movie buff

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2007, 12:00am

BLOCKBUSTERS - 2002-2006

2002: Infernal Affairs, directed by Andrew Lau Wai-keung and Alan Mak Siu-fai, grossed an impressive HK$55 million at the box office.

It was hailed as a 'miracle' in the year local cinema was at its lowest ebb.

The story, which is about an undercover cop (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and a gangster (Andy Lau Tak-wah) who infiltrates the police force, was adapted by Martin Scorsese into The Departed which won the Best Picture Oscar this year.

The movie revived the pride of Hong Kong cinema, garnering international respect for local filmmakers.

2003: The Infernal Affairs franchise ballooned into a Godfather-like gangster epic series within a year. The third and final instalment, with Leon Lai Ming added to the stellar cast, grossed HK$30 million at the box office.

Yet the film, which interweaves major events from before and after the first instalment, was too complex for many local audiences, who wanted a more straightforward thriller.

The demise of Lau's character drew the curtain on the most memorable film series of the decade.

2004: Hong Kong's leading comedian Stephen Chow Sing-chi's Kung Fu Hustle broke all box office records, grossing more than HK$4 million on its opening day and going on to make over HK$60 million at the box office. This makes it the highest grossing local film ever in Hong Kong history.

But the fact that the film was the lone Cantonese film on offer that Christmas spoke volumes about the plight of the local film industry.

Chow also toned down his trademark humour and emphasised more on action, in an attempt to tap into overseas markets.

2005: The influence of Japanese pop culture on Hong Kong filmmakers is evident in Initial D, the box office winner that grossed HK$37 million.

The film, adapted by Lau and Mak from a popular manga, stars Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou as a young delivery driver who turns out to be a talented racer.

It was also a regional success, particularly in Japan, Taiwan and China. The movie caused filmmakers to shift from focusing solely on the local market and make movies for regional or worldwide audiences.

2006: Jet Li's Lunar New Year action flick Fearless kicked off the year impressively, making more than

HK$30 million and generating high hopes for local filmmakers.

But the year was a let-down. Many big-budget productions, such as the summer action movie Dragon Tiger Gate starring Donnie Yen Ji-dan and Nicholas Tse Ting-fung, failed to reach the HK$20 million mark.