No Blood No Tears: Teaching Guy Ritchie a Thing or Two.

No Blood No Tears (Pido nunmuldo eobshi) is co-written and directed by Seung-wan Ryoo. The same director who brought us the brilliant films Arahan and Crying Fist. Ryoo has directed ten films so far and judging from his work on the three films I’ve mentioned, I am desperate to see more of his films.

The plot of No Blood No Tears revolves around two female characters.  Su-ji played by Do-yeon Jeon who is a “wanna be” popstar whose boyfriend is a homicidal monster and Kyeong-seon played by Hye-yeong Lee  is the reluctant, “hard as nails” female gangster whose dead husband’s gambling debts have forced her to take on ‘real’ work as a cab driver. Kyeong-seon is also trying to go straight, when she was younger she was a safe-cracker and has no wish to go back to prison. The two females literally bump into each other at the beginning of the film with Su-ji driving straight into the side of Kyeong-seon’s cab.  The two women have nothing in common and due to the strained circumstances of their meeting, don’t look like they will bond at all. But fate is a funny thing and it turns out that they both need money. Lots of money.

Su-ji needs the cash to get away from her cruel boyfriend and to get the plastic surgery she needs to pursue her career. Kyeong-seon needs the money to pay off the loan shark her dead husband owes money to. Since neither woman can achieve what they need alone, Su-ji suggests they team up to steal what they need from her boyfriends club.

Su-ji’s ‘terminator’ style boyfriend’s club  specializes in illegal dog-fights. The club is making money hand over fist. The two girls work on a plan that will allow them to enter the club unnoticed, switch the duffle bag that is used to transport the nights takings to the mob with a bag filled with newspaper. The plan looks like a ‘shoe-in’ except for one  problem the two girls are not the only folks who have decided to help themselves to some of the clubs money. Two other groups  have also picked the same night as Su-ji and Kyeong-seon.

This film is a very above average heist film. The pacing is taut and the action is ferocious. The film also has it’s fair share of funny moments as well.  The director has used  his “regular”- Seung-beom Ryu – Arahan and Crying Fist, again for his first class comic acting that we’ve seen in Arahan. Goo Shin plays KGB, the scary, cruel, and seemingly indestructible boyfriend of Ju-ji.

The divergent groups clash, intertwine and double cross each other. It can get a little confusing if you haven’t been paying attention. During the middle of the film it becomes a case of ‘Bag, Bag, who’s got the Bag?’ With the amount of times that the cash filled duffle bag changes hands, you can get lost in the shuffle. There is a lot of brilliant wire work, and the fights scenes have been choreographed brilliantly. The cinematography is spot-on, with a sharp ‘drabness’ that shows what kind of world these people inhabit.

I enjoyed this film very much, so much so, that after I’d finished watching it I immediately started looking to see if there had been a sequel. Everyone in the film gave an outstanding performance. If you want to see what films like Snatch and Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel  could have been, watch this film. Don’t get me wrong, I adore LSSB…a lot. But After watching this film I realized it could have been even better.

Final Destination 5…Don’t bother


Final Destination 5
Final Destination 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a huge fan of the Final Destination films since the first one. The mix of gory deaths and cheeky humour was able to make me laugh and groan at the same time. I will readily admit that I own all the films on DVD. But I have got to say the quality of the films has depreciated with each new sequel.Yes I know that is going to happen whenever any film gets turned into a franchise. Although I believe firmly that the Scream films are the exception to this rule and of course The Godfather  films also are the exception. And anything after Terminator 2 is just ______ (fill in with the expletive of your choice).

Now we have Final Destination 5 in  3D yet. When I first watched it, I felt the digital FX really let it down. Then I realised I was watching the blu-ray version and not the 3D one. All right, I thought, we’ll give that problem a miss as I’m guessing it looked much better when wearing the glasses. But that was not all that was wrong with the film.

Before I have a moan about the film, I would like to say that the highlight was seeing the cameo by that always impressive actor Tony Todd. I’ve loved this man’s performance’s ever since I watched him terrorise Virginia Madsen in Candyman.  On a side note, watching that film made me solemnly vow to never look into a mirror and say Candyman three times. *shudder* Unfortunately having Tony Todd in the film (and it is a shame we couldn’t have seen more of him) did not help save it from being a huge disappointment.

English: American actor Tony Todd at the 2003 ...
English: American actor Tony Todd at the 2003 Motor City Comic Con. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mbig complaint about the film was the loss of the tongue-in-cheek way that fate (or death) checked each character out. All the prior films had a beautiful sort of irony in the way each person died. Unfortunately it appears that the producers just wanted to increase the gore factor. I can imagine them sitting around a big board room table. “Okay guys, we’re going to make one more Final Destination.” Much groaning from the table members. “I know. I know. We said that the previous Final Destination was going to be the final one. But hey, with the advances made in 3D on Avatar, we can really make this one rock!”

So in my mind, I think they were a bit too much in love with the idea of 3D. Nice idea guys but sloppy execution (get it?).  On a final note, this was the only Final Destination I bought in blu-ray and it will be the first blu-ray that I take to trade in for a better film. Well, it is the first one, if you don’t count the blu-ray copy of Twilight that I unsuccessfully kept trying to trade in. No one wanted it because it had a “scratch” on it. I think they were lying like a cheap watch. They just did not want a copy of a DVD they couldn’t get rid of.

Damn, I hope I don’t have the same problem with Final Destination 5!

Name dropping, pt 3


I had been on leave back in England visiting with my in-laws. When I returned to work, a friend from AFN had been by the office looking for me. I called him to find out what he wanted. “While you were gone they were auditioning for another film. Give em a call, you might still get an audition.” I thanked him and immediately rang the number.The number was to a production company in Amsterdam. They had indeed been holding “cattle-call” auditions for a feature filmwhile I was on leave. I couldn’t get to Amsterdam quickly enough, so they arranged to come see me at my home. Thus began what is still one of the most surreal experiences that I have had to date.The camera van pulled up in front of my row house in Leusden. The lady who was going to conduct the “audition” which was really more like a filmed interview, brought all the equipment and crew into my house. As they set everything up I felt as though I had somehow fallen into a Twilight Zone episode. While the interview was being conducted my Dutch and Americanneighbours kept walking past my house and glancing curiously in the front window. I cannot stress how unreal this whole situation was. I was being treated almost like a celebrity and it was slightly blowing my mind. Even as I look back today on this interview/audition it feels surreal.While packing up their things the interviewer said that they would be in touch very soon as time for casting the film was running out. As they drove off I said to my wife very matter-of-factly that we would never hear from them again. In this instance, I was wrong. Two weeks to the day they called me. They wanted me to go with the other ‘short listed’ actors to meet the producer of the film.

Excitedly driving to Amsterdam, I managed to not violate the speed laws despite my nervous excitement.  I arrived early and was immediately ushered in to meet the producer. I am ashamed to admit that to this day I cannot remember his name. I do remember he was tall, large and despite being jet-lagged full of good humour.

Cover of "The Company of Wolves (1985) [B...
Cover of The Company of Wolves (1985) [Blu-ray]
He explained that the film was to be directed by the chap who was assistant director on The Company of Wolves. Another name I cannot for the life of me remember. The part I would be playing was going to be in the entire film and I would be one of the last cast members to be killed off. My character was  a “computer geek” who would be shot right between the eyes towards the end of the film.The producer said that as far as he was concerned I had the part. Shooting would begin in a few weeks time in and around Amsterdam. The entire shoot would last for six to eight weeks. He expressed  concerns about my having problems getting time away from the USAFand how they would react to the film’s theme.I need to explain here that the film was a little bit anti-military. The plot had to do with a nuclear shelter and some sort of stress test for the military members inside it. It did not put the military in a positive light. I could have cared less. This was the kind of part I had dreamed of. Not only would my character have been critical to the film, but I got killed!!! Shot right between the eyes yet! I was over the moon.

The producer then said I would have a camera test (he stressed repeatedly that this was not a screen test as I had the part already) with the director in a couple of weeks time. This would coincide with make-up tests and costume fittings. He asked me to leave my phone number with him and I would be told where to go and when.

Three weeks went by with no word. I decided to call the company who had come out for my “audition.” When I finally got through it was to hear the depressing news that funding for the project had fallen through. The green light had gone red.

Another Blog??

So, here I go. Opening up yet another blogging format. First I just had to try Blogger. Then I had to try Tumblr. Now I am trying WordPress. Why. Do I have a lot to say? Do I have  a lot of ideas rumbling around in my head? Do I feel I have something special to offer anyone who reads these blogs? And of course  most importantly; do I think anyone will even want to read my musings?

Well the answers are: yes, yes, maybe, and I don’t know. I do know that I feel like I have to make up for lost time. I spent a lot of years wanting to write about everything and anything. But writing requires a certain amount of discipline and solitude. Although I will admit that  solitude  is not the most important, I am discovering that with  discipline, I can write just about anywhere. I cannot write “longhand,” so it is a case of “have laptop, will write.” I know it’s not as catchy as “Have gun, will travel” but I can live with that.

The hardest thing to come up with was a title for my many different blogs.  I started with Random Thoughts for a Random World for both my other blogs. Because they are, in essence, the same blog. So far I have been satisfied with writing something on Blogger and then just copying it onto Tumblr. I feel that I can reach twice the amount of people that way.

I think that my WordPress blog will keep the moniker of MikesFilmTalk, mainly so I force myself to write something a bit different from the other blogs. I think I will probably write about films and film related things here just to make things a bit more diverse.

So hello WordPress, let’s see how we get on together. Oh, and I’ll make a small confession. The first film “review” I put on here will be one (like Blue Peter) that I did earlier.