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 » 25 Jun 2019, 01:10

Never Say Regret (Hong Kong, 1990) youtube 3/5
Yukari Oshima stars in this low budget action drama from no-name director Lau Kwok-Ho. Yukari gets framed for drugs and sent to prison where she quickly makes an escape attempt, and later tries again. Caught a second time, she is then sentenced to death. Shing Fui-On plays the warden.

Meanwhile, Dick Wei, as a good guy here, and Max Mok are a part of a team that comes to rescue Yukari. A lot of it is shot at night, and my copy had no subs, but luckily most of the first half of the movie is in the prison, and most of the second half of the movie features a lot of ‘war movie like’ violence out in the wilderness.

The finale is well done, though Yukari could’ve been used more effectively. If this had been subtitled and on Blu-Ray, I suspect it could’ve been rated higher, as it's pretty well done considering a story that’s nothing new. I’d definitely see it again under those circumstances - all the performances are top notch, especially for a low budget movie like this.

Of note: When Yukari is first booked into the prison, she’s sent to get hosed off, and I suspect this is one of the few, if not only times she’s naked in one of her films. It’s from behind and very brief (and a shitty copy of the movie as well), but still surprising to see from her.

That first pic is a production still. I had a hell of a time trying to get a good pic...

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

Unread post by HungFist » 25 Jun 2019, 14:39

chazgower01 wrote:
25 Jun 2019, 01:08
HungFist wrote:
23 Jun 2019, 15:31
Three Pretty Devils (三匹の牝蜂) (Japan, 1970) [DVD] - 3/5
Had no idea this was out on DVD...!!!
Since 2010

https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00BPGPUWQ
https://www.yesasia.com/global/%E4%B8%8 ... /info.html
http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/NEODAI ... 1223b74fae

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

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Jun 2019, 06:50

Front Row Life (かぶりつき人生) (Japan, 1968) [DVD] - 2/5
Tatsumi Kumashiro's debut film about a moody gal whose fat mother is a stripper. The daughter gets a bit into the same trade, and runs into some unpleasant men, one of whom wants her to star in a pink film. Kumashiro fans should enjoy this as it’s unmistakably his work; I wasn't that impressed by it though, nor were the audiences at the time it seems. Kumashiro was back to assistant duties until Nikkatsu went Roman Porno. This film is tame compared to those, a character drama with mainly talk, but there are a few (non-striptease) scenes that show brief glimpses of nudity while pretending to be part of serious narrative. You get the feeling they calculated how much they could get away with.

An Outlaw (ならず者) (Japan, 1964) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Badass Ishii/Takakura action thriller with Takakura as betrayed hit man in Hong Kong and Macao. The plot is purely programmer stuff with a doll full of drugs that everyone is after, but the film is so cool that it doesn't matter. Takakura's character is colder than his usual (especially later) ninkyo heroes and the film features what is probably Yoko Mihara's first topless scene ('64 was the year when nudity went mainstream in Japanese cinema, but for her scene to happen in a Takakura film is amusing). Tetsuro Tamba and Mariko Kaga steal the film in their cool/heartfelt supporting roles. And Ishii excels at what he’s best at: location work. The only problem is that half of the film is spoken in Chinese by the Japanese cast (e.g. most of Mihara’s lines) and their pronunciation sounds atrocious even to someone who doesn't speak the language.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 27 Jun 2019, 12:46

A Book of Heroes (Hong Kong, 1986) youtube 2.5/5
One of Yukari Oshima’s first films, this Taiwanese cheapie is a convoluted story about a treasure map, with way too many characters chasing it and acting silly. The main bad guy (Yasuaki Kurata) lives in a Scarface-style house and unknowingly has an undercover cop, Yukari Oshima working for him as a hired ass-kicker.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that, 15 minutes into the movie, Yukari has maybe one of her top ten movie fights, when she takes on five thugs as an exhibition of her talent for the boss. If this IS her first movie, I can see why she made a quick transition to Hong Kong, because it’s spotlight impressive. And it’s her second fight of the movie!

Unfortunately, most of the movie isn’t about her, though we do get some decently entertaining fights from some of the other characters - from Taiwan - including Pauline Lan who is superbly body doubled in the first fight with Yukari and Elsa Yang (aka Pauline Yang) who they get creative within her fights. And some little kid too, in a cleverly body doubled fight.

The finale is a welcome relief, even though it features some of that silly comedy still, but super tall Black actor Eugene Thomas gets some impressive kicks in as one of the bad guys squaring off with everyone. Literally ‘Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting’.

And after disappearing for most of 45 minutes, Yukari is back, though somewhat limited in the 15-minute finale, sharing fight time with everyone else. The fighting, the stunts, and the creativity is such that, it’s hard for her to stand out here - they really did a great job filming these fights scenes and it’s an entertaining part of an otherwise mostly forgettable Hour and a half.

Then in the final two minutes, after the police congratulate each other - Yukari and Pauline have a sparring match at the gym (Maybe Pauline DOES have some skills) and we see Yukari practically fly through the air, flip, kick, and gymnastically do what she does best in an added display of her talent. A great debut in a very uneven movie.

Note: Sammo Hung recruited Yukari Oshima for Millionaire’s Express, which came out in January of 1986, so THAT was her first film in the Hong Kong market. (She played a regular villain in the Bioman series in Japan previously). She made three other Taiwan movies in 1986, most likely to keep working until her next Hong Kong feature the following year.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 28 Jun 2019, 13:58

Funny Family (Hong Kong, 1986) youtube 3.5/5
Wow, I enjoyed this a heck of a lot more than I thought I would. 

One of three Taiwan cheapies Yukari Oshima did in her first year (there’d be many more to come), it tells the story of a young man (Hu Kua) and young woman (Pauline Lan) living next door to each other who are in that awkward phase of wanting each other. The young man’s Dad and the young woman’s Mother, however, have an over the top dislike for each other and naturally keep the two of them apart.

Even this is pretty funny, especially when the parents physically fight each other in an early scene. So they end up both sending their kid off to the city to find a rich mate, and find (his) mother and (her) father - traveling together, arguing and of course getting caught up in the excitement AND pitfalls of the city. They DO find their parents (who naturally live together) and help them keep their sporting goods store thru a series of competitions.

A full hour and 8 minutes into the movie Yukari finally shows up, as a tattooed Japanese athlete named ’Tempura’, the opponent in the tennis match and then the boxing challenge. I kinda like this look! Her fight with Pauline Lan, though short, is a highlight of the movie as Yukari is a ball of super energy - kicking, punching, jumping off the ropes - the camera may be a bit under-cranked here, but the action is still furious and fun.

Pauline Lan, though obviously using a fight double at times for some of the amazing acrobatics (though still doing SOME of this action), and Hu Kua as the young man - provide some very entertaining fight scenes. These may be Taiwan cheapies, but the action is top notch and enjoyable. If you like this type of comedy, you’ll really enjoy this with the added fight action. Even the Bowling scenes were a hoot!

Note: The unauthorized use of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ and Prince’s ‘Kiss’ was kinda cool to hear. Pauline Lan would go on to be the ‘Taiwan Madonna’ with a hugely successful Pop singing career, appearing in TV shows, commercials, etc. for decades in that country. She still has a presence on Facebook and Instagram even now. The two movies I’ve seen her in (of only 6 listed), she’s very much a noticeable on-screen force.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 29 Jun 2019, 14:39

House on Fire (火宅の人) (Japan, 1986) [DVD] - 3/5
80s novel adaptation of the stormy private life of a novelist, thankfully directed by Kinji Fukasaku. It's quite long at 132 min and feels even longer with Fukasaku cramming 3 hours worth of drama into 2, but not boring thanks to Fukasaku's sparkling direction and drama that is both believable and a bit outrageous. Ken "I am the best actor of the 80s" Ogata is his usual great self in the lead and so are all the actresses playing wives and mistresses, including Mieko Harada and her heavenly breasts.

Big Magnum Kuroiwa Sensei (ビッグ・マグナム黒岩先生) (Japan, 1985) [DVD] – 3/5
“Violence education is my motto”, explains one of the new teachers at the School without Honor and Humanity, an institution full of delinquents, neo nazis and girls flashing their breasts (imported Nikkatsu actresses, I believe). And by "violence education" he means using violence in education. But the real badass in the school is the other newcomer, Kuroiwa sensei, a harmless looking old man who is actually a secret agent armed to the teeth, sent by the Board of Education! A relatively insane Kazuhiko Yamaguchi high school action comedy runs out of bullets at the end when the educational Rambo has to clear the school of bad boys without actually killing anyone. Lame. It's because the film was a family friendly mainstream comedy manga adaptation, released just prior to the 80s high school action boom (Be-bop High School and Sukeban Deka followed soon). It's still a good bit of fun, though.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Jul 2019, 16:32

The Day of No Return (Kaerazaru hibi) (帰らざる日々) (Japan, 1978) [DVD] - 3/5
A young man (Toshiyuki Nagashima) returns to his hometown and recalls his youth, including an unlikely friendship with a brutish bully (Jun Etô), and a girl (Kahori Takeda from Pink Hip Girl) whose father (Atsuo Nakamura in a Yoshio Harada role) was a yakuza. Told in parallel in 1978 and 1972 with plenty of period detail. Another good, though not exceptional film by Japan's top youth film director of the 70s, Toshiya Fujita. He's ironically best known abroad for his most atypical film, Lady Snowblood. Perhaps that makes sense though, as revenge films travel better, and serious youth dramas are a genre the Japanese are for some reason much more comfortable with than the rest of the world.

Prey (餌食) (Japan, 1979) – 4/5
Yuya Uchida x Koji Wakamatsu x Reggae. Uchida is a pot smoking ex-rocker back from the States. He hooks up with a small community of ex political radical, a bozo zoku style lone youngster and a teenage girl while growing increasingly concerned about the heroine trade conducted by gangsters in the show biz back-stage. A little more laidback than your average Wakamatsu fair, with an amazing non-stop reggae soundtrack and no graphic sex. Not the director at his most intense, yet unmistakably Wakamatsu all the way to the ending where Uchida goes postal in bright daylight and starts shooting random people on the street.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 02 Jul 2019, 09:45

Millionaire’s Express (aka Shanghai Express) (1986, Hong Kong) Amazon Prime 3.5/5
Last year I wrote about this movie: "The fights are good - this is 'Dragons Forever' era Sammo putting this together, I just wish there'd have been more of it. But I still feel I'll like this movie better upon repeated viewings."

And it's TRUE, I do. I upgraded it to a 3.5. Watching it now, for Yukari Oshima's performance, I did fast forward through a couple of Eric Tsang parts and the Rosamund Kwan group was really fairly annoying, but most of the rest of it was fun to watch.

Yukari's part is pretty short (maybe 3 minutes total screen time in a huge cast) - she plays a ninja with Karata Yasuaki and Hwang Jang-Lee, and looks impressive in both her sword work and her fighting. And even though, Western audiences might've seen this performance and been impressed by it; the Chinese most likely saw it from the perspective of "She's Japanese". Still impressed by it, but she'd have to put up with that bias for most of her career in Hong Kong.

Still... it got her foot in the door and she would certainly make the most of it...


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

Unread post by HungFist » 04 Jul 2019, 07:49

Woman Gambling Expert (女の賭場) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] – 2.5/5
Part 1 in the 17 film Daiei series. An old man commits suicide after being accused of cheating in gambling den by a crooked yakuza (excellent Fumio Watanabe in a routine role). His restaurant owner daughter (Kyoko Enami) becomes the next target. Conservative Daiei surprisingly initiated this series two years before Toei took reign of the female gambler genre with Red Peony Gambler. But the origin is still evident. This is mainly a Daiei woman drama with yakuza elements until the electrifying last 15 minutes when Enami decides to learn the trade and get even. In a Toei picture, that scene would have played after the opening credits, or even before them, and served as the starting point for the story.

The Tale of Zatoichi (座頭市物語) (Japan, 1962) [BD] - 4.5/5
Zatoichi meets honourable but enemy gang affiliated samurai Shigeru Amachi in the beautifully written and directed opening film. It's curious how ninkyo'ish the storyline is (before the genre even existed), with Katsu and Amachi's meetings and discussions being old fashioned romanticized male honour/duty/friendship cinema at its best (you don't find anything quite like this in modern cinema, except maybe in 80s John Woo films). At the same time it steers away from the dull evil gang vs. good gang yakuza film pattern by making both gangs rotten. And the entire movie is funny and touching, with both elements beautifully integrated into the narrative rather than slapped on top of it. Also Amachi, an actor I've sometimes dismissed in his Toei films, is extremely good here. One of the all time best yakuza films.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 06 Jul 2019, 15:03

Outside the Window (Taiwan, 1973) youtube 3/5
This was Brigette Lin’s first movie, immediately making her a star, and it would set the course for the early part of her career, in melodramatic romance movies.

In this one, she plays a school girl (she was no more than 18-19 at the time), who falls in love with her teacher. Being a long ways away from any sort of Category III setting, we get poetry and unrequited feelings and crying, and string music and other school girls’ gossiping…
As Sting once sang, “Sometimes it’s not so easy to be the teacher’s pet.”

It’s a beautiful, sad story told many times before (a sexless Lolita), and filled with seemingly endless exposition, but Brigette Lin somehow makes it work. The camera loves her from the start and she’s just so convincing, you forget sometimes just how cliche the dialogue is. Mostly though, this is for Brigette fans...

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

Unread post by HungFist » 07 Jul 2019, 16:31

The Tale of Zatoichi Continues (続・座頭市物語) (Japan, 1962) [BD] - 3.5/5
Part 2. Zatoichi meets a man from the past (Katsu's brother Tomisaburo Wakayama). Enjoyable, wonderfully short (72 min) sequel nevertheless feels slightly superficial compared to the amazing original. The score (by Ichiro Saito instead of Akira Ikufube) dates the film, the storyline is built on back-story threads intentionally left loose in part one, and the Katsu-Wakayama pairing isn't milked to the full until the fantastic last 15 minutes. Still very good, but there was potential for even more.

New Tale of Zatoichi (新・座頭市物語) (Japan, 1963) [BD] - 4/5
Part 3. The first colour entry and a return to top form with comparable honour/duty/respect play as the original film. Zatoichi is about to leave the yakuza life behind when he encounters a man who isn't evil, but must kill Zatoichi because his brother was slain by him. Effective and very touching. Three further points of notice: the film contains one of Akira Ikufube's most beautiful scores, features stunning framing throughout, and intensifies the action with powerful sword action sound effects (something that, typical to older chambara and yakuza films, was largely absent from the first two Zatoichi movies).

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

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 09 Jul 2019, 17:03

The Dragon from Russia (1990)

Director: Clarence Ford

Utterly shambolic adaptation of the Crying Freeman manga, jumping between stylish action scenes that you could frame on your wall and low-brow Drunken Master style humour, with a vague plot linking them together. Sam Hui makes for a charmingly goofy hero (and can certainly handle a tune) but you get the distinct impression that the mysterious masked figure in the fight scenes is a different character, never mind actor. In a similar vein, Yuen Tak and Yuen Wah both play the crazy villian/sifu in bizzare lumpy makeup, and Dean Shek makes a surprsiingly subdued appearence - one of his last before vanishing off the face of the earth.

5/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 10 Jul 2019, 13:50

Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (座頭市あばれ凧) (Japan, 1964) [BD] - 3/5
Part 7. Evil yakuza Tatsuo Endo tries to obtain a riverside area from a decent boss who is harbouring Zatoichi without knowing his true identity. Standard entry with a routine storyline. Katsu is lovable as usual and Endo has a great evil laugh.

Yakuza Priest (やくざ坊主) (Japan, 1965) [VoD] – 2/5
Messy ‘fallen monk opens a business’ picture in which nothing interesting happens. Shintaro Katsu, still half in Zatoichi mode, plays the hoodlum monk who gambles, brawls and womanizes his way through the uneventful non-story. It even lacks exploitative or technical edge. But it does have one saving grace (in addition to Katsu): the underused Mikio Narita as Katsu's ronin opponent. Typecast to the point of boredom in the 70s yakuza films, Narita’s 60 swordsman roles have been a real discovery. A watchable film, but criminally weak considering the potential and talent involved. Followed by one sequel.

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

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 12 Jul 2019, 22:07

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow Part II (1978)

Director: Chang Hsin-Yi

Somewhat to my surprise, this doesn't slavishly copy the formula of its famous namesake (bullied student befriends master in hiding) and is instead a mixture of boring escort company shenanigans and vaguely amusing con-man antics. Don Wong Tao stars (already a long way from his prime in Secret Rivals), Lee Kun tries out to be a fatter version of Dean Shek, Carter Huang and Chen Sing are wasted in small throwaway roles, but thankfully Lung Fei is on hand to liven up the last reel as a fairly intimidating mantis fist master.

Incidentally, although Wong Tao is meant to be a snake fist master, he still randomly launches into the Cat's Claw from SITES, complete with shots of a poor kitty being hurled into the air!

4/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 14 Jul 2019, 08:50

Female Tutor - Toxic Parent's Toy (女家庭教師 毒親の玩具) (Japan, 2018) [DVD] - 2/5
Sasa Handa is dominating her teenage son, dictating his studies and ruining a burgeoning relationship. The tutor she hired for him after he dropped out of high school has had her own experiences with "toxic parenting" and takes care of not just the improvment of his grades. Will these two find happiness of will the vicious circle of abuse continue for another generation? Naoyuki Tomomatsu delivers an odd mixture of sex flick and message movie here. I was only expecting smut and was pleasantly surprised by the pretty vicious criticism of education in Japan both at home and in schools.

Kiss Me or Kill Me (kiss me or kill me 届かなくても愛してる) (Japan, 2005) [DVD] - 3/5
A supposedly somewhat autobiographical film from Naoyuki Tomomatsu about a young woman (Asami) who breaks up with her boyfriend and sets her sights on a middle aged businessman (Koyo Maeda). Things go well at first but he has a problem with her infidelity and the release of a porn video her ex taped. His relationship with her also ruins his marriage and his career. This is Asami as an actress and not the tough-talking meme she tended to eventually fall back on more often than not. Hilariously the porn director/distributor Asami's character starts working for is dressed in Tomomatsu's standard attire (army fatigues and a red bandana) and has a very similar name as well.

Violent Panic: The Big Crash (暴走パニック 大激突) (Japan, 1976) [DVD] - 3.5/5
The film Paul Greengrass wishes he had the talent to make. It's a really stunning technical achievement that amidst the utter chaos and vehicular carnage of the showdown you can always tell who is where, doing what to whom.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Jul 2019, 14:29

Adventures of Zatoichi (座頭市関所破り) (Japan, 1964) [BD] - 3.5/5
Part 9. Sometimes you can do without a good plot. The characters, scenery and the hugely atmospheric final duel, all handled with finesse, make the uninspired `yakuza scheming with corrupt officials to extort villagers` plot surprisingly unobtrusive. Smooth sailing with the world's most lovable movie character.

The Turkish Bathhouses of Japan (札幌・横浜・名古屋・雄琴・博多 トルコ渡り鳥) (Japan, 1975) [TV] – 3/5
A Toei documentary exploration of "Turkish baths". The film features toruko-wanderer Meika Seri employing herself in the country’s many brothels in a fictional frame story into which documentary footage and interviews with real pros are inserted. Shingo Yamashiro narrates, Tsusai Sugawara pops up, and there’s footage of foreign prostitutes and a visit to a women’s toruko with male workers. The most obscure thing we learn: 90% toruko girls own a pet because they are lonely! Some of the lengthy footage with bubble specialist sex workers doing their thing is also interesting, though marred by tons of fogging, and this being an exploitation doc you can never be quite sure what’s staged and to what extent. The structure works pretty well anyway, with real footage balanced with a fictional road movie drama and not too many boring moments. A bit better than Sadao Nakajima’s similar pictures from a few years earlier. Note: Turkish baths were re-named into Soaplands in the 80s after the Turks took offense. The younger Japanese are no longer familiar with the term “toruko”.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 17 Jul 2019, 16:22

Zatoichi's Conspiracy (新座頭市物語・笠間の血祭り) (Japan, 1973) [BD] - 3.5/5
Part 25. The last of the original run before the 1989 one-time revival. This one is better than the previous few entries, more in line with the classic 60s films than some of the cruder 70s entries. Nothing unique, but there's a nice atmosphere and the film makes a satisfying closing for the series.

Electric Jellyfish (The Hot Little Girl) (しびれくらげ) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 3.5/5
A drunken dumbfuck father Ryoichi Tamagawa falls in yakuza debt trap after drawing attention by bragging about his sexy model daughter Mari Atsumi. He figures he can get the money from her jerk boyfriend Yusuke Kawazu, who just sold her body to a sleazy American to advance his own career. Meanwhile she's growing determined to tell everyone to go fuck themselves. An angry little Masumura film with dynamite Mari Atsumi on fire. Half of the dialogue is yelled, and the classical influenced score is overwhelming. For modern audiences the film may be a bit of an eye opener: this is where Sion Sono got his drama dynamics. A follow-up of sorts to a less exciting Masumura / Atsumi picture Electric Medusa (1970).

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

Unread post by HungFist » 22 Jul 2019, 17:03

Bloody Shuriken (赤い手裏剣) (Japan, 1965) [VoD] – 2/5
Dagger throwing anti-hero Raizo Ichikawa rides into a spaghetti western town full of crooks and a hidden treasure everyone wants to locate. Watchable yakuza / jidaigeki / western hybrid is occasionally stylish, but too superficial to make you care about what's going on.

A Certain Killer's Key (ある殺し屋の鍵) (Japan, 1967) [VoD] - 3.5/5
Refined, stylish action thriller with professional killer Raizo Ichikawa hired to assassinate a businessman. Ichikawa, with his handsome looks integrated into a character who immerses in traditional arts when not assassinating people, doesn't look much like a hired killer, but that's one of the film's charms. From story to stylistic touches, the film does most things a bit differently, without becoming overly quirky. Captivating, even when nothing in particular is happening. A sequel to A Certain Killer, also a stylish film, but this sequel is even more focused and low key, better.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Jul 2019, 16:30

High School Affair (高校生ブルース) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] – 2/5
Daiei youth eros with a school girl (cute Keiko Sekine in her debut role) getting accidentally pregnant after a tender moment with a boyfriend. Charmingly innocent with an old fashioned score, sweet characters and amazing metaphors (the love scene cross-cut to a basketball match has to be seen) until suffocating conservatism kicks in and robs it of all the joy. Sekine's character turns into an irritating drama queen in the process. The lesson is: sex is a filthy thing and will destroy a youngster's life. This was the opening film in Daiei’s Lemon Sex line, which was quite a bit tamer than what other studios were putting out. The theatrical poster, however, is surprisingly daring for Daiei, with Sekine in a wet see-through shirt... at 15.

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Child Bride (おさな妻) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 2.5/5
High school girl Keiko Sekine part-times as kindergarten teacher and falls in love with the young single father of her favourite student. She becomes his wife and the child's mother. Expectedly sweet and tame, but also a curious contrast to High School Affair with its pro shagging-minors narrative. But then again, shagging minors has always been a popular activity among the conservatives and this movie doesn't stray far from its conservative roots. Quite watchable nevertheless, not least because of Sekine, who had a lot of charm to her. This was supposed to be her debut film, but became no. 2 when Daiei used her as a replacement star in High School Affair a few months earlier.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 02 Aug 2019, 08:32

The Forbidden Fruit (新・高校生ブルース) (1970) [VoD] – 2.5/5
More Daiei conservatism, this time disguised as sex comedy. A group of boys makes a pledge to lose their virginity. One of the targets is ultra-chaste Keiko Sekine who preaches in class "sex without love is for wild animals, not for human beings". This is actually moderately entertaining despite of, or because of, its American style hypocrisy that simultaneously preaches about love and morals but can't resist being a bit naughty (or perhaps it's the other way around, doesn't really make a difference). A sequel to High School Affair.

The Awakening (成熱) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 2/5
A barely disguised 'Keiko Sekine and pretty scenery` concept film set in various small towns during summer festival season. The story excuse aka plot centres on two rival high schools competing in photography. Tension and romance ensues. Quite watchable, but ultimately unrewarding (save for the "let's raid the agricultural high school" line that surely can't be heard in any other film). For some reason Sekine doesn’t get naked this time, and there's nothing even discreetly erotic in the movie, which is greatly at odds with the Lemon Sex Line billing.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 04 Aug 2019, 08:23

The Harlem Valentine Day (ハーレムバレンタインデイ) (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 4/5
The best thing about Shigeru Izumiya's weird alternate history cyberpunk sex flick is that it sketches (with a clearly very limited budget) a world that feels fully lived in and that one wishes could be explored further. Of course the story of a soldier returning from the Battle of Karafuto (here taking place in 1986 instead of August 1945) and mistaking almost every woman he meets for his former girlfriend and then proceeding to murder everyone around can be read as a metaphor for PTSD but that's not what makes this short film so fascinating. Who the fuck is Alpha-sama and why is he described as "brain-damaged but still very smart". What is it with the female bodyguard who runs around sieg-heiling everyone and yelling about Chinese-Japanese friendship? We will never learn the answers and that's part of the fun.

Love Bites Back (噛む女) (Japan, 1988) [DVD] - 3/5
A late-period Tatsumi Kumashiro film about a sleazebag AV porn director (Toshiyuki Nagashima) and his marriage (to Kaori Momoi of Toshiya Fujita's Did the Red Bird Escape? who won several awards for her role here) and affairs. Hilariously the protagonist is shown early on watching Kumashiro's own Lovers are Wet in a pinku theater and later, during an interview, scenes from Woods Are Wet: Woman's Hell play on a TV and are identified as his previous work. There's also posters for various Nikkatsu roman porno films hanging in his office. What makes this even more interesting is that this film was made by Nikkatsu under their short-lived Ropponica brand, itself creatd because hardcore AV porn killed off the market for theatrical softcore smut. Anyway, the constantly boozing, gambling and fucking-around director is eventually contacted by a woman (Kimiko Yo) who claims she's had the hots for him since elementary school. This leads to heated affair - and she likes to bite during sex, hence the title. Then she pulls a disappearing act, all the info she gave him turns out to be false and there start to be nuisance calls, smashed windows and stabbed car tires. The film almost turns into a thriller but comes to a rather unusual and pretty interesting conclusion instead.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 05 Aug 2019, 19:50

Haunted Turkish Bathhouse (怪猫トルコ風呂) (Japan, 1975) [TV] - 4/5
Completely insane everything-but-the-kitchen-sink genre mish-mash from director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi that sees Yukino (Naomi Tani in one of her few roles for Toei) first tricked into working as a soap whore and then tortured to death and entombed in a wall. Obviously this leads to her younger sister (Misa Ohara) to also audition for a job as a soap whore and getting tested for her sex skills by Shingo Yamashiro in one of two extremely silly comedy scenes. The scheming of the bad guys continues, more people get killed and there's an insane climax that has Yukino burst out of her wall-tomb as a cat-ghost and rip people's guts out. Never less than stylish and easily among Toei's craziest sleazefests, the film is only slightly hurt by jumping genres so quickly it's likely to induce whiplash.

Manhunt (君よ憤怒の河を渉れ) (Japan, 1976) [BD] - 2/5
Ken Takakura is a criminal prosecutor who gets framed for several robberies and goes on the run in Junya Sato's 150 minute long action/mystery flick. At one point he gets chased by the SDF in fighter yets and he also goes undercover as a schizophrenic in an insane asylum! This flick had my attention for 30-40 minutes but then I realized there were almost two more hours to go and that proved a problem.

Mobster's Confession (極道懺悔録) (Japan, 1998) [DVD] - 3/5
Jiro (Shunsuke Matsuoka) is a small-time criminal and con-man whose deal it is to rip off businesses during Japan's bubble economy. Chance has him hook up with Kumiko (Amiko Kanaya), who was raised as her stepfather's sextoy. He's shocked by her background at first but then decides to replace her old scars with new ones and procees to treat her like absolute shit. His criminal antics lead to him ending up working for yakuza Kamewada (Shohei Hino) and since almost everybody in this film is pretty much scum, everybody ends up dead or in jail. This is another good 90ies effort from the seriously underrated Rokuro Mochizuki.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Aug 2019, 07:30

Love for Eternity (高校生心中 純愛) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] – 3/5
High school lovers and part-time runaways Keiko Takahashi and Saburo Shinoda try to escape the conservative world that won't accept their relationship. A real rollercoaster, emotionally and quality wise. Sekine hits career low in a hysteric crying scene, then climaxes in a love scene in the clouds (which is awesome)! The adults are all toxic cunts, which gets your blood boiling because you really care for the young protagonists and wish they'd have the upper hand.

Play (Asobi) (遊び) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 3/5
Keiko Sekine gets the Yasuzo Masumura treatment. Shy girl Sekine from shitty home hooks up with unconfident youngster Masaaki Daimon who is revealed to be a yakuza under peer pressure. The story is told with frequent flashbacks to be past putting present moment scenes into an emotional context. This is Masumura in Electric Jellyfish mode, only the spark isn’t quite on the same level. There an overload of misery (especially with the bad parents) and characters feel like they’re on rails towards doom. But it comes alive big time when they decide to fight the destiny, with a very rewarding and touching last half an hour of gritty youth escapism. Easily Sekine’s most rebellious Daiei film.

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

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 11 Aug 2019, 10:34

Eagle's Killer (1981)

Disapointing John Cheung vs Hwang Jang Lee movie, relying way too much on endless comedy scenes. I swear they only got to 90min by ensuring Cheng Hong-Yip's character stutters...really...slowly. Slightly redeemed by the use of Riz Ortolani's theme for Brutes and Savages, but otherwise very disposable.

4/10 
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 11 Aug 2019, 14:48

Lovers Lost (道頓堀川) (Japan, 1982) [VoD] - 3/5
A Kinji Fukasaku Shochiku drama about two young blokes in Osaka. The origin is a novel by Teru Miyamoto, whose Muddy River was filmed by Kohei Oguri a year before. Fukasaku’s film is a bit of an acting showcase for relative newcomers Hiroyuki Sanada and Koichi Sato, a JAC talent and Rentaro Mikuni’s son, playing a wanna-be painter and a pool player respectively. It is spare-part Ken Ogata Tsutomu Yamazaki as the latter’s hated father who is brilliant, though, while Keiko Matsuzaka steals the first billing just because her face had most marketing value. Maki Carousel, Mariko Kaga, Tsunehiko Watase and Megumi Saki (from Red Violation and Rape Ceremony) are in it too. Slow at first, but eventually electrifying with strong drama and a great pool duel at the end, followed by a totally over-the-top death scene. The 80s also brought a little pervert out of Fukasaku with remarkable nude scenes in one film after the other. Here we get, among other topless scenes, a crazed two minute nude dance for the camera, all in the name of serious drama narrative!

Curtain Call (愛情物語) (Japan, 1984) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Utterly crazy Kadokawa dance flick with an amazing, ultra-80s "Broadway" musical opening which also collects all the black dudes in Japan into one scene! It's poor man's Flashdance, Streets of Fire, Michael Jackson and every 80’s female pop star in one, and it's one of the best manifestations of Kadokawa, whose strategy was to bring Hollywood spectacle into Japanese filmmaking. And this was helmed by the big man himself, narcotics criminal Haruki Kadokawa. The story is about 16 year old Tomoyo Harada going on a trip to find a lost father, then making a father figure of a nice middle aged man (the always watchable Tsunehiko Watase) while training for a musical audition. Showman Kadokawa was less a storyteller and more a monkey in the director's chair. But it works here, and there's no denying the musical scenes, many of which even the most hard-core 80s junkie would admit are cheesy as hell, deliver the fun and the sheer amazement.

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