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Non-Review Review: China Salesman

China Salesman is fascinating disaster.

China Salesman is not a good film by any measure, but it is strangely compelling. There is something intoxicating about the film, in spite of its myriad flaws – the awful script, the atrocious dubbing, the clumsy editing, the terrible performances, the muddled storyline, the abundance of nonsensical technobabble. Part of this is down to the sheer abundance of energy that director Tan Bing brings to proceedings. China Salesman whips and whirls, cranks and zooms, pans and swirls with a kinetic energy that renders these flaws almost bedazzling, offering an effect that in some ways evokes a bad trip.

The gun show.

However, China Salesman is perhaps most interesting as a mirror and a prism. It is, like Wolf Warrior II, very much the Chinese equivalent to those old patriotic eighties American action movies like Delta Force or Iron Eagle, the kind of populist nationalist cinema that is currently channeled through franchises like Transformers. As such, there is something intriguing in seeing the image that China Salesman projects into the world, as an assertion of multinational intent to the rest of the world and as a statement of patriotic self-image to the country itself.

China Salesman is terrible. It is also terribly interesting.

The old man and the Seagal.

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64. Крым (Crimea) – This Just In (-#–)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, This Just In is a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 (and the 100 worst) best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Aleksey Pimanova’s Крым.

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Tintin: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

The two earliest Tintin adventures, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo, are looked back upon as the black sheep of the Tintin novels produced by Hergé. While Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is shameless anti-Communist propaganda (and does contain a hint of the foul racism we’d see a lot more of in Tintin in the Congo), one can detect a lot of the charm that Hergé brought to his iconic creations, scattered throughout the work, from the surreal sense of humour to the writing style to the love of ridiculous suspense, seemingly for the sake of suspense. The best was definitely yet to come, but it all started here.

The collection isn't Tintin at his finest...

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Is 300 Racist? A Counter-Argument…

I know that we’re officially about five years past this discussion, but I was thinking about it lately. 300, as imagined by Zack Snyder and Frank Miller, gets a lot of slack for its perceived Islamophobia and racism towards Persians (modern-day Iranians). There’s a rather excellent article here outlining one perspective, which makes the argument that it’s a fundamentally racist film. I sat down and I watched it, and I kept the ideas in mind, and I jotted down some thoughts. it should be noted that I’m just a layman, I’m an expert or a professor in film or literature, but it seemed to me that a lot of the critics were taking the film far too seriously at face value.

I'd want to make this argument on sure footing...

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