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 post by HungFist » 11 Nov 2018, 05:02

Opium and the Kung Fu Master (Hong Kong, 1984) [Netflix] - 3/5
Good kung fu, bad comedy and some truly cringe worthy acting. Always nice to see fighters under the influence, however, Drunken Master in Drugs this is not. Instead it goes for the line "Master, the opium, IT'S EVIL!"

Not Asian, but I'll out it here anyway:

Tokyo Idols (Canada/UK, 2017) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
Very enjoyable if partly entry level documentary excels with an intimate portrayal of both the girls and the fans. What is truly surprising, especially from a foreign (Canada-UK) financed doc, is its non-judgemental approach which sets it apart from the usual cultural crusaders. The doc lets the viewer draw his own verdict. Indeed, it is interesting to see how many foreign reviewers have seen it as a critical expose while I was impressed by how sympathetic it allowed its characters to come through. As a former part time otaku (who used to have real size Aya Ueto poster on his wall, among all other Aya-chan stuff) I can relate to (most) of these fans living a happy fantasy more than the people telling them to wake up and live a miserable reality instead.

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 11 Nov 2018, 05:13

What does otaku mean?
Opium and the Kung Fu Master was a really good movie, interesting to see how it uses a real historical event in the story

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

Unread post by HungFist » 11 Nov 2018, 05:18

grim_tales wrote:
11 Nov 2018, 05:13
What does otaku mean?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 11 Nov 2018, 12:24

HungFist wrote:
11 Nov 2018, 05:02
Tokyo Idols (Canada/UK, 2017) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
Very enjoyable if partly entry level documentary excels with an intimate portrayal of both the girls and the fans. What is truly surprising, especially from a foreign (Canada-UK) financed doc, is its non-judgemental approach which sets it apart from the usual cultural crusaders. The doc lets the viewer draw his own verdict. Indeed, it is interesting to see how many foreign reviewers have seen it as a critical expose while I was impressed by how sympathetic it allowed its characters to come through. As a former part time otaku (who used to have real size Aya Ueto poster on his wall, among all other Aya-chan stuff) I can relate with (most) of these fans living a happy fantasy more than the people telling them to wake up and live a miserable reality instead.
Agreed. I also like how it told some of the girls side of it too, where you can see their insecurities, struggles to meet success, the worries toward such extreme worship of them - all just as non-judgemental. A really well done documentary.

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

Unread post by chazgower01 » 11 Nov 2018, 12:34

Around the World in 80 Days (2004, USA) Amazon Prime (2.5/5)
As a Disney movie this is pretty enjoyable - as a Jackie Chan movie it's also pretty enjoyable, but none of it is must see repeated viewing or anything that must be added to his highlight reel. This is Jackie in modern times, and I suspect it won't get much better from here. He's earned it - now making movies based upon his name and possible draw. I was talking to a 24 year old waitress recently who told me, "I love Jackie Chan!" and when I asked what movies of his she liked, this is one of them she named...
If I sound downbeat about it, I guess I am a little - though Jackie is still Jackie - if you like him onscreen, that personality and infectious, frantic behavior is still here to see, so maybe I just need to accept it and enjoy it for what it is. The days of beating up Dick Wei dressed up as a pirate leader are long gone.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Nov 2018, 14:48

The Viper Brothers: Extortion Plot for 3,000,000 Yen (まむしの兄弟 恐喝三億円) (Japan, 1973) [DVD] - 3/5
Part 6. Another really funny opening with Sugawara just out of prison (every film in the series starts this way) and having to hitch hike a ride with a group of vacationing grannies. This was Norifumi Suzuki's entry in the series, and it shows. The humour is lowbrow, women fall in love with their rapists, and the film is uneven with several early scenes directed on auto pilot. There's also great action, good laughs, more boobs than in any other film in the series, and just when you least expect it Suzuki pulls out genuinely touching characterization with gangster's subordinate Hiroki Matsukata, a discriminated man of Chinese ethnicity, always reminded that he's no better than a dog. There's great sadness behind his superficially cool sunglassed look, skilfully conveyed by Matsukata.

Yakuza vs. G-Men: Decoy (やくざ対gメン 囮) (Japan, 1973) [Netflix] - 4/5
Ruthless drug dealer (Hiroki Matsukata) is busted and forced to become a mole for an equally ruthless undercover cop (Tatsuo Umemiya) in a stylish, little known gangster film gem. Void of any comic relief, the film is bad to the bone with unmistakable jitsuroku aesthetics - even if it's entirely fictional. Writer Koji Takada and director Eiichi Kudo examine the honour/brotherhood tension between two bad men (the cop is so deep undercover that, except for his superiors who have also grown suspicious of him, everyone treats him as a gangster and he behaves accordingly) without going too over the top, and the film does exceptional job capturing the pulse of the city and streets. Bunta Sugawara has a great supporting role as Chinese (!) drug boss. The film's main flaw? It actually feels too short at 93 minutes!

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

Unread post by HungFist » 16 Nov 2018, 09:28

Two Champions of Shaolin (Hong Kong, 1980) [Netflix] - 2.5/5
Watchable but instantly forgettable Chang Cheh / Venoms film with decent fighting, great closing, worthless storyline and the Venoms being their usual uncharismatic selves. I'm not even sure who were supposed to be the two champs; the film is swarming with Shaolin men.

Impudent Vixen (Abazure) (あばずれ) (Japan, 1966) [TV] - 3/5
Entertaining Yusuke Watanabe / Mako Midori drama about a naive young girl who joins the circus and becomes a token for the male performers. For the most part, this feels old fashioned yet daring at the same time, a melodrama with bubbling-under sexuality and bizarre circus setting stylishly filmed in black and white almost like a film noir. The final reel is less impressive, with conservative and perhaps underlyingly misogynist end. Midori is good despite overacting, but it's Kyosuke Machida who shines as a lecherous trapeze artist lurking at young girls.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 21 Nov 2018, 12:06

The Lone Stalker (ひとり狼) (Japan, 1968) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Classic matatabi film with Raizo Ichikawa as a nihilist lone wanderer. The storyline is a bit too centred on exposing the main character's back story (as opposed to wandering) but the emotional climax is surprisingly powerful. As an added bonus the film teaches you the tabinin's guesthouse etiquette. Extremely useful. One of Ichikawa’s last films before his untimely death in 1969 at the age of 37.

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HungFist wrote:
12 May 2017, 16:21
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (Japan, 1972) [35mm] - 4.5/5
HungFist wrote:
13 May 2017, 07:31
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at River Styx (Japan, 1972) [35mm] - 5/5
HungFist wrote:
17 May 2017, 07:20
Lone Wolf and Cub: Babycart in the Land of Demons (Japan, 1973) [35mm] - 4.5/5
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (Japan, 1972) [35mm] - 5/5
- https://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums ... es#p178408

Lone Wolf and Cub: Babycart in Peril (Japan, 1972) [35mm] - 4.5/5
- https://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums ... es#p178412

Lone Wolf & Cub: White Heaven in Hell (Japan, 1974) [35mm] - 4.5/5
- https://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums ... es#p178425

35mm motherfucker! Life goal achieved.

Last year's reviews still apply, hence links.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 24 Nov 2018, 15:47

Hero (Hong Kong, 1997) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
Zany early 1900s Shanghai epic and Corey Yuen remake of Boxer From Shantung with fun action and awesome production values, maybe one of the last breaths of that 90s Hong Kong cinema insanity that was soon be lost. Takeshi Kaneshiro is the lead, Yuen Biao co-stars. Biao has never been one to associate with charisma, but he does fine job here portraying an honourable gang boss.

Theater of Life - New Hishakaku Story(人生劇場 新・飛車角) (Japan, 1964) [35mm] – 3.5/5
A loose remake and expansion of the second Theatre of Life film (1963), devoting its entire running time to Tsuruta searching for his lost love Yoshiko Sakuma after returning from war. He hooks up with a bunch of travelling strippers and their manager (Hiroyki Nagato) in an attempt to locate her. This is an epic tale steadily if not exceptionally handled by Tadashi Sawashima, with Koji Tsuruta being the perfect man to play Hishakaku. The film’s most memorable part - aside marring Tsuruta with strippers - is the unusually realistic and prolonged final fight. The film, like its predecessors, was more or less based on Koyo Ozaki's novel which in turn was a fictionalized and romanticized account of gangster Hikoichi Ishiguro (Noboru Ando mentioned the real person was nothing like the noble film hero). There was a relatively successful attempt in 1974 to de-romanticise the tale for the jitsuroku era with True Account of Hishakaku: A Wolf's Honor and Hunanity. Sawashima's films however remain the most remarkable versions, with the 1st movie often considered the primary work that modelled the ninkyo genre and launched its popularity.

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

Unread post by grim_tales » 24 Nov 2018, 20:22

That's so cool you saw LW+C in 35mm :)

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

Unread post by HungFist » 28 Nov 2018, 07:44

Wicked City (妖獣都市) (Japan, 1987) [DVD] - 3/5
Horror anime misses its noir potential by being too fast paced and technically video-like; however, it's packed with impressively grotesque monster imagery and explicit sex. Yoshihiro Nishimura seems to have been highly influenced by this when he made Tokyo Gore Police. Superficial but entertaining, essential in the genre.

Blind Monk Swordsman (悪坊主侠客伝) (Japan, 1964) [35mm] - 1.5/5
Toei's ninkyo yakuza shot at getting their share of Zatoichi's popularity with a blind yakuza monk character. Too bad it isn't any good. Famed jidai geki veteran Jushiro Konoe (the father of Hiroki Matsukata) plays the role as if he was a loudmouth Osaka punk - quite the contrast to the lovable blind masseur or even the pervert monk played by Tomisaburo Wakayama in the later Wicked Priest series. It simply does not work as the character is irritating and the storyline an incoherently told mess. In brief, it’s about a bad man re-discovering humanity via woman and child while clashing with the yakuza and being hunted by a man called “Death” who has his own dark past, all set against the backdrop of industrialization. I was at the verge of falling asleep when an unexpected sight of a woman running with her boobs out, and the following comment about how it suck to be blind at a time like that, woke me up halfway into the film. Another highlight comes in form of a powerful ending shot accompanied by Toshiaki Tsushima's (The Street Fighter, Battles Without Honor and Humanity) score. The rest isn't worth it.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 02 Dec 2018, 12:29

HungFist wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 07:44
Wicked City (妖獣都市) (Japan, 1987) [DVD] - 3/5
Horror anime misses its noir potential by being too fast paced and technically video-like; however, it's packed with impressively grotesque monster imagery and explicit sex. Yoshihiro Nishimura seems to have been highly influenced by this when he made Tokyo Gore Police. Superficial but entertaining, essential in the genre.
Have you ever checked out any of the Hideyuki Kikuchi novels this anime was based on? I wish my Japanese was already on a level where I could do that kind of thing. Luckily the first three books have been available in an English translation for a while now. The anime adapts the first book, making a number of changes but nothing too drastic. The second book is pretty unfortunate and basically a filler episode in written form. I can't rember much of it except for some mist demon and I think Makie gets raped by a wooden tank? Anyway, the third book is a direct sequel to the first and thus the events of the anime and I had a blast with it. I just wish I could get into the rest of the novel series, especially the two volumes of WICKED CITY: NEW YORK DEMON WORLD WAR (妖獣都市―ニューヨーク魔界戦).

The English translations with their unfortunate cover art:

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New York Demon World War!

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

Unread post by HungFist » 02 Dec 2018, 12:41

No, I haven't read them, and no, my Japanese wouldn't be up to reading novels anyway, except veeery slooowly :lol:

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

Unread post by HungFist » 04 Dec 2018, 14:29

Onsen osana geisha (温泉おさな芸者) (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 1.5/5
The 6th and final Hot Springs Geisha film, somehow as tame if not even tamer than the 1968 Teruo Ishii original. This was directed by the walking definition of mediocre Ryuichi Takamori who sabotaged a whole bunch of Sonny Chiba films. Occasionally he delivered good entertainment, though. Silly, childish and largely void of exploitation, this still remains just about watchable, partly because it's wise enough to focus on its theme (modern harem in onsen town), unlike the fore-mentioned Ishii film (which is the best comparison point because all the other films were better, especially part 2). It's also somewhat fast moving at delightfully short 70 minutes, positive rather than smutty, and features high school girl geishas. The rating could be perhaps a notch higher.

Prison Island Riot (暴動島根刑務所) (Japan, 1975) [DVD] – 3/5
Unexceptional but entertaining prison (not jitsuroku, it seems) film packed with reliable Toei bad guys (Hiroki Matsukata, Nobuo Kaneko, Kunie Tanaka, Goro Ibuki). Also features enough naked men squatting to have kept the censors busier than many pink flicks. The main weakness is the usual one in the prison genre: with wild but superficial characters literally confined, there's a sense of something holding the film back. The film is at its most enjoyable when the guys are on the run.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 09 Dec 2018, 12:50

While the Women Are Sleeping (女が眠る時) (Japan, 2016) [Netflix] - 2/5
Rarely do you see a potent thriller lose its way as badly as this Wayne Wang Japan entry does. A novelist and his wife run into a creepy old man (Takeshi Kitano) vacationing with a sexy teenage girl (Shioli Kutsuna) in a resort. What is going on? It turns out even the filmmakers did not know. After building a solid mystery for the first hour, the film throws in every imaginable explanation and asks the viewer to pick up his preferred one. Perhaps a re-watch would bring more sense to the film, but the trick is so cheap it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to do that.

New Love in Tokyo (愛の新世界) (Japan, 1994) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
Interesting departure from the usual pink sleaze, with a fleshy sex biz tale told as existential city drama. Perhaps best described as post- Thelma & Louise dive into the seedy night, it steers away from the usual sexism and female objectification of pink films (a genre this movie borders on) with a story focus on strong, active women (one a prostitute, other a dominatrix who makes men crawl in front of her but never has sex with them, and part times as amateur stage actress) and their friendship. Blending in dozens of Nobuyoshi Araki's stunning art photos, documentation of sex trade mechanics and mid 90s Tokyo (can't believe the Yamanote trains looked exactly the same as today, with even the ad fames in the same places and same size) and imaginative little touches (gotta love the scene where she dials down the films colours, and then restores them later) the film largely overcomes what are real but not especially interesting characters. The film is too long at 115 min but the last half hour is terrific.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 16 Dec 2018, 02:06

The Young Vagabond (Hong Kong, 1985) [Netflix] - 1.5/5
The youth of Beggar Su (Gordon Liu) depicted as a b-grade kung fu comedy. There are some good moments (e.g. a funny dinner scene where the girl's father and the boyfriend realize they've met before... in a brothel!) but the whole thing is so disjointed, occasionally badly edited (the final fight is a complete mess) and plagued by a soundtrack that makes Shogun's Ninja sound like The Rolling Stones that it isn't worth it. Worst of all, although Su learns drunken boxing from his master, he doesn't seem to use it in any of the fights, not in a way that a layman could recognize the style at least.

Shaolin Wooden Men (Hong Kong, 1976) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
Jackie is a mute Shaolin student in a straight-faced Lo Wei era film that starts out dull but gets progressively better. The fights are good, Shaolin's wooden men rock, there are crazy color filters and all the kung fu clichés are presented in a nostalgic, enjoyable form. And what can be said about the ending surprise (Jackie's not mute, he was just pretending for 15 years)... hah, awesome!

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 16 Dec 2018, 11:04

Revenge (報復) (Japan, 1999) [TV] - 2.5/5
V-Cinema flick from Daei with Riki Takeuchi starring as a cop who ends up in a yakuza russian roulette dungeon after shooting his partner and Kenichi Endou in a supporting role. Mostly entertaining and better technical specs than most productions of this type. The director was Kosuke Suzuki, whose Stop the Bitch Campaign (援助交際撲滅運動) (Japan, 2001) remains a personal favorite. Despite picking up for the ending, at 100 minutes it outstays its welcome by at least 20 minutes.

13 Steps of Maki (若い貴族たち 13階段のマキ) (Japan, 1975) [TV] - 4/5
Nothing much to add that hasn't already been said about this one. Ultra sleazy and violent bad girl / martial arts film that absolutely needs to get a DVD/BD release.

Laplace's Witch (ラプラスの魔女) (Japan, 2018) [BD] - 1.5/5
The latest crushing disappointment from Takashi Miike is a completey anonymous thriller with a slight sci-fi touch. Slickly made but there's not even a single scene that'd tell you this was directed by Miike and not some other big studio journeyman. I'm not sure what's sadder, that Miike is churning out this tripe in his twilight years or that I apparently feel obligated to keep watching them.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Dec 2018, 15:20

Guro Taku wrote:
16 Dec 2018, 11:04
13 Steps of Maki (若い貴族たち 13階段のマキ) (Japan, 1975) [TV] - 4/5
Nothing much to add that hasn't already been said about this one. Ultra sleazy and violent bad girl / martial arts film that absolutely needs to get a DVD/BD release.
:thumbs:
Guro Taku wrote:
16 Dec 2018, 11:04
Laplace's Witch (ラプラスの魔女) (Japan, 2018) [BD] - 1.5/5
The latest crushing disappointment from Takashi Miike is a completey anonymous thriller with a slight sci-fi touch. Slickly made but there's not even a single scene that'd tell you this was directed by Miike and not some other big studio journeyman. I'm not sure what's sadder, that Miike is churning out this tripe in his twilight years or that I apparently feel obligated to keep watching them.
Can't even remember what was the last Miike film I bothered seeing in theatre... maybe Only Gods Will. No, Yakuza Apocalypse. The last one I actually really enjoyed was Lesson of Evil.

************

Be-Bop High School: Koko yotaro ondo (ビー・バップ・ハイスクール 高校与太郎音頭) (Japan, 1988) [DVD] – 1.5/5
Part 5. No Hiroshi, no plot. Even the pop aesthetics and catchy tunes have largely dried up. Action has taken a dive as well. Mrs. Nasu must have been totally out of ideas and Mr. Nasu there just for his pay check to buy some rice for Mrs. Nasu. Occasional school girl panty shots are probably the film's biggest merits. Oh and Takeo Chii is still on board as a cop. The kids these days knew him best from a TV program Mr. Chii Walks Around (Chii sanpo) where he was the old man walking around. Nothing to do with this film but I don't have anything else write about.

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Be-Bop High School: Koko yotaro kanketsu-hen (ビー・バップ・ハイスクール 高校与太郎完結篇) (Japan, 1988) [Netflix] – 1.5/5
The last and least Be-Bop film, with shabbiest storyline and all around tiresome execution. Only the tiniest spark remains in the once-so-amusing quarrelling between Tooru and Hiroshi (back for this final entry), and worse yet, the film devotes large chunks of screen time to entirely forgettable supporting punks. Followed by a V-Cinema revival in 1994 with new cast and crew.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 22 Dec 2018, 16:36

Rope Hell (原作・団鬼六「やくざ天使」より 縄地獄) (Japan, 1978) [BD] - 2/5
Oniroku Dan S&M shenenigans slightly elevated by a yakuza plot, an over-the-top performance by Hitoshi Takagi and a surprisingly nasty scene in which Naomi Tani is forced to suck the stump of her former underling's finger! On the other hand, this film finds director Koyu Ohara firmly in hack mode and seriously... TWO enema scenes? Sorry, just not my cup of diarrhea.

Sex Rider: Wet Highway (セックス・ライダー 濡れたハイウェイ) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Really enjoyable road movie about a young woman (Mari Tanaka) who's not ready to settle down and live a boring normal life and the misfit antihero she first nearly kills by hitting him with her car and then ends up on the road with for a series of misadventures. There's some pretty wild shit in this film, like a disco-dancing scene that comes out of nowhere, a corpse getting a dead duck thrown at it and an amazing ending that I honestly didn't see coming. There's also great humor like when a hunter asks our antihero who the fuck he is and his reply is something along the lines of "I'm the ghost of the guy this woman killed!" As usual, director Koretsugu Kurahara also fills his film with energetic camerwork and memorable shots.

Delinquent Girl Boss: Tokyo Drifters (ずべ公番長 東京流れ者) (Japan, 1970) [DVD] - 2/5
Reiko Oshida gets out of reform school and starts hanging out with street vendors in Tokyo in this second installment of the series. Apparently there are street vendor clans that operate just like yakuza clans, which leads to a bunch of conflict and drama. The biggest thing Kazuhiko Yamaguch's film has going against it is an extended appearance by 70ies comedy trio "Trio Skyline", whose deal seems to have been to be... kind of dicks? Their antics are unfunny and go on forever, ruining a film that was already pretty unengaging to begin with. There's a showdown that comes with a few well choreographed and surprisingly violent swordfights but that's only about 2 minutes out of 90 and even that part quickly devolves into more comedy.

Delinquent Girl Boss: Ballad Of Yokohama Hoods (ずべ公番長 はまぐれ数え唄) (Japan, 1971) - 3/5
Slightly better 3rd film that sees a rivalry from within reform school spill onto the streets of Yokohama. Reiko Oshida's Rika tries to stay out of trouble for a while but an unresolved conflict makes that all sorts of difficult. Unfortunately, there's another, though thankfully much shorter, appearance from those fucking unfunny "Trio Skyline" goons but the film immediately got all my interest with a subplot about an black American GI who desserted from Vietnam in order to visit his mother in Brazil. Rika is initially against helping him because she considers him a bad guy for leaving his comrades to fight the war without him. She accuses him of having no moral code (jingi / 仁義), to which one of her friends replies that there simply is no jingi in America. To which a third girl opines that that must be because there's no yakuza in America! That scene alone guarantees I will always remeber this film because of how hard it made me laugh. The action this time is mostly motorbike related and decently staged.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Dec 2018, 16:42

I'm in complete agreement about the Roman Pornos. I'd love to see the Sex Rider sequel surface some day. Maybe I should ask Toei Channel :lol:

As for the Delinquents, it's been a decade since I saw those two. I rated them higher but I also recall the 2nd film being the weakest. The 立看 poster is one of my most cherished items, though.


Impact: Prostitution Capital (衝撃!売春都市) (Japan, 1975) [TV] - 2.5/5
G-man Tatsuo Umemiya infiltrates a narcotics/prostitution racket in a poorly crafted, but astonishingly on-your-face morality lesson. Structurally it's all over the place with zero charisma gangster Jo Shiraishi getting the lion's share of the screen time, and no real tension between him and Umemiya, however the film has something else in its pocket. The first questionable highlight comes in form of a disgusting educational shock footage accompanying a doctor's explanation to a woman how she's got syphilis from sleeping with strangers and is going to die a horrible death after her body deforms. And even this scene pales in comparison to the jaw dropping moral punch ending that must be seen to be believed! The film features the real life anti drugs/prostitution campaigner Tsusai Sugawara as Umemiya's boss. There was a trio of entertaining Sonny Chiba films (A Narcotics Agent's Ballad, Terrifying Flesh Hell, Tokyo-Seoul-Bangkok Drug Triangle, 1972-1973) "based on" the guy’s ramblings, but in true Toei fashion the films were exploitative and seductive enough to occasionally beat the “purpose”. In Impact, however, Sugawara's pathos was back with a vengeance.

(I'll post some screencaps of this one next week or next year when I get back to Nippon)

Yatappe of Seki (関の弥太っぺ) (Japan, 1963) [DVD] - 3/5
Classic, often filmed matatabi tale of a young wanderer who saves a little girl whose pickpocket father is killed. The second half of the film picks up 10 years later when the protagonist has grown into a full-fledged yakuza wanderer and once again crosses paths with the same girl (now a woman). This Toei version pairs Kinnosuke Nakamura with soon-to-be ninkyo yakuza master Kosaku Yamashita. It's certainly a good film, but perhaps not as much my cup of green tea as Yamashita's “modern ninkyo” films. In this film as well I enjoyed the more yakuza oriented 2nd half the best (it's also beautifully filmed, especially the ending where Nakamura walks into a fight that is to begin after the film's end - the whole scene is just magnificently put together).

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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 » 23 Dec 2018, 18:58

HungFist wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 07:44
Wicked City (妖獣都市) (Japan, 1987) [DVD] - 3/5
Horror anime misses its noir potential by being too fast paced and technically video-like; however, it's packed with impressively grotesque monster imagery and explicit sex. Yoshihiro Nishimura seems to have been highly influenced by this when he made Tokyo Gore Police. Superficial but entertaining, essential in the genre.
Just noticed that Toei are putting this (and the somewhat related DEMON CITY SHINJUKU ) out on Blu-ray in January and February! Both come with a 500 page storyboard book and the English dub but no subtitles!

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PS: The buttblasted "advance reviews" on amazon.jp about the price being too high and nobody caring about the storyboard books are pretty priceless in my opinion. Why are the Japanese so stingy? It's only $150 each!

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 23 Dec 2018, 19:36

The Wicked Reporter (極道記者) (Japan, 1993) [DVD] - 3/5
The first film in a trilogy about a sleazy sports reporter and his various gambling and relationship misadventures. Lead Matsuzaki (Eiji Okuda) writes a column for Tokyo Race and spends his time betting, gambling, juggling several relationships at once, chainsmoking and drinking. When one of his lowlife buddies asks him to help him win back some money he lost at a rigged mahjong game at a yakuza gambling den, he finds himself in a bit more trouble than usual. Chased by unscrupulous loan sharks, he is eventually recruited by a client of sorts, who wants to get a crash course in horcerace betting. This is a rather wonderful example of the kind of 90ies Japanese crime cinema that I once upon a time became a big fan of. There's nothing of the sort getting made these days anymore so it's nice when one can discover a film like this.

The Wicked Reporter 2: The Rebirth of Horcerace Betting (極道記者2:馬券転生篇) (Japan, 1994) [DVD] - 3.5/5
The rare sequel that is superior to the original in every way. Not only are the stakes higher this time in terms of the sums of money involved in Matsuzaki's gambling, there is also a bit more actual plot this time, some excellent editing (an extended gambling scene intercut with shots of one of Matsuzaki's love interests waiting for him at home and... whales at sea) and some pretty great deadpan humor as well as the sympathetic portrayal of a transgender character. The story sees Matsuzaki now up to his neck in debt ("Well, it's not 100 million but I'm getting there...") meet a yakuza boss at the racetrack and strike up a friendship with him. This leads him to encounter the oyabun's "granddaughter", who wishes to go to America for gender reassignment surgery. Initially trusted with keeping a watchful eye on her, Matsuzaki is instantly fascinated by her and consumates the relationship. The gambling side of things deals with how Matsuzaki attempts to pay back both his lovers and his loansharks. He also gets to play a crucial role in ending a yakuza war.

The Wicked Reporter 3: The One That Got Away (新・極道記者 逃げ馬伝説) (Japan, 1996) [DVD] - 3/5
Scripted by series director Rokuro Mochizuki himself, this third and final film is closer to the the first one than to its sequel in (lack of) plot and structure. A couple years have passed, Matsuzaki is divorced and has a daughter and is still up to his old compulsive gambling, boozing and womanizing even as he stares middle age in the face. At his daughter's school he meets a teacher who's similarily obsessed with horserace betting and who's also frigid - something he does his best to therapize. He also reconnects with his ex-wife, who just so happens to be the literary agent and love interest of another writer (Juro Kara) of the gambling genre. The film culminates in an epic gambling battle between the two.

Evening Primrose (宵待草) (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 3/5
This mainstream-ish effort by Tatsumi Kumashiro follows a group of left-wing activists in Taisho ero Japan as they try to take on the right-wing establishment. Despite some grim goings-on (stabbings, dismemberment, a father poisoning his own son) the entire film has a playful and strangely upbeat atmosphere. In fact, I'd say a good third of its running time is made up of the trio of protagonists, two guys and the upper-class girl that eventually joins them, walking around the landscape and singing. It's almost as if Kumashiro wanted to adapt Tokien's Lord of the Rings but decided to replace the singing hobbits with singing communist terrorists! Frankly, an improvement on the "source material"...

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

Unread post by HungFist » 24 Dec 2018, 10:38

I didn't even know about those Wicked Reporter films. Seems like the DVDs are long OOP and not available for rental.

I only saw my first Mochizuki film, Minazuki, a few weeks ago. Won't be my last one! Really liked that one.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 26 Dec 2018, 17:53

HungFist wrote:
24 Dec 2018, 10:38
I only saw my first Mochizuki film, Minazuki, a few weeks ago. Won't be my last one! Really liked that one.
Minazuki is indeed very good and has Eiji Okuda play a very different character than he does in the Wicked Reporter films. The only thing both characters have in common is that they're sex gods. :lol: I feel like Mochizuki should be held in the same regard as some of the other directors that came out of the 90ies V-Cinema scene but somehow he seems to have fallen by the wayside, both internationally (despite some festival play and a couple DVD releases) and in Japan where he was forced to return to his AV roots when other directing gigs stopped coming. My favorite film of his is The Outer Way (外道, 1998), which I wouldn't hesitate to include in any list of the best 10 Japanese films of the 90ies. That one's OOP too but, quite unlike the Wicked Reporters, it sells for about 50 yen so you probably can find it easily enough should you be so inclined.

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

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 27 Dec 2018, 01:15

Bruce Lee Against Supermen (1975)

Charmingly bonkers Bruce Li movie that reminds me of the various Turkish superhero knockoffs. Li plays "Kata" (or is it it Carter?), who is none other then Kato from The Green Hornet, in an identical costume! Some vaguely lost looking gwailo plays The Green Hornet, who hear wears a red jumpsuit, cape and matching Kato mask! Lung Fei, dressed in a black traditional Chinese suit with small white cape, is the evil Superman (no really). For fights, sleaze and 70s funk, this scores pretty highly, which is just as well as the film is otherwise nonsensical drivel. Features the most gratuiously long chase scene ever, and an awesome soundtrack feauturing Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Bob James.

5/10
Last edited by Ivan Drago on 27 Dec 2018, 11:35, edited 1 time in total.
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