Asian Cinema Thread


Magical Girl
There seemed like there may be a little interest in an Asian Cinema thread... So I thought I'd kick one off.

Not entirely sure what direction this may take so I'll do a first post that's a bit of an info dump and we'll see where it takes us.

My general Asian Cinema Collection;

(I may have been a little liberal in my definition of "Asian Cinema)

My top 10 / "Stand Out" films in this "Genre"

These "Top 10" are in no particular order.

Red Cliff - 2008
Great battle scenes. Great sea (think it was a v.wide river) battles.

Lady Snowblood - 1973
Tarantino was heavily influenced by this - and it shows! If you are a Tarantino fan this is a must watch.

Oldboy - 2003
Great story that will have you on the edge of your seat. One of the greatest (possibly single shot/take?) fight sequences ever filmed.

Shogun Assassin - 1980
Cult classic. Also influenced Tarantino.

Zatoichi - 2003
"The blind swordsman"... Great film... The scene near the end gives me goose pimples each time.

House of flying daggers - 2004
Brilliant story. Amazing choreography. The dance scene is truly a wonder to behold.

Hero - 2002
A similar feel to this as House of flying daggers. If you wanted me to choose my favourite of the two... I simply couldn't.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - 2000
In a similar style to the preceeding two entries this film came out before both and IMHO in many ways was revolutionary.

Battle Royale - 2000
A dystopian future where Japanese kids are forced onto an island and have to murder one another. Bloody. Violent. And lots of fun!

Seven Samarai - 1954
I like a fair few old films. I like a fair few long films. (And Akira Kurosawa's legendary epic certainly falls into those two categories). But there are relatively few B+W films that I can say I genuinely thoroughly enjoyed. (At least so far - I'm working on it...). This is one of a few. A masterpiece. A film that would inspire film-makers for generations to come.

What does your Asian Cinema collection look like?
Do you have a top 10? Or a few that really stood out to you?
What would you consider absolutely essential viewing?
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I haven't seen many Asian cinema films and my collection is non existant but I guess I'll throw my hat in the rimg. Out of the handful I've seen my favourite has to be I Saw The Devil. Its a brutal Korean revenge thriller and its absolutely fantastic. It has some excellent direction/cinematography and its genuinely tense in places. I'd definitely recommend it.

I've also seen Takashi Miike's Audition and was disappointed. From what I read I was prepared for this ultra violent, disturbing film but the internet really over sold it. Sure, those elements are in there but you have to sit through an hour and a half of a fairly boring romance film to get there.
IncendiaryLemon said:
Out of the handful I've seen my favourite has to be I Saw The Devil. Its a brutal Korean revenge thriller and its absolutely fantastic. It has some excellent direction/cinematography and its genuinely tense in places. I'd definitely recommend it.

Looks like the the main guy from Oldboy is in it. Thanks... I'll give it a whirl
I don't really own many and they're all fairy standard, Rurouni Kenshin, Yurusarezaru Mono, OldBoy, Redcliff, Seven Samurai, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and House of flying daggers is all I can think of. Going to pick up Zatoichi, Lady Snowblood and Battle Royale because of your post though.
I only have a small selection of Asian films in my collection:

- 13 Assassins
Great film. Bought it twice, the second time was for the steelbook since I didn't like the spine (it's on the wrong side you stupid publisher!). First time I heard about the film was from a review on (which no longer exists now) and then watched it when it appeared on Sky Movies. I should re-watch that film sometime!

- Battle Royale
First Japanese film that I ever saw and owned. I was given the DVD Theatrical Cut as a Xmas gift and I was shocked by how good the film was and how pretty violent it was at the time. The acting was well done considering they were actually young at the time (due to the actor's ages the film was given some controversy in Japan). Years later I bought the film again but for Blu-ray, which came with special features and a Director's Cut. I haven't watched the Director's Cut yet and I should really get on with it!

- Ichi
My mate at University saw this and suggested it to me so I bought it with a couple other titles at HMV for a pretty low price. I haven't seen it yet though.

- Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
Saw the film at Cineworld Sheffield with a couple friends. I haven't read the manga nor watched the anime so I went into the film blind pretty much. The source material wasn't really needed aside from recognising the characters. And honestly the film was good, sure it's not amazing but the actors did a great job with portraying the characters and there's a clumsy maid, nothing wrong with that. Bought it on Blu-ray as well, it's a nice steelbook.

- Rurouni Kenshin
Saw the film at Cineworld Sheffield with a couple of friends. Like Black Butler I never read or watched the series and I loved this film. The story was great, the action scenes were well choreographed and the music is just fantastic. It's probably the best manga adaptation ever made so far, or well it's considered to be 'one of' the best around. To show my support for Warner Bros putting the effort into this I also picked up the Blu-ray Steelbook the moment it was released. The steelbook design is plain but the Blu-ray is stunning!

- Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno
Saw the film at Cineworld Sheffield with a couple of friends. Although it's the first part of two, the film is as good as the first which is pretty impressive considering sequels are hit or miss. The tone is spot on and the action, music and story is still as strong. Steelbook is also much better looking. I also saw The Legend Ends in the cinema, such a great finale.

- Yuruzaresaru Mono (Unforgiven)
Saw the film at Cineworld Sheffield with a friend who actually watched the original film directed by Clint Eastwood. This film is really good and the soundtrack is fantastic. My mate who went with me said the remake was 'as good as the original but with a better soundtrack'. Ken Watanabe is in it if you like him. The Steelbook is also gorgeous.

- Zatoichi
Picked up the steelbook for the same reason as 13 Assassins, haven't seen the film but I know it's a classic one.

Chinese/Hong Kong
- Hero
Been a while since I saw the film on Sky Movies but it's something I should watch again sometime.

- Infernal Affairs Trilogy
I only saw the first two films in the set and while many have seen The Departed remake I haven't, but the first film is.. awesome! The second film is pretty good but I would say the first film is the only memorable one. Then again it's been a while since I've seen these so I should definitely rewatch them. I picked up the set thinking it was going out of print but I didn't at the time (it is now!).

- The Host
I remember hearing a lot about this film and after seeing the film it really does change your opinion a bit. It's not much of a horror thriller but it's definitely entertaining.

- Oldboy
Fantastic. Fantastic. Fantastic. Probably the best asian film I have ever seen and this is also one of the best manga adaptations ever made (yes, Oldboy is a Japanese manga, and Dark Horse have released the entirety in English!). If you don't like violence then you won't like the film but aside from that just go get the film or watch it on Netflix/Amazon Instant. You won't regret it. I also saw the American Remake, the casting was okay but everything else is nowhere as good as the Korean masterpiece.

Also saw Death Note, Enter the Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, The Last Samurai, The Raid, The Raid 2 & The Story of Yonosuke.
I've got 13 assassins but can't remember what happened (my memory is terrible). I've got the old version too so may have to re-watch and potentially pick up the steelbook.
My world cinema cred has waned somewhat in recent years as I've not really watched much of note, but I've got a couple of favourites I could mention.


Yojimbo (1961)

Surprised this hasn't already been mentioned - surely it's the quintessential Japanese swordfighting flick? For the running time of this film, Toshiro Mifune is hands down the coolest man alive, striding into battle with only his sword, a wry sense of detachment and a little smirk on his face to see him through. Fistful of Dollars may have had Morricone's amazing music, but even old Clint was never so brilliantly laid-back in the face of adversity.

Sonatine (1993)

I've seen quite a few of Takeshi Kitano's neo-noir crime films, but this I think, is head and shoulders above the rest. It's almost an anti-thriller, seeing mid-level Yakuza enforcer Kitano's doomed crew shirking their suicide mission to enjoy themselves on the beaches of Okinawa, despite their enemies circling around them.

Hong Kong

Mr. Vampire (1985)

Absolute slapstick fluff, but this story of a warrior-priest and his inept assistants battling to make sure the dead stay dead is a neat combination of martial arts and comedy horror. It's not hard to see why it kickstarted a trend for similar films throughout the late 80s and early 90s.

Hard Boiled (1992)

I've yet to see Bullet in the Head, but for my money, it's definitely this and not The Killer which is the best of John Woo's legendary 'heroic bloodshed' cycle. The story is nothing special, but Chow Yun Fat is at the absolute top of his game as an angry supercop teaming up with a shifty undercover detective (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) to get revenge on a powerful Triad syndicate. Their breathless climactic battle against scores of hitmen in a maternity hospital has to be seen to be believed.
Not to backseat mod, and this is certainly an interesting topic, but doesn't it belong in the "Media Discussion" forum?
My friend introduced me to Japanese/Chinese/Korean horror films at least 15 years ago, so as you can imagine my memory is a little fuzzy, but here is the a list of what I own, at the moment, and what I've seen. WIll probably add to it as I remember things...

Battle Royale
Black Butler
Dark Water
The Eye
Hansel & Gretel
Hentai Kamen
Lady Vengeance
Memento Mori
One Missed Call
Rurouni Kenshin (1, 2 & 3)
Sympathy for Mr Vengeance
A Tale of Two Sisters

Seen, but don't own:
Battle Royale 2
Doll Master
The Eye 2
Ichi the Killer
Suicide Club
Tetsuo: The Iron Man
The Grudge 1 & 2 (Possibly 3 as well)
The Red Shoes
The Ring (1 & 2)
The Wig
re:yojimbo. Very much aware + own it. Very much a fan of all of all of Akira Kurosawas works however, I thought perhaps the age might mean they would not be to everyone's taste - which is why I only included Seven Samurai which seemed like a good introduction point.

If people already have / like some of Akira Kurosawas films and want to dip in further I do recommend The Samurai Collection - Zavvi have it for £33.98 - a pretty good price. It includes "Seven Samurai", "Throne of Blood", "The Hidden Fortress", "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro" all on Blu-Ray in HD!

Just ordered Hard Boiled BR form Amazon US. About £8 + shipping so no customs. says region free too.
ayase said:
Not to backseat mod, and this is certainly an interesting topic, but doesn't it belong in the "Media Discussion" forum?

You are probably right. Sorry! feel free to move it if you have such ability. (I assume I don't gain such ability as the threads "initiator"?)
I'm afraid that's beyond lowly users such as I, great power does not come with great post counts (which is probably a good thing for everybody). I believe only Rui and our absent overlord chaos have dominion over the threads.
I will take a picture of my asian blu ray collection and share later. Big fan of korean movies and hong kong. Not got many japanese titles tbh but there are soje films ive biught and sold on (mostly kurosawa on criterion) which I regret getting rid of!
I do like to watch some Asian cinema, but for some reason, its never on my list to do. Like gaming, manga and anime always come first. I got a few mainstream movies overall:

Azumi 1 + 2
Battle Royale 1 + 2
Bichunmoo - The Warrior
Blood - The Last Vampire (2009)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Curse of the Golden Flower
Death Note 1 + 2
Gantz + Gantz: The Perfect Answer
Ichi (2008)
Internal Affairs 1 + 2 + 3
Memoirs of a Geisha
Old Boy
Ong Bak
The House of the Flying Daggers
The Host
The Last Samurai

I've also seen Zatoichi which it was cool but I don't own it along with the first Rurouni Kenshin movie and Nana. I still wanna check out Beck and Detroit Metal City live actions. Just trying to do cause I've enjoyed the anime a lot.

Anyway, for some reason, there are time where I feel I should buy a few more asian movies but then its falls into pieces. Its a very weird situation, I like to watch some asian cinema but I never end up doing it.
I'm quite fond of the Akira Kurosawa samurai films myself. I actually like Sanjuro quite a lot, the comedy appeals to me but the story itself has some quite clever moments too. It's also interesting with the implication that the main character is the same one as in Yojimbo (I think it works quite well anyway).

I don't find so much time to watch these kinds of things myself either. I do like to occasionally re-watch things but I very rarely see anything new these days.

One film that I quite liked that I don't think anyone has mentioned is Battle of Wits (I think it was also released as "Battle of the Warriors"). I liked the way it made the conflict about strategy and tactics, the characters are also quite interesting.

I might come back to yammer on about things when I have more time.
Took some photos of my blu-rays (camera phone and poor quality so apologies in advance...hid them behind a spoiler tag though)

[spoilerbutton]Top: USA Battle Royal Digibook release

Shelf 1: Assorted steelbooks, Korean DIgibooks/DIgipacks

Shelf 2: Korean films

Shelf 3: Korean Films followed by assortment of Hong Kong releases (TW/HK/JP films)

Shelf 4/5: More Hong Kong releases followed by assorted UK releases on shelf 4 and 5.


As you can see, a lot of Korean films, I believe Korean crime/gangster are the best around especially in the last decade or so, some greats there. A Dirty Carnival, The Chaser, Yellow Sea and Nameless Gangster are some of the best crime films KR cinema has to offer. Breathless is quite simply amazing too.

Hong Kong cinema produces some great crime films too, Election and Election 2 are superb and must watches imo, Beast Staler and Protege are true gems and Rebellion is just awesome. plenty of good titles i'd recommend on those shelves.
Arrow Video announced a beautiful Battles Without Honor and Humanity box set earlier, for a November release. They're amazing.

Anyway, here's some I've got on Blu-Ray


Mostly old classics - only Love Exposure is from this century. I really need to get round to getting some more Kurosawa.

I think a lot of the people here would like Love Exposure, which is one of the most bat-**** crazy films I've ever seen and one of my favourite films of the 00s. To attempt to summarise Sion Sono's 4 hour 'eroto-theosophical' (to quote the back cover) odyssey would be to do it a disservice, so I'll just leave the trailer here and you can then go and immediately buy the Blu-Ray :mrgreen:

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That's certainly going to some extremes to get those shots... My head exploded when I saw based on true events... for £7 I'll give it a shot..
Have these on Blu-ray.
The Raid (steelbook)
The Raid 2 (steelbook)
Oldboy (steelbook)
Battle Royale limited edition set

Have seen a lot of others including Ong Bak, Chocolate, Returner, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Battle Royale 2, The Brotherhood of War, The Host, just to name a few.

If you like war films Assembly is worth checking out.