Monthly Archives: October 2003

Kill Bill: A Review

I was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed by Kill Bill, and I did­n’t even go into the the­atre expect­ing too much. The main prob­lem was the fact that the fight­ing was bor­ing. Everything was shot too close up to tell what was going on and the angles changed too much (all to hide the fact that the actors and actress­es don’t actu­al­ly know how to fight — where­as Uma may have tak­en months of train­ing, actors in true Hong Kong fight­ing movies have tak­en a life­time). The cam­era was just way too close to the action so every­one just looked like they were swing­ing katanas around with­out see­ing any actu­al tech­nique. I felt like the fight­ing was too sim­ple, unsat­is­fy­ing and anti­cli­mac­tic; the pro­tag­o­nist sim­ply kills each per­son with one final blow. I would rather have her adjust to each char­ac­ters’ fight­ing style and adapt her abil­i­ties in an intel­li­gent man­ner. The clas­sic “good guy los­es at first then fig­ures out a weak­ness and wins in the end” could have been tak­en from. A good exam­ple would be in Return of the Dragon where Bruce Lee switch­es up his fight­ing style against the big boss or the famous final mir­ror scene in Enter the Dragon where he puts the last boss at a dis­ad­van­tage by smash­ing in all the mir­rors. When the action, which is sup­posed to be the main part of the movie, isn’t very good the film falls flat.

The revenge scenes did­n’t have too much of a lead-up either, caus­ing them to be rather point­less. There were no training/practicing scenes, no test of abil­i­ties before fight­ing, and a rather shal­low “get sword” prepa­ra­tion, caus­ing there to be no real dri­ve for the pro­tag­o­nist to kill, oth­er than what we were told about her attempt­ed mur­der. It all made the fight­ing not as sat­is­fy­ing as it could have been, which was sup­posed to be anoth­er big draw of the film.

I did enjoy the hom­mage to Game of Death (a very sim­i­lar revenge movie) with the yel­low jump­suit and the trib­ute to Darren Aronofsky’s orig­i­nal cam­era work in the lead up to the lethal injec­tion scene. There was one extreme­ly chal­leng­ing shot in the club that went on for about a minute, rem­i­nis­cent of what P.T. Anderson does in the first five min­utes of Boogie Nights, although Anderson is much bet­ter at it (a dozen char­ac­ters, mul­ti­ple floors and rooms with­out cheat­ing in an open stu­dio). I enjoyed the gory humour and Tarantino’s exces­sive wit, pos­si­bly the best thing of the movie. My favourite part is when O‑Ren Ishii per­forms to-rei.

Kill Bill was sup­posed to draw from Hong Kong action cin­e­ma, but it end­ed up just being a movie with Tarantino style and some bor­ing action thrown in. If I want­ed to see a grit­ty Hong Kong action movie, I’d rather watch Hard Boiled. If I want­ed to see authen­tic Chinese weapon fight­ing and mar­tial arts, I’d rather watch Shaolin Temple. If I want­ed to see a sat­is­fy­ing revenge movie, I’d rather watch Titus. If I want­ed to watch some sick and gory ani­me, I’d rather watch Kite. If I want­ed to see a movie with Tarantino styling, I’d rather watch Pulp Fiction. All the parts of the movie that are sup­posed to be good have been done bet­ter else­where. The film draws from lot of things, but does­n’t excel in any area. There’s no doubt in my mind that Tarantino is a born direc­tor, but he has­n’t devel­oped a decent action style yet. The movie is worth watch­ing once sim­ply because he’s the direc­tor, but a sec­ond view­ing is rather unnec­es­sary.

Recollecting The Modesty Of Conviviality

You’re sit­ting inside the local Timmies, when you can see the driz­zling rain com­ing down from the black sky through the win­dow. The work­ers are in the back where you can’t see them, but you can hear them talk about mind­less sub­jects, con­ver­sa­tion to pass the grave­yard shift. Soft, com­pla­cent music plays all around you, drown­ing out the silence but numb­ing you to sound. A group of four males in their late twen­ties sits at anoth­er table, there for a mid­night snack, dressed in their dark rain clothes. A cou­ple shares a table by the win­dow, both bare­ly talk­ing, sim­ply look­ing out­side.

There are three oth­er peo­ple at your square table, where the seats piv­ot on a pole and feel hard but com­fort­able. You feel at ease, as if you can say any­thing both in and out of char­ac­ter and not wor­ry about what oth­ers think. You relax enough to cachin­nate inclement­ly, to speak rib­ald mat­ters, to not speak at all. You let down your guard, some­thing that rarely hap­pens even in close com­pa­ny, but you feel vul­ner­a­ble but safe.

The con­ver­sa­tion is bal­anced and the pace is just right. You’re filled with jocun­di­ty and wish the feel­ing would­n’t stop as soon as you step back out­side into the rain. This sim­ple sit­u­a­tion has put you in good spir­its. You won­der if you’ll ever get to do this again and feel the same way. You hope that fate will place you here again in the future.

With your friends on a chilly fall night.

Drinking To LAN

The week­end was fair­ly event­ful. Friday night was drink­ing with Trolley, Wheaties, Iain, and Nick. Saturday night was even more drink­ing with the same peo­ple, except Aaron, Rob, Jacques, and Krista joined us too. It was good to have a nice relax­ing night of hilar­i­ty again and just get to laugh for a few hours, some­thing I haven’t had the chance to do in a while. Jacques and Rob brought a Bubba each and only one was fin­ished, so Trolley and Wheaties are com­ing over tonight to get start­ed on the oth­er.

This week­end is anoth­er LAN par­ty, and about fif­teen peo­ple are invit­ed and we have sev­en con­firmed peo­ple so far. Some are just going to drop by with their lap­tops and play if they can’t stay the entire week­end. We’ll be squeez­ing as many peo­ple as we can into the apart­ment because up to ten peo­ple at a time may show up.

Patches Can Breakdance

Patches stalls

Patches has been hid­ing under my bed less and less. He’s more com­fort­able with his sur­round­ings now, but not quite accus­tomed to Dolly’s aggres­sive play-fight­ing. He thinks that she’s attack­ing him, so he’ll just growl and run away. I’ve got­ten him to be more relaxed by giv­ing him cat­nip. He’ll start rub­bing against me every time he smells it, and when he eats some he does a few kit­ty break danc­ing moves. Sometimes it looks like he’s try­ing to wind­mill into a stall, but I think those are his only moves.

HK Fullscreen, Revisited

I have a tick­et booked to Hong Kong at the end of November. I’ll be stay­ing there for a lit­tle under a month, dur­ing the Christmas sea­son when the entire island looks as if it’s one big orna­ment from the sky, a giant float­ing dec­o­ra­tion. The best weath­er of the year is in December, when the tem­per­a­tures drop to a rea­son­able warmth and one can actu­al­ly walk around with a coat on.

I’ll be try­ing to learn the sub­way sys­tem for the first few days so that I can get around on my own. I’m going alone so I’ll prob­a­bly be liv­ing with my uncle most of the time, and stay­ing at my grand­moth­er’s on the week­ends. I’ll be going home first and stay­ing there for a few days, then fly­ing to Hong Kong, then fly­ing back and stay­ing home for New Years. I’ll meet up with Ken the day before I depart from Hong Kong, since he’s fly­ing up from Ohio.

I can’t wait to get back to the busy mar­kets, taste the Chinese food, browse the end­less shops. I want to ask my grand­moth­er so much, and cel­e­brate Christmas with her. I wish there was some­thing I could give her that she could keep, sim­i­lar to the jade neck­lace she gave me that I’ve almost nev­er tak­en off ever since I received it. There’s an almost inef­fa­ble feel­ing that’s con­jured up in my mind when I think of the mod­ern sky­scrap­ers, the crowds of peo­ple, the very eth­nic faces. Some of my best mem­o­ries are from being in Hong Kong dur­ing Christmas, when there’s an almost mys­tic feel­ing in the air and every­one is in good spir­its.

I’ve been want­i­ng a vaca­tion, from both the good and bad in my life, for so long. Just to get away from absolute­ly every­thing going on right now would be ben­e­fi­cial, almost like a self-imposed exile. I’d be able to dis­tance myself from things and gain some per­spec­tive, some­thing I usu­al­ly believe I’m able to do until some­thing dras­tic hap­pens that changes the way I view things.

I’m not real­ly sure what to expect from my vis­it, although I think that I’ll be changed ever sub­tly, maybe sub­con­scious­ly. One can rarely walk away from such things with­out being affect­ed in some way, per­haps both Tina and Em would agree. I just don’t know how this may change me. I don’t have any ques­tions. I’m not look­ing for answers.

I’m just wait­ing to find out.