As other reviewers have said, this is one of those films that fares better on DVD than on the big screen. At the cinema you notice some of the ropier dialogue, the cheaper SFX shots (of which, to be fair, there are few) and the instances of heavy-handed editing which create a rather unwanted comedic effect ('Is there a cave?!'); but on DVD these flaws are easily forgiven and instead you can sit back and enjoy a very satisfying actioner directed by a man who knows his onions.
The plot (a curious mixture of historical record and the legend of Beowulf) is basic - outsider joins Viking band to destroy a monstrous brood terrorising a village - so here are a few reasons why you… Read more
Asia has been turning out some fantastic films of late, from Korea (OldBoy) down to Thailand (Ong-Bak). From slap-bang in the middle - Hong Kong - comes this marvellous little thriller, already (sadly?) snapped up by Scorsese for the ubiquitous Hollywood remake. Unsurprising really, as the concept is so simple yet so effective - moles in the police force and triads try to smoke each other out.
However, the tale is more complex than that, and while action-heads seeking wall-to-wall explosions may find themselves tapping their fingers at times, the rest of us get to enjoy some wonderful character-work: the triad having worked for the police so long that his loyalties have become… Read more
In terms of celluloid quality, Asia is most definitely where it's at these days, and there is no better indicator of this than Oldboy. Warnings abouts its violent content prompted me to eschew it at the cinema, but excellent word of mouth prompted me to check it out on DVD, and I'm infinitely glad I did. True, there are two or three pretty nasty moments, but it is not the violence but the themes that prove shocking. I won't go into these at all, because this film MUST be watched with as little prior knowledge of the story as possible; suffice to say, the plot undergoes a complete reversal at the end, meaning that EVERYTHING that has gone before is turned so utterly on its head that you… Read more