Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MOTORWAY: Profile of Director Soi Cheang

Soi Cheang (aka, Cheang Pou-Soi/Chang Po-Tsui) is a Hong Kong director, screenwriter and actor. Cheang's written four films and acted in forty, including Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai's Mad Detective (2007),  PTU (2003), and Raymond Yip Wai-Man's widely-beloved, Portland Street Blues (1998). He was the executive director for Triangle (2007), an ambitious "relay" film featuring one story and three directors, Ringo Lam, Tsui Hark and Johnnie To.  And Cheang's directed fifteen films, but is probably best known in the West with his last three.

Dog Bite Dog (2006) can be rough-going, starring heart-throb and scandal-magnet Edison Chen as a Cambodian hitman with no name. It has some of the nihilistic brutality of Okamoto Kihachi's Sword of Doom, but with even the "good" guys only comparatively good and Edison Chen killing everyone in modern Hong Kong rather than Nakadai Tetsuya offing people in Edo-era Japan.

(Also, it has Lam Suet, an actor most recently associated with his work in Johnny To's production company, Milkway--The Mission (1999), Exiled (2006) and PTU--or as I like to call it, Run, Lam Suet, Run!).

Shamo (2007) is Cheang's adapation of an eponymous Hashimoto Izu manga. Shawn Yue plays a very different part than he does as the protagonist of Motorway. He's Narashima Ryo, a young man in detention for killing his parents. The ever-intense Francis Ng Chun-Yu is prison karate instructor, Kurokawa Kenji. Narashima goes on to become a prostitute and  underground fighter. Take it as straight, take it as camp, Shamo is really style slathered on top of a compacted narrative that is as important to the movie as you want to make it.  Also, the trailer really implies the cicadas tell Narashima to kill.

In Accident (2009), Louis Koo Lin-Tok plays Ho Kwok-Fai, a hitman who specializes in causing fatal accidents, not just making his hits look like one. When a member of his murderous organization makes a mistake, Ho suspects that he's being set up for an accident and not even Louis Koo's handsomeness or magnificent tan can save him from paranoia. Another Milkyway production.  Also, Lam Suet!

Cheang's next film is The Monkey King, but I'm really curious about is this, Horror Hotline:  Big Head Monster (2001) movie that Cheang wrote and directed.

In the meantime, buckle up, adjust your year and sideview mirrors because Motorway premieres tomorrow night!

MOTORWAY screening times:
Wed., Sept. 12, 9:00PM:  The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Fri., Sept. 14, 12:30PM:  Scotiabank 3 
Sun., Sept. 16, 6:30PM:  Scotiabank 9

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