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Marshy sends in a review on Andy Lau's RUNNING ON KARMA!

Published at: Oct. 17, 2003, 4:28 a.m. CST

Hey folks, Harry here... Ok, officially, I'm really jazzed to see RUNNING ON KARMA now. I'm fascinated by the muscle out fit, as it seems to be the answer to alot of my problems. And two, this is the exact sort of add genre twister I like from Hong Kong! Here's Marshy...

Hey Harry,

Saw your post of Andy Lau in his "Big Guy" suit so thought Iíd fill you in a little bit. Running on Karma came out in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago and it sounded so bizarre that I had to check it out.

The story goes like this ñ Andy Lau is a buffed-up-to-shit Buddhist monk who recanted his faith years ago and has since been on a wild and debauched rampage of women, booze and cigarettes through southern China. He gets busted in part of a police raid on a Hong Kong strip club where he meets aspiring detective Cecilia Cheung and, whilst trying to evade arrest, has a quite literal run-in with a supernatural Indian murder suspect.

Andy Lau or "Big" ñ as he is called ñ has the ability to see peopleís Karma (what they were in their past lives) when he touches you. He gets an insight into the murdererís origins and motives and decides to help the police track him down. His many years of martial arts training as a monk soon come in handy as he tracks the movements of the killer, with Chung in tow. However, when he discovers something disturbing about Changeís past life he is unsure how to react.

Like I said, this is a crazy movie - at once a comedy, police thriller and supernatural horror film full of philosophical musings and Buddhist rhetoric. However, for the most part it is successful. The ever-watchable Andy Lau is great as the confused monk who literally knows too much about everybody he meets ñ plagued by the memories of a murdered loved one he failed to protect. The "Big" suit is actually pretty convincing, and when itís not, it is still such a daring costume that you forgive those little creases in the latex.

Cecilia Cheung is not exactly HKís leading light but she holds her own well and I must admit that you do care about her character ñ and the plot twists involving her here are nothing short of devastating.

The mighty directorial partnership of Johnnie To and Wa Ka Fai do a pretty satisfying job of keeping things together, ensuring that the film is scary and funny when it is supposed to be. They do a much better job of this than they did with PTU, blending and balancing the genres with skill. Unfortunately the final act does buckle slightly under the weight of its own profundity as the story goes deep into Buddhism and reincarnation, losing the plot and some of itís characters along the way. But by the time the credits roll, you do still have a pretty good idea of what happened ñ and everything that went before was so unique that you will not forget this movie in a hurry.

This film will never ever ever get released anywhere outside Asia, so DVD is really your only opportunity to check this film out, but give it a go ñ it is a rare treat to see something so original, off-beat and fun ñ and of course, thereís that suit.

All the best,

Marshy

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 17, 2003, 4:37 a.m. CST

    I love this HK style

    by mayaV

    It's cool to see it in Hollywood movies, but the real shit comes strait from Asia. No way to beat HK!

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Speaking of weirdass Hong Kong films

    by St.Buggering

    I haven't seen any mention of "The Twins Effect" around here. Anyone who felt that "Underworld" was a towering pile of crap (which it was) should check it out. It's kung fu, action and vampires as it should be done. Okay, it gets a little too goofy in the middle, but at least it does so intentionally, unlike a certain other film.

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 10:38 a.m. CST

    I always thought monks should be small, bald and kinda round

    by Heleno

    This whole martial arts thing doesn't gel with the monasteries I've seen. Not that I exactly make a habit of hanging out in monasteries, but the monks I've seen would have had trouble kicking my ass, let alone the ass of someone scary.

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 10:45 a.m. CST

    I think they should call it Instant Karma with Hulk Hogan as Joh

    by Lord Shatner

    "Imagine there's no heaven, brother"

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Um, how many chinese shoalin temples have you actually been to?

    by Smeg For Brains

    I've seen footage of an 80 year old chinese woman who goes from ancient walking with a cane old lady, to kicking ass with kung fu in the blink of an eye, and then back to walking with her cane. It was like watching Yoda in Attack of the Clones, only it was real. And a monk doesn't burn out all of their hair follicles. If a monk left his temple years ago there is no reason he couldn't regrow his hair. About the film though, is there any reason that they had to use a suit? I mean couldn't they have found someone who actually fit the role, or just changed the role? Is there something in the story that the reviewer didn't hit upon? Also I must say that it is absolutely hilarious to make comments about Hulk Hogan in various fake movies! I mean it is so new and fresh! The only thing funnier is to say "first" or talk about sexy beanpoles! Seriously IT ISN'T CREATIVE OR FUNNY. Try coming up with something original for once in your life, you halfwit.

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 9:07 p.m. CST

    by Travisty_17

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 9:07 p.m. CST

    this is out

    by Travisty_17

    BTW this is out in Vancouver now.

  • Oct. 17, 2003, 10:34 p.m. CST

    Spolier Ahead....

    by breakbeatrare

    Damn straight....Johnny had done it again...Running on Karma works on so many levels, To as a master director is nothing short of astonishing. But...his philosophical musings and Buddhist rhetorics about the very nature of Karma has lost on many audiences as many audiences in the screening I left the theater scratching their heads regarding the ending...Considering mnay people laughed at various points of Kill Bill vol. 1 (as if they get some "inside joke" or an imaginary reference), I get the general ignorance of HK movie-goers. *Spoiler* As for me, any ending is a good ending as long as it involves a decapitated crack-whore-gone wild, Cecilia Cheung.*Spoiler ends*

  • Oct. 19, 2003, 11:48 p.m. CST

    smeg for brains...

    by SimpsonsQuoteMan

    ...I've been to seven!! does that make me cool enough?!? oh please let it make me! and you know what I once saw this shaolin monk like totally rip his own balls off and then eat them and then they go through his digestive system and reattach and heal instantly! i swear it was soooo radical!!