Colour Of The Truth

A twisty tale of truth, honor and justice in which legendary Hong Kong actor, Anthony Wong (Infernal Affairs, Beast Cops, The Untold Story, Hard-Boiled) plays a cop who was forced to make a decision that will haunt him forever. In a bust gone bad he was forced to shoot not only the intended Triad boss target, but also a close friend and fellow cop. Ten years later his career is going well, but now the son of his dead friend is on his team and he wants the truth about his father’s death and maybe even revenge.

Twisty tales of HK police infiltrating and taking on the Triad organizations are enjoying a popular time at the moment with films such as Cop on a Mission and the very successful Infernal Affairs series proving hits at home and with genre fans around the world. Colour of the Truth ,directed by Marco Mak (Cop on a Mission) and Jing Wong (Naked Weapon) is a twisty tale of the shades of black and white (grey area) that Hong Kong police have to work in when dealing with these powerful organisations.

After the death of his dad whose nickname was '7-Up,' his son, who has taken on the moniker 'Cola,' wants nothing more than to follow his father into the Hong Kong Police force. As he grows up, Cola finds himself visited once or twice a year by a mysterious man who gives him money and helps him out of tight spots, including a football pitch beat down (an obvious homage to hit movie Young and Dangerous). After a drug bust he is working on becomes intertwined with a raid organized by the serious crime squad led by Huang (the man who is responsible for 7-UP's death,) Cola finds himself transferred to the serious crime squad and working under the man who shot his father. Cola finds himself torn between feelings of hatred and lust for revenge and begrudging admiration for the humble and very good at his job Huang. Huang, Cola finds, does not live the lavish lifestyle of a high level corrupt cop but instead in humble surroundings caring tenderly for his British father who has had a stroke and is unable to speak (Anthony Wong dropping in an out of a cockney-style accent while speaking English to his father is a great touch.)

As the two cops investigate a seemingly straightforward disagreement in gangland between supposedly retired crime figure Kwan and deadly Vietnamese gun runner Cyclops, things don’t seem to be adding up; how are these guys able to be one step ahead of them all the time and where does the man from the football pitch fit into it all? And just what did happen on the rooftop the night 7-UP and the crime lord were shot dead by Haung, are things really as black and white (Hak bak sam lam the original title literally translates as Black and White Forrest) as Cola grew up believing they were?

Now in his mid 40's, mixed race Hong Kong star Anthony Wong seems to be enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. While others from his generation have faded, moved away from genre film or are trying there luck abroad, he has been working away at a furious rate appearing in a staggering 40 plus films from the start of the new millennium. These days his name has become one of the main draws for foreign fans of Hong Kong cinema and with Colour of the Truth he does not disappoint. The film also stars Ho-Yin Wong (PTU, Koma) and the instantly recognisable from his performance as "Chicken" in the Young and Dangerous movies, Jordan Chan (Bio Zombie, Initial D.) The three stars and all the supporting cast give great performances with Yin Tse (Shaolin Soccer), looking and acting suitably sleazy as crime lord in retirement, Kwan.

If you liked Infernal Affairs and its sequels, Cop on a Mission and similar Hong Kong based cops and triads movies, and crave more, The Colour of Truth is going to be just what you’re looking for, this is a thoroughly enjoyable movie from start to finish. The film balances its twisty plot well with strong action sequences which, while very hyper at time, are a little more real and subdued than the late 80’s Bullet Ballet style that John Woo made so brilliantly before he left for America and mediocrity. They are still flamboyant enough, however, to get your heart beating and bring a smile to the face of any fan of gunplay sequences.

With some great action set pieces, a suitably twisty plot to keep you guessing and some top notch performances, The colour of the Truth is a must-see for fans of cops and triads cinema, Gangster movies, crime thrillers and just Hong Kong film in general.

Cops, robbers, honour, betrayal and revenge Hong Kong style … 8/10

Sex and Zen

Still as controversial today as it was when it was initially released, the all-time classic of Asian erotica Sex and Zen comes to you on DVD like never before, this time presented in a new eye-popping Ultra-Bit transfer and featuring extended extra footage that further pushes the limits of what is permissible in an 18 certificate movie.
Based on China's most notorious erotic saga, Li Yu's "The Carnal Prayer Mat" - written during the Ming Dynasty era and subsequently banned for 400 years - director Michael Mak's exquisitely shot film adaptation Sex and Zen more than lives up to the reputation of its source material. Li Yu's novel sought to amuse and titillate, while at the same time mixing scholarly discourse with moral dilemmas. Shrewdly choosing to focus much more on the carnal and humorous aspects of the tale, Mak delivers a deliciously entertaining and sumptuously presented sex romp that is both funny and arousing and, most importantly, packed from start to finish with extremely graphic, elaborate and highly creative sexual encounters involving some of Asian cinema's most beautiful actresses, including Amy Yip, Japanese porn star Mari Ayukawa and softcore starlet Rena Murakami.

The story concerns the libidinous exploits of Mei Yeung-sheng (Lawrence Ng), a scholar who, despite being recently married to the beautiful and sexually adventurous Huk-yeung (Amy Yip), decides he needs to debauch as many women as he possibly can. However, after embarking on his sexual odyssey he very quickly discovers his prowess in the boudoir is somewhat lacking and, believing size is everything, undergoes a remarkably advanced transplant operation that quite literally leaves him hung like a horse! Meanwhile, in his absence, after experimenting with and perfecting a unique calligraphic technique his bride has been forced to enter a brothel to work as a prostitute. It is here, after each has experienced a lengthy list of lewd liaisons, that Mei and Huk-yeung are reunited just in time for Mei to learn a valuable lesson.

Credited with showcasing unexpected dimensions in Hong Kong filmmaking and doing for eroticism what kung fu movies had done for the action genre, Sex and Zen unashamedly put the fun back into porn in a way that appealed to both male and female audiences. Renowned as much for its open and lighthearted approach to explicit sex scenes as for its hilarious "Donkey Dong" transplant sequence, the film is also notable for graphically (and controversially) introducing filmgoers to a rather unconventional use of a flute long before American Pie revived the practice in a far less vivid way.

Sex and Zen (cert. 18) will be released on DVD by Hong Kong Legends on 16th April 2007. Special Features include: "A Lot Of Sex, A Little Zen" – notes by Stefan Hammond (co-author of "Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head – the Essential Guide to Hong Kong's Mind-bending Films"); Cantonese 5.1, English 5.1 and original Cantonese mono audio options; optional English subtitles; scene selection; further attractions.

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