Stone was the King of Fighters at TBS High, until he left the school for a year. Edward, a nerdy student, is accidentally transferred to TBS. Phoenix has a crush on Edward, but is afraid to...
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Stone was the King of Fighters at TBS High, until he left the school for a year. Edward, a nerdy student, is accidentally transferred to TBS. Phoenix has a crush on Edward, but is afraid to admit. Stone returns with the vow never to fight. He decides to teach Edward to defend himself. However, Mantis, the current TBS King of Fighters, won't stand for it. He wants to fight Stone to see who te real King of Fighters is. Edward is kidnapped and only Mantis holds they key as to who kidnapped Edward. Written by
I saw the trailer for this movie when I rented Butterfly Sword with Michelle Yeoh and it instantly caught my eye. The premise was kind of interesting and very "video game-ish" and the fight scenes looked brutal and original. Essentially I was expecting a movie filled with fights and little else. Well, I didn't get what I expected, but instead was rewarded with a highly entertaining movie with few flaws.
The one thing you have to keep in mind with this movie is that it's not meant to be taken seriously. Yes, the fights are brutal and the movie does take on a more serious tone near the end, but when you have such over the top, almost cartoony characters, such as Mantis, Phoenix, and Big Dog, not to mention Phoenix's father, you definitely have a movie meant to be a parody and satire of similar films. It works very well on this level as well. Even with subtitles I was laughing constantly at scenes that were supposed to be funny and the buddy relationship these students had was believable and was actually quite interesting.
Furthermore, the Hong Kong setting helped it avoid a lot of clichés and seen-it-before aspects of Hollywood movies done in ghetto schools... and there were a lot of them in the mid 90's. It's a nice change of pace from a school full of African-American thugs and preggo Hispanic women. It doesn't even really focus on the school or teachers at all, it's just meant as a back drop, and perhaps an excuse for the fights and the relationships between the main characters.
The actual fights, there's roughly about 5 of them aren't really kung fu extravaganzas. The fights in the school take place on a bunch of desks, put together to act as a ring, along with 4 suspiciously close together and low "killer" fans spinning ultra fast only inches above the combatants. The stunts and choreography they do with this setting are extremely clever and entertaining, and the brutal representation of elbows, knees, and fists hitting faces is perfect. Those expecting some Jet Li, Jackie Chan, or Donnie Yen quality kung fu fights look elsewhere, but the street fight mentality and brilliant use of the sets makes for some great action.
I should also mention that the directing is fantastic. There's a lot of wide and far shots, with interesting angles and movements in almost every scene. This easily could have been filmed as a standard movie but instead it's filmed in a highly original way with many unexpected shots given the premise.
Overall this is a great movie. It may be too silly for some, or not have enough fights for others, or it might be too "video-game-ish" for most people, but these things didn't bother me at all. The fights that are there are entertaining; the relationship's between the characters are interesting; the directing is great; the sets give the movie a certain visual flair; and lastly, the comedy is actually funny.
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