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Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)
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Jade City > JC: Inspirational Viewing

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Joseph | 2256 comments I admit I haven't read the book yet (although it's next on my list after my current nostalgia trip through some early D&D novels), but over the years I have watched more than my share of Hong Kong gangster/action films. (And, more recently, some from Korea and Japan, amongst other places.) A few favorites, in case anybody is interested. (Note that I'm trying to mostly stick with films where the primary focus is the gangsters, as opposed to the cops or straight action.)

A Better Tomorrow -- first in a trilogy, directed by John Woo, starring Chow Yun-Fat.

The Killer John Woo & Chow Yun-Fat again; not as ridiculously over-the-top as, say, Hard Boiled, but a better story.

Infernal Affairs -- again, first in a trilogy. This is the film that inspired The Departed -- a cop and a Triad member, both undecover in the opposing organization, each tasked with finding the mole (themselves).

Election and The Mission -- Johnnie To makes some great films.

Bonus non-gangster film:

Storm Riders, my favorite Hong Kong fantasy action film.


I'd love additional recommendations -- always looking to expand my movie library.


Trike | 8307 comments The Godfather — just the first one.

The Yakuza (1974).

Enter the Dragon.

Better Luck Tomorrow — Asian-American kids getting sidetracked by crime. Justin Lin’s first feature. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0280477/...

Gangsta — a Japanese anime about supersoldiers working for organized crime. This is about as close as you can get to Jade City. 12 episodes.

Darker Than Black — another anime along similar lines, except that portals to Hell and Heaven have opened, granting people superpowers at the cost of their conscience. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darke...

Singham — This is a Bollywood film that’s ridiculous and hilariously over the top, but the inventive super powers fit right in. Anyone who doesn’t want to see more after watching these two clips is dead inside.
https://youtu.be/ULM3Pvr3b7o
https://youtu.be/QUYa5aTdjfI


Joseph | 2256 comments Trike wrote: "The Godfather — just the first one.

The Yakuza (1974).

Enter the Dragon.

Better Luck Tomorrow — Asian-American kids getting sidetracked by crime. Justin Lin’s first feature. https://www.imdb.com..."


Conveniently, Singham streams on Netflix!


Nathan (tenebrous) | 377 comments I wish there was more Wuxia in English. Demigods and Semidevils is a good place to start, that one can find in various versions. Legend of the Condor Heros is also good.


Joseph | 2256 comments Nathan wrote: "I wish there was more Wuxia in English. Demigods and Semidevils is a good place to start, that one can find in various versions. Legend of the Condor Heros is also good."

Agreed.

A few more movies, as long as I'm thinking of it:

The Young and Dangerous series about, as you'd expect from the title, some young guys making their way in the triad world.

And, as another outlier, The Four and its sequels, which are historical fantasy in which a group of government officers with an almost X-Men like assortment of powers are investigating a counterfeiting ring or some such.


Keith (keithatc) The '70s-'80s wuxia mystery films of Chor Yuen (aka Chu Yuan) are fantastic. Killer Clans, Clans of Intrigue, Legend of the Bat, Web of Death, Magic Blade, Sentimental Swordsman -- and a whole slew of others.

During their final years of film production, the Shaw Brothers made a lot of utterly lunatic wuxia films. Some are hopelessly convoluted, but they're still a fun ride: Buddha's Palm, Battle Wizard, Bloody Parrot -- so much good stuff.

Entering into the '80s and the Hong Kong New Wave, which is really where the biggest influences on this book are: for gangsters there's the aforementioned The Killer, A Better Tomorrow, Hard Boiled, Long Arm of the Law (you have to endure some awful slapstick, but the final chase/fight through the Kowloon Walled City is insanely good), To Be Number One; for fantasy/magic: Zu Warriors (NOT Legend of Zu), Butterfly Murders, Chinese Ghost Story, Duel to Death, and perhaps above all others, HEROIC TRIO, a scifi film set in a noirish city and about three superheroines fighting a wizard who lives undergrounds and wants to raise an army of cannibal goblin babies. Where else are you gonna get Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh, and Anita Mui all together and fighting a finger-eating Anthony Wong.


Joseph | 2256 comments Keith wrote: "The '70s-'80s wuxia mystery films of Chor Yuen (aka Chu Yuan) are fantastic. Killer Clans, Clans of Intrigue, Legend of the Bat, Web of Death, Magic Blade, Sentimental Swordsman -- and a whole slew..."

YES! How could I have forgotten Heroic Trio?

As far as wuxia fantasy films of the 1980s, my favorite may be Bride with White Hair.


Trike | 8307 comments Keith wrote: "The '70s-'80s wuxia mystery films of Chor Yuen (aka Chu Yuan) are fantastic. Killer Clans, Clans of Intrigue, Legend of the Bat, Web of Death, Magic Blade, Sentimental Swordsman -- and a whole slew..."

Thanks Keith. I know what I’m watching in the near future. :)


Keith (keithatc) Trike wrote: "Thanks Keith. I know what I’m watching in the near future. :)"

Any time!


Nathan (tenebrous) | 377 comments One more thing I just thought of. The Final Master is available on Netflix and was definitely good viewing.

The martial arts is not fantastical but it deals with themes of loyalty, business, and relationships in a way that I think is related to the book.


Daryl | 88 comments Oh man The Heroic Trio looks amazing. Question is, where can I watch it.


message 12: by Stephen (last edited Aug 19, 2018 01:18PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stephen Richter (stephenofllongbeach) | 1322 comments You Tube has a version of it playing on a guy's TV. It is a plan that failed like a busboy trying to steal some jade.


Joseph | 2256 comments That's the most challenging thing -- not many of the films are available from streaming sources.

You can find many of them on disc on Amazon, in versions of varying quality; you can also find some of them from import sites -- www.dddhouse.com is one I've used on multiple occasions.


Stephen Richter (stephenofllongbeach) | 1322 comments Found a better version split in two of Heroic Trio
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xyc3pd


Keith (keithatc) The problems with a lot of HK cinema from the 80s and 90s are:

1. HK traditionally has not cared a lick about film preservation. If it isn't new, then who cares? Films were issued on DVD in the mid/late 90s, but almost all of them are out of print, and no company has a vested interest in reissuing them for the microscopic sliver of the population that would buy them. To frame how much the average HK citizen cared about home video: VCD was more popular than DVD. And a ton of old HK DVDs are actually just ports of the super-compressed VCDs. I'm looking at you, Mei Ah.

2. For the same reason, no one bothers to put them on streaming, and when they do, they re really poorly dubbed.

3. The Weinsteins/Miramax bought a ton of the most popular HK films in the late 90s/early 00s with the express intent of making sure they were never released. They even aggressively searched for and sued companies like YesAsia who were making the HK version available. Why? You'll have to ask those jackasses. What the recent fortunes of the Weinsteins means for all the films they locked away is anyone's guess.

4. Piracy really did destroy the HK film industry. Well, piracy, organized crime, and China. If, like me, you prefer physical media, you actually have to work your ass off to find anything these days that ISN'T a bootleg of dubious quality.

THAT SAID...

Some companies, like DRAGON DYNASTY, forged ahead, releasing lovely discs (still mostly DVD) of a lot of older films (some of the Chor Yuen/Chu Yuan films I mentioned earlier). Those are readily available on Amazon, usually for cheap.

Also, the El Ray channel frequently airs Shaw Bros. era films, including some fo the wilder fantasy/wu xia films.

Finally...if you are dedicated, some films never properly released in the US did get lovely releases elsewhere, most often Germany, France, and Korea, though the state of English subtitles on those releases varies. Ditto region coding. Some are region-free, others are not.

Which isn't much in terms of good news, but that's the state of things.

I've been writing professionally about HK cinema since the early 1990s, and it's always been kind of a pain in the ass.


Keith (keithatc) Wanted to split this off from the HK-related posts...

I recommend the Korean gangster epic NAMELESS GANGSTER. It's a fantastic film about a slimy, opportunistic nobody who cheats and cons his way (more or less) into being the head of a crime family. A lot of parallels, mostly in the rank and file soldiers, to characters in JADE CITY. Also, a lot of great "gangsters walking in slow motion" shots.

More action-oriented but still with a lot in common with jade City is CITY OF VIOLENCE, another great Korean gangster/martial arts film.

And if you want an Indian take on the epic gangster tale: GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, parts 1 and 2. Bleak, hopeless, gory, and just amazing.


Joseph | 2256 comments Thanks for a very informative (and kind of maddening) post. #3 in particular makes me seethe.

I miss Dragon Dynasty, although they came to kind of a sad end.


Daryl | 88 comments Wow, thanks guys! I appreciate the posts.


Robert Lee (harlock415) | 256 comments Amazon Prime has a lot of the Shaw Brothers films if not all that were remastered by Celestial. My only issue is that some are mislabeled as being in English when they are really subtitled and vice-versa.


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