Please welcome Rosebud Ben-Oni to the blog with a hilarious post on her not-so-secret obsession for a certain Hong Kong Heartthrob. Rosebud is a contributor to the anthology: Men Undressed: Women Writers and the Male Sexual Experience (Other Voices Books) http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9781936873081-0 described as fictional cross-dressing this anthology explores male sexuality from a female perspective and features a powerhouse collection of women writers so freaking talented, I'm thinking of starting a fan club. If that description doesn't want to make you click the link immediately, then I don't know what will.
8 Reasons why I Adore Hong Kong Heartthrob Louis Koo Tin Lok
(And You Should Too)
Louis Koo, aka Mr. Cool, aka The Man with the Tan, aka the Mullet Man, aka...okay, you probably don’t know him. Although this actor-(questionable)-singer-(definite)-brand-hawker is not as well known in the West as other Hong Kong actors like Andy Lau or Daniel Wu, there are many a reason you should go out (NOW) and rent a Louis Koo flick.
(1) While his romantic comedies vary from the forgettable Love on the Rocks to the inane Whi Me Sweetie? (which is worth seeing just as a lesson in overacting), most of his collaborations with auteur Johnnie To were the beginnings of Louis Koo, the Actor, especially in his role as Jimmy Jai in Election and Triad Election. While some critics believes his acting is mechanical and lacking in range, the public voted him as Most Beloved Actor in the 2006 Hong Kong Film Awards for Traid Election. I consider this a feat in itself, considering the beloved Jimmy Jai hacks up a rival gangster’s lackey, puts his limbs through a meat grinder and then feeds it to dogs chained to other gangster lackeys locked in small cells. Then, once that message is served, he has dinner with the surviving gangster lackeys.
(2) Speaking of Johnnie To films, there are two types of people out there: those who believe Throwdown couldn’t have been made without Lous Koo and those who think he was miscast as the jaded-then-repentant Szteo Bo, whose finally-“seeing-”while-going-blind journey has all the appeal of spam floating in dishwater. But I would argue here he’s most convincing when he takes a beating for Cherrie Ying after winning big-- and losing it all-- in a gamble den. (See the scene here.)
(3) Louis Koo is all over Mainland China though he can’t speak a lick of Mandarin. In fact, his very name has come to mean “bad Mandarin.”Did you see that commerical where he’s caressing a tire with a creepy yet sexy smile on his face, singing the merits of lun toi instead of lun tai (because only Koo can change a “tire” into an “egg embryo”). This reminds me when I tried to thank a friend’s Auntie for a delicious Lunar New Year dinner in poetic, magniloquent Mandarin, but ended up saying something akin to, "Fishing dog, my friend, apple you bye bye." See the infamous commercial here.
(4) Which is The Real Louis Koo? Try to guess in the first few seconds in this announcement from Madame Tussauds, just in time for the 2011 Lunar New Year.
(5) Say what you want about acting, but as evidence in this photo I took in a Shanghai “bodega,” as well as these random ads from an in-flight magazine from Shanghai to Beijing, Louis Koo makes a mullet look good.
(6a) So he can’t sing-- for better or worse, this song is still catchy and the video features lots of Koo close-ups.
(6b) Tone deaf? Most likely. But at least you can see the passion in his face here in this live performance
(7) Although many of his earlier movies are prospective fodder for MST3K, I highly recommend the following: Street of Fury (triad drama featuring Tsui Kam-Kong with dreads);Super Car Criminals (Simon Lui Yu-Yeung’s facial expressions are priceless as he seduces a woman in an exercise room); The Suspect (poor Simon Yam Tat-Yah looks so uncomfortable here) and God.com (so much is so wrong you just have to see it). And one could argue he has the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacongoing on, as even early on he has shared the screen with some icons like then-newcomers Daniel Wu in Born Wild, Bullets Over Summer with Francis Ng who can make any melodrama moving and lastly, the triad staple Century of the Dragon which also stared Heavenly Kind Andy Lau Tak-Wah and with a plot not unlike that of Infernal Affairs (which Lau also stared in). Oh, and don’t forget to see the very good-looking, very incomprehensible For Bad Boys alone. (Another reason to see these is he really doesn’t want you to.
(8) His “Before I was Mr. Cool” laugh will haunt your dreams at 0:35.
Rosebud Ben-Oni is a playwright at New Perspectives Theater; she is currently developing a new play with the company. Recently, her short story “A Way out of the Colonia” won the Editor's Prize at Camera Obscura: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Photography, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has recent and upcoming work in Anobium, Review Americana, Existere, Arts & Letters, and Men Undressed: Women Writers and the Male Sexual Experience.