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Red Trousers
Red Trousers
Actor: Robin Shou
Director: Robin Shou
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Educational
UR     2005     1hr 36min

A short action film interwoven into a documentary tells the story of the legendary unsung heroes of hong kong film.. Studio: Tai Seng Entertainment Release Date: 03/15/2005 Run time: 96 minutes


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Movie Details

Actor: Robin Shou
Director: Robin Shou
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Educational
Sub-Genres: Hong Kong Action, Indie & Art House, Educational
Studio: Tai Seng
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/15/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Cantonese, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Fantastic Documentary
A. Tang | 04/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Red Trousers is a fantastic work of art, intertwining a full-feature documentary with an action short. It transports the audience into a world of life-endangering stunts and uncovers the hardships and motivations that are the driving force for these Hong Kong stunt men. The documentary includes interviews with well-known martial artists such as Sammo Hung, Lau Kar Leung, and writer/director/actor Robin Shou as well as aspiring "red trousers" from a Peking Opera school in China, who all have heart-warming stories to share. "Red Trouser: The Life of a Hong Kong Stuntman" is a truly fascinating look at stunts as an art, a career, and a way of life."
WOW! Breathtaking stunts and insightful interviews
J. Soo | New York, NY | 07/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm so impressed by this film. Not only did it manage to cover the history of stuntmanship, and how the field led to so many action heroes, but it was so touching to see how children today are completely dedicated to the art. Robin Shou is super impressive as Evan in "Lost Time"...remember this short film is to facilitate the documentary, I was so suprised the first time when everyone rushed onto set! This is a MUST SEE for anyone who considers themselves a martial arts or action film fan. It's really amazing to see these lean Chinese stuntmen risk their necks to get the effect right..and not use padding and other CGI effects like Hollywood actors do."
"I can fight to win or I can fight to lose, because I am a S
Mike Schorn | APO, AE United States | 04/03/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The career of Robin Shou isn't widely studied. Sure, he'll always be recognizable as Liu Kang from the Mortal Kombat movies and a few folks might recognize him in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, but good luck finding many people who've heard of his work in Hong Kong material like Death Cage or Interpol Connection [VHS]. It'd seem natural that in-between stints of his sagging US career, Shou would return to the east to practice his trade...which he did, albeit as a director, and not of a high-octane action movie, but of one of the most singular documentaries you've ever seen venerating the hitherto-unsung heroes and innovators: the stuntmen of Hong Kong cinema.

Granted, the red trousers (the name given to practitioners of Chinese opera, because to their traditional red training/performing uniforms) have received some mention in documentaries like Cinema of Vengeance and The Art of Action: Martial Arts in the Movies, but nobody has gone the whole ten yards with a camera the way Shou does. With a bit of backstory on the origins of stuntwork in the Beijing Opera, Shou examines the lives, working conditions, work process, and personal drives of the people regularly seen risking life and limb for the sake of an exciting movie scene.

Shou interviews a lot of people in his attempt to piece together the gist of what it is to be a stunt worker in Hong Kong, and a few names are more recognizable than others. There's Sammo Hung, legendary big brother to all red trousers and authority on the differences between stuntwork in Asia and America. There's the ever-animated Sifu Lau Ka Leung, director of Jackie Chan's The Legend of Drunken Master, who will tell you in minute detail how grueling it was to be a stuntman in the '50s. Let's not forget Ridley Tsui, stunt director of plenty of films but best known to us as "Smoke" from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, who specializes in the subtle art of cussing at stuntmen to inspire them to perform death-defying feats. Still, it's testimonies of the guys in the field that validate them: Jack Wong, who performed an obviously painful falling stunt repeatedly just so it would look right; Jude Poyer, a British national who braved culture shock just to live out his dream in Asia; Wang Hua, who was gravely injured in an accidental 3-story fall but still aspires to get back in the game. The sacrifices made by these people who simply want to be the best at their unique occupation is the major calling card of this documentary.

Shou hasn't made a documentary about exploitation and tragedy, but rather what it means to the Chinese to dedicate yourself to something. It's more of a legitimate inspirational tale than anything else about careers that begin as early as pre-adolescence and last as long as there's a film market...if one can keep their nerve and save face. Harsh realities of the expectations of directors and the price of failure are examined but not made the centerpiece of the movie, which manages to convey a message of optimism even during scenes in which the younger generation of opera students demonstrate their appreciation of time and the working world by professing their need to work even harder than they already are to survive in the tough movie environment; it's an emotion-capturing feat that director Robin should be commended for.

The only thing that's downright bad about the film is the scenes of the mini-movie "Lost Time" inserted at intervals throughout the flick. Also directed by and starring Shou, it should serve as a visual aide and validation to proclamations made throughout the documentary, but it just plain stinks. The storyline is nonsense, the production values are disappointing, and most damningly, the tight-shot, over-edited action scenes are not at all in tune with the Hong Kong style. While I'm not so naïve as to expect a top-tier production from a half-hour movie that was obviously shot on limited time and budget, Shou's vision as director doesn't at all reflect the points made by the documentary...not to mention that his long-awaited rematches with fellow "Mortal Kombat" alumni Keith "Reptile" Cooke and Hakim Alston are beyond disappointing. This alone keeps the movie from obtaining a 5-star rating.

With a production that's remarkably clean, well-paced, and engaging throughout (not to mention featuring plenty of DVD extras), this is one hidden gem that you ought to definitely adorn your collection with. Shou fans in particular ought to take notice, of course, but it really is necessary viewing for anybody who's enjoyed Hong Kong movies from any era just for the sheer amount of ground it covers - more than I've been able to fit into this review. Get it!"
Red Trousers (Chinese slang) = martial arts stunt men
William Ying | Los Angeles, CA USA | 04/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a compilation of many film segments on the Hong Kong kung fu stunt man's life. It is much harder and demanding than its Hollywood counterpart. Many stunt men start when they were little kids. The schools that train them were shown as well as footages of incredible stunts. There are many interviews of people in different stages of their careers; from young students to retired stunt men. The package comes with 2 DVDs and a book. I recommend this for those interested in martial arts, Chinese fighting opera and kung fu action flicks."