Simon Yam

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Simon Yam - 17th Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival - 'Tales From The Dark 1' - Photocall - Toronto, Canada - Thursday 7th November 2013

Simon Yam
Simon Yam
Simon Yam
Simon Yam
Simon Yam

Ip Man Review


Very Good
A terrific true story, clearly elevated to mythical proportions, this film benefits hugely from the lucid fight direction by the master Sammo Hung, which gives the film a remarkable resonance by letting us see the characters' personalities in their every move.

In 1930s provincial China, Ip (Yen) is a very private wing chun master who doesn't want to run a school or prove his skill. With virtually no aggression, he easily beats anyone who challenges him, so the town knows he's the true local master. And an interloping thug (Fan) finds this out the hard way. Ip remains quietly devoted to his wife and son (Hung and Li), but after Japan invades China, things get very difficult. Especially when Ip stands up to both the returning thug and the Japanese general (Ikeuchi).

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Simon Yam - Sunday 17th May 2009 at Cannes Film Festival Cannes, France

Simon Yam
Simon Yam

Eye In The Sky Review


Excellent
They say the Hong Kong film industry has lost a lot of steam in recent years, and I tend to agree. Lately it seems that all the movies being released there are either dim-witted comedies about shopping and/or breast implants or by-the-numbers police procedurals with rogue cops using forbidden tactics to go after evil triad bosses. Cue the shoot-out in the floating Chinese restaurant. Yawn.

This sad reality makes Eye in the Sky a really welcome breath of fresh air. Yes, it's a police procedural, but it has none of the usual trappings. We simply follow along as a rough-and-tumble undercover surveillance unit uses a mix of old-fashioned street smarts and modern technology to try to catch a group of brazen jewelry store thieves whose well-planned midday assaults are terrorizing the city.

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Exiled Review


Very Good
For a moment near the beginning of Johnny To's Exiled, a piece of furniture floats in open air between two assassins, each shooting the piece in a maelstrom of a gunfight. The camera, sturdy and entranced in patented Hong Kong slow-motion, picks up every particle from every gun-blast and every molecule of dust and dirt that is kicked up in the small apartment. There are only four actual gunmen but between the sprays of flying shrapnel, you'd believe there were entire battalions having it out in the dinky apartment.

A stylized battle of this nature should come expected in the pantheon of Johnny To films. The fact that minutes later all four assassins are helping to rebuild and refurnish the apartment may not be expected. As it turns out, the four hitmen, and the target in question, are all old friends. Two of the hitmen have been called to take out the target while two have taken it upon themselves to protect the target. Blaze (Anthony Wong), the alpha-male of the group, lays down his guns but promises the target, his friend Wo (Nick Cheung), that he will have to kill him eventually.

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Triad Election Review


Excellent
As with any decent gangster flick, Johnny To's Triad Election can't give up the ghost of The Godfather. In following the exploits of an up-and-coming boss, more coolly strategic than his predecessors, To has arguably achieved a newfound maturity that has only been hinted at in his hit-and-miss career thus far.

Jimmy Lee (a startling Louis Koo) has just made a business deal with the Mainland China government and is looking to go straight with his model girlfriend, buying a nice house in the swaying greens of the Chinese hills. Taking his name out of Triad contention, he leaves head boss Lok (the staggering Simon Yam) to consider the five main heads under him, none of which seem fit for a crown. Instead of deliberating the least damaging choice, Lok plays the minions against one another in hopes of getting the Triad to elect him again, an act that would break Triad law.

Continue reading: Triad Election Review

Election (2005) Review


Very Good
Election plunges us so deep into the tangled world of powerful Hong Kong triads that it takes a second film, Triad Election (made a year later), to fully untangle all the intrigue. Fear not, however. Both films can be enjoyed independently, but together they comprise a minor epic of gansterdom that might impress even Coppola.

These hoodlums aren't what you'd expect. The Wo Shing Society actually runs under a form of democratic rule in which a new leader is elected every two years. The campaigns can be a bit rough, but the idea is to keep cool heads and transfer power with a minimum of fuss and violence.

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Fulltime Killer Review


Excellent
Captured in dizzying dolly shots and featuring massive body counts, bodily fluids a-spraying, enormous guns, and super-slick action sequences, Johnny To's latest gonzo hitmen epic Fulltime Killer is a real thrill.

To and his partner Ka-Fai Wai have constructed a beautiful, energetic take upon the old standard of dueling Asian assassins vying for the position of Number One Killer. The woman who stands between them and the burnout police officer determined to stop them only add more gunpowder to the wild ride.

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review


Weak
What is it about archaeology that makes us want to go to the movies? Is it the magic of being able to breathe life into ancient legends, like the riddle of the Sphinx and the lost city of Atlantis? Is it the illusion of uncovering the secrets behind grand and mystical artifacts, like the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail? Or is it simply the white bodysuit that fits Angelina Jolie so tightly that you can't possibly avoid looking at her nipples?

If you chose the latter, you'll definitely want to arrive on time to see Tomb Raider sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, for the first twenty minutes are packed with plenty to gawk at. There's Jolie -- er, Croft -- riding in on a jet ski wearing a black sports bra and soaking wet shorts. There's Croft climbing aboard a ship as seductively as possible while two deckhands watch greedily. There's Croft appearing on deck in the all-too-critical bodysuit, ready to dive into the water and fight a shark one-on-one. And there's even Croft doing some unnecessary splits in mid-air as she rolls her way toward the mysterious "orb" -- an object that soon becomes the focus of the movie due to the fact that it holds the map to the legendary Pandora's box.

Continue reading: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review

Full Contact Review


OK
Sloppy Hong Kong fighting flick, starring Chow Yun Fat and featuring slow-mo bullets. HK purists are likely to enjoy this ultraviolent entry, which one fan swears is the only film to feature an openly gay villain. Pshaw, I say. What about Inspector Gadget? The DVD features a crappy transfer but also has 9 subtitle languages. Strange days, my friend.

Continue reading: Full Contact Review

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Simon Yam Movies

Election (2005) Movie Review

Election (2005) Movie Review

Election plunges us so deep into the tangled world of powerful Hong Kong triads that...

Fulltime Killer Movie Review

Fulltime Killer Movie Review

Captured in dizzying dolly shots and featuring massive body counts, bodily fluids a-spraying, enormous guns,...

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Movie Review

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Movie Review

What is it about archaeology that makes us want to go to the movies?...

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