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Added by johanlefourbe on 16 Mar 2018 10:07
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A Complete Review of Wong Kar-wai's work

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People who added this item 269 Average listal rating (146 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6


Cast : Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang

What was it about?
The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

My two cents:
This movie was apparently a labor of love for Wong Kar-wai and he spent about a decade developing it due to his endless perfectionism. Unfortunately, even though it turned out to be fairly entertaining, I can’t say it really blew me away. Basically, as usual with this director, it was visually very neat, there was a nice soundtrack and, once again, Tony Leung gave a really solid performance. The biggest problem I had was with the story. In my opinion, it was all rather murky and, above all, I didn't really understand why they spent at least 1 third of the movie dealing with Ziyi Zhang's character. I mean, it was pretty obvious that she had a crush on Ip Man but he didn’t seem to share those feelings and/or he didn't really care so much about her. To make things worse, even the fighting scenes didn't completely work for me. Sure, they were pretty badass, no doubt about it, but there was too much slow-motion and special effects involved so they slightly lost their impact in my opinion. Still, even though it turned out to be rather disappointing, it was still a decent watch.

My rating: 06/10

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Cast : Norah Jones, Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman,

What was it about?
A young lonely woman takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way.

My two cents:
Following his tremendous critical success, like many other directors before him, Wong Kar Wai finally deciced to make his move to the USA. Unfortunately, even though the damned thing really had some potential, I'm afraid he delivered his least appealing movie so far. I mean, he definitely got a very a nice cast and they all delivered some decent performances. Furthermore, his directing was, as usual, quite gorgeous but, unfortunately, the whole thing still didn't really impress me. Eventually, I think it had to do with the fact that this director has actually a rather artificial approach to direct his movies but, so far, most of them turned to be quite spellbinding to watch so it wasn’t really a big issue. Unfortunately, this time around, it didn’t work very well and it even became bordeline boring to watch. I don’t know, maybe it was because the English language don't fit well with his style or maybe it was because the story was actually rather weak.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6


Cast : Gong Li

What was it about?
Three short films, one each from Directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Soderbergh, and Wong Kar Wai, address the themes of love and sex.

My two cents:
On paper, it sounded like a great project. Indeed, what a great idea to have 3 great masters delivering each of them a short movie about love and sex. Unfortunately, it turned out to be rather underwhelming after all. At least, Wong Kar-Wai shouldn't be blamed since he delivered by far the most interesting segment. Indeed, the directing was really neat, the story was quite fascinating and indeed erotic. On top of that, Gong Li gave a really solid perfomance. To be honest, I still think it was missing something to become really amazing but it was still a nice short though.

My rating: 06/10 (for 'Eros') / 07/10 (for 'The Hand' segment)

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People who added this item 940 Average listal rating (473 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5


Cast : Tony Leung, Gong Li, Ziyi Zhang, Maggie Cheung

What was it about?
The women who enter a science fiction author's life, over the course of a few years, after the author loses the woman he considers his one true love.

My two cents:
This movie was apparently more or less a sequel to his previous directing effort but it was still a really different beast altogether and probably his least accessible directing effort in my opinion. I mean, ‘In the Mood for Love’ was actually pretty straight-forward which was probably its appeal but, this time, the whole thing was pretty messy, convoluted and really really hard to follow. Furthermore, the pacing was really slow which didn’t help either. Still, like everything directed by Kar Wai, there was something quite mesmerising about the whole thing. First of all, there was a great cast, especially Tony Leung, what an amazing actor, even more impressive and fascinating when working with Kar Wai. Eventually, the biggest appeal with this feature was the directing. Indeed, even though I barely could follow what was going on, it was visually so striking, it was quite fascinating to behold. Eventually, even though the movie was rather alienating, I still enjoyed the damned thing.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 91 Average listal rating (59 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5


Cast : Clive Owen, Forest Whitaker, Mickey Rourke, Adriana Lima

What was it about?
The Driver is now spying on a celebrity's wife suspected of adultery.

My two cents:
Well, from all these short promotional movies produced by BMW, it might be one of my favorites. Above all, what I enjoyed the most about it, beside the beautiful trademark melancholy from this director, was that Wong Kar-wai didn't follow the usual template at all as there was no action scene whatsoever and no real car chase either. On top of that, as a bonus, you get to see the gorgeous Adriana Lima in one of her very few film appearances. Eventually, even though it was quite straightforward, there was definitely something quite mesmerising about the damned thing.

My rating: 07/10
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People who added this item 1214 Average listal rating (679 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1


Cast : Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung

What was it about?
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

My two cents:
In fact, I did see this flick in the movie theater when it was released almost 20 years ago and, at the time, it was a massive critical success so I had some rather high expectations. I don’t know, maybe I was too young at the time but, at the time, even though I did like it, I can't say I though it was great like everyone seemed to think. Indeed, I thought it was a little bit frustrating and I wish this couple would just kiss each other and move on with their life instead of remaining stuck for some rather obscure reasons. And, yet, after re-watching the damned thing, I have to admit that I was really impressed. To be honest, I was still not really fascinated by the story but the whole thing looked just amazing, it is easily Wong Kar-Wai's best directing effort and I would go even further and I argue that it is one of the most gorgeous movies ever made.

My rating: 08/10

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People who added this item 540 Average listal rating (274 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8


Cast : Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung

What was it about?
A couple take a trip to Argentina but both men find their lives drifting apart in opposite directions.

My two cents:
Well, I really enjoyed the damned thing. Indeed, for this movie, Won Kar-Wai mixed one of his usual doomed love stories with a film noir and this mix was quite spellbinding to behold. The material was actually pretty dark and gloomy but it was not as messed up as 'Do lok tin si' which was much harder to swallow. To be honest, as usual with this director, nothing much really happened through the whole thing and most of the duration was about a gay couple arguing all the time so it can be challenging. Still, I really had a weak spot for this couple thanks to some really solid performances from Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung. It was also pretty neat that Kar-Wai would for the first time shot his movie outside of Hong-Kong.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 401 Average listal rating (229 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7


Cast : Takeshi Kaneshiro

What was it about?
A disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit but first he has to overcome his affections for his cool, detached partner. Against the sordid and surreal urban nightscape, he crosses path with an amusing mute trying to get the world's attention in his own unconventional ways.

My two cents:
For some reasons, I thought I already saw this movie but since I couldn't remember it at all, I was quite eager to check it out again. Well, I'm glad I did because I'm pretty sure I never saw the damned thing before. To be honest, it was definitely not Wong Kar-Wai's easiest movie to watch. Indeed, his work has always been filled with some mesmerising melancholy but this movie was much darker than usual and, at times, even rather messed up. This mood was also reflected by the directing which was, as usual with Kar-Wai, visually pretty neat with some massive camera motions, some weird angles and some big close-ups. Eventually, it worked very well at first with this mysterious killer and his gorgeous partner who were both pretty neat but, unfortunately, I had actually a hard time to care about Takeshi Kaneshiro’s character who was often rather cringe-inducing to behold. As a result, as the movie moved along, it became more and more chaotic and I wish they did keep the whole thing slightly more grounded but it’s not something you should expect from this director.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 237 Average listal rating (131 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2


Cast : Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Leslie Cheung

What was it about?
A broken-hearted hit man moves to the desert where he finds skilled swordsmen to carry out his contract killings.

My two cents:
Even though it is a rather short feature, Wong Kar-wai struggled so much while making this movie that, during the post-production, he actually stopped working on it and made in the mean time ‘Chung hing sam lam’. Eventually, he still couldn’t let it go and, 14 years later, he came up with another version called ‘Ashes of Time Redux’ which was the version I saw. Anyway, even though I admired this movie just like most of the other work delivered by this director, I had a really hard time to connect with the damned thing. I mean, as usual, it was quite gorgeous to look at, I loved the soundtrack and the general mood created but the plot was seriously murky. Indeed, as a result, it was probably his most difficult movie to follow and I thought it was rather frustrating to watch. I mean, even though it was presented as an ancient martial arts feature (the official name for this genre is ‘wuxia’), in fact, there was barely any action scene at all, which wasn’t really a problem, but the characters came in and went away without any explanation and the whole thing remained as a result terribly obscure. Anyway, even though I had a hard time with the damned thing, it was still a decent watch.

My rating: 07/10

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Cast : Tony Leung,Takeshi Kaneshiro

What was it about?
Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.

My two cents:
By now, I have seen all the movies directed by Wong Kar-Wai and, eventually, even though I have a great admiration for his work, I came to the conclusion that I’m actually not really a huge fan. This movie is however the exception. Indeed, it was the very first movie I saw from this director, it definitely had a really strong impact on me and it is still by one of my favorites. As usual with this director, it was a really gorgeous movie with a great sountrack and not one but two very mesmerizing love-stories. The 2nd tale was slightly better and, Tony Leung, who still is after all these years my favorite Asian actor, was as usual really strong in this movie. Eventually, this director was always more interested in the mood than telling an actual story and the whole thing was just quite fascinating to behold. Anyway, after all these years, I still love this movie and it is one of my favorite romantic movies.

My rating: 08/10

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Cast : Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Tony Leung

What was it about?
A man tries to find out who his real mother is after the woman who raised him tells him the truth.

My two cents:
Well, to be honest, as usual with this director, I still ended up with some mixed feelings. I mean, there is no doubt that he always delivered his best work when focusing on such doomed love stories and, once again, the cinematography from Christopher Doyle (who was working with Wong Kar Wai for the first time around) was quite mesmerising. On top of that, Leslie Cheung delivered a really strong performance playing one of the most fascinating tortured womaniser I have ever seen. And yet, I was never swept away by the whole thing. I mean, even though Cheung was really good, his character was borderline despicable but even though some of the other characters seemed to be more righteous, I still didn't care much for them either. It was also pretty weird to see Tony Leung showing up completely randomly during the very last scene but his character was apparently supposed to be the lead in a second part which was never produced. Anyway, even though this movie didn't really blow me away, it was still pretty good.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 168 Average listal rating (96 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1


Cast : Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung

What was it about?
Mid-level gangster Wah falls in love with his beautiful cousin, but must also continue to protect his volatile partner-in-crime and friend, Fly.

My two cents:
First of all, it was visually definitely a level below than what Wong Kar-Wai would deliver afterwards but it was expected since it was his first movie. It was also much more violent than his usual work but these scenes were actually fairly well handled, especially for a first effort. On the other hand, as usual with this director, it was dealing with a doomed love story, a theme he will keep throughout his whole career. Concerning the characters, they were interesting enough, except for Fly. Indeed, there was a whole sub-plot about the main character constantly helping him out of trouble from some increasingly dangerous situations but, at some point, I was wondering why he kept saving his ass. I mean, all these low-level gangsters seemed to be more or less some losers but Fly was just really pathetic and pretty fast even cringe-inducing to behold. I understand that he was necessary to conclude with this strong ending scene but I wish they did find another way to get there.

My rating: 07/10

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Since I have finally managed to watch all the movies directed by Wong Kar-wai, I thought I should make one of these lists for this guy as well.

Enjoy!


Added to

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A Complete Review of various directors' work (53 lists)
list by johanlefourbe
Published 6 years, 2 months ago 7 comments



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