It’s time to celebrate International Women’s Day once again at Kpopalypse.com and what better way to do it than with some Kris Wu movie reviews? Let’s get down to it!
Now I know what you’re thinking – you might be doubting Kris Wu’s credentials as someone to represent International Women’s Day to the kpoposphere. I mean there is that whole being sentenced to prison for 13 years for raping underage girls thing he’s got going against him, so I can definitely understand how that might put some people off.
However don’t worry Kris Wu fans, because apparently he found some girl who’s willing to vouch for him and say that he’s really a very nice guy.
I mean even Oli London swears he’s innocent, so it definitely must be true. After all if there’s one person who knows probably more than anyone else in the k-pop online world about fakeness, it’s most likely Oli London.
So now that we’ve established that Kris Wu is an all-around good guy and someone who would never do that, or at least definitely didn’t mean it, we can get on with these important reviews. This isn’t the first time I’ve covered Kris Wu’s movie appearances, as I did review “XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage” previously. However due to Kris Wu’s longstanding commitment to feminism (most aptly demonstrated by his thoughtful removing of himself from the eligible male population by getting arrested) I felt that some more Kris Wu films were worth a look. And also because you guys really wanted me to review these, for some bizarre reason.
I realise these film reviews are actually coming out slightly after International Women’s Day, but my female-appreciation schedule is always pretty packed out on this particular day, so it took a long time to watch all this shit.
Running Time: 136 minutes
PLOT SYNOPSIS: Mr Six (Feng Xiaogang) is some old guy even older than Kpopalypse, but unlike Kpopalypse he is completely respected and known personally by name by everyone he meets even though he lives in Beijing which is a city of about 21 million people. Also he is super honourable, settling petty local disputes between cops and lawbreakers with ease, he also has a talking bird, an impossibly attractive partner and generally a hefty case of the Mary Sues. Oh and just in case you didn’t like him enough, he’s also dying of cancer, so now you have to like him as the main character or you’re a bad person. For some reason he’s pretty shit at parenting though, because despite all this good moral guidance his son still manages to get into some strife with the local Fast And Furious style street-racing criminal gang. Mr. Six being such a good parent and all goes to sort it out, resulting in a gradually escalating situation that culminates in a bit of violence here and there and lots of people moaning at the hospital. Kris Wu is Xiaofei/Kris, the leader of the street gang, so he’s basically the ‘bad guy’, except that for some reason he’s a bit more reasonable than the other ‘bad guys’, I guess because he’s young and pretty, and in movies all young and pretty people have a good heart just waiting for its chance to shine, somewhere in there.
IS IT ACTUALLY ANY GOOD: No. For a start it’s way too fucking long, the “gradually escalating situation” sure is gradual because it spans pretty much the whole 136 minutes of the film, save for a few scenes where Mr. Six takes time out to smell the roses and talk to an ostrich in a cage. Then there’s the character of Mr Six himself who is just annoyingly honourable, telling off people for bad language while he beats them senseless and breaks their finger bones. At one point he has to raise a bunch of money really quickly to pay for some damages to Kris’ car, and about 57 people all offer him no-strings-attached money but of course he refuses every chance he gets because he’s so honourable and concerned about ‘face’ and shit. You’ll be screaming at your TV “just take the money so we can get on with the next scene and stop dragging the film out, you fuckwit”. Time and time again shit like this happens in the film where Mr Six takes the dumbest possible route through situations to preserve his morals and maybe this appeals to Chinese or something but I was just like “if you were willing to be just a little more of a cunt, your problems and this film could be over in ten minutes”. The dialogue generally isn’t that great either, just check out the highlighted IMDB quotes to get a general feel for the dialogue quality:
It doesn’t get wildly more interesting than this during the course of the movie. Worst of all is the final cockblocking “action” scene where everyone stands around on a frozen lake for ten minutes looking at each other and grimacing in tormented anguish a lot, just like you will if you subject yourself to this trash.
KRIS WU CONTENT: As Kris isn’t the main character, but the main baddie, we don’t see Kris that much in the film, but he’s an important character so his scenes are still quite pivotal. However they’re pivotal in a plot that’s stupid and that you won’t care about, so let’s just say he isn’t in the film that much. As for the quality of the Kris content, he definitely has a case of “G-Dragon jaw” throughout the film, especially in the earlier scenes where his bleached hair really accentuates the weirdness of his jawline. At first when I saw his scenes I actually thought that they’d been vertically stretched.
Still, as far as casting goes, he’s not a bad choice for the part. During the first scene of his (which is 39 minutes into this boring-as-fuck slow-ass piece of shit film) Kris responds to one of Mr Six’s tediously moralising “never hit a woman” comments with “says who?” and he seems pretty convincing about it. So if you’re all about seeing Kris tap into his inner misogynist method-acting capabilities there might be some fun to be had here, at least until the film shits the bed in the last quarter by trying to make him have some kind of moral revelation, but overall there’s just not enough of him in the thing in general for it to be worth watching for any Kris-related reason. Plus he doesn’t have a nude shower scene or anything, at least not one that I remember (I might have dozed off somewhere in the middle of this film so don’t quote me).
JOURNEY TO THE WEST – THE DEMONS STRIKE BACK
Running Time: 108 minutes
PLOT SYNOPSIS: Apparently a sequel to 2013’s “Journey To The West” (which I haven’t seen and which Kris Wu apparently isn’t in), the story follows demon-capturing monk Tang Sanzang (Kris Wu) and his demon-capturing friends as they… journey to the west, and a whole bunch of demons strike back. Really, that’s all that happens, they just go from one random-ass situation to another having ridiculously over-the-top CGI fights with demons. Oh and since it’s a “road movie” we have the characters also embarking on a simultaneous metaphorical cringe journey of understanding and getting to know each other better like every other road movie ever, you’ve seen this type of shit before dozens of times and know the drill, no doubt.
IS IT ACTUALLY ANY GOOD: I had high hopes for this film when I noticed it was directed by Tsui Hark and written by Stephen Chow, two of the biggest names in Hong Kong cinema. However you wouldn’t know that such pros were involved, as this film is absolutely bonkers and not in a good way. Take a look this picture from the opening scene, of a gigantic Kris Wu sitting with a crowd of people, honestly one of the film’s more normal scenes:
If this picture looks like there’s way too much going on, and way too much shit CGI, well that would be correct, and it’s also quite good preparation for what you’re going to get throughout the rest of this film’s running length. Very very strange shit happens in this film at a very very quick rate, as Kris Wu and his team flip from one overly-shouty overly-CGIed scene to the next. The CGI is definitely geared towards “over the top magical vibes” rather than “realistic”, and the entire film is relentlessly bombarded with it, as a result the whole experience feels a bit like watching an anime – a bad anime, where too much is going on. After the 25th time a character shapeshifts into a creature of some sort or shoots magical beams out of its ass, you’ll have stopped giving much of a fuck. It’s hard to care about the outcome of fights when every character has crazy superpowers. The film is both action-packed, and incredibly slow-moving at the same time, as battles take forever due to the constant superpower one-upmanship. I guess the mood is bit like some of Stephen Chow’s other (much better) films such as “Kung Fu Hustle“, “Shaolin Soccer” or “The God Of Cookery” but it lacks the humourous writing and measured story pacing of those films, replacing it with constant cartoonish overacted arguing and CGI madness to cover up the fact that there’s no real story other than “people travel and stuff happens to them”. It’s too braindead for teenagers or adults to watch and enjoy, and you can’t really put it in front of young children either because the creatures plus the general surreal nature of it will probably give them nightmares. It’s hard to work out who this is aimed at, but it’s a big miss for me. It’s not even worth watching for Shu Qi, who is in it for all of thirty seconds.
KRIS WU CONTENT: At least you get lots of Kris Wu. He’s the main character, he’s in pretty much every scene in the film, and as long as you can stand the lack of hair and boring clothes (and that he’s a convicted rapist) you’ll be well-catered for here if you’re a fan. There’s nothing like a proper love scene or anything (unlike in real life, Chinese Buddhist monks in films are fairly celibate) but Kris does naturally have a few of the CGI monster girls swooning at him and some of the human ones too, even if his “straight-man” character is fairly bland generally speaking. He doesn’t even ask any of the girls if they’re virgins, although he does have some fairly strained reactions when they talk about their relationship goals.
His jawline even looks more sensible in this film somehow, I’m not sure how that works. Maybe he had the pointiness evened out surgically, or maybe he’s just a little bit less skinny so his face seems more naturally filled-out, but he certainly looks less odd here even if he is in a monk’s outfit for the entire film. I think a diehard Kris Wu fan (there has to be some left) would probably be able to enjoy this film just because he gets tons of screentime, but for anybody else, you’ll get bored long before one of the main characters turns into a fish for no reason.
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
Running Time: 137 minutes
PLOT SYNOPSIS: A passion project of Luc Besson with an incredibly high budget, you can basically consider it an updated, fancier version of “The Fifth Element“, which it resembles. Both films have a similar “saving the world with the power of love” kind of plot which in the case of “Valerian” is difficult to sum up neatly, but basically revolves around agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevigne) who work for the human contingent of some big-ass space station where millions of humans plus other races live. They are tasked with finding some sphere that looks like a five dollar anal bead but has mega energy or something and their commander wants it because… well that isn’t really explained, but some alien race who were wiped out also needs it to survive too, and some other assholes want it too or whatever… fuck, I’m not doing a good job at this. It’s kind of complicated. Anyway this film made about $200 million but was considered a flop because it also cost about $200 million to make, and it’s worth noting that the director has a similar personal backstory to Kris Wu himself although unlike Kris Wu he was apparently found totally innocent, so that’s interesting. Kris Wu plays a pretty small bit part as Sargent Neza, one of the guys on this space station and he mainly just says “yes sir” while wearing uniforms a lot, which come to think of it is probably what a lot of k-pop fans want out of their idols.
IS IT ACTUALLY ANY GOOD: It’s not awful. I have to say that I enjoyed this the most out of all three films, but then that’s not saying much given that the other two films were absolute crap. It did at least maintain my interest despite being really long. Still, the film has issues. The main problem with it is that Dane DeHaan has DiCaprio Syndrome big-time, he just looks too fresh-faced for the part, and Cara suffers from this as well actually. The plot demands that they’re so fucking battle-hardened and cool and experts in everything the do to the point where they barely bat an eyelid every time they nearly get their ass kicked by some alien, but they just don’t look the part. Example:
This is after escaping near-death from a massive creature about 57 times in 5 minutes near the start of the film. What a thing to say, they’re not freaked out or traumatised or anything, go smoke your weed and write your Uni thesis by the pool, that’s what you kids look like you should be doing. Also the story is really a bit shit, for such an outlandish concept it’s amazing how much cliche and predictability they squeeze in, especially once it gets to the conclusion. The film is very pretty though, although the visual style is so oddly pristine and takes a while to even get used to, but the effects are certainly the main reason to watch it, if you like sci-fi epic visual design elements you’ll like this film regardless of any weaknesses. Oh, and Rihanna has a supporting role and is actually excellent in it for the small amount of time that she appears, her scenes are by far the most interesting of the entire film because she’s really the only character in it who has somewhat relatable struggles.
KRIS WU CONTENT: Not very much. He really is barely there and doesn’t do a lot. He does have one very key scene where the entire fate of everything revolves around him doing an activity before a timer ticks down to zero, and of course he predictably does the thing with one second to spare because that’s how the “timer cliche” in films always goes. Just once I’d like to see a film where the timer goes to zero and everything fucks up and everyone dies but oh well. Apart from that it’s a bunch of “yes sir” and saluting and it’s really not worth watching the film for his parts, so allow me to present to you this picture of Kris Wu in uniform, telling the general that the person on the other ends of comms is definitely Cara because Cara has a temper and is a bitch basically. Probably not a virgin, either.
Happy International Women’s Day, now you don’t have to watch it. Oh and it’s worth noting that Kris starts off with a fairly thick Chinese accent at the start of the film, but somewhere along the way he dumps that and by the end of it he’s speaking more or less like a native Canadian. Not that it’s easy to tell because he gets less lines in this than Vivi did in Loona. Sorry but it’s not International Women’s Day without shoehorning Loona into this post somehow.
That’s all for this post! Kpopalypse shall return!