As the one person who still buys physical media I try to be careful with what I buy. As silly as it sounds I try to do at least a bit of leg work and read about what’s coming out before I pick it out. There are very few exceptions to this process, one of them being movies distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment. Based out of Texas they are one of the top distributors for international films in the United States. For the past few years they have more than earned my trust with blu-ray releases for great movies like Journey to the West, Drug War, and the Ip Man series. In the wake of the Dragon Dynasty imprint they are an indispensable source of East Asian cinema in the US. Still there are plenty of quality movies that don’t get releases out here and this is just a sample of what I would love to see.
Now obviously I am not a distributor nor should I be. I’m just a fan who, like everyone else, wants to get the best films from around the world. Sure my Scream Factory wishlist didn’t pan out but I’m an optimist. Why not try with Well Go USA? Regardless I have no link with Well Go USA but if they want to use this list as a reference point that would be totally cool. Hint hint.
Of all the types of movies Well Go USA releases their bread and butter are East Asian action movies. Their catalog of these types is pretty vast featuring films from countries like China, Thailand and South Korea. With that in mind the next pick up seems fairly obvious, The Bodyguard. Starring Sammo Hung it’s the story of a retired bodyguard suffering from early dimensia. When his only friend, a young girl, is kidnapped he travels over several countries to rescue her. While the plot is a bit basic the movie is interesting for a couple of reasons. The big one being that not only will Hung be the action choreographer but for the first time in nearly two decades he will be directing. The other is the amazing cast the film has. In true Chinese event film fashion they have everyone from Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) to Tsui Hark (director of The Taking of Tiger Mountain) set to make an appearance. While the film hasn’t actually come out yet this is the perfect type of movie for Well Go USA to distribute. Certainly one to keep an eye on.
The Bullet Vanishes
If there is one type of movie missing in the American landscape at the moment it’s the mystery thriller. Every now and then we’ll get a Gone Girl but for the most part things aren’t too clever. Luckily we have 2012’s The Bullet Vanishes just waiting to be distributed. Starring Nicolas Tse (New Police Story) and Lau Ching-wan (The White Storm) it follows two detectives in 1930’s China. Put together by fate the two have to solve a series of murders involving “phantom bullets.” With not only commercial but also critical acclaim in China it seems like the perfect movie to make it over here.
Lady Snowblood 1 & 2
Based on the manga of the same name Lady Snowblood is probably the most known Japanese film nobody has seen. Breaking into the home of a rural couple a gang of thieves kills the husband and rapes his wife. Ending up in prison the woman gives birth to a dauaghter, Yuki, who the mother sets up to be raised by a priest. Trained from birth she seeks out revenge on the thieves when she turns 20. From the writer of Lone Wolf and Cub this samurai revenge film has influenced quite a few films including The Wolverine, The Raid 2 and (most obviously) Kill Bill. Despite such a pedigree the only ways to get a physical copy of the movie are out of print DVD’s from ANIMEIGO and some questionable releases from bootleg company Bonzai Media Corp. I think with the proper extras you could easily put together the great Scream Factory-style release this cult classic deserves.
Reign of Assassins
A retired assassin Zeng Jing (Michelle Yeoh) finds herself in possession of the remains of a mystical Buddhist monk. Going into hiding she lives a peaceful life with her husband Ah-Sheng until the arrival of the Dark Stone gang. With the group of assassins giving chase the two try to put the remains in their rightful place. What I find most interesting is that it was co-directed, with Chao-Bin Su, by John Woo. In fact this is Woo’s first Wuxia movie since the late 70s/early 80s. There’s also the fact that from what I’ve seen the sword fights are pretty fun. While The Weinstein Company bought the rights to distribute the film in the US they haven’t done anything with it. I doubt they would just give up the rights but I would love for it to get distributed by a company that works almost exclusively within the genre.
Dante Lam Movies
This is where the ish in the title comes into play. In case you don’t know Dante Lam is one of the most consistent directors in China. While not always perfect Lam’s movies are usually fun with Beast Stalker and The Viral Factor standing out. While the company has released two of his movies (Stool Pigeon and the aforementioned Viral Factor) they haven’t released any in quite some time. While I doubt this is some intentional it’s a shame to see such a wide array of movies not making it stateside. The few years alone has included the Golden Horse nominated Unbeatable, action-thriller That Demon Within and the controversial film (if only for Edison Chen) Sniper. Not to mention how hyped I would be for the critically acclaimed Beast Cops (co-directed by Gordon Chan) to finally make it stateside. I could be wrong but I think the work of Dante Lam has a lot of potential that should be tapped. At the very least it would save me money from buying the movies from China.
Look at the photo above. Now watch this trailer. I need this in high definition as soon as possible. Bonus points if it comes with just as crazy pseudo-sequel Future X-cops. This looks like absolute lunacy and I would pay for it on blu-ray ASAP.