Monday, February 26, 2007

Read This, Fans of The Departed, and Learn the Truth.

At the end of a previous post, the Korean promised that he would pour down some raging shitstorm upon Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences if The Departed wins any Oscar. Well, The Departed won 4, so here is the shitstorm, as promised.

Here is the simple reason why any Academy won by The Departed is bullshit. The Departed is based on a Hong Kong movie released in 2002, called Infernal Affairs. And by "is based on", the Korean means that "plagiarized down to every relevant detail."

But it goes beyond that simple fact. This is really about what the Academy sees its award show as. Once upon a time, American movies ruled the world. They still do to a certain extent, but certainly not to the same degree. Just like other American inventions of baseball and basketball, the world has caught up with America, and fantastic movies are made outside of U.S. every year.

At this point, the Academy had to choose. Will it continue favoring American movies and try to select the best picture among them, or will it open up its doors to foreign films and try to award the true world champion? If the Academy cares about the global reputation of Oscars, the answer is obvious. And by and large, the Academy made the right moves, making this Oscars the most international one ever. Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish film, won 3 Oscars, next highest to The Departed. All these were encouraging signs. But by showering The Departed with 4 Oscars, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing, the Academy took two steps back for every step it had taken forward. Instead of awarding the true global best, the Academy coronated its knockoff.

The Korean has no doubt that Martin Scorsese is a great director. In fact, the Korean believes that Scorsese, with The Aviator, should have won over Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby in 2005. But even the greatest director is capable of mailing it in, and mailing in Scorsese did.

First, the decision to remake Infernal Affairs was questionable to begin with. If it were an obscure, small budget movie, or a very old movie, that Scorsese had to go out of his way to discover, then it's understandable. But Infernal Affairs was none of those things. It was one of the highest grossing Hong Kong movies EVER. EVERYONE in Asia has watched it. The thing that blows the Korean away is the fact that Infernal Affairs opened in 2002, while The Departed opened in 2006. Given that it takes several years to make a movie, it means that Scorsese decided to remake Infernal Affairs as soon as it opened! How can this possibly be?

But the Korean still had hope, going to watch The Departed. After all, it’s Martin Scorsese, for crying out loud. He’s the guy who made Goodfellas! Sitting through The Departed, the Korean desperately hoped for something different to show. And there were a few differences between Infernal Affairs and The Departed. (Read on, there are no spoilers.) They were:

1. Infernal Affairs is set in Hong Kong, while The Departed is set in Boston.
2. Everyone in Infernal Affairs is Asian and speaks Cantonese, while everyone The Departed is white and speaks English (with Boston accents.)
3. The character played by Mark Wahlberg is new, and so is the ending involving him. The last 30 seconds of The Departed is completely new.
4. The ways Leonardo DiCaprio/Tony Leung character communicates with the police at the deal are different.
5. Jack Nicholson character is a little more fleshed out than Eric Tsang character. (Infernal Affairs 2 actually fleshes out Eric Tsang character a lot more.) Matt Damon character is also a little more fleshed out than Andy Lau character.

That’s it. Seriously, those are all. Which one of those 5 points screams “major changes”? On the other hand, so many of the major storytelling/stylistic points were directly lifted from Infernal Affairs to The Departed. (Okay, now we have spoilers.) Such as:

1. Making the two moles look alike.
2. The way the two moles almost meet, at the theatre.
3. The way the deal was bugged (computer chip replaces drugs.)
4. The way the chief dies.
5. The way there were two moles each in the end, and the way they become known.
6. The usage of glasses and blinds in the police HQ.
7. The setting and camera works on the roof, the movie’s climax.

The Korean can go on, but here is the point: The Departed is no more than a shameless knockoff of Infernal Affairs. If Scorsese did not bribe Andy Lau and Alex Mak into making this movie, he would certainly lose the lawsuit for plagiarism.

Now, a question must be asked: Why couldn’t Infernal Affairs simply open in the theatres of America, and make The Departed, which would open in mere 4 years later, appear utterly unimaginative?

Answer: Read the differences points 1 and 2 above. The Korean hates playing the race card, but really there cannot be any other explanation. Infernal Affairs, by all accounts a spectacular movie (reflected by the success of its knockoff,) got robbed BECAUSE IT DOES NOT HAVE WHITE PEOPLE IN IT. The same thing happened with The Ring and The Grudge. Only Asian movies that escaped this fate are the martial-arts based ones, i.e. the ilk of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, because it would be completely ridiculous to have those movies set in ancient Boston and have Chuck Norris flying across the screen.

What drives the Korean completely insane is the thought process behind the decisions to remake Asian movies. “Surely Asians can do some things that white people can’t, but those things cannot possibly include being an undercover cop that tests your inner goodness!!” Never mind that the movie won 23 different awards all over the world, and was wildly successful in cultures and languages that are as radically different as China, Japan, and Korea!

But it's not just about the assumption about Asian movies; it's also about the assumption that American audience is stupid. “There is no way in hell American audience is receptive to the emotions of fear, love, ambition and redemption portrayed by these yellow-skinned, slant-eyed chinks. We had better slap together a cast of white actors and a white director so that they may properly translate to the Americans whatever these chinks are trying to show.”

If you are an American movie lover, you should be insulted.

God, I'm still pissed.

p.s. The best part? When The Departed won the Best Screenplay and the screen writers (more like translators) walked up toward the stage, the PA system announced "The Departed was based on a Japanese movie, Infernal Affairs." That made the Korean jump out of the couch and scream, "IT'S NOT JAPANESE YOU IGNORANT FUCKS!!!"

The Korean has been a little bit harsh on the Japanese, especially with the recent Korea-Japan relation series, but he would like the readers to know that he was pulling for Rinko Kikuchi for Best Supporting Actress. The Korean also likes Japanese movies and cartoons.


  1. Dear Korean,

    I hear what you are saying, about Americans ripping off great foreign movies by just redoing them with American characters (in particular ripping off Asian movies and making the characters White). And in many, if not most cases, the American version is HORRIBLE... yet is more famous and makes more money.

    However... in this particular case, I just have to disagree. I've seen Internal Affairs, and really loved it, but The Departed is in an entirely different league. And it has nothing to do with the characters being Irish instead of Chinese. Internal Affairs looks good on its own, but compared to The Departed, it feels cheaper and more melodromatic. And the ending of the Departed is sooooo much better.

    One thing that I didn't like about The Departed was how two female characters were combined into one, but that's a minor point.

    Again, I understand what you are saying about a good movie not getting the credit its due b/c it's foreign, but you must consider a couple of things: Americans don't like foreign films (or foreign things in general.. most of us are monolingual), and Americans don't like subtitles. Like it or not, the studios aren't going to make much money on a film with no recognizable (to Americans) stars, and where they have to read the dialogue. It's a shame, too, because the foreign films that make it over here to the US are usually WAY better than the box office hits, but anyway...

    I also heard them say that Internal Affairs was Japanese, and that was so stupid! And Rinko Kikuchi was SO much more deserving than Jennifer Hudson. But they don't usually give the Oscar to the foreign actor. Unless they are British, of course.

  2. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean.I keep hearing about remakes of Oldboy and JSA, and this fills me with dread. I wouldn't alter a single frame or casting choice in either of those films. They are perfect!

    Seriously Hollywood? What the Fuck?

    The one great thing about The Departed, is that Infernal Affairs II and III are finally easily available in the States. Heh, it takes the remake to spark enough interest to make the originals worth releasing. *sigh*

  3. Dear Korean,

    What you said.

    Plus, I'm an American and I *like* subtitles. So stop with the broad generalizations, please.


    1. I like subtitled movies as well. Especially for Korean movies, as I love being able to listen to the sounds of the beautiful Korean language.

  4. Purvis, it's hard for the Korean to take you seriously if you misspell the name of the movie. If the title of the post read "Read this, fans of The Deported..." would you take the Korean seriously? The title is Infernal Affairs; obviously a play on word for Internal Affairs, but they are not the same.


    The Korean disagrees with you. Infernal Affairs is neither cheaper nor more melodramatic than The Departed. The Departed looks a little more artful in an antique sort of way because it is set in an older city and the color scheme is warmer, whereas Infernal Affairs very modern and the color scheme is cooler (which fits the theme of the movie better.) If anything, The Departed is more melodramatic by having the two guys diddling the same girl, while Infernal Affairs provided a clearer juxtaposition of the two men's disposition by setting up two contrasting relations. The love relations clearly take a backseat in Infernal Affairs in favor of the main plot, whereas The Departed brings them out to the forefront.

    The Mark Wahlberg character was completely superfluous to begin with. Outside of his badass attitude (which was kinda fun to watch,) he contributes nothing to advance the storyline. At one point, he disappears for over 20 minutes, because his presence would have detracted from the story. Infernal Affairs has no such wasted character.

    Because Wahlberg character was superfluous, the ending of him abruptly killing Matt Damon character is completely stupid, and it takes away from the movie. By then, there were a series of unexpected killings; the viewers are given time to sort things out, and realize that although Damon character survives, he was ultimately the loser of the two moles. Infernal Affairs end with Damon/Andy Lau character reflecting upon this irony.

    But The Departed doesn't give Damon character to reflect on this irony, because he gets shot by a superfluous character! He might as well have been hit by a meteor on the way back from DiCaprio character's funeral! This trivializes the central artistic theme of the movie, and replaces with some nihilistic "everyone dies unexpectedly" type of message, which is far less interesting.

    The Korean also disagrees with "Americans don't like foreign films" statement. That's plain wrong. If that were true, how can one explain Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? How does one explain Life is Beautiful? Was Li Mubai speaking English? Did anyone in American have a clue who Roberto Benigni was before Life is Beautiful?

    Please. Americans are not stupid; they recognize a great movie no matter who stars in it, and no matter what language it is in. All that "Americans don't like foreign films" bullshit is no more than Hollywood stereotyping that Asians are too foreign to be understood, and patronizing American moviegoers that even if Asians can be understood, average American is too dumb to understand them.

    On the other hand, however, the Korean thinks that Infernal Affairs II is a knockoff of Godfather (although not to the same degree that The Departed is a knockoff of Infernal Affairs), so he kinda hopes that it doesn't get released too widely in the U.S.

  5. I have not watched these awards shows for many years. They give awards to themselves. What if the plumbers gave awards to the best toilet snaker? It is basically the same thing. The people in the movie business are mostly worthless human beings that the general public looks up to, for some insane reason. They have not had an original idea in 40 years. They redo broadway shows, steal writer's ideas, remake movies, have people using the bathroom for reality shows. I know you are upset, but think about their place in the true meaning of life. They don't have a place.

  6. Dear Korean,

    You are right... I did misspell Infernal Affairs, which I did not notice until after I submitted my request, my bad.

    Regarding the movies, I totally respect the fact that you disagree with me. But to me, The Departed has a whole different feel to it that engaged me more as a viewer. And believe me, I am not prejudiced against Asian actors or foreign films. If they remake Oldboy here (which I've heard they will), I'm gonna puke.

    I think a movie will speak to each person individually. I guess everyone has to decide that for themselves. But my husband, who is a HUGE fan of Asian cinema (I am a fan also, but haven't seen as many of them as he has), would normally agree with you for most movies, but on this one he also thinks The Departed is better made.

    But regarding Americans liking foreign films, I'm afraid Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life is Beautiful are exceptions to the rule. These films are exceptionally accessible to the degree that even those audiences who helped make freakin' NORBIT and Ghost Rider the #1 movies the last couple of weeks felt comfortable seeing them. Plus, Ang Lee makes a ton of American movies, so I'm sure that helped Crouching Tiger get promoted, not to mention he knows his American audience well.

    Almost every weekend, we go out to see foreign films at a fancy-pants theater that we have to drive almost an hour to (even though we live in a big city) because they don't show foreign films anywhere else, and almost every time we go, the theater is nearly empty. If you live in a small town, just forget it... thank God for Netflix.

    So I'm glad you have faith in American audiences to give foreign films a chance, but that hasn't been my experience. And if you think about it, even American-made independent films typically won't see the light of day if they don't have known stars in them. Yes, it's the studios that are partly to blame, but so are the audiences who want something comfortable and familiar. And did I mention that Americans don't usually learn any foreign languages? We're not the most cosmopolitan nation.

  7. Put up a movie critique, and instantly it gets more comments than the list of war crimes. Such is the state of our country.

    Upon reading the post once again, The Korean's point was not 100 percent clear. The Korean does not think American audience hates foreign films; however, they will only watch the movies that they heard of and those that are accessible.

    It's essentially a chicken-and-egg problem, and the Korean is pointing towards the chicken. It's not so much that Americans hate foreign films; it's more that Hollywood executives have a bias in assuming that Americans hate foriegn films, despite examples to the contrary.

    If Infernal Affairs was as hyped in America as The Departed before it opened and was distributed as widely, there is absolutely no reason why Infernal Affairs would not be wildly successful. If that happened, The Departed, even conceding arguendo that it is a better movie than Infernal Affairs, would look silly for opening only 4 years later with basically the same plot. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Americans don't learn foreign languages or they are not cosmopolitan enough.

  8. I thought that the Departed was great, but I watched Infernal Affairs right as soon as I got home from watching the Departed.

    The similarities go beyond what you list... Some of the dialog is exactly the same.

    I think this is part of the usual American trend of remaking any good foreign film because Americans are lazy and don't want to read subtitles.

  9. I'm an American girl. I like foreign films. Most of them. I don't care what country they come from, most of them are more interesting than American films. I just saw The Departed. I live in Korea, so it was on TV. I hated it. Why would a movie like that win any award at all? I am so sick of blood and guts, action, action, action on TV. Apparently that's what Koreans like. Maybe you could comment about Koreans affinity for action/violence in movies. And I agree with the commenter who said Americans hate foreign films. I can't tell you how often I have raved about a film only to hear the other person say, "Subtitles? I don't want to watch a movie I have to read."

  10. For years I worked in a video store in Canada before coming to Korea as a teacher. These where the post-LOTR years filled with crap rip-offs and remakes and sequels. I didn't know about the Departed... and I'm now even more underwhelmed about it's standing in the celluloid pantheon.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the American stance that "made in America" equals better, or, at least, consumable. North America is a place where films like Life is Beautiful and Run Lola Run and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon don't get a fair shake because they are dubbed or have subtitles.

    It irks me to no end that there is talk of remaking Oldboy as an American film. Or, that Dragonball is being released as a kids live-action film made by Americans.

    Are there any other notable films that you can expose as rip-offs of Asian cinema?

    Nice blog, by the way.

  11. america rips off lots of Asian movies like "Juno" was ripped off "Jenny&Juno" a Korean movie, so was the "Lake House" that was ripped of "Ilmae" another K-film.
    originality no longer exists in american films-- which is why i quit watching them and stick with my Korean Movies.

  12. For the record, "Juno" is not a rip-off of "Jenny & Juno", a Korean movie that is far lower in quality.

    1. For the record, "The Departed" is NOT a rip-off of "Infernal Affairs". Plagiarism is when you don't give credit.

  13. I'm disappointed with American remakes of Asian films, especially horror ones.

  14. I'm disappointed in Americans feeling like films have to be remade at all.

    Even if we ignore "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Life is Beautiful", Americans hating subtitles would not explain successful films like "The Passion of Christ" or "Slumdog Millionaire" (yes, this one was only partly subtitled, but 1/3 of a film is still a significant amount). I've been accustomed to reading subtitles ever since my father used to rent all these old wuxia-style films that he liked when I was a child. There is so much stuff out there that is good that people would enjoy that saying that Americans don't like subtitles doesn't even amount to a red herring excuse for companies to simply assume Americans don't want foreign films.

  15. "Only Asian movies that escaped this fate are...[of] the ilk of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon..."

    Except for that Samurai named Tom.

  16. I think a lot of foreign films get lost in translation in America. I enjoy K-Dramas but realize they wouldn't work in America because of cultural differences. The importance of family and being respectful to elders is not the same in America. I wish my friends could watch Boys Over Flowers with me, but they wouldn't get it.

  17. Monaham's script and the film both credit Infernal Affairs. Plagiarism is when you don't give credit.

  18. Well, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this in most cases. After seeing one promo on the American version of My Sassy Girl with the marching band in the New York subway combined with the dialogue that sounds like it was written by an inexperienced translator, I knew there would be no reason for me to bother with it.

    HOWEVER, some of my favorite movies take an established story and change the setting. The Magnificent Seven was Kurosawa's 7 Samurai repackaged as a wild west film. And Kurosawa himself made Ran, which is actually Shakespeare's King Lear in a feudal Japanese setting.

    That said, I think that you're right in the case of The Departed despite not having seen either it or Infernal Affairs. I hope that this trend in Hollywood can be corrected and people can just appreciate the original.

  19. I know this is super old; I'm just now reading it but I just wanted to say that I was really angry when America did a remake of the Japanese movie "One Missed Call." In the American version, there was a party and people having sex in the back room in the beginning. "Chakushin Ari" had absolutely nothing to do with partying and sex. I think the media believes we're all too ignorant/impatient/etc. and we have to have action all the time without a real plot. That's probably why they can't just show the original versions with subtitles.

  20. Dear Korean, I absolutely agree with you on this one, though... I made my husband and son watch Infernal Affairs after they raved about The Departed, and they didn't seem to share my opinion of which was the superior film... must have something to do with which one was seen first. I am still wondering what the remake of "the Host" will be like, though it was announced almost as soon as the Host was released in the U.S., so that was some years ago. I will add that the American remake phenomenon is not limited to Asian films - I understand that they are remaking "the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which was quite competently handled already as a Swedish production.
    On a separate note, really glad to have discovered your blog - I am Korean, but raised "abroad", so I find your perspective innately fascinating and educational.

  21. Ok, I'm late, I know but Wow! I definitely want to see Internal Affairs. It's interesting because I have been thinking lately also about how Hollywood has done the Asian actors/actresses wrong. Most Asian actor/actresses I've seen in movies, be them leads or supporting roles, are always some 2-D character: either a martial arts robot (I love Martial Arts and if it wasn't for it, I would not be here, but still) or some exotic little toy in the case of females. But rarely do you see a 3-D, well developed, Asian character. I mean half the time the person casted for the role is not even of the same ethnicity as the character (ie, a Korean playing a Japanese, or a Japanese playing a Chinese person). Moreover, rarely does the character have a family, or if they do, they've been killed, why? Because apparently the only motivation an Asian character can have is revenge. (::side eye::)

    I would love to see a movie with an Asian lead, either male or female, which does not involve martial arts, or if it does, it's not central to the story. I'd like to see a well-develop plot line showing the character as a whole person, as if he/she could be anyone of us, because they are! I would like to see the Asian male not be portrayed as a eunuch. And I would like to see this come out of HOLLYWOOD.

    Anyway, I'm going to watch Internal Affairs.


  22. Bellanera, I agree that there aren't enough in-depth characters out there for Asian artists to play but I find this to be a problem because of the way it limits their talent and the world's perception of certain cultures. However I also find it limiting, though in a different way, to take a negative stance against "a Korean playing a Japanese". Obviously you meant nothing racist by this, but I do find it somewhat discriminatory insofar as such restrictions are rarely placed on non-Asians. If Dicaprio plays a British person, Christian Bale plays an American, or Morgan Freeman plays a South African, no one sees anything wrong with this. Nor should they, since that's part of what it means to act -- otherwise are we saying only Danish people can take the role of Hamlet? Of course not. Nor, in my opinion, is there anything wrong with a Korean portraying a Japanese person so long as it isn't in a derogatory manner.

  23. Funny, but it seems to go both ways. How many K-pop songs have you heard that are direct knock offs of American pop songs? Narsha's "삐리빠빠 (BBI RI BOP A)" seems to be a direct knock-off of Kesha's "Tik Tok." (side note - how do I know this? Because I'm living in Daegu and have been BOMBARDED with this shit since I first stepped foot here). And while the Korean youth seem to actually like both songs equally, it plays into this idea that they "created" it. For example - my boyfriend tried to show his high school students some old videos of breakdancers from the early 80's, since his kids love "b-boy dancing." he wanted to show them the history and background of the dance movement. they looked at him like he was crazy and essentially said "yes teacher, but we do it better." they refused to even acknowledge the connection!

  24. I know this comment is massively late, but I think the point still stands. I just came across it because I just stumbled on this blog recently and have a number of very insightful posts to catch up on.

    Infernal Affairs was pretty popular here in Germany when it came out, and I watched it - and highly enjoyed it - even though I neither knew nor cared about Asian culture at the time. So when I saw The Departed and realized what a blatant rip-off it was, I got pretty annoyed as well.

    I'd like to point out that this doesn't just happen to Asian movies though. In 2004, an utterly, utterly terrible movie called "New York Taxi" came out starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. If you haven't seen or heard of the movie, good for you. However, it is a complete rip-off of a French movie called "Taxi" (1998) and all they did was transpose the action from Marseille to New York. Oh, also they ruined the entire comedy, all the charm any of the characters had, and made several "improvements" by making all the characters, jokes, and action completely over the top.

    The original movie is about a Taxi driver who can transform his regular Peugeot 406 cab into some sort of super race car and he stumbles along some baddies trying to rob a bank and ends up helping an incompetent Police officer solve the case (don't think this sort of general recap of this type of movie constitutes a spoiler). Obviously this plot line isn't exactly subtle or sophisticated, but the French movie really made it work by having good characters and including some clever jabs at the Germans via the bank robbers (which I, as a German, found highly amusing).

    Long story short this kind of crap also gets done to European movies. I shouldn't get too upset though, because all German TV does is copy whatever TV format is working out in the states and 8 out of 10 times people bite.

  25. The phenomenon of ripping off Asian movie plots is clearly common for American movie makers. What I have the most trouble with is giving credit where credit is due. For instance, The Lake House remade Il Mare. They clearly admitted to this. On the other hand, Juno was pretty obviously a remake of Jenny/Juno with much of the same back-story for characters and stealing the distinctive visual art style (crayon writing text in bright colors) of the Korean film. The "writer" of that script "Diablo Cody" received an Academy Award for an "Original Script." I hope she sleeps well at night. At least if you are going to rip off someone's idea you can give them some credit for it.

  26. I watched Infernal affairs once and when i watched The Departed i'm sorry but the first thing what cross my mind was the first one, for me the asians got the first place in this movie. The departed is a good movie but the drama and the feeling in the other one is indescribable, you feel into your skin the tension and the Tony Leung's eyes expression is so far the best.

    1. Laura...late post, me too. The reason that I found this site is BECAUSE of Korean movies. I've been on an Asian movie bender for a few months and the Koreans make my favorites. I think the Korean is right with his comments about racism. But I think he is also a little blinded by it. He doesn't go far enough. American audiences are straight up lazy as hell and won't read subtitles. Now I'm not saying all Americans, obviously there is a segment of the population that follows foreign and indie films. There just isn't going to be a foreign language big American box office smash. I personally would like to see more Asians in American film. Also, now that I've been watching Asian films it would be refreshing to see a non-Asian face now and then in one of their films too. I think from what I've seen so far the American film industry is way ahead of the Asian film industry about incorporating non-whites in their movies and TV. Obviously the reason for this is language problems, not skin color. Remember I've been watching for awhile now and Americans didn't corner the market on borrowing story lines either. Asian film makers do it too, even the Koreans. Korean film makers do remakes of "classics" too. They also re-write classic story lines. I do like to see my favorite Asian directors get the opportunity to make movies with American studios. Kim Ji-woon has his first US film debut in February with "The Last Stand". I could write an entire other rant about why I'd like to have seen his debut with a less cheesy star. So I'm hoping The Korean won't be to put out when Spike Lee comes out with his "Oldboy" remake sometime next year. It might come out pretty good, at least Spike isn't white. He's also a pretty good film maker. ...Just saying I watched the Korean version of "A Better Tomorrow" before watching the Hong Kong version just to give it a chance. My opinion, it's stands on it's own as a pretty good film. I'd watch it again. What would have been really bad is if "The Departed" had been a super stinker.

  27. Sometimes a story is just attractive and people want to do their own versions. Look at how the Koreans, Japanese and Taiwanese all did their own version of Mischievous Kiss, and I think there is going to be a Filipino version also. I'd love to see how Hollywood would handle that one. Americans redo British shows a lot - Shameless and The Office are good examples. We redo all sorts of films - Madonnas horrid version of Swept Away, then there was City of Angles, a simpleton version of Far Away, So Close. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was actually pretty good, but that was more from the book. It's not a unique insult to just Asian films - we like to try and fuck up all sort of stuff. I think the real insult is when no one knows who did the first version. A lot of people think Mischievous Kiss was a remake of the Korean drama A Playful kiss - people get livid on that one and they aren't even Japanese. It is really interesting how different cultures deal with the same story line, once you see the originals.

  28. my imdb ratings
    in order of when i saw them
    the departed-8
    infernal affairs-10
    infernal affairs 2-8
    infernal affairs 3-haven't seen

    There is a also a japanese remake for tv called "Double face" which is quite good.

  29. Hollywood has long held a grudge against HK Cinema for humiliating Chuck Norris. Another thing is with China growing richer HK Cin could become a credible threat so why share the pie? I strongly disgree with the guy below commenting that IA won nothing, not even a nomination because it was "cheap" and "melodramatic." Juno wasn't hindered by a shoestring budget at the Oscars and btw, someone else acknolwedged below that Juno was a rip off of a Korean film and if you're curious Juno also won best original screenplay at the Oscars, just like the Departed. And Americans do love cheesy melodramas.

    It should puzzle you that IA didn't get so much as a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film when it was entered in that category, until you realize that a committee of 30 New Yorkers picked the five nominees and that the Oscars aren't immune to studio politics or agenda. It's possible that Hollywood planned on remaking it as soon as it was making waves across the Orient and the Oscars had better not fuck that up.

    And again I imagine that a complex plot like the IA's is hard to follow when someone can't even tell the names and faces apart. It's not racist, but people do have trouble when they can't even pronounce the names. I'm saying this as a Taiwanese and the good news is it just comes with practice. You can ask the expats or an Asian movie buff. Perhaps there was a bit of culture shock like when you feed a midwesterner seafood. They have to overcome the initial discomfort and give it a chance which doesn't always happen at the box office so someone had to repackage it so they can make a profit.

    Hollywood prefers to sell romanticized versions of things Chinese. Remember Crouching Tiger that took the Academy Awards by storm? WAY over rated. Aside from stunts and fantasy I remember nothing from it. Perhaps a curious fact too that Crouching also had some American (Hollywood) funding (investment) whereas IA did not. IA was unapologetically HK Cinema, made for Hongers no bigge if you can't adjust. It must be like real exotic cuisine to someone used to egg rolls. It's not racist it's just that people here prefer Hollywood or Western cinema. It's like meat and potatoes to them and the likes of Damon, Dicaprio, Nicholson, Whalberg etc are like comfort foods.

    Many Asians have become household names by starring in chessy Hollywood productions eg Jacky Chan, Jet Li, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe etc. They're egg rolls. See the problem with crime drama/thrillers you don't need Chinese people to do it but not so with the martial arts/historical fantasy genre which wouldn't be as authentic if too westernized. So they do rip off's when they can get away with and profit from it. They made deals with those owning rights to IA but failed to give it much credit. The same did not happen to Waltz With Bashir, one of my all time fav's that took home the Best Foreign Language Film, but that's......not hard to fathom.

  30. I just wrote a comment now but want to add a few things. Hollywood wants to borrow big Oriental stars so they can sell more of their products in Eastern Asia. With IA there was also a religious, sermonizing element that probably made it less appealing to some audience but ya once again I feel they denied IA its due credit primarily out of profit motives, and that the Academy Awards at times seem like a marketing tool.


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