Vengeance as a core theme is no stranger to Asian cinema, and it’s been employed by directors working in genre cinema (Shunya Ito’s FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION) as well as those catering to the arthouse crowd (Akira Kurosawa’s THE BAD SLEEP WELL). Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL films were an amalgam of Asian revenge films; everything from Hong Kong Kung-Fu flicks of the 70s to Toshiya Fujita’s LADY SNOWBLOOD series.
It doesn’t take much more than a precursory glance at Hollywood’s output in recent years to conclude that there’s without question a shortage of original ideas. Reboots of old franchises (STAR TREK), endless, pointless sequels (THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2), and even toy and board game-based movies (GI-JOE, MONOPOLY) are being green-lit by studios more than willing to dump millions into their productions. But by far the most egregious offense is the ever-increasing trend of remakes, particularly of films from Asia. To look at the situation, you’d think there wasn’t a single original screenplay to be found in all of the US.
Scene from TRIAD ELECTION
Just in time for the dog days of summer, Sundance Channel is gearing up to launch the sixth season of Asia Extreme, which features thirteen incredibly cool films to dive into beginning August 1 free on demand. Just as past seasons brought an eclectic mix of cutting edge Asian cinema from visionary directors breathing new life into (and in some cases subverting) such genres as horror (ONE MISSED CALL), thriller (A BITTERSWEET LIFE), action (SAVE THE GREEN PLANET), or science-fiction (NATURAL CITY), so too does the new lineup offer fresh takes on familiar forms.