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Tag Archive: Michelle Yeoh


Review by C.J. Bunce

Twenty years ago this weekend, the sovereignty of Hong Kong was handed back to China by the United Kingdom as the last act of the old British Empire, without incident.

The anniversary of this transfer of power coincides with the release by Hard Case Crime of one of crime fiction readers’ most eagerly awaited events: the final novel of Donald E. Westlake.  The result surpasses all expectations from one of America’s most celebrated authors:  the adventure of Ian Fleming, the complexity of Michael Crichton, the surprises of Stephen King, the thrills of Peter Benchley, the pulse of John Grisham.  A taut thriller, gripping, heart-pounding, and jaw-dropping, Forever and a Death is Donald E. Westlake saving his best for last.  Forever and a Death is his never-before-published new novel–a James Bond story of sorts–with an intriguing backstory.  Tapped to write the second James Bond film to feature Pierce Brosnan as Bond, Westlake created a compelling story of international intrigue revolving around the return of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997.  Because of the success of GoldenEye, the uncertainty of a smooth transfer of power of Hong Kong, and a distaste by the Chinese market for Bond,  the Broccoli family and the Bond franchise machine amicably parted ways with Westlake.  But he then reworked his story in secret, leaving behind at his death in 2008 a stunning action adventure, only snipping the world famous spy from the story.

The result is one of the most intelligent, loathsome, and shrewd Bond villains you’ll ever meet, Richard Curtis, an enormously wealthy business mogul who has amassed a network of corporations across the globe that will allow him to carry out his every wish.  When he is booted from Hong Kong at the transfer of power, he becomes fixated on a power play to destroy Hong Kong as payback.  As with many wealthy CEOs, Curtis is charismatic and influential.  He has encircled himself with individuals who are beholden to him for their own wealth and they would do anything to maintain his and their own lifestyle.  And that includes murder.  Not as preposterous as many Ian Fleming constructions, the method Westlake creates for Curtis is completely believable: using a series of carefully calculated explosions, a soliton wave will be created that will shake the very foundation of Hong Kong and reduce the entirety of the city–skyscrapers, homes, and millions of lives–to sediment.  Westlake introduces his male protagonist to show us the way, a trusted engineer named George Manville (a partner in action with Bond in the original treatment).  Kept in the dark about the ultimate goal, Manville completes the first test on a small abandoned island near Australia that he believes to be part of a plan to make the island into a lavish resort.  But when an environmental group tries to stimy Curtis’s test, a headstrong activist and diver emerges, a woman named Kim Baldur (who would become, to a small extent, Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies) dives into the ocean and swims for shore to stop the operation.  Unfortunately for her, Manville neglected to incorporate a kill switch to the project, and she is swallowed by the wave and what would have been a superb Honey Ryder-esque Bond girl is left for dead.  And this is only the introduction of the novel.

Artist Paul Mann completing the original artwork for the cover of Forever and a Death (from Illustrated 007).

Westlake peppers his story with completely unique characters, and readers will find they empathize with even the most minor of them as they are subjected to Curtis’s gruesome tactics.  You may need to remind yourself to breathe as well-meaning whistleblowers find themselves in Hong Kong’s underbelly just as Curtis begins to carry out a plan to walk away from his destruction with a haul of gold bars that rest in the bank vaults beneath the city.

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USS Discovery Star Trek 2016 take off

CBS has now revealed six cast members for the next Star Trek television series, the CBS All Access pay channel series Star Trek: Discovery.  Focusing on another ship of the Starfleet line that flew the friendly galactic skies ten years before the original Star Trek series, USS Discovery NCC-1031 is slated to be available to subscribers sometime in 2017.  Supporting many fans’ analysis that the ship sports design elements from Federation and Klingon vessels from the era of the original show, three new cast members were revealed this week–all of them to play Klingons.

Along with word that originally-tapped showrunner Bryan Fuller is no longer part of the production, CBS announced in the past few weeks that award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, known to genre fans for both her leading role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and as a “Bond girl” in Tomorrow Never Dies, will play Captain Georgiou, but at least at first she will not be leading the Discovery, but a vessel called the Shenzhou.  Known for his extensive work in heavy make-up, genre fans were pleased to learn Doug Jones will be featured in the series.  Known for roles in Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, DC’s CW Network series, and much more, Jones will play Lieutenant Saru, a Starfleet science officer and member of an alien species new to Star Trek.  Anthony Rapp (Psych, A Beautiful Mind, Rent, The X-Files, Twister) will play Lieutenant Stamets, an astromycologist (a fungus expert) and Starfleet science officer aboard the Discovery.

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So who are the Klingons?  Chris Obi will play T’Kuvma, a Klingon leader set on uniting the Klingon houses.  Shazad Latif will play his protégé, Commanding Officer Kol.  And Mary Chieffo will play the Klingon vessel’s Battle Deck Commander L’Rell.  Obi has worked in series including Doctor Who and American Gods as well as Snow White and the Huntsman.  Latif has been seen in series from MI-5 to Penny Dreadful.  Chieffo is a relative newcomer to television, known for her “statuesque” 6-foot tall presence.

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Statham Mechanic Resurrection

For fans of take-no-names action movies, a sequel to a Jason Statham movie is a pretty cool thing.  Statham has seen a fair number of sequels in movies like The Transporter, Fast & Furious, and The Expendables franchises.  This year Statham adds another sequel to his catalog of films with Mechanic: Resurrection.  Statham reprises the role of Arthur Bishop from The Mechanic, a 2011 movie co-starring Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland.

Bishop is an assassin, an assassin hired for his skill in making deaths look like accidents.  Statham packs his films full of great stunts, as seen in the first trailer just released by Lionsgate.

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Mechanic: Resurrection co-stars Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Alba, and Michelle Yeoh.  Jessica Alba looks like she gets to be more than just eye candy this time around, kicking some butt in the preview.

Check out this first trailer for Mechanic: Resurrection:

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Michelle Yeoh

They had me with the CCR song.

The popular, epic martial art film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is getting a sequel 15 years later.  The awesome Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies) returns as the sword-wielding warrior Yu Shu Lien in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.

Sword of Destiny will be a direct-to-home release via Netflix with a limited IMAX theatrical release.  Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Back to the Future II) co-stars along with Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Shanghai Knights) as Silent Wolf.  Action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping returns to direct the sequel.

Michelle Yeoh Sword of Destiny poster

Check out this first preview for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny:

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