Saturday, 30 June 2012

My first Jay movie premiere: The Viral Factor 逆战

This was first posted on multistars forums in January 2012:

I SAW JAY!!!!!

Ok, let me come down from Cloud 9 and share the experience with you guys when Jay and Dante walked the red carpet in Singapore on 16 January.

A kind friend from the local paper managed to snag me two tickets to the premiere, after I practically begged her to try.
Got there nice and early and heard the MC point out a billboard halfway along the red carpet where Jay and Dante would stop for photos and it was also where a local online tv site would be interviewing them.
Naturally, I hotfooted it to that spot and squuezed my way in to just behind the front row of fans.
As time went on, the MC would give us updates on how near Jay was and got the crowd to rehearse two well-wishes for Jay.

When the time came for him to appear, I could hear the onset of the screams from the start of the red carpet, which was about 50m long.
The anticipation was just so exciting!
Held up my iPhone to video him walking past and yes, he stopped at the spot near me and posed for photos and a short interview!
At this point, I want to apologise for the quality of the pics as I was using my phone, finding it easier to handle.
Plus my hands were not that steady, 'cos of the excitement!

It was AWESOME seeing him so up close!!!!
But I wished he wasn't wearing those would have been nice to see his eyes!
But....that's just a tiny grouse....
Hehe...his outfit was ..... unusual, to say the least, with that apron thingy around his hips...but that's our Jay...never boring with his clothes!
Love his blue shoes!

After that, I had to SQUEEEEEZZZZEEE my way to the front nearer the stage to take more photos.
But it was really PACKED there so the best I could get was this:

After the interview on stage, he was presented with a 'tank' cake and the fans wished him Happy Birthday and BIG box-office for The Viral Factor. :)
I'll post a pic from Facebook 'cos from where I was, I simply could not get a good shot.

We then proceeded to the screening of the movie proper:

Jay and Dante made an appearance there too for a short interview before the movie and as I was seated near the back, I couldn't resist running down to the front to get a shot of them on stage.

Sigh...Jay...the crazy lady in the green dress running down the steps to the front to take your picture was ME!!! Did you see me??? Yes, the one with the iPhone which had you on its shiny back??

The security guy was kind enough to let me take a couple of shots before shoo-ing me back to my seat. :)
But erm...hands were shaking with excitement again so pardon the quality of the photo!

 He walked up the aisle on MY side to exit the cinema hall and I could see him up close again!!!

There were three halls screening the movie that night; mine was mainly occupied by the media.
I think the other smaller halls were for the winners of various contests.
Reports said that he went to every hall to say hello and be interviewed. :)

Then it was time to watch the movie and I'll review that for you guys another time when more people have watched it.
Needless to say, I LOVED it!

NB: just to share a pic of Jay and Dante at a meet-the-fans session at another venue just prior to the gala:

Here are links to reports from the local papers and in one of the Chinese papers, there was a mention about how nice and no-airs Jay was towards the staff and event organisers.
And he insisted on being punctual for the events with a 10min-standby for each one. :)

Update: links have been deleted.

And here's a good vid compilation of Jay's answers at the press conference, complete with English subs..his sense of humour cracks me up! And he is so much more articulate now. :)

And this is my, admittedly biased review:

The Viral Factor ROCKS, with its explosive and exciting sequences which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the movie! Seriously, it felt like a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster but it was made at a fraction (only US$17m!) of the cost.
But what makes any movie memorable will always be the human interest aspect and this is where Dante Lam is ace as well.
The narrative about the Wan family's breakdown and eventual closure is heart-tugging but believable.
Some may find the mix of languages used (English, Mandarin, Cantonese, a smattering of Malay and even Arabic!) a tad confusing but the subtitles are excellent and easily followed.
I feel that it brings a touch of realism to the movie, as I've been brought up in a multi-lingual and multicultural society and I converse like that with the people I come in contact with.

As for the actors, what else can I say??

Nicholas Tse is quite a young veteran of movies by now and it shows. His portrayal of Wan Yang is feral yet compelling.
Jay Chou, on his part, has proven he can do an action movie, convincingly, in spite of what he says about himself not being suited to such roles. I'm necessarily biased but his performance was definitely a step up even from The Green Hornet. It was really good to see him all tough-guy and dirty but his scenes with his family are heartfelt, especially with his mother, Nick and his niece.
The supporting actors are in a class of their own, from the Wan family members to the rest of the bad/good guys.

All in, this is a Chinese New Year movie with a difference. If you want action with heart, go for The Viral Factor. I watched it twice, both times equally moved. Intend to go again.

The movie got the thumbs-up from the fans in general and did very well in Hongkong, China, Malaysia and Singapore. It, surprisingly, flopped in Taiwan, of all places...which I felt, was rather unfortunate. After all, that is Jay's home country and I'm sure he felt saddened.
Why it did not do well is open to speculation....perhaps an action movie like that was not what audiences there wanted to watch during the Lunar New Year?
Maybe they did not like his look in the movie?
Or was it because there were other Taiwanese flicks competing for their attention at that time too?
Or all of the above?

Whatever the reason, the overall box office was sufficient for a sequel to be considered.
The last I heard, Jay is not keen on being in it and I have not seen any other related news since.

I shall close this post with some pics of Jay as Wan Fei in the movie...personally, I loved his rugged and manly look here.
I wish he had penned a song or two for it, though!

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