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

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
Post Reply
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Gambling Den (Japan, 1967) [DVD] – 2/5
The first film in the 10 part Gambling Den series, all starring Koji Tsuruta and many of them featuring Tomisaburo Wakayma in a villain role. This opening instalment is unfortunately one of the weakest. Tsuruta is an honourable gambler who decides to help two other men (Kyôsuke Machida and comic relief Shingo Yamashiro) save two women from a yakuza run brothel. Unfortunately too much time is spent on silly humour and a straight forward story that lacks any nuance. The themes of honour and humanity are quite weak here, and the film is largely missing the "between a rock and a hard place" dynamic that is important for a good ninkyo film. There is a decent amount of gambling scenes, but they also tend to be low on tension. The final encounter with evil gang boss Seizaburô Kawazu is satisfying, however.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 25

Bodyguard Kiba (Japan, 1973) [35mm] – 2.5/5
Sonny Chiba is a karate fighter taking on the mafia in this mediocre grindhouse action film, which foreshadowed the karate film boom that started with The Street Fighter (1974). It’s a decently entertaining film with some memorable bits of ultra-violence and spaghetti western imagery, but the action is sloppily filmed and not much good can be said about storytelling. The film was re-edited and released under the title The Bodyguard (1976) in the US. The American version added some amusing bits, e.g. the Ezekiel speech quoted in Pulp Fiction, but also removed most of the karate philosophy and references to Chiba's real life master Masutatsu Oyama. In the American version Chiba becomes a bodyguard to fight criminality; in the Japanese version he goes on a rampage just to advertise the power of karate: something that makes his character an even bigger asshole.

Bodyguard Kiba 2 (Japan, 1973) [VoD] -2.5/5
Mediocre sequel is mainly notable for being the film where Chiba finally got his karate gang together. Etsuko Shomi co-stars as Kiba's sister, who is blinded in the terrific opening fight by villain Masashi Ishibashi. In a somewhat nonsensical turn (considering the first film), crime fighter Kiba employs himself as a yakuza bodyguard to collect money for his sister's eye operation. It all sounds more interesting than it is in the hands of director Ryuchi Takamori. Thankfully the film improves towards the end when Tsunehiko Watase re-joins the cast and introduces some (underdeveloped) ninkyo elements. The violent final fight is entertaining as well, though not a classic by any means. Chiba, Ishibashi and Shihomi's next collaboration would be The Street Fighter!

Image Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Gambling Den: One Lone Dragon (Japan, 1967) [DVD] – 2.5/5
The 2nd film in the series is a slight improvement over the first. This time there's less comedy, a decent supporting performance by Tetsuro Tamba, and a tattoo contest storyline that gets rather interesting towards the end. It’s also a ridiculously emotional affair, with crying and tears in every other scene. Far from the best ninkyo films, but it’s quite watchable nevertheless. Oddly enough, there’s very little gambling in the film.

Crest of the Wolf (Japan, 1973) [VoD] - 3.5/5
The first of the two live action films based on the Wolfguy manga franchise. There were two mangas being published simultaneously: "Wolfguy" and " Adult Wolfguy", aimed at youth and adult readers respectively. This movie was based on the former, which followed its werewolf hero as a bullied high school boy. It's a quite an imaginative and often atmospheric, if sometimes cheesy story that suffers from a couple of slow patches. Young Yusaku Matsuda appears as a villain. Although the material was aimed at younger readers, the films is quite bloody and features copious amounts of nudity. However, the film pales in comparison to the incredible Toei adaptation Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope (1975), which upped the sex and violence to a whole new level.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 26

The Street Fighter (Japan, 1974) [35mm] - 4.5/5
Chiba's most legendary film marked the beginning of the golden age of Japanese karate cinema. It was Japan's answer to Hong Kong's martial arts flicks, initiated by screenwriter Koji Takada who had been watching kung fu films in Hong Kong and convinced Toei producers of the genre's potential. Toei first intended it as co-production with Golden Harvest, but the Chinese did not take the bait. Perhaps Toei's understanding of a movie with international appeal -that is, Chiba killing gangsters from various foreign cultures - was not to their liking. Chiba created his unforgettable anti-hero character by using the maniac yakuza psycho he had played in Hiroshima Death Match (1973) as a model, adding a couple of redeeming qualities and his own brand of ultra violent fighting. One of the most enjoyable and badass action films of the 70s!

Return of the Street Fighter (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 3.5/5
The first sequel to The Street Fighter is a fun grindhouse film that doesn't reach the greatness of the original, but comes with superior fights. Chiba is his usual awesome self, taking down bad guys in well choreographed fight sequences full of ultra-violence and breaking bones. One of the highlights include Chiba walking away from a crime scene with a big smile on his face while a villain is burning in the flames behind him: a perfect example of an era when heroes were allowed to be villains and villains could pass for heroes. Story wise the movie is a direct copy of the original, and suffers way too many martial arts demonstrations during the first 30 minutes, but the imperfection also manage to add a tiny bit of trashy appeal that more polished productions lack.

Image Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Gambling Den: Showdown of Invulnerability (Japan, 1967) [DVD] – 2/5
The 3rd film in the series isn’t terribly bad; it’s just underwhelming on every area. There’s more gambling this time around, including several different dice games, but one gets the feeling director Ozawa is sometimes treating them as a necessary evil. It’s only towards the end that tension begins to rise; in some of the earlier scenes we are mostly treated static images of men sitting in gambling den, with little attention given to the actual game. Tomisaburo Wakayama plays the villain, but his character lacks any depth. Comedy is thankfully kept to the minimum and the film remains watchable throughout. One minor point of interest is seeing the pretty Masumi Tachibana is a small supporting role a few years before Teruo Ishii delighted the world by stripping her of unnecessary garments in the Tokugawa films.

Crime Hunter (Japan, 1989) [DVD] - 2.5/5
The very first V-Cinema production; a stripped to the bone action film about a cop avenging his partner's (the very young Riki Takeuchi) death. Running only 60 minutes, there isn't much other than action and a tiny bit of sex in the film. Most of it is mediocre, but the grande finale is a stand out with our heroes blasting bad guys away with grenade launchers and heavy machine guns - first grade weapons pornography. There's a decent bit of pleasant V-Cinema nostalgia to be had - they don't 'em like this anymore. Star Masanori Sera makes a surprisingly uncharismatic hero, though; bad guy Seiji Matano fares much better with his Yoshio Harada looks, and the real Yoshio Harada is in the film too! One interesting thing about the film is that it's not clear where it is set. The main characters are Japanese, the clubs are filled with Caucasians, the signs are in English and "Little Tokyo" is written at the side of the main character's patrol car.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 27

The Street Fighter's Last Revenge (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Unfairly bashed third film tones down the violence and goes for more laid back action fun. This time Tsurugi is a ladies man with James Bond's sex appeal and Ethan Hunt's face mask stash. Make no mistake, though, he's still pretty much an asshole who steals the mafia's money, throws an enemy fighter in the cremator, and has serious difficulties respecting women. Screenwriter Koji Takada provides some very witty dialogue and insults ("I don't give a damn if you're Fire Bird or fried chicken). Action choreography is a bit uneven, but never less than entertaining, and the final fight is quite good. The film also features the best female roles in the series, with Etsuko Shihomi and Reiko Ike looking gorgeous, and the latter managing to breathe genuine dignity and spiciness into her mafia seductress character - a small miracle on the genre. A very enjoyable film although obviously no match for the unforgettable original; just don't go in expecting a bloodbath.

Image Image

Military Spy School (Japan, 1974) [VoD] -2.5/5
Another take on the Nakano Spy School which trained spies during WWII. The students were taught aikido, ninjutsu, weapons, explosives, foreign languages etc. Sonny Chiba already starred in the superb 1968 action/noir Army Intelligence 33, which was based on the same topic. This 1970s version is less successful, despite a big name cast (Chiba, Bunta Sugawara, Isao Natsuyagi etc.). Director Junya Sato adds more realism, but cuts down the action and loses the elegance of the ’68 version. This version is also more focused on the theme than any specific character, hence it doesn't really have a main character. It's not a bad movie, but one feel it should've been better considering the cast and interesting topic.
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Kôkôsei burai hikae (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 2/5
The first film in the Muramasa trilogy. These are relatively obscure films for never having been available on video, despite being Toho films based on a Kazuo Koike manga. Unfortunately, this is not an exploitation movie like most other Koike adaptations, but a comedy. Murasaki is a high school boy who gets all the girls and beats the guys with his karate and kendo skills. But he's not all that much of a badass; in fact he's just a goofy manga hero gone live action character who needs to get to Tokyo to meet his brother. On his journey he meets various silly characters, sleeps with at least half dozen girls, beats an all-gaijin girls' motorcycle gang, and makes some money. Harmless mainstream / family friendly entertainment with some laughs and nostalgia, and quite a few pairs of boobs.

Running in Madness, Dying in Love (Japan, 1969) [DVD] - 2/5
Koji Wakamatsu has always been hit and miss for me, some of this social commentaries coming out very powerful (e.g. Shinjuku Mad), and some, such as this, feeling too theatrical. The film opens with a young man participating in violent anti-government protests, then returning home where things get out of hand and his policeman brothers ends with a bullet in his stomach. He escapes with his brother's young and suicidal wife. The story and characters are just an excuse for leftist director Wakamatsu's political monologue. It's nice to see filmmakers with so much to say, but he should've focused more on the cinematic aspects. The landscapes are appealing, though, especially towards the end when the characters arrive Hokkaido.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 28

The Executioner (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 3.5/5
By mid 1974 karate films had proven so popular that even directors who didn't want work with the genre were ordered to make some. Such was the case with madman Teruo Ishii, who made The Executioner one of Chiba's trashiest pictures. The hit squad flick features ninja descendant Chiba, ex-cop Makoto Sato, and death row convict Eiji Go hired to wipe out a drug cartel. Ishii was bored with the project, so he filled it with extreme violence, sex, and crude jokes - and let's not even get started with the hilariously degrading treatment of every single female character in the film. It's not a pretty movie, but that's exactly where it's appeal lies.

Sister Street Fighter (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 4/5
Toei extended their winning formula to an unrelated, but wonderfully entertaining sister series that gave the 18 year old Etsuko Shihomi her first starring role. The non-stop cavalcade of semi-sleaze and delightfully violent martial arts follows Shihomi battling a drug syndicate lead by a flamboyant madman (Bin Amatsu), whose "hobby" is beautiful women and evil martial arts masters. While not as fast as Chiba, Shihomi made an instant impression by performing all of her stunts and fighting. Chiba has a wonderful supporting role. The lack of strong plot is the only real weakness. Oh, and for those wondering why Shihomi's character is Chinese; that's because the role was originally written for Angela Mao.

Image Image

Fantastic US trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPqUL9dCc9c

"The fear is real."
"The love is real."
"The odds are unbelievable."


"She's a one woman death squad. He's a one man army. They won't be hard to find. There will be a trail of bodies leading right to them."
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

The Criminals 5: The Teenager's Nightmare (Hong Kong, 1977) - 2.5/5
Crime / exploitation film made of two short stories by Mou Tun Fei (Lost Souls) and Kuei Chih Hung (The Killer Snakes). Mou's episode is a rather decent, but unexceptional drama about two youngsters who find a bagful of guns and try to take a shortcut to riches. Kuei's episode is an odd cops vs. serial rapist exploitation thriller with frustrating comedic undertones. It's has an exceptionally sleazy attitude - all the (frequently naked) victims are underage - despite not being nearly as graphic as similar Japanese films. One could also do with less over-acting. The best thing about both episodes is the modern, urban Hong Kong that plays a role as important as any of the characters.

Chônôryoku kenkyûbu no 3 nin (Japan, 2014) [VoD] - 2/5
Nobuhiro Yamashita is no stranger to cinematic experiments, but this goes to a whole new level. It started with Shinji Imaoka contributing a screenplay for a high school girl sci-fi film. Kosuke Mukai then wrote a fake documentary screenplay about the making of that movie (which had not been filmed yet). Yamashita hired three idols to star in the sci-fi film, without telling them he was also filming the faux-documentary at the same time. He then had a small army of other actors pretend to be filmmakers, agents, and other crew, to have the girls believe they were making a sci-fi film. The outcome is an odd, but overlong and rather cheap experiment with occasional moments of genius.
The best part features Yamashita working his magic to get a solid performance out of one of the girls by having her co-stars insult her real personality rather than the character she plays, evoking a genuine and spirited response.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 29

The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno (Japan, 1974) [35mm] - 4/5
Much to director Teruo Ishii's shock, his previous, reluctant attempt at a karate film was a hit and Toei ordered him to make a sequel. Ishii responded by turning it into a madcap action comedy. There isn't quite as much action this time around since half of the film consists of Chiba (asshole ninja), Makoto Sato (asshole ex-cop) and Eiji Go (asshole pervert) taking the piss out of each other and molesting Yutaka Nakajima. The jokes are crude but funny, the soundtrack is fantastic, and there’s some great action at the end of the film. Oh, and this is the film that features Chiba saving his pal, whose clothes have caught fire, by pissing on him. Top grade entertainment.

Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope (Japan, 1975) [35mm] – 4.5/5
Sonny Chiba is a karate skilled crime reporter who also happens to be a werewolf in this incredibly entertaining action film. Chiba begins investigating a series of ultra-brutal murders in which members of a rock band have been slaughtered by a woman with supernatural powers. The film begins as a psychedelic city noir, then transcends into a science fiction film with mysterious research labs, and eventually reaches for mythical tones as Chiba returns to his birth town in the mountains. It’s packed with unbelievable scenarios such as werewolf vs. werewolf karate fight, a werewolf being created surgically by doctors, and Chiba pulling off the prison bars with his bare hands. It's bloody as hell and comes with copious amounts sex and nudity as well. Simply put, this is the most outrageous film Sonny Chiba has ever done! I saw it three times on the same day!

Image Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Garm Wars: The Last Druid (Japan, 2014) [DCP] - 3/5
Mamoru Oshii's live action sci-fi fantasy was quite universally panned upon its release. That wasn't necessarily without a reason, but as usual, I found it quite interesting. Oshii has created an entire fantasy universe with its own mythology, strange creatures, odd technology and confusing terminology. It takes a bit of effort from the viewer to even get a grasp of what's going on. It could be described as cheap CGI fantasy - it is a far cry from the likes of Ghost in the Shell - but it's strangely watchable at the same time. It certainly feels like an Oshii film, Kenji Kawai's score is beautiful as usual. Mélanie St-Pierre, Lance Henriksen and Kevin Durand star - yep, it's an English language movie.

The Criminals 4: Assault (Hong Kong, 1977) - 2.5/5
An earlier instalment in the Criminals series, this time two with episodes directed by Sun Chung (The Human Lanterns) and Kuei Chih Hung (The Killer Snakes). Chung's episode is the better of the two: an exploitation melodrama of a gambler who sells his wife to brothel. A standard story for the most part, but it features some great filming locations and a powerful ending. Kuei's more exploitative episode follows a crazed criminal/rapist kidnapping women. It delivers some sleaze, but doesn't contain the quality often associated with Kuei's name. For some reason, it seems like the majority of the footage was shot using under cranking.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 30

Bullet Train (Japan, 1975) [35mm] - 4/5
Toei anticipated Speed (1994) by nearly two decades with this excellent thriller starring Ken Takakura as a criminal who plants a bomb on a bullet train and demands money from the government. If the speed falls below 80km / hour, the train will explode. Director Junya Sato does fine job helming a character driven thriller with well crafted villains, whose acts are understandable though not acceptable. Takakura especially is very good at making his character human. Action scenes are few, but expertly executed. The ultra-funky 1970s score feels out of place at first, but once you get used to it, you can't imagine the movie without it. Sonny Chiba has a small supporting role as the desperate train pilot.

Killing Machine (Japan, 1975) [DVD] - 4/5
Sonny Chiba stars as Doshin So, the founder of Shaolin Karate, in this superb martial arts film set immediately after WWII. It was the first of the many martial arts biopics made in 1975 that brought the genre to a higher level by focusing not only on the violent mayhem, but also on the more philosophical aspect of martial arts. This one was easily one of Chiba's best directed movies with excellent pacing, strong focus on a well written storyline, and a very good leading performance by Chiba. There may be a few crying orphan child too much, but a bit of melodrama only works to the film's benefit and there's a suitably epic feel to the film. The production values are better than in most Chiba films, with limited but entirely functional sets capturing the atmosphere of the mid-1940s Japan. The fight scenes are terrific as well: fast, hard hitting and filmed with steady hands. Highly recommended.

Image Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Small break from Chiba reviews as my other reviews are piling up. More Chiba to come soon

Godzilla: Resurgence (Japan, 2016) [DCP] - 2/5
A rather disappointing film by director/writer Hideaki Anno, whose track record as a brilliant analyst of troubled and alienated characters (Ritual), and as a strong social critic (Love & Pop) with antipathies for adults and the government (Evangelion), had us expect something special. Unfortunately this is as far from the Anno we know as possible. It's 25 minutes of action and 95 minutes of talking heads in a government conference room. Oddly enough the heads belong to legions of uninteresting politicians and researchers, leaving the film without a main character other than collective "Japan". There are some semi-interesting themes concerning Japanese politics, and references to recent natural disasters are effective, but the character depth is zero and the pro-government approach very unexpected from Anno. Special effects are good whenever old school effects dominate, but there are some poor CGI segments as well.

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 34

Coed Report: Yuko's White Breasts (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 3/5
An early Roman Porno melodrama about a high school girl's first sexual experiences with her teacher and a female classmate. Considerably tame by the genre's later standards, there is however certain charming innocence and a genuine attempt at making a real movie. The film does not possess especially high quality, but Kondo's directing is rather energetic and the old fashioned score adds to the nostalgic feeling. The movie was the debut film for the cute and big breasted Yuko Katagiri, whose naivety and limited acting skills were best suited for playing this kind of innocent characters.

Image Image

Amorous Family: Like a Fox and a Racoon (Japan, 1972) [DCP] - 1/5
It is odd that Noboru Tanaka, one of the most talented arthouse directors who worked in the Roman Porno series, is responsible for possibly the most nerve shattering comedy the genre ever produced. It's about a family who are all after the dead-sick grandmother's hidden family jewels. Leading girl Mari Tanaka aside, all characters are amazingly irritating cartoon caricatures constantly goofing around and making the viewer feel suicidal. This is the first time in 10 years that I've slept in cinema, and it was entirely intentional as I just couldn't take it anymore. Terrible, absolutely terrible.
Killer Meteor
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2309
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

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

Post by Killer Meteor »

Snake Deadly Act (1980)

Not bad old-school kung fu flick, mainly worth checking out for Fung Hark-on in one of his best roles. Wilson Tong also shines.

7/10
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.
User avatar
Markgway
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 20119
Joined: 18 Feb 2005, 02:04

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

Post by Markgway »

One of the precious few rares that was actually worth checking out... ;)
Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

The Friends (Japan, 1994) [TV] - 2/5
Shinji Somai was a genius director in the 80s, and while he made many good films even after that, his approach started becoming softer after Taifu Club (1985). This is another coming of age film; this time about three elementary school boys who are obsessed with the concept of death. They start spying on an old man living in the neighbourhood, figuring the man must be just a few steps away from the grave. Of course it eventually leads to an unexpected friendship. Not really a bad movie - I could imagine many viewers quite liking it - but it does feel very television-like and I personally didn't find it all that interesting.

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 35

Kinpatsu Animal (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 1/5
There was a short lived trend of casting foreign actresses in Japanese sexploitation films in the early 70s. Nikkatsu even had a number of movies filmed in Sweden by Japanese crews and fully Swedish casts. This was one of them. The storyline is about two Swedish couples who have troubles and end up having sex with each others' partners. The end. The screenplay must not have been more than 3 pages. It is a bore, but at least comes with some nice early 70s footage of Swedish discos, streets and funny hairstyles.

Sex Rider: Wet Highway (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 3/5
An early Roman Porno / Nikkatsu Action hybrid void of any logic. The film follows a lowlife who pretends to be dead after being hit by a female driver. She proceeds to dump his body in a lake, only to have him come to rescue a moment later when she's attacked by a horny hunter. He saves her, kills the assailant, and hits the dead body with a duck. That scene marks the beginning of one of the most nonsensical, yet oddly fascinating psychological road movie character relationships of all time. There is a superb scene with the mismatched couple defying death by speeding down the mountain road while having sex behind the wheel near the end. This, and several other stylish scenes, are inserted into a narrative that is ridiculous more often than not.

Image Image
Killer Meteor
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2309
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

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

Post by Killer Meteor »

Shaolin Red Master (1978)

Passable Taiwanese offering, with Chi Kuan Chun taking on a scary Tibetan Lama (Tommy Lee). Enough action and spooky hijinx, with the usual sampling of cool music scores *, for a pleasant evening's entertainment.

6/10

* Spy Who Loved Me, Carrie, Exorcist II, Roots
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Black Panther Bitch M (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 3/5
Reiko Ike is a ninja trained assassin in this Nikkatsu produced action film, which came out just the right time. Toei's Pinky Violence was starting to wane out while karate films were the new thing. Black Panther Bitch M was a bit of both. The film hit the screens just two weeks before Sister Street Fighter. Limited production values and some slow patches set this apart from the best Toei action films, but there are some atmospheric parts and nice bits of ultra violence as Ike takes out her opponents using knives and sadistic martial arts moves. Ike also looks absolutely gorgeous in her frequently malfunctioning blouse that clearly wasn't intended to for hand-to-hand battle. Supporting cast is mostly Toei actors, including karate master Masashi Ishibashi.

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 36

High School Girl (Japan, 1979) - 2/5
A disappointing follow up from director Kichitaro Negishi, whose debut From Orion's Testimony: Formula For Murder (1978) helped push Roman Porno to trendier waters. A couple of things work here. Much like in Orion's Testimony, Negishi manages an interesting non-sexual relationship which involves the protagonist and a middle aged TV screenwriter (non-sexual until the wife walks in, misunderstands, leaves in fury, and then he goes "oh well, I guess we can just go ahead and do it now"). There are some other fun and breezy moments, but ultimately the film feels a bit empty and pointless, and doesn't escape "supporting character sex" used as filler footage. The film is on Nikkatsu's "banned list": withdrawn from distribution to respect actress Machiko Ohtani's wishes.

Rope Sisters: Strange Fruit (Japan, 1984) [VoD] - 3/5
It is not often that a Nikkatsu SM film manages to retain my interest, but when they do, it's usually due to psychological depth or visual style. This one's got a bit of both. Screenwriter Takashi Ishii complained, according to Weisser, that his script was stripped of all the nuance, but what remains on screen is still more interesting than what the genre usually offers. The film opens with bullied salaryman Muraki stumbling into a small park one evening. He finds an injured half naked high school girl lying on the ground, and her sister hanging unconscious from a tree on ropes. He has no idea what he is getting himself into as he tries to help them. Refreshingly original at first, the film takes a more conventional turn during its second half, but remains relatively well made interesting.

Image Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Linda Linda Linda (Japan, 2005) [35mm] - 4.5/5
This is the rare Japanese mainstream debut by a celebrated indie champion that isn't a compromise or a total sell-out. It is nothing short of amazing how effortlessly slacker comedy specialist Nobuhiro Yamashita brings his dry humour and leisure pacing into a mainstream crowd pleaser about four high school girls who must learn to play a punk rock song for a school festival. Yamashita gets tremendous performances from his young stars, especially Bae Doona as the Korean exchange student. There was a another music film released the same year, Nana, which is utter trash compared to this.

Although I could not stay till the end of the event, it was great finally seeing Aki Maeda live after the film. She was a charming girl at the time of filming in 2004, and now 12 years later she's become an equally charming and beautiful 31 year old woman.

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 37

Female Teacher (Japan, 1977) [DVD] - 2/5
A commercially successful, but underwhelming re-start of the Female Teacher series. A music teacher is raped by her students, which kicks off a series of events that lead to murders and kidnapping. This is one of the few Roman Porno films that actually deal with the psychological and social consequences of rape in other that purely exploitative way. Unfortunately, it still doesn't hold up as a drama, and at 100 minutes it runs way too long. The first and final third work, but the middle part drags quite a bit.

Girl's Pleasure: Man Hunting (Japan, 1977) [35mm] - 4/5
A very stylish, skilfully written and unpredictable character drama and revenge film that escapes easy classification. A wife is raped in front of her husband's eyes, while the teenage sister witnesses everything from a staircase. The sister has her own teenage stress, and a best friend who falls in love with an American afro soldier who's got something wrong with his head. The shifting character focus and the use of unlikely encounters echoes 1990s Tarantino, and the violent ending turns the usual Roman Porno gender roles upside down. As typical to director Toshiya Fujita, the film is packed with music, pop culture, and social relevance, and features very good supporting performances by Keizo Kanie (painter) and Akira Takahashi (rapist). Poor acting by the lead girls, and rape scenes that go on forever, are the only liabilities. The script, by a 25 year old female writer Machiko Nasu, was discovered via Nikkatsu screenwriting competition.

Image Image
User avatar
Markgway
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 20119
Joined: 18 Feb 2005, 02:04

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

Post by Markgway »

Pluto (2012-South Korea) ***
Gripping, jet-black satire; a condemnation of the territory's brutally competitive education system.
Falls short of greatness, lacking the storytelling clarity required for it to really hit home.
Image
User avatar
Richardrli
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 13
Joined: 12 Aug 2016, 12:35
Location: Australia

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

Post by Richardrli »

Has anyone seen this film? http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?i ... ay_set=eng I can't even find the torrent on Asian DVD Club, but it is availabe for sale at Far East Flix. Is it really that obscure? Anyone who may have seen this care to comment?
User avatar
Markgway
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 20119
Joined: 18 Feb 2005, 02:04

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

Post by Markgway »

I haven't seen it, but it's on my 'to do' list.

I believe it's either a re-title or re-edit of this film:

http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?i ... ay_set=eng
Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Kanto Woman Yakuza (Japan, 1968) [VoD] - 3.5/5
Nikkatsu Noir meets Girl Gang Films at Daiei. Michio Yasuda, one of the studio's few female action stars, leads a group of three girls who make their living playing on the clubs. They soon run into trouble with the yakuza. The film has a phenomenally energetic opening with great music, fantastic cinematography and Yasuda kicking ass. It's just a shame the storyline gradually takes a more conservative turn with emphasis shifted towards the male characters, who do the dirty work in the climax. It's still a very stylish film with superb cinematography and amazing moments where director Akira Inoue sets scenes to a blazing rock score. The film also does great job capturing the streets and clubs populated by the lower class. This is a small discovery, although more noirish and down to earth than the likes of Stray Cat Rock that would make a passable comparison point.

Image Image

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 38

Hard Scandal: Sex Drifter (Japan, 1980) [DVD] - 2.5/5
A strangely uneven film from director Noboru Tanaka. Horny junior high school boy (!) falls in love with an older girl (Ako) and eventually becomes a cross dressing hippie. It all works pretty well, with energetic audiovisual delivery and good performances. Co-star Ako has a fascinating presence; it's a shame she only appeared in a handful of movies. Unfortunately that's only half of the movie. The other half focuses on the boy's swapping crazy parents. The only reason for them to be in the film is to add "supporting character sex", something usually used by bad directors/screenwriters when the main storyline isn't sexy enough.

Gigolo: A Docu-Drama (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 1/5
I once considered Koyu Ohara one of Nikkatsu's best filmmakers for movies like Pink Hip Girl (1978). It later came evident, however, that he was merely one of the most talented. A lot of time he did not make full use of his talent, as he did not seem the care much. Gigolo: A Docu-Drama is a case in point, a poorly written film about a bunch of young Shinjuku gigolos trying to sleep with as many women as possible. There is no plot, no memorable characters, and no attempt to make it anything more than cheap junk except for two scenes with catchy pop music. Even the name is misleading; there is little reason to call this a "docu-drama" as it looks and feels entirely fictional as it surely is.
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

The Great Chase (Japan, 1975) [35mm] - 2/5
Norifumi Suzuki seems to have directed this movie with his left hand, resulting in Etsuko Shihomi's weakest karate film. Shihomi is a race driver and undercover detective whose specialty is disguising herself as an old woman (which is exactly as funny as it sounds like). Fight choreography is surprisingly sloppy, with only the final 10 minutes providing some worthwhile moves and stunts. Standard scrip does things by the book, except for an awesome "rapist in a bear suit" villain. On the positive side, the film remains surprisingly watchable despite lacking high quality.

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 39

White Rose Campus: Then Everybody Gets Raped (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 3/5
Seminal early 80's Roman Porno sleaze with three rapists hijacking a bus full of high school girls. Best scene: the hijackers let all the ugly girls go - and some of them are clearly offended by it. Uneven director Koyu Ohara does pretty good job keeping the film moving at brisk pace and building tension, especially in the early scenes that have an almost horror film like atmosphere. However, there are also some boring bits, and while the execution is solid, it's still unexceptional.

Beautiful Wrestlers: Down For the Count (Japan, 1984) [VoD] - 1.5/5
The world's one and only professional wrestling Roman Porno. Imagine Hulk Hogan as a bunch of Japanese girls and you've a pretty accurate image of the film. The opening and closing parts are so ridiculous that you really wish the rest would be as good. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The film's extended middle third is a tiresome sex marathon that is damn difficult to survive without fast forwarding. Shame, as the film has its moments.

Image Image
User avatar
moonleek
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 14
Joined: 14 Sep 2016, 20:00

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

Post by moonleek »

Ivan Drago wrote:Shaolin Red Master (1978)

Passable Taiwanese offering, with Chi Kuan Chun taking on a scary Tibetan Lama (Tommy Lee). Enough action and spooky hijinx, with the usual sampling of cool music scores *, for a pleasant evening's entertainment.

6/10

* Spy Who Loved Me, Carrie, Exorcist II, Roots
I agree this is a decent movie. The end fights are awesome, and also the opening training fight, but the full screen kills it for me. It seems to cut off more of the screen than your average full screen job. What I find most interesting about this movie is that Chi Kuan Chun says that it is his favorite movie that he starred in. He says this on the Enter the Iron Fist documentary, which is basically a behind the scenes look at an unreleased kung fu movie from rapper RZA.
User avatar
Markgway
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 20119
Joined: 18 Feb 2005, 02:04

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

Post by Markgway »

Ran -- I know this is a beloved masterpiece from Kurosawa, but I gave up after an hour. Just couldn't get into it. Didn't care about the characters.
Image
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

The Blossom and the Sword (Japan, 1973) [35mm] - 4/5
Tai Kato's early 20th century set yakuza epic about an ordinary merchant girl (Yoko Maki) who crosses paths with an assassin (Tetsuya Watari). The encounter sends her to jail as a suspected accomplice. Years later she marries a yakuza boss, whose gang is affiliated with working class people. The boss is wounded by the same assassin, who however has a change of heart when his own boss (Bin Amatsu) turns out a rotten bastard, and he falls in love with the woman. There are some slow patches and unnecessary humour during the first half - the film was released in two halves with an intermission - but the second half is tremendous. Although Kato is more interested in characters and revealing the oppression of common people than filming stylised yakuza mayhem, he ends the film with a fight scene featuring one of the most striking images in recent memory, with fatally wounded Watari and Amatsu fighting for their lives in the background while another dying man is crawling in right towards the camera and spitting blood.

Image Image

Roman Porno treasure hunt: part 40

Entrails of a Virgin (Japan, 1986) [VoD] - 1/5
Few people realize this miserable Gaira film was a Roman Porno release. Some years earlier Nikkatsu might not have approved it for its nature, or quality. It's about a nude modelling shoot, which turns into a massacre when a horny killer demon attacks the crew at a guesthouse. An utterly inept sex / horror romp with sleazy but boring sex making most of the running time. Once the splatter finally begins, the effects are laughably bad even by b-film standards. The whole production feels like an amateur film, only shot on film instead of video.

Entrails of a Beautiful Woman (Japan, 1986) [VoD] - 1/5
This sequel is actually a slight improvement over the original, which isn't saying much. Nor does it mean the film is watchable. However, this time there are proper make up effects, a decent monster, and some relatively well done gore effects. Too bad it's again boring as hell with endless sex scenes.
User avatar
moonleek
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 14
Joined: 14 Sep 2016, 20:00

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

Post by moonleek »

Ip Man 3- yet another below average new kung fu movie. It's not too bad I guess. At least it's better than Ip man 2. The more new kung fu movies I see, the more I realize that I need to stick with the oldies.
User avatar
Richardrli
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 13
Joined: 12 Aug 2016, 12:35
Location: Australia

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

Post by Richardrli »

Who's the actress that fights Moon Lee on the train in IRON ANGELS 3 and gets killed by Lee? She wore a white hat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7H1JPLb-K4
Appears from 9:07 till 14:19
User avatar
moonleek
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 14
Joined: 14 Sep 2016, 20:00

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

Post by moonleek »

Good question. I'm not sure if she's ever been identified.
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 11353
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

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

Post by HungFist »

Nihon no Sex jyudan: Hihashi nihon hen (Japan, 1971) [35mm] - 1/5
Pink film director Mamoru Watanabe's low budget accounting of a rapist murderer who left 4 women dead in the 1960s. No budget, no ambition, no exploitative edge, this is a real struggle to make it till the end.

Karate Kill (Japan, 2016) [DCP] - 3/5
It's hard to imagine anyone getting bored with Gun Woman director Kurando Mitsutake's karate film. There's almost nothing but karate, violence, and boobs on display. New face Hayate stars: he's one of those guys whose muscles are bigger than his charisma. Impressive karate, quite clearly captured on camera, but one does feel Mitsutake should've exploited the martial arts angle even more with more training scenes, philosophy, and tougher opponents. One also wishes he had refrained from CGI blood in gunplay scenes. Compared to Gun Woman, this one has better production values but also less innovative plot concept and slightly less energetic execution. Entertaining low budget fun that feels like a good DTV production, but could've been better.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 31

Karate Bullfighter (Japan, 1975) [35mm] – 4/5
Sonny Chiba plays his own master Masutatsu Oyama is this excellent karate biopic. Based on Ikki Kajiwara comics rather that proven facts, the film is packed with memorable comic book scenarios to the extent of feeling rather episodic. Apparently master Oyama did not mind being portrayed as a brute and an "accidental rapist" - all of which worked to the film's benefit. Chiba is at the top of his game as a martial artist, and it's a shame that the otherwise excellent fights suffer from some shaky camerawork. Chiba also fights a real bull in the film - the real Oyama is claimed to have beaten 100 bulls with his bare hands.

Karate Bearfighter (Japan, 1975) [DVD] – 4/5
A very enjoyable sequel packs loads of action but almost no plot. Chiba is his usual badly behaving self as Oyama, who seems not have learned anything from the previous film's events, and all the better for it. When he isn't working as yakuza bodyguard, he's picking up fights at local dojos. He finally gets a grip of himself and travels to Hokkaido, where he befriends a little boy, but enemies won't leave him alone. He also agrees to fight a bear for money. Unlike in the previous film where he battled a real bull, this time we're treated a remarkably unconvincing man in a bear suit. Action is fast, fierce and plentiful, but once again slightly hurt by shaky camerawork. The biggest issue in the otherwise entertaining film is the lack of plot, which leaves the film without a clear aim and sometimes makes the storyline a bit uninteresting.

Image Image
Post Reply