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Re-Cycle [Blu-ray]
Actors: Lau Siu-Ming, Lawrence Chou, Lee Sin-Je, Zeng Qiqi, Rain Li
Directors: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun
R     2008     1hr 49min

When a bestselling novelist decides to write a horror novel, she opens up the door to a terrifying realm of the supernatural guided by one of her book's phantasmagorical creations now come to life. Trapped in a land consum...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lau Siu-Ming, Lawrence Chou, Lee Sin-Je, Zeng Qiqi, Rain Li
Directors: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 49min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Cantonese
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

Where the lost things go
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Imagine a dimension where all things that have been discarded and abandoned go -- broken toys, unwanted babies, the forgotten elderly, even fictional characters who never made the cut.

After a run of relatively disappointing movies, Danny and Oxide Pang return with a vengeance in "Re-Cycle," a hauntingly vivid journey that sends Angelica Lee into such a world. This is not your typical Asian horror movie with ripoffs of "The Ring" -- this is a dark fantasy journey into a ghastly, bittersweet otherworld full of secrets and lost things, like a Lewis Carroll horror story.

Ting-Yin (Lee) is a bestselling author riding high with her "My Love" trilogy, which is being adapted into a movie. Her next book, a horror novel named "Re-Cycle," is announced as well.

All seems perfect, save for an ex-boyfriend (Lawrence Chou) who has just divorced his wife and wants back. And when Ting-Yin starts writing "Re-Cycle," she starts glimpsing a strange long-haired woman in her apartment -- and ends up inadvertently wandering into a desolate, ruined city full of zombies, stairs, creaking carnivals and masked children. It's a dimension of the discarded, and it stretches through nightmarish forests, cities, fields and decaying bridges filled with witchlight.

When she's attacked by ghouls, Ting-Yin is rescued by a little girl who offers to help her get back home. After consulting with an old man in a vast library, Ting-Yin is told that she must find the Transit that leads back to her world. But Ting-Yin and the little girl Ting-Yu -- who seems strangely familiar to her -- are being pursued by a strange faceless woman, who is determined to keep Ting-Yin there forever

"Re-Cycle" is a very different movie from anything the Pang Brothers have done before -- it's fantasy rather than straight horror, and more in the vein of a grimier "Mirrormask" or a more horrific "Pan's Labyrinth." You could even consider it a sort of nightmarish "Alice in Wonderland," if Notsowonderland were populated by zombies, ghouls, fetuses and the occasional weird little old man.

For the first twenty minutes, "Re-Cycle" looks pretty much like a standard Asian horror movie, with a black-haired woman darting around in the shadows and lots of weird occurrences. But when Ting-Yin wanders into this other world, suddenly things become pure dark fantasy, and this rather generic character blossoms as she becomes close to little Ting-Yu.

And the Pangs' direction is pretty brilliant. They flood the skies with strangely coloured light, and give the fields and cities a mummified, dead feeling. There's not a lot of dialogue in this movie, which makes the vivid imagery all the more important -- we travel from a land of crumbling buildings and grotesque forests to sunny fields and floating mountains. It's poisonous, yet somehow still beautiful.

Yet there are also moments of whimsy, such as Ting-Yu riding in to the rescue on a giant toy horse. And while there's some straight-out horror like the faceless woman and the whole fetus cavern scene, the Pangs also imbue some scenes with poignancy. One particularly heartbreaking scene takes place among the elderly who were neglected and forgotten, and who plaintively hold up their hands to Ting-Yin in hopes of receiving a grave flower.

Angelica Lee is the glue that holds this movie together -- rather than doing the standard horror performance of running around looking scared, she gives a subtle, layered performance with moments of dread, surprise, tension, sorrow and love. And Yaqi Zeng gives a magnificent performance as the mysterious Ting-Yu, who has a heavily foreshadowed connection to Ting-Yin. Their final scene together is utterly heartbreaking, yet somehow satisfying.

The ending is a bit of a brain-twister, though. It makes sense in a bizarre way, given what has been written before, but it feels vaguely incomplete and leaves you wondering just what will happen next.

"Re-Cycle" is a haunting, horrifying ride through a strange world where the abandoned things end up, and shows the Pang Brothers in top form. Not your typical Asian horror flick."
I'm Glad I own it inspite of its flaws
bunnyrabbit4 | New Orleans, LA USA | 12/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

This film starts out with some of the best chill/thrill/ photography that I have seen in a long time. It also works off the stark beauty of the lead actress whose subtle emotional displays are frequently seen in close up. Blu-ray is usually showcased with nature scenes, but its ability to capture the human face is what most interests me. The special effects here are also beautiful and run seamlessly along side of a variety of camera and editing techniques. It is a feast of the small stuff done well, like chopping a few seconds of film out of an action sequence to create a feeling of dimensional shift and unreality. Each scene is artistically framed for maximum effect. Especially in the begining of the film, the edits literally keeping you jumping. Elements of traditional Asian masks are blended with simple make up techniques to keep the film from becoming bogged down with too much flashy CGI. Often I find that CGI films have one or two scenes that everyone talks about and once you've seen them the funs over. This film uses a variety of subtle color shifts, camera movements and sets to approach each scene with a fresh cinematic voice. Speaking of voice, you really don't have to worry about the film being in Cantonese. Once the films gets going there is minimal dialog.

I was so visually engaged by the film that I did not began to worry about the plot until the last 15 or 20 minutes. Even after the social issue theme intruded on what had been a very good visual ride, the film managed to shift gears again at the very end and give me something to mull over as the credits rolled. But that last 15 could have been so much better. If I could edit this film I would take out a jarring, sugary sweet montage sequence near the end. I felt like it removed me too far from the film's psychological edginess. Exiting the lead character from her strange world while her pain over a loss was at its zenith would have made the film and last few minutes work much better. Horror films that seek to send moral or emotional messages frequently make this kind of mistake since the message is invariably part of the plot resolution. I agree with another reviewer that the script deserves a three, but the photography and CGI are 5 star. I can't wait to share this one with friends."
This Fantasy-Horror film Redeems the Pang Brothers and havin
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 08/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After the rather disappointing "The Eye 10" (aka. The Eye 3) and the abysmal "The Messengers", brothers Oxide and Danny Pang returns with "RE-CYCLE" (2006). The Pang bros. are identical twins who have a similar style of directing but it is also somehow different. The two brothers seemed to have redeemed themselves with great visuals, decent scares and a fresh concept; and with Angelica Lee in the lead role, with a performance that is every bit as great as what she has done in "The Eye", they seal the deal with a Fantasy film with supernatural elements.

Synopsis partially derived from the region-3 dvd back cover:
Chu Xun Ting-Yin (Angelica Lee) is a young writer whose first novel has become a major bestseller in Asia. "RE-CYCLE" is her next book, the first one she's written about the supernatural. Every reader eagerly awaits the publication of her new book since they mostly believe that her writings can bring impact to their lives. Ever since Chu Xun began writing her new book, a lot of unexplained things begin to happen. Later on, the young writer discovers that the heroine of her new book has found her way from the "fictional world" into the real world. One night, Chu gets caught into the "other" existence, a world of mind-bending and intense horror...

What makes Re-Cycle quite special is the fact that the film is a welcome return to the Pang's inimitable style; the heart-pounding soundtrack, the plot build up and the slow reveals; all have made the two brothers pioneers in the books of Hong Kong horror. Their cinematic tricks or technique may seem like a rethread of "The Eye" in its first act but they do pull something new out of their sleeves. The Pangs haven't lost their touch, they still have the skill to create tension in the screenplay. The film does have the same old tricks in its first act but the 2nd act does inspire more suspense and emotion. With Angelica Lee in the lead with a very superb performance, "Re-Cycle" succeeds where "The Eye 2" had failed.

The question is just how and why did Ting-Yin get into this situation in the first place? Just what is this desolate world that she has become entrapped in? The film has a good structure as the plot slowly unfolds. The end result may be a bit predictable to experienced movie watchers but with the film's foreshadowing, the script is quite successful with its goals. The thoughtful screenwriting is successful in generating the thrill and suspense that one may expect from the Pang Bros.; there are quite a number of freaky images specifically when corpses plummet from the sky. The film starts off with lovely Angelica Lee experiencing weird events that ends up with her foray into the supernatural world. Then the film more or less becomes a chase film with lovely Angelica Lee being pursued by ghouls while accompanied by an eight year old girl. The direction goes from the slow-reveal to a heart pounding chase sequence and the actress does a great job in conveying the needed emotions. The cheap scares are used very sparingly and for that, the direction needs to be commended. She befriends an old man who gives her specific instructions on how to get to "The Transit", a supposed spot where one can leave this mysterious world. While this element may seem too convenient, it sure doesn't hamper the film that much.

I've mentioned that the first half is more or less made up of the same gimmicks that made the Pangs famous; slow-moving objects, long haired ghosts but once Ting-Yin enters the desolate world, the film takes on a different pace. What also helps it along is the awesome set designs that looks gorgeous and at the same time downright creepy. The film does have a significant amount of special effects and most of them are nicely done. The only complaint I may have is that their quality may shift from time to time; that some scenes seemed to have a larger budget than some others. Still, the imagery is rendered with exquisite detail for the most part, this desolate world can be gorgeous, impressive and at the same time creepy and horrible. Highlights include a forest with ghouls, a place with giant toys, an old circus, rickety buildings. The film's atmosphere give the film an eerie feel although some of the ghouls look a little too "textbook" that keeps them from being convincingly scary.

Angelica Lee once again shines in this film and her performance may even surpass that one she did in "The Eye" or "Koma". The actress can indeed act and it is very important for a film like this to have a very strong lead actress. Lee expresses all the vital points of emotion when one is caught up with the unknown. The film depends on her reactionary skills and Lee doesn't disappoint with her very convincing performance. Ting Yin's (Angelica Lee) links to this desolate world may open a lot of questions and the film does answer them in its own fashion. These links may be a little predictable and truth be told, it isn't unique at all. But the emotions are felt, and it goes without saying that Lee is responsible. "Re-Cycle" is a huge success because of Angelica Lee.

"Re-Cycle's" climax may have a finality that could leave some folks scratching their heads, but if you have been paying attention to its entirety, it does make perfect sense. The film does give all the details throughout, and the Pangs did give the rules that apply to this alternate world. The plot `twist' in the final act may prove to be a little confusing but it does come together once you apply the Pang's logic. The climax will inspire pseudo-intellectuals to take notice, something that the Pang's previous installments never could.

After, the abysmal "The Messengers" and the disappointing "The Eye 10", audiences wouldn't be hard-pressed to think that Pang have lost their touch. No, the two brothers are very much alive and "Re-Cycle" proves that they can still involve and excite with a horror-fantasy film--hey, with Angelica Lee in the lead, you can`t expect anything less.

Recommended! [4- Stars]
Note: This film was released before the Pang Bros.' "Diary" and "Forest of Death"

Fantastic visuals, creepy atmosphere, and a mind-bending sto
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 09/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After the outstanding creepfest that was The Eye, I wondered what happened to the Pang brothers. Mired in pointless sequels and quick cash-ins, I figured. Well, this offering brought the freshness back for me. "Recycle" plays like an Asian horror version of "Alice in Wonderland" as imagined by Stephen King and envisioned by Guillermo del Toro. It's a meta-fictional fantasy nightmare about guilt and coming to terms with your past that is explored through the experience of a struggling writer searching for a good horror story. At one point the author (played by the ever-more-gorgeous Angelica Lee) tells a reporter that she would like to experience terror that wells up from the heart. Careful what you wish for, eh?

The first act of this film leads you to believe you are in for another uber-creepy haunting tale with lots of long black hair -this cliche is even referenced which is actually quite funny- and slow build-ups punctuated by horrific scares. And it works, too. but then it all changes. Turns out that ghosts and presumably many other supernatural happenings are caused by the bleeding of an alternate world into ours or vice-versa. All of the sudden we're transported along with our heroine to what is described as a dimension for the abandoned, where the forgotten and discarded things of our world find their resting place, waiting to be "recycled" into what is implied to be a new life. Very Buddhist, but dark as hell. The visuals here are absolutely wonderful. From a massive land of lost toys (apparently they grow real big when they are abandoned) to any number of the dimension's horrifying zombie-like denizens to a truly disturbing cavern filled with fetuses this dimension is amazing to look at adn creepy as can be. My favorites are a group of hanged men with unsettlingly stretched-out necks and aggressive demeanor. Along the way she encounters a nameless little girl who becomes her guide through the Lovecraftian Chinese dystopia. I have to admit I saw the twist coming a mile away, but I still found it to ring true as an astoundingly bold (as in: would not fly in America), emotionally affecting, and philosophically deep choice of endings. Bravo.

I'm pretty irked that "Recycle" hasn't gotten more attention. If I hadn't read Woopak's typically deep and insightful review than I never would have heard of this. That is, until the inevitable lame American remake (offer up any bet you like if you don't think it will happen, I will take it) complete with lame upbeat ending. I'm already ticked off about it and it hasn't even happened yet. The story takes some pages out of Stephen King's library (The Langoliers comes to mind) and some of the metafictional aspects of the latter Dark Tower books, adds a Guillermo del Toro feel along with a spattering of Asian horror conventions, but remains very much it's own entity. Definitely a unique and rewarding experience overall, but it doesn't quite reach the highest echelon of Asian cinema it was reaching for though I can't really expain why. Maybe it was the silly "hell money" bit that turned me off. If you're looking for a visually interesting and philosophically fresh take on Asian horror, than be sure to check this one out. It will not disappoint.

4 1/2 stars, rounded down for meta-fictional vagueness.