Not funny, JC!

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On a rapid decline... and do we really need to see the wife?

On a rapid decline…
and do we really need to see the wife?

JCWIFE

I’ve just had a tough time trying to get through Jackie Chan’s CZ12 on the plane today. It was a film that made me extremely sad.

In this day and age, it’s embarrassing that producers – (and I’m talking about you JC and you, Huayi Brothers – can think it is OK to give audiences such tacky, childish fare.

Yes, at this point, if my film buddies were to be reading this, they’d say the film made a ton of money at the Chinese box office. But surely pride and professionalism should still count for something?

You know, it was a great premise: Art dealers trying to control prices by cheating and crime (yeah, welcome to the real world) and, at its heart, the moral question of whether looted national artifacts should be returned to their countries.

Jackie plays the master thief with a conscience (but of course). He has his merry men (and woman) but don’t ask me who because they’re so two-dimensional that they should be folded into paper cranes and sent swimming down the river.

It could have been a good caper, but instead the director had to take little sojourns into 1980s Jackie Chan territory where bad puns were cute. Given that they’ve written in high-falutin’ gadgets and that Jackie has become the more hip-sounding “JC”, you just have to scream WHHHYYYY?

Why the silly hysterical gweipor? Why stupid pirates on a desert island, and why on earth is one of them made up like Captain Jack Sparrow? There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to it; just seems to be a feeble attempt to get cheap smirks (not even laughs).

I’m still traumatized  by the revelation that the coy offscreen “girlfriend” that JC was mooning after is actually real-life JC wife Lin Fong-chiao. Maybe the question I should be asking is why make the film at all?

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Ending on a Nobu note

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nobu

It seems apt that I should start this blog with a first posting on Armani Nobu in Milan. So, after days of extreme bloodletting in the shops (and too much pasta), I decided to indulge at Nobu on the eve of my departure. It helps, of course, that the restaurant is just around the corner from the hotel. Admittedly, it seems a bit silly for the hotel not to have an indoor connection to the restaurant which is essentially in the same building.

The restaurant is surprisingly no frills. It’s comfortable enough but nothing that could be accused of being overly opulent. Rather than figure out what dishes to order, I chose the omakase menu. I had to settle for the 100 euros set since the 140 euros one was not available. I’m glad I did though, the six-course meal was more than enough for one and was a pretty good deal. I recently spend about $1600 on a wagyu dinner at Inakaya; I wouldn’t do it again.

It seems ironic that I have never eaten at the Nobu in Hong Kong. Actually, given the magazines I do, it seems ironic that I haven’t been invited by the Intercon, oh well.

I hate looking at Japanese menus; it just takes too much brainpower to order so many minuscule dishes, so of course I opted for the omakase menu. The 100€ or the 140€? I debated, but the choice was already made for me: the 140€ set was not available. I was glad cos the cheaper set was quite substantial.

The salmon tartare was delicious. The freshly chopped fish sat on a base sauce of expertly mixed wasabi and soy sauce that perfectly balanced the sweetness of the salmon.

I had no idea that the simple four slices of yellowtail sashimi would transport me to sashimi heaven. The fish was sliced to a solid thickness giving it an almost crunchy texture when chewed, but it was the sesame and ginger sauce that sealed the deal for me.

My first disappointment of the night was the vegetables taco that came as part of the sashimi salad. The wrap was dry and the lettuce slightly bitter, yeuch. The tuna slices and the prawn were much better, although not spectacular.

The grilled cod was tender and succulent, but not a lot different from those at any upscale Japanese restaurant in HK, unlike the hearty beef teppanyaki that came after. The beef sirloin was perfectly done as was the accompanying variety of mushrooms that came with. All this was topped off with a dessert of fresh fruits, green tea gelato (yum!) and warm chocolate cake.

Together with a large sparkling water and yomeshu, my bill came up to 117€, which I thought was pretty decent. It wasn’t the pretentious molecular meal I’d expected. Just a very wholesome traditional Japanese meal that hit the right spot.