What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10589
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 29 Oct 2015, 16:32

Way Out, Way In (Japan, 1970) [35mm] - 2.5/5
An amusingly dated morality tale about high school bad boys and girls. One of the film's memorable parts involves an innocent student boy harassed by a sexy girl, which traumatizes him to the point that he can't help but to imagine all women naked and start groping them in the train. Other highlights include a psychedelic night club scene and a groovy opening credits sequence with motorcycle footage mixed with images of bare breasts. Nevertheless, it's pretty tame stuff for its era, just like many other Daiei exploitation films which lagged several years behind competitors in terms of graphic sex and violence. It seemed like the proud samurai film giant was somewhat unwilling to jump the bandwagon, but were forced to thrown in at least moderate exploitation to keep up with the competition. This film did, nevertheless, prove successful enough to receive no less than three sequels and was also released in the US as 'Way Out, Way In'. The original title is Koukou bancho ("High School Boss").

Whipmaster: Ballad of Death (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 3.5/5
A spin off for the Wicked Priest series with Bunta Sugawara as the blind, whip wielding yakuza monk. He's also got a cub with him, blind just like him, as he wanders around Japan and fights evil gangsters. While not necessarily a true classic of its genre, the film rises above its programmer status thanks to atmospheric music, badass performance by Sugawara, and some very satisfying, ultra-violent karate/swordplay/whip action. In fact, if you didn't know better you'd swear this was a 1974 production with heavy influences from both the Lone Wolf & Cub films and Sonny Chiba's karate movies; however, this predated them all.

Image Image

User avatar
Masterofoneinchpunch
King of Beggars
Posts: 863
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 19:36

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 30 Oct 2015, 22:22

The Defender aka Bodyguard from Beijing (1994: Corey Yuen) Hong Kong

I was surprised on how ultimately mediocre this was. Obviously this was influenced by 1992’s The Bodyguard with a few key differences but the crux remains the same. Like the former Li is hired to bodyguard a spoiled woman (Christy Chung) who was a witness to a triad murder. They will eventually fall in love with each other.

The shootouts were disappointing. The common mistake that “bullets hit secondary characters but not main characters” was prevalent (so much so that bullets which ricochet off small metal columns right in front of the characters instead of hitting their targets.) Jet Li shoots way too much and does not particularly look adept at doing it.

There is not much fighting in the movie and the finale with Jet Li versus former Red Guard Wong (Collin Chou) disappoints. There are a few too noticeable wire uses that detract. It is also edited too quickly. But one of the most annoying aspects was the use of gas in this scene (apparently the characters have gills). It is so inexplicably stupid that is furrowed by brow. Wait I just remembered something even more idiotic. The fact that several characters could outrace bullets fired. Apparently the bullets are so incredibly slow that you could step in front of someone from a large distance to prevent them from being shot (there is one scene even worse than this, but it is a little harder to explain as well as it is a spoiler.) Another hilarious aspect was that the house that was being watched all of sudden had 30 or so thugs just appear. How do you get such a large crowd into a watched house without being noticed? I liked how many of the bodies just disappear and new cronies suddenly appear to be taken out. It is like a video game with spawning bad guys. The whole finale is a huge mess and I could write an essay on all the issues with it.

I watched this in the Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection. This is a glorified version of the Weinstein release. Not too much was cut from the original (differences here) and this comes with the Cantonese track which has the Cantonese songs that were missing from the English track so that is plus. Though the beginning and end credits are from the Weinstein release. Like with most DD releases there is a Spanish subtitle track. The movie is not a plus though.

User avatar
Markgway
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 19673
Joined: 18 Feb 2005, 02:04

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Markgway » 30 Oct 2015, 23:26

I enjoyed it. :)
Image

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 31 Oct 2015, 01:01

Yeah,it was one of Jet's better movies (not a big fan tbh)
working class blu-ray fan

User avatar
Yi-Long
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 8616
Joined: 26 Oct 2004, 13:46
Location: Alkmaar, Holland

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Yi-Long » 31 Oct 2015, 02:46

I only watched the HK cut I believe, but I enjoyed it as well, although Christy Chung is terrible as always. It's not a very good movie, but it's entertaining in it's own way. Not as good as My Father is a Hero, or Hitman, or some of Jet's other modern stuff... but it's just Jet doing the straight-faced upright cool guy act, so it's a fun (albeit forgettable) ride.

Sad (but not surprised) those fat Weinstein assholes once again couldn't be bothered to simply release the movie completely uncut. They're a cancer in the industry.
Image
I was there, the big BNB blackout of november, 2008. We lost many that day...

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 01 Nov 2015, 20:51

Bruce Li In New Guinea 2/5 Any movie that has Bruce Li cast as an anthropologist, an ape in a suit and Chen Sing has to worth the effort in spite of it's dreadfulness.Bruce & his mate hop over to New Guinea (this is done so nonchalantly it's like the equivalent of me getting the bus into town :) ) where the snake king rules the area with the aid of his snake pearl.chuck Bolo in the mix and you have an epic on your hands ;)
working class blu-ray fan

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 02 Nov 2015, 20:29

Yi-Long wrote:I only watched the HK cut I believe, but I enjoyed it as well, although Christy Chung is terrible as always. It's not a very good movie, but it's entertaining in it's own way. Not as good as My Father is a Hero, or Hitman, or some of Jet's other modern stuff... but it's just Jet doing the straight-faced upright cool guy act, so it's a fun (albeit forgettable) ride.

Sad (but not surprised) those fat Weinstein assholes once again couldn't be bothered to simply release the movie completely uncut. They're a cancer in the industry.
I've seen precious few of Jet Li's movies. It's a shame we can't see decent versions of them.
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10589
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 03 Nov 2015, 16:20

Gambling Den Heist (Japan, 1975) [35mm] - 3.5/5
A rarely seen humoristic caper by Kinji Fukasaku. Three miserable punks come up with a plan to rob a yakuza gambling den. Things don't go quite as planned. A fun film with a superb robbery scene and excellent tragicomic supporting performances by Takuzo Kawatani and Hideo Murota. The middle third is a bit slow, but otherwise the film comes with the energy expected from Fukasaku. This one is just much lighter and more humoristic than his usual nihilist crime epics. Great score as well.

Azumi (Japan, 2003) [DVD] - 2.5/5
This film will always have a special place in my heart as it made me fall in love with Aya Ueto for quite a few years, collect just about anything related to her, and probably influenced they way I grew up to be and where I ended up as well. I've been hesitant to watch it again in the fear or ruining those memories. Now, a more than decade later, a lot of the film's appeal is indeed gone. For starters, the film could lose about 50 minutes of its 143 minute running time as much of the drama is utterly uninspired, predictable and poorly paced. The stylized action works at times - the vertically spinning camera at the end is still fantastic - but there's a bit too much posing and one does wish Aya was a little faster. On the positive side the film lacks some of the caveats that would plague more recent Japanese films: CGI is relatively minimal, and the movie looks fine for being shot on film. Also, it remains a dozen times better movie than Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (2005).

Image Image

User avatar
Yi-Long
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 8616
Joined: 26 Oct 2004, 13:46
Location: Alkmaar, Holland

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Yi-Long » 03 Nov 2015, 19:41

Ivan Drago wrote:
Yi-Long wrote:I only watched the HK cut I believe, but I enjoyed it as well, although Christy Chung is terrible as always. It's not a very good movie, but it's entertaining in it's own way. Not as good as My Father is a Hero, or Hitman, or some of Jet's other modern stuff... but it's just Jet doing the straight-faced upright cool guy act, so it's a fun (albeit forgettable) ride.

Sad (but not surprised) those fat Weinstein assholes once again couldn't be bothered to simply release the movie completely uncut. They're a cancer in the industry.
I've seen precious few of Jet Li's movies. It's a shame we can't see decent versions of them.
Yeah, a LOT of Asian action movies have been butchered for their Western release, sadly. I was often lucky to watch them uncut through Chinese friends/neighbours. Hong Kong Legends also did a reasonably good job bringing many of these movies to the West uncut.
Image
I was there, the big BNB blackout of november, 2008. We lost many that day...

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 05 Nov 2015, 22:20

Bruce's Deadly Fingers 2/5 Good supporting cast enlivens this daft Bruce Le adventure revolving around the hunt for Bruce Lee's finger kung fu manual. The film has a very weird ending title card the end coming up just as Le is about to finish off Lo Lieh

Slaughter In San Francisco 1.5/5 pretty bad but still strangely watchable Don Wong Tao actioner notable for Chuck Norris playing the lead villain.The oz dvd doesn't even have a menu and is english dubbed only. the unrestored transfer is at least anamorphic.
working class blu-ray fan

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 08 Nov 2015, 18:59

The Dragon Lives 1/5 Early Bruce Li Lee biopic is pretty dreadful but has some comedic value.( His friend the kindly old cop suddenly becomes a sports journalist 10 minutes into the movie :lol: in another wtf moment they recreate the early dojo scene from FOF with Li sporting a moustache ;) the ubiquitous Robert Kerver who i'm curious about shows up her briefly.

Dragon Inn 3.5/5 I'm not a King Hu expert and haven't seen many of his films but i enjoyed this one (i did slightly prefer FOLK i think) excellent atmosphere, some decent swordplay.draggy in parts but i can live with that.The eureka blu-ray looks great.
working class blu-ray fan

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 09 Nov 2015, 07:30

saltysam wrote:Bruce's Deadly Fingers 2/5 Good supporting cast enlivens this daft Bruce Le adventure revolving around the hunt for Bruce Lee's finger kung fu manual. The film has a very weird ending title card the end coming up just as Le is about to finish off Lo Lieh
The title card was a replacement on the print used - originally the Chinese/English "The End" title card appeared on the final shot of the resolution of the fight, which was removed (idiocy!). Thankfully the missing shot still exists in the OAR as it was reused in Bruce's Last Battle, a patchwork Bruce Le movie made up of bits and pieces from various movies. So in theory, some enterprising fellow could restore Bruce's Deadly Fingers to its uncut glory!
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 09 Nov 2015, 07:33

The Super Gang (1982)

Probably Bruce Le's best movie, though he isn't in it that much. It's a fun traid-gang-warfare flick with some OK fights, ample nudity, a funky theme song and some guy running around in a monster mask killing people in the manner of the then comtempoary slasher movies. And Bolo drags up!

6/10
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 09 Nov 2015, 11:46

Tiger & Crane Fists (1976)

The film that became Kung Pow! (and it's very frustrating that the DVD of that film doesn't include as an extra the OAR film print of this), this is a rather odd attempt to pass off Jimmy Wang Yu as a shapes master and it's a role he doesn't suit. Lau Kar-Wing is a rather good sport playing second fiddle to him, and Lung Fei makes a usual great villian, whilst Chan Wai-lau shamelessly hams it up as the Crane Sifu. For a Wang Yu film, it feels too ordinary. His lack of interest in traditional kung fu styles becomes apparent, as it becomes a fight of odd weapons, with Wang Yu using firecrackers against Lung Fei's claw-on-a-whip.

5/10
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 09 Nov 2015, 20:28

Bruce Li The Invincible 1.5/5 better than it's stablemate New Guinea,aided by having Chan Wai Man as the baddie up against Chen Sing and Li...it's fairly normal until the return of the fighting gorilla/s in monkey suits.The custom widescreen version i watched was certainly better than the shitty p&s versions knocking about.
working class blu-ray fan

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 10 Nov 2015, 17:13

saltysam wrote:Bruce Li The Invincible 1.5/5 better than it's stablemate New Guinea,aided by having Chan Wai Man as the baddie up against Chen Sing and Li...it's fairly normal until the return of the fighting gorilla/s in monkey suits.The custom widescreen version i watched was certainly better than the shitty p&s versions knocking about.
Chen Sing is playing Ho Yuen-Chia, who seems to have teleported to the '70s. The whole Shaolin Disguise thing with Mars is hilarious!
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 10 Nov 2015, 20:06

it's a genius film made by visionaries nearly 40 years ahead of their time :)
working class blu-ray fan

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 10 Nov 2015, 20:08

"Let's attack him whilst he's making love to your wife. Then he can't use his kung fu on us!"
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 10 Nov 2015, 20:09

:lol:
Ivan Drago wrote:"Let's attack him whilst he's making love to your wife. Then he can't use his kung fu on us!"
working class blu-ray fan

User avatar
Markgway
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 19673
Joined: 18 Feb 2005, 02:04

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Markgway » 10 Nov 2015, 22:50

Ivan Drago wrote:"Let's attack him whilst he's making love to your wife. Then he can't use his kung fu on us!"
That is genius. :lol:
Image

User avatar
Masterofoneinchpunch
King of Beggars
Posts: 863
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 19:36

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 11 Nov 2015, 00:27

Ivan Drago wrote:"Let's attack him whilst he's making love to your wife. Then he can't use his kung fu on us!"
Just don't attack Nicolas Cage or Clive Owen when they are making love.

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 11 Nov 2015, 11:29

Bruce & Shaolin Kung Fu 2.5/5 Solid Bruce Le effort is the best i've seen of his so far.good production values,cast and a reasonably coherent plot.German dvd i watched was widescreen but there's numerous full screen inserts where the german print was censored.
working class blu-ray fan

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10589
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 11 Nov 2015, 16:30

Truck Yaro (Japan, 1975) [35mm] - 3.5/5
The first film in the series director Norifumi Suzuki is best known for in Japan. Bunta Sugawara and Kinya Aikawa star as two truckers, the former an eternal bachelor who always falls in love with the wrong girl, and the latter a family man with an authority problem. The first film establishes the formula: an almost schizophrenic mix of silly comedy, fast action and tender drama, with locations playing a major supporting role. The series would see the two truckers ride all around Japan, stop by at local festivals, race rival truckers (Junko Natsu in the first film, Sonny Chiba, Tomisaburo Wakayama etc. in the later ones), and always get in trouble with the police who would try to stop them in the climatic final chase. Although the first film isn't the best, it's still a very enjoyable action/comedy/drama. The series also serves as cinematic documentation of the now-extinct dekotora (decorated truck) culture which saw lone truckers decorating their vehicles in the most imaginable ways.

Violent Panic: The Big Crash (Japan, 1976) [DVD] - 4/5
An utterly insane action classic that is one of Kinji Fukasaku's lesser known films, despite featuring one of the greatest car chases of all time. Tsunehiko Watase is a bank robber trying to escape the country with his girlfriend while being chased by the police and his dead partner's maniac brother who wants his share of the cash. Fort the first 60 min it's an enjoyable heist drama set to Toshiaki Tsushima's (Battle without Honor and Humanity) terrific score and with excellent turns by Watase and Sugimoto (her best performance was in the previous year's ATG film Preparation for a Festival), followed by an incredible 20 minute demolition derby that is unlike anything else ever seen. Imagine The Blues Brothers directed by Fukasaku as an ultraviolent crime film and you'll get the idea.

Image Image

User avatar
saltysam
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 9311
Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 19:27

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 11 Nov 2015, 20:07

Five Superfighters 2/5 light,lesser Shaw brothers effort is an enjoyable watch with pretty much non stop fighting. The IVL disc i have has the english subtitles cropped at the bottom of the screen making them very annoying to try and read.
working class blu-ray fan

User avatar
Masterofoneinchpunch
King of Beggars
Posts: 863
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 19:36

Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 11 Nov 2015, 21:50

The Anonymous Heroes (1971: Chang Cheh):

I liked the beginning and the end much more than the stagnant middle. There is a nice impish byplay between Ti Lung and David Chiang throughout the film. One of the highlights for me was the fight between the two in there “how long will it last” house. I thought overall the fighting was more interesting than the gun battles.

This is a Republic era film (critic Po Fung states it is around 1926 and 1927 which would mean this takes place during KMT’s Northern Expedition; interesting that KMT is the good guys here) so you expect that there will be warlords vying for weapons like Cheh apprentice’s John Woo’s The Young Dragons (1974). But the main plot is the comradery between Chiang and Lung and hanger-on Pepper (Ching Li) as they plot to steal arms and bring them south to the unifying movement while inadvertently becoming heroes. There is an interesting sub-angle on what happens to her dad because of her actions.

This has been noted as probably being the first Hong Kong production with horses chasing a train. It reminded me somewhat of Buster Keaton’s The General (1926) though Keaton used a real train that plummeted instead of the obvious set here, yes Keaton destroyed a real train by dropping it off the tracks where it stayed until World War II (used for metal.) Not the best or worst miniatures I have seen, but the worst effects were the horrible rolling painted trees that were seen quite often on the train ride (you have to check out the one’s in Shaw Brothers The Golden Buddha (1966) which are worse.) The chase was a good idea, it just did not come off well, and especially when you see how slow the train was going (though this was explained in the plot.)

The ending (not the coda which is interesting in itself) was influenced by The Wild Bunch (1969) a film Chang Cheh was quite fond of. Cheh was also influenced by Arthur Penn, especially Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and one reviewer on IMDB noted that some of the soundtrack came from Penn’s The Chase (1966, John Barry did the music) but I cannot currently corroborate that. Some of the logic during this battle maybe a little farfetched, but it fits well within Cheh’s themes throughout many of his films.

The IVL R3 disc is not anamorphic, but has a surprising amount of extras. There are three interviews (strangely enough the cover says Bey Logan though he is not heard in the interviews) with David Chiang, Lo Meng (Tubo Law), and Po Fung. Only Po Fung had anything to do with talking about the film itself (though it was sometimes edifying.) I have no idea why they put Lo Meng on there, but still glad to have it. There is actually a commentary with Jude Poyer and Miles Wood which I have not listened to yet except for about 10 minutes of it.)

Post Reply