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

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Ip Man (HK/China, 2008) - first time: 4/5
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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HungFist wrote: 12 Jun 2023, 15:03

The Karate Professionals (世界最強の格闘技 殺人空手) (Japan, 1976) [TV] – 3/5
A ridiculous karate documentary helmed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi as one of Toei's last domestic martial arts productions of the 70s. There had been a slightly more down to earth martial arts doc called Old Military Arts of Japan two years prior, but now in the waning days of the karate film boom it was time to drop all pretensions and facts. The film follows the walking definition of violent machismo, the All Japan Professional Karate Association founder and part time Toei performer Go Otsuka as he faces challengers and trains his skills. Right at the beginning we are treated a nasty bit of (partially staged?) animal cruelty as Otsuka kills a wild boar with his bare hands. Not to be outdone, another fighter finds a viper in the grass and proceeds to bite it to death. Looking after the fighters is the association's own certified doctor ("You've got three broken bones. No worries, they'll heal in no time."). Much of the film is built around ring fights which cut to flashbacks showing the fighters honing their skills (e.g. why settle for running up and down stairs when you can run up mountains and have a fight at the top with whoever happens to be there). At the end of the film Otsuka travels to Hong Kong (where he's almost instantly attacked by half dozen kung fu fighters), Malaysia and Nepal, proving no one in Asia can neither match not assassinate him. This "documentary" is obviously to be approached with some reservations, but for fans of 70s karate films and true account cinema that blurs the line between truth and blatant lies there's 74 minutes of bone-headed, mostly staged fun to be had. Content wise it's not far from Yamaguchi's fully fictional films as far as the fights, performers, over the top narration and partially (or fully?) recycled Shunsuke Kikuchi score go. As documentary, it’s probably an accurate depiction of the mindset many of these fighters had.

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

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

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In the Line of Duty IV (Hong Kong, 1988) [BD] - 3.5/5
Ridiculously action packed fourth film won't win any awards for screenwriting or acting, but it does deliver fights and stunts in spades. Yuen Woo Ping may even have raised the action bar a bit too high as there’s an unusually high number of shots where Cynthia Khan is only filmed from behind (stunt double?). Donnie Yen’s scenes are not affected by this, and he delivers one of the series' highlights with the famous rooftop fight with Michael Woods.

Delinquent Boss: Checkmate (不良番長 王手飛車) (Japan, 1970) [Streaming] – 3.5/5
Makoto Naito delivers a major surprise with this 6th film which might be the best in the series. This is a genuine yakuza film, even if a very light one in tone, with a solid story, good characters and several actors giving top performances. There’s even a small surprise at the start with Umemiya and his hoods for once thrown in prison for their conman activities. Nothing much changes once they’re out, with the gang setting up a shady consulting business as advised by new member Toru Yuri. One of their targets is construction company boss Toru Abe. Turns out Umemiya’s old pal Bunta Sugawara is working for Abe as a subcontractor, but is unable to proceed with their plans because local print shop owner Tamami Natsu and her loyal worker Shingo Yamashiro refuse to sell their lands. Meanwhile rival construction entrepreneur yakuza Fumio Watanabe tries to steal the project from Sugawara. Umemiya agrees to help Sugawara, but also can’t help falling in love with the woman he’s supposed to con, creating a solid moral dilemma, which aren’t typically found in this series. It makes for a thoroughly solid film with good pacing, complex story, and of course some decent action at the end. The film also features excellent supporting performances from Watanabe who looks remarkably confident in his evil boots, Abe who appears in one of his best and most unusual Toei roles as an easily fooled civilian, and Yamashiro whose low-key drama/comedy performance is spot on (with hilarious dialogue and line delivery) and doesn’t descend to the kind of random childish gags that plague most of the films in the series.

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

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Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs (1974) 3.5/5

Japanese sleaze and madness goes completely over the top. I was entertained from beginning to end and underneath all the craziness there's a pretty good crime story.

New World (2013) 4/5

Korean undercover cop story is definitely an Infernal Affairs derivative, but it's a good one and reaches some level of originality with an excellent screenplay. Good performances and without spoiling the plot too much the movie gets to a great and inevitable finale.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland (1973) 3.5/5

Dark and engaging crime thriller from 70's Japan with some sex scenes sprinkled here and there. A group of detectives rob a church of a bunch of charity money and rape a woman in there while they're at it. The same detectives are put on the following police case and chase a former cop to frame him. He's just escaped an institution for his mental illness and would be the perfect patsy. It seems to draw some inspiration from Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, and the charity money was for victims in the Vietnam war so there seems to be heavy political undertones at work here. The cops who are supposed to protect the people are in fact robbing them while the American government policing the world could very well be guilty of the same. Or it's a political statement univerally speaking. Needless to say it intriuged me though I wish it was a bit longer and more fleshed out, running time was 73 mins. It also lacked a bit of punch in the middle and the writers could have chosen a more dramatic location than a hippie commune for a climax. Still a strong effort and it's about as nihilistic as something you'd expect from Kitano. How fucking cool is this cover?

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

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Fong Sai Yuk (HK, 1993): 4/5

There's some very good action in this movie. Unfortunately the DVD I watched of the full HK version isn't very good, with imbedded subtitles made worse by an image that occasionally seems to move up and down the screen (!) which can obscure the subtitles slightly (making it harder to understand).
Reminded me of a couple of the Once Upon a Time in China movies but more lighthearted
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Re. FSY: The best edition (and it's a low bar) is the French DVD, but you'll need to add English subs.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Thanks Mark :) I'll see if I can find the French one

Encounter of the Spooky Kind (HK, 1980): 4.25/5

Innovative action-horror-comedy from Sammo, excellent action especially when Sammo winds up being possessed and the battle at the end
I didn't like the chicken scene, a head is clearly cut and it looked real to me :(
Wasn't expecting that ending with Sammo's wife, that's pretty dark
The Eureka BD looks very good.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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

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Calamity of Snakes (Taiwan, 1983) [BD] – 2.5/5
Notorious, but underwhelming Taiwanese shocker released around the same time as the similarly themed Hong Kong productions Centipede Horror and Red Spell Spells Red. This one however lacks their cinematic style and merely relies on excess. The storyline is simple: a greedy construction boss has thousands of snakes massacred to make way for an apartment complex. 10 months later the snakes take revenge against the construction workers and new inhabitants. That does result in a couple of standout scenes, such as an old kung fu master taking on a giant snake, and the film’s last 15 minutes which likely features more snakes than any other movie has ever has. Unfortunately the film makes for needlessly heavy viewing due to its colossal amount of animal cruelty. The more civilized version offered as alternative on the Unearthed BD cuts a whopping 10 minutes from the film, and might actually be a partial improvement not only for toning down the genuine cruelty displayed on screen, but also for shortening the severely overlong snake sequences, even if it may become a bit incoherent in the process. As it stands, the film is more of an interesting curiosity than a genuinely well made exploitation film.

Kanto Street Peddlers Clan (関東テキヤ一家) (Japan, 1969) [Streaming] – 3.5/5
The first in a five film series focusing on tekiya / street peddlers, a lesser covered breed of yakuza than their sexier cousins, the bakuto / gamblers. It's very much a ninkyo film, but set in modern day and starring Toei's new hell raiser Bunta Sugawara instead of the stoic old timers Takakura or Tsuruta. Director Norifumi Suzuki adds his own brand of fun with comedy, nudity (wait for silly vice cop Toru Yuri visiting a strip club) and one of the defining Takuzo Kawatani moments when the beloved bit player gets his ass kicked by a team of female wrestlers. Sugawara plays a slightly reckless but good hearted tekiya who promised old oyabun Kanjuro Arashi to keep his dagger sealed, something made increasingly difficult by villains Fumio Watanabe and Bin Amatsu. There's also a rather charming romantic subplot with Sugawara and fellow gang member Kyosuke Machida falling for the same woman, and a solid ninkyo backbone in form of friendly enemy Tatsuo Terashima who earns Sugawara's trust by trying to prevent unnecessary bloodshed between gangs. Completing the cast are Sugawara's allies boss Minoru Oki and female boss Hiroko Sakuramachi, the latter of whom adds a bit of colour to the mix. All in all, a surprisingly entertaining and visually good looking film that started Suzuki's first own film series (he'd helm four of the five entries). It's no surprise the film was a success since in addition to being filled with humour, action and romantic emotion, Sugawara is great as a short tempered but lovable yakuza hero who is not entirely unlike the protagonist in Suzuki & Sugawara’s later Truck Yaro series. This film would be even better if not for a couple of overly talkative autopilot scene.

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

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Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (1979) 3.5/5
Yasaku Matsuda stars in this odd and interesting flick. It's a dual performance where he's a nerdy company man by day and a badass criminal and extortionist by night. In a way it's a satire about corporate greed and how a man with sociopathic traits have a greater chance of climbing the corporate ladder. In that sense it was way ahead of it's time. It shares themes with movies like Nightcrawler and American Psycho, but came out in 1979. It's a somewhat convoluted plot and some scenes seems to be shoe-horned in for whatever reason, but it all makes sense in the end. A key factor for me is just how well made it all is. I don't know what the budget was, but at times it had the look and feel of a Bond movie from that era. I'll be watching this one again at some point.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Kanto Street Peddlers Clan: Violent Loyalty (関東テキヤ一家 喧嘩仁義) (Japan, 1970) [Streaming] – 2/5
Disappointing routine sequel lacks the action, romantic emotion and stylish visual touch of the original film. The first 20 minutes is filled with comic relief, followed by a good 70 minutes of talking heads before the standard bloodbath ending. Most surprising however is that for a Bunta Sugawara film there is very little Bunta Sugawara in it. He’s absent from roughly every other scene, and even when he does bother showing up he often fades to the background. Could it be that he was too busy to fully commit to this production? That might just be it, considering this was already the 5th movie he appeared in in 1970, and it was only March! He would find his way into 15 more movies by the end of the year (yes, that’s a total of 20 films for 1970).

P.S. the film’s title is incorrect on IMDb where it’s spelled as Kanto tekiya ikka: Goromen jingi. It’s actually Kanto tekiya ikka: Goromentsuu.

Red Spell Spells Red (Hong Kong, 1983) [BD] – 4/5
The 2nd and superior Nikko International production, following the previous year’s Centipede Horror. This one goes all the way, even to the unfortunate authentic animal kills. The plot is the usual one, with a Hong Kong documentary film crew having a slight mishap in South East Asia where they unleash a vicious spirit who wants to kill them all. The spirit gives them just enough time to relocate to a primitive village (whose people sacrifice animals and humans alike, and invite visitors to deflower their daughters) before they start dropping dead. There’s some obvious resemblance to Centipede Horror in how the film plays out, but with an added Cannibal Holocaust influence to the plot and violence. It’s also tighter paced film and somewhat expanded in scale compared to Centipede Horror, with a hugely spirited black magic battle climax in which lead lady Poon Lai Yin is rotated in a huge water wheel while a chorus chants about Jesus Christ. Curiously enough, both this and Centipede were scripted by a woman, Amy Chan, who was also in charge of handling scorpions (frequently placed on people’s bodies and faces) on the set! Speaking of which, reviewed here is the animal cruelty free version which runs approx. three minutes short compared to the uncut version which is also included on the Error 4444 BD. The edits are noticeable, but not particularly jarring, and save you from some animal slaughter that appears worse than anything in Centipede Horror (which I viewed uncut).

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

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Lion Enforcer (唐獅子警察) (Japan, 1974) [35mm] – 2.5/5
Not bad, but a little dull yakuza film from Sadao Nakajima. Tsunehiko Watase is a young hothead who teams up with his older brother and gangster Akira Kobayashi until his temper starts causing trouble and the brothers find themselves fighting each other to death. The film suffers from the fact that it's not that interesting nor particularly violent despite coming out at the height of the jitsuroku wave (the tale here is entirely fictional, though). It does however come with some solid performances, Watase in particular and a number of amusing scenes. The two most memorable ones must be fan favourite Hideo Murota’s over the top interrogation scene, and a scene where Watase rapes a horny French woman who doesn't seem mind it at all. For much better yakuza films by Nakajima, see Escaped Murderer from Hiroshima Prison (1974), Authentic True Account: Osaka Shock Tactics (1976) and Okinawa Yakuza War (1976).

Like a Rolling Stone (aka Blissful Genuine Sex: Penetration!) (さすらい 絶倫放浪記) (Japan, 1995) [TV] – 3.5/5
Dysfunctional relationships and lonely people are a recurring theme Toshiki Sato's films. He rarely outright repeats himself, however, as he seems to find slightly different approaches to the same topic every time. This deadpan drama/comedy follows an emotionless slacker (Kikujuro Honda) who is not really hitting it off with his partner, or anyone, and relocates to a small freezing cold town to after meeting a woman who never smiles (Hotaru Hazuki). Fans of late 90s / early 2000s Nobuhiro Yamashita films should find some familiar ground here, only with more sex and less jokes. But this comparison does not do the film full justice because Sato’s film adds its own existential angle to the mix. Sato repeatedly films his protagonist from extreme close distance with handheld camera as he seems to be searching for some fulfilment that cannot be found (unlike in many other Sato films where an existential awakening sets the story in motion). A lot of these shots also beautifully capture time and place on celluloid: few if any other pink directors were as good at it as Sato, whose 90s films function as time capsules to the streets and apartments of the heisei era. The cast is solid as well, with Honda and his slacker Yoji Tanaka in particular standing out. They of course benefit from having good material to work with, which is typical to Sato who frequently worked with top screenwriters. This film was written by poet and movie critic Kenji Fukuma (under the pseudonym Shinji Tachibana), whose film career begun as an actor in Koji Wakamatsu and Masao Adachi’s films back in the 60s. Oh and one final note: Mitsuru Meike was the assistant director on this picture.

Reviewed here is the R-15 version Sasurai: Zetsurin horoki which may, but is unlikely to, differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version Monzetsu honban: buchikomu! aka Blissful Genuine Sex: Penetration! The original title was Like a Rolling Stone, which got ditched as it clearly wasn’t commercial enough. The R-15 version features no mosaic or cuts that I could notice, but some sex scenes have obviously been re-framed.

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

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Lou Bloom wrote: 19 Aug 2023, 10:28 Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (1979) 3.5/5
Yasaku Matsuda stars in this odd and interesting flick. It's a dual performance where he's a nerdy company man by day and a badass criminal and extortionist by night. In a way it's a satire about corporate greed and how a man with sociopathic traits have a greater chance of climbing the corporate ladder. In that sense it was way ahead of it's time. It shares themes with movies like Nightcrawler and American Psycho, but came out in 1979. It's a somewhat convoluted plot and some scenes seems to be shoe-horned in for whatever reason, but it all makes sense in the end. A key factor for me is just how well made it all is. I don't know what the budget was, but at times it had the look and feel of a Bond movie from that era. I'll be watching this one again at some point.
I was thinking about the same thing when I rewatched this recently. I see this as a transitional film between the anarchic 70s and the lull 80s. Japanese cinema went from producing rebellious youth films, down and dirty action films and street fighting yakuza flicks in the 60s and 70s to dull and down to earth dramas about men and women living in the ordinary corporate world in the 80s. It wasn't just dramas, even action and yakuza films were frequently set in corporate world full of people in suits consuming classic art, sitting in the office and at best engaged love affairs that go nowhere. A reflection of Japan's development no doubt. Anyway, Resurrection of the Golden Wolf seems to exist between these two eras, applying the gritty 70s approach as well as satire to the corporate world that Japan was entering as the 80s approached.

It's my favourite Matsuda film also. I've seen it quite a few times over the years, on DVD, BD and 35mm. There's a Kadokawa UHD also but costs a fortune. I wish Arrow would make a deal with Kadokawa and port some of their UHDs such as this, G.I. Samurai, Ninja Wars and Legend of the Eight Samurai (this one I actually bought when it was on discount).
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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HungFist wrote: 27 Aug 2023, 04:49
I was thinking about the same thing when I rewatched this recently. I see this as a transitional film between the anarchic 70s and the lull 80s. Japanese cinema went from producing rebellious youth films, down and dirty action films and street fighting yakuza flicks in the 60s and 70s to dull and down to earth dramas about men and women living in the ordinary corporate world in the 80s. It wasn't just dramas, even action and yakuza films were frequently set in corporate world full of people in suits consuming classic art, sitting in the office and at best engaged love affairs that go nowhere. A reflection of Japan's development no doubt. Anyway, Resurrection of the Golden Wolf seems to exist between these two eras, applying the gritty 70s approach as well as satire to the corporate world that Japan was entering as the 80s approached.
It's definitely a product of national development. Not just in Japan, but USA and Europe too. 70's movies were on average more cynical and hardcore and a symbol of the times. I think Resurrection is a bit like Thief in that it bridges the gap between those 2 decades. Thief had the story of a 70's movie with an 80's score and style.

I saw Decision to Leave yesterday. I won't leave a review, but I'll say Park has finally lost the plot. It had some interesting ideas, but ultimately it just wasn't a good movie. It's strange how the man who made Oldboy missed the mark completely. Probably surrounded by yes men.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Lou Bloom wrote: 29 Aug 2023, 19:32
HungFist wrote: 27 Aug 2023, 04:49
I was thinking about the same thing when I rewatched this recently. I see this as a transitional film between the anarchic 70s and the lull 80s. Japanese cinema went from producing rebellious youth films, down and dirty action films and street fighting yakuza flicks in the 60s and 70s to dull and down to earth dramas about men and women living in the ordinary corporate world in the 80s. It wasn't just dramas, even action and yakuza films were frequently set in corporate world full of people in suits consuming classic art, sitting in the office and at best engaged love affairs that go nowhere. A reflection of Japan's development no doubt. Anyway, Resurrection of the Golden Wolf seems to exist between these two eras, applying the gritty 70s approach as well as satire to the corporate world that Japan was entering as the 80s approached.
It's definitely a product of national development. Not just in Japan, but USA and Europe too. 70's movies were on average more cynical and hardcore and a symbol of the times. I think Resurrection is a bit like Thief in that it bridges the gap between those 2 decades. Thief had the story of a 70's movie with an 80's score and style.

I saw Decision to Leave yesterday. I won't leave a review, but I'll say Park has finally lost the plot. It had some interesting ideas, but ultimately it just wasn't a good movie. It's strange how the man who made Oldboy missed the mark completely. Probably surrounded by yes men.
The 70s had a strong (especially Japanese) student movement, the New Left, insurrectionist groups active, and the peak of labour militancy. Many directors were involved and/or supportive; there's a student riot in a throwaway scene in a Yuzo Kayama film, which would be strange now. By the 80s it was all over. Wakamatsu, Jissoji, and Terayama couldn't even get work.
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Delinquent Boss: Hooligans on Buggies (不良番長 暴走バギー団) (Japan, 1970) [Streaming] – 1/5
Part 9. A mind-numbingly dull entry with lame jokes, little plot, and no exploitation excess. There is nominal entertainment value from the inclusion of Maki Carrousel in the cast, and Shun Ueda whose Sammy Davis Jr. looks earn a couple of laughs. The film’s only other highlight is the titular buggies utilized in the not-too-bad action climax. But it is frankly nothing unmissable, and certainly not worth the suffering it takes to get there.

Red Flowers of the Harbour Mist (霧の港の赤い花) (Japan, 1962) [Streaming] – 4/5
Journeyman Shinji Murayama isn’t particularly well remembered among Toei directors, but he made a number of good films especially during the early years of his career. This atmospheric romantic noir is probably his best movie. Koji Tsuruta is a yakuza who falls in love with married woman Kyoko Kagawa, whose husband is away on a trip. The relationship starts out platonic, but Tsuruta wants to take it a step further, much to the confusion of Kagawa who is not quite sure of her feelings. This being nominally a gangster tale, the pistols, back stabbings and drug dealings eventually find their way into the tragic tale; however Murayama is more keen on following the doomed lovers, staging visually lyrical scenes full of lights and shadows, and drawing from Tsuruta's slightly melancholic, tortured persona. A particular stand out is a small French bar where some of the film's most atmospheric and romantic scenes take place. There’s a bit of a evident Nikkatsu Action feel to the picture, though one feels the picture owes more to American and European noir. Tsuruta is terrific in the lead and this film is also a prime example of how he was always more of a “lover” whereas his younger colleague, the stoic Ken Takakura who would soon challenge Tsuruta as Toei’s no. 1 yakuza film star, would be difficult to imagine in a role like this.

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Kanto Street Peddlers Clan: Royal Temple Duel (関東テキヤ一家 天王寺の決斗) (Japan, 1970) [Streaming] – 2.5/5
The third film brings the series a bit more back on track after the disappointing part two. Sugawara still plays the same Kanto street peddler, who this time ventures to Osaka where he defends a blind girl at a street market. The area is targeted by rotten Asao Koike and Tatsuo Endo, who have lured local senior female boss Nijiko Kiyokawa’s rebellious but not entirely indecent son Goro Ibuki to their side. This isn’t a particularly accomplished film, still mostly lacking the visual touch and the romantic pathos of the first movie, but at least Sugawara is firmly present this time (he was absent from large portion of the previous film despite playing the protagonist) and Suzuki handles the narrative with just enough energy to keep the viewer entertained. Also worth mentioning is fan favourite Yumiko Katayama as Koike’s mute woman, though sadly she’s given little to do other than look mean.

Adultery Diary: One More Time While I’m Still Wet (不倫日記 お願いだからもう一度) (Japan, 1996) [TV] – 3.5/5
It sometimes takes a bit of good faith to get to the good stuff, as in this film that packs four sex scenes into its first 11 minutes. Once past that chore, there’s another unique and very funny deadpan satire by Toshiki Sato and his most valued screenwriter collaborator, the regular Cannes invitee Masahiro Kobayashi, to be found. Hotaru Hazuki plays a housewife novelist who is presented the most unusual hypothesis by friend Yukiko Izumi. “Authors depict the hell of misery in their writing, hence they should first live through the hell of adultery”. She then proceeds with this completely ridiculous suggestion, even getting permission from introvert husband Takeshi Ito, who deems it reasonable enough. After all, she promised to be back to her usual boring housewife self once done with the experiment. Thing don’t go quite as expected however, as her first adultery partner (Sato’s director and actor colleague Kazuhiro Sano) gets completely spooked by her active stance... Do not expect raunchy sex farce here despite how it may sound like, as Sato and Kobayashi progressively dial down the amount of sex as the film goes on. They’re more interested in examining gender roles, poking fun of the genre, and staging long, frequently hilarious discussions with stage-like and deadpan dialogue delivery. If there’s a flaw in the film (besides the horny first 11 minutes) it’s that Sato and Kobayashi get a bit too carried away with wild plot twists towards the end for it to make sense. But perhaps that’d be being too hard on a pink film. The 1997 Pink Film Awards certainly didn’t mind: the film took home best movie, best screenplay, and best actress awards.

Reviewed here is the R-15 version Furin nikki: onegai dakara mo ichido, which may but is unlikely to differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version Furin nikki: nureta mama mo ichido. I think I spotted subtle mosaic (made less noticeable by darkness) in one or two scenes, and re-framing is likely, but I doubt the film has been cut.

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

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Kokuhaku (Japan, 2010) 2/5
Not my cup of tea. Started off somewhat interesting, but didn't really maintain it.

Boachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight (Japan, 1973) 3.5/5
Another mad exploitation movie by Teruo Ishii. I enjoyed this, not boring for a second. Builds up to a spectacular finale.

School of the Holy Beast (Japan, 1974) 4/5
I have to admit this is my first experience with a nunsploitation film, but it might not be the last. Great stuff all around with an engaging revenge story and brilliant camera work.

No Mercy (South Korea, 2010) 3.5/5
A killer behind bars threatens to kill the daugther of the forensics analyst assigned to the case if he doesn't tamper with the evidence and get him off in court. Unlikely, over the top premise, but highly entertaining. It's very inspired by Oldboy and definitely not as good, but I enjoyed it nonetheless
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chazgower01
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Iceman Cometh (急凍奇俠) (1989, Hong Kong) [Blu Ray] – 3.5/5
Recently remastered for Blu Ray by Vinegar Syndrome this contains the 115 minute regular version and 122 minute Taiwan cut (mainly just less tightly edited scenes). I hadn't seen this in many years... late 90's? But I remember one of my favorites, Yuen Wah, was pretty bad ass in it so I ordered it from Amazon. Throughout the years I remember people were pretty divided on this, but I liked it.

Yuen Biao in his prime, Yuen Wah at his best, that fighting style where they actually hit each other, acrobatics and stunts, swords, Maggie Cheung as a hooker!

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Anyway, it's the story about a bad guy trying to gain power who rapes and kills the Emperor's sister and he sends Yuen Biao after him to bring to justice. Yuen is a Royal Guard and 1000% committed and realizes he has to sacrifice his life to end Wah's reign of terror, so he embraces him in the fight and takes him over a snowy cliff.

They freeze in a suspended state for 300 years until they're discovered in modern times by some scientists, still with their arms wrapped around each other. Of course, this leads to a typical 1980's Hong Kong joke:

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Anyway, they melt, get separated, and Biao gets found by a Hooker (Maggie) who talks him into being her servant. Watching Biao's character in shock at things like electricity and TV is pretty funny, and Chueng and Biao are actually pretty enjoyable to watch together. Maggie can't figure why he's so weird, not knowing he's from 300 years in the past.

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Eventually Biao and Wah run into each other again and a lot of this is pretty standard for this story, but... what makes it great is Biao, Wah and Cheung and how much they embrace their roles and then Wah (as the action co-ordinator) doing some great stunts, fights, etc. At one point he jumps on top of a moving car, jumps from there onto another moving car and then when it slams on its breaks, he rolls off and into his getaway van.
Ultimately I hold this up with many others from this era - it really is a fun watch.

The Blu Ray also includes modern interviews with Cinematographer Poon Hang Sang, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah (looking amazingly healthy), and trailers etc. I'm pretty happy with it.
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grim_tales
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (HK, 1984): 4.5/5

Hadn't seen this one in a long time, still very good.
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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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Furinzuma: Nettori midareru (不倫妻 ねっとり乱れる) (Japan, 2002) [TV] – 1.5/5
A 53 year old salesman who’s not succeeding at selling anything takes an afternoon off and finds his wife in bed with someone else. He drives to a desolate location and discovers a tunnel, at the end of which he mysteriously starts receiving phone calls from his former student radical comrades who have been dead for 30 years. He realizes he’s able to communicate back in time and perhaps change the course of his own life. It would be unfair to call director Akira Fukamachi (aka Minoru Inao) incompetent. With more than 300 directorial credits since the early 70s, this former assistant to Mamoru Watanabe has more experience in pink cinema than perhaps anyone else. This picture certainly has a unique premise, but not necessarily much beyond that. Running 56 minutes in its original theatrical R18-form, the R15 version reviewed here is only 46 minutes long and still comes with three overly long, monotonic sex scenes that take at least a third of the film’s length (screen captures at DMM prove the full length version comes with even more shagging, which was probably removed from this version to sell the film to a slightly more cultured audience). The film’s political/historical context (including flashback scenes set in the late 60s or early 70s) and extremely low-key approach to a fantastical plot are interesting, but don’t materialize into anything genuinely good. The film’s uninspired and merely adequate direction does not do the imaginative premise justice, and the sex overdose eventually kills the film.

Kanto Street Peddlers Clan: Violent Fire Festival (関東テキヤ一家 喧嘩火祭り) (Japan, 1971) [Streaming] – 3.5/5
The fourth film in the series and the first sequel to rival part one is quality. This has a dynamite opening with silly detective Tatsuo Endo (basically in a Toru Yuri role) assigning tekiya truckers Bunta Sugawara and Toshiaki Minami to assist in a chase to catch a girl gang lead by Yukie Kagawa. It’s hard not to see this and several other scenes in the film foreshadowing the Truck Yaro series, especially considering the chemistry between Sugawara and Minami, the presence of trucks and festivals, and of course a mix of action/comedy/drama. More good stuff follows when Sugawara sides with female boss Yumiko Nogawa to fight evil Hiroshi Nawa, who at one point employs rebellious young hood Tsunehiko Watase and Kagawa (wearing the same black jump suit as Miki Sugimoto later in Girl Boss Guerilla, and Marianne Faithfull before them in The Girl on a Motorcycle, 1968). Tatsuo Umemiya also shows up as a cool, leather jacket gunman who gains Sugawara’s respect despite playing for the opposing team. What eventually keeps this film from being as good as the first is the loose script that doesn’t really tie all the fun stuff into a coherent package. Much is forgiven however when the last 20 minutes arrives with several visually striking set pieces (including one death scene stylized to the point of ridiculousness) and a terrific final massacre. This was Suzuki’s last contribution to the series; the fifth and final picture would be helmed by Takashi Harada.

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chazgower01
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Daughter of Darkness (滅門慘案之孽殺) (Hong Kong, 1993) Recorded File from Ocean Shores Laser Disc 3/5
Directed by Ivan Lai
What a stupid ending to an other wise pretty satisfying Category III sex and violence classic. It’s almost like three movies as we get over 40 minutes of goofy Hong Kong comedy from over the top Anthony Wong as the sex starved corrupt Police Captain - then 40 minutes of sex and drama - while finishing up with 20 minutes of sex and blood shed!
Everyone dives into their role with complete relish, none more so than the Dad, played by William Ho. It doesn’t get more despicable than this guy.
Like most of these type of movies, it’s told in a flashback after we see the results of the crime. Lily Chung plays a girl who lives with her family, who gets treated like dirt. Her Dad, her Mom, her hot sister, her younger brother. It gets worse when Dad first starts peeping on her in the shower and then later rapes her. Her boyfriend is her only source of comfort.
The finale… well the finale is pretty brutal. Lily Chung completely transforms here, and… is just amazing. To go from meek, to sexy, to terrified beyond belief, to destroyed, and then to... psycho! It's a great acting performance for sure.
This isn’t cinematic gold, but it is exploitation turned up to 11.
Just that stupid ending…

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chazgower01
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Daughter of Darkness 2 (灭门惨案2:借种) (Hong Kong, 1994) Copy from Laser Disc 3/5
Directed by Ivan Lai
With the same director and William Ho returning to play another despicable rapist, they change the story up slightly, with most of the same results. Julia Cheng (though certainly more bosomy) isn’t as instantly sympathetic as Lilly Chung from the 1st movie, but she earns ever bit of sympathy as this movie goes on.
Where it fails in the first two acts - the comedy isn’t as funny without Anthony Wong - and the love scenes aren’t as well done without Lilly Chung - it tries to make up for in blood shed in the 3rd act.
The abortion scene is disturbing, and the finale is a little more stylish, but… I think it still rates second to the first movie. Overall though, it achieves its goal of quality exploitation.
And another stupid ending though.

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