Tuesday, March 17, 2009

X-men in Hong Kong – Push

I just can’t understand why the publishers of Push so ignored the Asian market (esp. Chinese-speaking market) by “ignoring” the most characteristic part of this movie in any profile that they released to the Singapore media – This whole (Hollywood) movie was shot in Hong Kong! (OK, they didn’t even bother to give it a try in mainland China cinemas…)

In a nutshell, this movie is like an X-men in Hong Kong. According to the director, he selected Hong Kong because it’s like a 21st century version of Casablanca – den of criminals, just like Casablanca in that 1940’s classic, yup, Casablanca.
Well, Hong Kong government will definitely disagree with him about such a judgment, but that did not prevent them from issuing him a filming permit. Although due to the always crowded streets in Hong Kong, most scenes were shot in a “guerilla style”, i.e., using “hidden” cameras and no staff member was visible to the public and the actors did the scenes in all long takes.

And from the movie you can see the most real life to common Hong Kong ppl: old style public flat built by government, garbage on the sun-shelter, traditional market, mini soccer court on roof top, and even the water village. I really admire the courage of the Hong Kong government: they don’t mind “losing face” by allowing the film to be shot with such scenes, which is very unlikely to other Chinese-culture governments like mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore.

Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans made up an interesting pair in this movie – they seemed to be able to “trigger” each other’s potentials, both in and out of the scenes. So if there’s gonna be a sequel, pls, make them a real pair (of course, we don’t mind waiting for a couple of yrs when Dakota turns 18). Camilla Belle, a.k.a. the “girl” for Evans in the movie, looks nothing quite much more than a doll.

The story was meant to be interesting and novel, but unfortunately the writers seemed to be a bit lazy. They didn’t put enough effort in the logic parts, while simply summarized in the ending part that all those tricks and surprises were due to the “design” of Cassie (Fanning)’s mother.

The special effects were minimized to give way to traditional stunt, which they did quite a good job. I particularly like the part that Nick (Evans) and Cassie were running in a seafood market while the “shouting brothers” were using their weapon, larger than life voice, to try to kill them. The explosion of those glass tanks filmed with slow motions reminded me the classic Police Story series from Jackie Chan.

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