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

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

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chazgower01 wrote: 16 Sep 2023, 03:53 Daughter of Darkness (滅門慘案之孽殺) (Hong Kong, 1993) Recorded File from Ocean Shores Laser Disc 3/5
chazgower01 wrote: 18 Sep 2023, 03:43 Daughter of Darkness 2 (灭门惨案2:借种) (Hong Kong, 1994) Copy from Laser Disc 3/5
I'm not a big fan of box sets, but a BD box set full of these slightly lesser early 90s CAT films would be a dream come true. I'm sure there are many fun films I don't even know about (I have seen both of the films above though, and would also rate them 3/5).

At least Red to Kill and Run and Kill are coming to BD soon.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Umi no jôji ni kakero (海の情事に賭けろ) (Japan, 1960) [35mm] – 2.5/5
Japan's James Dean Keiichiro Akagi stars in this mediocre Nikkatsu action film made only 5 months before his untimely death at the age of 21. This actually seems more interesting at first than it turns out to be, opening much like a Sun Tribe picture with a bunch hedonistic youngsters at sea. They save an injured young man (Akagi) from the water, which is when the film takes a turn to standard mystery action. The man is a reporter who was almost killed after being mistaken for someone else. He decides to find out what's going on and why the yakuza have hired a hitman to get rid of someone who shares a face with him. It turns out – spoiler incoming – he's got an identical twin he never knew about. Melodrama ensues. The film’s old fashioned charm, pretty colour cinematography and of course Akagi keep the film entirely watchable, even though it’s hardly more than a standard programmer.

Kanto Street Peddlers Clan: Shallow Clan Honor (関東テキヤ一家 浅草の代紋) (Japan, 1971) [Streaming] – 3/5
Norifumi Suzuki headed to pinkier pastures with his newfound muse Reiko Ike (something this film makes very obvious by featuring a billboard for the first Girl Boss film in one scene), leaving this fifth and final entry in Takashi Harada's somewhat mediocre hands. He had already worked with Bunta Sugawara several times in the Wicked Priest sequels. He helms this film in similar fashion, without much originality, but hitting the genre notes with action, comedy, and some nudity in a very Suzuki esque context when Sugawara's boys try to make money with nude photos. Hiroki Matsukata makes a series debut playing the usual conflicted foe/fried character whose incarnation can be found in every entry in the series, but it is Noboru Ando as a retired gangster with a mysterious past who gets the film's best role. Now, as stated there's not much originality to the film... until the fantastic climax where Takada somehow manages to do western and slasher in one scene, before taking the bloodshed to an eerily desolate early morning city street. Great ending to a pretty good film, and a fitting farewell to the entire series.

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

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The Shootist (Japan, 1989) [DVD] - 1.5/5
Haruo Ichikura's V-Cinema flick is about a baby-faced hitman (Toru Nakamura) who sometimes shoots people with a rifle but spends most of the 97 minutes (!) of this production romancing some antiquities professor's assistant while stock jazz music blares on the soundtrack. There's maybe 2 minutes worth of what you could call action in this entire thing, which was disappointing. A small positive are the practical squib effects but when a total of 5 people get shot in your film that doesn't help all that much and certainly doesn't make up for the crushing boredom in between.

Kubi (Japan, 2023) [DCP] - 4/5
Takeshi Kitano's new film comes out Japan next month, but I was lucky enough to see it early at a film festival. It's an entertaining film which, judging by the conversations I overheard afterwards, may challenge Western audiences with the sheer number of characters and allegiances you have to keep straight. I will gladly accept corrections from those more familiar with Japanese society than myself but simply going by how ubiquitous this story is in popular culture, the assassination/death of Nobunaga Oda kind of has to be something that the average Japanese watcher would be intimately familiar with. A pivotal historical moment, coming after more than 100 years of civil war, where everyone knows that it happened but nobody seems to quite agree on the how and/or why of it. The film actually holds the audience's hand more than I expected, going so far as to introduce each relevant character via on-screen text, but even so it'll be tough for anyone who's not at least read up on the events and time period on Wikipedia beforehand to keep track of everyone and why who does what to whom. Anyway, even with that hurdle in the way, the film still works very well for all of its 130 minute runtime thanks to Kitano's trademark and much appreciated ability to break up serious proceedings with deadpan black humor. The first example in this film comes after Nobunaga Oda (Ryo Kase) makes Murashige Araki (Kenichi Endo) suck candy off a sword and then proceeds to tongue his bleeding mouth. "As someone who grew up in a rural village, I find this behaviour kind of troubling." Cracked up all 400 people in the sold out theater and it wouldn't be the last time. Kitano's Hideyoshi Hashiba absolutely is a comedic relief character despite maybe being the most ruthless motherfucker in the whole film. Meaning, obviously, that Kitano is Kitano in a Kitano film. Oh, that thing about Nobunaga sucking Murashige's bloody mouth? Yes, this film has a lot of gay elements. Homosexuality among samurai is a historic fact but it's not something you regularily see featured in jidaigeki. So seeing Nobunaga Oda actually ejaculating in another man's ass before asking famed (and historically well documented) black samurai Yasuke (Jun Soejima) for a massage may surprise some viewers. It's certaily an angle from which I personally haven't seen this particular event examined before. Between all the homosexual romance, graphic gay sex and a black samurai, I hope there'll be at least one KITANO IS WOKE NOW meltdown from someone for my amusement. Especially since it's Yasuke who ultimately beheads Nobunaga after calling him a "yellow bastard". What the film has more of than sex and backstabbing intrigue is violence. It starts with the kanji of the title (which translates to "head" or "neck") getting "beheaded" and then cuts to crabs crawling out of the neck stump of a beheaded warrior lying in a river. To say this is a violent film would be kind of an understatement. Which brings me to one of the few things I disliked: CGI blood and CGI beheadings. Not comically terrible like in your average DTV schlock but they're still too noticeable and somehow even more jarring in a period film like this. This was clearly not a cheap production and I wish they'd gone the extra mile and handled those handful of scenes practically or just opted not to show the actual act. Other than that I can't really think of any negative things to say. The acting is excellent across the board, CGI blood nonsense aside, the production values are high and there's enough action, dark humor, intrigue and drama to make you not notice the 130 minute running time. Just maybe brush up on or familiarize yourself with the the historical background first to get the most out of the film.

Mad Fate (Hong Kong, 2023) [DCP] - 1.5/5
A fortune teller struggling with his own sanity predicts a troubled young man with violent tendencies will end up in prison for murder and tries to save him from his fate, while a serial killer butchers women around town. Johnnie To was listed as executive producer for Soi Cheang's film, which is what got me interested initially, even though I gave up on modern Hong Kong cinema years and years ago. Unfortunately, the film lost me after about 20 minutes due to all the bug-eyed overacting, excessive screeching and the absolutely worst CGI cat in the history of cinema. I wanted to get up and run out of the theater every time that fucking cat made an appearance. But I endured it all, hating myself for it.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Incorrigible (悪太郎) (Japan, 1963) [35mm] – 2.5/5
One of Seijun Suzuki's less recognizable and more studio friendly efforts, a standard biopic drama depicting the (not so) wild youth of celebrated author and monk Toko Kon, based on his autobiographical novel. The Taisho era set film is relatively well made, but not particularly interesting. The 35mm black and white print the film screened from on the other hand was drop dead gorgeous.

Female Convict Yakuza (女囚やくざ) (Japan, 1974) [TV] – 3.5/5
Reiko Ike made her final delinquent girl appearance in this atmospheric crime drama released in the waning days of Pinky Violence (*). The general impression at the time was that Ike was getting a bit old for delinquent girl roles, which is probably why she’s taking a back seat role here to pass the torch. Yuko Horikoshi and Tsunehiko Watase play bank robbers who are thrown in jail (not actual prison) where they meet Ike. She plans their escape in hopes of getting her hands on the stolen money which is being held by additional members of the gang Teppei Nagahama and (cute & subtly spunky) Kyoko Naito who are in the hiding. The police, a jealous accomplice from the bank, and a small yakuza gang lead by Harumi Sone are also after the money. This film was intended as the first in a new series (as confirmed by the trailer) that never materialized beyond the opening picture, which is a bit of a shame. Though the film is low key, low budget and largely void of the adrenaline rush found in the best Pinky Violence films, it works quite well as an atmospheric crime drama following a group of social outcasts hiding from the police. The group dynamic comes through well and Ike in particular is surprisingly good in a role that mainly involves her hanging out bored in the background. Lead Horikoshi on the other hand is a bit of a flop with a bland presence that led to no further starring roles (holding on to her robes probably didn’t increase her market value either). Things didn’t work out any better for Masahide Shinozuka, a long time assistant director helming his first and last own picture here.

* The golden age of Pinky Violence came to a rapid end in early 1974 when karate movies replaced them as Toei’s most popular B-films in theatrical double bills. Premiering on March 1, 1974, one month after The Street Fighter had initiated the domestic karate film boom, Female Convict Yakuza perhaps never stood much of a chance at the box office.

Additional note: though the film’s kanji title is Joshu yakuza (Female Convict Yakuza), the furigana reads Suke yakuza (Girl Yakuza).

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

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HungFist wrote: 28 Sep 2023, 16:15
chazgower01 wrote: 16 Sep 2023, 03:53 Daughter of Darkness (滅門慘案之孽殺) (Hong Kong, 1993) Recorded File from Ocean Shores Laser Disc 3/5
chazgower01 wrote: 18 Sep 2023, 03:43 Daughter of Darkness 2 (灭门惨案2:借种) (Hong Kong, 1994) Copy from Laser Disc 3/5
I'm not a big fan of box sets, but a BD box set full of these slightly lesser early 90s CAT films would be a dream come true. I'm sure there are many fun films I don't even know about (I have seen both of the films above though, and would also rate them 3/5).

At least Red to Kill and Run and Kill are coming to BD soon.
Yeah, it's too bad the Chinese don't see their film history the same way the Japanese do (at least not Category III films any way), as there are a lot of interesting films in this category (amongst some very bad) that really are worth seeing!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Japan's Don (aka Yakuza War: The Japanese Don) (灭门惨案2:借种) (Japan, 1977) 2.5/5
Directed by Sadao Nakajima
I really wanted to like this, but it just ran on too long - concentrated too much on the inner workings of things - and spaced out the real action far too much. It's another, based on 'true' events of how the Yakuza rose in power during modern times (late 60's) and features an all star cast, but it just couldn't entertain well enough throughout.

Early on I didn't recognize Sonny Chiba, but his famous sneer quickly gave him away. He's not the focus here unfortunately (the 'story' is), but he's enjoyable to watch when he IS on screen. Half way through Bunta Sugawara, another of my favorites shows up, as a bad ass Kinjo crime boss - when Chiba goes to shoot him, he calmly walks toward him, pounding his own chest and saying, "Don't miss you're target!" (Unbeknownst to Chiba, Bunta is wearing a bullet proof vest).

Maki Orihara plays the daughter of the Nakijima boss, giving us maybe the only sympathetic character (as well as providing a handful of topless scenes), as she rebels against her dad - maybe her story is continued in the sequel... Her father in this, played by Shin Saburi, holds a quiet seething menace and a crime war tested danger - in complete contrast to his role that I enjoyed as the wise, thoughtful and introspective father in 'Equinox Flower' (1958) almost 20 years earlier!

I'm not sure who plays the girl with the cool tattoo that plays guitar...

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

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Violent Cop (その男、凶暴につき) (Japan, 1993) [35mm] – 3.5/5
Kitano's solid directorial debut establishes his idiosyncratic style, but is missing the magic of his later masterpieces. Viewed from a good, if slightly murky 35mm print.

Sonatine (ソナチネ) (Japan, 1993) [35mm] – 4.5/5
Kitano's 2nd best film (after his masterpiece Hana-Bi) is a laconic bubble era yakuza picture further elevated by Joe Hisaishi's genius score. The Japanese 35mm print viewed here was much more colourful than the film's BD releases or most of the old DVD releases, though I couldn’t help but to notice how motion looked unusually smooth in the projection. How odd. Viewed in September in Tokyo in a sold out encore screening following packed encore screenings in August, which followed packed encore screenings in July, which followed packed screenings in June. And I see they did encore-encore-encore-encore screenings last weekend. Tokyo just can’t get enough of this film in 2023!

Sex Rider: Injured Lust (セックス・ライダー 傷だらけの欲情) (Japan, 1973) [TV] – 3.5/5
After being near impossible to see for decades, director Koretsugu Kurahara's follow-up to his 1971 action film Sex Rider: Wet Highway has finally been unearthed. The sequel follows young outlaw couple Masafumi Shiga and Mimi Sugihara (neither one of whom seem to have any other acting credits) in an incestuous relationship trying to rebel against the word while being chased by a trigger happy detective. Kurahara, one of the young Nikkatsu action directors who refused to let go of the past even in the Roman Porno era, and veteran screenwriter Hideichi Nagahara (A Colt is My Passport, Stray Cat Rock, Hairpin Circus) construct the film as a Nikkatsu Outlaw actioner with a handful of added (compulsory) sex scenes. Grainy cityscapes and slow-motion montages dominate the first half while the second borrows more from road movies. The soundtrack is almost entirely recycled from other films and sources, but it's a hell of a mix tape. Speaking of the soundtrack, Morio Agata's Kanto hit Red Elegy plays throughout the film and is a likely inspiration for the storyline. Like the original movie, the film is a bit superficial in parts and clumsy in others, yet there's an overwhelmingly positive sense of rebellion unfolding on screen with Kurahara stubbornly crafting yet another decidedly cool action picture within the studio mandated Roman Porno frame. It may be slightly different flavour from the first film, with more urban crime film vibe, but fans of the original ought to enjoy it.

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

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E-Cup Real Action Take Two: Rich & Ripe (鍵のある風景 Eカップ豊熟) (Japan, 1989) [TV] – 3/5
When I first saw this film, I didn’t really warm up to it. Now eight months and five Toshiki Sato films later I found myself a lot more receptive to it. Though only his second theatrical release, this already contains everything expected from Sato and screenwriter Masahiro Kobayashi. Satsuki Fuji is the titular young E-cup heroine whose marriage has lost its spark with introvert husband Toru Nakane having turned into a passive roommate. She finds her fulfilment in a secret new boyfriend (Kikujiro Honda) who is however about to be transferred to Okinawa and is hoping she’d join him. Meanwhile the husband by chance comes across an old key to the wife’s former apartment, where old memories (and new inhabitants) live. He makes it a habit to visit the apartment to immerse in precious memories. Sato cuts between the boring present and the romantic past, creating subtle cinematic poetry, while also documenting the heisei era suburbs and apartments, which would become one of his most recognizable trademarks (the other being “dysfunctional couples”). Compared to some of his later films, this is a bit less refined and also comes with a rape scene (which is suggested to have been the tragic trigger behind their marriage), but it has one of the most beautiful closing shots in any Sato film. Sex is plenty, but Fuji and her assents are easy enough on the eye to make it less a drag than it might otherwise be. “Landscape with a Key” was Sato’s original title for the film, but that got changed to something more commercial upon the film’s release. Reviewed here is the R-15 version Kagi no aru fukei: E-kappu hojuku, which doesn’t seem to have an English title and is unlikely to differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version E-kappu honban II: Hojuku other than some shots in sex scenes being clearly re-framed.

In case you're wondering why I re-watched this, it was almost entirely unplanned. I just happened to turn on the TV and the film was on, with opening credits playing. I thought I’d just watch the first few scenes but 60 minutes later I was still there glued to the screen.

Delinquent Boss: Wolves on Motorcycles (良番長 やらずぶったくり) (Japan, 1971) [Streaming] – 2.5/5
Part 11. An astonishingly childish entry with several gags so bad they develop an almost surreal quality. Perhaps it's a sign of the viewer's brain starting to melt by this point in the series, but some of it actually works. Better yet, the film comes with rather functional buddy dynamics. Umemiya and others are joined by Rikiya Yasuoka, Bunta Sugawara and the always good Tsunehiko Watase. In some of the film’s best scenes it feels almost like hanging out with old idiot buddies (that you hopefully never had). We also get Yayoi Watanabe at her absolute cutest in her Toei debut (she had done one film at Nikkatsu before) and fellow Pinky Violence player Rena Ichinose in her first ever film role. Ichinose might have earned the role for her willingness to undress, something Watanabe surprisingly doesn’t do here. The plot, if you can call it that, features Umemiya’s pirate gang clashing with the yakuza who polluted fishing waters and caused a shit panic. It all leads up to a huge action finale with some inspired, though incredibly silly mayhem.

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

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All In Dim Cold Night (1974, Hong Kong) YouTube 3.5/5
dir: Yao Feng-Pan
A wealthy Lord lusts after a peasant girl, and convinces her that he’ll marry her, just so that he can have sex with her. She makes him swear, and he does, or “may he be damned.” Of course, he gets her pregnant and has no intention of marrying her.
With no money she has the baby on a cold, freezing night, but her father takes it outside to die in the cold. She follows after it and takes the baby to the Lord, who refuses to let her in. Her and the baby freeze to death in the night.
Of course, they come back as ghosts, and take their revenge! In 1974 China, they didn’t have much in the way of special effects, so they rely a lot on mood, suspense and creepiness and it works.
Good performances form everyone, this is actually a pretty decent little low budget horror movie!

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Scarred Life 2 (傷だらけの人生 古い奴でござんす) (Japan, 1972) [TV] – 3.5/5
Probably more than any other year, 1972 was the year of diminishing returns for Toei’s ninkyo formula. That shows in this enjoyable but uneven sequel to 1971’s Scarred Life as the film throws in everything and the kitchen sink. There are enough honour, duty and obligation conflicts to fill three ordinary ninkyo screenplays. Koji Tsuruta and Tomisaburo Wakayama play brothers who have ended up in different gangs, Tsuruta with the honourable Minoru Oki and Hiroyuki Nagato who are running a red light district, and Wakayama with Tatsuo Endo who is trying to overtake that area and dispatch the ladies to Manchuria as comfort women. Adding a rare and welcome layer to the film is that Endo isn’t pure evil this time, but merely pressured and frightened by powerful military figures Fumio Watanabe and Bin Amatsu. Wakayama doesn’t like where it’s going, but he owes a gratitude to both Endo and Watanabe & Amatsu in addition to standing up for his own honour after good guy Nagato caused him to lose face. And as if that wasn’t enough, he even grows jealous of Tsuruta who is getting along a bit too well with Wakayma’s lady. It’s an entertaining, highly melodramatic tale that one feels could’ve been master class if toned down and helmed by someone like Kosaku Yamashita. Instead, it landed in the hands of Shigehiro Ozawa. With more than 30 ninkyo films under his belt, he was one of Toei’s most trusted however not quite most skilled directors. Under his direction big emotions overwhelm smaller nuances, making this a loud, entertaining and borderline silly example of Toei’s ninkyo formula dialled up to 11.

Delinquent Boss: Smooth Talking, Good Fighting (不良番長 手八丁口八丁) (Japan, 1971) [Streaming] – 2.5/5
Part 12. This is another incredibly silly entry, though it manages to be more amusing than most. There's a dynamite opening with Umemiya's pirate gang (who get killed in almost every film, but are resurrected for each sequel) steal bikes, sabotage police property and finally get their asses kicked by Flower Meg's red dressed biker chick gang. None of this has much to do with the rest of the film where the boys proceed to act in a number of conman jobs (including sex therapist), gang rape Junko Ohara in a comedy scene, and even meet Chuji Kunisada in the forest. Somehow, the stupidity manages to come out moderately entertaining, Flower Meg struggles to keep her clothes on, and then there is guest star Kyosuke Machida in full ninkyo attire. Passable low brow fun.

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Scoundrel from Kamagasaki (釜ヶ崎極道) (Japan, 1973) [TV] – 2/5
I've not found motivation to write about most of the Gokudo / Scoundrel sequels as they are, with the exception of Junya Sato's Hong Kong bound The Scoundrel Takes a Trip, largely throwaway programmers void of memorable scenes. This 9th entry in the series is slightly more noteworthy for featuring a delirious climax in which Wakayama and Yamashiro, armed to the teeth with hand grenades and firearms, raid an office in the 28th floor of a skyscraper bustling with businessmen and office women as they go against Endo, Amatsu and Watanabe's modern businessman scum. They even stop in one of the building’s bathrooms to put on traditional yakuza robes before launching the attack as they can't just march into be building in full yakuza attire. Contemporary ninkyo films were no rarity - there were plenty beyond this series - but rarely did any movie clash the old and the new in such amusing and contrasting way. This scene, as well as an earlier 4th wall breaking comedy sequence in which Gokudo (Wakayama) meets the popular actor Tomisaburo Wakayama (yes, you read that correct) in front of a film studio and tries to convince him to quit Katsu Pro., justify this film's existence. P.S. this is indeed the 9th film in the series despite the English language internet thinking it’s part 8.

Dangan Runner (弾丸ランナー) (Japan, 1996) [TV] – 3.5/5
A failed bank robber, a failed rock singer on heroin, and a failed yakuza with something to prove chase each other on foot, each with their own reasons for the run. Sabu’s directorial debut captures something about the post bubble 90s Japan on film while also being a neat 82 minute adrenaline rush. Most of the film is spent running, with well placed flashbacks fleshing out the characters and filling in missing pieces of the puzzle as the chase goes on. Former AV star Hitomi Kobayashi appears briefly in what must be one of the most clever sex scenes inserted into any 90s film.

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

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God of Gamblers (Hong Kong, 1989) Netflix 3.5/5
directed by Wong Jing
Ko (Chow Yun Fat) is the God of Gamblers, who gets injured and loses his memory of who he is. He’s taken advantage of by Knife (Andy Lau), his girlfriend (Joey Wang) and their other friend. Sort of a homage to Rain Man (1988), with a little less sensitivity to the mental disability (Hey, it’s Wong Jing and 1980’s Hong Kong!)
Eventually, he gets his memory back and goes after the bad guys and the finale is actually pretty entertaining.
Maybe one of my favorite Wong Jing films, it’s greatly benefitted by Chow Yun Fat and Andy Lau’s performances. Yes, its a bit goofy at times, yes it straight out rips off influences from all over the place, but that’s Wong Jing in a nutshell. This was one of the highest grossing movies of all-time in Hong Kong and it seems to feature just the right amount of comedy, the right amount of stunts and thrills, and of course, the gambling, which became a huge movie trend in Hong Kong because of this film.
Michiko Nishiwaki has a cool early scene in a homage to Japanese Gambling Films of the late 60’s. The John Woo homage is both awesome and hilarious. Joey Wong helps add some needed scenery to the movie, but Cheung Man, doesn’t get seen enough - she looks absolutely beautiful in this movie as Chow’s love interest.
For all of Jing’s silliness, there’s a 3 minute close-up static shot of Chow and Lung Fong, when Chow gets his memory back, that relies purely on the acting ability of the two performers. It’s exceptional.

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

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Man And Woman (新宿真夜中物語 男と女) (Japan, 1972) No subs 2.5/5 (aka Shinjuku Midnight Story Man And Woman)
directed by KÔYÛ OHARA (best known - by me anyway - for White Rose Campus: Then Everybody Gets Raped)
Roman Porno actress Hidemi Hara with her younger lesbian lover, have sex, wash each other, take a bath together, but she gets angry at her young lover who wants to leave quickly afterwards. So it’s back to the bar, where the wealthy pussy hound can drown her sorrows.
She lives a wealthy lifestyle and attracts the interests of men as well. But she has some kind of phobia about hairy chests, and ball sacks, and… of course DICK from reading about it in a text book when she was a young girl. She almost gets raped as she tries to escort herself, but manages to get away.
(His chest hair in her face, nearly makes her vomit.)
What’s a girl’s girl to do? She uses a public restroom and meets a new girl, who turns out to be an expert rug muncher. But when she figures out the next morning that ‘she’ is a ‘he’ she boots her out.
But she has an idea…
Hara continues the relationship with the ladyboy, even using her to do the old ‘switcheroo’ on the john that almost raped her before. He doesn’t have any clue.
That’s when they figure… why not do that switcheroo on others, and collect the money? Hara lures them in, dims the lights and her ladyboy friend, who more than loves to service men, takes over. When the lights come up, Hara is back in the bed.
Hara and the ladyboy then seemingly fall in love.
But then Hara has sex with some hairless younger stud, IN A CAR, In PUBLIC, and she’s turned on…
She goes back to the apartment and her Ladyboy lover has gone with only a note telling her she’s leaving town…
Hara is happy for her.
The End.

Hidemi Hara had a pretty short career (20 films in two years), but apparently was pretty popular for her time.

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Best of Best (摩登龍爭虎鬥) (Hong Kong, 1994) xvideos.com 2.5/5
directed by Rico Chung
Not to be confused with Best OF the Best. And I say that because I got confused and got the wrong movie. I shouldve known better when downloading from a porn site.
Mark Cheng (the Rapist in ‘Raped by an Angel’) is good looking guy, but there’s always been something sinister about him within those good looks. So he plays these parts pretty well. (In real life, he was married to Yukari Oshima for a few years).
Anyway… this was based on a true story about a female insurance agent who is found dead, and when investigated, it’s found she was trading sex for insurance policy purchases.
It’s presented as a COMEDY. Well, a Dark Comedy.
Leave it to Hong Kong Film makers to mix Dark Comedy with Seriously taken Softcore Sex Scenes… in a story about MURDER.
The only thing I really found funny was in the sex scene Cheng has with Hui Pui. They rub nipples and change positions so much, I got confused as to who’s breast was who’s. He’s got some big pecs, with some hard nipples.
The other is in a scene where Cheng and Ivy Leung (who plays the main character) spy on a couple from above them on a bridge. The couple below (featuring the sexy Ruby Wong) get completely naked and have sex in their convertible. It makes Ivy sick and she throws up on them just as they orgasm. Hee!
In a later scene, Mark Cheng also exclaims, in English, “Oh! He fucked you!?” Which was kinda funny.
I don’t know if it happened in real life or not, but when Ivy tries to seduce a truck driver in his truck and then NOT have sex with him, he traps her head while rolling up the passenger window and momentarily rapes her, until it opens the door and nearly asphyxiates her!
I guess as I realized it was Dark Humor, I sort of started to enjoy it more and… its ok for an unknown Cat III movie I hadn’t seen yet.

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

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The Girls from China aka Whores from China (我來自北京) (Hong Kong, 1992) 2.5/5
directed by Barry Lee
I mainly know Isabella Chow from Sex and Zen, where despite the flute scene and the whip scene, she, along with everyone else kind of gets a bit upstaged by Amy Yip and Rena Murakami. I mean, who wouldn’t?
Before ‘Sex & Zen’, she did THIS movie and even though her and Pauline Chan are featured prominently on the cover, this is 100% an Isabelle Chow movie and she gets naked a fair amount. Many of her sex scenes use a stand-in though.
She plays the part of a naive girl from Mainland China who comes to big city Hong Kong. First her cousin tries to rape her, and she runs away, and then the boss at her new job as a department store cosmetics salesperson tries to rape her, and then the one guy she trusts, Kent, tells her after they make love, “I’ll kill any girl who leaves me”. Of course, she runs away.
Kent was also secretly filming their sex.
She then gets involved with Pauline Chan, who is a prostitute, and convinces her to use sex to make her way to the top. She does so, selling insurance, trading sex for policies. Wait… I just watched another movie about that….
So, an older wealthy businessman that she was nice to when she was a cosmetic salesperson, turns out to be a client and buys a huge insurance policy from her, so they get involved romantically.
Then Kent pops back into her life, and threatens to expose her unless she gets involved with him again. Drama ensues… and whole lot more sleaze!
Watchable.

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

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Hitozuma sex jigoku (人妻セックス地獄) (Japan, 1974) [35mm] - 3/5
Housewife Miwako Onaya is raped in her own garage, then blackmailed into prostitution by an unknown caller. She tries to keep it a secret from salaryman husband Eimei Esumi, busty little sister Natsuko Yashiro and horny/suspicious maid Mitsuko Aoi. Toei's famed ero-guro / and genre film screenwriter Masahiro Kakefuda wrote this compact 52 minute Toei Porno under the pen name Baku Isshiki. For the most part it plays out like a standard depraved eros feature that could have come out from Nikkatsu just as well... until she figures out who's behind her suffering and goes into full ice queen revenge mode. Adding to the fun is yet another amusing Takuzo Kawatani performance with the genre favourite appearing as a sex crazed taxi driver who may or may not be the mastermind behind it all. Director Tatsuo Honda was a long time Toei assistant director since the late 50s who had a brief stint helming his own features, debuting with The Viper Brothers Rage Again in 1971, and following that with a handful of almost entirely forgotten Toei Porno features in 1974-1975, before assuming producer's duties for the rest of his career that went on at least till the late 90s. He does somewhat alright here helming a slightly mediocre genre work that really comes alive at the end, which had me grinning for the entire last 5 minutes. Not a lost classic, but should suffice as nice little treat for Toei completists.

The title translates as “Married Woman’s Sex Hell”. I’m not aware of an official English title, nor do I think this film has ever been released outside of theatres in any format, anywhere. Viewed at Laputa Asagaya, Tokyo. 35mm print.

Station (駅) (Japan, 1981) [TV] – 4/5
Yasuo Furuhata delivers probably his best film with this beautifully crafted, melancholic tale of a Sapporo detective (Ken Takakura) haunted by guilt. Starting in 1968 when the protagonist separates with his wife and child due to his commitment to work, the storyline spans over three decades in three chapters, each one of which sees him leaves death and misery in his wake as he tries to track down killers but is repeatedly forced to use their loved ones to get to them. Takakura delivers of the best performances of his career as a man who believes he’s doing the right thing, but at the same time but cannot escape the memories of the people he witnessed die, or sent to death row while their families were left behind crying. The episodic structure works extremely well, with the first two thirds being more action packed and contributing the weight of the last one as he falls in love with a lonely bar owner who is another persons whose trust he’s bound to betray. Almost the entire film is set in beautiful but stormy, frequently brutally cold and snow covered Hokkaido coastal towns, a perfect match for the film’s storyline. Those who saw Furuhata, Takakura and writer So Kuramoto’s earlier film Winter’s Flower (1978) know roughly what to expect, but this could be considered an even better, more refined follow-up.

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

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Secret Chronicle: Prostitution Market (秘女郎市場) (Japan, 1972) 3/5
directed by Chūsei Sone
Chūsei Sone also directed Coed Report: Yuko's White Breasts and here he again works with Yuko Katagiri, who plays a naive farm girl who gets sold into prostitution by her Uncle in 1800’s Japan. She has absolutely no idea what she’s supposed to be doing, so ‘sexy comedy’ ensues. She thinks being chased around the room is all in good fun. A sumo falls through the floor and lands on a couple having sex who are then ‘stuck in the act’ and have to be carried to the doctor.
The madame gets fed up and brings in a female to ‘teach’ her what to do. She leaves under the spell of the young girl. The madame then brings in a criminal to rape her, but the cow that she loves busts through the wall and attacks him!
The final solution? Well, let’s just say you probably wouldn’t see it in an American film…
This movie grew on me as it went along and having seen it twice now, I feel good giving it a 3 out of 5. I still like Coed Report - Yuko’s White Breasts better, but Katagiri is at least, more fun to watch in this one (though a little less naked). Her boobs apparently got bigger between 1971 and 72.

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chazgower01 wrote: 18 Dec 2023, 08:45 Chūsei Sone also directed Coed Report: Yuko's White Breasts
That was Yukihiko Kondo if I'm not mistaken.

Anyway, I like both films. Coed Report has the kind of charming innocence that the later sleaze fests completely lacked, and Secret Chronicle is a very funny movie. Katagiri was good at playing these kind of naive characters... she didn't fare as well in more serious roles.
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Postman Blues (ポストマン・ブルース) (Japan, 1997) [TV] – 3.5/5
Sabu's second directorial effort is a lightweight gangster parody with an unlucky postman Shinichi Tsutsumi mistaken for a drug courier by hilariously inept detectives. This is a more mainstream and studio-like picture than Sabu’s debut Dangan Runner, toning down content and expression, and adding a romantic sub-plot. It feels a little drawn out at 110 min and occasionally goes overboard with silly movie reference jokes, but it's still a fun little Tarantino era entertainment with amusing performances and several good scenes. Ren Osugi in particular is a stand-out as a Joe Shishido inspired hitman.

Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Flower Streetcar (ネオンくらげ 新宿花電車) (Japan, 1973) [35mm] – 3/5
17 year old naïve country girl Emiko Yamauchi has a hash wakeup call when she’s welcomed to Tokyo by a bunch of rapey hoods. Fast forward past the opening credits and we have her working in Mitsuko Mori’s Shinjuku girlie bar managed by manager/pimp Takeo Chii, who is dreaming of making it big once the plan comes together. Meanwhile she gets romantically involved with young chap Seiji Sawada who’s trying to make it as a bike racer. Toei's critically snubbed and even ridiculed, but consistently successful genre director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi helmed this sexy Shinjuku street tale during his brief pink stint from 1973 to 1974. It shares instant resemblance to the Song of the Night series (1967-1974), to which Yamaguchi contributed an underwhelming entry earlier in 1973, only supercharged with a lot more sex and rock n roll. It’s also a sequel to Makoto Naito’s original Neon Jellyfish, which I’ve not seen, from six months earlier, also starring Emiko Yamauchi. Story wise the picture is merely functional and comes with sex scene or two too many, but the film often does good job at capturing the neon lit world of vice in the Tokyo night, and the people inhabiting it. The soundtrack is also enjoyable with rock ballads by Kan Mikami played throughout the film, there are occasional mad bursts of energy particularly in terms of camerawork, more slapping than in any other movie ever, and a fantastic closing scene in the Shinjuku neon jungle. Star Yamauchi fares quite will in the lead role: she’s certainly easy on the eye but also radiates such sukeban vibes that it’s a shame she never got her own girl boss series. As for this film, it’s a solid piece of 70s street Toei, even if it’s not necessarily any lost classic.

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

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HungFist wrote: 18 Dec 2023, 15:42
chazgower01 wrote: 18 Dec 2023, 08:45 Chūsei Sone also directed Coed Report: Yuko's White Breasts
That was Yukihiko Kondo if I'm not mistaken.
You're right... not sure how I got that confused...
HungFist wrote: 18 Dec 2023, 15:42Anyway, I like both films. Coed Report has the kind of charming innocence that the later sleaze fests completely lacked, and Secret Chronicle is a very funny movie. Katagiri was good at playing these kind of naive characters... she didn't fare as well in more serious roles.
Yeah, they're both pretty enjoyable in their own way. I'm curious to see her in some of those other serious roles, even if she isn't as good in them.

Maybe I'll get a chance to go to Tokyo for one of those film festivals and be able to see them on the big screen. Living full time in Thailand now, so, a pretty easy flight!
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chazgower01 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 12:02 Maybe I'll get a chance to go to Tokyo for one of those film festivals and be able to see them on the big screen. Living full time in Thailand now, so, a pretty easy flight!
Cool. How's living in Thailand from a film fan's perspective. Any issues with censorship, availability? How's watching films in theater?
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HungFist wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 12:57
chazgower01 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 12:02 Maybe I'll get a chance to go to Tokyo for one of those film festivals and be able to see them on the big screen. Living full time in Thailand now, so, a pretty easy flight!
Cool. How's living in Thailand from a film fan's perspective. Any issues with censorship, availability? How's watching films in theater?
Haven't really ever found a good source for Japanese films here yet. Even their Netflix is centered on their own film industry. Theaters are state of the art, haven't really found any places showing older movies. I'm going up to Bangkok next week to one of the big markets... there's a guy who has a huge selection of old magazines and books - hope to find something there... haven't been to it since pre-Covid.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Shaolin (HK/China, 2011): 4/5

This was a good movie, is it a remake of Shaolin Temple (1976) or others?
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grim_tales wrote: 02 Jan 2024, 23:35 Shaolin (HK/China, 2011): 4/5

This was a good movie, is it a remake of Shaolin Temple (1976) or others?
Nope.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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My Way (S. Korea, 2011 - BD): 4/5

A good story (it was based on a true story) and well acted, but very sad :(
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