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#1 10/11/18 02:51:00

Registered: 05/07/18
Posts: 784

increased budget has helped make th

Xiao Yang (right) and Wang Taili in the film A poster for the film Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon
Rising to fame four years ago with the short online film Old Boys Matt Duchene Jersey Sale , the Chopstick Brothers, Xiao Yang and Wang Taili, are now bringing their first big screen work to moviegoers - Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon.

Featuring the same two characters as the short film, pals Xiao Dabao (Xiao) and Wang Xiaoshuai (Wang), Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, directed by Xiao, tells the story of two men as they pursue their music dreams by trying to join the American talent show "The Voice of Angel," but accidently get involved in a murder conspiracy in New York along the way.

At a time when Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction and domestic star-studded romantic comedy The Breakup Guru are dividing up nearly all the cinema seats in China among themselves, the good reputation of the online film Old Boys, the rising popularity of the duo, together with the theme song "Xiao Pingguo" (Little Apple) - which has already created a lot of buzz on and off the Internet - make this action comedy very eye catching for moviegoers.

Yet, reviews so far have been very divisive in opinion.

A successful popcorn movie

Creating laughter with jokes and silly behavior, provoking tears with moving love stories and getting the blood pumping with fierce actions scenes are the most effective ways that summer popcorn movies use to win over audiences. In this regard, the big screen version of Old Boys has them all.

To be more specific, the movie is rich with content that is sure to satisfy moviegoers with different interests. The grumbling about life's difficulties at the start of the movie may resonate with urbanites, while the film's reflections on the dreams of youth are bound to work on many moviegoers who are still in the mood for nostalgia after movies like You are the Apple of My Eye (2011) and So Young (2013). Fight scenes take up almost half of the film's last hour and music and dance scenes are there to cheer up audience spirits.

From the title of the film, it's easy to see that this is a combination of two movies - the nostalgic original short film and Bruce Lee's 1972 crime action film The Way of the Dragon.

The effectiveness of this mixture can be seen from the film's box-office revenue: Premiering last Thursday, this domestic action comedy earned over 100 million yuan ($16 million) over the weekend, according to While not a record, this can still be seen as a great success for the director's big screen debut.

Domestic writer Shen Jiake, gave the movie a 101 out of 100, commenting on Sina Weibo on Saturday that his reasoning is simple: "The movie uses the lamest plots to the best effect."

Old dream unchanged

A great choice to pass the time on a hot summer day and promising to become a box office hit, the question about whether Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon should be labeled a "good movie" in the history of cinema is debatable.

First of all, the 97-minute big screen version deviates little from the main storyline portrayed in the 40-minute short film Old Boys. You still have the old friend who is just getting by, the same music dream and the same decision to try and change their fates; the only difference now is that the talent show has moved from China to the US, there is a new tragic love story and the film contains some new songs by the Chopstick Brothers.

While this may be interesting for people new to the film, for those who have already watched the previous online short, it may be a bit boring sitting through what is essentially a longer version of the same story.

Of course, the film's increased budget has helped make the new work reached cinema level quality in its production, and the new crime action element added to the story is quite well made. However, this murder story plot line also serves to take away from the film a bit, as one of the reasons the original online short was so popular was because it felt so close to real life.

And while having a ton of different styles may make it appealing to different types of people, it also causes the film to lose focus. As movie critic "Tubingen Mujiang" pointed out on the Beijing News, it seems Xiao has "stuffed everything he can think of" into one movie, which has led to the film feeling "broken and disordered."

Four years ago when the Chopstick Brothers were still nobodies cursing life and wanting to realize the dreams of their youth, they felt like they were one of us. However, now that they've matured and the two have found fame, it's become more difficult for them to win sympathy among former fans using the same unchanged formula.

In the end, while the new film is worth watching, the franchise needs to find a new dream if it wants to keep audience interest.

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