The latest issue of the Dallas-based bimonthly fanzine Hong Kong Film Connection (which only recently went national) is on sale now at an independent or Asian-owned video store near you, and it includes plenty of thoughtful, well-researched articles worth mentioning here. They include a wrapup of 1994 Hong Kong box-office figures (contradicting conventional wisdom about how Hollywood rules the planet, eight of the top 10 money winners were made in the Free City); an interview with master thespian and bad-ass martial arts superheroine Michelle Yeoh; an exhaustive analysis of the career of popular comedian Stephen Chiau; and an informative feature about superlow-budget filmmaking in Hong Kong.
The publication's editor, Clyde Gentry, contributes an interesting piece about action star Jackie Chan's recent deal with New Line Cinema, which has arranged to distribute the diminutive superhero's most recent effort (a martial arts adventure called Rumble in the Bronx, even though it was filmed in Vancouver) as well as his next three pictures. There's some concern among HK cinema buffs that the American distributor may insist on dubbing Bronx and excising some of the broad, farcical comedy from Chan's subsequent movies to make them more palatable for American audiences. Let's hope New Line resists the temptation to fix what isn't broken, and decides to let Jackie be Jackie. The results could surprise them.
Speaking of Chan, the semi-regular local Chinese movie series has changed locations again, this time to the AMC Glen Lakes at 9450 North Central Expressway. This weekend's inaugural feature is the film that catapulted Jackie Chan to international stardom, the original Drunken Master, released in 1978.
If you enjoyed the sequel, which played at the late, lamented Promenade last year to packed crowds, you'll enjoy this one as well. Chan once again plays his alcohol-fueled fighting machine of a title character, and although the picture is considerably harder-edged than its follow-up (or most of Chan's movies, for that matter), you can see the star already shifting his technique from Bruce Lee posing to one that favors sunny, upbeat, slapstick-inflected action gags. It's rare that Dallas moviegoers get the chance to see an early Chan effort in a good-quality, widescreen, stereo print, so don't miss this one. It plays Friday and Saturday at 10 pm and midnight. Tickets are $6.50.
--Matt Zoller Seitz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.