are a sick dog thrown in one corner and your psychotic master is brutally kicking and maiming you ..

Would you snarl, bite and fight back ….the animal instinct in you that demands you stay alive …to survive?

Bet you do.

Take a simple plot of survival, amid a chaotic world that is infested with the deadly viral pandemic.

Throw in 2 eye candy couples.

Put these anti-heroes in a car and send them on a journey of survival because the entire world is dying from a deadly, unexplainable virus assault .....

put on your breathing mask and along the way, trust no one, help no one.

This is the name of the game, a horrific one, if you want to stay alive because everywhere, most infected people are already dead.

CARRIERS picks up after a contagious unnamed disease has wiped out most of the world’s population.

In the hope of finding someplace isolated, four friends are making their way to Turtle Beach where two of them, brothers Brian and Danny, spent their summers growing up.

They abide by a set of rules that is supposed to keep them all alive and uninfected.

But the rules aren’t perfect, trust me, especially when you break them.

The SURVIVAL RULES are simple:

Mind your own business. Don’t be kind.

Pick up a stranger along the way, and you stand a good chance of confronting a possible carrier.

Even when your girlfriend is infected, you best dump her out in the desert to lessen the burden.

Even when your own brother is infected, you must shoot him in order that you stay alive.

This is the name of the game.

Kill or shoot if you wanna live.

No regrets, as it is the survival of the fittest.

There, I have told you all.

You won’t like yourself very much, after the show.

In most of us, there’s this mean streak, applicable in all situations.

I stab you, you stab me.

Is there such a word in this selfish world called REAL FRIENDS, much less DEVOTED BROTHERS when you have only one choice to stay breathing?

You live, I die.

You die, I live.


(Now go watch this gritty, fast-paced and brutally shocking thriller directed by ALEX and DAVID PASTOR).

This Review is specially written for

Friday, January 8, 2010




It’s being touted as the “Biggest Indonesian Action Movie of the Year”.

Not Wushu, not Muay Thai but the
Silat martial arts.

Does it live up to this claim?

Way back in 2005, in Bangkok, I attended the preview of the MUAY THAIblockbuster TOM YUM GOONG starring TONY JAA.

I vividly recalled this scene where a dishevelled KHUN JAA rushed into a building in Australia and screamed frenziedly “Where the hell is my elephant? Where is my elephant?”

The audience broke into absolute hysterics and some even shouted “Boo!”

That’s the name of the game.

Yeah, we all that TONY JAA can fight, but act he can’t.

Home-bred blockbuster or not, TOM YUM GOONG’s Thai box office takings may be phenomenal, given a generous film budget allocation of over 200 million Thai bahts, but it also earned scathing reviews.

TOM YUM GOONG has a lame plot. It’s focuses on a stolen elephant and for that reason,TONY JAA goes all the way to Sydney to rescue his pet. And in doing so, he must face his opponents one by one, back-to-back and takes them all to task.

Now, years later MERANTAU WARRIOR a martial arts venture from INDONESIA,dogged closely on the footstep of TOM YUM KUNG, but tailing at a much lesser pace, in terms of context, budget and experience.

Duplication or pure coincidence?

The hero is IKO UWAIS who bears an uncanny resemblance to TONY JAA, but this Indonesian actor has a fresher face, better complexion, and an a more amiable persona.

MERANTAU WARRIOR is helmed by director GARETH EVANS and it’s his second feature so far and his first venturing into the foray of martial arts genre.

It’s a commendable effort but not without flaws.

GARETH EVANS’s attention to details is admirable, but don’t you think that when every single piece of attire worn by the actors seems to be so meticulously pressed and clean in very fight scene or otherwise – this becomes unreal?

That when the rural settings are so darn neat and painstakingly arranged, the film reeks more like an elongated television commercial instead?

MERANTAU refers to a century old rite-of-passage where every young man leaves the comfort of his village and trudges to the city to “make good” as our leading man IKO UWAIS does here.

Endless problems ensue when he attempts to save a damsel-in-distress from being a pawn in human trafficking.

Thereafter there’s plenty of running, jumping, kicking and acrobatics in dark alleyways and congested side streets ….

Mind you, the plot is paper thin as the bone-crunching action triumphs over story and character development.

The acting in some parts is laughable with a banal script, and the delivery is a tad off putting, to put it mildly.

Yeah, there are some impressive fight scenes more like a watered down version ofTOM YUM GOONG where the hero faces a multi-tier layer of obstacles to confront his opponents, with a dash of caucasian rogues thrown in for good measure.

You either love or loathe MERANTAU WARRIOR.

For me, I have mixed feelings.

It’s often easy to “dress” a film down, bludgeon it to death, but when you are behind that camera, it is a totally different story.

We have to look at the film told through the director’s eyes.

Like everything else, MERANTAU WARRIOR deserves a second chance.

There has always been a deluge of kung fu, chinese wushu and muay thai films that has been done to death.

A subject on the SILAT martial arts can break new grounds.

Therefore, please go and check MERANTAU WARRIOR out.

This Review is specially written for