新年快乐！ Since it’s Chinese New Year’s weekend and there are actually quite a few movies playing in the theatre near me, I decided to go see The Monkey King 3. I think this was the most people I’d seen in the theatre for a Chinese movie, attesting to the popularity of this story and the actors in it. It stars Feng Shaofeng (“The Starry Night, The Starry Sea”) and Zhao Liying (“Princess Agents”) and continues the story of the monk and his disciples traveling West.
For the Mark Zhao (“Ten Miles of Peach Blossom”) fans out there, you definitely must check out this movie. Or if you just love really well told stories of adventure and survival, this is a must see. It’s a visually stunning movie about two people who survive a plane crash in the Antarctic and must figure out how to find help in time. It’s a beautifully told story and, so far, one of the best Chinese movies I’ve seen.
Though this came out a year ago, since I found it again on YouTube, I had to share a review of one of my favorite Chinese comedies, Foolish Plan 《呆呆计划》, starring Jiro Wang (“Rakshasa Street”), Jordan Chan (Ip Man: The Final Fight), Lawrence Ng (Keeper of Darkness) and Lee Beom-Soo (Unforgettable). It’s a comedy heist movie along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven and delivers a really enjoyable story that I have watched more than once.
“Rakshasa Street” 《镇魂街》 is based on a manhua series by Xu Chen and produced by the same team who also did the short anime version of this same title, but the live action version of the story is a slightly different take, so if you’ve read the manga or watched the anime series, you can still expect something different from the show. I’ve watched the series without English captions on Youku, but now that it’s been licensed on Viki.com, I wanted to do a review as this has been one of my favorite dramas this year.
Although Taiwanese dramas are what got me hooked on Asian dramas in the first place, since I’ve started watching the Chinese costume dramas, it’s been awhile since I’ve watched any. Then I saw the trailer for this series starring Tia Li who has been a supporting actor in two of my fave T-dramas, “Miss Rose” and “Marry Me Or Not”, alongside my favorite second male lead from “Fabulous Boys”, Hwang In Deok, and decided to add a modern drama to my current rotation of shows.
“It’s Not Easy Being King” 《大王不容易》- (aka “King Is Not Easy”) – is an amusing Chinese series about a king who switches bodies with a palace maid and the hijinks that ensue. It’s a short and sweet, twenty episode series that makes for the perfect weekend binge session. These are the first series lead roles for both Zhang Yi Jie and Bai Lu, who make a good comedic pair both in the main story, as well as in a series of short skits at the end of each episode where they play a modern day version of their characters.
The first Chinese drama I ever saw was “Novoland: Castle in the Sky” and it’s what jump-started my love of C-dramas, so when I saw the trailer for the Novoland-inspired The Legend of the Naga Pearl, it caught my attention. It also stars Crystal Zhang who was in my favorite comedy, “Go, Princess, Go”, and I’ve been wanting to see her again in something else. This is a visually stunning, fantasy and adventure movie about a thief, a detective and a prince who try to save their city, Uranopolis, from the apocalypse.
The Adventurers is a heist film with a Mission: Impossible feel about a team of thieves traveling around Europe, attempting to find pieces of a valuable necklace known as GAIA, while evading a French cop determined to catch them in the act. It stars Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Infernal Affairs) and Jean Reno (The Professional, Mission Impossible). If you liked the Oceans 11, 12 and 13 or From Vegas to Macau movies, this will be right up your alley.