the director of the CGI blockbuster 2002 comes a romantic
comedy?! Oh, it's just Wilson Yip jumping between genres again...
In Dry Wood Fierce Fire we meet Alice (Miriam Yeung
from Love Undercover) who writes for a ladies magazine
in Hong Kong. She is also an expert in Chinese herbal medicine
and kung fu, something which was taught to her by her parents.
The magazine is struggling though and the solution seems to
be a merge with a mens magazine instead. It is here Alice
meets good looking Ryan (Louis Koo from La Brassiere)
and instantly falls in love with him. He doesn't like her
from the start though but after an incident involving a sharp
stick and Ryans behind they start to hang out more and more.
It quickly becomes clear that Ryan only has eyes for a Japanese
author called Michelle and he asks Alice to help him win her
over. She gladly helps out but inside her feelings for Ryan
grows stronger every day...
argue that Wilson Yip isn't suited for this kind of lightweight
material, since he has shown more style and depth in his past
movies. Dry Wood Fierce Fire is filled with clichés
and it's content is no different than other romantic comedies
we've seen. What Wilson Yip does though is that he makes sure
the material rises one notch above other attempts in the genre
and what he has created here is a somewhat crazy but also
a funny and sweet romantic tale.
Yip doesn't try to direct with a lot of flashy style but instead
holds back just like the content of the script dictates. He
does insert some brilliant touches of his including a funny
kung fu-fight with a bum (or as the subtitles say: a bump)
and Alice and a very funny Bruce Lee-homage. Other than those
kind of things he lets our two leading actors carry the film.
one fell in love with Miriam Yeung after watching her performance
here. In the beginning she feels like she's too much to take
when you see her kind of crazy nature. It's when her friendship
Louis Koo's character gets going that she finds a good balance
between the craziness and the sweet yearning for love that
Alice has. I was concerned that all this would lead to overacting
from Miriam but she does very well and creates a simple but
very sympathetic character.
Louis Koo was very funny in La Brassiere and continues
to show that here. He plays a character that is self assured
and handsome on the outside but in fact he's very unsure of
himself. Without Alice he wouldn't have gotten close to Michelle
but even when he is, he has to depend on her to make sure
he does things right. It's not a very complicated character
as such but Louis contributes what he needs to and the chemistry
between him and Miriam Yeung really holds this movie together
players include the Wilson Yip regular Joe Lee as well as
Law Kar-Ying and screenwriter of previous directorial efforts
of Wilson Yip; Matt Chow. These people don't get a lot of
screentime so you couldn't really praise them like Louis or
Miriam. But the scenes they are in doesn't hurt the movie
and they fit well as part of the supporting cast.
When our director finds people he likes to work with, he tries
to hold on to them as much as possible. In the past producer
Joe Ma has been a huge part in the success of Yip but in this
movie it's the director of photography from 2002 (Poon
Hang-Sang) that gets to join the team again. In previous movies
Yip has choosen a small bit of mixture between realistic lightning
and different colour schemes. It wasn't always that the combination
worked fully but here he chooses a simple and natural look
all throughout the film instead. It's again a good choice
because we don't want to be distracted by the photography
when we're trying to watch our characters act out their adventures
on screen. One person I also noticed in the crew behind Yip
is awardwinning editor Peter Cheung, who has worked on every
one of his movies since Bio Zombie. When you have a
solid team like this, it creates assurance but also a very
professional feel to the project.
Wilson Yip for taking this project on. His direction is sizzling
with confidence and he again shows what great performances
he can get out of actors combined with his talent for almost
every genre of movies. It's nice to see him directing a small
movie again and Dry Wood Fierce Fire will have you
smiling after the final frame of the movie rolls by.
Widesight's dvd presentation is pretty average
but a acceptable release for this very recent movie. The 1.85:1
aspect ratio is preserved here and for the most part it looks
good. There are only a few marks on the print and sharpness
is pretty good. I felt that colours were a little weak though
and I would've liked anamorphic enhancement also.
The sound comes in Cantonese and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
tracks. I'm not sure if the movie was shown in cinemas in
5.1 but regardless it's only an ok track. Music is spread
out nicely but dialogue is sometimes a little loud and harsh.
It didn't bother me too much but it could've been better.
The English subtitles are optional and contains a few spelling
errors but nothing too major. There are a few moments in the
film where the subtitles go out of sync with the dialogue
but this doesn't last long. Traditional and simplified Chinese
subtitles are also included.
The extras consists of the theatrical trailer which looks
a tad worse than the feature. It does feature a pretty funny
outtake at the end showing Louis and Miriam cracking each
other up. The only other extra is a deleted scene presented
in widescreen but with no English subtitles. It's nothing
much but I enjoyed watching more of Miriam's performance.
reviewed by Kenneth
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