Archive for February, 2010

Advice for using Jay Chou in a movie: DON’T!!!

Posted in current affairs, rant with tags , , , , on February 19, 2010 by freakychinaman

Ok, for those that don’t know who he is, Jay Chou is a very popular pop star from Taiwan. Now don’t get me wrong, his music is great (although due to his signature slurring of the words, I really don’t know a word he’s singing unless I have the lyrics with me……), but this guy pretty much only has one expression and sounds just as bored reciting his lines.

So lately people have decided to get him into the film industry, much like every other Asian star is dragged into doing something they’re not good at. I think his first major appearance was the live action of the popular manga ‘Initial D’. To be honest I liked that movie, however I can’t say that was in any part really attributed to Jay Chou… I mean he played an autistic boy that barely spoke and looked like he was about to fall asleep while he raced… and looking at the random pics above that I got from the first few pages of his google search, you can tell that wasn’t that big a task for him… all I can say is that at least he didn’t ruin the movie.

Jay also produced and directed his own love story with a matching song ‘Secret’… which I must say I really had no interest in whatsoever, those who have seen it please tell me what you think. The next movie I took note of, along with many others I’d assume, will be the role as a prince in ‘Curse of the Golden flower’. This movie I guess wasn’t that good in the first place, all it did was revolve around a lot of incest and a crazed queen… the parts where Jay did much was the last battle where he throws a pole arm around, kills a lot of ninjas, and kills himself… story-wise he was very important, however his part in the actual movie was almost negligible and anyone could play it…. either way, the movie bombed, nobody really gives a crap…

Now the two newest additions to Jay chou’s portfolio would be ‘Treasure hunter’ and ‘True legend’.

‘Treasure hunter’ is pretty much a rip-off of ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘the Mummy’ put together, and seemingly one of the more anticipated movies in China… well at least they did a lot of advertising for it. So I saw the thing… and seriously it was shit… First of all the entire plot didn”t make sense…

  1. The story revolves around people wanting to find a treasure hidden in an ancient tomb, and the whereabouts of this tomb is only passed down to the “eagle of the desert”. The movie reveals Jay to be to previous one whom gave it up to a friend, however despite this Jay, along with his companions, spend most of the movie looking for the treasure map that leads to the tomb…. huh? They also spend a bit building up on this eagle of the desert… who appears for about 5 minutes occupied with a bit of fighting, a lot of whinging, and a romance between two characters that haven’t been built up enough for anyone to care.
  2. There are roughly… supposedly…. 4 groups of villains in this movie. I hesitate because I really don’t know. The first notable group will be a group that kills the father of the female lead for the treasure map… they were never heard of again after said event and everyone obviously forgot about their existence. The second will be pretty much represented by one person with super-human abilities of controlling bandages wrapped around him as weapons, so the entire battle scene just looked like Jay whipping tissue paper… The third would be these raiders that emerge from a dust storm, whom scared tissue-man away so it’s safe to assume they weren’t together (who, by the way, was never mentioned again). These guys had a random arsenal of weapons such as morning starts, scimitars, maces etc… (which were really poorly made…) and chased our would-be heroes across the desert while a ridiculous amount of explosives were pulled out of nowhere and thrown at them… and after that scene they were once again never to be heard of again … you see a pattern here? The fourth would be some random ghosts that appear in the tomb… you never find out who they are, why they were there, and they have the lamest scene of the girl getting possessed by the ghosts and Jay has to fight her…..
  3. There is a guy that barely participates in the movie, playing sort of the ‘mystery guy’ in the movie that seems to know a lot of secrets. The twist was that he has been to the tomb before with friends, however was attack by the “raiders” at some unknown point and they ended up running for their lives, and the mystery man survived by eating his friends’ flesh… so here we have another person that knew where the tomb was that spent the movie looking for the map. This guy has been in the tomb, knew about all the traps and how the burial chamber looked like… yet it also seemed like he’s never seen it before despite actually having successfully raided the place… and what does he do after fighting his way to this glorious end? He decides to get himself killed… that thing he could’ve done while being chased by raiders and walking through the three traps in the tomb….

Secondly the special effects and CGI were poorly done, I usually won’t pick on these things in a Chinese production but since this is a rather big movie you’d think they’d put more effort into it. Finally, the biggest problem of them all: they had Jay Chou as the male lead… and he played his usual self… now just imagine ‘The mummy’ or ‘Indiana Jones’ and neither Brendan Fraser nor Harrison Ford had any expression and didn’t even TRY to be funny…………………………………………… yea… really, don’t watch this movie!!!

Now we get to ‘True legend’, which only got to cinemas in China last week. It’s another pretty big production with high expectations, with the director/martial arts choreographer of movies like ‘Fearless’ (Jet Li) and ‘Drunken fist’ (reeeaaaallllyyyy old Jackie Chan movies), and some partial 3D fight scenes (which really wasn’t an asset… in fact it got in the way of my enjoying the movie by making me wear the damn glasses). Jay Chou only really plays a cameo appearance (and yet he takes up the biggest spot in the posters…). I went into the cinema with the hope that he won’t be in much of the movie as they did say he only has a special appearance, and although he did end up being in a fair bit of the first half of the movie, at least he didn’t say much….. the thing is though he plays the ‘God of Kung fu’, I won’t spoil anything else, but as the name implies he needs to fight a lot in this, however Jay Chou really isn’t a good fighter, so you end up with really easy to handle moves along with a lot of special effects fighting (like dragonball Z style). I won’t go as far as to say he ruined those bits for me, though I think it’d be a lot better that someone else played his part. If you want a short review on the movie, the basic layout of the movie is separated into two chapter which I can tell you is unnecessary and if fact was what ruined the movie. The first half is very typical Chinese fantasy with people that can leap across cliffs and crush boulders with their bare hands, and the main villain is a guy with metal plates sewn to his skin (which really isn’t practical at all if you think about it… in fact it’ll just make it easier to tear your skin off…) and has toxic hands. this half of the movie was very cool despite the pointless 3D graphics… the only problem was that it didn’t really stay on topic. The Chinese name of the movies is “θ˜‡δΉžε…’”, and in fact the alternate name they gave to the movie was ‘the true legend of beggar Su’; the other emphasis of the movie was the drunken fist fighting… and both the agonist doing drunken fist or begging were not present in this first half… So I think the director and producers realised this, but didn’t want to remake the entire movie, so they decided to make a second half to what would’ve already been a finished story. This second half starts Su (which I think you would’ve guessed by that title to be the main agonist) being drunk and on the streets… so that got it right this time; however instead of being set in the ancient fantasy world with flying people and deadly flying hula hoops, we have gone back to normal people with a backdrop much like fearless… in fact the final battle was a lame fight between Su doing break-dancing and 6 wrestler led by David Carradine (yes, I was surprized he was in it too, especially with the notable handicap of being dead)…. my word of advice…. watch the first half of the movie, then leave!