Last Wednesday I was invited to the premiere of Flashpoint, starring Donnie Yen, Lui Leung Wai, Louis Koo, and Colin Chou. It was a fun night, rather a last minute affair for me because Lui Leung Wai had flown in from Beijing for the event and as he said literally called me as he was deboarding the plane. I love the guy! We worked on several projects together, at one point being stuck in Heng Dian, China shooting a kung fu serial (not as fun as you'd think).
The premiere was pretty typical, though I was surprised by the amount of teenage fans Louis Koo had. Man that guy has a following! The after party was at The Penthouse, filled with industry regulars and hangers-on. There was requisite banter among friends and colleagues and a lot of Karaoke singing in the VIP room. The Penthouse btw is a great venue. More of a local place than a place for foreigners, but it feels like an ultracool NYC lounge with harbour views. Definitely cool.
The movie was entertaining. Donnie Yen in about 15 years will be talked about as the guy who brought brazilian wrestling and jujitsu into HK action cinema as his contribution to the Fu Cinema pantheon. The movie was plagued with editing and story problems, but the audience response seemed positive. These premieres are very funny at times. No one wants to say a harsh word and the tone is more often than not quite sugary. Then again, its important to be positive. I had a theater criticism class while I was studying abroad in London years ago where the prof and I would shoot the sh-t about art, theater, criticism, and how many pints we could each down in an afternoon sitting (yeah, he always won) after class. He was a younger very talented an prolific critic who liked my reviews for their supposed profundity despite my being mostly an actor at the time. He left me with an indelible thought which was that the process of playmaking or movie making is so intense, painful, and tedious at times that to rough up the show with a very poor review is to ignore the passion that went into a project. Yes, even action movies are made with passion. I took that to heart throughout my career and while I am critical at times of choices made in the filmmaking process (to which i mean technical and emotive choices), I love filmmaking, the theater, and all its processes, hi and lo.
Two funny things to mention: I was actually in the movie. Well briefly, I was asked to be a background extra in the opening scene months ago along with a bunch of friends, recruited on board by Weinstein Asia VP Bey Logan. When I got to the premiere I suddenly realized it was the same movie as the one my friend mentioned months ago that he was starring in. So that was rather funny. Hopefully I will get to work with Leung Wai in the future in a more prominent role. He's a fantastic person, very down to earth. We actually stopped by for Under the Bridge Spicey Crab (HK locals will know this famous restaurant) after the premiere, but before the afterparty, yummy.
I was reacquainted with Barbara Wong Chun Chun, writer-director of Wonder Women. I think she's a great person as well. Very intelligent and passionate about her work. We met a year ago at a birthday party and got to promising that we'd meet up and spin about work. Oddly enough when we saw each other again we both felt we had met each other before! Good thing. She's prepping for another movie and has promised to read through the scrīpts I have for the chinese market. I'd love to follow her around on set for the next one to see how a true indie director from Asia works. Definitely a kind and honest person I need to get to know better.
I just realized that I hinted at the nature of our business which definitely can be shallow and ego-centric, especially in Asia where stars are bred and processed (Syriana would never get a budget here). So its not surprising that I mentioned people i found attractive on a personal level since attractive on a superficial level is a dime and dozen in the movie business. After all, we're dreammakers. We tell stories and more often than not they are fantastical, but made with equal teaspoons of sweat, heart, and love.
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