Tag Archives: Asian

Pandora, Korean movie (2016)

It is really cool that Netflix is expanding their movie library with international movies as well these days. Being a great fan of Asian cinema, it is very nice to see that a growing number of these movies can now also be found on Netflix. A lot of disaster movies have been made throughout the years, and it is always a moviegenre that I enjoy watching a lot. Not because I like to see disasters happening. Just to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea, mind you. But it usually means that ordinary people are put into situations that let them become heroes. Browsing through the Netflix library I came across this movie that has just been added, and is both an Asian film as well as a disaster movie. Well, this is bound to be winning combination I would say. Let us find out if that is true or if this movie is erm, a disaster.

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Jae-Hyeok lives with his mother and some other family members in a small Korean town. Near this town is a nuclear plant, the same plant where his father lost his life as a employee a few years back. He is working there himself now, following in his father’s footsteps, but it being a very old plant, he is very worried about the conditions there. Ofcourse as is so often the case, nobody listens to him. Unfortunately mother nature strikes and an earthquake hits the town and the nuclear plant. It is not long thereafter that Jae-Hyeok finds himself in the middle of a nightmare. A large cloud of radiation has already been released, and there is a further disaster threatening in the form of a nuclear meltdown. With the lives of the entire Korean country hanging in the balance, some daring men must find a way to stop the meltdown. But time is running out, and with everyone who is helping getting more and more exposed to the radiation, certain doom seems almost unavoidable….

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Now this movie is ofcourse a very grim reminder of the Fukushima disaster that happened in Japan. When watching this movie, one can certainly imagine how horrid those conditions must have been in 2011. If there is one thing this movie does right, it is in showing how a disaster of this magnitude can cause a panic. I was very impressed by the way the crowds were filmed in this movie, that try to flee from the horrible radiation cloud that is coming down upon them. That said, the entire movie was shot very well, and has a very good mix of special effects and beautiful cinematography.

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The acting in this movie was pretty decent. Jae-Hyeok played by actor Kim Nam-gil, is a character that you instantly like, but I do have to say that most of the characters in this film lack depth. There is not much room for character development,which in a movie such as this is pretty important. Especially if you want to care about the people that are going through this horrible event. And ofcourse, this being a disaster movie, it is filled with the usual cliches. We get a government that is not listening despite certain warnings, and try to cover up things along the way. People that make heroic sacrifices, and ofcourse a few (at times overacted) tearful moments. Still, there is very little wrong with this movie. There is certainly enough tension throughout the film to keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie has a pretty good pace, and despite it having a length of over 2 hours long, I was not bored by it for a single moment. If you like disaster movies, you certainly might want to give this one a try.

I give Pandora a 7 out of 10 score.

Knights of Sidonia Season 2, Anime tv series (2015)

I watched the first season of Knights of Sidonia quite a while back. (You can find my review for it here). While the series started off pretty slow, and was definitely not without it’s flaws, it eventually started to grow on me. Now recently D from Dtalksanime has started on this show, and I thought this would be as good a time as any to start watching season 2. First though, if you have not yet subscribed to the fantastic blog of D, do that first. They have great reviews on anime, post that are always a joy to read, and not only that they are great to talk to, so seriously what is there not to like: subscribe….now. So for those of you who are not exactly up to speed as to what this series is about I will give a very short discription. Obviously this anime takes place in the future. Humanity is on the brink of extinction fighting an alien race called the Gauna. A gigantic colony ship called Sidonia, is pretty much all that remains of the human race. Think Battlestar Galactica, but with subtle differences.

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The second season of this anime continues the story that began in season 1, and picks up almost right after the end of the first season. Garde pilot Nagate Tanikaze is out with his group about to engage a new and gigantic Gauna, that threatens to destroy the Sidonia. But just when the fight is about to start a new enemy enters the scene. As if one Gauna is not enough, two are more than a handful. It is right at that moment that something strange happens. The second Gauna engages the first one, and destroys it completely. Utterly baffled by this strange behaviour, the crew of Sidonia don’t know what to make of this. Is this new Gauna friend or foe? The answer to this question lies within Sidonia itself, and might hold the key to winning the war against the Gauna once and for all.

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So…Knights of Sidonia season 2. Where to begin? The first season of this anime was often criticised for it’s lack of character development. You never quite felt an emotional attachment to them, and that makes it hard to get invested in a series. With this second season it almost seems like they are trying to remedy that flaw, as the series spents much more time with the characters themselves, and focusses less on action. This would not be a bad thing were it not for the fact that this often resulted in a few pretty boring episodes, where not much of anything happened. I don’t mind slow, if it is going somewhere, but often there were just some things in the series that I felt could have been left behind.

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The series shines in the episodes that featured action, and it was during those episodes that I really enjoyed it. There were a couple of very cool Mecha fight sequences, especially during the last few episodes of the series. In the end though I found this second season not quite as good as the first one. The pacing was at times simply to slow, and I felt my mind starting to wander off, which is usually not a good sign. I had hoped that this season would answer every question that was still left unanswered, but the series ends without a resolution. There is still no official confirmation that this series will get a third season. But I honestly wonder if I will even bother watching it when it does get a release. I was pretty disappointed by this second season. Still, there are enough moments that do make it a worthwhile watch, especially if you liked the first season. Just be prepared to not see anything really surprising though.

I give Knights of Sidonia season 2 a 6 out of 10 score.

Blood-C, Anime tv series (2011)

I think horror can roughly be categorised into two parts: psychological horror, and the often not very subtle gory horror. I like both genres, it often depends a bit on my mood, but I do have to say that I am more of psychological horror fan myself. It is usually more scary as well, and I do love the jumpscares that are almost always included within those movies. That said, there are also a lot of horrorfilms out there, that have buckets of blood in them, and are very enjoyable in their own way. In Anime enough examples can be found that contain enormous amounts of graphic violence and gore. But I don’t think there has ever been a title that described better what the show is about than Blood-C.

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Blood-C tells the story of the young girl Saya. At first glance she seems like a pretty normal girl who lives with her father in a shrine in the woods. She goes to school during the day, and occasionally visits the small town located near her home. But as is so often the case, things are not always what they seem. Because during the night, Saya transforms into a fearsome monster slayer. Fighting creatures called Elder Bairns, the only one who knows about this side of Saya is her father. But when the attacks become more frequent, and the lives of everyone in town are threatened, Saya’s secret is becoming increasingly harder to protect. But just who is Saya? With strange memories beginning to surface in her mind, Saya is beginning to wonder if everything that she had been told is really the truth. The real horror might be more than Saya can handle….

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To say that Blood-C is gory, is an understatement. This series contains more blood than 10 horrorfilms mixed together. Literally entire fountains of the red substance are shown in every episode. It contains absolutely incredibly graphic and violent death sequences, and as such is not for the faint of heart. Blood-C is a follow up to the (pretty amazing) anime movie Blood: the last Vampire, which in turn was followed by the series Blood+. Now as you might have guessed, this series is not very subtle. Every episode is basically Saya fighting some kind of new creature, and as such a storyline is almost non-existent. I do say almost, because a very interesting twist in the story that occurs during episode 11, saves it from becoming a really predictable show.

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As for the characters in the series, they are very forgettable. Except for Saya, the rest of the cast in this series is very dull, and contain little to no depth at all. This also makes it hard to become attached to characters, and even when they die (and there are a lot of deaths in this anime), you could not care less. The animation style is very good though. The fight sequences, which are the highlights of the show, are cool and amazing to look at. The last thing worth mentioning is the musical score, which sounds epic, especially during the many fights that Saya gets into.

Now, I don’t know exactly why, but there was something about this series that I liked. Yes, it is bloody, and basically every episode is more or less the same, but the series is just very easy to get into and highly enjoyable to look at. If you get put off easily by graphic violence or squeamish at the sight of one drop of blood, you had best avoid this series. When you like action, gory horror, and don’t care if the story is almost not here, you might give this one a try. There will be blood though….oh yes…

I give Blood-C a 7 out of 10 score.

The Stolen Years, Chinese movie (2013)

What does it mean to truly love someone? I think the real test of love might be standing by your partner, no matter what happens. To not only be there when things are fun and games, but to also stand by someone’s side when things might take a turn for the worse. Some people might go into a relationship not really expecting anything to happen, to think everything will always be the same. But what happens when the person you love, turns into someone completely different. Would you still remain by his or her side? In the movie The Stolen Years, it is this premise that is the heart of this movie.

He Mann is a woman who is happily married to the true love of her life Xie Yu. All seems to be going well, but then tragedy strikes. After a terrible accident He Mann wakes up in a hospital only to find out that her memory is partially gone. All she remembers is her love for Xie Yu, but then she finds out that the both of them have been divorced for quite some time. Not knowing what happened she eventually turns to her former husband, who has since moved on with a new girlfriend. However, it turns out that not all of his feelings for his ex wife have disappeared. Will the former two lovers be reunited, or is time running out?

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Now for those of you that have been following my blog for quite some time, you know that I am an enormous lover of Asian cinema. As such I am open to pretty much everything, be it martial arts, or a drama movie. This movie was recommended to me by a very good friend of mine (you know who you are), and I am glad that she did. This movie isn’t perfect, and honestly won’t win any movie of the year awards. But what it does do right, is quite a lot. A movie such as this can only work when there is a chemistry between the two leads. And that chemistry is definitely there between the two actors Bai Baihe and Joseph Chang. Both of them play their roles very well and deserve a high amount of praise.

I won’t lie to you, this movie can only be classified as a tearjerker. At the end of the movie things become really sad and quite depressive. However the strength of the story is what saves it from ultimately becoming too heavy. It will make you think a lot about what you would do when someone you love more than life itself becomes ill, or even changes from the person who you once knew. I think everyone would probably react differently were such a situation ever to arise, but I think what it all comes down to in the end, is that love can pretty much conquer everything. This might sound like an incredible cliche, but I do like to believe that this is usually the case.

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As I said in the beginning this movie isn’t perfect. Certain scenes feel just a bit too dramatic for their own good, and a strange musical scene towards the end of the movie feels a little awkward. All in all though, this movie is well worth watching, even though I would probably keep a box of tissues right next to you. You might need them. If you are a fan of Asian cinema, decent acting, and a strong story, you might want to check this one out. If the thought of a lovestory or tearjerkers makes you want to run away, than this movie will not change your opinion on that, and you had best avoid it.

I give The Stolen Years a 8 out of 10 score.