Asian Cinema Scene

Subtitle of the Week: "He feels uncomfortable if he doesn't hit a Japanese every day." (Source below.)

Distribution. The big acquisition news last week was the announcement that Magnolia Pictures had picked up US rights to Thai action flick Ong Bak 2, directed by and starring Tony Jaa. Magnolia sank a fair amount of marketing money into the first Ong Bak and sent the film out into hundreds of theaters. The financial returns were modest (reportedly under $5 million, theatrically), but I'm guessing that the home video returns were good enough to warrant further investment in "the Tony Jaa business."

The announcement, partially quoted at indieWIRE, says that Ong Bak 2 "will be released via Magnolia's genre label Magnet later this year." (Wise Kwai has the complete press release plus further thoughts on the deal.) Magnet's theatrical releases have varied from token (Chocolate) to extensive (Let the Right One In), so we'll have to wait to see what will happen to Ong Bak 2, though I'm hoping it's out in the US before Ong Bak 3 hits Thailand in December.

Trailer. Of course, Thailand doesn't have a monopoly on action movies. Back in the day, it was Hong Kong that set the standard. A friend has been urging me to check out Dante Lam's The Beast Stalker, starring Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung, which came out on DVD in Asia last month. I liked Lam's earlier work (Beast Cops, Jiang Hu: The Triad Zone), but hadn't kept up with him lately. I finally took a look at the trailer, embedded below, and instantly placed my order. (Thanks, Blake!)

After the jump: the very adult DVD of the Week, and the source for our Subtitle of the Week.

DVD of the Week: A Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn. I missed a rare screening of this Japanese film at Fantastic Fest last fall, but Rodney Perkins of Twitch described it in brief as "a pink film about a senile man who mistakes his daughter-in-law for a cow." (?!) He wrote more extensively about it (and others in the retrospective series) at Offscreen, where he noted that director Daisuke Gotô "integrates this weird idea so tightly into a straightforward story of forbidden love that it works." More information and a NSFW trailer are available at the web site of DVD company Pink Eiga.

Subtitle of the Week -- Source: The awesome Fist of Legend (1994), starring Jet Li in his prime. (My second choice, from the same flick: "Everyone! The Japanese are coming and they're mad as hell!") A recent viewing refreshed my memory; in its entirety, the film is not as virulently racist as I recalled. Fist of Legend's greatest claim to fame remains the outstanding close-quarters fight scenes, with action choreography by Yuen Woo-ping. My favorite is still the blindfolded fight on a mountaintop, with fierce winds buffeting the combatants.