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 » 08 Oct 2018, 15:30

1996

The Hong Kong Box Office's regression is in full swing by this point....

1. HK $57,518,794.00 Police Story 4: First Strike (Jackie Chan) (#5 ATBO)
2. HK $36,051,899.00 Forbidden City Cop (Stephen Chow)
3. HK $25,218,130.00 Tri-Star (Tsui Hark)
4. HK $22,493,617.00 Young and Dangerous II
5. HK $21,115,357.00 Young and Dangerous
6. HK $20,837,056.00 Shanghai Grand
7. HK $19,495,558.00 Young and Dangerous 3
8. HK $17,330,091.00 First Option
9. HK $16,243,515.00 The Age of Miracles (Alan Tam)
10.HK $13,847,368.00 The Scripture With No Words (Jet Li)


HK $13,286,788.00 Black Mask (Jet Li)
HK $11,615,085.00 Viva Erotica (Leslie Cheung)
HK $11,013,726.00 Those Were the Days
HK $09,771,575.00 Big Bullet

HK $02,621,660.00 Beyond Hypothermia
HK $01,578,700.00 Ebola Syndrome
HK $01,163,320.00 Ah Kam (Michelle Yeoh)

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 09 Oct 2018, 23:51

Shaolin Wooden Men (1976): 3.5/5

This was pretty good, considering it was made before Jackie became a really big star (Drunken Master etc). The story is above average and the action is good. Apparently this is meant to be in Mandarin, but the HKL DVD is in Cantonese.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 10 Oct 2018, 14:20

grim_tales wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 23:51
Apparently this is meant to be in Mandarin, but the HKL DVD is in Cantonese.
Yeah, should be Mandarin since it's 1976. HK cinema didn't switch to Cantonese until 1978. I don't know the details though. Did it happen overnight or how? Mark or Ivan could probably shed some light on this?

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

Unread post by Markgway » 11 Oct 2018, 05:34

Golden Harvest made the switch in 1977 with The Iron-Fisted Monk.

Went from there, really.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 11 Oct 2018, 14:25

Zatoichi and the Fugitives (座頭市果し状) (Japan, 1968) [BD] - 3.5/5
Good, darker than usual entry with a powerful ending. This was made soon after Zatoichi the Outlaw (there was one film in between) and in its depiction of Zatoichi's vulnerability it feels like a follow up of sorts. Takashi Shimura (likeable noble doctor) and Kyosuke Machida (one of the titular fugitives) provide good support. I haven't paid much attention to Machida in his Toei films, but he's pretty good here.

Modern Yakuza: Loyalty Offering Breakdown (現代やくざ 盃返します) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] - 1.5/5
Slow moving and quite frankly boring part 3. Dodgy boss Koike orders loyal and clueless Sugawara to stab another boss, who is actually a pretty decent man with a rational son (Hiroki Matsukata). Sugawara eventually comes to realize this. Oddly enough, this is a ninkyo film rather than anything even remotely resembling the modern, soon-to-come jitsuroku films. Should've been called "The Conservative Yakuza" instead.

Note: this is part 3, not part 4 like Chris D claims (he mistakenly included Outlaw of Shinjuku in the series). The series then continued with Sadao Nakajima's Three Cherry Blossom Blood Brothers (1971) and what is the best known film in the series, Fukasaku's Street Mobster (1972).

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 11 Oct 2018, 15:26

Angel 2 (aka Iron Angels 2) (1988) Amazon Prime 2.5/5
An early movie of Director Stanley Tong (Here he's the Action Director), this sort of a sequel (minus Oshima Yukari unfortunately) has Moon Lee, Elaine Lui and Alex Fong returning as the Iron Angels, on a vacation in Malaysia that turns into a mission.
The opening sequence, showing them completing a mission shows some promise, but very quickly they're on the way to Kuala Lumpur and we get mostly an hours worth of character study - Fong meets two of his long time guy buddies (one of whom is investigating the other) and they drink and end up in a ladyboy bar in a lame fight. We find out the friend who IS being investigated, is very rich and has some weapons smuggling going on as he plots to take over the world. Elaine Lui falls in love with him, he kidnaps the investigating friend, the others find out what's going on...
Wait, did I forget that Moon Lee is in the movie? The producers apparently did! She has one decent fight, during the last 15 minutes of the finale and other than that she plays second place to Elaine Lui, who this time actually does some stunts and machine guns some bad guys. Still... the lack of action for a good part of this movie slows it down.
Despite all of this, and one of the most melodramatic endings ever, I can't help but enjoy these characters and these movies. It wouldn't be hard to spice up... a little more sex appeal, a little more fighting, and... a little more Moon Lee!

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 11 Oct 2018, 22:17

Angel III (aka Iron Angels 3) (1989, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 3/5
This might be the best AND the worst of the Angel films. At times I thought some stuff was so goofy… I just couldn’t help but keep watching.
We get exactly what the series needed - more Moon Lee than in Angel 2 - and her fights are really good. Her battle after getting discovered sneaking around the castle with 50 guards is amongst the best I’ve seen her in.
And we’re not going to see Moon naked or anything like that - but she has a scene where she’s forced to completely strip and put on new clothing (as a security precaution by the female guard) that adds some welcome sex appeal to the series. We don’t necessarily need any Category III nakedness here, but a little bit of sexuality doesn’t hurt.
She has a good four fights in the first hour of the movie, and it's good to see her really let loose. Her skills here are in fine display and we even get some nunchucks action from her.
Problem is, she pretty much disappears from the film for the last 30 minutes of it.
The bad guys are colorful and over the top - from the Thai ruler to his female hench lady with a mini alligator (or whatever it is) for a pet - sometimes they’re laughable, but most definitely watchable.
Gone is Elaine Hui from the first two movies and in her place is… Ralph Chan??? Kharina, who made her debut in the previous movie is back as ‘Angel 21’, but she doesn’t do much. So that leaves our Angel team fighters as Moon, Alex Fong (who's always pretty impressive fighting), and… Ralph. Two of the main three Angels fighting in this movie are DUDES.
Still… in the finale as Alex and… Ralph come flying into battle with Jet Packs (!)… and then proceed to beat the crap out of everyone, I couldn’t help but enjoy it.
It’s fun, but a little goofy at times, but Moon’s scenes make it the best of the series yet.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 12 Oct 2018, 19:39

Markgway wrote:
11 Oct 2018, 05:34
Golden Harvest made the switch in 1977 with The Iron-Fisted Monk.

Went from there, really.
Shaws held out mostly until 1979, depending on the genre. They topped the 1973 box office charts with the Cantonese House of 72 Tenants.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 12 Oct 2018, 22:39

Yeah, the Hui Brothers comedies were also popular throughout the decade, but until '77 there was precious little in the way of Cantonese martial arts.

Shaws were a little behind the curve compared to Golden Harvest, as they were in most things.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 13 Oct 2018, 19:11

Be-Bop High School: Koko yotaro koshinkyoku (ビー・バップ・ハイスクール 高校与太郎行進曲) (Japan, 1987) [DVD] - 3/5
Part 3. Miho Nakayama is gone (replaced by Izumi Igarashi from Shojo Commando Izumi, playing similar character in similar manners), and so is the plot. The film works even without them, however. The soundtrack and the action, particularly towards the end, are once again highly enjoyable. By this film Toru Nakamura and Kojiro Shimizu had reached pretty respectable levels as action performers (as mainstream actors), and there are several bits of inventive choreography that puts many real martial arts movies to shame. There's some great humour as well (including a particularly funny scene with jealousy struck Shimizu trying to deal with a girl choosing another guy over him), and the 1st, 2nd and n'th panty shot in the series (just mentioning) which may or may not been a factor in making this the 8th most popular domestic film at the 1987 box office.

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Be-Bop High School: Koko yotaro kyoso-kyoku (ビー・バップ・ハイスクール 高校与太郎狂騒曲) (Japan, 1987) [DVD] - 2.5/5
Part 4, the first one that is sort of bad... yet sort of good. You can clearly sense the "anything goes" approach where no joke is too bad as long as it helps fill in the running time and not too much care has been put into ensuring every scene is as good as the previous one. The film is also surprisingly, and regrettably, sadistic in places. Yet, the characters are still awesome and there are many good/funny bits so you can't help but to be entertained most of the time.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 14 Oct 2018, 03:37

Knockabout (1979, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 4/5
Half way through what appears to be a goofy comedy along the lines of Jackie Chan's Drunken Master or Fearless Hyena (the latter of which had come out two months earlier), it suddenly does an about-face and becomes a deadly serious drama (though it continues some goofiness throughout).
Hong Kong movies, of course, are no stranger to these type of multi-genre mash-ups, but here it works surprisingly well, even if behind the scenes we know it's two of Jackie's friends specifically trying to emulate his success.
BUT, Yuen Biao's training scenes might actually be BETTER than anything Jackie's done - and even though the final showdown starts out looking almost EXACTLY as Jackie would've done it, once Sammo joins in, it becomes its own unique fight that's maybe as good or better than what Jackie was doing during this same time period.
This is most definitely Biao's movie, and he delivers.
He stars with Leung Kar-Yan as his brother, who scam people and try to lazily make their way through life. But in trying to scam an old man who proves to be their superior, they decide to have him teach his kung fu to them so they can use it to their advantage. Sammo plays a blinking beggar who ends up helping (and training) Biao when things go horribly wrong.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 14 Oct 2018, 10:10

chazgower01 wrote:
11 Oct 2018, 15:26
Angel 2 (aka Iron Angels 2) (1988) Amazon Prime 2.5/5
chazgower01 wrote:
11 Oct 2018, 22:17
Angel III (aka Iron Angels 3) (1989, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 3/5
I wouldn't mind seeing these some day. Is that US Amazon Prime? Do they have proper transfers and original language?

I have the 1st film on HK DVD... Mei Ah if my memory serves me correct.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 14 Oct 2018, 15:40

HungFist wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 10:10
chazgower01 wrote:
11 Oct 2018, 15:26
Angel 2 (aka Iron Angels 2) (1988) Amazon Prime 2.5/5
chazgower01 wrote:
11 Oct 2018, 22:17
Angel III (aka Iron Angels 3) (1989, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 3/5
I wouldn't mind seeing these some day. Is that US Amazon Prime? Do they have proper transfers and original language?

I have the 1st film on HK DVD... Mei Ah if my memory serves me correct.
Yes, it's the US Amazon Prime - not sure the status elsewhere. Angel 2 is an original language with English subs, but 'Iron Angel 3' is a horrible English dub that is at times hilarious. Both appear to be complete, though I'm not 100% sure of that.

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 15 Oct 2018, 01:27

Magnificent Bodyguards (1978) rewatch: 3.5/5

Decided to watch this again (deciding to thin my collection), this is entertaining, surprisingly good fights and a couple of plot twists - there's even a song. It looks like it had some old-school 3D (?) shots here and there which look odd now.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 15 Oct 2018, 17:55

Mr. Nice Guy (1997, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 2.5/5
One of the last times Jackie and Sammo would work together and the LAST time Jackie would let Sammo direct him, Mr. Nice Guy is a pretty average Chan movie that's only redeemed by what he can do in it.
The acting is horrible - seriously, for some reason whenever Jackie spoke I kept hearing his voice as Tommy Wiseau - and everyone else is just as B-movie bad - except Sammo, whose cameo is actually pretty funny.
When Richard Norton (as the bad guy, natch) is the best actor in your movie, you know you're in trouble.
Mr. Nice Guy is incredibly faced paced - to its advantage, as the story is dumb, the characters cliched, and the ending... well, it's another disappointing ending to a modern Jackie Chan film.
I pick on this movie a lot, and I'm not sure entirely why... I actually sort of enjoy it whenever I do watch it - mindless fun, with a lot of Jackie running around, jumping, fighting, and doing all of those things that only Jackie can do.
It's just so incredibly stupid whenever the characters stop to have a conversation. Maybe Tommy Wiseau needs to splice some awesome action sequences into 'The Room' and rerelease it.
The plot here is pretty basic: Jackie is a TV Chef, who gets the video tape of an investigative TV reporter (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) that has two gangs in the act of criminal behavior on it and they end up chasing Jackie, the reporter, Jackie's assistant (Karen McLymont) and Jackie's girlfriend (Miki Lee Ting-Yee) through the whole movie.
Yep, Jackie has THREE women in this movie, a red-headed Aussie, an African-American, and a Chinese. The bad guys kill people without much thought, yet they never think to off one of these three just to speed the process along?
Maybe not as bad as its remembered, but certainly not a recommended viewing.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 16 Oct 2018, 14:58

Evil Boss vs. The Henchmen (悪親分代貸) (Japan, 1971) [TV] - 2.5/5
A conceptually fun twist to the usual ninkyo formula with Tomisaburo Wakayama as... The Evil Boss! He's the corrupt bastard who'd normally function as the villain threatening the heroes, who are largely absent from this film. Made between Wakayama's similar Story of Japanese Evil Men films (1971, 1972), this one is a bit better than them. The film still underperforms with little action, no sex, and a deadly boring first 30 min, but the concept does begin to spark eventually and the ending is a ton of fun. Also features a goodish Wakayama vs. Bunta Sugawara fight that echoes their brawls in the Wicked Priest series.

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The Viper Brothers: Prison Gang 13 (まむしの兄弟 懲役十三回) (Japan, 1972) [DVD] - 1.5/5
Part 3. This one is set in 1935, continuity be damned (the first two were post WWII). Sugawara and Kawaji nevertheless seemingly portray the same characters. Such disregard to continuity is actually beautiful! That's about as far as this film's excitement goes, unfortunately. Routine chinpira comedy lacks the grittiness of the first film. Instead it features Sugawara becoming a babysitter.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 21 Oct 2018, 13:01

The Story of Ricky (aka Riki-Oh) (1992, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 2/5
Director Lam Nai-Choi only directed 13 movies in his career, but two of them are among my favorites during the 1985-1995 period of Hong Kong films (Erotic Ghost Story and Seventh Curse), but he also directed this goofy little movie based on a Japanese manga. It's become a cultural oddity, thanks in part to a clip that ran as a part of Craig Kilborn's Daily Show from 1996-1998.

Ricky is a regular dude, but with Super Human Strength, who is imprisoned after killing a drug lord that was responsible for the death of his girlfriend. While in prison he extracts revenge upon the sadistic guards and wardens. The violence is way over the top and almost cartoon like - the special effects are... not exactly the best, but part of what lends them a weird charm. You're not here for the story... you're here to see what outrageous ultra-gory act they'll pull next (punch off half a guys head? rip open the belly of a sumo sized inmate?) and how much blood splatters.

I'm not a super gore fan, or even necessarily an ultra violence fan - it has it's place as its own genre, really - and this is amusing at times, but... really not something I'd spend time watching again.

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 21 Oct 2018, 20:57

I havent seen this for years - wondering if I should upgrade to BD

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 22 Oct 2018, 12:49

grim_tales wrote:
21 Oct 2018, 20:57
I havent seen this for years - wondering if I should upgrade to BD
I watched it on Amazon Prime and the picture quality was great.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 22 Oct 2018, 13:34

Jackie Chan's Who Am I? (1998, Hong Kong) DVD 2/5
I enjoy foreign movies in their native language with subtitles because I want to hear the inflection of voices and emotion. I've learned to accept bad dubbing to some degree, because of the cheap way many of these movies are put together, after production. But one thing I STILL can't get used to is bad acting in a movie with enough of a budget to afford otherwise.
Here Jackie plays a member of a covert military team that gets double-crossed and shot down over Africa. He's the only survivor, but is without his memory and ends up cared for by a primitive African tribe (which is somewhat of a strange out of synch part of the movie). Of course, when the CIA finds out he's alive still they want him dead. With the help of a Chinese driving specialist (Japanese actress Yamamoto Mirai) and reporter (Michelle Ferre - a real life CNN reporter, who Jackie gave a starring part in the movie) they try to help Chan gets his memory back without getting killed.
Ferre is cute as a button, but her lack of acting experience is glaring, even in a movie where everyone else is pretty bad, and Mirai isn't any better. And... well, by this point you wonder if Jackie is ever going to deliver English dialogue in a convincing way.
The one aspect that could save the movie, of course, is the action and fighting, but there's probably less of it here than in most of Jackie's movies, and honestly, what there IS of it, I didn't find particularly memorable. Even the rooftop fight against two goons toward the end of the movie is just more of the same - Ron Smoorenburg may be an incredibly impressive kicker - but if Jackie can beat Ken Lo 4 years earlier, he's not going to lose to some pasty-faced Westerner. Still, the fight is a welcome relief in the movie and actually goes on for a bit.
I'd have to say this is the worst of Jackie's pre-USA modern phase movies and I'd probably watch Thunderbolt again before this.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Oct 2018, 15:24

My laptop went up in smoke, don`t expect to see me much here for the next few weeks.

Anyway, catching up with recent JP Cinema.

Liverlief (ミスミソウ) (Japan, 2018) [DVD] - 2/5
Junior high school kids murdering each other is something that could end up looking ridiculous if not handled with delicasy or stylish excess. That is exactly what happens in this long but hollow revenge drama about a bullied girl going after with her wrongdoers. The problem: her transition is not believable and the hysterical little devils, badly played by idol-like girls, are as convincing as the film's constant GCI snow. Being an Eisuke Naito film, there is excess, with eyes stabbed, mouths slit open, guts hanging out and so on, but few of the gory set pieces are well choreographed. It's only during the last 20 minutes that the film finds cruel beauty in its blood soaked images.

The Limit of Sleeping Beauty (リミット・オブ・スリーピング ビューティ) (Japan, 2017) [DVD] - 3.5/5
One of the few recent Japanese films to grab you by the balls, a wild acid trip into the psyche of a desperate actress in the crossfire of love, dreams, abuse, clown, and psychedelic night club where she part-times as a circus girl. There's a lot of Aronofsky, Iglesia and Tsukamoto in the film, with a bit of Spring Breakers Korine and plenty of director Ken Ninomiya's own approach where music and visuals are inseparable (there's about three album's worth of good music in the film). His energy and that of the cast (especially Yuki Sakurai from Sono's Tag) transcend the budgetary limits that show in lesser image quality than the superb visuals deserve. You can tell Ninomiya never went to film school - or if he did, he skipped the classes - but stayed home watching movies instead. There lies the film's flaw as well: originality is lacking as the influences are too evident. But give him time, this is one of his first films, a remake of his (equally stylish and and similarly flawed) short film of the same title from a few years back.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 23 Oct 2018, 22:07

Gorgeous (1999, Hong Kong) DVD 2.5/5
The first thing to remember about watching this movie is that it is NOT a Jackie Chan movie, but a Shu Qi movie put together by Vincent Kok for HER to star. Jackie's world just happens to be added in. But this is a romcom first and foremost, and one Jackie very much wanted to do.
If you like Shu Qi, and she IS adorable here as the poor girl from rural Taiwan who comes to Hong Kong and falls in love with Jackie, it'll help make this movie easier to watch. She really carries the more difficult parts of the movie to watch, with a sweet innocence and beautiful smile, that completely overshadows her Category III past.
Jackie has two lengthy fight scenes to chew up time, both with the short but powerful Bradley James, and it helps, because he's only ok as the business tycoon slowly won over by the girl.
Tony Leung has a role as the guy who Shu Qi originally comes to visit in Hong Kong after finding his message in a bottle - only for him to turn out to be flamboyant homosexual, who then assists her in the quest to fall in love.
Lots of cliches and goofiness, but a DIFFERENT kind of cliche and goofiness than in a normal Jackie Chan movie. It's not so bad. I get more of a 'friend' vibe from the two of them than a 'love' thing though.

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 24 Oct 2018, 00:30

I remember Gorgeous - Shu Qi is adorable in it and the theme song is cute :)

The Hand of Death AKA Countdown to Kung Fu (1976): 3/5
Early John Woo period adventure featuring a young Jackie Chan in a supporting role. Pretty good with effective, slightly brutal fight choreography by Sammo Hung. A funky score that could only have made in the 70's adds to the fun.
I noticed When some of the characters die, the score/music cue is the same one used in Fist of Fury in certain places.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 24 Oct 2018, 14:00

Gorgeous is probably my favourite post Drunken Master 2 Jackie film. Yes, the bar isn`t that high (with most other mid/late 90s ones feeling like DTV films) but it`s a cute and funny film with some good action. Well, that`s my recollection at least. The last time I saw it was the ultra-soft non-anamorphic Hong Kong dvd which I should still own (Universe?).

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 24 Oct 2018, 19:30

Rush Hour (1998, Hong Kong) DVD 4/5
The reason I like a lot of Hong Kong cinema is because it's different than what I would sometimes EVER expect in an American movie. But from the time Jackie Chan first started to try and break into the American market, there's was a great deal of debate as to HOW that could be put together. Directors kept getting it wrong. And as the misses kept adding up, or victories that did occur happened in small doses, many wondered if it would EVER happen.
Rush Hour did $141 Million at the box office in 1998 - adjusted for inflation that's $217 Million in today's money - or close to the equivalent of what Hugh Jackman's 'Logan' did last year, at about half the budget. Yep, Rush Hour was the #7 movie of 1998, behind, at their box office peak: Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, The Farrelly Bros., a Pixar movie, Armageddon and Saving Private Ryan. It beat Godzilla, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, and Jet Li in Lethal Weapon 4. Jackie was a star in the biggest movie market in the world.
But many fans of Asian Cinema have often hated on this movie for various reasons - Jackie needing a co-star, not Asian enough, Chris Tucker for his very existence, etc. But the fact is - this made Jackie a star in the biggest movie market in the world.
I'll always enjoy this movie. It was a treat for me to take my son as he was growing up to the theater to see NEW Jackie Chan movies. He didn't care about any of the back story behind the scenes, or fan bickering - he just enjoyed it because he enjoyed it.
(But as a somewhat purist I LOVE that Ken Lo and Mars had small roles as Jun Tao's henchmen!)
Anyway, I love it. Some hate it. It is what it is.
I'll take this over 'Who Am I?' anyday.

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