Monk deserves NO STARS in my book
Jacqui | austin | 05/22/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Why am I so harsh on this film? This 1993 effort is virtually a rip-off of the kind of highly stylized epics that characterized Akira Kurosawa's films of the 1980's. Specifically it is too similar to the 1985 Ran in terms of script, style, and even the costumes and sets. Other than being a totally inferior and embarrassing attempt to emulate the master, it is also guilty of historical inaccuracy (if it's a fantasy that why not go all the way - why the pretentious tone of a historical epic which it is not?!), exoticism (*all* the women in the film and even the men in the brothel), glorification of violence (whose sensual beauty tries to gloss over the very poor script) and terrible acting by all the performers. The dialogue, to my native Chinese-speaking ears, are nothing short of uncreative and hurriedly thrown-together hodge podge of ancient maxims and trite cliches any film trying to be original and substantial should avoid. Sure, Joan Chen is a beautiful actress but even her star power or any artistic integrity she isn't going to help the script or the general execution of this pathetic rip-off at all. Obviously a Chinese-Australian production aimed at the international market, in the guise of a historical Asian epic....ARRRRRRGH! Do yourself a favor and AVOID!"
Another beautiful movie from Sara Law
Peter Shelley | 08/14/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really loved this movie. Perhaps it does owe a debt to Kurosawa's 'Ran', but is it a crime for a developing director to emulate the master? Sara Law is a superb director in her own right - she has a faultless eye, a deft wit and produces sensational erotic scenes. I am thankful we can count her as an Aussie and look forward to a great many more beautiful movies from her like 'Temptation of a Monk'."
Temptation can be a passive response
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 06/17/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Hong Kong director Clara Law's film is based on a novel by Lillian Lee, who also wrote Farewell My Concubine. Set in China's Tang dynasty, it concerns the antagonism between two generals, Shi (Wu Hsin-Kuo) and Huo Da (Zhang Fengyi) who plot to overthrow the Emperor. Shi retreats from the fight when the ascendant heir is killed and seeks refuge in a Buddhist monastery. Law lacks the narrative skill to elucidate the story, relying instead on random set pieces, which occasionally redeem her painfully slow pace. The stylised use of colour and choreography in the opening ceremony and in an extended brothel sequence are very lovely, and she out-Peckinpah's Peckinpah in savage slow-motion massacres. Law has a good eye for composition, favouring the use of wind and smoke in her exteriors, and the burning of a house near the end is very beautiful. The brothel sequence features a transvestite, and the sex scene between Shi and a nun is all the more erotic because their shaved heads give it a particular subtext. Of the actors, Joan Chen manages to connect with the audience, though her screen time is limited, and the abbott monk raises a few laughs."
Peter Shelley | 10/22/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joan Chen is marvelous in this feature. A delight for both the eyes and the heart. This movie is filled with beautiful sights and sounds, a wonderful script, and superb acting. END"