Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2009: Nicholas Tse in Bodyguards and Assassins

Nicholas Tse did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Deng "Si" Sidi in Bodyguards and Assassins.

Bodyguards and Assassins tells the story of democratic revolutionary Sun Yat-Sen and his followers attempt to stave off assassination. The film is many things in that it is telling a real story yet has the purposefully stylistic action scenes. It is shaped into two halves one that basically introduces all of the bodyguards of Sun and their back stories, then the second half is a long haul as assassins attack the bodyguards who are defending Sun. In turn it is a bit of a mixed bag as the first half is a bit crowded, but the second half quite entertaining and effective.

Nicholas Tse plays one of the followers of Sun who drives a rickshaw and seems to be friends with pretty much everyone. Si is a relatively simple part in the first half as Si is just a lighter part there for a little comic relief and pleasantness among all the fighting and death. Well Tse certainly fulfills this duty as he is incredibly endearing in every scene he is in. He just has this warmth and energy in these scenes that he makes Si quite likable. Tse very skillfully plays the part making sure that Si never becomes precocious, but rather just earns Si's whole bright demeanor. His screen time is relatively scattered but he does a good job of making himself known whenever he is on screen with his enjoyable presence that does well to make the proceedings seem a bit less bleak.

The second half of the film basically is when every bodyguard takes their turn protecting the decoy Sun  used to distract the assassins. In turn each of the bodyguards get their own very dramatic death scene as they sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Si is not exactly a bodyguard really rather he is just driving the rickshaw that the fake Sun is hiding in. For most of the journey though Tse is very moving in his portrayal of Si's reactions to the deaths of his compatriots as well as seeing one of his friends taking up the dangerous job as the fake Sun. Tse role is still relatively simple but he makes the most of basically every quick reaction shot he is allowed, bringing a great deal poignancy to each moment of the gauntlet.

Eventually the numbers are thinned to such an extent that Si himself must attempt to stop the head assassin even though he is obviously not a fighter, and certainly is no match for the man. All Si really can do is grab the man's leg in his futile attempt to stop him and Tse makes the scene very affecting because of how much passion he puts in the moment, and Si's sacrifice is truly felt. It only makes it more heartbreaking because of how much he made you care about Si before this point. This is a fairly simple performance and because of the large ensemble nature of the film his screen time is brief. Tse more than fulfills the needs of the part though and even with those limitations  he manages to give a good performance that manages to be one of the most memorable aspects of the film.

22 comments:

luke higham said...

Louis: Ratings & Thoughts for the rest of the cast.

RatedRStar said...

=D I knew it lol I'm glad you liked him Louis I thought he was lovely he is one the actors who I would say are the future of Hong Kong Cinema.

He has already won 2 HK film awards for acting for this and The Stool Pigeon which he is also great in =D.

I love Nicholas Tse xxx =D

RatedRStar said...

He is gorgeous in real life 2 =D ok ill stop fanboying lol =D.

Michael McCarthy said...

I thought he was great in this. I didn't realize how much I cared about this character until I had such an emotional reaction to his sacrifice. I find that kind of fascinating.

luke higham said...

Louis: Can you Re-post your thoughts on Michael Stuhlbarg's Performance in A Serious Man.

RatedRStar said...

I feel quite happy I suggested Tse =D, he is an actor that I needed people to hear about lol.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Zhang Hanyu - 2.5(Gives the dignity needed for the part, but is given very little to do)

Wang Xueqi - 3.5(My second favorite performance in the film as he gives fairly moving performance in his portrayal of his character's reserved emotional devastation)

Li Yuchun - 2.5(She was fine but did not leave too much an impression)

Wang Po-chieh - 2.5(Again fine but overshadowed for the most part)

Leon Lai - 2.5(He certainly looks cool enough in his fight, but his part is particularly limited)

Mengke Bateer - 3(He's the fairly standard gentle giant, but he does it well bringing the warmth needed to make his demise moving)

Donnie Yen - 3(Like Leon Lai he definitely brings a certain cool in his calm reserve except brings a little more emotional weight along with it)

Eric Tsang - 2.5(He's good but just does not get to do much of anything)

Hu Jun - 2.5(He has enough menace to be sure in that he does not fail, but I have seen performances like this that are far more effective)

Stuhlbarg - 4.5(A very well handled bit of work from him as he does a self-contained and particularly reserved emotional breakdown in a very amusing and effective fashion)

RatedRStar said...

I am also glad Tse won the Hong Kong Award for Best Supporting Actor, as opposed to say, the man who won the award this year, Zhang Jin for The Grandmaster, the most undeserving of all 5 of the nominees lol.

Michael Patison said...

Who would people's top 5 film composers be? Mine would be:
1. Ennio Morricone
2. Thomas Newman
3. Miklós Rózsa
4. Bernard Herrmann
5. Maurice Jarre
Honorable Mentions: Max Steiner; Dimitri Tiomkin; Elmer Bernstein; Franz Waxman; John Williams (too many classics to ignore)

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Nick Cave, Howard Shore, Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, and Hans Zimmer, though Zimmer's been on autopilot lately.

Michael Patison said...

I didn't mention Zimmer mainly because he tends to write a great, inventive score and then replicate it on autopilot for several years before repeating the process.

I also completely forgot about Shore. I guess my issue with him is that he fails to engage me on a regular basis. Sure, the LOTR scores are some of my favorites ever (especially 1 and 3), but other than that I'd have a hard time naming a score of his I thought was truly great save for Silence of the Lambs.

I haven't heard very much of Nick Cave at all, so I have no opinion either way.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Shore's collabs with Cronenberg are amazing. Cave write the scores for John Hillcoat's films and The Assassination of Jesse James.

Michael Patison said...

Hmm. Then I guess I have heard him before at least once. I guess I should pay more attention.

luke higham said...

Louis: What are your top 10 film scores.

Michael Patison said...

I know I'm not Louis, but mine are:
1. Cinema Paradiso
2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Elevator to the Gallows
5. Once Upon a Time in the West
6. LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
7. LOTR: The Return of the King
8. Star Wars
9. Psycho
10. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Honorable Mentions: Doctor Zhivago; Cool Hand Luke; On Her Majesty's Secret Service; The Right Stuff; The Natural; Driving Miss Daisy; The Silence of the Lambs; How to Train Your Dragon; Beasts of the Southern Wild

You'll notice I don't have anything particularly old. That's because I have a hard time comparing the symphonic sound then to the rather different sounds now.

My favorite themes list would look rather different.

If we're also including song scores, then The Umbrellas of Cherbourg would be somewhere in there, maybe even in the top 5.

luke higham said...

Louis: Lastly, Other than Captain America 2, Is there any other films from 2014, that you've seen yet.

luke higham said...

Michael Patison: What are your thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 4 so far.

Kevin said...

On a side note, anyone seen the film Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaal? If so, what were your thoughts on Gyllenhaal and the film?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

My top scores although narrowing down to ten is extremely difficult:

1. Once Upon a Time in The West
2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
3. LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
4. Chariots of Fire
5. Psycho
6. The Shawshank Redemption
7. Vertigo
8. Jaws
9. The Mission
10. Braveheart

Luke: The only other one that I have seen is Muppets Most Wanted, but there is not too much to talk about in terms of the performances in that one. I suppose I could note that I've started watching Game of Thrones.

luke higham said...

Louis: What do you think of it so far.

Louis Morgan said...

I'm really liking it.

Michael Patison said...

Luke: It's certainly the weakest of the four thus far. It seems that all of the storylines are at the point of rising action or falling action and none of them are nearing or at the point of climax. I'd say the writing, the acting, and the direction are still quite excellent and certainly make me continue watching, despite the controversial scene a couple of weeks ago, but it's just not as entertaining to watch.