Murder, they wrote

By Lance Crayon Source:Global Times Published: 2012-9-27 19:50:04


Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) stars with Bruce Willis in Looper. Photo: CFP
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) stars with Bruce Willis in Looper. Photo: CFP

The October 1 National Day holiday ushers in three new films poised to keep cinemagoers entertained during the break. The Assassins, Double Xposure, and Looper all hit the Chinese big screen this weekend ahead of a Golden Week that is shaping up to be one of the best at the domestic box office in recent years.

The Assassins is the feature film debut of Chinese director Zhao Linshan, who hails from Changchun, Jilin Province. The film is an ideal pick for anyone interested in ancient China and its ruling warlords.

The historical drama stars legendary Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat in the role of Cao Cao, a famous Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) ruler who evaded many assassination attempts on his life.

The story centers on Mu Shun (Tamaki Hiroshi) and Ling Ju (Liu Yifei), two young soldiers who have completed five years of training at a prisoner of war camp to become assassins. The duo embarks on a covert mission, which could change the course of Chinese history.

The film premiered at the 11th Changchun Film Festival and impressed audiences with its accuracy and attention to historical details, both in terms of story and costumes.

Another new Chinese blockbuster released this weekend is Double Xposure, the fifth film from director and former China Central Television journalist Li Yu. Her other films include Lost in Beijing (2007) and box office indie hit Buddha Mountain (2010). Li's latest film sees her team up for the third time with actress Fan Bingbing. The legendary Joan Chen also stars in the thriller, marking her debut in a Li-directed film.

The film focuses on wealthy image consultant Song Qi (Fan), who discovers her boyfriend Liu Dong (Feng Shaofeng) is having an affair with her best friend Xiao Xi (Huo Siyan).  In a moment of rage and jealousy, Song murders her best friend, setting off an intriguing tale of treachery and deceit. 

Throughout the course of the story, Song is faced with a number challenges that force her to confront her past and present life.

The film's production budget was the largest director Li had ever worked with, and the film's shooting locations spanned all corners of China including the autonomous regions of Guangxi and Xinjiang, provinces of Shandong, Henan, Hebei and the nation's capital Beijing.

Overall, the film is a taught psychological thriller in the same vein as Body Heat (1981), Fatal Attraction (1987) and older movies from the noir period of US cinema.

Flying the flag for Hollywood this holiday is Looper, a sci-fi time traveling suspense thriller starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who play the same character albeit at different ages.

The film premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival and is the latest offering from director Rian Johnson, who made his feature debut with award-winning thriller Brick (2005), which also starred Gordon-Levitt. 

The plot for Johnson's latest flick follows the two hit men, known as "loopers," who have very different goals but a shared modus operandi: traveling back in time for the purpose of killing someone.

Gordon-Levitt plays young Joe, a hit man with aspirations of leaving his dangerous business.

One day Joe learns all the "loops," or gateways that allow people to journey to the past, are closing, which prompts older "loopers" to travel back in time to eliminate their younger selves.

Young Joe and his older self (Willis) cross paths, but learn they have different goals. Young Joe wants to kill old Joe, and old Joe wants to kill a guy, known ominously as The Rainmaker, destined to murder his wife.

Looper is Johnson's first film to be screened in China, a milestone that might have something to do with the fact some of it was shot in Shanghai.

Its original script written by the director will only continue to solidify his reputation as a rising auteur in American cinema. 

Posted in: Film, Metro Beijing

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