films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


The Message

Feng Sheng
2009 / 120m - China
The Message poster

The Message is visually stunning, smart, atmospheric and even a little tense near the end.

Run for Love

Zai Shijie De Zhongxin Huhuan Ai
2016 / 137m - China
Romance - Anthology
Run for Love poster

There are no weak shorts, one exceptional piece and enough variation to breeze through its 140 minutes running time.

Seven Killings

Dao Jian
2023 / 121m - China
Mystery, Thriller
Seven Killings poster

It's been a while since I've seen a Gao film, then again, it's been a while since he's made a new one. Seven Killings felt a lot like Gao's The Message, though just a little less focused and contained. That said, it's not hard to see why he's considered to be one of the better directors of the recent Chinese wave.

Read all

Nanjing, 1940. The city has been occupied by the Japanese army and is run by a Chinese faction that is collaborating with the Japanese. Not everybody is on board with the way things are going, and so the city becomes a hotbed of betrayal and rebellion. Danger lurks around every corner.

Many Chinese films have been harking back to the wars fought almost 90 years ago, to the point where the setting is getting a little tiresome. It's a shame, because the performances are strong, the cinematography is lush and there's quite a bit intrigue present in the plot. A good film, but it's lacks that little something to make it truly special.

Crimes of Passion

Yi Chang Feng Hua Xue Yue De Shi
2013 / 114m - China
Action, Crime
Crimes of Passion poster

Wind Blast

Xi Feng Lie
2010 / 114m - China
Wind Blast poster

China's Gobi desert is probably one of the most beautiful shooting locations I know of. The barren, dusty and moon-like landscapes and near-deserted concrete towns make for the perfect place to shoot some high-octane action flicks (remember Wu Ren Qu). Director Qunshu Gao (Feng Sheng) is well equipped to bring an ordeal like this to a good end and you don't need to look any further than Xi Feng Lie (Wind Blast) for proof.

Read all

There are some meager plot lines hidden away in Xi Feng Lie, but Gao is too busy introducing characters and changing the dynamic between the different groups and coalitions to spend too much time explaining what the hell is happening. Because of that, the first 20 minutes are a little hard to follow and get in to, but once the film gets up to steam only the most hardened plot whore are likely to take offence.

The film is basically one big action sequence, travelling from one location to the next while setting everything up for an explosive 30-minute climax. All the while Gao makes excellent use of the film's setting, so expect rugged, hardened characters, dusty surroundings and a muted color palette. The Gobi desert is not a very hospitable place, that much is certain.

The cast does a good job, even though there aren't too many familiar faces. Jacky Wu is present but in a rather minor role, Francis Ng on the other hand shines as a ruthless assassin. There's also a small role for director Yibai Zhang (Jiang Ai, Mi Guo, Kaiwang Chuntain De Ditie) and a notable performance of Zhang Li. Not that there's much depth to the characters, but as tough action stars they're definitely above average.

Compared to a film like Wu Ren Qu, Xi Feng Lie falls just a little short. The intro is a little too tough to get through and it takes too long before the film really gets up to speed, but once it gets going there's a lot to enjoy here. It's a pretty neat action flick, sporting a phenomenal setting, some solid performances and a memorable finale.

The New Year's Eve of Old Lee

Guo Nian Hao
2016 / 106m - China
The New Year's Eve of Old Lee poster