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Jackie Chan's finest hour
8 December 2004
This for me is Jackie Chan's finest, and is the film which propelled him to super stardom in Hong Kong. Whilst other martial artists were trying to be the new Bruce Lee, Jackie did something different. Why replace the irreplaceable when you could do something completely different? What Jackie did was introduce slapstick into the Kung Fu formula, the rest as they say is history.

Jackie stars as Freddy Wong aka (Wong Fei Hung) depending upon which dub you watch. A juvenile delinquent with a penchant for feeling up immediate female members of his family. His father, fed up of his delinquency hires Sam Seed aka The Drunken Master to teach him some discipline as well as his secret fighting style. Naturally the two get off on the wrong foot but learn to respect each other as the film goes on whilst of course getting into the obligatory scrapes and japes. There is of course a villain of the piece in this case its the Tae Kwan Do master Hwang Jan Lee as the underworld assassin "Thunderfoot" who in real life was just as badass as he is in the film.

So it's all pretty derivative then? Well yes and no. There is a genuine rapport between Jackie and Yu Su Tien as pupil and teacher. The martial arts is brilliantly choreographed and inventive (the scene in the restaurant is probably my favourite) and the whole thing has a "joie de vivre". Watching it, it seems to me that the actors had a ball making the film. Which is just as well as I had a ball watching it.
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Jackie Chan's finest hour
3 December 2004
This for me is Jackie Chan's finest, and is the film which propelled him to super stardom in Hong Kong. Whilst other martial artists were trying to be the new Bruce Lee, Jackie did something different. Why replace the irreplaceable when you could do something completely different? What Jackie did was introduce slapstick into the Kung Fu formula, the rest as they say is history.

Jackie stars as Freddy Wong aka (Fong Sai Yuk) depending upon which dub you watch. A juvenile delinquent with a penchant for feeling up immediate female members of his family. His father, fed up of his delinquency hires Sam Seed aka The Drunken Master to teach him some discipline as well as his secret fighting style. Naturally the two get off on the wrong foot but learn to respect each other as the film goes on whilst of course getting into the obligatory scrapes and japes. There is of course a villain of the piece in this case its the Tae Kwan Do master Hwang Jan Lee as the underworld assassin "Thunderfoot" who in real life was just as badass as he is in the film.

So it's all pretty derivative then? Well yes and no. There is a genuine rapport between Jackie and Yu Su Tien as pupil and teacher. The martial arts is brilliantly choreographed and inventive (the scene in the restaurant is probably my favourite) and the whole thing has a "joie de vivre". Watching it, it seems to me that the actors had a ball making the film. Which is just as well as I had a ball watching it.
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Versus (II) (2000)
One of the maddest films I've ever seen
7 July 2003
I must confess I'd never heard of this film, until my brother borrowed me his copy last week. "What is all about" I asked him "It's a bit like Resident Evil and the Matrix" he replied

I wasn't really a fan of either of those movies, but it did sound intriguing, I loaded the DVD up in anticipation. Eh? was my first reaction followed by, What the hell is going on?

A load of japanese geezers running around in a forest shooting at each other and zombies. Whilst mugging to the camera, trying to look cool and stylish and nonchalant through the carnage. Yes that is the plot!, there is some mystical explanation for all this but it seemed to be more of an afterthought

Anyway, about half way through whilst still trying to formulate an opinion about the movie, the missus quipped

"This is crap, turn it off I want to go to sleep"

You know what? I did
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Fitting memorial to Peck
13 June 2003
I saw this film, like many others in a classroom after we had finished reading book. I remember, despite the fact it was black & white and we were in school I was riveted.

It is one of the great American films and one of the few examples I can think of where a great book is turned into a great film. In fact the only other example that springs to mind is The Grapes of Wrath.

Yes it is that good.
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Pleasantly surprised
29 May 2003
After The Beach I wasn't expecting much from the Garland/Boyle combo. However 28 Days later really surprised me, from the grim opening shots of London as a wasteland it grabs you by the jugular.

Alot of things have been "borrowed" from other sci/fi horror movies most notably George Romero zombie films but 28 days still feels fresh. The spin in this film is the "zombies" aren't stupid, slow cabbages. They are more like rabid rottweilers with ultra bloodshot eyes intent on only one thing, finishing you off.

There are plenty of moments of terror, as you would expect. It is also very violent. There is a particular scene involving a soldier having his eyes gouged out.

Where I think the film falls down a little is in the ending. The majority of the film is bleak and downbeat, I felt the ending was out of sync with the rest of the movie. A bit like the original ending of Blade Runner. Nevertheless it is still one of the best horror movies I've seen in ages and far better than the usual Hollywood multiplex rubbish we usually see being put on our screens
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Resident Evil (2002)
Not as bad as they say
14 April 2003
I remember when the videogame Resident Evil came out, there was alot of hype and was proclaimed as the best thing ever. Did it live up to the hype? yes it did. Playing the game was unnerving, with some fantastic shocks. Strange then, that the film of the game appears some six years later...

Is it any good then? and how faithful an adaptation is it?

Well it depends on your definition of "good", It's alright if your in a veg out I wanna watch a trashy movie sort of mood. Milla Jovovich is very nice eye candy, she plays an amnaesiac caught up in a battle with killer dogs, zombies, some very nasty mutants and a murderous computer called the Hive. Luckily for her though, help is at hand from a special forces team headed up by Colin Salmon. Regardless to say they all meet quite gruesome deaths, pretty standard fare really.

The film itself isn't particularly faithful to the game, but I don't think it could be really. The game involved you exploring a mansion alone, fighting off beasties and solving puzzles. Good idea for a game, bad idea for a film.

Where I think the film loses points is from the awful music, Zombies about to appear? Cue thrash metal crap! I found it really jarring. For me it ruined what suspense there was. The biggest problem I had though was the film just wasn't scary, the zombies in Michael Jackson's Thriller were more menacing than the zombies on display here. The dogs were quite good though.

If your a fan of the game, check the film out. It's entertaining in a trashy kinda way, there a quite alot of references to the Resident Evil games in there and you can always just gawp at Milla.
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Classic Carpenter
6 February 2003
Assault is a masterly example of how to achieve maximum effect with a minimum budget. One of the reasons I like this film is because of its simplicity, everything you need to know is established within the first few scences. Some of the acting is pretty poor, check out some of the scenes where the thugs get shot. But the leads are quite good. As mentioned before the music is fantastic, very minimalistic.

It's a shame that JC's career seems to have gone downhill since then, I can't believe he's the same director who made Memoirs of an Invisible Man.
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Repo Man (1984)
Melon Farmers!
5 February 2003
I saw this film ages ago on BBC2. They screened a cut version of the film. Funnily enough, Alex Cox himself supervised the cutting of the film. Hence the phrase "Melon farmer" was used instead of ..........

Anyway I always preferred this version of the film for Alex Cox showing the absurdity of censoring bad language in films. As anyone who ever saw the premiere of Die hard on ITV will probably testify.
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Ricky Doh!
6 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** The blurb on the back of the DVD box states "Arguably the most violent Hong Kong film ever released" Maybe they could have also have added the words spectacularly and unrealistic as well. Set in the not too distant future SOR takes place in a privatised prison. It is the kind of place that makes Shawshank look like Butlins. Complain about the food and the warden will put your arm into a meat grinder. It doesn't take Ricky long to p*ss off the regime, who send out a variety of henchman to sort him out. Cue lots of fights with Ricky punching through people, punches their heads/eyes/arms off, punching through walls, metal bars etc. What I found to be quite strange though is Ricky possesses superhuman strength, but he only bothers escaping prison at the end of the film by punching through the prison wall. Why didn't he do it at the start? Is he schizophrenic, at certain points in the film he is handcuffed up/chained up and then escapes by breaking the chains. Why the hell let people chain him in the first place? Anyway, I suppose the plot isn't pretty relevant in this type of film if the martial arts are any good. Well it isn't, there is no invention. I've seen better fights in the school playground, better acting as well. But nevertheless there is a guilty pleasure to be gained from watching the film. I also liked the line given by the assistant warden when one of his henchmen tried to kill Ricky by using his own intestines. Watch the film and you will know what I mean.

Verdict

6 out of 10 it's crap but entertaining
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Comrade Dad (1984– )
Long forgotten 80's sitcom
29 August 2002
I'm surprised very few people have commented/remember this sitcom. Starring George Cole of "Minder" fame, the programme had quite a good premise. It takes place in Britain however there is a twist in the britain of the programme, the russians had invaded and turned England into a communist state.

It only ran for one series, back in the mid 80's. I can vaguely remember it. Although there was one really good gag where Comerade Dad decides to buy a "new" car, Of course with it being communist Britain he ends up buying a Skrover (Half a Skoda welded to half a Rover). Anyway by the end of the progamme the only thing he has left is a shell, everything else gets nicked.

To sum up, as a kid I remember enjoying this series. No one else seems to have seen it though.
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The Thing (1982)
Far better than the original
12 March 2002
The Thing is that rarest of beasts, a remake that is far better than the original. The film opens with the crew of an American Arctic research centre rescuing a dog from some deranged members of a European party who die, before it can be established why they are trying to kill the canine. Upon investigation it appears the remaining members of the European crew are dead, some of them horribly mutilated. The research centre has also been burnt down.

The Americans take the dog in. This is where the trouble starts. Slowly the centre is been taken over, equipment is being sabotaged and people are being killed but by who? The `who' is the `Thing' in question a being that can assume the forms of others. Kurt Russell stars as Macreedy a helicopter pilot determined to find out. The film also has an array of character actors all destined for gory deaths including Richard Dysart (guy for LA Law), Donald Moffat, Keith David and most menacing of all Wilford Brimley. Whilst the film is primarily remembered for its excellent special effects, In my opinion these are actually the weakest part of the film. The strongest part being the claustrophobia heightened by the conditions (they are in the middle of an arctic storm) and the paranoia of not knowing who can be trusted. The scene where a test is being administered to determine who is the `Thing' is incredible. Kurt Russell is excellent as Macreedy demonstrating an understandable edginess, paranoia and vulnerability. The rest of the cast too is excellent in their portrayals of suspicion, fear and terror.

The music is suitably creepy, although it seems to me a bit strange in hiring Ennio Morricone to effectively imitate a John Carpenter score. What's the point when you have Carpenter at the helm of the film anyway?

The film itself was dismissed when it was released at around about the same time as ET. I suppose people weren't ready to see a film about a nasty alien. In retrospect the film is getting the recognition it deserves

John Carpenter's finest hour, no I'd say it was Assault on precinct 13. However it is one of the most effective chillers you will ever see.

8 out of 10
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Commando (1985)
One of the pioneers of the action blockbuster
25 July 2001
As a kid I absolutely loved this movie, Watching now brings all my childhood memories flooding back. It is one of the pioneers of the 80s action blockbuster and strictly adheres to the rules (cliches) 1) The protagonist must be referred to only by his second name in this case Matrix. 2) He must be ex-army or a cop. 3) The one-liner. (Endlessly quoted in the playground afterwards) 4) The sidekick (either an attractive female or funny cowardly male friend) 5) The bad guys can't shoot for toffee, how can anyone miss Arnie or Sly? 6) The bodycount As for the movie itself, Some of the acting is really BAD. Arnie is more wooden than the tree trunk he carries at the start of the film. But did anyone expect anything less? The script isn't too bad, with some really pithy one liners. My favourite being the exchange between Matrix and Sully before Sully's unfortunate death. The most important thing about these movies is the action sequences, Commando has these by the bucketload. Including the incredibly unrealistic BUT exciting ending where Arnie wipes out a whole Army.

It's bunk, we know it's bunk. BUT at least it doesn't take itself too seriously.

My Verdict 8/10 for nostalgia's sake.
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