Copyright Runningonkarma.com 2006
|Running on Karma
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Avg. Customer Rating: (based on 10 reviews)
Sales Rank: 44641
Directors: Ka-fai Wai, Johnny To
Publisher: Tai Seng
Studio: Tai Seng
Manufacturer: Tai Seng
Label: Tai Seng
Format: Ac-3, Color, Dolby, Dts Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, Ntsc
Languages: Cantonese Chinese (Original Language), Chinese (Subtitled), English (Subtitled)
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Running Time: 93 minutes
Number Of Items: 1
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Shipping Weight (lbs): 0.2
Dimensions (in): 7.1 x 5.4 x 0.6
Release Date: February 17, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: November 30, 2002
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
The great Johnnie To (The Mission, Running Out Of Time, The Heroic Trio) directs this intriguing murder mystery with a touch of Zen. Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs, The Duel), in his most daring role to date, is Biggie, a huge, muscular Buddhist monk who knows kung fu and somehow has "Karma"--the ability to see things before they happen. Biggie's unusual characteristics soon arouse the interest of policewoman Yee (Cecilia Cheung), who begins to fall in love with him. But when Biggie's karma foresees Yee's impending death from murder, he has to do everything in his power to stop fate.
Customer Reviews: Read 5 more reviews...
Instant Karma's Going To Get You June 21, 2006
6 out of 6 found this review helpful
Note: Cantonese with English subtitles.
'Running On Karma' is a rather strange, off-the-wall film dealing with the harsh reality of karmic debt, or pay-back as understood within Eastern Philosophy.
Starring two of the most popular Chinese actors/actresses in recent years, Andy Lau and Cecilia Cheung, director Ka-Fai Wi and Johnny To weave a somewhat muddled, non-linear tale involving two nice people with the great misfortune of being hampered with bad karma derived from a previous incarnation.
This film is something really different that you'll either love or have absolutely no idea what's going on. Give it a try, you might like it!
Not at all what you'd expect June 16, 2006
Running On Karma is almost Ka-Fei Wai and Johnnie To's take on a superhero movie as former monk turned muscleman and male stripper Andy Lau (almost unrecognisable in a remarkably convincing muscle suit that makes the Hulk look a wimp) finds his ability to see the Karma that leads to people's deaths drawing him into protecting Cecilia Cheung's rookie detective (herself doomed to die for her sins as a Japanese soldier in a former life) and solving some outrageous crimes. Or at least for the first two thirds, before it takes a surprisingly sharp U-turn into philosophical and tragic territory as the two try to reverse their bad karma in different but equally drastic ways. Much of the credit here has to go to Ka-Fei Wei, who also wrote as well as co-directed, but it's certainly a much more impressive collaboration than the disappointing Fulltime Killer. Lau is extremely good, the premise works much better than it should and most importantly, you get to care about the characters. Mostly wonderful.
Running on Karma by Ka-Fai Wai August 11, 2005
2 out of 7 found this review helpful
The message of the whole movie is interesting, though nobody knows whether it is true or not: if one kills others in the present life, s/he will be definitely killed in the next life. That's the idea of the movie, however, the way the director presented the whole story to deliver the message about karma is awful! For example, I don't understand what the director's point of creating such character as an over-muscled monk, showing him naked every 10 minutes? A dressed and a slim one would also perfectly do! Or, what was the purpose of showing a scene of catching a spider man running on walls? All these unrealistic scenes in the movie contrast a lot with a brutal but true-to-real life ending, I wish there was a miracle too.
Break the Cycle, or: the Superhero Samadhi March 5, 2005
5 out of 6 found this review helpful
While browsing through MidnightEye.com's best-of-2004 for Netflix recommendations, I chanced upon an entry regarding *Running on Karma,* a new film starring Andy Lau as an ex-Shaolin monk turned bodybuilder/stripper and karmic visionary. The premise sounded outrageously appealing, and the review suggested that the film contained a meditative subtext on the title-subject, so I instantly added it to my queue and, a few days later, settled down for a screening of this surreal, genre-defying little gem. Two hours later I emerged from the experience in a wholly different frame of mind, unsure of the film as a whole but certainly ~moved~, shaken up in a way that many films attempt - and usually fail - to achieve.
It's impossible to categorize *Running on Karma*. The film begins in ridiculously sleazy circumstances, segues into a murder mystery, shifts to romantic-comedy terrain, then enters into the philosophical sphere for the third act, a brain-bender sequence compounded by the undercurrent tragic nature of *Karma's* theme. I had some problems with this theme (see below), but overall the ease and control the filmmakers exerted over their content - especially content so borderline-bizarre and convoluted as this - made the film extremely enjoyable and refreshingly unpredictable.
Hong Kong heartthrob & box-office gold Andy Lau (*Infernal Affairs*, *House of Flying Daggers*) plays Biggie, a former monk who has abandoned his vows for a life of weight-lifting, wenching, drink and other debauched activities; moreover, he can somehow see the impending karma of those whose life is about to expire. Even swaddled in an obviously-fake muscle-suit (though it does come off more convincing than, say, *Hellboy*), Lau is effortlessly charming and sells the performance on sheer charisma alone - after awhile, one ignores the foam-creases etc. and allows suspension of disbelief to creep on in and take residence.
(SPOILERS: The muscle-suit ~does~ have an integral role to play, as well, for it represents the over-development of the ineffectual ego-aspect; when Biggie has reached transcendence, the bulk is shed before aesthetic leanness. But I'm getting ahead of myself...)
After getting busted in a strip club, Biggie meets Lee (Cecilia Cheung), a police woman whose main role in this film is to be as cute as possible (success!); he subsequently helps her work on a murder-mystery featuring dueling yoga masters engaged in a feud that extends back centuries. In a typical thriller, this murder-mystery would occupy most of the running time and climax with the usual nail-biting complications; in *Karma* it is solved before the halfway mark (!) and the romantic comedy aspects then dominate, as Lee falls hard for Biggie, investigating his past and, yes, being as cute as possible to draw his attention. Unfortunately she has already attracted his third eye attention: Biggie can see a miasma-shroud of disastrous consequences swarming about her shoulders, and he futilely resists the pangs of love against this harrowing vision of past-life crimes.
Enough of the basics. I'm not going to spoil the more overt aspects of the ending, but I do wish to comment on the use of religious/philosophical themes. Now, karma is one of the most misunderstood phrases of Eastern Philosophy: in the west it is generally associated with "what you do now will come back to you later", which is actually ~dharma~; ~karma~ refers to "what you did in a previous life effects your life now, and what you do in this life will effect your future lives." This misapplication of Hindu terminology is prevalent to the western mass consciousness and is a mistake doubtful to be rectified anytime soon, for no other reason that that 'karma' is the catchier word... Semantics aside, I had a conflictive issue with, yet admiration of, the rigid/fluid incorporation of karma in this film. My admiration stemmed the surreal construction of the third act as a whole and the pivotal decision of Biggie therein; my issues are seated in the deeper understanding of how karma has been corrupted - as all "holy doctrines", regardless of culture or theism, are eventually corrupted by man. For in certain Asian countries/cultures, the highest honor on the wheel of karma is to be born a man; women are relegated to the second-or-third tier status, in the same league as dogs or pigs. Naturally this is used to re-enforce patriarchal social-structures and to preserve the necessary evils inherent to humanity - sex slaves and prostitutes, beggars and landmine victims, the downtrodden and poverty-stricken - the plight of these awful existences is found fault in the actions of a previous life; the only course for the damned and destitute is to be humble and charitable in their fate-chosen place, and hopefully move up the ladder or overcome completely the cycle of karma upon death. In other words, karma is used as a "divine mandate" for man's tendency toward pecking-order social pyramids; it's control-oriented balderdash used to exploit, a corruption as pernicious as the original sin guilt-complex endemic to Catholicism. Having seen up close and personal the ramifications of this comfort-zone integration in SE Asia, I was conflicted by *Running on Karma's* ~initial~ literal interpretation of this quandary, yet still moved by the resultant denouement as Biggie transcends his murderous intent towards Sun Ko, striding away from the cycle of karma with a cigarette in hand.
One of the most unusual and original films I've seen to date, *Running on Karma* merits four y stars and my highest recommendations. Break the cycle.
A funny movie about karmic debt and ignorance to undo September 30, 2004
2 out of 2 found this review helpful
This was a great movie about paying for ones Karmic debt, although humans do not know enough about experiences, being that karma is just as plastic as the created experience itself. But for the sake of human ignorance and its (belief system), this movie was a good movie showing how pass mistakes have a way of returning for closure. The main character was funny as a stripper lol as this movie revolves around him as he possesses the power of seeing things before they occur. Theres a seen with this Indian dude who seeks revenge for a wrong doing, which is way past cool! Great martial arts sequences although its over the top one can only appreciate what is being represented.