Shinjuku Incident 新宿事件 (2009) – HK Movie

July 24, 2009 jeansdream
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I asked my husband why we were renting this DVD – Shinjuku Incident 新宿事件?  He said, this is a Derek Yee (爾冬陞)’s movie with Jackie Chan (成龍).

I am immediately intrigued.  Jackie Chan in a drama, not selling Kung Fu and not trying to act funny…  under Derek Yee’s hand, I am dying to witness this mix! 

Team includes Derek as Director and Co-writer; the other Writer is Chun Tin-Nam.  Music by Peter Kam, and cinematography by Kita Nobayasu.  Editing by Cheung Ka-Fai (not to be confused with Actor Nick Cheung (name is Cheung Ka Fai as well)) and Kong Chi-Leung.  Cast includes Jackie Chan as Steel Head 鐵頭, Daniel Wu as Ah Jie 阿傑,  Naoto Takenaka as Inspector 北野, Masaya Kato as Eguchi 江口, Xu Jinglei as Xiu Xiu 秀秀 / Yuko 結子 (Eguchi’s wife), Chin Kar Lok as HK Chai 香港仔, and many other solid actors and actresses in the supporting roles. 

Shinjuku is one of the 23 wards in Tokyo, Japan.  A busy commercial and administrative district in the day, and a red-light district of bars, brothels at dark, Shinjuku has the most mixed foreign nationalities registered in Tokyo.  This movie is about stories of different people in Shinjuku, Japan, local and immigrants alike, how they help and use others to survive in, adapt to, establish and excel in making money and gaining statuses, and how they mingle,  tangle and arm-wrest with the local underworld powers, and how the underworld tie to the upper world.  Racial tension seems to be a theme, but you’ll see that it’s just the surface – just an excuse.  It is about desire and lust, loyalty and betrayel, money and politics.  Steel Head landed in Shinjuku, reunited with his neighbour in China Ah Jie, trying to find his girl friend, Xiu Xiu whom had lost touch with him since her departure to Shinjuku.  Ah Jie and Steel Head were squeezed in a small, rundown house with many other Asians.  Not having an official status in Japan, they had to do dirty jobs that locals wouldn’t do.  The group wasn’t united until Ah Jie were severly harmed by a Taiwanese triad lead.  Steel Head became the leader of this group and he joint force with Eguchi, the number two man in a Japanese triad force, after discovering Xiu Xiu wedded Eguchi and had a beautiful daughter.  Steel Head started a new relationship with a bar owner.  When this group finally chased the most feared Taiwanese group away, Steel Head opened a mechanics store and they were planning to live a new life somewhere away from this place.  At the end, it’s like a dream.  I am not sure if there’s a winner at the end.  Hm… 

Derek Yee (爾冬陞) – a master class director in HK filming, particularly strong in drama, Derek has a long list of filmography (the Chinese wiki of his has a more complete listing).  He was an actor before he became a director and writer.  My favourites include C’est la vie, mon chéri /Endless Love (新不了情) (1993), The Truth About Jane And Sam (真心話) (1999),  One Night in Mong Kok (旺角黑夜) (2004), Protégé (門徒) (2007).  In Shinjuku Incident (2009), Derek takes the role as a director and co-writer.

Jackie Chan.  Who doesn’t know Jackie?  Do I need to write more?  (I will write more about his performance later.)

Daniel Wu – he has been in Derek’s films before (do you know which ones?) so this is not their first project together.   He also partook a film with Jackie Chan (again, do you know which one?).  In Shinjuku Incident, I am not saying he is not good.  I just expect to see more from this promising actor.  He is very good at releasing his extreme and wild emotions and his looks and style help.  Those scenes, when he was playing wild, are very exciting to watch.  In the movie, due to a series of traumatic experiences, his character had a 180 degree transformation.  I’m never let down on his wild side.  I am not sure if it’s because of the location or what, somehow, I feel that Daniel is a little “side-tracked” this time.  I feel that he’s not 100% into this character.  His performance before the character turned wild was, should I say, relatively weak – perhaps unimpressive is the right word.  A weak character can be played impressively.  Compared to his performance in One Night in Mong Kok, I think I like his performance in that movie better.   I told my hubby about this thought, and he said, he’s being himself.  (oops.)

Xu Jinglei is always good.  She’s always to the point.  The way she speaks Japanese is commented by Masaya highly – even her tone is like a local Japanese woman – very soft and comforting.  I like her in this movie.

Masaya san- oh.  He’s handsome – dropdead gorgeous.  (!!!!)  🙂  I mistaken him for another Japanese actor, Fujiki Naohito whom was the pastry chef in Antique Bakery (Japanese Drama).  I thought he’s aged by special make-up.  But when I looked up Masaya’s age, I knew they can’t be the same person.  His role as Eguchi was a nice fit and his performance was convincing tho his character was not written entirely consistant *I feel*.  I hope to see more of his work.  Any recommendations?

Naoto san,  the Mr. Cool Inspector.  He had a relatively small role, tho I think he may be the only positive role in the movie.  I see his dedication and effort in his parts.  Admire the way he learned to speak Mandarin.  I salute you, Naoto san.

Fan Bingbing as the bar owner, a smart, agile and independent woman, perhaps many women envy her role (coz she can slap Jackie?)  LOL. 

Chin Kar Lok, actually, the Action Director in this movie as well – I’ve seen this performance before la.  Don’t take any more role like this la.  Keep up the good work as an Action Director la.

Jackie.  Jackie!  What can I say.  OK – how about this.  When I watched the Making (documentary), Daniel commented on one scene where Jackie was kneeling beside him crying, he said “Dai Goh (Big Brother) cried so much that I cried too because of him”.  OK.   That was a moving cry.  But I am not sure if that level of cry was called for in this scene.    Perhaps it was called for, but I didn’t feel it built up that way.  Not to say that scene wasn’t sad, wasn’t moving, but I felt that the emotion wasn’t exactly right.   Ah.  I think I know what I expected!!  I expected to see a surpressed cry burst out to max but that cry would subside immediately with Jackie running out of that room.  I think that’s what I think was the right emotion.  Jackie gave a longer cry than what I had in mind and that onset wasn’t a burst out cry.  I think that’s what the issue was.  Water plain.  I think. 

I think Jackie tried hard.  It’s difficult and courageous to leave your comfort zone.  It’s not easy to act not a bit non-funny given he has done that for the part 20 years.  I’ll give him credit for that.  It would be interesting to hear Derek’s comment on Jackie’s acting.

Marketing wise, this combination definitely worked successfully.  But first time only.  Give me another Derek + Jackie movie?  I probably will still fall for it, because of Derek, but I probably won’t be so lenient to Jackie next time.  😉

One last thing.  I usually don’t write bad or negative things.  I don’t want my stupid opinion to harm anyone.  So I usually only write positive things.  But my hubby said, you should write bad things too, so they can improve. 

So if I don’t give you a perfect score, it’s because I sincerely want you to improve.  Fighting!

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Entry Filed under: Movie Ping 影評

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