Takeshi Kaneshiro

Come with me on a journey for a moment, back to when you were a youngin’ on the playground. There was a particular technique that seems to have been popular with just about every five year old around, in which the stronger of the two kids grabs the arm of his (or her, if the story is really embarrassing) opponent, hits them with their own arm and says, “Stop hitting yourself! Why do you keep hitting yourself?” It was a humiliation technique, meant to send the other kid running. And more times than not, it worked like a charm. In this clip from Dragon, the latest martial arts import from Radius TWC, we see the legendary Donnie Yen using a similar tactic on a foe. Allow me to set the scene: Takeshi Kaneshiro (Red Cliff, House of Flying Daggers) plays an investigator who has come to a rural village to look into a scruff between a local papermaker (Yen) and two ruffians who came to rob the general store. The simple papermaker remains, while the two wanted criminals, trained killers in their own right, lie dead on the ground. We see Kaneshiro’s character as he’s recounting what he believes happened in the general store, complete with some wicked fight choreography courtesy of star/action director Yen. See for yourself in this exclusive clip below.

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Donnie Yen in Dragon

If you’re going to put Donnie Yen in your movie, you better have him do what he does best. Luckily, Dragon (Wu Xia) director Peter Chan lets Yen’s fists fly as often as they can. The trailer (via Apple) shows off some sleek production design, transforming a village landscape into a suitable location for a slow-smoking noir. In the film, Yen plays a martial arts expert hiding away in a village who is being tracked down by a private investigator (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and his former master. The fight choreography looks gorgeous and aggressive, but it’s the story itself that adds to the excitement here. It doesn’t seem to be re-inventing the wheel, but it definitely shoves one genre firmly into another. Hopefully the movie gets both right and the result is a killer tale filled with faces getting punched by too-fast hands. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Sixteen years after the release of Chungking Express – the film that placed Wong Kar-Wai firmly and what seems to be permanently in the realm of international auteurdom – it is repeatedly remembered and recounted as an exercise in Cannes-friendly urban arthouse cool, specifically in its constant comparisons with the style-heavy and suave work of early 60s Godard; Amy Taubin called Chungking Express the Masculin-feminin (1966) of the 1990s, and Tarantino has made vague comparisons to Breathless.

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