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Battle Creek Brawl (1980)
More Like The Big Flop
After Bruce Lee's departure to heaven, Hong Kong cinema has been craving for another kungfu star like Bruce, and a certain famous director Loh Wai spotted the potential of a virtually unknown Jackie Chan (at that time), and determined to make him a Bruce next in line. I guess pretty much everyone know how it went. Jackie was never Bruce, and in fact, no one could emulate the kind of style and flair poised by the great man. All the Bruce Ler, Bruce Li, Bruce Looi clones, for god sake, they even have a Korean guy (whom was a great Karate champion for his defense) to fill the void. None of them really work. Even Jackie Chan, whom later found his fame worldwide fail to duplicate anything remotely close.
That is not until a young director Ng See-Yuen, together with now an industry legend, Kungfu choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping, loan Jackie Chan from Loh Wai (he bloody owned Chan that time) to make "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" which catapulted Jackie into movie star status in Hong Kong. The latter film, combined Kungfu with continuous comedic sequence and style that Jackie parodied from silence film era was such a great success that it defined the style for Jackie's future films.
1973, Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon grossed 25 Millions in North America. That was probably equivalent to over 200 millions today (based on 5% inflation per year), a Roman triumph for a movie with less than a million budget. Though not to the extend of Hong Kong, Hollywood and the American audiences certainly still look forward and certainly marketable for a guy like Bruce, 7 years after his death. This is where both Jackie and his boss (Golden Harvest) were looking for, an inroad to Hollywood.
I guess, human race kind of have a short memory, and Jackie's earlier success and his even earlier flops were easily push aside, and you have this movie made. A disappointing kungfu movie that shown neither the style of Bruce or the comedic of Jackie, just a suppose star-vehicle for some random Hong Kong dude tried to be Bruce while being funny at the same time but in the end fall all over the place.
At about 60% mark of the show, I was actually enjoying it. Nevermind the lack of style, nevermind that Jackie wasn't really Jackie we familiar with, it is still an enjoyable one. But the more towards the ending, the more we realize that this is just a show focus on that Hong Kong guy and nothing else. The rest of the characters were merely background, they are not suppose to be anything. Even that previous champion (it has a cool name in Cantonese version, Killer King Ali), who was suppose the baddest man in the universe seems like a paper tiger in the end. Not to mention, Rosalind Chao character (the sister in law) never shown her face after being abducted by the mobs. What kind of story is this? Robert Clouse is the guy who made Enter The Dragon, and also this one. In the former, Bruce Lee aside, still a solid martial art movie. With Bruce being the star, the main guy, central of the universe, there's still ample room for secondary characters like John Saxon and Jim Kelly managed to show a bit of their style, not to mention they have one of the most iconic villain, Dr. Han, the guy with iron claw. With this one, from the same director, you seen NOTHING, absolutely nothing. By the end of the movie, I kind of realize how poor the script was and how it has heavily impact the show.
They have some good chances to make it right. The climatic fight was such a mess that pale in comparison to even Cynthia Rothrock later works (after she went back to US). The girlfriend was there to flash her boobs, the horny uncle, played by the wise wizard in Conan movies only managed to let himself captured, twice! And don't talk about the mob. Jose Ferrer's mob boss had found out about his treacherous nephew's scheme, and nothing was done to stop the sabotage. Most of the villains appeared to be sore loser type, they have no depth, no class or any fighting prowess to match with (except the bald black dude whom at least had his head).
Die unendliche Geschichte (1984)
I am too old for this... film
I always insist that in order to make a reasonable rating, I must watched a film twice. For this one, the story itself was so lame that I couldn't bother to have a second viewing.
Well, let's see how the story goes. A child, who recently just lost her mother, facing difficulties in school, bullied by schoolmates, found a story book, or to be precise, stole a book from a bookshop after hiding there from his bullies. The story book started like a fairy tale / fantasy about the quest of a boyish warrior known as, OK, I forgot his name, since he looked like an Indian (the American one), let's just called him Chief, my favorite Red Indian (from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest).
The background was about a fictional world called Fantasia, yea, sound familiar right? So, this world of Fantasia was facing a threat called "Nothing", a kind of very destructive storm which supposed to make 2012 (the movie) looked like a breeze. So, all the creatures around this fantasized world of Fantasia (no Mickey Mouse though), ran to the palace of the Empress (whom had no name) plead for help. Now, as the Empress of Fantasia was gravely ill (I am not very sure about that), she send her minister, well, it was just a Sam L Jackson look-alike tried very hard to be Confucius to tell her people that "sorry bro, I have no idea what we can do to this 'Nothing' and let's just send a dumb enough warrior who was dumb enough to take the quest".
Of course, no warriors in Fantasia was dumb enough, except a kid whom I called him Chief. Chief and his pony travel across Fantasia looking for a cure, to cure the suppose "illness" of the Empress. Finally, knowing that it he had been running like a headless chicken, the Chief traveled to a swarm (which remind me of Krull), and met a giant tortoise, which has mental problem obviously, called itself "we" and shown two different personality (Gollum?), and left him a hint, go and look for the Southern Oracle. The Chief, in great grief that he lost his pony earlier and may be realize that he won't achieve anything nearly succumbed to the swarm (which was said to have this magical power of consumed animals with depression issue). Just as he was about to be eaten by a black wolf or bear like creature, a dog head dragon called Falco rescued him.
Falco took him to the South, and Chief was healed by a couple of minimen, okay, I am tired of all these. Let's move it on. Chief, riding on the dog / dragon hybrid, slain the big bad wolf, but still cannot help Fantasia consumed by "Nothing". In great despair of loss, he flew back to the palace and found the Empress, who wasn't ill at all (seems to me). She again insist the point that a human child must gave her a name, which the Southern Oracle had mentioned earlier. Hey kiddo, only yr parent can gave you a name! Anyway, because the child who was reading the storybook, which was suppose to be never end, refused to do so initially, lack of faith I would said. So the palace, the only building left in Fantasia was hit by heavy meteor shower and was on the brink of total annihilation.
Finally, before the last of Fantasia wiped out, the Child yelled a name for the queen and saved Fantasia from destruction. So the Empress reward her by giving her the doghead dragon and he used it to scare off his bullies. And since it was supposed to be neverending, the Child will have many more adventures to tell, which I called it THE SEQUEL.
I just don't like the story, that's all. Other than that, it's a fine art. Stunning special effect, for a 90s German film, great presentation of a fantasized world, most of the points were given to all these features. I guess, at the end of the day, I am just too old for this... film.
Bad Teacher (2011)
Don't turn her into good guy if you want to make a bad guy win movie
This is an unorthodox school / teenage / teachers movies NOT FOR KIDS. A lot of foul language and we have a teacher who was looking around to marry a rich guy. To cut it short, a gold-digger. The protagonist or may be antagonist for 3 quarters of the show, Elizabeth Halsey, played excellently by an old, ugly, way off her prime, Cameron Diaz. Which is why I understood totally new arrival teacher cheesy rich kid Scott (by Justin Timberlake) totally put her aside for her colleague, Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), an enthusiastic, dedicated and certainly has a bigger bust young teacher. It's simple, we have a twisted and evil woman, who was street smart enough to bend the rule and even go to the extreme (even broke the law) to achieve her goal, which ironically turn out to be just collecting a mere 10K for her boobs jobs. A goal which she believe will enhance her chances to dig a goldmine.
Well, the only bad part of the movie, the last 15 minutes or so, where out of nowhere, the filmmaker decide she would have this sudden self-awareness of being shallow and superficial all the while and turn her, ultimately, into a better person. Honestly, I would have gave the movie a 7 or even 8, had they decide to stick her to continue shallow and EVIL (but in an idiotic way). Though that will make it looked like "Talented Ms. Ripley" in second thought. OK, may be let her learn some hard lesson. May be the guy Russell (played by Marshall from HIMYM) who always has crush on her, whom in the movie she choose her over Scott (because she decide to turn FACE, lame!) turned out to be some Paul Allen (or his son) and he passed her out when she realized it a little too late.
Good pacing, solid scripting, some funny moment here and there, OK acting, basically a GOOD WEEKEND movie in modern day term. This movie will not pass the creative dept 20 yrs back IMO. BTW, think Lucy Punch make some good comedic moment, while Cameron despite not in her top form appearance wise give a steady performance.