Otakon 2016 Panel: After the Handover – The Best HK Films After 1997

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shaolin-soccer-002

Shaolin Soccer

Director: Stephen Chow

Starring: Stephen Chow, Ng Man Tat

One of the biggest films released this millennium, Shaolin Soccer is the underdog story of a group of former Shaolin Temple students who reunite to play soccer using their amazing kung fu skills. Wildly hilarious and one of the great HK comedies period, it does have criticism concerning organized sports and performance enhancing drugs among others. Regardless, it is still one of the most purely entertaining films you’ll ever see and the start of Chow’s domination at the Chinese language box office.

infernal affairs otakon panelInfernal Affairs

Director: Andrew Lau

Starring: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu-wai

Quite possibly one of the most important HK films period, this police drama from Johnnie To’s Milky Way Productions was famously adapted into the Oscar winning film The Departed directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Leonardo Decaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg. This crime drama depicts a pair of undercover moles, one from a crime syndicate who infiltrated the police academy and a police cadet who joins the same syndicate. When they are both tasked with finding their counterparts, neither side will know who to trust. With HK cinema hitting a creative wall, Infernal Affairs can pretty much be credited for revitalizing the entire industry and locally produced films.This scene features simultaneous sting/drug deal where both sides believe they have an edge but both unaware that their respective moles are very much present in the room.

jackie-chans-who-am-i-wo-shi-shi.13995Who Am I?

Director: Benny Chan and Jackie Chan

Starring Jackie Chan

The earliest film from the date of our topics’ cutoff, this picture is an international production that would signal one of the very last Jackie Chan action films in the style of the 80s to early 90s. This scene is the penultimate fight of the film featuring Kwan Yung using the external Choy Li Fut style followed by Ron Smoorenburg, who held a world record for the highest kick at 3.3m or 11ft. It should be noted that Jackie won a Hong Kong Film Award for action choreography for this film.

exiled_xlgExiled (2006)

Director: Johnnie To

Starring: Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Nick Cheung

Johnnie To may be the greatest HK director ever. I know that may be high praise and certainly controversial but I believe this crime film is a strong argument for my case. The film concerns a duo of Triad hitmen sent by their boss to take out a friend and former gang member. Upon arriving to complete the killing they find another two hitmen and also friends waiting to protect their target. Calling a truce, the friends decide to go on the run angering the boss. In this clip, we see the friends getting treatment at crime doctor after a shoot out has injured one of their own but things go awry when the very people who they fought also arrive to take care of their own wounded. This film is tense and expertly staged; long takes and atmosphere dripping on every frame of the film. It’s just a great example of the art of action cinema and rest of the film is even better than this.

Panel Order:

Shaolin Soccer

Inner Senses

Exiled

Infernal Affairs

In the Mood for Love

Who Am I?

You Shoot, I Shoot

SPL

The Midnight After

About Author

Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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