Hong Kong movie freaks in the U.S. should be stoked that we’re finally seeing some Chinese movies that are fun, cool, and even anarchic–and not just overblown historical epics. On the heels of Tsui Hark’s Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (actually a China-HK coproduction) comes a crowd-pleasing, special effects feast starring Zhou Xun (Hollywood Hong Kong, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate) and Zhao Wei (Shaolin Soccer, Red Cliff). Not since Green Snake have two A-list actresses fully embraced such fantastically pagan roles, slithering, sauntering, and sometimes even bathing together onscreen when they aren’t kicking ass. And while the production value, action, effects, and bad guys in Painted Skin 2: The Resurrection might resemble the biggest-budget videogame ever, the plot actually has a lot going for it. The two-hour sequel is surprisingly tight and packed with gender confusion, role reversing, a shockingly endearing subplot, and even some poetry to the outcome–not to mention juicy topics of conversation. Who did the leads play in the first movie again? Why are such supremely badass and powerful women so hung up on dudes? Maybe that’s the point? Let me know what you think after November 13, when you can buy, rent, or stream the movie legally.
Upon returning home to Hong Kong from the Drummer’s Collective in New York City, ace musician Jun Kung began his career as a rock musician. Despite winning the 2000 Hong Kong Commercial Radio Music Award for New Artist, Jun was quickly disillusioned by the local music industry. Instead, he became the most demanded drummer in Canto-pop and went on to collaborate with the likes of Jacky Cheung, Eason Chan, and Faye Wong. It wasn’t until 2010 that he returned to making his own music with Jun K, released on his friend Daniel Wu’s Revolution label. Upon the release of its hard-rocking follow-up, Playback is a Bitch, I got in touch with the Hong Kong-born and Macau-raised artist and asked him some questions about his new EP, his dabbling in acting, and working with Dan.
MW: Is it difficult to squeeze in your more rocking personal work when you are so busy with Canto-Pop gigs?
JK: I am very blessed to tour with big-name singers and I am very comfortable on the road, hanging and touring in amazing cities in China. That’s my full-time gig.
I also have a production team based in Hong Kong called Mofo Music Ltd. We are a one-stop music production team. I believe in being flexible and capable, and that’s our attitude when we work with clients.
When it’s my own project, it’s really whatever feels good. Hence, my latest, Playback is a Bitch, is a feel-good album.
MW: When you are recording an EP like the new one, what is your goal? To get played on the radio, develop songs to play live, work with friends…
JK: For many years, my whole idea of making music has been to just get in a studio and record my songs. I haven’t cared about airplay, because it’s way more complex than one thinks.
Working with friends is a must, because most of mine are in the band. Even though I can play all the instruments, I have certain musicians in mind when recording. The new album, in particular, was written, arranged, and recorded on the spot. Very organic and natural–I wouldn’t do music any other way.
MW: In some of your new songs, I hear Guns ‘N Roses, Funkadelic… What are some bands that you are into? Do you listen specifically to drums when you hear music?
JK: Bands that I’m into… Pre-concert music in recent years would be anything from Pantera. I love loud hard stuff! And definitely Guns. I am a big fan of Slash’s recent solo projects, too.
I co-wrote the first cut on the new album, “Damn,” with a good friend of mine, Adrian Da Silva (of the legendary underground Hong Kong group, Audiotraffic). He does a mean Axl Rose impersonation, and I had to beg him to do a verse about “hot chicks with issues.” I am sure we can all relate to that.