Bleeding Steel Film
Why I chose to write about this film
Having not performed pre-Film research, I decided to see the film because Jackie Chan is one of the main actors. Some of my film friends questioned whether it was like The Foreigner, which opened on October 13, 2017 (Quick answer: No, it’s not the same type of film, even though the Opening Scene might suggest otherwise). I was also intrigued from reading a brief film synopsis, which I’ve included below, spoiler-free. Please feel free to scroll down for a one paragraph description.
A tertiary reason is having idle time between Audit Showtimes on Christmas Day. The idle time wait was more than 9 hours in between showtimes for All the Money in the World. On a side note, All the Money in the World is another film that needs its own Hub, with the recent Hollywood controversy, which I’m currently working on, and hoping to publish. Be sure to check back often, as one of my goals for 2018 is to provide more original content on a regular basis.
As a Christmas present to myself, I decided to become a Movie Customer during this non-working period, by spending one of my MoviePass credits. I was pleasantly surprised to find Bleeding Steel was better than the Film Synopsis had indicated.
A Brief Film Synopsis (Spoiler Free)
“Jackie Chan stars as a hardened special forces agent who fights to protect a young woman from a sinister criminal gang. At the same time, he feels a special connection to the young woman, as if they met in a different life.”
There was enough of a hook in this synopsis, to make me want to see the film, at its second showtime on Christmas Day at the Dole Cannery. This film was showing at Consolidated’s Pearlridge West (up to end of day Thursday, December 28th, 2017), and is currently showing at Consolidated Kapolei, as well as Regal Cinemas’ Dole Cannery. I’m expecting the film to come off of the Cannery’s marquee by end of day on Thursday, January 4th, 2018, being replaced with 2 new films: Insidious: The Last Key and Molly’s Game.
If you happen to miss seeing Bleeding Steel in its theatrical run, you could always place a special order DVD via an online merchant-of-choice, or with Media Man Shane at Barnes & Noble Honolulu. I’m not sure if this title will be available via Streaming channels, or an appropriate App.
Why the film exceeded my expectations
With no pre-Film research having been performed, whereby I spend the time researching the film’s story, production or customer value perception, I decided to “wing it” on this holiday. As one of my biggest critics says: “Hey, it’s Christmas, what are you doing inside a movie theatre? Shouldn’t you be at home?” to which my response is “Hollywood has us working 7 days a week, depending on which part of Hollywood you are involved in.”
Going into a film without reading anything except the One Paragraph film synopsis is like a breath of fresh air. Starting with a Zero baseline, there is no expectation whatsoever, as with other film critics’ reviews telling what you should and shouldn’t see, and the various biased rating scales (of which there are a lot of websites on the Internet), I’m of the MYOO Camp, where you Make Your Own Opinion of the film. So, MYOO away.
The market reality is that with all major merchant brick and mortar stores being closed (Wal-Mart, Target, Foodland), as well as most of the Island’s Malls, people gravitated toward their nearest Movie Theatre on Christmas Day. Having audited the 18-plex on a weekly basis since March 2017, I was forewarned by Theatre Management: “Christmas is one of the busiest days of the year for us.” Another learning experience for me, as I’ve never seen the Black Ticker Tape run out of ticker tape at the Concession Line!
More film discoveries
During the Initial Film credits, I discovered that not only is Jackie starring in the film as one of the major characters, he was also one of the Executive Producers of the film. His name is prominently displayed during the Initial credit roll, as well as the JC Stunt Team, who also performed the behind-the-camera stunt work for the Lego Ninjago Movie.
- JC stunt people’s actual movements were filmed, captured and then rendered individually into Lego pieces. During final compositing, the Lego characters’ motions are then placed into the finished Lego sequences.
- Jackie says that the Lego Ninjago Movie was “one of the hardest films that I’ve ever had to do,” due to some of the animated characters’ body actions, and what the Filmmakers were asking to be performed. When you see The Ninjago movie, remember that each character’s movement is based on real movement by the JC stunt team, and not made up inside the computer.
On a similar note, one of the actors from Saban’s Power Rangers was part of the JC Stunt Team. Ludi Lin’s movements as Zack the Black Ranger is from post-graduate years spent in Thailand and Japan, where he honed his martial arts skills (Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu), before working with Director Barbara Wong and the JC Stunt Team. Another tip to remember when an actor says “I do my own stunts,” as most non-industry people laugh at this inside joke, but the truth is that some actors choose to perform their own stunts.
- In American Made, Tom Cruise performed the flying sequences, and looked like he was really enjoying the scenery, if you’ve had the opportunity to see this movie. One of my film instructors, Assistant Director Jason Roberts, arranged for the plane to be crashed (!!) in one of the jungle scenes.
- In John Wick Chapter 2, Keanu Reeves likes to perform action sequences, which most people confuse as “performing your own stunts.” Keanu defines Action sequences as the running and shooting, while a Stunt is where the Stuntman takes a direct hit from a vehicle, and crashes into the opposite wall, as seen in that film’s Opening Sequence.
Do you like good film?
If you like seeing good film on-screen, you’ll enjoy this one. Any other film reviewer would probably have taken this day off, on an Opening Holiday Weekend. In addition to liking good film, if it has a larger than life actor (i.e. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), then you know that I’ll be sitting in one of the Front Rows, like I did for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
I like big film, too, which would explain my latest gravitation towards the various IMAX 2D formatted titles. Without the need for IMAX 3D glasses, the 2D print is just as impressive. Again, thank you to the IMAX Corporation for finding another method of distributing good film titles, and to the various Movie Studios/Distributors who have allowed the use of IMAX equipment and filmstock to be used for both Blockbuster and non-Blockbuster titles. A big “Mahalo” to the IMAX Theatres for the switching capability, which allows the IMAX digital equipment to change reels from an IMAX 2D into an IMAX 3D presentation.
- For example, I opted not to see Star Wars 8 in IMAX 3D, because the motion is ultra-smooth, that I already felt myself getting queasy within the first 5 seconds of a Perfect Start to the feature. This same experience happened when I saw Star Trek: Beyond in IMAX 3D and got sick halfway through the Feature, because I sat in Fourth Row Center. Each time the Enterprise rolled through space, I rolled right along with it.
However, I did not experience any queasiness while theatre checking Star Wars 8 in IMAX 2D format. I am planning on seeing SW8 in this format, before its replacement by Maze Runner: The Death Cure on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at or around 7pm. I also didn’t experience any queasiness with Jigsaw, which I saw on Opening Day in IMAX 2D (October 27, 2017). Please see remember to view this Hub off my main feed at: www.hubpages.com/@mizpamroxx .
You’ll usually find me sitting in the second or third row of a movie auditorium. I believe I have a permanent seat reservation at my favorite theatre, as the Management is well aware of. This is due to the fact that no one else prefers sitting that close to the screen as a normal seating option. The only time I was seated next to two other people I didn’t know was during Premiere Night of Thor: Ragnarok, where the gentleman on my left was with his military buddy, and the Auntie on my right was with her husband.
Scroll down to the capsule below for a Neat Movie Tip, when performing advanced ticketing (ATOM Ticketing at Regal Cinemas nationwide or Fandango at any Consolidated Theatres location on Oahu).
If you were curious about the distance between the seat-of-choice and the Movie Screen, please visit my other Media Site, where I have a Film Journal, full of original photos and recent trailer versions.
True Fact: a Wonder Woman Male Fan purchased three tickets to the Justice League Double Feature, because he absolutely loves the character. He confided that he didn’t want anyone else sitting on either side of him during the 5 hours of film time. This is one Movie Fan reason why Gal Gadot is the top paid actresses of 2017.
What is the significance of Bleeding Steel’s film title?
If you’re wanting to know about the story and plot, then scroll past this section, and pick up at the next Sub-title. If you are not planning on seeing this film, then please continue reading this section. However, if you are planning on seeing the film, then scroll to the next section, because SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE…
The Movie Viewer would need to be familiar with the Sci-Fi genre, in particular, a Marvel Movie Fan, in order to understand Bleeding Steel’s premise. Set in current times, or perhaps a few years into the very near future, the film takes some of its imagery from any of the 6 cuts of Blade Runner (1982). Some of the imagery can also be traced to Shirow Masamune’s Graphic Novel series The Ghost in the Shell, which will appeal to the Otaku movie fan group.
- In the Opening Montage, Officer Lin (played by Jackie Chan), is alerted by cellphone that his daughter is dying in the hospital, and he must come at once. This is where some of the confusion with The Foreigner’s film premise lies, since the Loglines appear to be crossed. Contrary to the Loglines, Bleeding Steel begins in the evening, while The Foreigner begins in the middle of the afternoon, after school lets out.
- Bleeding Steel’s opening scene is cut with cross-traffic and evasive driving techniques, which adds to Officer Lin’s skillset, as well as the juxta positioning of the life choices he’s facing, as the story unfolds. He tells the Doctor to keep his daughter alive, until he can arrive at the hospital, and be able to give her a Teddy Bear for her birthday present. As mortal stories play out, he’s right outside of the Hospital, where he receives another phone call from his second-in-command officer that his assistance is needed in transporting a witness named Dr. James. Lin chooses to accept the on-duty phone call, and with that mortal choice, his daughter dies in the hospital.
- Still in the Opening Montage, he and his second-in-command, walking with a huge Police Group, are in the middle of transporting Dr. James, whose identity and character arc are not known until later in the film, through the use of effective story editing. He is the crucible of Bleeding Steel. The group is ambushed by futuristic Robotoids, and the scene plays out with minimal use of Visual and Special effects, whereby a Marvel Movie Fan has already grown accustomed to seeing most Opening Sequences with lots of Visual and Special effects.
- The Opening Montage continues, with the Robotoids shooting all humans, amidst the use of various military vehicles, and a few inches of rain on the ground. As Lin is laying wounded, his second-in-command also sustains some arm scrapes, while trying to protect Dr. James. I was impressed with this actress’ martial arts skills; she was able to deliver a double roundhouse kick, while spinning mid-air, and suspended several feet in mid-air. All captured in slow motion, for that full Superhero effect.
The use of the McGuffin, which is the Bleeding Steel heart that Dr. James possesses. The movie title has several different levels of meaning, because as a physical device, Bleeding Steel is what keeps The Asian Girl alive. It also represents Office Lin’s character, where he must bleed steel over the loss of his daughter. The Robotoids also have bleeding steel inside them. Which is also the title of the movie.
Other film notables
1. For those Movie Viewers who were disappointed with Ghost in the Shell or Blade Runner 2049, you’ll like the SciFi action sequences in this film, whose running time is 110 minutes.
2. For the Movie Viewer who really liked The Foreigner, you will really like this film.
3. For the Movie Viewer who had a mixed reaction to The Foreigner, I will forgive you in advance (just kidding). You will like the intense sequences that Bleeding Steel offers.
4. For those disappointed Star Wars 8 fans (yes, there was an uncle who gave it a 1.0 out of 5.0 on Opening Weekend at the 18-plex), I have four words for you: Change Your Film Genre.
The storyline is easy to follow, and I guessed how the story was going to play out on-screen, before it was shown to the Movie audience. Not exactly formula, but delivered differently with lighting and costumes. Cinematically, the costumes allowed for the actor and stunt people to perform the action, without appearing to be too stiff. And, no one ripping their costume while on-camera.
It was also Non-formula, due to the effective use of Film editing. I found this similar technique being used, when I saw The Devotion of Suspect X on March 31, 2017, where the movie involves the viewer, and the audience needs to follow along actively with the story. There were some confused audience members during Bleeding Steel, where the editing jumped from one character’s point of view, into the main Storyline, and then back to a secondary character’s POV. And then, jumping to Storyline B.
I also remember this storytelling and editing technique being used in Didi’s Dream, which is actually a film within a film, where the two sisters are polar opposites. Told from Didi’s POV, she shows how auditions are treated in China, dreaming that her life would be more like her sister’s, a pretty and successful Asian actress. Hoping her life would have turned out differently, the story and plot involve the sister’s dying mother, and how the sisters must come to terms with their estranged feelings. Which is the climax of the film.
That One Awesome Scene that every Action Film must have
Actually, there is more than one awesome action Scene in this film.
- The Opening Montage is pretty strong, with military artillery, performed in the rain, with SciFi robotoids shooting rounds, and with minimal special effects … it’s pretty good! (The Visual effects were produced with sparking onset lights, instead of being added in Post Production, which would be a Special effect). As far the “Umph” factor, I would rank it higher than the man fight in Jack Reacher (sorry, Tom and Jai), only because there are male and females action sequences. This Opening Sequence is right up there with Iron Man’s Opening Montage in Afghanistan, as I’m re-watching the Avengers-related film titles, in preparation for Infinity War Part I.
- I really like the main Villainess, as she is one of the few Caucasian actresses that is performing some great action sequences in Bleeding Steel. Being a head taller than Jackie Chan works for her camera presence, and throughout her chase sequences in the City as she tries capturing The Asian Girl. I also liked her live action walk-up-the-right-side wall, with a turn on the back wall, and coming down on the left side wall, back down to the ground. This action maneuver reminded of Milla Jovovich’s action sequence in Resident Evil. This actress and Milla have one commonality to make this manuever work: long legs.
Which leads to… That one awesome scene that every great Action Film must have!
For the Mechanic and Mechanic: Resurrection Movie Fans, the one scene you’ll enjoy in Bleeding Steel is the culmination of the Chase scene, involving the Asian Girl, Officer Lin, and the Villainess that begins inside the Sydney Opera House, continuing upwards and ending up at the pinnacle of the Opera House. Without having interviewed the filmmakers, and finding out the filming details, this sequence is truly awesome.
During the scene, the film viewer sees that the Sydney Opera House contains tiered stairs about the width of a single person’s body (give or take a few inches on either side), and, as one character falls over the edge of the inner railings, there’s tiles that make up the Opera House’s outer wall. Which the one character goes skittering down, trying to nail it. How do you nail a slick wall, that has no footholds?
As Officer Lin and the Villainess go at each other, he’s dangling in the air by a single cable. How does he land?
- This is reminiscent of the 1980’s James Bond films, where Grace Jones was the Villainess (May Day), and Bond was able to escape from her, in the opening sequence of A View to a Kill (1985).
- Add in a dose of Big Trouble in Little China, where Kurt Russell’s character lands gracefully, except this time, it’s Officer Lin who lands gracefully atop a tent, at the bottom of the Sydney Opera House.
If you like to see truly good action sequences (Rush Hour series comes to mind here), and an on-screen story that doesn’t skip a beat, then you’ll really like this film. There are practically no pauses in between scenes, which is a different way of telling the story, versus the longer running times of Blade Runner 2049 or Star Wars 8. Some of the Sci-Fi genre movie followers have been pretty vocal about how long these two films are:
- “Blade Runner was so long, I fell asleep. I thought it was going to be better than that.” (Freeman, Weekly Movie Outing, TheBus conversation, 10-12-2017).
- and “how I had to sit through the last 20 minutes of Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker” (Freeman, Star Wars: Episode 8 – The Last Jedi Opening Day, 12-15-2017).
Through the use of creative storytelling, editing and cinematography, and great action sequences, Bleeding Steel’s film story is believable and of a setting that could happen in the near future. Directed by Leo Zhang, and starring Jackie Chan, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich, this film is well done.
Cultural differences in how films are made
As Assistant Director Jason mentioned in class, “films are done differently in other countries” (Freeman, Stage32 Webinar, 4-8-2017).
Aside from what I’ve already mentioned about this film’s Look, Action sequences and Initial hook into the story/plot lines, and without having given away too much about the film, there are cultural factors involved with this film.
- In the film’s Ending credit roll, the B-roll is shown alongside the names, as making films in other countries is different than what some people might have come to expect from traditional “Hollywood Blockbusters.” Unlike Marvel Studios’ films, the Credit Roll is not divided into “Above the Line” and “Below the Line,” but rather, shown as a single name listing on the right side of the screen, with the B-roll on the left side of the screen. The Producers are actually shown twice in the film: once in the beginning of the film in the Initial Credit Roll, and then again at the conclusion in the Ending Credit Roll.
- When the Film Synopsis mentioned that the film had some English in the film, this meant the Credit Rolls. Other than this mention, the entire film is in Mandarin. For the film viewers, please don’t let this hold you back from seeing the film, as “you can’t judge a film by its spoken language.” There are Chinese character sub-titles, and then the English sub-titles underneath the characters.
- For Annie, one of the avid Movie Viewers who is Korean, says she has a difficult time understanding the English-only films, and would like to see more films delivered in Korean language, with some English sub-titles. So, if any of the filmmakers from Bleeding Steel are reading my column, please keep this in mind for future film releases.
I didn’t mind being able to understand Mandarin, as I’m multi-lingual, in addition to being able to read the Chinese characters and English sub-titles. It was nice to see a good film, irregardless of its spoken nature.
How many Pineapple Points would you give it?
I would give it 4 out of 5 Pineapple Points for originality and martial arts-action sequences.
It would tie with this year’s earlier release of Collide, for its realistic action sequences. I also purchased a DVD copy of this movie, as I believe it is vault-worthy for the action scenes alone, and the fine acting performances.
- Collide has some nice high-speed car chase sequences, involving nice looking cars, driven on the AutoBahn. One of the uncles in the audience really liked this movie for that one reason, judging by his loud response during the movie: I could hear him from the rafters, above the Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound with stadium recliner seating (Freeman, Weekly Movie Outing, 3-3-2017).
- Listed in the ending credits as being filmed in Cologne, Germany, this lends authenticity to the vehicle scenes, again all good film, due to filming technique and editing. Please note: Rim Wheel POV shots, cut together with Long and medium shots. And, here, you thought that D cameras were not used for production filming anymore…Surprise!
- Some of the Movie Viewers opted not to see this film at my one favorite theatre, because the headlining actors were British: Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley (Freeman, Weekly Movie Outing: Interview with Manager Forest Anez, 3-30-2017). The only non-British principal actor was Casey Stein’s friend played by Marwan Kenzari, who also appeared in Ben-Hur (2016) and two of 2017’s films: The Mummy (June 9th, along with Tom Cruise) and Murder on the Orient Express (November 10th, along with an all-star cast).
Bleeding Steel’s one-on-one action sequences would also rate up there with American Made for the real action “grittiness” type feeling, whereby the latter’s filmstock gave a great look for the ground action sequences, as well as the method of filming the South American splintered sequences. The story of Barry Seal looked and sounded really good inside the RPX Theatre on Opening Day (Freeman, Weekly Movie Assignment, 9-29-2017). Again, thanks to Assistant Director Jason, who would be responsible for arranging American Made’s production sequences, as well as one of my favorite producers, Brian Grazer, who also pairs up quite nicely with Ron Howard on certain projects.
True Fact: Ron Howard was the 3rd film director assigned, for the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars story, due out on Memorial Day weekend 2018.
A film trend that is occurring
There is a common theme in some of the film titles that I’ve written about in this week’s column. If you are familiar with The Hidden Fortress, you will understand some of the storytelling that’s been delivered in recent cinema, American and non-American. For example:
- Star Wars franchise. Where the story has been adapted from the original Father-Daughter theme (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, with Leia being Darth Vader’s daughter) into a Father-Son theme (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’s Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, and Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ Han Solo and Kylo Ren).
- Kylo Ren’s identity is revealed further in SW8, which is currently in theatres, so I am not giving away any spoilers. Please see the film to find out who he is.
- With some of the Movie Fans criticizing SW8, and not wanting to see another “Luke, I am your father,” storyline, I personally was expecting Rey to be Luke Skywalker’s niece. I was wrong. I am looking forward to the next Star Wars film, whatever the premise and storylines will be.
- Bleeding Steel takes the Hidden Fortress concept a little further, and what a father will do, in order to save his daughter. If you have the opportunity to purchase a copy of The Hidden Fortress from The Criterion Collection, it’s definitely a keeper shelf item. Directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1958, it’s been instrumental in most of the dramatic films within the last few decades.
A bit of Pop Culture
As I’ve touched on the topic of Star Wars, despite your personal feelings regarding Disney, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi has earned just over $1 Billion dollars worldwide, and it’s just come out of its third week theatrically. This sets the ball in motion for other parts of the Media distribution wheel: DVD, BluRay, Streaming channels. Also, don’t forget the Merchandising part of the equation.
Some of the recent media feedback caught my attention this weekend, from Director Ridley Scott, expressing his feelings about Disney hiring inexperienced directors to direct its films (http://www.indiewire.com/2017/12/ridley-scott-star-wars-disney-1201912138/). I’ll redirect you to a link with the full interview at: www.vulture.com/2017/12/ridley-scott-all-the-money-in-the-world-reshoots.html, which the Vulture reporter did an honest interview.
- The latter link explains how Sir Scott saved All the Money in the World, when Sony Pictures pulled the film due to Kevin Spacey’s allegations, and how Director Scott was able to re-cast and re-shoot Christopher Plummer in the scenes that had involved Kevin Spacey.
- Personally, I thought the interview was a candid and truthful look at Ridley Scott, as he uses painting to unwind in his downtime from making films. To the aspiring writers who are reading my column, Sir Scott asked the interviewer if he writes, which the interviewer says “Uugh, no.” The unspoken message is that writing is a form of unwinding, per Sir Scott himself.
I’m currently producing another Hub on this topic, so be sure to check back often. I’m envisioning that this topic will be multi-versed, and spanning multiple Hub sections (Part 1, 2, 3, etc).
Thank you for reading this week’s column
One of my goals for 2018 is to provide a weekly film Hub for my readers.
Please be expecting a different film review than 2016 or 2017’s film list, which was mostly Mainstream releases, limited to my theatre choice at that point in my film world adventures. Armed with my MoviePass, and numerous credits, I’m expanding my film coverage areas. Take care and until next time, Pam
© 2018 Pam Freeman