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Chocolate (2008)
7/10
Its a good action film, ignore Kazuo_Kiriyama
18 May 2008
I must have seen a totally different film than Kazuo_Kiriyama and archip57, I found it to be an exciting,entertaining and at times even touching martial film chock full of well choreographed and cringe inducing fight scenes. I'm not pretending it's Lawrence of Arabia (which, by the way contained a lot of historical inaccuracies)and its a notch below Ong Bak, but it does what it sets out to do and succeeds where so many Hollywood films fail in that it simply delivers the goods: well choreographed, bone crunching fight scenes. Its the kind of film that makes me feel giddy like a kid again and I felt the same way watching Ong Bak,Born to Fight, and Tom Yum Goong. I found the lead actress Jeeja Yanin to be demure and her performance very charming and sympathy inducing, not irritating in the least.

Also contrary to other claims made by one reviewer , there are no wires used in this movie and the blooper reel at the end of the film reveal that Miss Yanin's kicks actually did hurt some of the stunt men (did you happen to watch that Kazuo_Kiriyama?) and not all of her kicks were stationary as I recall she did many flying kicks, spin kicks and multiple kicking attacks, but I guess some people we're too busy thinking of stuff to criticize the film about to really notice the great fight choreography or maybe they should be watching something more cerebrally challenge and artistic fare like "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" and stay away from immensely entertaining films like Tom Yum Goong, Born To Fight, and this one.
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Masters of Horror: Homecoming (2005)
Season 1, Episode 6
1/10
Worst of the series, Exploitative and Silly, Watch Deathdream instead
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
---------SPOILER ALERT----------------------------

This was the worst of the series, it is horror disguised as political satire and it is as subtle as a sledge hammer, not very scary and not very insightful. Did Micheal Moore have anything to do with this piece of Garbage.?

I'm really sick of Hollywood using entertainment as a political campaign against George Bush and constantly repeating the same talking points over and over again. This movie wants to be DeathDream, but unlike that movie which subtly poignantly tackled the problems soldiers who came back from Vietnam by clever making the main character come back as a blood craving zombie and slowly built on this theme: it was a true horror film that was also good social commentary, because it didn't get sanctimonious, exploitave and preachy.

I guess Joe Dante, thought this was trying to make a horror film to scare Republicans, conservatives and Libertarians and me being the last in that list found this film to be totally ridiculous, manipulative and exploitave all at the same time and I don't mean the good type of exploitative, that you often find in the " drive-in" type movies, I mean exploitative in the most sickening and vile manner: using the deaths of our soldiers as a manipulative political statement disguised as a horror film.

This film assumes that all the soldiers who died in Iraq, would vote against a conservative president if they would come back to life as zombies, which is a flawed premise, because as I recall for the most part and going by George Romero's rules; zombies are mindless, flesh eating creatures, operating on pure impulse and even though the zombie Andy, in DeathDream could talk, he couldn't really hold a conversation and he was driven by his addiction to human blood. Okay, zombies are mindless creatures driven by impulse and not intellect and obviously they are dead, so why would dead people be allowed to vote in the first place? My interpretation of this film is that the only war a liberal democrat could win is by having mindless, dead people vote for him, I guess they meant to say the people that vote for presidents like George Bush are the mindless zombies, while the real mindless zombies, are actually the ones making the intellectually sounds decisions. Yeah, whatever. Dawn of the Dead tackled this idea much better, but user the idea of mindless consumerism. This film isn't Dawn of the Dead by any stretched of the imagination.

The film addresses the issue while the soldiers are alive that a majority of them voted for a Bush like president, but after they die they would vote for a liberal anti-war democrat after they are zombies, who are normally considered brain dead creatures and laughably has them destruct after they vote.

If you are gonna make a zombie movie Mr. Dante and invoke George Romero's name in it, you better have mindless zombies that like ripping people apart and eating their intestines, not zombies that vote. I also like how the zombies just go "evil" conservatives who support the war.

If you want a good movie with social commentary skip this poorly made, preachy piece of junk and watch DeathDream instead.

The worst of the Master of Horror Series hands down.
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An overlooked gem
7 August 2003
I guess some of the naysayers about this movie have seen a different movie than I did, because this movie to me was filled to the brim with the hyperkinetic off the charts excitement that Hong Kong action movies have been famous for. Once the action starts it has a breathless place that never lets up for a minute and it has everything a Hong Kong moviephile could love some well choreographed and bloody shootouts, some dangerous eye popping stunts, and some manically hair raising mix ups. I have seen this movie in the Chinese movie store for some time and finally decided to rent it and did I get my money's worth. This is a great example of the action films Hong Kong used to make in its heydey. They had no artistic intentions other than to provide a mindblowing, hyberbolic opiate for the retinas. You can have your arty-farty plotless Wong Kar Wai films and sit there and be pretentious, but I would rather watch a film like Enter The Eagles and have an intoxicating good time much like I would rather have a sweet wine, over that dry flavorless crap anyday because when I drink wine I wanna get a buzz and enjoy getting there and not sit there sipping some expensive crappy tasting wine marvelling at how great the bouquet is. The Dragon's daughter is awesome and gets in a dust up with the Benny the Jet that is close to on par with the classic fisticuffs between Jacky and the Jet. She is just spectacular to watch in action whether she is firing a gun or unleashing her fists of fury and seems to have capture some of the charm and charisma of her father, she has a very likable screen persona and its a shame that she didnt make more movies like this.

The film isnt perfect though, I found some of the drama while adequate, just seem to be by the numbers and the sequence with the blimp was the only other complaint I had. The acting was from good to fair and Micheal Wong is compentent for a change. I find it interesting that this film didnt have a US release like Gen X Cops did, especially since most of the film is in English.

One more thing people, the glory days of John Woo's heroic bloodshed days are over, so you might as well get used to that fact and stop being so jaded because watching this film was a blast and to compare to a John Woo film isn't fair, it may not be art, but it's damn fine entertainment and better than a lot of the crap that Hollywood has been putting out lately. You can have your arty-farty plotless Wong Kar Wai films, but I take this

I give this film 7 out of 10 stars because it was highly entertaining and fun despite it faults and plus where else you gonna see Shannon Lee shoot people and kick some ass? That alone was worth the price of rental. If only Hong Kong would have a made a film with Brandon Lee and Shannon Lee together. Oh well, its nice to dream.
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A very intriguing film, despite its weaknesses
13 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The people on this site that complained about this movie being boring, must have seen an entirely different movie, on the contrary, I found it to be an exciting, action packed and culturally enlightening film. It isnt perfect, but It is defintely worth the time and money I spent on the VCD. To the uninformed I saw the original Thai cut of this film esp. when I heard that Francis Ford Coppola was going to release a shorter version of it, because he in all his benevolent wisdom knows better than the director how the picture needed to be edited. Mr Coppola all I want to ask is how come you didnt get rights to release all five hours of footage that was shot, instead of taking out scenes and replacing it with others? Somebody in Thailand should take 40 minutes out of Apocalypse Now and take out entire scenes and replace them with scenes from the additional 3 hours of footage that FFC shot for the movie.

All the critics of this movie, esp those who feel it was too long need to think and consider that maybe the reason why: it jumps around in the story, there seems to be little character development, and some of the dialogue seems choppy might be because it was orignally intended after theater release to be shown on Thai television as a 2 part miniseries. My personal opinion is I dont think the film was long enough and in spite of that and the other weak points I mentioned I seldom found it boring. Great care and detail obviously went into period costumes and sets and the scope of this film is tremendous, especially in the intricate battle scenes, which were on par with many of the Hollywood spectacles. I also found a rare peek into Thai culture extremely fasinating, since it so seldom that we get an accurate glimpse of Asian cultures aside from the Japanese and Chinese cultures, and even though those protrayals usually condescending and jingoistic. Many of the same people who complain about this movie had no problem going to see long movies like Dances with Wolves or Braveheart, which too were highly entertaing if historical inaccurate films. I found that even though the dialogue in the final scene was a bit hokey, that it still packed an emotional wallop even knowing the Queen Suriyothai is going to die, not a spoiler folks, because the film opens with her death, there is just something about the sacrifice of one's life for something greater than yourself which is very dramatic and inspiring.

The films major weakness is that even though the film is about her, it spends a lot of time on a lot of secondary characters most of which are fairly interesting, I wanted to see more of what made her tick. The whole thing works inspite of this weaknesses. If you like larger than life characters, well choreographed and bloody battle sequences, and some drama and intrigue then you will love this film.
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Killer Tattoo (2001)
A wild, hypkinetic, unpredictable action/comedy/drama hybrid
28 November 2002
I recently saw this action comedy from Thailand at the St. Louis International Film Festival and It knocked on me on my rear end, this film was one wild, unpredictable movie, take John Woo, Wong Kar Wai, Wong Jing and throw them all in the blender at full speed to blend them for a movie that will hit you like a swallow of beer after a shot of sake.

To simply slap this film with the action comedy label is doing it a great injustice because this is not a by the numbers Hollywood cookie style "action comedy" that would ever be made in Tinseltown and probably would be consumed by the mainstrea m moviegoer, it it just too complex for such a simple pigeonhole categorization. This has to be one of the more unpredictable films to come around in a long time and it reminds of the movies that Hong Kong used to make back in their "golden age" in the late 80's to the mid 90's that was my antidote to the Hollywood actioners that just simply rehashed cliche after cliche without much style or imagination. It even the evil foreigner cannon villian just like the Hong Kong action films so a Hong Kong action buff should feel at home. This film has a frantic pace that never lets up and like some of John Woo's best work, will you leave exhausted when it's over. I was just amazed at how the film would change tone so seamlessly, mixing off the comedy, violent action, and touching drama and sometimes one scene would juggle all three going at once, never dropping the ball once.

The film is basically about a hitman, Kit Silencer looking searching for the man who killed his mother when he was a child, who had a pitch forked shaped tattoo on his wrist and what happens when he crosses paths with a group of four other bumbling hitmen at a botched hit on a police chief. One of the four losers is an Elvis impersonator who carries an M-16 in his guitar case and that character alone made it worth the price of admission.

Even though this isnt a pure action movie per say, it still has a high body count, higher than some of the so-called action movies and takes chances where say a Hong Kong lite Hollywood homogenized product like Charile's Angels wouldnt in switching genres, allowing some of its main characters to get killed off.

The only problem with this movie, is unless you see it at a film festival you will probably not see it with English subtitles although it is available on DVD and VCD it doesn't have English subtitles which is a shame because I saw a lesser thai action comedy which didnt deserve an English subtitled release in my opinion. I hope Thailand will continue making movies like this and Dang Bireley, Im just glad that there are more world class films available from a country that I and many others alike thought never made movies.
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Good, good have been better, but still a solid action drama
14 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I would have to agree the quote that said that this was Wong Kar Wai mixed with John Woo and that was my thoughts exactly when I saw the movie.

Its a good movie, could have been great, but definitely worth seeing. The movie is gritty and realistic and like a Woo film has characters that are flawed, but sympathetic and likeable which makes the violence and there is some graphic violence here have a lot more impact than in the average smash and crash movies. The hitman with a heart of gold scenario has been done before, but this one covers some new ground.

*SPOILER ALERT*---------------------------------------------------------

The new ground covered is that the hitman actually realizes the consequences and impact of the killings he has committed on the victim's families, which if I recall is rarely ever touch upon in the hitman movies. Most of the targets in other movies of this genre all thugs who probably deserve a bullet put through their head and not an innocent person who is just living his life.

*END OF SPOILER --------------------------------------------------------

This film has a lot going for it: stylish visuals, tight direction, and good melodrama, but I think the major fault of the film that kept it from being great was when the main character was onscreen, I felt that we should have been looking through his world through his eyes, as if we were deaf too, but instead only does this when he is making a hit. I think that would have been a lot people than having the characters write notes to him and having us hear what they are saying to have. I really like how the director's made what could have been an imitation of the classic restaurant shootout in A Better Tomorrow and with a visual twist gave the scene an originality all its own.

I also found the ending to be a bit, corny and manipulative, although it did work and the decision that Kong made to change his fate was sad and at the same time clever and creative.

All in all I would give this movie *** out a possible ***** because it did breathe some fresh life into a very cliched genre and is definitely worth watching.
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Had some pontential 1.5 out of 5
24 September 2002
I had read about this film in Fangoria, so I was really looking forward to seeing it and my local video store had it for rent, so I figured why not check it out. I was severely disappointed. Judging from the trailer the film had a lot going for it and I knew going into it that it was a low budget film, so I was willing to cut it some slack and even then it has real problems; the major one being the film was too ambitious for its budget and having had a better budget probably could have better than Eight Legged Freaks.

Im not going to be as rough as some reviewers are on this film, but I wouldnt recommend it. Its major fault was the SFX, which considering the title are the cornerstone of a movie like this and considering the low budget, it did some some good effects, but for every good SFX shot, there was 2 bad ones. The film had a great atmosphere in the claustrophic confines of a ship and spiders running loose but never managed to create any tension or a feeling of claustrophobia. Also why they made computer generated shots of stuff like a wrecked ship or even the cargo ship itself is beyond me, because thats some of the stuff that really looked fake esp. when they had long lingering shots. The interiors sets were believable probably because they actually filmed it on an old ship. I was really expecting some good gore in this film and it even failed on that level, the spider attacks were just consisted of their fangs impaling their victims. The major fault of the film though, which many had pointed out, was the script and even for a film like this you expect something other than ,"Spiders are Carninvores, you know that?". No kidding you mean flies and insects are vegetable matter? Are people stupid enough to believe that a cut on the neck of the lead actor that required stitches would need as much medical attention as it got in the movie? The acting was passable but still left something to be desired.

The bottom line is that this film isnt really worth your time or money and its a shame, because with a better script and more money it could have been at least entertaining sci-fi splatter film.
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Drive (1997)
This is the Best US made Martial Arts film!!!. Hush up all u grinches
16 November 2001
I see a majority of everyone like this film and especially the Hong Kong Film fans (like me), but a few of you .. including some of the Hong Kong films fans had panned this movie and shame you, that makes you no better than the elitist "arthouse" critics. You set up such high standards for an action film: some of you complained about the story, the writing, the budget, not every direct to video film that is made is crap, but a good 99.9 % of them are and this and The Boondock Saints are in the .01 percent that aren't. Just because it is made in the Hong Kong style and it doesn't have any big names like Jet Li or Jackie Chan doesn't make it bad either, they have made some real stinkers too and Hollywood has also made some atrocious actions films with 100 times the budget of this movie and they sucked too, money alone doesn't not ensure quality.

Having said that, this is bar none one of the best Hong Kong style action films to be made in the US and it beat Hollywood to the punch this was made 3 years before The Blade and The Matrix and doesn't have those irritating rotating camera gimmicks, ( i like the Matrix don't get me wrong) so the action scenes are much more fluid.

OK this isn't art and everyone isn't John Woo, I don't know about you butI watch action movies to be entertained this is one more than fills the bill. It has a economical plot as a lot of action movies esp Hong Kong films so there all you "elitists" and that is what u want, its just enough plot to hang some framework around some astounding martial arts scenes but not enough to get in the way and slow things down without all that talking crap. This film has breakneck pacing and fight scenes where each scene outdoes the one before.

This film is a Jet Li caliber movie and is better than any of Jet Li's or Jackie Chan's Hollywood films and probably 1/50th the budget.

Why Mr. Dacascos was not hired for the role of Neo in The Matrix is a mystery to me, he already knows martial arts and can act circles around Keanu Reeves or most any action star like Seagal, Van Damme, or Arnold.

If you love martial arts and Hong Kong action films check this one out there is a reason that this film has won many awards at Asian film festivals Because it kicks ass. A great injustice has been done to this film by not being released at the movies, but since they released some of the 90's Hong Kong films like Drunken Master II and Iron Monkey, why not open this one in US theaters. If there is one film that deserves its cult following its this one.

For all you "artsty-fartsy" and extremely picky Hong Kong film fans loosen up and enjoy this film like the rest of us and remember the golden age of Hong Kong cinema has been over since about 95.
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A Lost Gem...The Best Kung Fu i have ever seen
14 May 2000
I don't think I have seen a better Choreographed Kung Fu movie. It is also probably the most action packed Kung fu film i have seen in recent years. This is definitely a lost gem and hopefully will get its rightful place in Hong Kong moviedom as a classic. I dont how this film has been overlooked for some many years.

I dont know where to begin about this movie. It just attests to the genius of Director Yuen Ping and is more amazing to look at than the high tech, big budget razzle because there are no CGI enhanced fight scenes here..it's the real thing. Not only are they creative choreographed as only Yuen Ping can do, but they some of the most physically intense and acrobatic fight scenes I have ever seen on celluloid and trust me I have seen hundreds of fight scenes. Once the film builds momemntum it doesn't slow down. It has a threadbare plot,but it does have one and even a bit of a mystery thrown in.

This is to Kung Fu movies what Hardboiled is to action movies, it is action packed and the fight scenes are numerous and consistetnly inventive. I was just amazed at the number of fight scenes and how the next one outdid the last,continuing its feverish pitch to a breathlessly paced helter skelter, knock down drag out, down and dirty festival of fisticuffs with the two leads strutting their stuff combining the excellent choreography of the director and the physical dexterity and pugilistic skills of the two leads. You will be exhausted after the movie is over.

If you though Jackie Chan movies were good wait until you seen this one.

Simply said the BEST KUNG FU MOVIE BAR NONE

Interestingly enough it has been released by 2 companies at the same time the Xenon group for $9.99 and Tai Seng (priced for rental as of April 2000. The Tai Seng print will be twice the price, but of much better quality I am sure.

Whatever version you buy or rent just make sure you see it. This is must see viewing for martial arts movie fans.

It is a truly a lost classic.
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