Saturday, June 24, 2006

Movie: Tokyo Raiders

I watched Tokyo Raiders last night, a personal favorite representing the Wacky-Kung-Fu-Espionage-Hijinks-Action genre.

First off, one thing needs to be made clear. This movie co-stars Ekin Cheng. Ekin Cheng is dreamy. If there is a God, then Ekin Cheng is his gift to people who appreciate dreamy men. In fact, if St. Thomas Aquinas were to meet Ekin Cheng, there would be a sixth proof for God's existence, and it would be Ekin Cheng. His eyes smolder with the burning passion of a thousand white-hot suns. Just look at him:

Can you seriously claim that he is not the living incarnation of walking beauty?

Now that I've got that off my chest, onto the movie itself. The impressive thing about Tokyo Raiders is that it manages to be intelligently assembled without being intelligent itself. At no point does this film challenge your intellect, your ideals, your preconceptions of humanity. It replaces all these things with Ekin Cheng kicking people in the face, the Japanese equivalent of Charlie's Angels, and Tony Leung Chiu Wai getting chased by giant men on tiny bikes while riding a motor-skateboard. But nonetheless, the movie isn't stupid. Not only does the plot actually make sense without having to resort to ignoring your suspension of disbelief, it actually has plot twists. That are neither transparently choreographed a half hour ahead of time nor pulled out of the blue the moment they occur.

The cinematography is gorgeous: both the way Jingle Ma tries to make the backdrop of Tokyo an occasional character in the film, and in his approach to filming the fight scenes. Although the choreography itself is not particularly amazing (not a knock: it's still plenty of fun, which is what it's trying to be), the pacing of combat combines with the camerawork and the occasional fluctuations in playback speed to make the fights often resemble dances as much as anything else. I'm not trying to say it's elegant, here: if the fighting in Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is ballet, Tokyo Raiders is Samba. Or the foxtrot. Maybe salsa. I really don't know anything about different dancing styles.

Anyways, the moral of the story: Tokyo Raiders is five stars of awesome. Four stars for being a great film, and one star for Ekin Cheng being dreamy. What do you say to that?


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