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Week 51 - Second To Last!

Man these weeks roll out fast, I'm leaning back to relax, I've got my feet on the dash, I'll go to sleep in a flash. It's 23 and a half, I see the screen like a lapse, time passes geez then it's passed, which it could freeze in its tracks, this week's complete and that's that.

My Wife Is A Gangster 3 (2006)

My Wife Is A Gangster 3 (2006)

So, the old characters have been swapped for new ones (shame about that). It's now a set I seem to recognize from a bunch of other movies, and the budget level seems to have suddenly jumped pretty high.

The story this time around is simple. A gang boss in China sends his daughter to Hong Kong, to a friend over there (a local gang boss), his henchmen make sure she's at home and she falls in love with one of them (or maybe it's the other way around). However, she only speaks Chinese and he only speaks Korean, and the interpreter they hire doesn't always translate what she's told, first in fear of being killed, later on as a way of getting back at her initially probably very scary employers. So it's a story built for misinterpretations, and there's plenty of those, plenty of comedy, plenty of action. It's much more professional than the previous two, but still... something is missing.

Are the gangs too big? Not as personal as they used to be? Maybe it's the lack of understanding between the main two characters that make it feel like even at the end, when they marry, they still don't really know what's going on?

It's a worthy finale to the series, but personally I'd have liked it better if they all spoke the same language. Or maybe if they learned to speak the language along the way. Or maybe... it could've been revealed that one of the main characters actually did speak both languages but pretended not to understand. There's plenty of comedic potential there. Good movie, but it could have been much better. That, and I miss the old cast, somehow they seemed much more genuine.

 rated 3/5: not bad

My Wife Is A Gangster 2 (2003)

My Wife Is A Gangster 2 (2003)

The movie starts with a big battle, and it ends with another. Between beginning and end, the boss falls off a rooftop, gets amnesia, and spends the remaining time attempting to regain her memory.

She attempts this in various ways, by getting struck by lightning, by eating the venom of a white snake, by shocking herself, etc. All of that obviously doesn't work, yet when she one day just so happens to fall off a rooftop again it call comes flashing back.

Behind the scenes, her vicious nemesis Whitefish is scheming, her old gang is mourning their loss (her) and her husband is sick with worry... and she's working at a restaurant. It's a comedy with plenty of comedy and eh, a little action, and a drastic rise in action towards the end.

If you liked the last movie (I know I did) you're bound to like this, though it is a shame they didn't build on the romance at all with this one. With such a title, that's an element you'd take for granted. There's not that much relational depth to the plot, though there certainly is potential for it, and it's a shame the husband gets so little screen time considering he ended up killing 65 gang members in the prequel... but maybe that'll all be made up for in the finale? I'm not too fussy though, it was a good watch..

 rated 3/5: not bad

My Wife Is A Gangster (2001)

My Wife- Is A Gangster (2001)

All Korean movies are great. No exceptions! Well at least this one is not.

The movie idea is rather simple, it's about a female gang leader and her gang. It's also about her sister, whom she visits at the hospital after many years of them not seeing each other, who might not have very long left to live, and who tells her she would like to see her (the main character) get married while she's (the sister) still alive. So yeah, OK, the gang leader does it.

It's not a particularly orthodox wedding, or meeting, and from the start you could say the love is rather one-sided (the somewhat randomly though maybe fatefully selected man loves her, but she doesn't really give a shit), yet throughout the course of the movie things change, for better or worse. And then the sister says all she ever wanted was to have a baby.

There's drama, there's comedy, both good and bad people die, and then it all ends with one big final battle. It never gets as emotional as it could have (I feel they could've delved deeper into the relationship), but on the other hand I'm glad it follows a (mostly) light-hearted approach, despite the bizarre amount of brutality. The fights are great, fluid and crazy, as are the actors. Great movie.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Scarface (1932)

Scarface (1932)

When most people speak about the Scarface movie, they probably speak about the 1983 version with Al Pacinno in it. That's what I usually do too, so I was surprised to find out that the movie I'd considered a classic was actually based upon a much older movie with the same name, which in turn was based upon the book with the same name written by Armitage Trail, detailing the life of Al Caponne.

Maybe people are unaware of this prequel, or maybe it really is inferior to the modern-day remake (I certainly think so, though for it's time it was surely a work of art; much more controversial than most movies). The movie starts off with a message.

The Notice
Every incident in this picture is the reproduction of an actual occurrence, and the purpose of this picture is to demand of the government:" What are you going to do about it?

The Notice Part II
The Government is your government, what are YOU going to do about it?

For a while I'm thinking maybe this'll be a movie without speech, Jolly Roger forbid! But after this brief intermission, the movie starts similarly to a scene in the remake, an Italian (you can tell by the almost excessively Mario-like accent) trio sitting, eating; speaking. The main character Big Loui just had a party, and he talks about how everyone is going to say that he 'sits on top of the world!' Deja vu. That's just before he dies, and that's when the movie really starts.

The 'Costillo Slaying' starts a gang war and the town is suddenly up for grabs. Costello was the last of the old gang leaders and now: every gun with a gun wants a piece in controlling the booze business. I seem to recall the US made alcohol illegal during the 1920s and 30s, and thats when the gangs popped up and started making a profit off of it. This movie tells that story. It's not coke (as it is in the new version), it's alcohol! Not such a lucrative investment now maybe, but at this time it was gold worth, just like coke was thirty years later.

Considering this is from 1932, and it's black and white, it was surprisingly good. It keeps a surprisingly high pace, and though the filmography is always still, it's varied and well-cut, and there's plenty of action. When Scarface gets shot at in a barber shop he's ecstatic that the enemy has a machine-gun you can carry, so his henchman runs out and gets one for him.

As for characters, there's Tony, his sister, his girl, his friend, his bosses and his gangs. Very similar to the remake. He gets his hands on a Chigago Typwriter (machine gun) and takes over, and then it all goes to hell.

The last stand wasn't quite as impressive as in the new version, though there's plenty of action, plenty of guns, and the actors aren't bad at all... they just had a different style of acting back then, especially when they're shot: they fall down really really slowly, no coughing, no spluttering, no desperation, just going unnaturally stiff like they've been paralyzed with deadly venom as they're going like an elevator down to the floor, usually holding onto either their wound or something nearby in a cramp-like fashion. Another big difference is that there are only cops at the end, no gangsters involved in the shootout.

Though the movie was probably controversial at the time, it's still considerably tame compared to the remake. There's no chainsaw, there's no blood, there's no nudity, there's never a real feud between Tony and his sister (even after he's betrayed her, she's on his side), even in arguments there's rarely any shouting, and he never gets to actually mow down large groups of foes before he goes down himself. In the end, it's traditional justice. Good movie.

 rated 3/5: not bad

28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later (2007)

If they ever decided to make a 28 Months Later movie, and followed the same pattern of years between movies, this year should have been the year it should have been done! But it hasn't, so I guess it isn't... shame.

This movie picks up where the last one left off, in a recuperated world, where people are once again gathering together and seeking refuge and everything seems OK.

A lot has happened in 28 weeks, but of course this wouldn't be much of a movie if it didn't all go to hell all the same. That's precisely what it does, and once again the main characters all fight to survive in a world still majorly barren after the zombie apocalypse.

Compared to the previous movie this one is graphically superior, if the first one was somewhat low-budget (or made to look it), this one definitely isn't.

A big difference from the previous movie is that one of the main characters is a kid (the main characters are all new btw, hope the old ones are still living peacefully somewhere in the old country), and though I like the movie overall, I think this aspect reduces my likening a bit. A kid is just... not a strong main character. It's hard for him to be a hero or to be someone I can look up to, or relate to, something which most zombie movies ultimately need to have to leave you satisfied.

But for what it's worth, the actors all do a great job, the filmography is great, the violence is spectacular... in all but the character it outplays the first one by great length. Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

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