Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reel Asian 2011: Jump Ashin!, When Love Comes

Jump Ashin!


Based on the true life story of director Lin Yu-hsien’s older brother, Ashin, the film is ultimately a story of redemption. From a young age Ashin (Eddie Pang) was fascinated with the world of gymnastics. Although displaying a clear talent for the sport, his mother pulls him off the team to focus on running the family business. Disheartened, Ashin ends up falling into the gang life with his friend Pickle (Lawrence Ko). However, when the pair clash with the son of a local kingpin, Ashin soon finds himself on the run and longing for his days in gymnastic.

Jump Ashin! is part sports movie, part action comedy, and part drama all blended together. While this may sound odd, Lin Yu-hsien makes it work beautifully. The film leads the audience to believe that it will be a Jackie Chan style action comedy as Ashin routinely uses his gymnast abilities to his advantage when engaging in fights. However, the film smartly gets progressively darker as the story unfolds. Instead of merely laughing at the irresponsible nature of Ashin and Pickle for an entire film, Lin Yu-hsien ensures that the audience grows genuinely concerned for their well being. The serious tone of film really helps to sell the redemption aspect. Despite the fact that the audience already knows how the film will end, it is a true story after all, they cannot help but get caught up in cheering for Ashin’s gymnastics resurgence. While Lin Yu-hsien’s script and direction keeps the film moving at a brisk pace, it must be noted that Eddie Pang and Lawrence Ko give fantastic performances as Ashin and Pickle. Their performances allow Jump Ashin! to be an instant crowd-pleaser as the film delivers both entertainment and a surprising amount of depth.





When Loves Comes


At 16 years-old Lia-chun (Lee Yi-chieh) only has boys on her mind. Like most teenagers, she feels disconnect from her seemingly dysfunctional family. Beside the daily grind of running a small restaurant, there has been a lot change in the family. For example, Lia-chun’s mother just gave birth to a new baby brother and her uncle with autism has just moved into the already full family home. However when Lia-chun’s boyfriend abandons her in her time of need, Lia-chun is forced to be less self-absorbed and rely on the only people willing to help…her family.

When Loves Comes offers up a solid story that has universal appeal. If was refreshing to see the family dynamics play a bigger role in the second half of the film. The moment tragedy occurs we see a shift in the dynamics, characters who have been pillars of strength crumble and unsuspecting members step up in order to keep the unit together. It was also enjoyable to see how director Chang Tso-chi handles the role of the uncle with autism. Instead of going for easy gags, Chang Tso-chi provides an honest portrayal of how autism can both challenge a family and unify them. When Love Comes does not provide anything new to the dysfunctional family genre, but it still manages to convey its message effectively.

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