the great challenge

Julien Seri, the director of Yamasaki – les samourai des temps modernes which is not much of a samurai film is back with Les Fils du vent – The Great Challenge, which sounds like a straight-to-dvd number about a group of guys who jump around the outsides of buildings for a kick and get into serious trouble while slumming it in Bangkok.

I would explain the plot, but it would immediately expose a series of seemingly contrived plot devices in order to get the Yamikasi (the young troupe of French acrobatic building jumpers) to Bangkok, and into, well a whole heap load of trouble. But this film should not be analyzed in such a manner. Whilst puncturing your cornea with highly graded, much stylized Manga – esque images, Mr Seri has evidently immersed himself in Asian contemporary comic book and film culture, and the essence of marshal arts. Brief moments of spiritual enlightenment, racial tension and a love for one of the most exotically beautiful women to grace our screens in a long while (look out for Elodie Yung) puncture blistering scenes of fights a top bamboo scaffolded buildings, grim darkened steel warehouses, and a breath taking final denouement of ridiculous scale. Without a computer generated figure in sight. This is one for DVD replay buttons as mind boggling stunts are brushed aside with yet more bone crushing jumps, spins and kicks.

asian horror in hollywood

When it comes to really disturbing horror films, with the exception of visceral nightmares like The Shining and The Exorcist, Hollywood really doesn’t know how to traumatise its audience enough to need counseling, confusing screaming Boo! in the audience’s collective ear with instilling a bodily revulsion. Along with masterpieces of body-horror like Cronenburg’s early films, Shivers and Rabid, the last few years have seen some truly upsetting and revolting works to come out of asia. The Age looks at this new wave of asian horror, which like the early 90s genius of Hong Kong martial arts and action films are currently fueling Hollywoods rapacious and creatively vacuous and desperate remake industry.

The key success factor is the creep factor of the films themselves. Creepy and successful enough, in fact, that many Hollywood studios are now buying up remake rights of the hits. Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake of Nakata’s Ring grossed more than $US128 million. A sequel is already on the way. (It’s an interesting point that, aside from the classic trilogy that includes Nakata’s original film and sequel, there is – at least – a Korean remake of the original titled Ring Virus, and Rasen: The Spiral, the original sequel that debuted in Japan with the first of Nakata’s films.)

Expect to also see a Dreamworks remake of Korean ghost movie A Tale of Two Sisters; a remake of The Eye from Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s production house; the Disney-linked Pandemonium Films’ remake of Nakata’s Dark Water; and Wes Craven’s take on Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse.

Other films may also be on their way. The rights to Nakata’s Don’t Look Up were bought by South African producer Anant Singh, and United Artists is in talks to acquire the remake rights to Kurosawa’s Cure, to be produced by Michael Stipe and Sandy Stern’s Single Cell Productions.

Ju-on: The Grudge is also being remade, although this film in particular seems to be sticking to its Asian beginnings, with the original director and at least two of its stars on board.