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Du bi shuang xiong (1976)
Not Perfect, But Wang & Chang Fans Should Watch!
The grammar on the back of the Vengeance Video DVD release is enough to make you think twice about watching this later entry into the One-armed swordplay genre, but for fans of chop-socky classics, it is worth the watch!
While not perfect in any sense, the sheer value entertainment of its two main stars (and directors) should be enough confirmation that you'll have fun. Its rare that a Jimmy Wang Yu film will bore you, even more so when the guy is only sporting one arm. And then there is the charm and on-screen charisma of the new one armed swordsman, David Chaing who is always a treat to watch.
This is one film I'd love to have been in the production meetings for... With our directors/leads joining forces to create Wang Chaing Film Company (which no doubt only lasted the stretch of this production), the conversations on who was going to hit the screen first, carry the film, stand on the left or right, and ultimately, win the final battle - must have been interesting to say the least..!
Unfortunately this DVD print could have done with a bit of a clean up. Opening for the first minute or two in glorious letterbox widescreen, the film suddenly jumps to full screen with some dodgy grain and framing around the edges. Thankfully, things get going pretty quick which helps distract from the bad quality although does make me want to see a cleaned up HD version of it.
With some extra star-power in the shape of Lo Lieh and Chang Yi who fleet in and out throughout, and a couple of crazy plot twists, most of the story focuses on Jimmy Wang Yu's character following on from his story in the awesome Return Of The One Armed Swordsman. Teaming up with the always smirking David Chaing in a bid to find a one armed killer. This results in a few highlights, such as a crazy teahouse fight, Wang versus Chaing on a cliff top, and the latter taking on Lo Lieh. And that's all before the big final fight of course!
Obviously, when it comes to the fight scenes, its David Chaing that shines best. Wang Yu has always had a certain stiffness to his moves, offering somewhat of a raw approach in his hits. This is usually aided by lots of jumping about and somersaulting, but after years of watching him fight like this, you just expect it and it seems to work. David Chaing on the other hand who is a trained kung fu fighter, adds a bit more grace to his fights, with better kicks and stances overall as well as bringing his sword-of-fury technique he learnt in New One Armed Swordsman.
Ultimately it is Jimmy Wang Yu that wins my imaginary production meeting discussion, taking on the main bad guy alone who they find hiding in Shaolin Temple. Its a pretty good closing fight, with most of it taking place in a chicken house... While not the strongest of the vast collection of One Armed Swordsmen movies, I guess we could say this plays out like a traditional Chinese version of Sherlock Holmes. With Wang Yu as the Holmes character (which would also explain him getting the last fight alone), David Chaing most definitely is Watson - stealing a lot of the scenes he's in, and proving to be the better person at the end of the day.
Overall: The One Armed Swordsmen isn't perfect, but it is a lot of fun and worth a spot in the collection!
DVD Extras: Bonus fight scene (featuring David Chaing).
Feng liu can jian xue wu hen (1980)
Better Than Average Swordplay Flick!
Another £1 purchase, The Mask Of Vengeance is one of the better films from the distributors 'Hollywood East' collection. Shaw Brothers director Pao Hsueh Li (Boxer From Shantung; The Iron Bodyguard) went a bit more independent in the late 70's bringing some of his Shaw Brothers stars along for the ride, and creating some pretty decent lower budget productions. The Mask Of Vengeance is one of those!
Big set pieces, crazy characters, and top notch kung fu fights make this a good 90 minutes of classic kung fu fun. While not as polished as most Shaw Brothers productions, you can still get what the film was aiming for, even via the DVD release's video-quality print.
With a great cast and host of recognisable faces from the classic era, the film also pays homage to its highly successful predecessor The One Armed Swordsman, of which the director no doubt had a hand in, being with the Shaw Brothers studio during that time. There is a great moment of surprise, when the villains top fighters de-mask, revealing a bunch of faces that just adds a little more excitement to it all. This in turn leads to a fantastic end battle, that spreads out over the last 20 minutes of the film, with plenty of swordplay and kung fu that doesn't disappoint!
Overall: Sweeping camerawork, great fight scenes and lavish sets help make this better-than-average swordplay flick worth the watch...
Mighty Jack (1968)
Outdated background noise...
I remember buying Mighty Jack for £1 in a discount store many years ago. There was nothing overly appealing about it (apart from the price), but I knew that with most 60's/70's Japanese sci-fi action films, there was often a diamond in the rough that provided some genuine viewing pleasure for fans of Asian cinema. And after a few years on the shelf, I finally got round to watching it...
A diamond it is not.
By no means is Mighty Jack terrible! It's shot well enough, the (dubbed) performances seem alright, and the action is akin to that of the oldest Godzilla movies (albeit minus the rubber suited monsters). With a dull, out-dated looking print taken straight from video, I'm sure Mighty Jack would actually fare better with a HD clean up and original language release. It just screams late 60's film, taking tips from James Bond in style and with its main Western villain called Q, complete with fluffy white cat on his lap.
Mighty Jack itself is a submarine vessel that plays as the base for the good guys. That's pretty much the basis of it all. Even though the team spend much of the film above the water, they gather now and again on Mighty Jack to thwart the evil Q via a collection of scenes that plays out like an episode of the classic Thunderbirds.
Although not as bad as much of their other content, Mighty Jack is the kind of film you would probably see on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 - allowing for plenty of laughs and corny entertainment. And that includes a classic 60's freeze-gun! You could do worse, but for £1 and some background viewing, I'm happy enough...
Modern Warriors (2002)
Not My Cup Of Tea...
Starring Jet Li, Cynthia Rothrock, Sammo Hung, Richard Norton, Don Wilson, David Carridine, Benny Urquidez, Peter Cunningham, Bill Wallace, Philip Rhee
With a cast list such as above, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in for the (viewing) ride of your life! An action movie with this much star quality would have any martial arts action fan drooling at the mouth and rushing home to watch it. Although, I have to admit, it took me a few years to watch this one after I'd bought it... Picked up at a car-boot sale, I knew from the artwork and obvious insight into HK cinema that this wasn't anything to get excited about. Only because I was cataloguing my DVD's, I put this on in the background in the hope that something incredible would surprise me.
I was wrong.
Highlighted proudly on the cover that it is directed by Academy and Emmy Award nominated Peter Spirer, Modern Warriors actually comes across as amateurish and cheaply made, focusing mainly on martial arts powerhouse Benny 'The Jet' Urquidez (Wheels On Meals; Dragons Forever), as well as a couple of other fighters such as Peter Cunningham (Righting Wrongs) and Philip Rhee (Best Of The Best). This slow burning documentary will really only appeal to fans (or students) of martial arts as it really questions if styles today are mostly used as a sport or an art form...
Cue plenty of clips featuring brief fights in the ring, brutal cage fights and dojo demonstrations - but not enough interesting conversation from the Hong Kong/US action stars who could have made it a little more interesting. Even though Jet Li and Richard Norton get a few minutes to chat, I'm afraid almost a minute of screen time with the likes of Sammo Hung, Cynthia Rothrock and others, isn't really enough to justify selling this yawn-fest to fans.
So don't be stressing too much if you never get the chance to see it...
Tao tie gong (1979)
Under-rated kung fu classic!
Another £1 purchase, this quirky kung fu comedy is pretty much a rip-off (or homage) to Jackie Chan's classic Drunken Master and Fearless Hyena...
Even the star, Siu Lung Chan - adopting the international name of Jacky Chen - tries his hardest to look and act like the King of Hong Kong cinema, pulling off some incredible kung fu and acrobatic moves while playing the clown. And he pretty much does it, minus the same on-screen charisma we get from Chan the man!
But that's certainly not enough to make this a bad film. Although its pretty much a case of having seen it all before, Of Cooks And Kung Fu offers plenty of old-school comedy, a host of recognisable faces, and plenty of fantastic Jackie Chan-esque kung fu fighting with choreography from main star, Chen. The end battle alone between himself and the main villain is just a good as Chan's traditional flicks closing scenes.
There's also a supporting role by the hilarious Lee Kwan, star of over 140 films such as Drunken Tai Chi, Fantasy Mission Force, and Fearless Hyena to name but a few, playing the same smart-ass character he always does - complete with comical dub...
Of Cooks And Kung Fu is definitely one of the labels (Hollywood East UK release) best releases in terms of entertainment value and in showcasing some of the best fighting and training scenes. It would be nice to see a widescreen HD version some day but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon!
Overall: Fast n furious kung fu comedy that deserves to have a bigger audience.
Sha po lang 2 (2015)
Top Notch Martial Arts Thriller!
SPL 2: A Time For Consequences finally got its UK release (Oct '16) as Killzone 2. Although starring Wu Jing and Simon Yam from the original SPL movie, the films are only connected in title only and with the method of how the 3 connections bring the story together.
Once you get that out of the way, you can look at SPL 2 as a stand- alone movie and tune in for a non-linear story that has some amazing martial arts and action scenes (courtesy of long time Jackie Chan stunt team member, Nicky Li) and stars 3 of the hottest martial arts stars of this time, Tony Jaa, Wu Jing and Zhang Jin!
The movie also had me moved to tears more than once, but I'll not reveal any spoilers on that...
Like a blend of HK classic 'Island Of Fire' and 'The Raid 2' (which I wasn't a fan of), SPL 2 is heavily set in a Thai prison with corruption, violence and fights aplenty. With the number of flashbacks and changes in location blending in throughout the first half of the film, I would suggest keeping a keen eye on things as the story unravels. Similar to that of Andy Lau's 'The Last Blood' this takes a much darker turn on things and all the cast members play it amazingly.
I really enjoyed seeing Tony Jaa mix in with a HK production. I'm a huge fan of his, but the last lot of years have seen him struggle to shine his light again. With SPL 2, he most certainly does make a return!
Highly recommended and one I will be watching again very soon...
Chao ji bao biao (2016)
Hard Action, Top Stunts!
Look, its not perfect, and no doubt like everyone else you probably hurt from laughing when you saw the trailer while searching for Sammo Hung's film of the same name..?
Fear not though! What The Bodyguard (or Super Bodyguard as some countries are calling it) offers is a very welcome return to the golden age of Hong Kong cinema with newcomer, director and star, Yue Song proving to be a martial arts action hero to keep an eye on.
Story line and the technical side of the film won't win any awards anytime soon, with a predictable tale and odd editing choices, but from the get go The Bodyguard makes you sit up and take notice with its impressive hard hitting, stunt filled fight sequences!
Mostly showcasing the real skills of the actors, we get the odd spat of wire work to enhance (what we soon find out) their kung fu powers but it doesn't take away from the excitement on screen at all.
The stunt work looks painful and amazing, and often reminded me of the Tiger Cage movies, with fight choreography much like that of Donnie Yen's work today.
The always impressive Xing Yu (Wrath of Vajra, Shaolin, Dragon Tiger Gate) gets to let lose more than a few time which is great also!
Yue Song may take a while before being accepted as a HK action star A-lister, but with The Bodyguard, I feel he has channeled the power of Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa in his role and completely delivers 100%. Hell, he does more of his own stuff in this film than Jet Li has done in all of his...
Again, not perfect as a film, but highly recommended if you are a martial arts or action movie fan!
Da she wang (1984)
Thunder Of Ho!
The madness of Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai strike again, and strike hard in this monster movie that features some Hong Kong heavies in the shape of Danny Lee and more!
Blended with the usual unmatched footage of Westerners to help sell abroad, this hilarious mess is about a little girl and her pet snake (that is surprisingly smart and understands her native tongue) who get mixed up with some scientists schemes of making plants and animals 300 - 1000 times their size.
Of course, the formula falls into the hands of said girl, who's pet snake soon becomes bigger than any movie monster we've seen and enjoys playing hide and seek with her.
As the bad guys and army chase down the formula and girl, the snake gets more and more angry, and bigger, and soon we are delivered scene upon scene of Godzilla like miniatures and models that kinda work.
As mad as it is, and as annoying as the little girl is, Thunder Of The Gigantic Serpent is still quite enjoyable. Its crazy yes, but there is plenty of action, monster madness and overall entertainment to get through.
Far from perfect, but very ambitious even for schlock-miester Godfrey Ho...
Pu guang ren wu (1991)
Another Of HK's Hidden Gems!
I loved Fatal Mission (aka Final Gate) from director Stephen Yip!
This is one of those films that gets lost among the hundreds of big named action classics that HK was dishing out in their golden years of cinema.
Dark, unnerving and violent, Fatal Mission thrives on what made HK cinema stand out from the rest of the worlds film offers.
Derek Yee is fantastic in his role as a broken father and husband out for revenge when his wife and son are horribly killed in a case of mistaken identity. This scene alone was difficult to watch, not for any negative reasons, but because of how well done and disturbing it was as he is torn between children.
Sibelle Hu gets some great kick ass action scenes in her regular cop role, and the corrupt and violent cop team led with glee by Saskia Van Rijswijk (Angels 3) have a few familiar faces there too. One of these is played by Alan Chui who also choreographed the films action and fight scenes.
Gritty, hard hitting and big on action, Fatal Mission is well worth a place in any HK film fans collection!
7 Assassins (2013)
Entertaining In A Classic Sort Of Way
Seven Assassins has been getting a lot of negativity since its release, but I have watched it a few times now and still find it very entertaining.
Sure, I see the negative things going on there, but this is due to director and star Hung Yan Yan not being a solid director, and his random moments of wire-fu action that seems out of place among the rest...
Apart from that, 7 Assassins is a pretty damn good homage to the 60's and 70's golden generation of Hong Kong cinema.
It's big on sets, big on sweeping action, and most of all, big on cast!
In fact, big is the wrong word. Its huge on cast!
Main cast players are producer and comedian Eric Tsang, Hung Yan Yan, Drunken Master 2 star Felix Wong, Gigi Leung, Max Mok, Michael Wong and more. With extended cameos from legends such as Ti Lung, Jason Pai, Chen Kwan Tai, Mars, Dick Wei, Ken Lo, Simon Yam, Kara Hui, Leung Kar Yan, Fung Hak On, Waise Lee, Lawrence Ng and many, many more.
This reason in itself is worth the price of viewing. It reminds of the little seen but amazing 80's classics, The Raid (Sammo Hung, Andy Lau, Anita Mui) and End Of The Road (Tony Leung, Ng Man Tat, Rosamund Kwan).
The big bad guy of this film, who also starred in End Of The Road,is Ray Lui who really pulls off the nasty, kung fu prince that takes no prisoners.
Seven Assassins may not be perfect. The fights, until the fantastic end battle, are more realistic than well choreographed, and yes, there will be moments of those that the use of wires will make you cringe, but don't let that put you off.
A beautiful movie that deserves a bigger audience and is almost epic in its own right.
Wu hui xing dong (1990)
Dark HK Cinema That Entertains!
Never Say Regret is one of those edgy, dark and twisted films that came about in the golden age of Hong Kong cinema.
Starring the amazing Yukari Oshima as a Japanese girl wrongfully accused, we are given a few small fight scuffles in the first 45 minutes due to the twisted drama of what goes down in the mainland prison... And with the late, great, Big Silly Head (Shing Fui On) as the prison warden, you can only imagine how nice it is for her!
While in prison, she meets a friend played by Kara Hui (the one and only) who sticks more to the drama than the action in this one.
Meanwhile, a team of men in the form of legends Eddie Ko, Dick Wei and the handsome Max Mok, set out to rescue her. This is where the action all kicks off, directed by Yuen Bun, and we are treated to some fantastic and bloody fight scenes that keep the film treading in the Cat 3 side of things.
Never Say Regret is not perfect, but it is damn good and well worth seeing for fans of the Osh and Hong Kong cinema!
Lie pao xing dong (1998)
Hidden Gem of HK Cinema!
I really, really enjoyed Leopard Hunting!
Far from perfect, it is a hidden gem among the ton of classics that came out in the last of the golden age of HK cinema, directed by Ridley Tsui, complete with big cast and fantastic action pieces.
Sold mainly as a Jade Leung film, who looks amazing and plays the role great, but to me, this was all about Yukari Oshima.
Her character had a lot more to do, and regardless, she stole every scene she was in. Bad guy Roy Cheung keeps the (mainly) girl cops very busy as he causes trouble left, right and centre aided by the always impressive Yu Rong Guang.
Fight legends, Yuen Wah and Chung Fat, play their roles fairly quiet until the end where Wah gets to let lose more so, reprising his crazy cigar chomping self in the final battle.
Fast moving, well played and packed with great fights, Leopard Hunting deserves a clean release for fans of HK cinema and the always incredible, Yukari Oshima.
Xia nü chuang tian guan (2000)
TV Series, Movie Edit Entertains!
As with most TaiSeng releases of Chinese television shows, a lot of story is sacrificed to bring the running time from days of viewing down to around the 2 hour mark.
With Assassin Swordsman (originally Treasure Venture), we get a 2 hour edit of what is mainly every fight scene in the series. The average dubbing tells us a roughly knitted story of back stabbing, secret identities, saving the Shaolin Temple and love triangles that kinda works as it gets shadowed by the continuous displays of crazy, wire- fu and swordplay!
And I'm not complaining!
Featuring the awesome Vikki Zhao Wei and a host of familiar faces, including the little fat monk kid from Shaolin Popeye, Assassin Swordsman carries a lot of laughable moments due to budget constraints, none more-so than the animated skeletons in the beginning, yet keeps us highly entertained with its packed catalogue of lively characters, high energy martial arts battles and old school comedy that works okay, dubbing aside.
Its worth the watch, and with the English dub, is handy to play in the background without feeling that you are missing out on much!
Entertaining and a lot of fun...
More Of The Same From Rogen That Scrapes The Barrel!
I've long went off the Rogen/Franco trail with their urge to highlight that drugs seem to be such a fun thing to enjoy and its okay to do, in every movie they seem to poison. And yes, although James Franco is not in this, his cute younger brother with the annoying voice takes over...
I was bought this for Xmas and my husband wanted to watch it, even though he hates Rogen, but more than likely because a roids built Zac Efron (complete with matchstick legs as most men in the US don't know about leg workouts) was topless for most of the movie.
Yes we giggled ever so slightly in a few scenes, most of which are contained in the trailer, but within ten minutes the drugs were introduced and the bottom of the barrel vile had already been kicked off!
I long miss the classic humour of Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Steve Martin etc who's movies all stood miles taller than the crap Rogen and team are forever giving us. They didn't need to rely on gross drug comedy to get a laugh because they knew how comedy worked. Something most of today's stars and directors in Hollywood don't have a clue how to do.
Bad Neighbors sucks. I guess its box office takings reveals how many brainless people there are in the world who enjoy crap and for that reason we will no doubt be seeing more of the same from them soon enough...
War is... Well, I just don't know!
When War came out, it was pretty much a flop!
I don't know how though, with superstars Jet Li and Jason Statham, along with a host of other well known faces, plenty of action and a dark plot of revenge and dirty cops.
I didn't really like it upon its release, all but a few fights that come about eventually, and still after re-watching it a number of years later, I still can't seem to find a spot for it!
Its not that anything in particular is wrong with it, its just that there is something so unappealing that just does't seem to carry the wow factor like most of said stars other films do.
The actors are great, the action is great, the plot okay. But something is missing that makes this probably the weaker one of the Statham/Li action flicks, which is a shame really.
One watch is enough, but it does nothing to bring you back!
Romeo Must Die (2000)
Action Packed, OTT Entertainment!
I really enjoyed Romeo Must Die on the big screen. It was crazy, wild, funny, and featured some ridiculous over the top wire-work that seems to have been hailed by many as a wow factor!
Personally, I thought the wire-work was a mess.
As a huge fan of both Jet Li and Corey Yuen Kwai, with over 3000 DVDs in my Hong Kong collection, I felt that the action in RMD was created by studio pressure to go wild which resulted in a complete shambles that made said fights look unprofessional and wrong.
I have been watching much better work, even from 70's Hong Kong cinema, and while the action still had its moments, felt let down by it all.
Anyways, with my gripe out of the way, I did actually enjoy the film. It was funny, Jet Li looked great and there was nice chemistry between him and Aliyah. In fact, I think I went to see it a few times!
Then I got it again on DVD last week and gave it a watch for the first time in 10 years...
And yes, it still entertained! Its hard to believe its already 15 years old, but regardless, it still does the job. Far far far from perfect, but entertaining and action packed.
Mindless popcorn fun! Enjoy!
No Reservations (2007)
A Rom-Com That Isn't Cheese!
Yes, I watch some rom-com's.
Its not my choice. Most days I put my husband through a host of kung fu and horror movies so every so often I have to give in!
But this one, No Reservations, was my fault.
I bought him this for Xmas and in a moment of weakness, suggested we watch it...
We are both big fans of Master Chef, so having this set in the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant was quite refreshing. Beautifully shot and genuinely acted, this to me was the kind of rom-com I actually would prefer to watch.
Not that OTT crap like Love Actually, The Holiday etc, packed with Hollywood cheese that actually causes some acid reflux and makes you want to punch the screen. No Reservations actually pulls off falling into said category minus any cheese whatsoever, ironically even with its kitchen setting.
Simple, touching and entertaining, NR was an enjoyable watch with great performances from all and a joy to watch!
Not What They Sell, But Entertains!
As with you all, I got kind of excited when the trailer for this got released!
It was big, loud, full of great SFX and the Rock certainly fit the role perfectly... But no, it was not meant to be.
Instead, what we saw was the result of the studio bosses thinking, 'Oh dear, this is more like a comedy version of 300 in Brett Ratner's hands, how will we ever make a trailer that will grab peoples attention?'
And this is what we saw. In fact, the trailer is pretty much the first opening lot of minutes of the film which we soon learn becomes fictional as stories are told of Hercules around fires, in pubs, and to children.
With a less epic feel, and more comedic tone, we are carried into battle with Hercules and his friends where they laugh, kick ass, look pretty and kick ass in this family friendly Conan that only redeems itself in the last ten minutes.
Hercules isn't bad, in fact I did enjoy it as a background movie while I was wrapping Xmas presents and it did hail a few stand out moments. But boy oh boy is it forgettable...
Wait a minute, what was I reviewing again?
Stylish, Entertaining, and Total Dredd!
It took me a while to get watching this. I was put off by the fact that Karl Urban was the star and that it was pretty much a rip-off of The Raid just before its production.
But eventually, I got there, and yes I thought it was fantastic!
I enjoyed reading a lot of Dredd growing up, and more so Rouge Trooper and the ABC Warriors in editions of 2000AD.
That is why the Stallone version of Dredd is a guilty pleasure of mine. I loved it, and thought Stallones voice was a lot more connected. But maybe I'm just used to that.
I've never been a fan of Urban, but in this, I tried to get past that. He seems to have nailed the emotionless and fish faced Dredd to a tee, with certain expressions and comments that set me back in the pages.
Visually the film was brilliant. The slow motion effect added a bit more excitement, with the violence and action never shying away from the camera!
It hits hard with a number of cringe moments without being too much. Dredd seems to have worked, so here's hoping we see more from the same team in the near future.
Miss Meadows (2014)
Sweet, Dark and Entertaining!
The trailer for Miss Meadows is quite captivating. Why else would we watch a Katie Holmes movie?
So it was with great pleasure last night, that my husband and I got to see the full film.
Starting off with a fun little scene that highlights some Disney princess qualities, humored by some twisted dark comedy, we are soon drawn into the secret little world of Miss Meadows, a primary school substitute teacher who moonlights as a small town vigilante happy to clean up the streets and look pretty doing it!
There is enough decent scenes to keep you watching, although while I felt myself drifting off half way through, my husband was wide eyed and hooked. Personally, I thought it would make an incredible short film.
With its description you would imagine some great action and violence, almost like the female version of the Equalizer, but instead and quite obviously in the hands of a lady director, we get a toned down version with more dark humor on kills and a very artsy looking film with plenty of drama.
Miss Meadows is not perfect by any means, but it is a fun film to watch and definitely worth a go...
Top Notch Dragon Lee That Entertains!
The long lasting love affair of Dragon Lee and director Godfrey Ho has always brought a hint of uncertainty on whether or not any one of their films will actually be worth the watch.
More often than not, they can be quite poor, both in a technical sense and in entertainment!
But recently, I have been picking up quite a few of their films on DVD in my local Poundland, albeit with terrible artwork and cheap prints, but it has allowed me to find a few more of he better films from their library.
Enter The Invincible Hero isn't perfect in any sense, but it is by far one of Dragon Lee's better. With a simple enough plot, we get to see a host of kung fu action decently choreographed and hardly boring. We also have the added bonus of super kicker Casanova Wong from Warriors Two and such, who delights with his fast foot and hand action against Lee.
Even with enough to keep us watching throughout, it is the final battle that just lets loose!
I think having Casanova Wong on board made Dragon Lee up his game, and here is when we see just how great a fighter he really is. With long shots and multiple moves, Dragon Lee gets to show off some incredible kicks and styles in a fast moving, ass kicking fight scene.
Worth the watch for any true kung fu fan, and one of Lee and Ho's best!
Ilso Ilgwon (1979)
Dragon Lee At His Best!
The legacy of Godfrey Ho and Dragon Lee will never die. With films such as this and The Dragon, The Hero (not to mention many, many more) may not ever be known as mainstream, Oscar worthy material but in all honesty, they entertain far more than a lot of today's big films from Hollywood studios!
For a wee change, this one is set in modern times. Well, as it was back then... Tight denim, neck scarves and horse riding gear seems to be the choice of costume as we are set upon with a nonsensical and typical revenge plot but tons of fantastic, over the top, but nicely choreographed kung fu battles.
I really enjoyed this. Its why we fell in love with the kung fu classics and got hooked. The bad dubbing is just hilarious, the acting is crazy, and the characters are so comic book, you would be an idiot to take it all so seriously!
But its all about the kung fu, and Golden Dragon, Silver Snake has plenty that won't disappoint you.
Check it out!
Funny, Visually Stunning, Mindless Fun!
Let me lay this out first of all... I hate Hollywood movies that are just dripping of big army white boy testosterone, that smart talk, shout, fist pump and save the day in the most cliché of ways!
The worlds mightiest superheroes, or so we are led to believe.
I've been holding out on seeing Battleship for a couple of years now, mainly because it looks like a big pile of Michael Bay gunk, packed full of US army lads and Rihanna. Need I say anything else?
But alas, as I work from home, I decided to stick it on in the background for some noise.
The opening 15 minutes or so is genuinely pretty funny. Taylor Kitsch is kinda cute and cheekily charming, and his mission to get a burrito is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while!
From here on in, its all typically Hollywood as we have come to know it. Fast talking, smart arsed, jocks and nerds with so much one liners its like a kid wrote the script. By the half hour mark though, the action has started with alien crafts landing at or hitting most of Hong Kong's most noticeable attractions, just so we know where they are in case the named subtitle didn't say it all...
Liam Neeson is typically Neeson in action form, ranging from camp to hard man as the movie rolls on. Rihanna is, well, yeah. The rest of the cast is as expected with nothing special to mention.
But this is a Hasbro toy action film. We shouldn't be nit-picking at silly wee things, and enjoying it for what it is. Mindless CGI action fun!
And that's what it manages to be. The visuals are stunning, there is no denying that, and I guess in theory this is a sister movie to the Transformers collection... Some scenes take the action out of the water which I did not know, and adds to the madness of it all with more tension and great scenes.
The scenes that represent the infamous game are slight, with few adding anything of a nod to it. Mind you, it is the last game I would have expected to see as a movie...
Battleship is pure entertainment. Its not supposed to be anything else! Sure there is Hollywood cheese, there is complimentary rock songs, there is plenty of laughs, and there is stunning CGI.
Give it a go and switch off the brain for a couple of hours... It's not so bad!
Slow Burning Even At Full Throttle!
Faster is a typical revenge flick, done at a pace that makes its title most ironic!
Dwayne Johnson is a man hell bent on killing the gang that killed his brother and got him jailed. He is slightly unhinged, with less Tooth Fairy Rock, as he grits his teeth and shoots his way through the long 2 hours.
As charming as always, even when peeved off, Johnson plays his role perfectly. I mean, there's not really much to act on here, which makes it all the more easier for him.
Billy Bob Thornton, a not a very pretty man who is as boring an actor as Ridiculous Cage is, sleepwalks his way through it as a doped up cop and is often hard to look at...
The rest of the cast are watchable enough, with the handsome Oliver Cohen in perhaps the most insignificant role I've seen. Made no sense, and neither did his story, which in turn could have been dropped and Faster would have made a great short film.
Watchable, but not overly gripping, Faster isn't bad, but it ain't fast either!
Typical Statham, But It Never Tires!
Most Jason Statham movies run pretty much in the same direction. Heavy on action, mild on comedy, and light on story!
But as one of Hollywood's greatest action stars, you can get pigeon- holed in a run of projects that become all the same.
Homefront comes from the pen of Hollywood legend Sly Stallone. I've long been a fan of Stallone both in front of and behind the camera, and feel he has always been very underrated for what he really can do.
Staying out of sight in this project, Stallone offers us a feast of small town characters who only know Statham as the mysterious new man in town. Jason has moved here along with his daughter, who is a great wee actress, after a strenuous life of which we are introduced to at the start of the film...
It isn't long before his old life catches up with him, all caused by the smallest little concern which I actually found to be one of the most honest reasons used in a film, that brought reality forward. As a parent, this for me was very understandable and very clever in the most simplistic way.
I don't want to give too much away, but Homefront is a pretty sweet film. With a hint of 80's just playing on it, Jason plays his role with the usual smart ass charm and gets to let loose in the action front more than once. James Franco, of who I am not a huge fan off, plays a sleazy anti-hero who comes across as someone we dislike, yet just wants to please his messed up family.
Stallone has given us a great action drama, with many dark moments, action scenes, and morals that makes for some fine entertainment.
Definitely worth the watch!