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Hung cheuk wong ji (1988)
Initially baffling, but the second go was an improvement
Despite reasonably pitiful special effects, this was still quite an entertaining martial arts movie. Quite a good amount of fighting, acceptable acting and an unremarkable plot, this was an acceptable way to pass the time.
If you like Yuen Biao or Hong Kong martial arts movies, you will probably get enough entertainment out of this without being blown away. The first time I saw this I think I must have been pretty tired as I fell asleep. The second time it seemsd a lot better...!!
I think it deserves a 6 out of 10 which is pretty good going.
Game of Death (1978)
In all honesty, this is not a great film - a cheesy Hong Kong martial arts film at best. The only Bruce Lee action you get to see is in the last 11 minutes, but it's worth it. This combined with the extra footage (seen in the Hong Kong Legends Region 2 special edition DVD release) make you realise quite what an incredible film this would have been if Bruce Lee had only been around to make it.
As it stands, it's quite enjoyable, but hardly stunning. The way that the Bruce Lee "doubles" (that look nothing like him) are edited in with clips of Bruce in his other films or - in one case - hilariously with an obvious cardboard cutout in the mirror are amusing, but only enforce the fact that this is a run of the mill film that could have been a classic.
Sammo Hung does well with the action sequences as does Yuen Biao performing the acrobatics - the one in the locker room in particular is very good.
So, this would have been a classic but unfortunately it was not to be. Bruce Lee fans should see this. Martial arts fans don't need to think twice about purchasing the Hong Kong Legends R2 2 disc DVD which easily pushes the score from about a 5 or 6 out of 10 into the realms of being essential. Easily the worst Bruce Lee film (well, let's face it, it wasn't really...) this could have been the best by a long, long way.
Fight Club (1999)
I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in this film until a friend of mine started raving about it. Then it came on TV so I thought I might as well have a look, but nothing prepared me for what I saw.
I was expecting a dumb film about grown men hitting each other a lot. I was not expecting such a dark, psychological drama with such intelligence, wit and an ending to make it all seem worthwhile.
I haven't seen a film that has kept me awake at night for some time now, but this one did that and more.
Good acting, direction and all that kind of thing, but most importantly, what an inspired script.
Shogun Assassin (1980)
Simple, but enjoyable
This is hardly brain taxing stuff (just read the back of the DVD box for proof) but it's still a very enjoyable film. The special effects are poor, but if anything this enhances the enjoyment of the film. It reminds me of the Monkey TV series only a little more down to earth and less intentionally funny.
All in all, a little bizarre but well worth watching.
Rush Hour (1998)
A disappointing waste
Hugely disappointing waste of Jackie Chan's talents, this film should be avoided like the plague. Being an enormous Jackie Chan fan I had very high hopes for this. It has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. Chris Tucker is the most irritating man on the planet bar none and unfortunately Jackie is reduced to the role of amusing little foreign man which is unforgiveable. The stunts and action sequences are forgettable, coming as secondary to the dreadful interaction between the two main stars.
I feel quite gutted that Jackie Chan's bit Western break has come to this and it is sad that most people will be introduced to his vast talents with this truly awful film.
Funny Man (1994)
Without a doubt the worst film I have ever seen. Deeply unpleasant to watch, not because it is brutal or shocking, but just because the characters don't fail to annoy at any time in the film, particularly the Funny Man himself and it just drags on and on. A reasonably poor idea for a film, but the filmmakers and cast have really dragged it through the dirt.
In a word, unwatchable.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The best zombie film ever made
This is a hugely enjoyable film. It brilliantly captures the apocalyptic desperation that zombie films strive for by centring on the exploits of four people who seek refuge from the horrors around them in a shopping mall.
Most horror films follow a straight line once the horror begins, only stopping when it reaches a climax at the end. However, this film is intriguing as the survivors struggle, momentarily enjoy success then find that the situation really is beyond their control.
Not really scary, this is still a masterpiece. Not just the best zombie film ever made, but possibly the most enjoyable film I have seen.