films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Lost in Hong Kong

Gang jiong
2015 / 114m - China
Comedy, Action
Lost in Hong Kong poster

A flashy Chinese comedy, cleverly set in Hong Kong. It's an easy fix to combine some of China's and Hong Kong's bigger film stars in a single film. Though it has to be said, the Hong Kong crew is mostly dealt some smaller cameos, with the bigger parts reserved for their Chinese counterparts. Symbolic.

Read all

The plot is pretty basic, then again that's par for the course for a light-hearted blockbuster comedy. A couple is trying to have a baby, but somehow the magic isn't happening. The man suspects an unfulfilled love from his past might be the cause, and so he travels to Hong Kong to reconnect with his old flame. Once there, things don't really go as planned.

Director Zheng Xu is a smart man, casting himself in between Zhao Wei and Juan Du. The film looks slick and stylish, there are some proper jokes, a couple of fun cameos and the pacing is pretty fast, propelling you through 2 hours of pleasant chaos without too many bumps in the road. Hardly the best film ever made, but for blockbuster entertainment it's quite a bit better than the norm.

My Country, My Parents

Wo He Wo De Fu Bei
2021 / 157m - China
Drama - Anthology
My Country, My Parents poster

The third in the series already. China loves to bang its chest when Chinese New Year is approaching, and unless they're tinkering with the numbers, audiences love it too. The formula is a little different, with fewer directors and meatier shorts, the quality and variety is also higher than the second one, sadly the cheesy propaganda is still very much present.

Read all

We get four stories that celebrate the Chinese ancestors, highlighting their sacrifices and perseverance, and how that brought wealth and power to the people today. Each short is then followed by a short conclusion with force-feeds the message to the audience, as if it wasn't clear enough already.

Wu Jing's effort is a basic war flick that doesn't impress too much. Zhang Ziyi (yes, the actress) shows the most promise, sporting a stylish and moody finish. The third and fourth shorts are quirkier and offer a lighter vibe. While still a bit long, the difference in styles and approaches do make sure the film never drags, it's just a shame that each film ends on a sour note.

My People, My Country

Wo He Wo De Zu Guo
2019 / 158m - China
Drama - Anthology
My People, My Country poster

There's a lot of flag-waving and chest-thumping going on here, but look past that and you'll find a decent anthology celebrating the achievements of the little people, helmed by some of China's prime directors. It was a little too sentimental and overdone in places, but it wasn't as terrible as I had initially feared it would be.

Lost in Thailand

Ren Zai Jiong Tu: Tai Jiong
2012 / 105m - China
Comedy, Adventure
Lost in Thailand poster

A pretty decent Chinese comedy that brings together three of its biggest comedy stars. With Zheng Xu, Baoqiang Wang and Bo Huang headlining the film you should pretty much know what to expect. If not then it's probably best to skip this one for now, until you're a bit more familiar with contemporary Chinese cinema.

Read all

Xu and Bo are competing for their jobs. They invented revolutionary fuel technology, but their ideas of where to take this tech don't line up. They're racing to find their CEO in order to convince him their idea is best, the problem is that his exact location is unknown. This leaves them stranded in Bangkok, with no idea where to go.

Lost in Thailand is a pretty jolly, easygoing comedy that sees these three actors do their best to keep it light and entertaining. In that sense it's a pretty successful film, the problem is that it never aspires to be anything more. This is pleasant filler and I'm looking forward to catching the sequel, but it's hardly great cinema.

My People, My Homeland

Wo He Wo De Jia Xiang
2020 / 153m - China
Drama - Anthology
My People, My Homeland poster

Chinese pep talk. I think this is the second Chinese blockbuster anthology made with a single goal in mind: make China look good on the silver screen. It's no surprise these film have started to pop up over there now that their local market is booming, they're simply copying Hollywood's playbook.

Read all

It's a bit of a bummer though, as these project tend to usurp quality directors (like Hao Ning here), forcing them to put out subpar films. The five shorts on display here aren't terrible, but their intentions are a bit too obvious and the film is so polished that it gets a little nauseating after a while.

China's most familiar actors (Bo Huang, You Ge, Baoqiang Wang, ...) are all present, the cinematography is nice and colorful and there are some quirky stories, but there's not enough variation, there's no grit and all the film offer the same self-boasting fuzzy feelgood nonsense. I hope this will be the end of it, but since these films are doing pretty well at the box office I doubt it very much.