Enough Hemo-Technics

Recently re-watched The Usual Suspects, and while it has long been a favorite of mine, this was the first time I noticed its distinct Hong Kong flavor. Couldn't find anything online about its being a remake of a Hong Kong film, so I emailed my favorite Hong Kong cinema expert, who wrote back no, it's not a remake. But my expert agreed that the style was very Hong Kong.

I understand that bad movies come from Hong Kong, just as they do from Hollywood. But when it comes to the forensic crime genre, the world could do with a lot more of their style and a lot less of what passes for ours.

What's better about The Usual Suspects? 1) It has the right number of overlapping layers of deception and intrigue: not too many, not too few; 2) The characters are more interesting than the explosions; 3) The whole thing, including the production design, fits together like a fine Swiss watch; and 4) It's not totally about the blood.

Hong Kong movies can be quite violent, but perhaps because of the legacy of martial arts geniuses like Jackie Chan, the emphasis is on action, not hemo-technical displays like those spewing from Hollywood these days. There are too many morally stunted special effects guys out there, trying to win kudos from mentally stunted "critics" full of pseudo-aesthetic excuses. Don't remind me that the blood is fake. I know that, and so do most viewers. But the invitation to cruelty and voyeuristic pleasure at the agonized suffering of others -- are they fake, too?

October 10, 2007 8:56 AM |



PRC Pop 

The Chinese pop music scene is like no other ...

Remembering Elvis 

The best part of him will never leave the building ...

Beyond Country 

Like all chart categories, "country" is an arbitrary heading under which one finds the ridiculous, the sublime, and everything in between. On the sublime end, a track that I have been listening to over and over for the last six months: Wynnona Judd's version of "She Is His Only Need." The way she sings it, irony is not a color or even a set of contrasting colors; it is iridescence.

Miles the Rock Star? 

Does Miles Davis belong in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame? Here's my take on his career ...

Essay Contest 

Attention, high school jazz listeners ...

more trax

Me Elsewhere

Edward Hopper 

Painter of light (and darkness) ...

Dissed in Translation 

Here's my best shot at taking Scorcese down a few pegs ...

Henri Rousseau Revisited 

"Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris" appeared at the National Gallery of Art in Washington this fall ...

Paul Klee's Art 

Paul Klee was not childish, despite frequent comparisons between his art and that of children...

Our Art Belongs to Dada 

Rent my "Dadioguide" tour of the Dada show (before it moves to MoMA) ...

more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Martha Bayles published on October 10, 2007 8:56 AM.

Dickens Done Right was the previous entry in this blog.

Queened Out For Now is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.