Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shu's That Girl?

Qi Shu, That's Who

Last night I watched my first Hou Hsiao-Hsien film, 2001's Millenium Mambo (Qianxi Manbo) -apparently the first of Triple H's envisioned trilogy following the lives of aimless Taiwanese youth in Taipei - and discovered my latest cinema goddess: Shu Qi (or Qi Shu, in Westernized format; actually her name is spelled in a variety of ways, including: Hsu Qi, Hsu Chi, Qi Shu, Shu Kei ). A veteran of countless Chinese language films, this 30-year-old beauty is most famous in the West for three things. First, on the advice of her manager, she famously turned down the plum role of Jiao Long that went to Zhang Ziyi in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - to film a Coke commercial instead! (Um, needless to say, she subsequently fired her manager!) And second, she made her first English language film (phonetically learning her English lines) in the hit action flick The Transporter (2002). And, of course, horror fans from East and West alike got an eyeful of Qi Shu in the Pang Brothers highly successful 2004 film The Eye 2 (Gin Gwai 2).

But I would add a fourth notable achievement. Millenium Mambo was the first HHH film to get released in the West, no doubt because its center of attention is the lovely Ms. Shu whose presence captivates viewer's orbs and carries the film along for each and every frame she's in. When her character Vicky performs a be-thonged lap dance for her gangster friend Jack Kao in a hostess bar, I just about jumped out of my seat to hit the still feature on the remote and play the scene over (and over) again for further, deeper analysis. Which is nothing less than what's required for her career work. I already got on Amazon and ordered my DVD of The Transporter and now I'm backtracking to try and find her action star work in Corey Yuen's So Close (Chik Yeung Tin Si) (2002). Noted Hong Kong action choreographer and director Yuen also co-directed Shu in The Transporter, so this Chinese-style "Charlie's Angels" thriller looks pretty promising.

For the record, Shu Qi won Taiwan's Golden Horse Award for Best Actress (in HHH's 2005 film Three Times (Zui Hao de Shi Guang)) and for Best Supporting Actress (as Mango in 1996's naughty Category III film Viva Erotica (Se Qing Nan Nu) ), appeared opposite Jackie Chan in the 1999 HK romantic comedy Gorgeous (Bor Lei Jun) , and - according to the IMDB - is currently going out with American born Taiwan pop singer/songwriter/composer/actor Lee-hom Wang (sorry fellows!). Exciting upcoming projects include playing the (first non-Korean) lead in the third installment of a hit Korean action series, My Wife Is A Gangster 3 (Jopag Manura 3).


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