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

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chazgower01
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by chazgower01 » 19 Feb 2018, 04:20

Red Peony Gambler (Japan, 1968) DVD 3.5/5
dir. Kosaku Yamashita

Japanese Star Junko Fuji, in the first of NINE of these films, is Oryu, the Red Peony Gambler. After taking up residence with a local yakuza boss in old Japan, she must then protect that family after the boss is killed, and search for the man who killed her father.
An influence upon what would become the Pinky Violence genre, some of those elements are here - strong female protaganist, nice amount of violence and blodshed, and bad guys who are just asking for it. Not as lurid as a Pinky Violence film, it still has a lot going for it.
For one, it has two major stars - Junko Fuji and Ken Takakura - and both just soak up the screen everytime they're on it. Secondly, it's a good solid story from Norifumi Suzuki (writer, NOT the director here - he'd direct the second one) that throws a few interesting touches in to it (Oryu's 'brother' who joins the finale goes right over the top in full battle mode and it's great!).
And lastly, it has a finale that makes it all worth it. Not that the movie is slow - it has it's moments of action throughout - but the finale is pretty entertaining and sort of what we'd come to expect in this and the genre it would influence.
Oh... and she pulled out a gun and used it a few times, which totally surprised me!

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

Unread post by HungFist » 19 Feb 2018, 07:52

chazgower01 wrote:Did it have subtitles?
On DVD, if I recall correctly, I added them myself. 35mm, no.
chazgower01 wrote:An influence upon what would become the Pinky Violence genre
Pardon me for the self-righteous rant that follows...

I mean this by no offence, and I'm referring mainly to other writers whom I've seen say the same thing, but I feel that emphasizing the "pinky violence connection" is mainly an idea conceived by people who weren't too familiar with Japanese yakuza films. Red Peony Gambler is one of the greatest ninkyo yakuza classics of all time, a series belonging to the most popular Japanese film genre of the mid/late 60s. What Red Peony Gambler did, in addition to having been a prime example of ninkyo cinema, is that it established Junko Fuji as one of the three major stars of (Toei) ninkyo cinema alongside superstars Ken Takakura and Koji Tsuruta.

I think there are some natural connections between yakuza and the 2nd wave (70s) of pinky violence films, of course. When old school yakuza films lost their popularity in the early 70s, studios begun to offer exploitation instead. In some cases you could see yakuza films gradually sliding to exploitation (Junko Fuji films --> Wandering Ginza Butterfly --> The Red Silk Gambler --> Sex and Fury). And of course yakuza films and most pinky violence films were both gangster films. Also, films like Red Peony Gamber (as well as the Woman Gambling Expert series at Daiei, the Cat Girl Gambling series at Nikkatsu etc.) surely cleared path for 70s pinky violence by familiarizing audiences with the idea of strong females as gangster film leads.

That being said, I feel the way some writers are carelessly "reducing" Red Peony Gambler as a mere "inspiration" for pinky violence (or worse yet, criticize it for its lack of action and exploitation) is somewhat ignorant. After all, ninkyo yakuza films were a genre 10 times more popular than pinky violence ever was, and Red Peony Gambler is one of the biggest classics of ninkyo films. It deserves to be evaluated as a member of its own genre (that being said, I do understand that most writers would find that difficult since ninkyo films remain almost unknown outside of Japan... hardly any of them have been released on official subbed DVD / BD. In Japan, however, the genre was incredibly popular and prolific).
chazgower01 wrote: in the first of NINE of these films
EIGHT ;)

The whole series is good. There's not a bad entry in it. My personal favourite is part 5 (Biographies of a Gambling Room, Kosaku Yamashita, 1969) which is my favourite yakuza film of all time. I highly recommend you track that one down at least.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 19 Feb 2018, 13:11

HungFist wrote: Pardon me for the self-righteous rant that follows...

I mean this by no offence, and I'm referring mainly to other writers whom I've seen say the same thing, but I feel that emphasizing the "pinky violence connection" is mainly an idea conceived by people who weren't too familiar with Japanese yakuza films. Red Peony Gambler is one of the greatest ninkyo yakuza classics of all time, a series belonging to the most popular Japanese film genre of the mid/late 60s. What Red Peony Gambler did, in addition to having been a prime example of ninkyo cinema, is that it established Junko Fuji as one of the three major stars of (Toei) ninkyo cinema alongside superstars Ken Takakura and Koji Tsuruta.

I think there are some natural connections between yakuza and the 2nd wave (70s) of pinky violence films, of course. When old school yakuza films lost their popularity in the early 70s, studios begun to offer exploitation instead. In some cases you could see yakuza films gradually sliding to exploitation (Junko Fuji films --> Wandering Ginza Butterfly --> The Red Silk Gambler --> Sex and Fury). And of course yakuza films and most pinky violence films were both gangster films. Also, films like Red Peony Gamber (as well as the Woman Gambling Expert series at Daiei, the Cat Girl Gambling series at Nikkatsu etc.) surely cleared path for 70s pinky violence by familiarizing audiences with the idea of strong females as gangster film leads.

That being said, I feel the way some writers are carelessly "reducing" Red Peony Gambler as a mere "inspiration" for pinky violence (or worse yet, criticize it for its lack of action and exploitation) is somewhat ignorant. After all, ninkyo yakuza films were a genre 10 times more popular than pinky violence ever was, and Red Peony Gambler is one of the biggest classics of ninkyo films. It deserves to be evaluated as a member of its own genre (that being said, I do understand that most writers would find that difficult since ninkyo films remain almost unknown outside of Japan... hardly any of them have been released on official subbed DVD / BD. In Japan, however, the genre was incredibly popular and prolific).
I'm no expert on any of this, so insight such as this on it is always greatly appreciated.
I'd be curious to read more on the genre and understand it - it's evolution, what made it popular, how that popularity reflects from Japanese culture...
Are there any books out there (in English) that are a good source of information about it?

And speaking of books, have you seen this coming out March 12th:
https://www.amazon.co.jp/o/ASIN/4163908099/

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

Unread post by HungFist » 19 Feb 2018, 14:20

chazgower01 wrote: I'm no expert on any of this, so insight such as this on it is always greatly appreciated.
I'd be curious to read more on the genre and understand it - it's evolution, what made it popular, how that popularity reflects from Japanese culture...
Are there any books out there (in English) that are a good source of information about it?
If you wanna read yakuza film reviews then Chris D's and March Schilling's books are both good. But I'm not aware of any English language books that really analyze the ninkyo genre.

Paul Schrader's essay from 1974 however is a good starting point. It has a few mistakes, but it's still a very good read. Although he doesn't say it, the essay is basically about ninkyo films (aka chivalrous yakuza films).

Theater of Life - Hishakaku (1963) is generally considered the first major ninkyo film. It took a few years for the genre to fully establish its form, but by around 1966 it had become Toei's most successful film genre. The most important feature of the films was the romanticised portrayal of honourable gangsters. The main themes were friendship and brotherhood between men, and conflict between duty and humanity. The stories were usually set in Taisho or early Showa era.

A typical ninkyo storyline would feature Ken Takakura as a stoic gangster hero returning to his honourable clan who are yakuza but never exploit the innocent. On his way he might encounter and make friends with another good man, only to later discover that man is under obligation to a dishonourable gang that is causing trouble in the area. The other man would usually redeem himself in blood in the film's final massacre.

It's possible to see the influence of samurai films in ninkyo movies. The problem with traditional samurai films was that audiences were getting bored with such righteous heroes. In ninkyo films you'd get almost samurai-like heroes who could, however, go through moral conflicts since they weren't 100% good guys. Also, audiences familiar with John Woo's 80s heroic bloodshed films should recognize similar themes in ninkyo films.

I think one reason why the films were so popular was that Japanese working class audiences could both look up to and identify with these stoic heroes who suffered throughout the films following strict codes of conduct, but at the end grabbed the sword and slaughtered all evil doers. I think some of the audiences were dreaming of doing the same at their company office :lol:

The ninkyo films were mainly a Toei genre although Nikkatsu and Daiei also did some. But Daiei was better known for samurai films, while Nikkatsu's yakuza films drew from youth films. Toei's ninkyo films were quite conservative in comparison.

The audiences eventually got tired of the ninkyo films in the early 70s, but only after hundreds of films had been produced. They were very formulaic since the heroes always had to be honourable men, so in that sense the genre really did not evolve much. The idea with the genre wasn't so much to be original but to excute the usual formula as gracefully as possible.

The jitsuroku films of the 70s were a sort of response and rebellion against ninkyo films. The title of Battles without Honor and Humanity says it all... a new kind of look at the gangster world where heroes were no longer honourable outlaws but morally corrupt killers.

If you'd like to educate yourself in ninkyo films, I'd recommend to start with:
- Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965)
- Brutal Tales of Chivalry 2: The Chinese Lion and Peony (1966)
- Big Time Gambling Boss (1968)
- Red Peony Gambler: Biographies of a Gambling Room (1969)
chazgower01 wrote: And speaking of books, have you seen this coming out March 12th:
https://www.amazon.co.jp/o/ASIN/4163908099/
Yeah, I was aware of that. Reading full books in Japanese is a bit too much for me though.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Feb 2018, 12:23

Japan's Underworld History: Blood Feud (日本暗黒史 血の抗争) (Japan, 1967) [TV] - 2/5
Just how many times could Toei tell the same story of a small gang made of goofballs rising from the ruins of WWII Japan? It's a formula that was done to death in the 1960s until the ultra gritty jitsuroku genre pumped some fresh energy into it in the 70s. "Blood Feud" falls into the gap that existed between the better defined ninkyo and jitsuroku genres, featuring too much comedic relief to convince as a gritty gangster tale, and not enough action and romanticism to come off as solid escapism entertainment. It's just not a very exiting film. Or perhaps I've seen too many of these films. Toei audiences apparently had not; a sequel followed later the same year.

Retaliation (縄張はもらった) (Japan, 1968) [VoD] - 3/5
Just out of prison yakuza Akira Kobayashi is tasked with taking a city under his control from two other gangs, using his wits a few trusted men. Fast paced neo noir throws in enough violence, boobs - including a glimpse of Meiko Kaji - and kinetic camerawork to keep the audience entertained. The plot is a bit convoluted, but generally avoids the kind of predictable, prolonged melodrama that often hurt yakuza films, including Hasebe's Massacre Gun, of the era.

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 26 Feb 2018, 22:06

The Executioner 2 - Karate Inferno: 4/5

This film is crazy at times with not as much as action as the first - but it is funny :D There's a silly scene involving superglue, and a great bit, during a heist scene where Chiba saves his partner from burning by pissing on him :lol: Maybe this inspired something similar in Hard Boiled
Actually "not much action" (if I mean combat) is perhaps a bit generous, but there is a great piece at the end that reminded me of The Street Fighter series - Chiba rips out a guy's intestines and whacks him across the face :lol:

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 27 Feb 2018, 03:59

Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs (Japan, 1974) DVD 4.5/5
Maybe as close to a perfect exploitation movie as we can get, this flick doesn’t wink or nod at the audience, it punches it right across the face.
There are no good guys, only the bad, and those that get in the way of the bad. Part way through the movie you can just sort of tell that NO ONE is going to get through this in one piece. Even Miki Sugimoto, the Zero Woman Cop sent to rescue a politician’s daughter from some nut cases, manages to simply outlast everyone else. She takes plenty of abuse along the way, some of it hard to watch… and yet you can’t help but watch.
Eiji Go is a psycho here, with Tetsuro Tanba as the ice cold Politician who’s daughter has been kidnapped.
A classic of it’s genre!

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 27 Feb 2018, 13:41

Pulp International had a Miki Sugimoto post the other day, showing some pics from a 2007 magazine. It was a pictorial feature called "Remember Zero Woman".
I guess it included some previously unpublished pics, or no longer censored pics, because there was better than a hint of pubic hair in two of those shots! I wonder how many (much more) revealing pics are out there that could be published uncensored today?
http://www.pulpinternational.com/pulp/e ... imoto.html

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

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Feb 2018, 14:35

True Account of the Ando Gang - Yakuza and Feuds (やくざと抗争 実録安藤組) (Japan, 1973) [DVD] - 2/5
An underwhelming jitsuroku yakuza film depicting Noboru Ando's rise from a delinquent school boy to a remarkable gang leader. Despite some ultra violence, including a fork in the eye, axe in the arm, and the cutting of Ando's face, the film is surprisingly bland. The tale is very much told by the numbers, except for a strangely laidback soundtrack that is at odds with the cruelty seen on the screen, and an anti-climatic ending which build up for a huge gunfight which it chooses not to show at all. Also, although the film is set in the 50s some of the cityscapes are unmistakably 70s. The film is the second part in the series that begun with the equally boring Yakuza and Feuds (1972). The third and final film, True Account of the Ando Gang - Story of the Attack (1973) would be a notable improvement, however.

Savage Wolf Pack (野獣を消せ) (Japan, 1969) [TV] - 3/5
An slightly unusual piece of Nikkatsu New Action where the bad guys are more interesting than the hero. Tatsuya Fuji leads a homemade gang of savage villains, one of whom (Mieko Tsudoi) is a party girl who loves hurting people and dancing topless in disco. The bunch may seem like generic pack of bullies at first, but eventually grow into a tragic, perhaps even allegorical (of the post war Japan and the kind of people it gave birth to) bunch of sad anti-heroes. It is no wonder Fuji fought to get the role. Tetsuya Watari is slightly miscast as the actual hero, a back-from-Alaska hunter whose sister was raped and driven to suicide by Fuji's gang. He becomes the unwilling protector of a runaway girl (Mieko Fujimoto in a worthless role) who is also being targeted by the baddies. Director Yasuharu Hasebe inserts surprisingly graphic violence (one guy has his guts blown out), and would basically re-use the Fuji gang in a hippier context in the first Stray Cat Rock film.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Feb 2018, 14:59

grim_tales wrote:The Executioner 2 - Karate Inferno: 4/5

This film is crazy at times with not as much as action as the first - but it is funny :D There's a silly scene involving superglue, and a great bit, during a heist scene where Chiba saves his partner from burning by pissing on him :lol: Maybe this inspired something similar in Hard Boiled
Actually "not much action" (if I mean combat) is perhaps a bit generous, but there is a great piece at the end that reminded me of The Street Fighter series - Chiba rips out a guy's intestines and whacks him across the face :lol:
Glad you enjoyed it and hope you will see more Chiba! The Killing Machine and Wolf Guy should be easily available in the UK!

Most western viewers miss the joke at the end... the old prisoner is Onitora (Kanjuro Arashi), a character who appears in Teruo Ishii's Abashiri Prison series (1965-1967). Sonny Chiba also appeared in two of the Abashiri films. That's why Chiba's character "recognizes" Onitora in Karate Inferno (though it's a bit of a meta joke... Chiba is of course playing a different character here).

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 27 Feb 2018, 16:37

The Killing Machine is part of the boxset I have I think :)
Haven't seen Wolf Guy though.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 03 Mar 2018, 06:57

Lusty Wife: Temptation of Flesh (色情妻 肉の誘惑) (Japan, 1976) - 1.5/5
A sexually frustrated housewife runs into a creepy gypsy lady who tells her she's going to die unless she gets laid soon. Oddly enough, she doesn't go on a sex spree but instead gets scared. A rare specimen among Roman Porno, a sex film veering to occult horror. The plot is ridiculous and Shogoro Nishimura's direction utterly mediocre, but there are some bizarre moments especially towards the end that are worthy of some attention.

True Account of the Ando Gang - Story of the Attack (実録安藤組 襲撃篇) (Japan, 1973) [TV] - 3.5/5
Noboru Ando was a real life gangster who ordered a non-fatal hit that left a businessman seriously injured in 1958. Ando was arrested after 35 days on a run, and sentenced to prison for eight years (of which he serve six), after which he disbanded his gang and became a reasonably successful yakuza film star utilizing his own notoriety. This is the third and final film in a series based on Ando's life, and the most realistic of them. Director Junya Sato goes for a documentary approach, accounting the events before and after the infamous incident almost hour by hour. Due to its realism, the film is far less violent than most jitsuroku movies (only one person is killed in the film) but mostly no less intense. The film is visually very stylish, mixing grainy images with stylish use of colour and shadows, and features a solid cast with Ando as himself; Eiji Go as the gangster who shot the businessman (the bullet he fired went through the target's arm into his chest), and several other tough guys like Rikiya Yasuoka. For an interesting comparison piece, see Noboru Tanaka's lesser but much more over-the-top sexploitation accounting of the same incident, Noboru Ando's Filthy Escape into Sex (1976).

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 05 Mar 2018, 02:39

Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) Netflix 4/5
Zombie outbreak on a train! Infinitely better than World War Z and Fear the Walking Dead, this South Korean Zombie flick has characters you like, moral conflicts, and non-stop action once the zombies show up (which is early on). Really well made, and entertaining, I'm exhausted after watching this, but in a good way.
The zombies are fast and ruthless; and the 'unlikely scenarios' are held to a very bare minimum - all the while presenting enough of a human element to keep you entertained without rolling your eyes.
Su-an Kim, as the little girl of the main character, is pretty amazing - that's a lot of emotion for a little kid!
Well worth seeing!

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 06 Mar 2018, 22:51

The Lady Assassin (Vietnam, 2013): 3.5/5

Enjoyable, felt like an early 90's HK film in many ways - aside from quasi 3D (?) and a fun volleyball training sequence that resembled something like Shaolin Soccer. There's even some songs (which arent translated for some reason). Plenty of wirework and slow motion but also - martial arts, swords, lovely locations, seriously beautiful women - what's not to like? :D

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

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Mar 2018, 13:55

Fossilized Wilderness (化石の荒野) (Japan, 1982) (Japan, 1982) [VoD] - 1/5
A cop (Tsunehiko Watase) is framed for murder. At the same time something fishy is going on at the mountains which are swarming with gangsters and shady businessmen with metal detectors. He's got to solve what's that all about while being chased by the cops. Novel-based overlong (123 min) pseudo epic of a crime film, in many ways typical 80s Japanese mainstream cinema at its worst. Producer Haruki Kadokawa is probably to blame for the dull commercialism and expensive but mind-numbingly dumb action bits that prove money alone doesn't do the job. Watase's sunglasses and snowy Hokkaido scenery at the end are the best things about the film. Director Yasuharu Hasebe was better suited for leaner, meaner action and exploitation films.

His Motorbike, Her Island (彼のオートバイ彼女の島) (Japan, 1986) [VoD] - 3.5/5
A lesser known, romantic Nobuhiko Obayashi film about a young biker chap on the road searching for himself after breaking up with a girlfriend (Noriko Watanabe). He then runs into another girl (Kiwako Harada) who shares his love for bikes. "All my dreams play in black and white" he says, and consequently half of the film is painted in black & white or a blend of muted colours and grainy black & white film, seamlessly shifting from one to another throughout the film. While there are some cliché parts, it's really quite a charming tale with some truly cinematic audio-visual sequences. Performances are all good, especially Harada who is charming despite occasionally overdoing her cuteness/cheeriness act, and has a wonderfully funny and cute hot spring scene with nudity. And balance the eye candy, there's is plenty of rear nudity by the male protagonist, played by none other than the 22 year old fluffy haired Riki Takeuchi, almost unrecognizable in his debut role!

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 11 Mar 2018, 04:03

Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (Japan, 1973) Filmstruck VOD 3.5/5
dir: Yasuzo Masumura
The second Hanzo movie, bringing back all of the samurai sword fights, corrupt public officials, crazy hidden weapons, and Hanzo’s special ‘torture'.
This time around though, we also get a bald, naked preistess, weird ritual abortions, sex trafficking, gangs of thieves - as the corruption goes higher up the ladder, so does the perversion.
But strangely enough, some of the best scenes in these movies is still Hanzo’s complete disrespect for any sort of authority. EVERYONE is corrupt in the system, and Hanzo sees right through it and snubbs his nose at their ‘codes of honor’ and rules of upholding the law. If everyone is on the take, how are they going to preach to HIM about right and wrong? Classic.
As UN-politically correct as it can be from before that was even a concept.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Mar 2018, 07:33

Sex and Fury (不良姐御伝 猪の鹿お蝶) (Japan, 1973) [35mm] - 4/5
Finally got to see this in 35mm, although the print was a little dark and deteriorated. Seminal pinky violence classic with Reiko Ike and Christina Lindberg, featuring one of the coolest action sequences ever filmed, but not quite on par with the very best in the genre due to some programmer-type screenwriting. Since I've reviewed this more than once before, I shall refrain from going into more detail this time.

Theatre of Life: Return of Hishakaku (人生劇場 続飛車角) (Japan, 1963) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Beautiful and emotional closing half to Tadashi Sawashima's film adaptation of the famous, often filmed yakuza novel. Together with the first film, Theatre of Life: Hishakaku (1963), these are considered some of the earliest and most influential ninkyo yakuza films. They are, however, a little unusual entries because of their approach to the subject matter. This film picks up four years after the first film ended. Honourable yakuza Koji Tsuruta is just out of prison, but his love Yoshiko Sakuma has fled because she's ashamed of the relationship she had with Ken Takakura in the previous film. Tsuruta then falls in love with another woman, a gang boss' daughter. What is unusual is how the film depicts Tsuruta family life, happiness and rise in the ranks, eventually becoming an oyabun himself, as opposed to the stereotypical stoic ninkyo hero who neither gets to shows nor enjoy love or emotions. In terms of cinematic style and themes of honour among old school yakuza, the two films are however unmistakably everything audiences would come to expect from Toei ninkyo films, and serve as an excellent starting point for newcomers.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 13 Mar 2018, 11:56

Audition (Japan, 1999) Amazon VOD 4/5
dir: Takashi Miike
It's strange to see this and Dead or Alive back to back and realize it's the same director in the same YEAR.
Audition really takes it's time setting up the story, and letting us get inside the world of this widower character (Ryo Ishibashi from The Grudge), and his simple, easy going, quiet life with his son, and how the sexy, demure, mysterious 'audition' (Eihi Shiina) slowly invades it. (His home AND his head).
This was my introduction to Miike back in the day, and seeing it again many years later, it strikes me as even more nuanced on many levels than I remember. There's a lot more to take in here than just the simple premise of 'boy meets girl, girl turns out to be a psycho' and now I want to re-watch a few of his other films to see if they hold up as well.

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

Unread post by saltysam » 17 Mar 2018, 23:36

Four Iron Men 2.5/5
Very early and little seen Casanova Wong actioner. Simple plot- Wong's childhood friend investigating gold smuggling on a remote island is captured,blinded and presumably dead. Wong is recruited to investigate. Source was a widescreen VHS with custom english subs, nice to see there's still fans releasing this stuff.

One Armed Swordsman 4/5
Seminal Chang Cheh/Wang Yu collaboration. 88 films blu ray is the same transfer as the older HK blu but benefits from being on a BD50 and a nicer overall package.
working class blu-ray fan

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 18 Mar 2018, 00:49

Does One Armed Swordsman have any extra features? :)

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

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Mar 2018, 09:57

Pleasure in the Mirror (鏡の中の悦楽) (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 1/5
A college kid starts spying on his sister's sex sessions thru a magic mirror and of course soon wants to join in. One would assume this film was done after the success of Pink Curtain, Nikkatsu's other similarly themed and slightly classier picture, but "Pleasure" actually came first, by a 14 day margin. With this subject matter, with even more sex than usual packed into 65 minutes, it's guaranteed to leave its audience feeling dirty, even if it looks and sounds surprisingly good. There's a lot of interesting talent behind the camera; director Shogoro Nishimura, assistant director Naosuke Kurosawa (Zoom Up: Rape Apartments, 1980), writer Chiho Katsuura (House, 1977) and cinematographer Yoshiro Yamazaki (Outlaw: Heartless,1968), most of them slacking with the exception of Yamazaki. Actor Nobutaka Masutomi, one of the most recognizable male faces in Roman Porno, seems to have been dubbed by someone else than himself for some reason.

True Account of Hishakaku - A Wolf's Honor and Humanity (実録飛車角 狼どもの仁義) (Japan, 1974) [TV] - 3/5
Interesting although not especially visceral de-romantization of the Theatre of Life saga for the jitsuroku era. Bunta Sugawara portrays "Hishakaku" as a short tempered, violent yakuza and thief who falls in love with prostitute Rie Nakagawa. Tsunehiko Watase and Kyosuke Machida are his pals, Akira Kobayashi an enemy. Mostly unexceptional but entertaining and relatively slick late film by director Shinji Murayama who was more of a 60s filmmaker. It's also one of the few jitsuroku style films set in Taisho and early Showa era as opposed to post WWII. Curiously, this was probably the first and only Theatre of Life film that was indeed a true account to an extent. It is a little known fact that the original novel was based on a real life yakuza called Hikoichi Ishiguro, whose account however was fictionalized and romanticized to no end in the novel and film adaptations. This film goes back to the real Ishiguro, as depicted in the grittier 1974 novel "Okami domo no jingi", rather than the Theatre of Life novel from the 1930s.

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

Unread post by saltysam » 18 Mar 2018, 17:21

grim_tales wrote:Does One Armed Swordsman have any extra features? :)
Bey Logan audio commentary, an interview with a HK film expert, a mini booklet.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by saltysam » 18 Mar 2018, 17:36

Monkey Fist Of Shaolin 2/5
1974 basher featuring Mr Han himself,Shek Kien in another baddie role.Also stars Feng Tien from Fist Of Fury. Takes a while to get going and mainly standard fare but the climactic 25 minute fight is pretty good.

Dragon Missile 2.5/5
Baddie Lo Lieh is pursued amongst others by Tony Liu from the Big Boss, unfortunately he's an expert with the title weapon and can take your head clean off! Another in the flying guillotine type genre,this isn't bad,lots of action and at 85 minutes short and sweet.88 films blu ray is ok.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 18 Mar 2018, 21:15

saltysam wrote:
grim_tales wrote:Does One Armed Swordsman have any extra features? :)
Bey Logan audio commentary, an interview with a HK film expert, a mini booklet.
Cheers :)

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 24 Mar 2018, 16:08

Creepy Hide & Seek ひとりかくれんぼ よみがえり遊び (2016) DVD 2/5
First (and, so far, only) narrative film by Kaoru Adachi, who previously contributed to FACES OF DEATH 4, the similar Japanese series DEATH FILES and bucketfuls of bizarre fetish porn. This one here is very tame considering his resume. Three girls meet online and decide to play the titular game in an abandoned former hospice. Things go awry in typical J-horror fashion with only a death by impalement being more gory than is common for this played out genre. Director Adachi brings a weird artsy approach to some scenes but that doesn't change the fact that this film is more interesting as a curiosity in its director's oevre than it actually entertains or thrills. Acting by the three leads, recruited from Adachi's previous porno shoots, is about what you'd expect. One interesting extra has the lead actress try the titual ritual (apparently based on a 2ch creepypasta) verbatim and of course nothing whatsoever happens.

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