Asian Film Awards 04.01.2007

There’s no question that there’s a huge movie market in Asia, or that films from Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan number among the world’s best.

It’s pathetic, then, that the award show created ostensibly to showcase Asian cinema reeks of amateur effort, cheesy attempts at humor, and quite possibly the most annoying host this side of 5th Element’s Chris Tucker.

Seriously.

David Wu This is the face of boredom. His fell horribly, achingly, awkwardly flat. His quips alternated between nonsensical attempts at humor to idiotic non sequitors.

I’m sure he’s a nice enough fellow in person. He has a blog, and sounds intelligent and friendly enough. It’s a mystery then, what happened at the show. Perhaps it was the script.

Ah yes, the script.

If there’s ever been a worse scripted show on television, that’s not WWE/WWF Raw, I haven’t seen it.

It’s the first year ever of the award show, so I can cut it some slack. It tried, and it failed. But maybe it can do better next year.

But there’s problems with the show that extend beyond the incredibly lackluster script.

The section where a singer sang a selection of songs from Asian movies is a good choice: why did they use a single Hong Kong singer — Sandy Lam — to sing songs in three different languages?

Sandy Lam I’ll give points for effort, but it was obvious that neither Korean nor Japanese was her native language. Her Korean sounded slurred and her Japanese sounded blurry.

This is doubly confusing to me because they made a conscientious effort to be language neutral — rather than using a single predominant Asian language in the show, they used English, a theoretically common and international language between the countries represented. Why, then, did they not find a suitable Korean and Japanese singer to sing their respective pieces? Korea and Japan, like Hong Kong, are full of aspiring, aspired, and currently popular singers. They are quite literally dozens of choices.

The choice to use English as the semi-official language of the event made the acceptance speeches interesting and some of the presenter monologues almost unintelligible. I commend the effort, but recommend that next time they either rehearse or simply let them speak their native tongue.

In any case, there’s lots of room for improvement.

The pacing was off. None of the presenters seemed particularly prepared — most seemed to be reading from note cards, as if it was the first time they saw the speech they were given. The music was lackluster and the graphic design in on screen stencils staid and boring.

The entire thing felt like a college or university public television production. Some of the clips used in the film montages were of disturbingly low quality.

Mostly, though, the blame falls to the host. His quips were uninspiring and not funny. And his transitions between segments were stuttering, uneven, and wholly too long. He seemed to muse about topics, filling up time with meaningless chatter.

It was as if he was called up that morning, and charged with the task, and missed the call and heard the voicemail only five minutes before the show.

A good host can make a bad show bearable. A bad host can make a bad show almost unbearable. The Asian Film was an unbearabe show made unwatchable made slightly acceptable by the sheer amount of star power present.

How many of those people will return next year?

Will there be a next year?

I hope there will be another chance; there’s potential, however faded and however buried.

But they must, must, must, must, must ditch the ridiculously uninspired script and the nigh unbelievable levels of cheesy and lame props.

Josephine Siao’s magic disappearing award trick would fall flat in the best of times. Too bad for her this entire award show was deeply sunk into the worst of times.