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Great idea, Plenty of great action, Light on story
9 March 2013
For anyone who always wanted a movie full of one action sequence after another, you get your wish. This one is hard to rate because what's good is very good, but what's lacking is sorely lacking.

I've read a lot of negative reviews from a variety of sources. I didn't find this movie to be nearly as bad as others did. I understand that it's actually made up of scenes cut from a TV series, which makes more sense when you know that. If you've ever watched a Chinese TV series, there is a lot of suspense of reality and things, and the acting, can be a bit over-dramatic. It is quite different from TV series' in the US. It helps a lot to know that going in.

The idea I like a lot - A Shaolin monk (Yuen Biao), who is reputed to be unmatched in his martial arts skills, is put through a series of tests in order to determine if he's up to the task of serving as the Drillmaster for the Grand Commandant (Bryan Leung). He's never really given the option, the tests just fall upon him, one after another. Herein lies what's both good and bad - the movie is an endless series of tests without any story. Some of the choreography and actual fighting are pretty exciting. Yuen Biao still has some great moves (especially for a guy over 50!), making the fights fun to watch. But the endlessness of these tests, and the rapid editing in some cases, is exhausting. This is just too long to sustain this sort of constant barrage. More interaction and story line could have easily replaced some of the action sequences and made for a better pace. The acting of the supporting characters and the crew of fighters is pretty weak and there's way too much diabolical laughing.

If you're a fan of Yuen Biao and you like watching him mix it up and do his thing, you'll enjoy the many fights. Closer to the end he is particularly impressive as the sure and steady master of a group of well-skilled but slightly nervous young shaolin monks. His real-life experience and solid acting skill lend real credibility to this particular role. Perfect for him as the well-respected veteran.
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Entertaining. Great action but not enough of it.
21 February 2013
I enjoyed this movie a lot more than the other reviewers here. But then I'm a big Yuen Biao fan and he's pretty entertaining in this one. He plays an easygoing, flirtatious cop to an extent that I haven't seen him do too often. I really don't think there is a role that he can't play well. Cynthia Khan is excellent and lovely and I agree that she should have been given more to do. She's more or less his sidekick. But their chemistry is great, with touches of sarcastic humor, and that could have been taken a little further. Monsour Del Rosario is also very good as the head cop and has some sweet martial arts moves of his own.

I agree with the other reviews that there could have been a lot more fighting given the level of talent assembled. The real fighting is focused in the final scene, which is pretty extensive and brutal. There were certain things I just found flat out funny, like the ridiculously large "Hans and Franz" boys. If you're a fan of any of the main actors, you'll enjoy this movie as they all do a great job. The editor must have fallen asleep though because there's an ambulance scene that appears twice, each time different, which means they re-shot it and kept both shoots in. Oops!
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Intense crime drama. Brilliant action.
19 February 2013
This is one serious crime drama with plenty of action and an interesting angle of Chinese and Philippine law enforcement working together, albeit reluctantly at first, to catch their man. Framed murder suspect Lin Yue Feng (Yuen Biao) keeps getting into deeper and deeper hot water. While trying to clear his name and get to the bottom of who the real killer is, he manages a few narrow escapes from the police with his superior fighting and leaping skills. But he can't keep it up forever. And the police aren't the only ones after him.

Yuen Biao is really extraordinary when he's doing heavy drama like this. It's hard to believe this is the same happy-go-lucky guy you'll find in many of his other movies. Between his acting range and physical skills, there's really nothing he doesn't do exceptionally well. If only he spoke English, he'd be as huge in the US as he is overseas.

My only complaint about this movie, and not enough to knock any points off, is the use of slow- motion in some of the action sequences. Slow-motion for a cut or two during a fight is one thing - it can add intensity. But slow-motion for an entire fight? Very bad. It's hard to see the action for the one thing and you don't feel it as much as you do at regular speed. A frustrating distraction. But fortunately, there are plenty of action sequences where they kept it at a proper, normal speed.

Otherwise, damn, this is one heck of a movie. Many times I found my hands clenched or I was biting a finger or something, caught up in the tension. Great stuff.
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Mou mian bei (1995)
Fun movie. Glimpses of what could be.
19 February 2013
I agree with other reviews here that it's not Sammo's best, but there are some good points. Definitely acceptably entertaining with great action, just not enough of it.

It is a bit Sammo-indulgent. Focuses a lot on a sparking relationship between Sammo and the sweet young lady pursuing him (Kathy Chow). Which is charming, but could have been cut down a whole lot and replaced with more action which this movie is begging for. And you've got Sammo, Yuen Biao (also being pursued by a girl, but for something a whole lot less meaningful!) and Takeshi Kaneshiro in the same movie and Sammo is the one you show half naked in bed? hmm.

We spend way too much time in the police station, which is pretty slow-moving most of the time. One of the highlights is when Sammo and Yuen Biao get into a fight. That one is well done and looks pretty painful! The tension between their characters works well and I think it would have been a better move if they were kept that way through most of the movie. Anything that happens out on the street is action-packed and pretty sweet.

On the acting side, everyone is in fine form except the guys who are supposed to be the Americans. I often think that is intentional though. Americans rarely come off well in any Chinese film I've ever seen, and as an American I take no offense at that. Generally Americans are presented as arrogant, rude and aggressive, and often badly acted. I kinda get why, but something different once in awhile would not be a bad thing. I do find the sweet, sensitive side of Sammo charming, but small doses of this are plenty. There's way too much of it here. Takeshi Kaneshiro should have had twice the screen time. He's great in all his scenes and should have and could have easily been worked into a lot more of the action. Yuen Biao is excellent as always and gets to show some range from rough and bitter early on (including some rarely seen but bitchin' facial hair), to an adorable and sweet romantic (which sadly doesn't last too long), with great little doses of his special brand of slightly-psycho-comedy all along the way.

As pointed out in other reviews here, the 'negroes' stuff (closer to the end) is rather cringe-worthy. Maybe it comes across entirely differently to Asian audiences, as the history between races in America is very different than in other parts of the world. But to Americans at least, the attempted humor there is oh so wrong.

Overall enjoyable, great for an afternoon of light fare. Or your B-movie before your feature if you're doing a movie night.
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Superb entertainment!
9 February 2013
This movie is completely off the hook awesome! I've never seen a movie make so little sense and be so much fun at the same time. I honestly could not follow the story at all. Things keep changing and moving and then there's a new wrinkle and then - look out! - someone is flying in your face to attack you! There are so many great spontaneous fights, crazy special effects, magical mayhem, random and spectacular wire-fu and great comedy mixed with intense drama that the story line didn't matter too much.

Yuen Biao is outstanding as always. The entire cast is crazy good. And some of them are just plain crazy. Make a giant bowl of popcorn and enjoy!
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Cai li fu (2011)
Story is fairly lame, a few moments, a lot of wasted talent
7 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The first thing I want to point out is that, trust me, Sammy Hung can act. It's just not terribly evident in this movie. Watch the Wing Chun TV series (it's on Crunchyroll) and you will see the incredible range and talent that Sammy has. It doesn't fully show up until halfway into the series, but believe me, he's outstanding.

Unfortunately in "Fight the Fight" he gets a character that doesn't have a ton of personality or much to do, really. As for the movie, how do you have Sammo Hung and Yuen Wah in a movie as kung fu Masters and not have them fighting more or doing much training? They have one scene where the two of them fight briefly, but otherwise they are just "there" like window dressing. The story is pretty thin and not terribly well written.

The movie is supposed to be about Choy Li Fut but you don't actually see much of it displayed. Sammy and Kane Kosugi are at this school supposedly training, but you don't see a ton of actual training going on. Some of the tournament fighting is tasty, Kane Kosugi has the best moves, but there are times when a guy here or there, Sammy included, gets clobbered and has his arms at his sides - absolutely no defense. I'm no martial arts expert, but that can't be right.

The nicest moment in the whole movie for me personally is when Sammo, who plays Sammy's Dad, is kinda wishing him luck as he's going into his big fight and there's this very genuine moment where you know it's Sammo's way of kind of saying publicly how proud he is of his son. It's very brief, but very touching, real life father and son moment.
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Yuen Biao is the perfect hero
25 January 2013
I absolutely loved this movie. The only downside is the lighting on the night scenes. I thought about taking off a point or two for that, but I can't because the movie itself is so enjoyable. It's too bad because the fights are incredible and shot from great angles, but hard to see. Most of them take place at night. One fight near the end is also at night, but has some wonderful dramatic lighting so you can see the action well. It's such a crime that they didn't do this throughout the rest of the movie.

The sword fight early on is jaw-dropping! One of the best I've ever seen. But yes, so dark you have to struggle to see all of it. Which breaks my heart as the action is wild and fast. Nearly all of the fights are a good length and there are plenty of them.

Regardless, Yuen Biao is spectacular and finally some romantic chivalry in a martial arts movie! He truly is the perfect hero. It's nice to see that someone wrote a martial arts film with women in mind for a change. We love the fighting, but we like the drama, too. And as always, Yuen Biao's acting is first rate. This is an outstanding role for him. The supporting cast is also excellent. The plot is easy to follow which is refreshing as so many HK movies drown in far too much plot detail. The characters are also well developed, another refreshing feature.

The flying was also quite entertaining. Way over the top but I loved it. As with virtually all HK films I've seen, many things happen that are way too convenient. I've gotten use to that. Everybody always knows where everyone is and finds them easily, our hero always has changes of clothes at the ready wherever he is...things like that you just have to accept to enjoy HK cinema.

If you're a Yuen Biao fan you will love this movie. The lighting issues might kill it for other martial arts fans...if not for that, the fights would impress you.
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Wong Fei Hung (1991)
Beautifully shot. Great action. Brilliant performances.
13 January 2013
This is a wonderful movie. There are many great fight scenes. The fight among the ladders is spectacular and creative. Incredible choreography. The story is smooth and engaging. The details are listed in other reviews here. If it's one thing that I'm learning from watching a lot of Chinese made movies, China's history with the US has made for so many generations of pain. Americans would do well to learn more about Chinese history before we are so critical of them.

Jet Li is amazing -high flying and flexible as ever, graceful and solid and a riveting dramatic portrayal of legendary figure Wong Fei-hung. Yuen Biao is brilliant - stunning fight sequences and of course his trademark acrobatics, and his dramatic performance is emotionally nuanced as his character takes a few turns.

The cast of supporting characters are just great. "Buck Teeth So" is adorable and lovable, "Porky Wing" as the translation calls him is a riot and very loyal. Aunt Yee (who was called Aunt 13 in the translation for some reason which made me laugh) gives excellent balance in a female role and Rosamund Kwan played her brilliantly. Some nice little touches of incidental humor thrown in as well.
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Qi xiao fu (1988)
Very well done. Some truth, some fiction. Excellent Sammo Hung.
13 January 2013
Sammo Hung delivers an excellent dramatic performance as Master Yu. This movie is well done and at times very sad. It borrows a lot from Jackie Chan's autobiography on his years at the China Drama (Opera) Academy with Sammo and Yuen Biao.

This film follows the lives of the Opera Academy students and Master Yu who led them during the 1960's. It focuses more on their performance life than the harsh realities of life at the school. It also focuses more on the Master himself than his students, as if it's more about his side of the experience.

Jackie Chan has said that the depiction of Master Yu was sympathetic and that life at the school was a lot harder than the way it was depicted in this film. His book certainly tells of a lot of harsh treatment and punishments they all received on a regular basis, including learning how to do their acrobatics out of fear of getting whipped by the master's, or Big Brother's cane. But this film is clearly not about that, and seems to be intended as "fact-based" tale rather than an exposé, so there's a mix of reality and fiction. The funny thing is that all of their real names are used - sort of. Early in the film a new student arrives, Chan Kong-sang - Jackie Chan's real name. Sammo is also referred to as Sammo and Yuen Biao as Biao. Sammo didn't actually take that name until he had left the school and was working in film. And even though the kids teased Jackie and called him "Big Nose" he did have a name, Yuen Lo, that Master Yu called him and he was known as. The nickname is kind of used to the extreme in this movie as opposed to his proper name. So it strikes me as quite mixed up - it's sort of a fictionalized story borrowing on some of the realities, using their actual names but not entirely accurately. Weird.

Some factual tidbits include the performance where the pants got in the way, the bus incident (though Jackie says they all had to sneak off and jump off the bus while it was moving!), and Jackie's mother bringing hot water to the school to bathe him.

The ending is quite touching, and again fictionalized as it doesn't match Jackie's description. He says that the students gradually left on their own, Sammo first, then him, then Yuen Biao when the school closed.

I'm pointing all of these differences out in order to clarify to anyone who might be curious where the lines of fiction and reality lie, not to criticize the film. In fact the film itself is well done and compelling. And as mentioned, a very strong performance from Sammo. Many beautiful shots and some fun performances by the opera students as well.

Also to note, Jackie Chan is listed as one of the actors on IMDb, but he does not actually appear in the film.
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Great action. Lots of fun. Tricky story.
13 January 2013
OK first, Jackie Chan stumbling around a Russian ski resort in a fluffy sea lion hat is priceless! An awful heck of a lot happens in the first 30 min alone.

There were a lot of things I found a riot that were subtle and the slapstick variety. Like when Jackie is on a snowmobile at the ski resort and comes to a restricted area with a warning sign of one guy shooting another guy if you cross - he calls his superiors and asks what to do an the guy says, "Oh that's just for kids." So Jackie forges on. LMAO It's done do deadpan I'm not sure if it's intended to be funny, but I was roaring.

The action keeps moving and there are some amazing moments like the famous ladder fight scene. The humor is great and well-placed and there's even a credible reason for Jackie to get naked at one point. His attempts to hide himself had me laughing out loud.

This is one of those movies that you'll enjoy if you just let yourself enjoy it and not try to make sense of it. I found the story went in way too many directions to follow. But everything that goes on on screen is so much fun I kinda didn't care.
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One of Jackie Chan's best. Griping story, action and drama.
11 January 2013
Definitely the best of the Police Story series, and one of the best movies that Jackie's been in. As much as I love his comedy, I really enjoy seeing him do straight drama. The story and the action are riveting and pretty much nonstop. A small gang of punkass teens are after money and have an insatiable thirst for cop blood. And they are pretty brutal about getting both. The way they go about their mayhem is pretty clever and twisted. One of the best things going in this movie are the teaming of Jackie and Nicholas Nse. Nse's fast talking, smart mouthed younger cop makes a perfect match for Jackie's seasoned and serious veteran. They play off each other perfectly with touches of subtle humor here and there. I would have loved to see them paired up more as this cop duo, but it's now 9 years later already and even Nse himself isn't a kid anymore.

A definite winner. Break out the popcorn and settle in with the lights off.
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Beautifully shot. Intense historical drama.
10 January 2013
This is a very intense historical drama of the 1911 revolution in China. I'm pretty sure that the reference to this being Jackie Chan's 'centennial film' refers to this being released in the year of the centennial anniversary of the revolution, and not that it's the 100th film that he's been in. By many accounts Jackie Chan has made considerably more than 100 films - I've seen counts at 150 and 200 on some websites.

This was really my first exposure to the 1911 revolution at all, so now I'm inspired to read more about it. This movie definitely proves that Jackie Chan can certainly act without physical action - though he does get in one quick hand to hand rumble. He's confirmed that he'll no longer do the level of stunts that risk his life and health anymore, but that he will still do action and also wants to do more drama. This film displays his acting talent very well.

The film is beautifully shot and is very moving. My only complaint is that the scenes jump with so much frequency. I felt as if I was just about absorbing one scene when it went on to another. I felt like I wanted to spend more time in certain places but it felt as if every scene lasted barely 2 or 3 minutes long. For me that was a little unsettling. Nevertheless, I was able to keep up with the thread of the story.

Definitely one not to miss.
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Fearless (2006)
Beautiful and touching. Outstanding fight scenes.
30 December 2012
A beautiful and touching story, brilliantly told. The artistry throughout this film is stunning, both in the dramatic scenes and the fighting sequences. Jet Li gives a very nuanced performance as a men who grows up with a score to settle and a chip on his shoulder, then comes in touch with his inner being and finds his true self. A lot of emotion and reflection in this movie, and yet riveting fight sequences that keep you hungry for more. Cinematically, very artistic uses of a variety of wide shots and close ups and the combination of normal and slow motion that punctuate the mood and intensity of given moments. Pure excellence.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this movie!
29 December 2012
Visually beautiful and well-placed touches of humor in this fun fantasy adventure quest. The main characters are charming and the action sequences are stunning. The face-off between Jackie Chan and Jet Li doesn't disappoint. Can't take your eyes off of these two titans doing what they do best. Thoroughly gripping. Jackie Chan fans will enjoy a few nods to his classic "Drunken Master," now as the teacher himself who enjoys a little too much wine. A few drunken boxing maneuvers even show up in his fight with Jet Li. Great stuff.

Very pleased to see strong female characters. Women in martial arts films tend to be in subordinate roles or complaining harpies. These women have wills of their own.

My only reason for giving this a 9 rather than 10 is some continuity stuff that always bugs me in any movie. Even in a fantasy I like to see certain things make sense. Like before they embark on Jason's (Michael Angarano) quest to return the staff, Lu Yan (Jackie Chan) is not interested in going because he doesn't have enough wine. But on the journey he seems to have an endless supply. When they need to escape, suddenly there are three horses. Little things like that make me nuts, when things are too convenient. Certainly nothing that ruins the enjoyment of the movie. This one is a lot of fun.
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One of the best of the genre! Superb Jackie. Excellent story. Don't blink!
27 December 2012
I've watched a lot of kung fu movies and a lot of Jackie Chan movies. This one is a cut above. The theme of the physically and mentally abused young man is a classic one and commonly used, but it's illustrated in this movie much better than in many others. You really feel Jackie's mental anguish. One particularly charming and clever scene is when his new friend, the 'old man' tries to cheer Chien Fu (Jackie) up after he's had a pretty nasty beating with his clever agility with a tea bowl. This not only amuses Chien Fu and cheers him up, but makes him curious about learning the skills himself. A delightful scene brilliantly executed. You can't take your eyes off of them.

This movie is full of fight sequences that are just riveting. Don't blink! There are also multiple little plots going on, and a variety of characters, which make this movie much more interesting in the kung fu genre. Yet it is still a very simple theme and the action is the star, which is what you want. Jackie took a lot of actual physical punishment in this one. According to his autobiography, when his arm gets cut in the scene involving the sword, it was supposed to be staged with a blunt sword but the sword was still sharp and he gets cut for real. Jackie also lost a tooth when he got kicked in the final fight scene, which you can see missing at the end of the fight.
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Boh lei chun (1999)
Is this girl old enough to drive? Worth it for the fight scenes.
26 December 2012
The two things that saved this movie are the fight scenes and Jackie Chan. The fights are spectacular, fast and straight up, no props. Not that I don't love great Jackie Chan fights with props and acrobatics, but when you strip everything down, just watching these two guys go at it and how beautifully they move is exciting.

I like seeing Jackie do something serious and romantic. He does it well and he's hot! I didn't need this movie to know that - Jackie's been hot since Drunken Master. But in Gorgeous, you see him take some long, pretty looks into the camera and the camera loves him right back. I liked his character in this movie - reminded me of a lot of guys I know - and I like the way he played it casually and subdued. More realistic than the slick talking egomaniac type of character than we usually see in that role. Most guys you meet in real life who have the status of Jackie's character in this movie are much like how he played it - quiet and confident alone, somewhat awkward with other people. I thought that was pretty perceptively written and something you don't see very often, unless it's being overdone.

The overall concept of the story wasn't bad, but a lot of scenes are resolved far too easily and unrealistically. I won't include details here so as not to give spoilers. But even comedies should be somewhat plausible in scene resolution.

What really killed it for me was Qi Shu's character. I looked up her real age and she was 22 when this movie came out, so she might have been around 20 when they made it. WHY does she look, act and talk like she's 15? I get that her playfulness was what attracted him, but a grown man attracted to a girl who skips around like a little child and eats like a 10 year old boy just doesn't work. She could have been playful and charming in a far more mature way and it would have made a huge difference.
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