Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Banquet

If you've ever wondered what irregular people say after a regular chinese banquet, wonder no more.

For the uninitiated, it simply means here be poison!

Not only poisons galore enough to delight the heart of the darkest assassins but along with her various venomous schemes, a certain queen biatch also stabbed my upstanding dream husband in the neck with her womanly weapon.

Don't panic before I've had a chance to explain. No worries, kind souls, Charming Calvin remains in the pinkest of health with no near fatal wounds on his neck apart from some unsightly teeth marks.

Feng Xiaogang's latest martial arts blockbuster, The Banquet, is a loose adaptation of the perennial favourite tale of the tragic princeling Hamlet - transplanting the story to ancient China in unstable times after the Emperor has been murdered and the throne usurped by his brother. The ever-luscious and suspiciously fey Daniel Wu plays the sadly diminished pivotal role of the doomed Crown Prince Wuluan while Zhang Ziyi takes on the role of a lifetime as the passionate, duplicitous Empress Wan who surrenders everything to protect her power, her position and the man she loves.

What can I say? As usual with all the up-and-coming Chinese directors, the sets are lavishly decorated ( with candlestands I wouldn't mind having in my home! ), the cinematography is visually opulent ( not to mention liberally sprayed with copious amounts of blood ) and the score is hypnotic. Unfortunately there are almost no sympathetic characters in the movie ( and Zhang Ziyi unfortunately not suitably diva-esque enough to carry off the plum role of the Empress ), and it's nearly a relief when most of their plans turn hopelessly awry during the inauspicious banquet.

Huang Xiaoming!
My dream husband...

Yet the memorable part of the whole film - apart from watching Zhang Ziyi try her best, and ultimately fail, to weave her delicate web of deceit and treachery - is a mini cameo by the deliciously yummy Huang Xiaoming ( hereby referred to as my dream husband ) who plays the ambitious, upstanding General Yin who finds himself irrevocably drawn into the subtle intrigues of court. Hell, the man can make a shapeless gunny sack look good - what more the delicious armour of an imperial guard. Huang Xiaoming can certainly arrest me, clap me in chains and torture me with melted candles anytime.

Unfortunately the mean queen biatch I mentioned had to do the stabbing thing.

During the movie, Calvin and I concluded that I must have spent one of my fascinating past lives as a conniving Chinese concubine who schemed her wicked, wily way into the imperial court whilst coolly poisoning her numerous unfortunate enemies - not to mention secretly manipulating / romancing babealicious generals such as my dream husband above. Only made sense since I predicted almost all the evil Empress' moves. No doubt in that iniquitous past life I must have reached an untimely end since karmic redemption - and surprisingly judgemental Chinese cinema - would deem it so.

A Shanghai triad hoodlum and now a scheming court jezebel? Not sure why I am always typecast in such roles! Wonder what Calvin would have been in that past life? Possibly one of the unfortunate goody-two-shoes courtiers I secretly stabbed with my trusty yet painfully sharp hairpin?


Diamond Stud said...

Hey Paul.

So you love eating too, huh?

Are you in KL or Malacca?

I often drive down to Malacca just to indulge in real nyonya food. Do you know Nancy's Place, off Jonker's?

Anonymous said...

I do hope that movie will find its way to the theaters of Oslo. Sounds like a good one. I remember those jaw-dropping times when I saw the visual spectacle of movies such as Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and heck, even Shaolin Soccer. :-)

charles ravndal said...

Sounds like a pretty interesting movie. Anyway, hope you have a nice weekend!

Sue said...

Spiffy uniform. I love to see these costume dramas and look at all of the props, costumes, jewelry and sets. I cannot believe how much work goes into them. My favorite Asian actor is Chen Chang from CT,HD. He is totally hot.

Holden said...

I love Daniel Wu! He is my husband! Sigh...

famezgay said...

i dunno why.. i dun prefer daniel in that movie.. anyway that huang xiaoming really impressed me with his masculinity uhmnn.. charming !

Anyway I just hate the censorship board for censors some scene inside.. sigh..

nyonyapenang said... have exquisite taste!

hrugaar said...

Um, garotting is strangulation. Not sure how you do that with a hairpin, paul, unless it's very long and flexible la.

Maybe you were a conniving concubine in a previous life. Or maybe you've just watched Hamlet already. :oD

Xis said...

hi.. good stuff! Keep on writing! :)

wjee said...

i like the part when he spoon his sis from behind..... that's so erotic. Imagine the hot crotch against the ass.

Huang xiaoming is mine. daniel is so redundant and passe!!!!!!!!!

As for the movie, i found the blood and gore a bit OTT.

muse said...

i am never a fan of zhang ziyi, and to read on the review that she is going to play the Empress in the movie further place doubts in me to watch the movie since she's such a small woman. gong li would be a better actress.

and, daniel wu. sigh. daniel wu is an easy reason to pull me to watch it, tho...hahah

anywaayss, it is always fun reading your blog.


xavier said...

wah, so many people talk about this movie, must be darn good! gonna go with my *ahem* :p

hope the translation is good though...

William said...

I hope this doesn't disappoint like "The Promise". "Hero" is still by far my favourite. Zhang Ziyi is sooo... ugh. Gong Li would have been better, but she was busy with "Miami Vice" and perhaps she's done enough of scheming and bitching in "Memoirs of a Geisha".

Musang said...

hmmmm. i don't mind getting stabbed...

with something larger than a hair pin...

and attached to the area between any generals' legs...

provided that he is as hunky as General Yin.


i really need sex...

Sam said...

Nice... =P Now I wonder what I am in my own past life. =)

Jon said...

I suffered for 2 hours in the cinema, trying to digest the whole story, and acting.

15 minutes into the movie, as the darth-vader-looking soldiers slaughtered the freaky masked dancers, I was crying inside, begging to be released from the horror of watching that piece.

What's with the mask?

But I did like the duo moves by Daniel and Zhang.

The next day, I watched Little Man. At least that movie did not promise to be artsy. Just silly, pervert and funny.

savante said...

Commute both ways, diamondstud. And I do know Nancy's!

Amazed that those movies even make it all the way there, mark.

It is interesting, chas. You should go get a look.

Chang Chen was hot in that movie, sue.

You can keep daniel, holden :P

That's why we have to depend on the pirates for the full details, famezgay.

Thanks, nyonya.

True enough, ru, which is why I changed it!

Thanks, xis!

Thought it was weird actually. Erotic? Felt like smacking Zhou Xun for stealin my husband.

Gong Li would have had a more commanding presence for sure, bling.

You don't need the translation mah, xavier.

Waiting to watch miami vice, william.

Kinky. Musang.

Could be anything, sam!

Jon, there are people who watch Little Man!!