Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Vern rules. If you don’t know that by now, then here’s your chance to figure out why.
I know you ran a couple reviews of THE TOUCH starring Michelle Yeoh before, but I thought I’d throw in too. I mean look harry you and I go way back, just give me another chance to commune with those talkbackers you got. I’ve been practicing and I think I can win em over this time. The secret is not to mention that I’m an award winning Writer and then I really think those fuckers might take a shine to me. Don’t print that part harry, thanks bud.
In case you don’t keep up on this type of crap, THE TOUCH is the movie Michelle Yeoh decided to produce and star in after the success of Outlaw Award Winner CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. The skipper this time around is Peter Pau, in his directational debut. That’s what got me interested because I love Peter Pau, the cinematographist who won an Oscar for CROUCHING TIGER and is widely acclaimed for his work on such BRIDE films as WITH WHITE HAIR and OF CHUCKY.
This guy knows his photography, in my opinion, especially when he’s working with Ronny Yu. He’s great for all that operatic chinese mythology business but he can apply it to other works too. He really made those puppets look good in the Chucky picture, for example, and he did the same for talking kung fu kangaroos in WARRIORS OF VIRTUE (which by the way was probaly the first american movie with extensive “wire fu.” In my opinion, 1997 is before THE MATRIX). I am also a fan of Mr. Pau’s work on DOUBLE TEAM, the best of the Van Damme/Hark surrealist series.
Well in THE TOUCH Mr. Pau finds himself photographing a story about a family of circus acrobats (Michelle Yeoh, others) who do a glitzy, Las Vegas style show called The Touch. At first I was kind of thrown off to see the logo of the movie inside the movie, like it was some product placement error with the potential to cause an eternal consumer feedback loop (must see The Touch – am already seeing The Touch – must see The Touch). But no, it’s the name of the circus show within the movie. Don’t be stupid.
Well meanwhile there is a Generic British Villain who just got himself a valuable relic carved by Tibetan monks, that will lead to some other monk related relic that will make him powerful, etc. The thief who got this relic for him (Ben Chaplin) decides to steal it back and bring it to his old friends the circus performers who, it turns out, raised him, which is why he can do John-Saxon-in-ENTER-THE-DRAGON-style kung fu. Also it turns out this family was destined to protect the artifact anyway. Long story short, it’s Michelle Yeoh and friends vs. British Villain and henchmen to track down this magical thing made out of monk ashes. So sort of a contemporary buddhist Indiana Jones with kung fu.
By the way I didn’t catch what city this all takes place in, but it’s some part of Asia where everybody prefers to speak english.
I agree with your other reviewers in most departments. The script is pretty generic. The comedic dialogue teeters between almost embarassing and mildly amusing. The over reliance on green screen/digital type effects takes away some of the ol’ sense of danger.
Still, I thought this was a SLIGHTLY above average movie. I never got bored. Michelle Yeoh is always fun to watch, and she has several good fights. She doesn’t act quite as well in English but she’s not bad. And she gets to do the patented Michelle Yeoh Bitch Slap where a guy sneaks up behind her and she kicks him in the face over her own shoulder.
The other reason is Mr. Pau’s photographicry. He’s the director of photography here as well as the director of everything besides photography, so there are many gorgeous shots in the movie. He’ll have some normal shot that you could use stock footage for, like an airplane in the clouds, and make it look incredible. I especially liked all the lights inside the temple and the gigantic ceremony during the epilogue. There are a lot of Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies getting shipped over here that may be better movies overall, but at least this one excels in the visual department. Give it credit for that. Movies are a visual medium, in my opinion. That’s why you watch them.
If Miramax keeps stalling on releasing this one I can understand why. It’s not going to live up to anybody’s CROUCHING TIGER comparisons, and it’s not that much better than if she had just done an American production. But more than that it is hard to Miramax a movie like this. How do you dub a movie into English when it’s already in English? How do you retitle a movie to be more boring and generic when it’s already called THE TOUCH? And how do you cut out half an hour when it’s just over 90 minutes? It might take years of board meetings for those geniuses to surmount these challenges.
I’ll save them the trouble. Here’s how to piss all over this one, Miramax style. I recommend changing the title to GET YOUR TOUCH ON, redubbing Michelle Yeoh’s voice with Jennifer Love Hewitt (in Mandarin) and splicing in Orlando Jones or somebody reacting to the fight scenes the way Rudy Ray Moore did in SHAOLIN DOLEMITE.
Anyway I guess Miramax is already talking about financing a sequel. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Ms. Yeoh and Mr. Chaplin make a pretty good team of buddhist relic hunters. I’m sure they could have another adventure that would turn out better. Ms. Yeoh is more believable jumping around than he is though so I think she should strap Chaplin to her back for the next one.
good luck Miramax
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/13957
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Dec. 2, 2002, 8:19 a.m. CST
Yep, Vern’s the greatest.
Best and funniest damn reviewer on the web, IMO. ‘Specially funny here at AICN where so many of the dorks take him literally. Just need a better web host, Vern– try Tripod UK– you get unlimited bandwidth. Hell, if you have a good ISP, you might be better off using the web hosting they usually offer as part of their service.
Dec. 2, 2002, 8:52 a.m. CST
Award winning? Photographicry?
by Chilli Kramer
Is Vern f***ing with us? I’d say, yeah, he is. Good review Vern, although I doubt I’ll see this unless there really isn’t anything much in the Video store.
Dec. 2, 2002, 12:04 p.m. CST
vern is funny
by Lord Shatner
He should do weekly updates when Buzz Maverik is on vacation
Dec. 2, 2002, 5:28 p.m. CST
You’ve got The Touch …
You’ve got the power!
Dec. 2, 2002, 9:10 p.m. CST
Vern is talking bollox…
by The Idiocy Virus
I have seen this film, and although “I am not an award winning writer” (sic) I can assure you all it does nothing to lift the Asian industry tp anything much past parody or formulaic.
I read that they were going to spend more on “Touching” up the CGI which is nothing short of college-grade…I wrote a review of this under my nom-de-plume, and I can tell you here in HK it’s considered mah-mah-day (less than so-so) Shame really as I like Michelle Yeoh.
In fact if anyone has a VCD of the excellent Korean mystic-school-Fu, it has a “touch” behind the scenes tour…more interesting than the film.
Big buzz here is on “Hero”…this is going to take the roof off…
Dec. 2, 2002, 9:12 p.m. CST
by The Idiocy Virus
Sorry the Korean film is “Volcano High” and is 5 times the movie “Touch” is….
Dec. 2, 2002, 9:37 p.m. CST
Ben Chaplin was Raised by Circus Performers?…
This…explains so much….
Dec. 2, 2002, 9:39 p.m. CST
Michelle Yeoh can touch me anytime : )
Sorry, someone had to say it. New York Kid, I totally agree.I was really happy when she became a bond girl. And was thrilled with the good reviews for C.T.H.D. I wish she would get more good roles in American movies, but she won’t. Here’s why. First, there are not many decent roles for women period. Second, she is Asian. I hate to say it. It embarrases me to say it. I love her, I love to see her act. Would love to see her naked on top of me….Sorry, I digress. Lucy Liu has the only role an Asian woman can play in hollywood that will make money for a studio. They think no-one wants to see them, other than me. Besides Michelle Yeoh, and Lucy Liu, are there any Asian actresses out there who have had a big part, and gotten another role that was as good after that? Nope. Maybe Kelly Hu, but her time in X2 is going to be limited. There are minor stars, Maggie Chen, Linda Park, Ming Na Wen, Tamlin Tomita, Sandra Oh, and if you count “Very Bad Things” Kobe Tai. I know, I have all of these actresses on a looped tape that plays 24 hours a day. (Kdoc needs a girlfriend, can somboday arrange for me to meet Linda Park or Sung Hi Lee?)
Finally, recomendations for Korean movies or Michelle Yeoh. First Shiri, a must see. Second, if you can get your hands on it Joint Security Area. Third, Bishimoo. Michelle Yeoh, get Wing Chun, Heroic Trio, and Yes Madam.
Also props to the caveman for the transformers reference. Now, if someone could bring Bridgite Lin ou of retirement. If anyone doubts her skills, check out “The Bride With white Hair.” -Doc
Dec. 2, 2002, 10:21 p.m. CST
John Saxon-like Skills???
i assume this is irony on Vern’s part. It was a bit hokey in ENTER THE DRAGON when after killing numerous people with his bare bands, BOLO is bested by John Saxon thanks to a tap to his groin (too bad the others didn’t figure this out before they were broken in half by BOLO!). to add insult to injury Saxon escapes from a BOLO death stranglehold by simply biting his leg (!!). ****AS FOR M. YEOH, she is hot. But she chose THE TOUCH over MATRIX 2????Talk about career ruining decisions. Sorry if her career bombs now, but rather than blaming the “racist” US audience, blame her bad decision (or bad agent).
Dec. 2, 2002, 11:08 p.m. CST
Ah, Michelle Yeoh. The only woman in Hollywood who can break you
Agree with all those above. Get her in something quality, Hollywood.
Dec. 3, 2002, 1:42 a.m. CST
This movie is BAD!!
Dec. 3, 2002, 1:44 a.m. CST
I live in Malaysia and saw this movie some time back.
All I gotta say is, save your 8 bucks. Spend it on something else.
Dec. 3, 2002, 3:03 a.m. CST
my rebuttal to Bambino
First of all I apologize for the Pau mistake. If I knew about MISTY I woulda watched it a long time ago. Thanks for the tip bud. Otherwise though I gotta take exception to your garbage. First of all I am not a geek, and if you had checked YOUR facts you would know
Dec. 3, 2002, 3:50 a.m. CST
Damn, Vern, I’ll be laughing about that John Saxon line for days
by Cash Bailey
That review was some funny shit. And to the cat who mentioned bringing Brigitte Lin out of retirement – Mate, I don’t think the world is ready for that much coolness. That woman has a glare that’d make you piss your pants, and a smile that’d make you do something else in them. Now SHE is the true Goddess of HK cinema. Her and Anita Mui.
Dec. 3, 2002, 7:35 a.m. CST
“See a man, kill a man”
by The MasterBaiter
Yes, Brigitte Linn is hot. Why does she spend so much time dressing as a bloke, though? (Dragon Inn, Swordman II…)
Dec. 3, 2002, 7 p.m. CST
Hey, Vern here…
by Heywood Jablowme
just wanted everyone to remember that you must like me because I AM an award-winning writer. Pathetic, truly pathetic that Dildo of the Month qualifies you as “award-winning” and they let you post reviews here.
Dec. 3, 2002, 8:04 p.m. CST
Dec. 4, 2002, 4:46 a.m. CST
by Magic Milkmaid
That guy was the badest of badasses – he would’ve whipped the shit out of limp dick John Saxon.
Dec. 4, 2002, 10:50 a.m. CST
VERN AND ARROW IN THE HEAD…..
Boys you are fuckin’ heroes of mine. You lead us well. Happy Xmas..!
Dec. 5, 2002, 6:05 a.m. CST
Buddy, I clearly told harry and moriarty in my e-mail NOT to mention that I am an AWARD WINNING WRITER. The evidence is all there in the first paragraph. You can not blame me for moriarty’s mistake in leaving in the part about my AWARD. Just because you do not understand what it is like to be an AWARD WINNING WRITER does not mean you need to whine a bitch every time I blow your mind with another powerful review. I do not write them for you and for now on you are not allowed to read them. If you ever respond in one of my talkbacks again I will be forced to take legal action. Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated. thanks asshole, Vern
Dec. 5, 2002, 6:22 p.m. CST
by Heywood Jablowme
You mean “from” now on I’m no longer allowed to read them? Award-winning work indeed Vern. Legal action, really, from somebody lacking in basic communication skills. Well color me scared shitless. Dude, you kill me. Someone calls you a hack and you respond with “legal action”, whatever the fuck that means. I hope you don’t face every adversity in life with a bitchy “touch me and I’ll sue” attitude (thank-you Rocky 5). You sound like a pansy. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Touched looks like it could be pretty good, I’ll catch it. Go back to ju-co and brush up on the Queen’s English Vern, you’re not doing it any justice here.
Dec. 5, 2002, 6:24 p.m. CST
The Touch, my bad.
by Heywood Jablowme
Let the arrows fly boys, I can take ’em.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.