Thursday, May 27, 2010

Silver Medal

Silver Hawk is a very stylish 2004 Michelle Yeoh martial arts flick. That may tell you everything you need to know to decide if you want to watch it.

Michelle Yeoh plays LuLu, a fashion model with society connections in modern day Polaris City (Shanghai, maybe). But in her secret identity, she is Silver Hawk, a masked crime fighter with a silver costume and a remote controlled motorbike. She runs into an old friend, "Rich" Man (Richie Ren), who she trained with as a child in a kung fu orphanage. He is now a policeman in Polaris, with a squad of cute policewomen. He is on the make for LuLu, but he wants to arrest the vigilante Silver Hawk. Meanwhile, there is a plot to take over the world, blah, blah, blah.

Aside from the fighting, this movie has a great look. It is set amongst gorgeous modern architecture, and everyone is wearing cool fashions - the look is kind of 1980's retro:
  • Rei Kawakubo slashed and asymmetrical for the women
  • Baggy nylon windbreakers with puffy collars for the men
  • Faux hawks for the sidekicks
  • Leather and spikes or motocross armor for the thugs
  • Mandarin collared long leather duster for the mad scientist
As for the fighting, it's very good. Yeoh just keeps getting better, and Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite) is one of her main opponents. He has a cute side kick (Bingbing Li), who he would swing around like an animated weapon. Some fun but silly fights included bungee ballet (a technique we first saw in Cirque du Soleil) and baddies on inline skates with metal hockeysticks.

The tone is light an humorous, with Yeoh continually deflating Ren's high opinion of himself and his fighting style. The fight scenes keep coming. The plot makes no sense, taking the action to "Zenda" (= Tokyo) for some reason. Funny how you can tell the difference between a Shanghai highway overpass and the Tokyo version of same.

My one complaint would be casting Michelle Yeoh as a model. She's more of a natural beauty than a fashion plate. But I have no complaints about her scene in the hotsprings. Wow!

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