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

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

Unread postby saltysam » 02 Jun 2017, 21:25

Wolf Guy 3/5
Not the stone cold classic i was expecting and the climax is weak but the always charismatic Chiba carries it through.

Lone Wolf & Cub: Baby Cart In Peril 3/5
For me one of the weaker entries in the series, the blood continues to flow but i find this entry to be fairly plodding at times.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby HungFist » 03 Jun 2017, 14:20

Secret Agent 101: Bodyguard Murder (神火101殺しの用心棒) (Japan, 1966) [35mm] - 2/5
Fast paced, but ultimately disappointing Shochiku action shot on location in Hong Kong and Macao. The messy film is basically a mash up of spy flicks and gangster movies. There's some entertainment to be had thanks to the locations, undone towards the end by the dumb script and insufficient production. There are some frustrating bits like a woman who's just been saved from gangsters deciding to go back to the same damn place because her lover is there. The long action / stunt finale featuring a the hero (Muga Takewaki) dodging bullets (and occasionally hanging by a rope) from small airplane counts as one of the sloppiest action set pieces I've seen in ages. The trick shots are laughably bad and it's obvious the scene required more footage than the filmmakers were able to film. Teruo Ishii later admitted that Shochiku was no place for filming modern action.

Inferno of Torture (徳川いれずみ師 責め地獄) (Japan, 1969) [35mm] - 4/5
Ishii expands the tattoo episode from The Joy of Torture into a feature length film. This time there are two tattoo artist, one decent and one depraved, both in love with the same woman who's been promised to the winner of a tattoo contest. The two artists get their human canvas from an odd bunch of noblemen yakuza who run a woman trade ring. Of course the beauty of the women every so often causes mishaps to the men around them, punishable by ultra-brutal death of course. It is not only the fascinating tattoo theme giving the film a strong identity - with hellish visions of the inferno tattooed on beautiful women's backs - but also Ishii's colourful, highly visual imaging of a mysterious, cruel and fascinating (fantasy) Tokugawa era that make this a terrific film. There are only some minor issues with the storyline drifting around at times, and a couple of silly comic reliefs - something that is probably due to hasty pre-production (Ishii directed and wrote 7 movies that year). Shocking, beautiful, and fascinating, one of Ishii's finest films.

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

Unread postby HungFist » 05 Jun 2017, 17:23

Lake of Dracula (呪いの館 血を吸う眼) (Japan, 1970) [35mm] 1.5/5
Part 2 in Toho's Dracula trilogy. I haven't seen the others, and based on how boring this one is, it shall remain that way. The dull, bloodless film attempts to relocate Hammer style horror to Japan, but the characters are dull, the style is lacking, and the storyline about a woman who ran into vampires as a kid and at the end of the film realizes it wasn't a dream after all fails to spark any interest. The vampire himself (not actually Dracula, but a descendant), played by the usually interesting Shin Kishida, is but a pale shadow of Christopher Lee, and his "castle" is more like a big cottage by a lake. The pale faced vampire make up (that no one in the film particularly pays attention to) looks especially ridiculous.

Orgies of Edo (残酷異常虐待物語 元禄女系図) (Japan, 1969) [35mm] - 3/5
This fun but unremarkable vintage exploitation romp, which I reviewed a while back, is quite a bit less violent than Ishii's earlier film The Joy of Torture. There's a bit of confusion about the "series title" for these Ishii films. In Japan they are more or less officially referred to as the "Abnormal Love" series, which started with History of the Shogun's Harem (1968). That term applies especially well to this film, but also to the others are there is always a love story of sorts to be found behind the cruelty. Western distributors only caught up with the series with The Joy of Torture, thanks to which the films became known as the "Joys of Torture" series in the West. In Germany they were billed as the "Tokugawa" series, including this film which is not even set in the Tokugawa era. Another term frequently associated to the films is "ero-guro", but that also doesn't cover some of the films like Yakuza's Law, which is very guro but not ero at all. Ultimately it doesn't matter that much, though. The filmmakers were never as concerned about thematic continuity as they were about entertaining the audience using any means that seemed interesting.

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

Unread postby HungFist » 06 Jun 2017, 16:34

Prisoner's Black List (監獄人別帳) (Japan, 1970) [35mm] 2.5/5
Teruo Ishii returns to the genre that originally made him a successful director: gangster films. This film basically plays out like an unofficial Abashiri Prison sequel with lots of added scatological humour. It even features Kanjuro Arashi as Onitora, the supporting character he played in Abashiri Prison. The rest of the cast is different, however, as this is technically speaking a loose follow up to another Ishii film, Killer's Black List (1970). The first 2/3 of the film is set in a prison (housing both male and female convicts, both equally silly), followed by an action packed escape. Modestly entertaining and at times very stupid, but the last 15 minutes is disappointingly by-the-numbers bang-bang action without anything particularly stylish about it.

Love and Crime (明治大正昭和 猟奇女犯罪史) (Japan, 1969) [35mm] - 3/5
A true account of crimes of passion, played for little else than shock value. There's something admirable about such sleazy premise even if this doesn't rank among the better entries in the Abnormal Love series. Adhering (to a degree) to facts appears to be the biggest hindrance as the kind of wild imagination and inspired execution that could be found in Ishii's best films is somewhat lacking here. Once again Ishii uses the episode film structure with four main stories accompanied by a couple of mini-stories. The 1st story is the best, delivering both the skin and the guts as young wife and her lover go on a rampage. The 2nd is the weakest, Ishii mainly getting credit for being an early bird on the Abe Sada story and bringing the lady herself in front of the camera for a cameo - everything else was done better later by Oshima and Tanaka. The decent 3rd and 4th story focus on a serial rapist murderer, and Oden Takahashi, the last woman executed by decapitation in Japan. The film benefits from its production era, coming with the charm of somewhat dated if gross 60s exploitation rather than convincing nihilism that might have been too much given the topic. Followed by a weak semi-sequel Bizarre Crimes of Post-War Japan (1976) by Yuji Makiguchi.

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

Unread postby HungFist » 08 Jun 2017, 09:42

Bohachi bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight (ポルノ時代劇 忘八武士道) (Japan, 1973) [35mm] 4.5/5
A nihilist samurai (Tetsuro Tamba) is hired by a villainous yakuza clan to wipe out another clan's prostitution businesses in Teruo Ishii's most enjoyable film. Ishii had already left ero-guro films when his friend Tamba spoke him over to helming this Kazuo Koike comic book adaptation. It turned out an exceptional film. Ishii creates a wonderfully decadent world full of sleazy yakuza, deadly swordsmen, psychedelic colours and ridiculously awesome action scenes such as the one where naked female bodyguards are attacked by a Kurokawa ninja (the same clan that haunts Ogami Itto in the Lone Wolf and Cub series). While Ishii is at his inspired best here, he is greatly assisted by a terrific script that keeps the film on a constant move and allows perfect pacing. It's also a rare treat to see the charismatic Tamba in such a film (original: Porno jidaigeki). Usually movies like this were marketed purely with female stars and their assets - of which there is no lack in this film. I must've seen this movie half dozen times, and now for the first time in 35mm. This is exactly the kind of fascinating, sexy, sadistic and mysterious world that only gets more awesome in movie theatre.

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Saburai: Way of the Bohachi (忘八武士道 さ無頼) (Japan, 1974) - 2/5
A disappointing follow-up to Teruo Ishii's chanbara masterpiece Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight (1973). Ishii mention in an interview he didn't even know Toei had made a sequel to his film. This movie is very much a re-telling of the original, with Goro Ibuki playing Tetsuro Tamba's role, althoug it's not clear whether the protagonist is the same character or not. The storyline is almost the same with many scenes remade from the original. It has its own trashy appeal as the film is even more violent than Ishii's movie and features just as much sex. However, the film is entirely incoherent in its characterization and storytelling, and lacks the style, pace and originality of Ishii's film. It feels like a copy made by a lesser filmmaker, the man being the mediocre Takashi Harada. A good comparison would be the Female Prisoner Scorpion series, where the originals (1972-1974) had their own surreal, twisted logic to them while the remakes (1976-1977) were just nonsensical. Ibuki and Harada, however, teamed up for a much better sexploitation chanbara the following year, Shitakari Hanjirô: (Maruhi) kannon o sagase, which, like this film, was based on a Kazuo Koike comic book.

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

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Jun 2017, 08:50

Chikan to nozoki: Shitagi mania (痴漢と覗き 下着マニア) (Japan, 1991) - 1.5/5
A pervert real estate agent inserts cameras and peepholes into cribs he's renting out. Tons of sleazy sex scenes follow and one romantic one at the end when cameras have been gotten rid of and the couple can make happy love in privacy. Ah yes, this is genuine early 90s pink cinema with no artistic ambitions, and as such it comes with its own cultural appeal. That films like this were once shot on 35mm for theatrical distribution in pink joints where old men in raincoats would line up to see tits, ass and women fondling themselves - and that they still continue to be shown in the few surviving pink theatres for an audience whose average age is around 65 - comes with its own appeal. The film itself is something of a skeleton of a movie where the only flesh is found in the women's chest area. At least the leading lady is rather pretty. Original title: Chikan to nozoki: Shitagi mania ("Molester and Peeper: Underwear Mania"); re-release title: Hitozuma no nozoki-kata: Yogoreta shitagi o nerae ("Housewife Peeper: Targeting Dirty Underwear").

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Warmth of Love (愛のぬくもり) (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 1/5
Married university professor falls in love with a young party girl (Mari Tanaka) who is not into long term relationships. The poor old man is willing to put his career and marriage at stake to win her over. Shabby Roman Porno melodrama deals with generation gap, but comes out silly and boring. Although not the worst film out there, it's ultimately free of any merits, and Tanaka's character is unusually irritating. Even the club scenes are boring.

Embraced by the Dark (闇に抱かれて) (Japan, 1982) [DCP] 3/5
A pretty good follow-up to director Kazunari Takeda's beautiful, melancholic Roman Porno drama A Woman's Trail: Wet Path (1980) from two years earlier. A young woman experiencing relationship problems hooks up with a middle aged suicidal man (imagine a bearded hippie author kind of type) to travel to an island where they intend to end their lives. Her best friend (Yuki Kazamatsuri) goes searching for her together with the girl's lover. This is basically A Woman's Trail: Part 2. Both films are sedate stories about encountering people that have an influence on your life, and the passing of time, set against natural landscapes. Both films also have a story that resembles road movies. A Woman's Trail was more lyrical, but this one isn't bad either. I'm not a huge fan of actress Kazamatsuri, but can appear very natural in front of camera as she does here.

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

Unread postby chazgower01 » 12 Jun 2017, 23:13

Yakuza Graveyard (1976) 3.5/5 directed by Kinji Fukasaku
Tetsuya Watari stars as Kuroiwa, a hot headed cop who doesn't want to get mixed up with the Yakuza, but just seems to continually get drawn in, no matter how hard he tries not to. Meiko Kaji as Keiko, the wife of the imprisoned big boss, doesn't make it any easier, as he can't seem to resist her. Tatsuo Umemiya as Iwata 'The Bull', voted in as the new boss, is as hot headed and unpredictable as Kuroiwa, but that machismo becomes an interesting bond. Some wild and frantic fist and gun fights, along with Fukasaku's 70's period shaky camera, mixes well with some standard noir characterization, and a downbeat ending.
But as with all really good noir, there is no reward for good intentions and no punishment for those without honor, and this movie holds nothing back. It slowly pulls you in until, you suddenly realize it's actually a pretty decent little movie.

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, who for years cranked out some great work in Japan, but would really make a name for himself worldwide, 24 years later with 'Battle Royale'.

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

Unread postby saltysam » 24 Jun 2017, 18:13

Tough Guy (Aka Kung Fu The Headcrusher) 3/5
It's a 70's basher and it stars Chen Sing- so you know what to expect,an entertainingly non stop 85 or so minutes. Chen plays an undercover cop who infiltrates a gang to gain evidence-cue mucho bashing. Good cast on show here including Henry yu Yung, Mars,Hark-On Fung. Most of the cast including the three main baddies were also in Fists Of The Double K,in fact the climax looks like it was filmed in the same area.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 25 Jun 2017, 22:40

In America, it was called Kung Fu Master: Bruce Lee Style!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby grim_tales » 29 Jun 2017, 22:32

Master of the Flying Guillotine: 3.5/5

Bonkers villains including a Thai boxer, an Indian Yoga master and an evil priest (?) with a hat with knives concealed inside, plus so many different martial arts styles make this film fun to watch. I watched the R4 DVD (I think from 2004) which was apparently restored but sometimes the picture looked very bad due to print damage.

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

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 30 Jun 2017, 00:26

The 2004 re-master of MofFG looks worse than the 2002 non-anamorphic DVD, as the negative had deteriorated significantly.

Definetly one of my favourite movies, and the pirated soundtrack introduced me to my favourite band, Tangerine Dream!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby grim_tales » 30 Jun 2017, 01:51

Which version/DVD do you mean? :)
AFAIK there are 2 R1 DVDs from Pathfinder (1 is 1 disc and the other 2 disc) and both are anamorphic, there's a non anamorphic HK DVD, some are full frame too.
I found it very distracting when the colour/tint seemed to keep jumping from pink/mauve to slightly less pink in places.
As I understand it, this film was considered "lost" for some time, so the fact its on disc at all is something, I guess.

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

Unread postby Markgway » 30 Jun 2017, 05:43

Ivan Drago wrote:The 2004 re-master of MofFG looks worse than the 2002 non-anamorphic DVD, as the negative had deteriorated significantly.


Makes you wonder what they were doing to it in those two years.
Bradavon: As probably the only guy on this forum who has snogged another man (3 times in fact), it didn't do a lot for me but I didn't hate it either. Who doesn't like a snog?

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

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 30 Jun 2017, 07:34

Using it to make prints for festivals and screenings, but not making a new dupe negative.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby saltysam » 01 Jul 2017, 21:33

Master Of The Flying Guillotine is possibly the greatest film i've ever watched.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby Markgway » 02 Jul 2017, 06:47

Better than PLAN 9?
Bradavon: As probably the only guy on this forum who has snogged another man (3 times in fact), it didn't do a lot for me but I didn't hate it either. Who doesn't like a snog?

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

Unread postby HungFist » 02 Jul 2017, 11:00

Lion Enforcer (唐獅子警察) (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 2/5
Regrettably dull yakuza film by the uneven Sadao Nakajima. Tsunehiko Watase is a young hothead who befriends older gangster Akira Kobayashi until his temper starts causing trouble and the men find themselves enemies. The film mainly suffers from the fact that it's not all that interesting. Everything has been done better in other films, and this one is not even especially violent in its genre. Somewhat decent last 3 minutes aside, the only memorable scene is Watase raping a horny French woman who doesn't mind it at all, quite the contrary instead. Hardly counts as a merit.

Too Young to Die (死ぬにはまだ早い) (Japan, 1969) [35mm] - 4.5/5
Kiyoshi Nishimura is one of the most exciting undiscovered Japanese directors. The opening for this film is cinema at its purest, and best! Nishimura uses very little dialogue as he first shows a man and a woman in bed, making love. We don't know exactly who they are and what their relationship is, but they're not married. Quick crosscuts reveal that he appears to be a former race driver. She makes references to her husband who is away, somewhere. Cut to the following night as they are in a car. They stop in a small bar by the highway. Minutes later a desperate gunman charges in and takes everyone as hostage. This is the premise for Nishimura's gritty and intelligent debut film which serves as a prime example of what is good filmmaking. The film drafts excellent characters without ever over-explaining them, which allows us to feel for them, yet we cannot anticipate their every move. Nishimura's attention for every detail, every drop of sweat, every painful breath, combined with sparse but clever use of music make this one hell of a thriller. Unfortunately, it has never been released on home video.

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

Unread postby HungFist » 06 Jul 2017, 05:40

Yakuza and Feuds (やくざと抗争) (Japan, 1972) [DVD] - 2/5
A jitsuroku / ninkyo hybrid based on Noboru Ando's partly autobiographical, partly fictional novel of the same name, released earlier the same year. The film focuses Ando (played by Ando himself, of course) and his gangs in the early 1930s when they were still small time street thugs. Ando makes friends with a doctor and his daughter, and comes across an honourable yakuza (Bunta Sugawara) who's affiliated with villainous gangsters (Bin Amatsu, Fumio Watanabe). Unfortunately the film lacks clear vision, packing 93 minutes of mediocre yakuza mayhem that falls somewhere between the jitsuroku and ninkyo genres.

Note: this is the 1st of three films that could be considered to be a series. There's a bit of confusion about the films since in his book Chris D got the titles mixed up, calling the first two films "True Account of the Ando Gang - Yakuza and Feuds" and "Yakuza and Feuds - True Account of the Ando Gang" respectively. Actually the 1st film is just called " Yakuza and Feuds", and the 2nd one is "True Account of the Ando Gang - Yakuza and Feuds". The mistake is repeated to an even greater degree in IMDb (at least as of June 2017) where not only the English titles but also to cast listings, trivia, running times etc. for both films are mixed up, and sometimes combined.

City of Beasts (野獣都市) (Japan, 1970) [35mm] - 3.5/5
Director Jun Fukuda is probably best known for Godzilla vs. Hedorah. That piece of disposable garbage gave little indication he was capable of films this good. This aptly titled film follows a university student (Toshio Kurosawa) who makes friends with a middle aged factory owner (Rentaro Mikuni). The men have a common interest: guns. When Mikuni takes his new friend to a shady business meeting, the young apprentice cold bloodedly guns down the men who showed up with guns. The two click immediately and a father-son like relationship develops between them. Kurosawa's loyalty comes much in need when his mentor's sexy daughter is about to be married to a man with close family ties to the yakuza, who in turn are looking for the men Kurosawa shot dead and dumped in the bottom of a lake. Minor roughness in Fukuda's filmmaking is evident, but the film is cold, gritty and fast paced while simultaneously offering a fascinating insights to the characters. Based on a book by Haruhiko Oyabu (Youth of the Beast).

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

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 08 Jul 2017, 13:19

Jun Fukuda didn't direct Godzilla vs Hedorah, that was Yohshimitsu Banno.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby HungFist » 08 Jul 2017, 13:59

Ivan Drago wrote:Jun Fukuda didn't direct Godzilla vs Hedorah, that was Yohshimitsu Banno.


You're right. What was I thinking?

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

Unread postby saltysam » 09 Jul 2017, 15:39

Fist Of Unicorn 1.5/5
It takes a special kind of talent to make such a lousy kung fu flick with a cast to die for that this one has. Bruce Lee's mate Unicorn Chan is handed a shot at a starring role playing a wanderer who befriends a young boy and his mother and before long goes up against the local gang. Famous for Bruce Lee having choregraphed the fight sequences as a favour to his friend Unicorn,unscrupulous producers secretly filmed him and clumsily inserted the few seconds of footage into the film.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 09 Jul 2017, 20:47

On the bright side, it has an awesome pirated soundtrack of John Barry, Ennio Morricone and Pink Floyd.

Plus, Mars gets to be the first Bruce Lee clone!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby saltysam » 09 Jul 2017, 21:45

Ivan Drago wrote:On the bright side, it has an awesome pirated soundtrack of John Barry, Ennio Morricone and Pink Floyd.

Plus, Mars gets to be the first Bruce Lee clone!
it also has the immortal line in the dubbed version uttered by Kurata to the outclassed Unicorn in the midst of their fight "for a boxer you make a great long distance sprinter" :D
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby saltysam » 11 Jul 2017, 20:46

Along Comes A Tiger 2.5/5
Decent kung fu actioner stars Wong Tao as a mute fighter known as Sacred Cloud,out for revenge on the Black Dragon gang led by Tommy Lee. Unusual (for these movies anyway) that the lead is mute. German dvd is a nice anamorphic print (by these films standards) with a choice of mandarin with english subs or english dub.
Hot,The Cool,The Vicious 3.5/5
My score for this is probably a tad generous but i've always had a soft spot for it having been one of my earliest exposures to kung fu cinema circa 1982. Wong Tao,Tan Tao Liang team up against the gorilla like (literally) Tommy Lee. included as a bonus movie on Along Comes A Tiger DVD, it's the eastern heroes print but anamorphic and still looks odd. Has a choice of mandarin with subs or english dub.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 12 Jul 2017, 21:27

I love The Hot, The Cool and The Vicious purely due to nostalgia.

The subs on the old UK VHS (missing from their DVD!) refer to Tommy Lee's character as "The Living Pluto."
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