Top 5: New York Asian Film Festival

The assassins of Azumi brandish lethal swords - and killer haircuts.Photo: New York Asian Film Festival

1. Running on Karma
Hong Kong leading man Andy Lau takes hysterical chances in this bizarre multigenre film by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai (Fulltime Killer). Donning an absurd rubber muscle suit, he plays a studly stripper who parties hard and has psychic visions. A hit on the festival circuit; the biggest surprise of this wild experiment is that it somehow works.

2. Hero
Shot by Wong Kar-wai’s cinematographer Chris Doyle, Zhang Yimou’s sensationally stylish 2002 action-epic (held up by Miramax but opening wide later this summer) stars marquee idols Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, and Tony Leung.

3. Vibrator
No, not that kind of vibrator—not quite: Actress Shinobu Terajima made her award-winning debut in this gritty, sensual romance about a bulimic, alcoholic writer who meets a gruff trucker one night and decides not to leave the next morning.

4. Doppelganger
Brilliant Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Bright Future) delivers a tense science-fiction twister about a clone that has more in common with Ray Bradbury than with George Lucas. Gimmicky? Absolutely. Fun? Just as absolutely.

5. Azumi
A campy and unabashedly overblown joyride, this samurai film tracks a band of high-flying assassins (played by some handsome young actors with funky haircuts) and one kick-ass heroine in a miniskirt.

Anthology Film Archives
June 18 to 27
32 Second Ave.; 212-505-5110; $9.

Top 5: New York Asian Film Festival