Monday, May 19, 2008

Is a trend starting?

After these last few months, I have noticed a dramatic increase in Asian stars entering the US scene. It has started with The Forbidden Kingdom, where a large group of amazing Chinese actors worked to bring a traditional story to new people. I'm referring to the tale of the Monkey King, of course here. Next came Rain in Speed Racer, breaking into Hollywood for the first time along side veteran actor Hiroyuki Sanada (who also acted in Rush Hour 3). Now, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is getting ready to come out in August featuring another great Asian cast consisting of Michelle Yeoh, Isabella Leong, and Jet Li. I just posted about Bunraku, in which J-rocker Gackt gets a chance to showcase himself to the English speaking world as well. I'm hoping this is a trend that spreads and increases enough that it is not just a passing fad. Maybe with more dual country actors and actresses, they will see fit to cast them in roles that don't necessarily require they be Asian and eventually we might see some of the great Asian movies released here with sub-titles instead of re-making them. The more exposure these great Asian artists get, the better. (Even if they publish articles about them with the wrong picture...)


I have been a fan of Gackt-sama for over 5 years now. I randomly found his music online and bought all of his albums. I love his voice, how unconventional he is, and I think he is very handsome. So, imagine my excitement when I found out that he will be staring in a Hollywood movie! It is called Bunraku and he will be staring alongside Josh Hartnet. I will anxiously await this movie despite that fact. Josh is from Minnesota - like me- but has a bad reputation. I know people who know him and from what I heard he just isn't someone I can respect. I do not care for any of the roles he has played over the years either. I don't know if Gackt is speaking Japanese or English in this movie, but I will be curious either way. When he said a few lines in Moon Child in English I had to re-wind the movie and listen again because it was so heavily accented that I thought he was still speaking in Japanese. Maybe he, like Rain, has been practicing and will sound great! How exciting!

Beyond Excited.

I have always had a very strong interest in other cultures. Before my vast interest in Asian cultures, I had a passion for Egypt. And therefore, when my favorite American actor stared in The Mummy, I was in heaven. I the entire script memorized (yes the Arabic too.) I saw The Mummy Returns about 5-6 times in the movie theaters, and skipped school with my big-brother to see the first showing in my town. So, imagine my excitement when considering the fact that these to passions are going to collide this August? Brendan Fraser AND Jet Li? In one movie? It gets even better when I consider that Michelle Yeoh (an amazing actress who has made a good name for herself here in the states on top of in Asian films) and Isabella Leong are going to be in it too. I can't wait for this movie to come out. I will be biased, obviously, but I doubt there is too much that can happen in it that would make me not like it. I know that since Jet Li is in it, they will keep to tradition and truth at least a believable amount. I hate when shows play to stereotypes of Asia and make movies cheap and sad. I bet with Jet in this movie they have to watch their toes. He gives off the impression that he demands the best, and is proud of his country and wouldn't let them get away with too much crap. So, this August plan to head to the theaters for a fun action-adventure, you can be sure I'll see it opening day!

By the way - the only thing that will upset me in this movie, is Rachel's refusal to reprise her roll as Evie. I will really miss her, as I don't care for the actress that is actually playing her.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


is why I love Jackie Chan. As soon as he heard the news about the horrifying earthquake in central China he rallied and got an amazing donation ready. He had been working on an anti-piracy campaign in Beijing and dropped everything to get money to the people in the hardest hit areas of China. Together with Albert Yeung he donated 10 million yuan! (approximately a million and half dollars) I love that he is so giving and caring despite being the biggest star in China. And whenever there is bad press about him, he does his best to fix the problem and make sure that his side of the story is heard. I hope he never changes that about himself. (He COULD change his glasses - those are worse that Rain's!)

Note: This picture is from his official site, and if you want to help the Chinese and donate to the relief fund you can do so right here on his site. Be sure to select China Earthquake Fund from the drop down menu!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spoiler Alert: Speed Racer

Ok, so I'm just getting home after being one of the only dorks at the movie theater for the first showing of Speed Racer. Rain was awesome. If you don't want any spoilers DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER than this. ((or if you don't want a fan-girls opinion))

"Justice - that's a commodity I don't waste my money on." Totally my favorite line from the flick. At least as far as Rain is concerned. I was totally devastated by his first scene - all bloodied and sad looking! I'm pretty sure I was the ONLY person in the theater who even knew who Rain was. I had a few major girlie fan moments where I giggled (Rain? in a dress?) or even squealed/gasped at what happened. As far as his acting goes, I will say he did very well. Not his best though - that remains with his role as Il-Soon in "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK." He was very real and sincere in that role and I loved it. As Taejo Togokahn he was good. His English has gotten better since the filming of Speed Racer, and some of his lines are pretty heavily accented. His fight choreography was perfect though. We got to see some of his less "intense" faces towards the end of the movie, where his fun side showed through. All in all - a good performance. And, I was slightly surprised that when the credits rolled, they ended up using Rain as his name. There was lots of speculation on whether he would be credited as Ji-hoon Jung or Rain. Guess he stuck with his stage name. Either way, he was good, and I loved the movie. I admit, that in scenes with him in them, I searched for him, even when the camera was following the action somewhere else. Emile did a great job as Speed Racer, and I was thoroughly entertained by the movie as a whole. I was pretty into the action and was never really sure where the races would end up. Even if you aren't a big Rain fan, you should check it out. My ONLY beef with the film really is, that it to tell what country Taejo was REALLY from. I know that Rain had a hand in making the character/car/racing suit seem Korean but Togokahn SOUNDS Japanese and the sister and father didn't appear to be Korean or have Korean names. And they designed a lot of the background sets and music to seem Chinese during his scenes "at home." So, it's hard to pin down what nationality Taejo Togokahn actually is. Perhaps that was intentional, but I know that Korean fans are already upset that Rain was called Japanese by a journalist, and I hope that they don't get upset by the indecisive nationality of the character. I still loved the movie, and might actually see it more than once in theaters. (I very rarely do that with a movie - last time was The Mummy Returns and I think I saw that a crazy 3-5 times.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Opening and Closing

One country is ready to open it's doors, while another fights to get them closed. Japan is passing a new law that will make it easier to get a long-term visa for certain professionals and people that have a high level of Japanese language proficiency. The hope is that they will be able to increase the number of foreigners that come into the country based on current economic and cultural trends. (ie: the lack of births happening recently in Japan.)

South Korea, on the other hand, is fighting against their own government to close the door in the face of the United States. Not all of it, however. The South Korean government has made moves to re-open trade of United States beef, after it banned the importation of it in 2003 after mad-cow disease struck the US. The general public of S. Korea is protesting against this change, over irrational fear that this will cause unnecessary grief and illness to the people of South Korea. The U.S. government is starting to get involved and are releasing statements on the strict health codes that beef must go through internationally. While the S. Korean government is trying to get the people on their side. The entire incident threatens to create anti-American feelings in much of the country.