Bad Guy (2000) Review

"Bad Guy" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Bad Guy" Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Kim Ki-Duk
Writer: Kim Ki-Duk
Producer: Lee Seung-Jai
Cast: Cho Je-Hyun, Seo Won, Kim Yoon-Tae, Choi Duk-Moon, Choi Yoon-Young, Shin Yoo-Jin, Kim Jung-Young
Running Time: 100 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

A vigorous-looking man (Cho Je-Hyun) notices a beautiful college girl (Seo Won) waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up. The man walks up and sits besides the girl, turns his head and just stairs at her – no facial expression of any sort, just an ice-cold stare that may hint an instant obsession. The woman glances back to him, quickly gives him a look of annoyance, gets up, and walks away. The boyfriend arrives shortly after the woman departs the bench where the peculiar man still sits and continues to look at her.

As the couple walks away, the estranged man barges in between them, unlawfully grabs the girl and kisses her. As his tongue is deep down her throat, the girl’s boyfriend does everything he can to stop the maniac, which includes smacking him on the back with a sidewalk ashtray – it doesn’t phase him. All of the sudden, the man lets her go. The boyfriend continues to pound him on the face. The man takes the punches and calmly walks away without defending himself. The girl yells at the man as he leaves, demanding an apology. Ignoring the girl, the man walks off into a group of curious spectators who had just witnessed the bizarre scene…

The scene just described is the opening to “Bad Guy,” the first film that I’ve seen by Kim Ki-Duk, an award-winning director known for his bizarre, controversial and violent work; such as “Real Fiction”, “The Isle” and “Alligator.” I’ve done a little research on Kim Ki-Duk, and from what I’ve gathered, he can easily be recognized as one who parks his car in the same garage as Takeshi Kitano, Abel Ferrara and a little bit of Takashi Miike – all, a group of talented filmmakers who are no strangers to disturbing themes.

The better way to describe Kim Ki-Duk’s filmmaking style is rawness and grit, but with a larger eye for surrealism and dream-like melancholy. In the case of “Bad Guy,” the fine line between fantasy and truth can be absurd to the viewers. Basically, as straight-forward as the film is, it throws you off with unexplained visuals that were intentionally meant to short the hell out of our thinking caps.

The opening sequence is one of the most intriguing I’ve seen in recent times. However, the rest of the film doesn’t hold up as well, which shouldn’t be a surprise to most. As the film goes on, it quickly switches into a tale of a woman forced into prostitution to pay off her debts. What we see is sad and almost unbearable considering the reasons she’s in this position to being with. It’s definitely an interesting look into the world of prostitution and gives us a crash course idea on how the underground hooker-ring works in some foreign places.

Also in the mix is the story of a man whose intentions are never quite clear. It doesn’t help that his written character doesn’t speak (a scar on his neck hints that his throat was slashed in the past) nor does he show any kind of facial expressions, unless he’s angry. Is he obsessed? Does he have feelings? Does he get off on watching women lose their virginity to strangers? Towards the film’s ending, it appears that we’re finally able to figure out what the man’s deal was, but just as we think we do, we’re put back to square one. All this leaves us with a “huh?” as the credits begin to roll. Maybe it was the director’s intention to keep us thinking. If it was, it was almost to the point of ridicule.

All the performances are satisfactory. Cho Je-Hyun comes across as a silent James Russo-type. The beautiful, and I mean beautiful, Seo Won gets the job done. However, something tells me that the two leads were limited to giving their all, due to the script and direction.

I look forward to seeing more of Kim Ki-Du’s work. As for “Bad Guy,” I certainly would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. If it weren’t for the many unexplained tidbits, it could have easily been a favorite of mine. All I can say is let your imagination flow.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in Korean, Reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Art Museum by the Zoo (1999) Review

"Art Museum by the Zoo" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Art Museum by the Zoo" Korean Theatrical Poster

Art Museum By The Zoo (1999)
Director: Lee Jeong-Hyang
Producer: Lee Chun-Yeon
Cast: Ahn Seong-Ki, Shim Eun-Ha, Lee Seong-Jae, Song Seon-Mi
Running Time: 109 min.

By Mlindber

I think the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had while watching any Korean films are the times when I’m confronted with a genre that I don’t particularly like and manage to come out really enjoying the film. I never liked the romantic comedy in Hollywood films as of late. At least the older romantic comedies from the 30s and 40s actually had good acting and a unique approach to a genre heavily reliant on scripted events. I’ve seen all of this and more in films like Art Museum By the Zoo.

At its core, Art Museum By the Zoo is a very simplistic film, following a very telegraphed script in a manner that is hard not to guess where it ends up. The plot is nothing special, with a man, Chul-su (played by Lee Sung-jae) coming back from the army only to find his girlfriend, Da-hye (Song Seon-mi) moved away and a slightly annoying girl, Chun-hi (Shim Eun-ha) moved into her apartment. Because he is only back from the army for a few days, Chul-su tries desperately to reconnect with his old girlfriend, but soon finds himself appreciating the company of Chun-hi more and more. Chun-hi, a wedding photographer/script writer, is at first annoyed with Chul-su, but soon “learns to love him”, finally allowing him access to her personal life through his assistance with her latest script.

As the film progresses, we see the main characters struggle over writing a script for the movie within a movie sequences, blatant misunderstandings of intentions and language, and a subtle warming up to each other. Events happen that seemingly come out of nowhere in order to keep the plot moving. The film does not make a big deal out of said events, as it knows the limits of its audience’s attention. What we are left with is a very upbeat film that offers moments of insight into a romance constructed in front of us. The film doesn’t hide its blatant chick-flickness, but it doesn’t relish in it either. Somehow, be it through the talented main actress (Shim Eun-ha, from Tell Me Something and Christmas in August), or the somewhat irrational humor, the movie works on a different level. It remains fun without being overly sappy.

Overall, I enjoyed the film, and find myself liking romantic comedies more and more, albeit only if it brings something unique to the genre. The overly stylized Hollywood movies that destroy reality and then relish in the destruction (films like, oh How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days) are not my taste.

Mlindber’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in Korean, Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fearless Hyena II, The | aka Crazy Monkey 2 (1983) Review

"The Fearless Hyena II" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Fearless Hyena II" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Chan Chuen
Producer: Lo Wei
Cast: Jackie Chan, Dean Shek, Yen Shi Kwan, Kwan Yung Moon, James Tien, Chan Wai Lau, Austin Wai, Hon Gwok Choi, Pearl Lin, Chan Chuen, Gam Man Hei, Ma Cheung, Mai Kei, Peng Kang, Wong Chi Sang, Wong Chi Wai
Running Time: 87 min.

By Numskull

Here we have one of several finalists in the Worst Jackie Chan Movie Of All Time competition. Reasons being: there’s more recycled footage here than in the entire first season of Ren & Stimpy, and very little of the new stuff has the real Jackie Chan in it. Lo Wei must have pissed off a lot of people with this one. There’s an actual story, but it’s so screwed up by the butcher knife editing process that you could easily miss it.

The two villains named Heaven and Earth are the most interesting part of it, because it’s never made clear which is which. Let’s see…The one with black hair wears a white cape, and the one with white hair wears a red cape. The cape colors would suggest to me that the latter is Earth. However, the guy in the white cape tends to stay on the ground during combat, while the other one likes to jump around a lot. That leads me to believe that the guy in red is Heaven instead. And the really interesting thing about the red-cloaked guy is the way his hairstyle keeps changing in the final scene, where the film alternates between new footage with Jackie’s double and the footage from the first Fearless Hyena with the real Jackie.

Another good question is: how the hell does a sword become dull by turning a dial?!? And, was the petty thief’s homoerotic line intentionally put in by the people doing the English dubbing to amuse themselves (after watching “Jackie” kung fu somebody he asks him: “Could you show me a few strokes?”)? The only thing worthwhile about this movie is the last fight scene, where the inventor guy’s parts are actually better than Jackie’s and “Jackie’s”. If you get the Fearless Hyena 2-pack you might as well watch this once, but it’s definitely not what I’d call a great movie (or a good movie, or a decent movie, or a somewhat substandard movie…).

Numskull’s Rating: 3/10


By Clint

Got it free with my “Fearless Hyena” two pack. I own it, so now I must review it. This film should’ve never been made. Once JC left Lo Wei, he should’ve stopped production. Instead, they use old footage, an obvious double, and cut scenes from “Hyena Part 1”. There were actually a couple scenes that Jackie actually filmed that were meant for this film. The scene where him and a buddy gamble on whether they can do what the other person does. So JC does this great trick with his shirt, then wins the money and gets into a great fight using he shoes. I love that scene. Only reason I don’t give it 1/10 is because of that scene. There’s not much else to talk about. So I’m done.

Clint’s Rating: 2/10


By Andrew

Well it started off kind of slow, then it dragged a bit in the middle, and the less said about the ending the better… But seriously, this film was lacking something, let’s call it “fun”. Now we all like to have our “fun” but this film wasn’t very much “fun”, there was one funny scene in a restaurant (which was one of the only scenes with the REAL Jackie Chan in it) but other than that there wasn’t a whole lot to enjoy here. The ending was sort of “fun” but by that time most of the characters we cared about had expired in not-so-funny ways. I hope they re-make this film, and when they do they could westernize it and get Jackie Chan to play the lead. That would make it better.

Andrew’s Rating: 3/10

Posted in Chinese, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fearless Hyena, The | aka Crazy Monkey (1979) Review

"The Fearless Hyena" Japanese Theatrical Poster

“The Fearless Hyena” Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Jackie Chan
Writer: Jackie Chan
Producer: Hsu Li Hwa
Cast: Jackie Chan, Peng Kang, James Tien Chun, Dean Shek Tien, Yen Shi Kwan, Lee Kwan, Chan Wai Lau, Cheng Fu Hung, Ma Cheung, Wang Yao, Ricky Cheng Tien Chi, Chu Siu Wa, Gam Sai Yuk, Eagle Han Ying, Ho Hing Nam
Running Time: 92 min.

By Numskull

Career milestone or not, I don’t like this movie at all. Frankly, I don’t think it’s any more amusing than the “sequel” (in spite of Lo Wei’s *AHEM* questionable film-making techniques). The problems here are that (1) the storyline is nothing more than a cliche and (2) that there’s no good fighting. Jackie either gets his ass kicked or employs his Buster Keaton routines, which are funny once in a while, but in general, I find them quite dull. There IS a scene where he takes on three guys with spears, but it looks quite fake and is almost a chore to sit through. Two things I like about this movie, and two things only: the way the main villain (he of the shifting hairstyles in the “sequel”) says “How dare you bite me!” in his ultra-gruff voice, and the little musical blurb at the end (don’t ask why). Fans of Jackie’s physical comedy will find merit in this, but give me a mindless chop-socky flick like Spiritual Kung Fu or Hong Kong Face-Off any day.

Numskull’s Rating: 3/10


By Ro

I almost didn’t watch this one because of the title, but I’m glad I did. Actually, it’s a lot like Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow. Jackie plays the sort of lazy grandson of a master who’s teaching him kung-fu. He gets a job with a couple of con artists who are supposed to be starting a school, but it’s basically Jackie getting paid to fight people. He does it in disguise to put them off their guard, and that part’s hilarious! One of his disguises is a woman, so he spends the whole fight fending off the amorous advances of his (obviously sight challenged) opponent. You can’t tell me he wasn’t influenced by The Three Stooges as much as Buster Keaton! Then, his disobedience gets his grandfather killed and his training is completed by an old cripple. Yet again, the training scenes are incredible! Watch for him doing sit ups while hanging upside down from a tree! The negatives include the ‘slap,block,kick,block’ slower style of fighting prevalent in the 70s and Jackie not dubbing his own voice. However, the ’emotional’ style of fighting he uses adds humor to the final fight scene and the positive of Jackie doing the training scenes shirtless WAY outweighs the negatives.

Ro’s Rating: 7/10 (add a star if you like the shirtless scenes)


By Master of the Stick

This movie has everything that I like about old school kung fu movies: zany comedy, a wacky supporting cast, a fiendish villain, and a cheesey plot that strings together fight after fight after fight! What more could you ask for? Obviously, Jackie borrowed a lot from Drunken Master when he made this one, but it’s still a damn good film. Even his best movies have average plots compared to the rest of the cinematic world, and anyone who watches them for the stories is missing out. So, for me, the lousy plot just added to the coolness factor. In short, you wouldn’t want to show this to someone who’s never seen a Jackie Chan movie before, but for the established Chan-fans out there, it’s a great flick. I loved it.

Master of the Stick’s Rating: 9/10


By Marcia

Looking at this title, I was afraid. Very afraid. But once I learned that this was the film where we get to see a crossdressing Jackie (having unfortunately seen clips of that in one of those ripoff montage films), I decided to give it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised; it wasn’t terrible. Although I have a hard time overlooking the annoying “grandfather” (knowing the actor is actually of comparable age to Jackie, having seen him in several of the other Lo Wei films), the rest of it is OK enough. The “emotional kung fu” (which Jackie totally made up just for this film) is weird and rather lame, but I’d certainly rather watch this film than many of the earlier Lo Wei works.

Marcia’s Rating: 7/10


By Superman

This was the first old school blackbelt JC movie I saw. I must say that I enjoyed it every bit as much as his newer films. His use of obscure weapons in this one is amazing. He kicks butt using benches, Swords, Staffs, Oranges (which also doubled as his fake Chi-Chi’s in a cross dressing scene) and the Hyena kung-fu style. If you shy away from his older stuff you just might enjoy this one. I haven’t seen Young Master yet , but this ranks right up there below Drunken Master. This one is also easily available, so sit back relax about the lack of story and just enjoy the show.

Superman’s Rating: 8/10 (yes 8! Its cool corny fun!)


Posted in Chinese, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burning Paradise | aka Rape of the Red Temple (1994) Review

"Burning Paradise" DVD Cover

"Burning Paradise" DVD Cover

AKA: Burning Paradise in Hell
Director: Ringo Lam
Writer: Nam Yin
Producer: Tsui Hark
Cast: Willie Chi, John Ching, Carman Lee, Wong Kam-Kong, Yeung Sing, Maggie Lin, Yuen Kam-Fai, Gordon Liu
Running Time: 104 min.

By Numskull

Holy crap, did Ringo Lam REALLY direct this?!? It’s a VERY far cry from what one would expect of the man who brought us Full Contact and the various “On Fire” movies (let’s not mention Van Damme, okay?). Very solid, enjoyable film, but a box office flop upon its release (star Willie Chi handles his fight scenes well enough, but is somewhat lacking in charisma)…and, as of this writing, the only DVD is a Region 0/PAL Dutch release with three lines where the subtitles switch from English to German.

Fong Sai Yuk (an angrier one than in the two Jet Li/Corey Yuen films) and his uncle Chi Nun are on the run from a huge group of Imperial soldiers because they’re members of the Shaolin temple, a big no-no in the current regime. They meet a runaway whore named Tou Tou before the soldiers catch them. Chi Nun is killed and Fong and Tou Tou are imprisoned in the Red Lotus Temple, where the lion’s share of the film takes place. There’s slave labor, skulls and dead bodies everywhere, and deathtraps aplenty for hapless prisoners to get killed by in various nasty ways. Not a nice place to live OR visit, though it would certainly be fun to send Harvey Weinstein there. It reminds me of the Mortal Kombat video games, except that Ed Boon and John Tobias didn’t stick their names everywhere in the background.

Fong has four principal adversaries to contend with while trapped in the Red Lotus Temple: Crimson, the commander of the troops who pursued him in the beginning; Hong, a former Shaolin pupil who has aligned himself with the enemy; Boroke, a fierce, masked woman with the hots for Hong; and Lord Kung, the demented, hedonistic overlord of the place, who is as much a prisoner as anyone else (“I want to enjoy life,” he says, “although life is unbearable.”). Fong has showdowns with all of them at some point, but, as has been mentioned already, the last battle is a letdown; it relies too much on super powers and shit (Kung’s favored weapon is not a sword or a spear, but a paintbrush), unlike the furious fights that precede it. Wires are used in those, too, but not in a way that is silly or excessive. The one in which a large, ornate bed becomes the focal point of the action is probably my favorite, mostly due to its very painful-looking conclusion.

There’s very little not to like about Burning Paradise. Great action, morbid imagery, multifaceted characters, and spiffy set design collide to make it one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen in ages, Asian or otherwise.

Numskull’s Rating: 9/10


By Joe909

Ringo Lam’s first (and so far, only) kung-fu movie seems to go unnoticed by fans. I don’t even think it’s available on DVD. That’s too bad, as this film stands beside other, better-known kung-fu movies of the same era, such as Iron Monkey and the Once Upon a Time in China series. Basically, what Lam did was update the classic Shaw Brothers film, keeping intact a strong sense of gore and doom, while at the same time injecting some all around great martial arts into the mix. Burning Paradise looks and feels like something Chang Cheh would’ve helmed in the mid ’70s, had he been provided with the budget.

One thing that ruined the film for many was that Willie Ho was hyped as the “next Jet Li.” He isn’t by a long shot, though he isn’t that bad. Yu Rong-Guang is a much better martial artist, and should’ve been the star of the movie, other than portraying the turncoat monk Hong. Carman Lee, as Tou-Tou, gives a good performance in what is your basic role as the screaming girl who must always be rescued. Yet another tie to kung-fu movies of the past. And the actor portraying the villain of the piece, Elder Kung, goes way overboard as the demonistic ruler of the Temple. He uses blood to paint, and has the ability to not only fly, but fire specks of paint like projectiles from his brush.

Fong, his uncle, and Tou-Tou are accosted by a band of masked Chings and their leader, Crimson. This is the best part of the movie, as Fong takes on these guys in the middle of the desert. But Fong gets captured anyway, his uncle murdered by Crimson. From there, Fong and Tou-Tou are taken to the gothic Red Lotus Temple, where Elder Kung adds Tou-Tou to his stable of concubines, and puts Fong to work in the mines. Fong has a few run-ins with Hong, who serves as Kung’s second-in-command, before it’s revealed that Hong is only pretending to help Kung; he’s really trying to figure out a map of the Temple, to lead his Shaolin brothers to freedom. Fong and Hong, of course, team up to take out Elder Kung and his henchmen in the end.

Did I mention the gore? This movie freaked out my wife, it was so gory. Elder Kung rips off heads, people get sliced and diced by bladed traps, and the corpses of monks lie scattered about the Temple in unusual positions. All of this stands to make Burning Paradise more of a horror film than a genuine kung-fu movie.

Of course, it goes without saying that despite this, there’s still some comedy thrown into the mix, as is usual with modern-day HK movies; no matter the dark tone of a film, HK filmmakers of today will still find some way to add in goofy, Cantonese humor. The humor in Burning Paradise isn’t as obtrusive as in some other HK flicks, but at times it does come off as too forced. A few moments are genuinely funny, though, like when Fong and an old monk pretend they’re dead to fool the Chings, or when Yu Rong-Guang screams out “Who squeezed my dick?” during the final battle.

The martial arts on display is mostly wire-free. Fong and Hong flip around like acrobats while engaging in furious hand and weapons-based combat. Willie Ho’s portrayal of Fong is more hip than Jet Li’s, what with his huge broadsword and kick-ass attitude. The costumes are excellent across the board, though they go for a more realistic look than the Shaw Brothers-style metal armbands. Set-wise, the Red Lotus Temple looks genuinely creepy, and you start to feel sorry for these damn monks as they stumble into one deadly trap after another.

Overall, a good, recent kung-fu movie. Not the best ever, but I’d still like to see more movies like this coming out of Hong Kong than the usual junk.

Joe909’s Rating: 8/10


By Vic Nguyen

Director Ringo Lam ventures away from modern realism to direct this cynical, claustrophobic martial arts epic. Newcomer Willie Chi stars as Chinese folk hero Fong Sai Yuk, an imprisoned martial artist who must team up with fellow hero Hung Hei-kwan in order to defeat a powerful dictator and escape from a booby trap laden temple. Superb cinematography sets the dark tone of this production. That element, along with fast paced editing and slick wire-fu helps rank this one among Lam’s most accomplished films.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 7.5/10

Posted in Chinese, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Big Brawl, The | aka Battle Creek Brawl (1980) Review

"The Big Brawl" Japanese DVD Cover

"The Big Brawl" Japanese DVD Cover

Director: Robert Clouse
Writer: Robert Clouse
Producer: Raymond Chow, Fred Weintraub
Cast: Jackie Chan, Jose Ferrer, Kristine DeBell, Mako, Rosalind Chao, Pat Johnson
Running Time: 95 min.

By James H.

Music is a very key element in films. I think everyone can agree with that statement. If you don’t believe me, just think about it. What would “Superman” be like without John Williams’ sweeping score? A James Bond movie without music is like a washer without a dryer. That is one of the reasons “The Big Brawl” was not a success. Lalo Schifrin, who did a great job scoring “Bullitt” and “Dirty Harry” (among others, like “Mission: Impossible”), did a horride job here. It was like a mix of Spaghetti Western music and Generic-50’s-Cop-Show music.

As I said the music was one of the reasons this movie was a failure. The plot was lame, the supporting cast was lame, the directing was lame and the editing was, yup you guessed it, shoddy. The fights were okay, Clouse didn’t try to re-create “Enter the Dragon,” and Jackie added some cool moves that kept them interesting. Jackie did a decent job, this being his first shot at the North American market. The saving grace of the film is the humour. There were some funny bits here & there which gave it a certain charm.

If there is nothing left at the video store, go ahead and pick it up. Lord knows there are movies shittier than this one (AHEM! “The Protector”!).

James H’s Rating: 3.5/10


By S!DM

In an attempt to break into the American market, Jackie is duped into making “The Big Brawl,” a real stinker. Jackie says that he is glad he did this film, because he learned how to roller skate. Jackie, I am happy for you. I also learned to roller skate by making a 90 minute feature film. And Robert Clouse directed mine, too! The basic premise is that Jackie has to fight in a “Big” brawl to release his brother’s fiancee. And what a brawl it was. There are no stunts in this movie. There are no real fights either. Unless you count that hilariously bad skirmish between Jackie and Pat Johnson from Enter the Dragon (“It’s the dough, Roper, or we gotta break something!”). Pat, this goes out to you and all your friends: Please retire soon!

S!DM’s Rating: 5/10


By The Great Hendu

The number one reason this movie sucked was because Jackie never fought anyone who could even come close to touching him. I mean even the BIG (and I use that word lightly) Brawl was pathetic. The brute who fought Jackie inspired about as much fear in me as my fat uncle Pete who reminds me a lot of Dilbert. Jackie inserted a hint of humor in the very first fight when he tries not to actually fight. That was probably the best part and it wasn’t even that good. Much of the time I felt like I was watching Bruce Lee. Jackie does a number of those quick jabs or kicks then strikes a pose with a very serious look on his face, like he’s mad all the time. We all know Jackie is a fun loving guy and this movie tried to turn Jackie into what he is not. Finally, as much as everyone else hated the whistling musical soundtrack, I thought it was one of the few things which gave the movie a light-hearted feel, and you have to admit, it was undeniably catchy. Overall, Jackie was misused in this film and I would only reccommend it to true Jackie fans.

The Great Hendu’s Rating: 4.5/10


By Shazbot!

The biggest challenge with this film is that it has a modern day setting in an environment where we everyone doesn’t break out into fights. It tries to balance that with a roller skate sequence (weak) and training with his uncle (decent). The alley sequence where he “fights” without fighting is classic Jackie. The rest is crap. It is not exciting to see kung fu when its only one person. His opponent should have been more of an nimble boxer, able to dish out some jabs. A couple of subplots were left unanswered. Jackie has complained they did not let him make his kind of movie. In all fairness, he was still searching for his niche, which he started to find in Young Master but didn’t hit his stride until Project A. Only a few scenes didn’t have the Jackie touch. When he is his father’s kitchen and kicks his father’s hat off, I expected it to land on Jackie’s head. That would’ve been a Jackie touch. Not even that could have saved this movie.

Shazbot!’s Rating: 4/10


By Numskull

This movie is so bad, I refuse to review it!

Numskull’s Rating: 2/10


By DRGII

Jackie Chan’s first American film was a disappointment yet somehow better than I thought it would be. The story is a complete bore, and it didn’t seem to make it clear when the film was set. It looked like the 1920’s most of the time, but then there was something straight out of the 70’s just to throw you off. Jackie Chan does get to exhibit some of his trademark humor thankfully, and a few of the scenes are pretty good. There’s a cool roller derby scene and a too short yet good scene at an outdoor theater (at least that’s what it looks like) that show off Jackie doing his trademark stuff. Jackie’s master in the film is hilarious. I thought the end fights were sort of disappointing. The worst thing though was the musical score, this annoying whistle-type thing that made me scramble for the mute button on my remote. The shocking thing is that the score was by Lalo Schifrin, who composed the classic Mission: Impossible theme. Okay, but keep your fast forward and mute buttons handy.

DRGII’s Rating: 4/10


By Vic Nguyen

This is a mediocre Jackie Chan film that is forgetable. I know it is forgetable because I forgot most of the plot. All I remember is it has to do with Jackie entering a competition with rejects from the WWF to save a family member. I think his uncle trained him. I think this movie marks Jackies first attempt to break into the US market, but failed. I guess I could understand why.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 4/10

Posted in Asian Related, Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rumble in the Bronx | aka Red Bronx (1995) Review

"Rumble in the Bronx" Japanese DVD Cover

"Rumble in the Bronx" Japanese DVD Cover

AKA: Death Benefit
Director: Stanley Tong
Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma Mei Ping
Producer: Raymond Chow, Leonard Ho
Cast: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Bill Tung, Françoise Yip Fong Wah, Marc Akerstream, Ailen Sit, Chan Man Ching, Jamie Luk, Yueh Hua, Emil Chau Wa Kin, Alex To
Running Time: 85/110 min.

By Stockton22

If you saw this flick once and wrote it off as an inferior Jackie vehicle, I strongly urge that you check it out again (Thomas Weisser, I’m looking in your direction). While it’s certainly lacking in the fighting category, there is a lot to enjoy once its modus operandi becomes apparent. Having realized this, I know that I like this film more and more each time I see it.

Like Jackie’s first collaboration with director Stanley Tong (Supercop), Rumble sacrifices fighting sequences in favor of more conventional action film dynamics. You know what Jackie film Rumble reminds me of? Project A II. Both films rely less on fighting and more on stuntwork. And Rumble’s got some pretty nifty zingers. That jump from the roof to the building across the street is pretty rad. The scene in the garage where Jackie is moving up, over and around scores of moving obstacles like he’s Spiderman (while throwing a couple of punches in as well) is jammin’ too.

You know what’s also like Project A II? You can’t figure out who the hell the bad guys are supposed to be. In that one, the pirates who weren’t killed in the first movie take a blood oath to kill Dragon Ma (Jackie), but then one gets sick, Jackie buys some medicine and he’s made some friends for life. Now he’s free to fight off a bunch of gangsters. In Rumble, Jackie spends most of the film fending off a biker gang. He ultimately steals the leader’s girl and kicks all their asses. Then he says, “I hope the next time we meet, we won’t be fighting each other. Instead, we’ll be drinking tea together.” And boom, Jackie and the gang are tighter than Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Now he’s free to fight off a bunch of gangsters. Well dang. That’s all it takes to end conflict? I wish we’d known that years ago, hell, we could have avoided Vietnam, Korea and WWII. All we needed was a couple of strategically places CVS pharmacies, some tea bags and a whole lot of hot water and we could have abolished war entirely. Then, without the inspiration, Fantasy Mission Force might never have happened. What a golden age it would have been.

And speaking of Jackie kicking the gangs collective ass, while Rumble certainly contains less fighting than we’d all like to see, the fighting it does have is totally slammin’. The fisticuffs in the gang’s hideout is the true show stopper, and truly deserves it’s place among Jackie’s best, as Jackie punches, kicks, and maneuvers around every piece of scenery that Tong could get in frame. And the film builds to a thrilling conclusion that includes everything from car chases, hover crafts and that water skiing thing. That’s why if you were bored the first time, you should give it another chance. If you know there’s no fight coming, you can just sit back and let that thing with the jagged sword and the Lamborghini rock your world.

And giving credit where credit is due, let’s hand it to Rumble for featuring a “throwing a guy into a wood chipper” scene, nearly four years before Fargo. Pretty harsh for a Jackie movie, but hey, at least New Line didn’t name his character Jackie Chan (What the hell is up with that anyway? They think we won’t remember it’s him?). The presence of Anita Mui and the babe-alicious Franciose Yip doesn’t hurt either. I just wish Bill Tung had hung around longer. That guy’s a hoot. At least we have the wheelchair boy’s attempts at melodramatic dialogue to chuckle at. And by the way, there’s no game cartridge in that Game Gear kid. Yeah, Rumble in the Bronx will kill ya in more ways than one.

Stockton22’s Rating: 8/10


By Ro

Jackie comes to America for his uncle’s wedding and volunteers to stick around to help out the girl his uncle sold his grocery store to. While assisting in the store, he runs afoul of the local biker gang, who then harass him for most of the movie. While the bikers are chasing Jackie, they run afoul of mobsters who stole diamonds. Confused? Don’t be, the plot works slowly enough to follow and who really cares anyway? Again, lots of humor, stunts and street type fighting. There’s a great scene in the biker’s hangout with refrigerators and other appliances. If you like to watch him fight with props, this is the one to see!

The dubbing’s a little weird, though – some people are obviously speaking English, but everybody’s dubbed. The young boy sounds especially bizarre. However, Jackie dubs his own voice in, so it works for me. P.S. I counted more people getting taken away in ambulances in this movie’s outtakes than any other one I saw!

Ro’s Rating: 7.5/10


By Marcia

On a whim, a mere three months ago, my hubby and I picked up Rumble (and, if I remember right, Young Master) at the video store. Had heard about Rumble, had heard about Jackie, but had never seen him. If you’ve paid any attention to the other film reviews, you know that I’ve contributed to quite a few of them, so now you know how my obsession began (me and everybody else out there…). This one’s a romp. Short on plot, but hey, watched any “American” movies lately? The action is great fun to watch, and I think it’s a really good example of the beautiful way Jackie can move. Ignore the whiny kid, the unlikely gang, and the questionable plot, and enjoy it for what it is — a fun time watching The Man!

Marcia’s Rating: 8/10


By James H.

I know that this is the film that got a lot of people hooked on Jackie. It did that for me. When I saw it in the theatre, it was one of the most amazing movies I had ever seen on the big screen. However, like every movie, it loses some of its shimmer on the TV screen.

When it’s on the smaller screen, the mistakes and bad elements’ show through a lot more. For instance, that little punk ass kid became ten times as annoying. The bad dubbing was much more noticeable, Jackie being the only one who seemed to put effort into his job. The fact that there is a big ass mountain in the middle of the Bronx also comes to mind (actually, I picked that out in the theatre).

Now, on the plus side, Jackie displays some incredible fighting skills in this film. I would have to say that this is one of his best for hand-to-hand fighting. He also displays some remarkable prop fighting; using refrigerators, skiis, shopping carts, jackets and much more. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Jackie beat the hell out of the baddies at their little hideout.

The finale of the film has always bothered me quite a bit. Due to Jackie’s injury, the film makers had to wrap the film up quickly. I didn’t like the quick solution; running White Tiger over with the hovercraft and then everyone is happy. Although, having Ash’s “Kung Fu” during the outtakes almost made up for the poorly conceived climax/resolution. “Rumble” is good fun, with all of its flaws.

Note: It should be known that Jackie’s character, Keung, is actually a Hong Kong cop, not just some guy who can fight. But we would never have known that because those in charge at the studios cut it out of the film, because they think that a kung fu movie has to be 90 minutes or less.

James H’s Rating: 7/10


By Numskull

Like many other Chan fans I saw this during its theatrical run and thought it was God’s gift to cinema, but now I don’t think it’s quite so hot. On the plus side, all of the action scenes in the first hour are good (but too short in the first two cases-the supermarket and the alleyways) and the stunts are definitely up to par. On the…uh, minus side, the street gang looks rather incompetent compared to the baddies in, say, Police Story. The ending is disappointing (no more good fights after the warehouse scene), the kid in the wheelchair is a poster child for legitimate infanticide (thank God for the MUTE button), and then there’s the guy who seems totally ignorant of the fact that there are different flavors of ice cream. This would have kicked major ass if Jackie hadn’t broken his ankle and, as a result, foregone the fighting scheduled for the ending, but it turned out above average in the long run.

Numskull’s Rating: 7/10


By James Wong

Logic aside, this is a pretty good movie. If you can forget the stuff that makes no sense, like being friendly to someone who tried to throw you off a five-story building a day earilier, you’ll enjoy this film. Jackie Chan is an awesome stuntman, I hope he doesn’t get seriously hurt. He is a little insane to do the stunts he does, but he sure is good at it. In this movie, he jumps from one building to the next, across the street. He has time to do all these terrific stunts and still kick people’s asses. A must see for fans of Jackie Chan.

James Wong’s Rating: 7.5/10


By Vic Nguyen

This is the film that got me hooked on Jackie. Jackie stars as Keung, a foriegn visitor from Hong Kong that came to visit his Uncle Bill for his wedding. After the weddding, he plans to sell the supermarket and move away with his wife. A buyer appears, and buys the market at a discount price. What the buyer doesnt know is that the supermarket is constantly terrorised by a local biker gang. Keung does all he can to help stop the biker gang for the rest of the movie, running into the local mob in the process. I would never forget the expierience going to a Jackie Chan film. That crowd cheering and laughing along as the excitement builds. It was great! I was happy with this film and recommend it to anybody.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 8/10


Posted in Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run and Kill (1993) Review

"Run and Kill" Chinese DVD Cover

"Run and Kill" Chinese DVD Cover

Director: Billy Tang Hin Sing
Writer: Bryan Chang Wai Hung
Producer: Suen Ging On
Cast: Kent Cheng, Simon Yam, Esther Kwan, Danny Lee, Melvin Wong, Johnny Wang, Lily Lee Lee Lee, Terrence Fok Shu Wah, Yee Tin Hung, Wan Seung Lam
Running Time: 91 min.

By Gwailo

Here it is. Although Run and Kill is not the first, it is, in my opinion, the patriarch of all Category III films. King of Category III director Billy Tang (Red to Kill, Street Angels) pushes stars Simon Yam (Full Contact, Dr. Lamb) and Kent “Fatty” Cheng (Powerful Four, Sex and Zen) over the edge in a sharp, dangerous, nasty, killer of a flick.

Fatty (Cheng) arrives home one bird-chirping, sunny day and finds his wife boning some dude. Distraught, he sets out into the now dank, rainy HK nightlife and proceeds in getting tanked. After inebriated miscommunication with a hitman he unknowingly hired and a nice little overnight stay in an alley, Fatty returns home and again finds his wife with this dude. The nerve of this tramp! Not more than two minutes through the door, death comes knocking. Wife and new boy toy are dismissed from their existence and Fatty is left a blubbering mess, bewildered.

Fearing for his mortal being, Fatty packs up his daughter and sends her to live with granny and then hightails it to his summer home on the mainland. There he finds a neighbor and his big brother’s (Yam) gang squatting in his home. Yam is a rude, unflinching man of nasty spirits. He and his band of outsiders are involved in dirty deeds of their own and need Fatty’s house to “hide up”. Fatty in turn gets some protection from the ‘bounty’ hunters who are on his trail for the rest of Fatty’s owed green. During a troubled encounter in a movie theater with the ‘bounty’ hunters, Yam’s little bro’ is mortally wounded, Fatty escapes unscathed. Yam blames Fatty for his younger siblings demise and, to say the very least, is pissed. When the chips are down, the chips are really down and Fatty now has to contend with two killers on the rampage. Poor ol’ Fatty, and the audience, goes through and endurance test of sanity from here on in.

As if it weren’t enough his hoochie of a wife is dead and he’s to blame, he’s on the run from this wicked, out of touch, ex-mercenary who’s swearing revenge on him and his family. Yam proceeds in torturing and dispatching granny and Fatty’s daughter in ways so horrific, I’m surprised they passed the ratings board. Oh, how I love Category III. Jeeeezzz….Fatty’s poor little girl. This scene needs to be seen to be believed. In front of a tied up, tormented Fatty, Yam broils the little one to a crisp, picks up the chared carcass and plants it in front of the now out of his gord Fatty.

He then begins to mimic the little girl in a childlike voice,”Daddy, I’m so dark. Can you recognize me?” If that doesn’t make you shake your head in disgust, after Fatty frees himself from capture he grabs his charcoal kid and double times it to safety. With his little girl in tow he accidentally smacks her head against the wall, shattering it into dust. Probably the most evil image I have seen yet in a category III film.

An always reliable, and underrated, Kent Cheng gives his best performance and earn’s our sympathy in a grimmy, mean spirited film that also boasts Simon Yam at his demented best.

With the end of the category III hey day in the mid 90’s, Tang has yet to return to this angry form. He is truly one of the most ambitious, angry, and wild filmmakers in HK. I can’t recommend a film much higher. Insanely perfect.

Gwailo’s Rating: 10/10

Posted in Chinese, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Rivals 2, The | aka Silver Fox Rivals 2 (1977) Review

"The Secret Rivals 2" DVD Cover

"The Secret Rivals 2" DVD Cover

AKA: Revenge of the Gold Fox
Director: Ng See Yuen
Producer: Ng See Yuen
Cast: Tino Wong Cheung, John Liu (Chung Liang), Hwang Jang Lee, Blacky Ko Sau-Leung, Charlie Chan (Yiu Lam), Corey Yuen Kwai, Hsu Hsia, Chui Chung Hei
Running Time: 88 min.

By Milkcan

Ng See Yuen has somewhat redeemed himself for his sloppy 1976 film The Secret Rivals with this sequel that almost achieves a “recommended” status but unfortunately falls short – except this time the reason is not the fight scenes. Gold Fox, the brother of Silver Fox, is out to avenge Silver’s death and to collect a hidden stash of- yes, you guessed it- silver. John Liu reprises his role as our hero Shao Yi-Fei, and this time around he is partnered with Shen Yin-Wu (Tino Wong Cheung), the brother of Sheng Ying Wei (the Bruce Lee look-alike, Wang Tao, in the first film). Together they must fight to protect not only themselves, but the treasure as well, from the vengeful hands of Gold Fox.

A simple story is once again made abstruse in the hands of director Yuen as he continues to mold cliched ideas and tries to make something deep out of it. Even though he doesn’t drag the story on forever like he did in the anger-inducing Part I, or structure the story in small meaning-less segments as badly, Yuen still isn’t on the level of where he can handle such material. There are several minor instances where improvement seems to be occurring, but the audience is never allowed a moment of relief throughout a good portion of the first half. We’re forced to sit through the usual bad English dubbing, bad dialogue, and bad acting with those goofy, drawn-out evil laughs. It is even possible to say some of the characters here in The Secret Rivals Part II are not as intelligent as those in Part I. Gray Fox is a villain no one is intimidated by- he often forgets his goals, acts and speaks in silly methods, and seems to not want to participate in something he cares so much about.

I complained that the fight scenes in Part I were not long enough, and that the actors’ skills weren’t properly utilized. Part II corrects these flaws. Whether it be in training sessions (which the characters seem to participate in on more than plenty occasions), or in fight scenes (some involving multiple numbers of people), Yuen and his choreographers have given the audience more of what they were robbed of in the first film. Fights are not broken into short vignettes as much, but instead are allowed longer time periods for business to be taken care of. (Do not fooled though, several short lengthen encounters are still present). Weaponry has been added, and the choreographers make good use of this new concept. And on the subject of martial-arts skills, our heroes must first battle through a cast of grimy characters and groups of deadly fighters until reaching the fast-paced and uplifting finale, which, like the first movie, is the high note of the picture. The action sequences’ only flaw is that they re-use exact ideas from Part I, and this repetition may irritate some viewers.

It must be realized, however, that the best parts of the film only take place within the last 30 minutes of footage. Having said this, The Secret Rivals Part II is only worth a rental when there is nothing else in the video store to rent. It is a step above Part I, and perhaps Part III will be better, but it’s flaws do hinder the film to the level where it cannot be a recommendation (Although, you would be missing out on the return of that bold and grand theme song!).

Milkcan’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in Chinese, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Rivals, The | aka Silver Fox Rivals (1976) Review

"The Secret Rivals" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Secret Rivals" Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Enter the Silver Fox
Director: Ng See Yuen
Producer: Cheung Kune
Cast: Don Wong Tao, John Liu (Chung Liang), Hwang Jang Lee, James Nam, Lui Sau Ching, Yuen Biao, Tong Kam Tong, Gam Ming, To Wai Wo
Running Time: 87 min.

By Milkcan

Here is a film that has the right ingredients for a good action flick, but is partnered with a chef that doesn’t know how to prepare them. The Secret Rivals has an obviously talented cast of martial artists, a standard but workable idea, and an excellent theme song, but the director Ng See Yuen snips, cuts, and meshes these elements together to form an utterly dizzying mess of a movie. However, I am informed that this is the film which revolutionized kung-fu flicks, therefore it is considered a classic and is recommended viewing. Perhaps so, but only for the curious, the hardcore fans, and the viewers who want to know everything about Hong Kong cinema. If you’re looking for an entertaining fight piece, steer clear.

Two Chinese fighters arrive in Korea to settle separate matters with a notorious martial-arts master known as the Silver Fox, and while on their stay, develop somewhat of a rivalry over the daughter of an inn-keeper. With Ng See Yuen’s amateurish direction, this basic plot is taken way out of proportion. Too much time is spent on trying to develop the story, while the fight scenes and the cast members’ energy and skills are left in the dust. Not emphasizing on the action, but rather on the “substance” is perfectly fine, but only if one can provide good acting, style, and dialogue. Here in this movie, the story telling and characters do not compensate for this unfortunate loss. The dialogue is not funny or cheesy or riddled with memorable lines, but is painfully stupid and only made worse thanks to the atrocious English dubbing, which is often difficult to understand.

The story cuts from scene to scene at a fast rate like it knows what it’s doing; it feels as if Yuen is a child let loose in a warehouse of movie ideas and who wants to try out more of them than he can handle. This task he undertakes doesn’t make The Secret Rivals a great film, but instead creates scenes that don’t make any sense, that are useless, and that only confuse the viewer. But back to the action sequences. The biggest complaint about them is that they do not last long enough. When a fight breaks out, it is suddenly stopped by the nagging plotline- literally. They barely serve to wet appetites, leaving the audience possibly too disappointed to beg for more. This is a shame; the actors seem amazingly skilled, what with all the training they do in the film. Having said this, the choreography is pointed in the right direction and when there is a fight scene, we can sense the talent. However, after several encounters, fights become irritatingly formulaic.

All complaints can be put aside though for the ending, which comes as a moment of clarity. The final confrontation is a nice showcase of skills and techniques. This ending, and the sweeping, epic-like theme song must be the only positive elements of the movie. I am not that familiar with the history of kung-fu films, but I do know a thing or two about them that allowed me not to walk into this movie expecting much in the acting, drama, and story departments. But it is most disappointing to see talent wasted on silly ideas. And as for the revolution, I suppose this film brought a new approach to fight choreography and style. It introduced new ideas and said “look what you can do.” Apparently, future projects learned from this and were able to focus on what makes kung-fu movies enjoyable- something that The Secret Rivals failed miserably to do.

Milkcan’s Rating: 6/10

Posted in Chinese, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking News (2004) Review

"Breaking News" French Theatrical Poster

"Breaking News" French Theatrical Poster

Director: Johnnie To
Cast: Richie Ren, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung, Eddie Cheung, Hui Siu Hung, Lam Suet, Yau Yung, Ding Hai Feng, Li Hai Tao, Alan Chui, Ho Hon Chau, Wong Chi Wai, Victy Wong Yin Keung, Wong Wa Wo, Maggie Siu, Simon Yam
Running Time: 91 min.

By Equinox21

Breaking News, one of Johnny To’s best this ain’t, but it’s certainly FAR from his worst. Coming on the heels of his critically acclaimed PTU, and his mostly overlooked (though thoroughly enjoyable) Turn Left, Turn Right, Breaking News depicts the most intense, large scale shoot-outs put to film in years.

The plot is pretty simple and straight forward. It revolves around a group of Mainlanders who plan on committing a heist. The police are casing them, getting ready to break up the party once they start their crime spree, when two beat cops try to bust them for a minor traffic offense. Things go wrong. Very wrong. There’s a large shootout in the streets of Hong Kong, leaving a few cops and one mainland thug dead. After a small car chase, the shootout makes its way into the view of local news reporters filming an unrelated event. The debacle, making the police look incompetant and useless, convinces the police force to bring in their own PR people to turn the tides of public opinion in their favor as they hunt down the remaining mainland criminals.

Like any good Milkyway movie, you pretty much know what to expect and will unlikely be disappointed. To, again, cast Milkyway regulars Lam Suet (as a hostage), Hui Shiu-Hung (as, surprise, surprise, a cop!) and Simon Yam (just a cameo in one scene as the police chief). Kelly Chen and Nick Cheung do well as the cops trying to find the mainlanders, who are led by Yuan (played by Richie Ren).

As action packed as this flick is, and with the thousands of bullets seemingly flying through the streets of HK, there are surprisingly few people actually getting killed. This seems to make it, in my opinion, more realistic. In real shootouts, you don’t see people taking bullets between the eyes. Even in huge gun fights, people aren’t usually hit because the adrenalin keeps people from aiming properly. This movie seems to depict this quite well, with large one-shot gun fights and few people getting outright killed.

I am happy to recommend this Johnny To movie to all fans of HK films. It’s quite a good commentary on modern media and how it helps determine events that affect our lives. And in a related storey, exclusively on COF Live at 10, “fuck Fox News.”

Equinox21’s Rating: 8/10

Posted in Chinese, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bomb Disposal Officer: Baby Bomb (1994) Review

"Bomb Disposal Officer: Baby Bomb" Chinese VCD Cover

"Bomb Disposal Officer: Baby Bomb" Chinese VCD Cover

Director: Jamie Luk
Writer: Gumby Law, Tony Leung
Producer: Tony Leung
Cast: Anthony Wong, Lau Ching Wan, Esther Kwan, Alexander Chan, Joe Cheung, Stephen Chang, Parkman Wong Pak Man, Lung Tin Sang, Lam King Kong, Kirk Wong, Lee Diy Yue, Jamie Luk Kim Ming, Wong Wa Wo
Running Time: 94 min.

By Equinox21

I was quite shocked to be perusing the list of available films on my regular online Asian films shopping site and stumbled upon a film from 1994 starring Anthony Wong and Lau Ching-Wan. I’d never even heard of the film Bomb Disposal Officer, despite the lengthy research I’d done on their various other, better known, films. So, I picked up the VCD (yes, it’s not even available on DVD) and gave it a watch. While this is nowhere near either of their best movies, it was an amusing comedy with two guys I’m far more familiar with seeing as hardened killers or tough as nails cops.

John and Peter are room mates and police officers on the bomb disposal team. They take every opportunity to take their time while disposing of bombs to do various things like eating lots of food when they should be deactivating explosives in a restaurant and ogling a woman’s body as they’re trying to disarm a booby-trap around her neck. When they get another room mate, Mary, they try to out do each other in winning her attention. This leads to many an amusing situation, and eventually leads to the three of them waking up after a night of heavy drinking only to find that both John and Peter had sex with Mary and that she’s pregnant. They then try to out do each other, going back and forth between insisting that they’re the father and insisting that the other one is the father. During all this time, of course, is a crazy evil bomber who is setting bombs off around the city. It all comes to a head when the bomber targets the bomb disposal officers themselves.

There weren’t too many laugh out loud type moments in BDO, but a few left me chuckling. I haven’t seen Anthony Wong in very many comedies, but I do really enjoy it when he does them. The camaraderie/rivalry between Lau Ching-Wan and Anthony Wong worked really well, and was only made better by two great actors being as aloof and goofy as was required for their roles. Even though the plot was pointless, to the point of even being considered a complete joke, with an antagonist that is so far from scary that even the officers made fun of him at times, the movie works because of the two leads.

If you at all are a fan of Anthony Wong and Lau Ching-Wan, then check out Bomb Disposal Officer: Baby Bomb. It’s amusing enough to entertain, if you can find it cheap enough. And since it appears to only be available on VCD, you should be able to find it extremely cheap.

Equinox21’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in Chinese, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bodyguard from Beijing, The | aka The Defender (1994) Review

"The Bodyguard from Beijing" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Bodyguard from Beijing" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Corey Yuen
Writer: Gordon Chan, John Chan
Producer: Jet Li
Cast: Jet Li, Christy Chung Lai Tai, Collin Chou Siu Long, Kent Cheng Jak Si, Joey Leung Wing Chung, Ng Wai Gwok, William Chu Wai Lim, Wong Kam Kong, Chun Kwai Bo, Mike Miller, Corey Yuen Kwai
Running Time: 92 min.

By Numskull

Bitches. Who needs ’em? Certainly not Jet Li, who plays a stoic, disciplined bodyguard (betcha didn’t see that comin’) in this plodding action movie from director Corey Yuen (Yuen Kwai). The bitch in question is some silver spoon-fed tightass played by Christy Chung. She’s on somebody’s hit list for some reason or other and her rich boyfriend arranges for her to have round-the-clock protection from two less-than stellar police officers and Jet Li…a REAL man. A MAN’S man. A MAN’S man’s man, even (man!).

The bitch shamelessly embodies negative stereotype characteristics and raises a big stink over Jet Li telling her not to stand in front of windows and other such things. Only after he saves her from getting perforated in a shopping mall (she just HAD to go shopping, you see) does she decide that she is madly in love with him.

Later on, more assassins invade her house and Jet Li takes them out with the lights turned off. The way this scene is shot and edited, it looks like either A) the assassins possess some innate, superhuman regenerative ability (Jet shoots ’em, they drop, then they get up again off-camera), or B) there are actually several waves of assassins who quickly drag away the corpses of their buddies and then take their shots at Jet Li (before getting dropped like panties on prom night themselves). Then, Jet Li must take on the “big” bad guy in a (finally!) hand-to-hand duel in which the kitchen sink becomes a sort of nexus point for the action (Jet filled the room with gas to discourage further gunfire).

Much like Yuen’s Yes, Madam, this movie waits too long to spring the good stuff on you. For the most part, it’s boring and kind of annoying. I was, however, fairly pleased to see the kid who wanted to play with guns in the mall and who ended up nearly costing one of the cops his life get shot in the foot. Take that you stupid little shit.

Anyway, this is a substandard action movie with little to hold your interest aside from the obligatory showdown at the end. Thus concludes another one-paragraph review.

Numskull’s Rating: 4/10

Posted in Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Police Story | aka Police Story 5 (2004) Review

"New Police Story" International Theatrical Poster

"New Police Story" International Theatrical Poster

Director: Benny Chan
Writer: Alan Yuen
Cast: Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, Charlie Young Choi Nei, Daniel Wu Yin Cho, Dave Wong Kit, Andy On Chi Kit, Yu Rong Guang, Charlene Choi Cheuk Yin, Terence Yin, Philip Ng
Running Time: 124 min.

By Mairosu

Right movie. Wrong people.

That’s a two-sentence short summary of Jackie Chan’s comeback effort, first movie he decided to do after ditching Hollywood and playing the mandatory goofy kung-fu sidekick to the proverbial white (or, well, black) cool dude. Playing it safe, Chan decided to extend one of his most famous products – namely, the Police Story saga (saga being used very loosely here) – and so, what we here is a new sequel in an old franchise, with very much past-his-prime Chan trying to get another run at the Asian box office.

New Police Story is sort of a confusing title. New it is, but Police Story (unless you think in terms “story about policemen”) it ain’t. Totally unrelated to the first three (or four, if you account for the semi-abortive First Strike) Police Story movies, this one tells a story of a former hotshot cop Wing (take this name with a grain of salt, I saw the mandarin dub), played by Chan. Wing used to be a big time hero of sorts, but when a gang of loons robs a bank and slaughters his fellow cops just for the piss of it, he decides to take his heroism one step further and wipe ’em out himself. Alas, alas, his special taskforce gets butchered by the gang of evil nerds (I’ll explain this later), and he himself has to watch them die slowly as the criminals are toying with his men. Wing survives just barely, but is severely traumatized by the incident and takes a one-year hiatus, drowning his sorrow in drink…until a young cop (played by Nicholas Tse) revives the case and inspires Wing to finish the unfinished.

Unlike the previous PS movies – and the majority of Jackie Chan HK movies, that is – New Police Story is not the usual mix of crackerjack action and slapstick. Director Benny Chan, who already directed Jackie’s “Who Am I ?” few years back, tries to emulate the look and feel of newer Hollywood actioners via Johnny To with varying success. There is not much if any comic relief here, so the film can be called a straightforward actioner. The biggest odd one out here is definitely Chan himself, who is badly miscast as a tough, but washed up law enforcer. Probably sick of playing second fiddles in Hollywood, this is a sort of a rebound performance for Chan, who woefully overacts in film’s many emotional moments and has a torrid time looking like a believable drunkard. The absence of comedy is abridged with a lot of nods to the heroic bloodshed genre – fallen comrades, male bonding, lotsa gunfire, family endangered, usage of slo-mos – which is really odd for a Chan film. All those things summed up (add an atypical operatic, thumping soundtrack to it), this is a Chan movie in name and credits only, and one gets the feeling that this would have been an IDEAL but IDEAL comeback project for, ahem, John Woo and Chow Yun Fat. Not to take anything away from the director who certainly did a credible job, but one feels that the above given combination might have had a real score on their hands with this. Not to mention that CYF would look much, much better at the things Chan is trusted in here – including the alcohol habit and frequenting jazz bars (Hard Boiled, anyone ?).

Another gripe is the techny-ness of the script and story. Probably trying to cater to the youthful hi-tech Asian teenage crowd, scriptwriter Alan Yuen pits Chan against a gang of “dudes” who like to play video games and screw around with the police just because they can. Being children of well-to-do Hong Kongites (make your own noun for “Hong Kong resident” yourself if you don’t like the one above), they don’t have to work so they program PC games, post their exploits on the net and practice extreme sports. The scene in which they torture Chan’s comrades and Chan himself was supposed to reveal how diabolical they are – however, they just come off as snotty (Chan’s attempt of looking heartbroken and devastated is probably the only diabolical thing in that part of the film) and the whole thing feels grotesque. Daniel Wu does a credible job of breathing life into his character Joe, the ringleader of this nerd outfit, but even his performance can’t save the fact that the main villain is just a trigger happy dork. Again, I wonder if the new wave HK scriptwriters play too much GTA 3 and Max Payne – I asked myself literally the same question while watching Johnny To’s Breaking News.

Thankfully, not all went haywire here. The action scenes and stuntwork are exciting as ever, with a few really well done bits – the race down that huge building is a treat, along with the big bus scene which is a nod of sorts to Police Story 2. I would also single out the director of photography for the job on this film – after seeing Breaking News, I felt Hong Kong lost its glamour and glitz and surrendered the title of “most photogenic Asian city to be a backdrop of an action movie” to Seoul, but New Police Story represents Hong Kong at its best – shiny skyscrapers, beautiful cityscapes, great shots of modern architecture. Supporting cast doesn’t disappoint (although Charlene Choi gets progressively ingratiating, but you have to forgive her ’cause she’s kinda cute) and oh, Chan showcases his fighting skills again, and I must say those scenes look pretty good as well…ol’ Jackie was never a thespian to write home about, but at least he could stage a good fight and that ability still didn’t abandon him.

Overall, New Police Story is a return to form of sorts for Jackie Chan, albeit a limp and half-baked one. This could have been a real gem, but I guess it could have been a real stinker as well…at any rate, New Police Story is light-years ahead of, say, Tuxedo and Medallion.

Mairosu’s Rating: 6.5/10

Posted in Chinese, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Police Story 4: First Strike (1996) Review

"Police Story 4: First Strike" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Police Story 4: First Strike" Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Police Story IV: Simple Mission
Director: Stanley Tong
Writer: Stanley Tong
Producer: Barbie Tung
Cast: Jackie Chan, Annie Wu, Jackson Lau, Bill Tung, Ailen Sit, Rocky Lai, William Tuan, Ken Lo, Chan Man Ching
Running Time: 85/110 min.

By GHCO

I didn’t enjoy this movie very much. This is supposed to be part of the Police Story series, but I don’t see the connection. In the Chinese version, he’s only called “Ka-Kui” once, every other time it’s Jackie. Why?!! Is there something wrong with the name Kevin? Also, Kevin (I refuse to call Chan Ka Kui ‘Jackie’) seems to have a completely different personality. He’s cool, level-headed, and a whole lot wimpier than in previous installments of Police Story. Kevin Chan is supposed to be a hot-tempered, well meaning, and tough as nails cop! Another weird thing: Where is May? She’s not mentioned at all, as though she doesn’t exist. I also don’t see why these things happened. Why not simply say that ‘Jackie’ is a code name, May is either in the hospital after the fall in “Supercop” or still in Malasia, and characterize Kevin correctly? These would be minor changes: May is the reason Kevin doesn’t want to take the mission, that’s why he introduces himself as Jackie to everyone, and he resists against Tsui and doesn’t try to calm down Uncle Seven’s relatives when they attack him!

Still, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie anyway. Jackie Chan simply doesn’t work on an international scale: His plots aren’t researched enough as it is. Also, working on a smaller scale makes his characters more accessible and the action sequences believable. It conveyed that these fights aren’t happening in some exotic area, it could be just around the corner. Moving on, there are too many languages in this movie: English, Cantonese, Russian, and Mandarin, and the subtitles are un-readable. The action suffers too. They aren’t over the top at all. Snowboarding, snowmobiling, running, none of it is very gripping. Two fight scenes with a ladder and underwater need to be seen to be believed, but they’re either too long (Chinese version) or too short (American). There is no supporting cast in any sense, and the ending leaves a “That’s it?” feeling. In conclusion, this is the weakest of the Police Story series, and I urge all fans to ignore it. (Perhaps the currently in pre-production Police Story V will take things back to a smaller scale and explain these inconsistancies, as a plotline seen on the Net shows that May will be in the film. I hope so) I give this 6.5 out of ten for some passable action, but odd plotting.

P.S. I suspect that Jackie wanted to make a Police Story IV movie, but didn’t have the financial backing, so he dubbed the name Ka-Kui into one scene of this movie and slapped the title Police Story IV on.

GHCO’s Rating: 6.5/10


By Numskull

All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.

Numskull’s Rating: 4/10


By Andrew

Many of the U.S. promotional spots proudly pronounced that in this film, “Jackie Chan fights for America for the first time.” He does, in fact, start the film this way. He plays a character that resembles Kevin Chan from the Police Story series, and he is helping the CIA by tracking a mysterious woman on a flight from the U.S. to the Ukraine. Shortly thereafter he lands himself in the middle of a nuclear transaction gone bad- and must save the day. Listen to costar Bill Tung at the beginning of the film when he describes Jackie’s assignment- “…that’s ALMOST all you do.”

From this we can plainly assume that Jackie will be involved in all kinds of hijinks for the next hour and a half. Jackie does a number of stunts in this film, but only one substantive fight scene. That is alright though, because this film is mainly about the laughs. Seeing Jackie get in and out of several sticky situations is what this movie is all about, and the more exotic the better. Rather than say that Jacke fights for America, perhaps we should just say that ‘Jackie fights in Australia’. Koala bears, accents from down under, and bad guys that would fit in on an Australian Football team are just a few of the things you’ll see in this one.

One interesting tidbit that you may want to remember for future movie trivia- Jackie doesn’t do all his own stunts in this one. At one point he snowboards off of a cliff only to grab onto a waiting helicopter. Then, seconds before the thing blows up Jacke plunges hundreds of yards into the icy waters below. He then has to stay under long enough to convince the bad guys that he is dead. Jacke did make the jump to the helicopter, and he did reside underwater in near-zero temperatures, but the fall was accopmlished by director/stuntman Stanley Tong. Nobody doubts that Jackie could have made the fall, but Tong didn’t want him to risk an injury for it. Also the director believes that if he does the hardest stunt in the film that he will earn the respect of all the two-bit stuntmen on his crew.

Andrew’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Ro

It’s supposed to be Police Story 4, but the only things that connect it to the other Police Stories is that he’s a Hong Kong cop and the same actor plays his superior, Uncle Bill (By the way, when exactly did he become his uncle? I think it was Supercop). This one was a little hard to follow, but like most of his films, ignore the plot, sit back and enjoy the ride! On the request of the CIA, he follows a Russian woman to the Ukraine and then hooks up with the new Russian KGB to head to Australia looking for a stolen nuclear warhead. I thought the action sequences were thrilling and there’s a couple good fights as well! In one part, Jackie rides a snowboard off a cliff, jumps off and grabs the legs of a hovering helicopter. Wow! Just a couple feet too high and he’d do a Twilight Zone!

It had some great comic moments, too. My favorite part what when he lands a bone-crunching punch to a huge Russian jaw and then assumes a menacing stance. Ever-so-slowly, his scowl turns into a grimace of pain and then he shakes out his sore hand. Does this guy have great comedic timing, or what? I have to add the one thing the guys will never tell you, girls. There’s a scene where Jackie is forced at gunpoint to strip while singing ‘I Will Follow You’. It’s hilarious and great viewing at the same time (the female tourists agree) It’s also payback for all the gorgeous naked female bodies we get bombarded with at the movies for our boyfriends to drool over while we only get to see a nude Harvey Keitel (in The Piano). You’ll notice the other (male) reviewers only mention this to complain, but did you hear one complaint on their part when we saw both girls naked in Operation Condor? Nooooo!

The dubbing’s weird – some people are speaking English, but their voices are dubbed in anyway, but Jackie dubs his own voice, so works for me!

Ro’s Rating: 8/10 (add a star it you think you’ll replay the strip scene!)


By James H.

I could just see the producers in their giant meeting, thinking “What could Jackie do next?” I’ll bet someone said “How about Jackie as James Bond?” And you know what, it worked. Of course, it was a little sillier than the average Bond film. There were plenty nods to Bond in “First Strike.” The beginning snowmobile/snowboard chase was reminiscent of “A View To A KIll,” while the underwater fight payed an homage to “Thunderball.”

Bond aside, it was a great film. Unfortunately, there weren’t many hand-to-hand fights, but everyone has to admit that the ladder scene is one of Jackie’s best. The action sequences were very well done as well. What also impressed me was the score, it was very majestic and powerful. Now what I didn’t like: The dub was average. Jackie, of course, giving his 101%, while the other actors just go through the motions. I also disliked the quick wrap up ending. It seemed to me that there should have been more before the credits rolled, it felt a lot like the end to “Rumble In the Bronx.” The other thing I didn’t get was that in Police Story 1, 2 & 3, he played ‘Kevin,’ but in this the character’s name was ‘Jackie’… strange, yes?

A great film, although not as good as “Police Story,” but equal to “Supercop,” and better than “Police Story 2.” This movie had everything; spies, action and humour. So sit back and enjoy Chan, Jackie Chan.

James H’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Vic Nguyen

Jackie Chan as James Bond. Although this is unusual, it still makes an effective action film. Jackie plays Jackie, a CIA agent assigned to follow a woman named Natasha. They suspect that she is involved in a plot to smuggle nuclear bombs. While following her, Jackie gets a new suspect, Tsui, whom he later finds out is involved in the nuclear bomb trades. But the main feature in this film is action, and fans will not be disappoointed. Fron Jackie sonwboarding down a steep mountain to an amazing fight sequence where Jackie uses a ladder, it has got it all. Also dont miss the outtakes, it shows some of Jackie’s painful bloopers with the ladders that the audience I was sittting with thought was hilarious.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 8/10


Posted in Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Police Story 3: Supercop (1992) Review

"Police Story 3" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Police Story 3" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Stanley Tong Gwai Lai
Writer: Edward Tang Ging Gan, Fibe Ma Mei Ping
Producer: Willie Chan Chi Keung, Edward Tang Ging Gan
Cast: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Yuen Wah, Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Josephine Koo Mei Wah, Bill Tung Biu, Philip Chan Yan Kin, Mars, Ken Lo
Running Time: 90/95 min.

By Numskull

This is a review for Police Story 3. Not “Supercop.” FUCK “Supercop.” Police Story 3. Yeah, baby.

Jackie Chan, director of the first two Police Story films, passes the reins to Stanley Tong and shares the spotlight with Michelle Yeoh, whose unhappy marriage to producer/boy billionaire Dickson Poon had just been terminated and who was ready, willing, and able to resume kicking ass. This time ’round he’s on assignment in mainland China and Chan Ka Kui (formerly Chen Chia Chu…don’t ask) has to contend with “stranger in a strange land” syndrome, and his usual confidence and hardness of the rectal region are toned down somewhat. That’s not the only way this installment differs from its predecessors. Superintendent/Chief/Whatever Raymond is gone, Uncle Bill is now known as Uncle Piao, and Mars, who played a police officer in the first two films, is now a minor (VERY minor, actually) villain named Hsiung…a questionable casting decision, to say the least.

Perhaps the biggest difference of all is simply the general “feel” of the movie. Not for soccer moms herding their kids into the theater to watch Shanghai Noon are the scenes of drug injection, no-name characters getting gunned down, and Michelle’s character killing one of her own agents to prevent her cover from getting blown. It’s undoubtedly one of Jackie Chan’s most violent movies, and while that fact in and of itself doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I really think it would have been better off with a little more of his trademark goofiness. A LITTLE more, mind you. The poolside scene stank of ’80s sitcom, and on the Chinese DVD, Maggie Cheung’s voice is about two octaves lower when she’s speaking English. Next time, get someone bilingual to do the dubbing, eh?

This installment’s BATATE (Big Action Thingie At The End) is a doozy…so much the better after the pretty-good-but-not-quite-up-to-Police-Story-standards stuff earlier on. You can’t help but question Jackie Chan’s sanity as he hangs from a ladder dangling out of helicopter trying to shake him off as it flies high above the streets of Kuala Lumpur, and Michelle Yeoh has possibly her most nail-biting scenes ever…clinging to the side of a (fast) moving van and falling back onto the hood of a (again, fast) moving car (watch the outtakes for a true “holy shit” moment), AND the now famous motorcycle jump onto the top of a moving train. (Damn, I used the word “moving” too much in that sentence.) The festivities conclude with some nice hand-to-hand combat atop the train (remember when Jackie did that at the end of his movies? Ah, memories…).

At this point, the Police Story series is showing signs of its age, but certainly hasn’t degenerated into a sad parody of its former greatness. Worth owning, but only in its untainted, Tom Jones-free incarnation.

Numskull’s Rating: 7/10


By Ro

In this installment of the ‘Police Story’ saga, Jackie gets loaned to mainland China as a Hong Kong ‘Supercop’. He’s supposed to infiltrate a mob by helping the mob boss’s brother escape from prison. He teams up with Michelle Yeoh, as China’s chief of security. Great choice! Finally, a female who can hold her own with him, kick for kick! They should work together more often. Action and stunts galore, with just enough comedy thrown in to make everybody happy. By the end, I was pretty sure that the two of them moonlight as the Energizer Bunny. NOTHING stops them!!!

Added plus – Jackie dubs his own voice. Watch the outtakes for Jackie to join the (no doubt) exclusive club of people who’ve been hit by helicopters and lived to tell the tale. One minus – does Jackie really order ‘roast cat – with string beans’ in the restaurant?!?!?! No matter how many times I play it, that’s what I hear!

Ro’s Rating: 9/10


By James H.

A few weeks ago, I was bored and rented “Police Story III”, just for a comparison between the H.K. and U.S. version. I was quite disappointed when I got it home and watched it. To my dismay, the film ran only 95 minutes. Anyway, the scenes that were cut from the U.S. version didn’t help the movie.

Now the film itself is a good one, in fact it is a great one. Jackie goes into mainland China to retrieve a drug lord and infiltrate his gang. He is paired with a mainland officer played by Michelle Yeoh. That’s the basic premise and that’s all you need to know.

Some fans were disappointed with the lack of fights in the film. It is an action film, not a chop-socky. If you want to see a chop-socky flick rent “Drunken Master II” or “Young Master”. The action scenes in the film are great. There’s plenty of gunfire and explosions for everyone.

“Supercop” is, by far, the best JC film to be released in North American theatres. The dubbing is great, but the soundtrack is something to be desired. It is full of hip-hop and rock tunes that just don’t seem to fit the film. Although, Tom Jones’ rendition of “Kung Fu Fighting” is superb.

James H’s Rating: 9/10


By Dennis

This is one of chan’s most overrated movies. I’m not saying this is a bad movie but it had a lot of slow points to it. The fights were waaaaaay to short and needed more of them. The scene were Jackie fights a comrad in a police headquarters was a cool fight scene. Michelle Yeoh also had a few kick ass moments in this movie too. The thing that saved the movie was the stunts that takes place in Malaysia when Michelle Yeoh hangs from a bus avoiding other cars, Jackie hanging from a rope ladder of a helicopter, and Michelle Yeoh Jumping onto a moving train on a motorcycle. The previews which show all of the cool stunts, explosions, and cool kung fu movies is all you get in this movie. Overall with the Ok short fights and real impressive stunts…not bad.

Dennis’ Rating: 6.5/10


By Dembone

This one took a little getting used to. I had just grown to love the charm, dumb humor and Jackie’s brand of “non-violent” violence when I saw Supercop and my first impression was that it was rather dark and well… Violent. After the 2nd viewing I warmed up to it and caught more of the subtle humor. Michelle Yeoh was fantastic, a far superior role for her than the weak Bond flick, and the chemistry was great, as was the acting of the entire cast. As everyone else said, the action is spectacular, the best and most polished in any Chan film I’ve seen, however I enjoy Chan films more for the amazing martial arts and Supercop was definitely lacking in that department.

Am I the only one who thinks the beginning fight sequence in the school is absolutely incredible? Except that it was so short and didn’t really have any purpose (There’s no bad guy to hate) I think this is one of Jackie’s best displays of fighting on film – and probably the most realistic. I swear I re-wound that 2 minute scene like, 15 times! Overall, while not one of my personal favorites, definitely one of Chan’s finest moments…

Dembone’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Marcia

I think I’d have to rate this one as my all-time fave (to date). Forget the “lack” of fights, there’s a _story_ here! Jackie’s character actually has more than one dimension, and the chemistry with Michelle Yeoh (who, by the by, kicks major ass — gotta get me a copy of “Wing Chun” now) is priceless. Further, the frequent references to Jackie’s opera days are totally hilarious; just wish I knew more about Chinese opera so I could confirm my suspicions that some of the poses he strikes (e.g., before Ken Lo gets whacked by the sign during the train fight) are straight out of the opera. I could (and almost have) watch this one every day for a week quite happily and never get sick of it. Anyone who hasn’t seen this yet needs to do so, or suffer the wrath of those of us who have.

Marcia’s Rating: 8/10


By Stockton22

Would I burn in hell if I dare to say that I find this film to be better than the original? That point may be arguable, but consider this. A friend of mine once pointed out that the only good Star Trek films are the even numbered ones (Wraith of Khan, Voyage Home, Undiscovered Country, First Contact). While that’s hardly indisputable, it seems right to me. We have a similar pattern goin’ on with the odd numbered Police Story films. So far, 1 and 3 are the ones that matter (I’m looking forward to the long rumored number 5). But while the original was a groundbreaking stunner that brought kung fu into the modern world and more or less started Jackie tinkering with the non-fighting action sequence, and number 2 was lackluster attempt to recreate it, Police Story 3: Supercop is an altogether different beast.

Imagine if Die Hard 2 had real stunts instead of special effects and Bruce Willis did them himself. Or if Tomorrow Never Dies didn’t suck. Or if Joseph Yana knew what the hell he was talking about (ok, that one doesn’t really fit, but I couldn’t resist). That might give you an idea of the dynamic explosiveness of Supercop. The film had some Chan fans slightly disappointed, I think because it was a bit of a departure that violated some Chan purist ideals. First of all, Chan dared to allow another star to have their share of the spotlight. That would be the lovely and ass-kicking Michelle Yeoh, who pounds major damage and defies death with almost the same energized abandon as Jackie does. Hmmm, wait a minute, she’s not really the first costar to shine in a Chan flick. What about Sammo Hung in Project A? Or Yuen Biao in Wheels on Meals? Or Simon Yuen and I assume his stunt double in Drunken Master? Oh wait, I see why they’re upset. Because she’s woman! There’s a woman in a Police Story film who’s not there to just get kidnapped and be the source of comic relief? Don’t get me wrong, I love Maggie Cheung, but her talents as an actress were hardly being challenged here. It’s time to tell the purists that women aren’t just gonna sit at home, wear an apron, bake brownies, vacuum the carpet, cook dinner and have the husband’s cigar, martini and slippers ready for him when he come home from work. The 1950’s are over, Donna Reed is off the air and women are empowered! They’re gonna jump on to moving trains with their motorcycles, they’re gonna hold on for dear life on the side of a moving van, they’re gonna take a running jump into the air, do a flying split and kick two guys in the head at the same time, just like Michelle Yeoh does. They’re gonna deliver great action and look hot doing it. And action flicks will be all the better for it, just like Supercop is.

Second, and this criticism is more justified, there is less fighting in this flick than there had been in Jackie’s previous ones. The difference is noticeable and some Chan fans may be understandably irked. But I personally didn’t mind, because what we get instead is a virtual shopping list of action film conventions (so pay no attention to what Tom Weisser has to say). Supercop has everything you could ever want in an action film. Fights, explosions, stunts, shootouts, car chases, it literally has it all. Highlights include a drug trafficker’s summit that erupts into a fantastic shoot out, a rumble in a restaurant, and the heart stopping finale, which has Jackie hanging from a flying helicopter and culminates with him goin’ toe to toe with the mighty Ken Lo on top of a moving train. It may not be Drunken Master 2 (nothing is), but it’s damn fine fisticuffs nonetheless. And although the movie starts a little slowly (unlike the original, it doesn’t open with an action sequence), once it gets going, it rolls on like a freight train and just doesn’t stop. With Who Am I going straight to HBO (Can we send Ken Lo to the offices at Tri-Star to kick a little ignorant film executive ass?), Supercop remains, by far, the best of Jackie’s American theatrical releases.

Stockton22’s Rating: 10/10


By Vic Nguyen

This film is awesome! From the jaw dropping stunts to the beautiful and stunning Michelle Yeoh, this film has got it all! Jackie plays Chen Chia Chu, a supercop that has been assigned to break a dangerous drug ring led by a drug lord named Chaibat. To do so, he must free Panther, one of Chaibats men in jail and gain his trust to help him capture Chaibat. Joining Jackie is Inspector Yang played by the stunning Michelle Yeoh,she out does Jackie until the end, where Jackie jumps off a building to a helicoptor ladder, flying around Malaysia until dropping into a train for a fight against Chaibat and his men. All I could say is that this movie is fantastic and is easily available for rent at all video stores, but I recommend that you try to get this film subtitled and letterboxed at a local Chinese video store. If you cant get it from the Chinese video store, just get it!

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 6/10 without Michelle Yeoh; 10/10 with her


By Dan-O

Why, why, WHY didn’t this movie make at LEAST $100 million in the US last summer. Come to think of it, why didn’t KINGPIN make it to the $100 mil. point. I’ll tell ya why, cause the little automatons were MUCH to busy watching INDEPENDENCE DAY for the umpteenth time. The American moviegoing public sucks, and you can quote me on that. Everyone I’ve shown “Supercop” to can’t get enough of it. I’ll say to them, “Didn’t you borrow it last week” and they’ll say “Yeaaaa…uh, no.” then I’ll say “BULLCRAP, YOU DID TOO!” and they say “OKAY, OKAY, I’LL COME CLEAN, I DID BORROW IT LAST WEEK, but I just ((sob, whimper)) love that movie ((heavy sobs)) SOOOOO MUUUUCH!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” then I’ll laugh, and laugh, and laugh….

Dan-O’s Rating: 9/10

Vic Nguyen’s Rating:

Posted in Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Police Story 2 (1988) Review

"Police Story 2" Japanese DVD Cover

"Police Story 2" Japanese DVD Cover

AKA: Police Force 2
Director: Jackie Chan
Writer: Jackie Chan, Edward Tang
Producer: Jackie Chan, Leonard Ho
Cast: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Lam Gwok Hung, Bill Tung Biu, Benny Lai, John Cheung Ng Long, Ben Lam Kwok Bun, Mars, Charlie Cho Cha Lei, Chu Yuan, Louis Roth
Running Time: 100 min.

By Ro

I liked this movie even more than the first. The plot and characters are more developed than in Part I, and the humor is less broad. Jackie’s been demoted (due to his extreme measures in capturing the bad guys in Part I) and the goons (from Part I) start harassing and threatening May, his girlfriend. He quits the force just as a new group of bad guys extort some businessmen with bomb threats. So he’s back on the job and in charge of the investigation. I also liked the integration of other police officers into the scenes, especially the way they covered for him after he punches out a bad guy in the squad room and the unorthodox interrogation of a suspect. You go, girls!

There are lots of thrilling fights and stunts. I loved the one in the playground and the final one in the warehouse was typically spectacular (isn’t that an oxymoron?), with the added attraction of the bad guy bomb expert with great legs! Wow! How does he stay in the air long enough to kick Jackie 3 times?!?! In the version I saw, Jackie’s voice was dubbed by some anonymous Chinese guy. It sounded better than other dubbed voices I’ve heard, but it’s still not Jackie. P.S. I counted more head wounds in this movie’s outtakes than any other I’ve seen yet, including poor Maggie Cheung (May) who needed stitches.

Ro’s Rating: 8.5/10 (Subtract a star if you really like malls, he trashed another one in this movie!)


By Marcia

I have to disagree with the majority of the other reviewers here and say that this is better than the original (blasphemy!). The opening sequence was a nicely crafted piece of cinema, and it gets better from there. It seemed to me that the plot was somewhat smoother than PS, too — no sudden change into an over-the-edge psycho for our hero, for example. One of the best features of this film for me, though, was the fact that Maggie Cheung actually had a (gasp!) _dramatic role_! (I don’t think anyone can blame me for pooh-pooh’ing her acting abilities at the point in time when the only thing I’d seen her in was the dubbed version of Supercop…) You actually feel that there’s a connection between the lead characters — they are actually in love, instead of being in a sort of relationship of convenience. All in all, this film felt more “real” to me. Glowing comments in the other reviews about the fight scenes (and Maggie’s butt, if your preferences run that way, I guess) apply to my opinion, too, so go read the redundant stuff elsewhere.

Marcia’s Rating: 10/10


By Numskull

This isn’t a funny review, but you will find it hilarious by comparison after:

– Having an enema with boiling hot water
– Receiving a Friday the 13th-style sex change
– Watching Dennis Miller’s TV show
– Supervising four dozen twelve-year-olds at a Hanson concert

Police Story 2 is the second installment in the Police Story film series. It takes place after Police Story 1 and before Police Story 3. The Police Story sequence is Jackie Chan’s most successful series of films. AND YOU’D BETTER RECOGNIZE, MAGGOT. Jackie’s character in these films is a nice guy who, when he’s not on duty, lives by a simple code of conduct. DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. However, the element that Jackie deals on a professional level often requires a more hard-nosed standard of behavior. DO UNTO OTHERS AS THEY DO UNTO YOU. And, worst of all, the crime world of Hong Kong with which Jackie has to contend does not play very nicely at all. DO UNTO OTHERS, THEN RUN. In the first of the Police Story films, Jackie endangered some innocent people, so, as of the beginning of Police Story 2, he has been chewed out by his superiors. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION, DETECTIVE CHAN? From there, we are treated to a fast-paced action exhibition in which the threats made towards Jackie’s girlfriend May figure prominently. ONLY MONGOLOID AMOEBAE DON’T KNOW THAT MAY IS THE FIFTH MONTH OF THE CALENDAR YEAR.

There’s a fight in a restaurant, which is super; a fight in a playground, which is dandy; and a fight in a warehouse, which is totally neat-o. REMEMBER KIDS, FIGHTING NEVER SOLVES ANYTHING. WHEN SOMEONE INCESSANTLY PUSHES YOU AROUND, CALLS YOU NAMES, GIVES YOU WEDGIES, AND STEALS YOUR LUNCH MONEY, YOU SHOULD SHAKE THEIR HAND AND BECOME GOOD FRIENDS. All of the action sequences in this movie are good…so good, in fact, that you might work up a sweat and stink up the room just watching them. IF YOU WISH, YOU MAY USE THE PINK TRANSLUCENT SUBSTANCE THAT SMELLS LIKE BUBBLE GUM, SO THAT THERE WILL BE SUDS AND FUN FOR EVERYONE. I believe that the first Police Story is a better film than this one, although it isn’t as disappointing a sequel as was Project A Part II. NOW GET OFF THIS SUBVERSIVE PROPAGANDA SITE AND DO SOMETHING USEFUL LIKE MIXING WHITEWASH, YOU SON OF A MOTHERLESS GOAT.

Numskull’s Rating: 8/10


By Dan-O

Okay, let’s get the basics out of the way first: It wasn’t as good as the first flick, but we knew that, right?, and how many sequels are (besides The Godfather II, Aliens, and Drunken Master II)? And so what if the characters look and feel like walking talking cardboard cutouts, or if the story gave no real insight into anything. It wasn’t meant to, because, say it with me; “This Is A Jackie Chan Picture!”. What else can I say that has not yet been said? Well, how ’bout this little observation….. are ya ready?: THOSE BASTARDS SPED UP THE FIGHT SCENES AGAIN!! Dammit, who the hell is responsible for pulling this crap?!?! Oh man, I HOPE it ain’t Jackie, or I will be SORELY disappointed! I hope the original film wasn’t butchered in this way (side note: I’m reviewing the re-edited, English dubbed North American version. I have no clue just how different the original Cantonese version is)! Now I realize to some this may seem like a minor quibble, a ripple in a toilet bowl, not even worth wasting words on, but they, and you if you feel this way, are wrong. It’s okay, I’m sure you’ve been wrong more than once, so this is nothing new. Y’see, when they speed up the fights (THE reason we watch these kinds of movies, other than the stunts and such), they completely obliterate all sense of grace, fluidity, and timing in a ham-handed attempt to make the film more “exciting”, which of course is a total crock. I don’t care if Jackie IS “the Buster Keaton of our generation”, I don’t wanna feel as if I’m actually WATCHING a Buster Keaton film, where everything moves at twice normal earthly speed! I had to rewind a few of the fight scenes and watch ’em at least 3 times while squinting before I could make out what the hell was goin’ on!

Okay, now that I’m done ranting my ass clean off, let’s focus now on what went RIGHT with this movie: You do get a few fantastic shots of Maggie Cheung’s butt in tight fitting pants; that’s a definite plus (and it’s what I think Jeff was alluding to in his review)! The deaf-mute character really creeped me out. Maybe it was that voice over that made him sound like Fazzie Bear having an orgasm (I am NOT making this up!). Uh, lessee, what else…. Oh, the theme song at the end was catchier than the original, and the outtakes were more entertaining. So Dan-O, What’s the BOTTOM LINE?: Don’t fuck with the Hearing Impaired!

Dan-O’s Rating: 7 out of some number less than 11 but a wee bit higher than 9


By Vic Nguyen

This is the film that many, including me, have been waiting for, the sequel to one of Jackie Chan’s greatest films of all time, but when I saw it, I was mildly disappointed. This film isn’t as good as part 3 and a far cry from part 1, but is better than 4. Jackie again plays Kevin Chan, cop demoted to traffic control after the destorying lots of property and glass in the first film. Little does Kevin know is that Ku is after him again, and is also threatened I with terrorist’s. This film lacks the enjoyment of the first film, but it still had it’s moments, both in comedy and action. For comedy, I liked it when May( Maggie Cheung) storms into the police shower and bathroom in order to comfront Kevin, going into a stall in which Uncle Bill is occupying it, and for action, the fight in the resteraunt, the playground, and the finale. The outtakes were pretty good too. Overall, Jackie fans should check it out everywhere, but don’t expect the Police Story that we all know and love.

By Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 8/10

Posted in Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Police Story (1985) Review

"Police Story" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Police Story" Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Police Force
Director: Jackie Chan
Writer: Jackie Chan, Edward Tang Ging Gan
Producer: Leonard Ho Koon Cheung
Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Lam Gwok Hung, Mars, Bill Tung Biu, Chu Yuan, Fung Hak On, Charlie Cho Cha Lei, Tai Bo, Paul Wong Kwan, Ken Tong Chun Yip
Running Time: 85/94 min.

By Alexander

First of all, if you want to read a kick-ass review of this film, scroll down to Vic Nguyen’s below.

And since every second of Police Story has seemingly already been pulled apart, analyzed and slavered over in the 36 (yes, 36) reviews on this site, I’ll keep this one short (although not as short as Dennis’ three word gem a few inches down: “Just watch it!”).

While it’s certainly not the greatest action film ever made, Police Story is definitely required viewing by any fan of Hong Kong cinema. The fight scenes are amazing, Jackie gets absolutely punished throughout, and it’s filled with some surprisingly funny slapstick comedy. Chan is a far better performer than I previously gave him credit having only watched the embarrassing Rumble in the Bronx and the so-so Rush Hour 2. The guy can act, and the knowledge that he is actually performing the ridiculously dangerous stunts on screen further heightens his appeal. Sure, the bits in the middle are pretty lame, especially the poorly written courthouse scene, but the action that bookends the film more than makes up for this.

Based on the plethora of reviews below, I’m SO thankful I watched the Mega Star version of the DVD and not the obviously horrid New Line butchering. (Read Dan-O’s great review below for more details on the differences.)

Now, could somebody PLEASE explain to me what the HELL that motorcycle was doing in the mall?!

Alexander’s Rating: 8/10


By Vic Nguyen

It is 1985, and after a nightmare of a film shoot in the form of James Glickenhaus’ ” The Erector….er..The Protector”, our hero Jackie Chan returned to top form by writing and directing the film that many would call his masterpiece. That film is Police Story, and even after a decade of other worthy classics, this one certainly lives up to it’s name, and stands as “king of the hill” above the rest.

In this first installment of a series spanning 4 (possibly 5) films, the story finds Chan playing rough-and-tumble supercop named Chan Kau-kui. As the film opens, the audience is treated to a series of action sequences in which an undercover drug bust goes wrong. Destruction runs rampant, civilians and cops get injured, but in the end, Kau-kui takes down the fleeing suspect, known as mob boss Ku. Ku, as it turns out, is the prime suspect in a multi-million dollar cocaine ring, and will stop at nothing to get himself off the hook. That includes murder, which leads to the intro of the character Selina Fong. Fong is the only witness who can take Ku down, but the problem is that she will not cooperate. The police suspect a potential hit on Fong by the treacherous Ku, so of course, they assign their toughest supercop Kau-kui, to protect her. When Kau-kui takes Fong back home to his place for the night, this of course leads to some tension between himself and his girlfriend May. After a disastorous trial, Ku gets off the hook, but that doesn’t mean that Selina is. Eventually, Ku’s thugs gets to Selina. Kau-kui, learning of her kidnapping, finds the spot she is being held and helps her escape, but due to a series of events, Kau-kui is now being framed for the murder of a fellow officer. With the help of May, he must now go on the run, and therefore, decides to go solo in bringing Ku to justice. Meanwhile, Selina (now finally realizing that Ku is trying to kill her) manages to hack into Ku’s files, and subsequently prints out incriminating evidence against Ku. They all unintentionally meet up in one of Hong Kong’s large shopping malls, leading to the classic action finale, which pits Kau-kui and Selina against many of Ku’s gangsters, intent on killing both of them once and for all.

Police Story is magnificent in each and every aspect. The cinematography again shows that Chan is an exquisite filmmaker when using the scope format. Each and every shot is framed perfectly, making a pan and scan version nearly unwatchable. Let’s just say that Chan has filmmaking down cold. The comedic sequences, which openly shows the influences of some of Chan’s favorites in silent film, are well handled, making them a pleasure to watch. The performances perfectly fit the film. The villains are appear nasty and cruel, as they should be, and the heroes are the ones you cheer for during the final reel. The whole cast made the best of their characters, and it shows. Even the music works, something you cannot say often about a Hong Kong film. You just gotta’ love the final tune, sung by Chan himself.

Then there is the action…… It is impossible to sum up the action is 1 word, many other words come to mind, but basically, I’ll sum it all down with a commonly used praise, “Kick ass”! From the adrenaline pumping first reel, featuring Chan getting into a shootout, destroying a shantytown with a single car, clinging on a bus using only an umbrella, and then standing right in the middle of an oncoming bus (all in that order), you know you have something special going. But, of course, it doesn’t end there. Many more action scenes follow, which up the kick ass quotient off the scale, but when you though it was over, it doesn’t end yet. The final reel, with Chan utilizing everything, and I mean everything, inside a shopping mall to dispense of the bad guys is the grand poobah of all the action in Police Story. It also features the show stopper, or the stunt that generates the “oooohs and ahhhs” from the audience. This stunt features our hero sliding down a 5 story pole decorated with lights, only to crash through glass and onto the ground, and getting up for some more (all in one shot!)! This is Chan’s best stunt, period. All the “does all his own stunts” slogans will lead to this one right here.

The outtake reel is also the best one featured in a Chan film. Here, it shows him taking more bumps, blood, and bruises than anywhere else. Again, that catchy tune helps it out a bit.

Jackie Chan’s Police Story went through a variety of versions following it’s release in Hong Kong theaters in 1985. First came the batch of VCD’s, laserdiscs, and videotapes released in the 80’s. Only the laserdisc is letterboxed, but I don’t think it’s subbed. Next came the films release upon America, beginning with a screening at the New York Film Festival. Following this came it’s release on video. This version is dubbed, pan and scan, and is edited, typical America. All these versions existed until the machine known as DVD hit the shelves. Mega Star, a Hong Kong company, subsequently released the entire trilogy onto the format, all letterboxed with removable subs. This is the best version of the film available today. And finally, New Line Cinema wanting to cash in during Chan’s growing popularity in the states, released a redubbed, pan and scan, cut version of the film onto the rental market. Besides the incredibly crisp quality, there is nothing else to recommend about this version. The dubbing is annoyingly bad, and furthermore, it is presented in pan and scan. Get the DVD if possible, it is the only true way to view this masterpiece.

Incase you didn’t already get the picture, Police Story is my all time favorite Jackie Chan film. Before then, it was Drunken Master 2, but after viewing the film subbed and letterboxed, the way it was meant to be seen, it made me appreciate the film so much more. When Chan said that he was going to make the ultimate cop movie that the Protector should have been, he wasn’t kidding. Police Story is a required viewing for all those action junkies who crave something more different than the typical Hollywood $400 billion dollar explosion-thon. Very highly recommended.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 10/10


By Marcia

So much has already been said about this film, there’s not much I can add. I can definitely understand why, for action, it’s Jackie’s own favorite. I don’t know that there’s anything which could be done to improve upon it directly, but I find it ranks third out of the four Police Story installments for me. Regardless, it should be part of any fan’s collection.

Marcia’s Rating: 9/10


By Dan-O

New Line Re-release: As soon as I heard the opening theme of this ’98 re-release (of a film 95% of Americans are blissfully ignorant of), my stomach contents stewed to a boil. It was the opening theme New Line used for “First Strike”, revisited and recycled. Now, I can understand if this were some fledgeling, nickel and dime company from a banana republic country, but this is New Line Cinema, who milked Freddy Kreuger for a mint and a half. They can’t afford to commision a decent opening theme? I guess not. Also, New Line, and Miramax, seem to be quite intent on hiding the fact that Jackie Chan can sing from the American public. What would I rather hear?; the original theme music, featuring Jackie, digitally remastered, or would I rather hear some crap-can generic cookie cutter music that was probably lifted from the “demo” song on a new Korg keyboard they bought at Service Merchandise. The music added to the fight scenes is all wrong. The scenes didn’t require music, they had a rhythm all their own, but Hollywood really digs mood music, so I guess there was no avoiding it. Oh, and ANOTHER thing, now that I think of it, the “punch” and “kick” sounds are in some cases laughably bad. The multi bootlegged British version I have had MUCH more convincing effects. Half the time the foley artists seem to have gotten the impact sounds back-asswards, so a kick to the stomach now makes a “WHACK”, rather than a duller “WHUD”. Great Job, New Line.

They have also put their half-assed stamp on this movie by renaming Jackie’s character “Jackie”, again. What the hell is this cop’s name anyway? I’ve heard KaKui, Kevin Chan, and now Jackie. There’s about as much continuity there as in any given David Lynch movie.

Now, the next atrocity committed by New Line is dubbing Jackie’s character with an even more pathetic imitation of Jackie’s thick accent than the one I reviled in Crime Story. This idea was pure rocket science. I’m sure there’s a rational reason why Jackie, and maybe 2 or 3 other characters in the movie have these ridiculous fake Chinese accents, while everyone else speaks “American”, but I is far to stoopid to figg’r it owt. The only voice I found appealing was that of “Selina”. The voiceover in this version makes her out to be more competent than the whiny, nails-on-a-chalkboard voice of the British version I have. Now about the editing. Like the Brit version, the 3 scenes cut that I recall from the original are 1) the scene in the beginning where that cop loses his nerve and wets his pants, 2) the phone scene, which was kinda stupid anyway, but fun all the same. Some of the humor doesn’t really translate well, I imagine, and 3) the scene just before he takes the commissioner hostage where Jackie got REALLY pissed off and ranted about his crappy job vs. the commissioner’s cushy job.

The one saving grace of this version is the picture quality, which is GORGEOUS! Crystal clear, obviously taken from the an original print. This alone makes this worth seeing, or owning, unless you own a Chinese laserdisc or DVD copy, in which case, why the hell are you reading this?

Dan-O’s Rating: My rating for the new Police Story: 6/10, but but a 10/10 for the picture quality. The reason for the low score has nothing to do with the movie itself. Click here to read Dan-O’s original review for the old version.


By James H.

Great day in the morning! I’ve been waiting so long for New Line’s re-release of “Police Story.” I decided to hold off from reviewing the movie until the New Line version came out. I bought it for $29.95 at a local video store (the only one in town that has it). It was worth EVERY penny. While still running only 90 minutes the quality is much higher than the Simitar version I had on tape.

Now the movie itself is a masterpiece. This is one of my top ten favourite movies of all time. Everything about this movie is amazing; the action, the fights and the comedy. In my opinion Jackie reached his pinnacle (thus far) with “Police Story.” The film is built to deliver and amaze the audience. The opening chase is great, the fight in the parking lot is great as well, but the finale in the mall is a fist fight raised to the Nth degree. It’s absolutely sensational!

The comedy bits were woven very well with the action. I loved the bit were he was “talking” to May on the phone, and the court scene was great too. The only drawback with the New Line version is that Jackie didn’t dub himself, but the guy they got did a good job. The other weird thing was that Jackie plays Jackie Chan! I guess it is to keep up the continuity with “First Strike.”

I also liked how they used the main theme from “First Strike,” implying that “First Strike” is a sequel. Anyway, a spectacular film from start to finish. And if you haven’t seen it, may your stomach become bloated and your head be plucked of all but three hairs.

James H’s Rating: 10/10


By Numskull

With America having gone apeshit over the good-but-not-great Rumble In The Bronx and First Strike, just imagine the reaction if this puppy were re-dubbed and shown in theaters. As I write this review (December 13, 1997), I think of what a great solution it would make to the Home Alone 3/Flubber/Anastasia/Mouse Hunt/candy-coated-dog-shit-passed-off-as-solid- entertainment-and-crammed-down-your-throat-in-lieu-of-half-way-decent-movies blues (Happy Holidays my ass!).

This movie is readily available in the USA, courtesy of Parade Entertainment, purveyors of such fine cinematic achievements as Eagle Shadow Fist and 36 Crazy Fists. It has about 15 minutes cut out, but as far as I know, you’ll still get to see all the good stuff (and you won’t have to put up with those damn subtitles that run off the screen and blend into the picture). The opening action sequence with the cars, bus, and shanty village and the most excellent closing one in the shopping mall (if it’s made of glass it ain’t safe!) seem to have gotten most of the spotlight, but the one that takes place in, on, and around two other cars is also quite good. Plus, the comedy in this is some of Jackie’s best (“Do you want something to drink?” “Yes, orange juice.” “Well, get it then!”).

No true JC fan will finish this one disappointed. Fellows, if you ever happen to be caught in a situation where you must choose between watching this movie and being suckled upon like a Charms Blow-Pop by Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Year, don’t be a fool…WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!

Numskull’s Rating: 10/10


By Sean Johnson

What a film! This is truly one of Chan’s best ever. The action starts from the beggining and never lets up. Jackie plays Kevin Chan a Maverick cop from the Royal Hong Kong Police. He is destined to get gangster Ku behind bars once and for all, but it’s not going to be that easy. Ku is a sly one who has numerous bodyguards and associates backing him up. Ku’s game is drug trafficking, a game he plays with precision and efficiency. The film starts out in a scene with Chan and other team members trying to bust Ku’s operation, but when the planning goes awry Chan has to, let’s say improvise on what to do.

That improvising means going on a mad car chase through an actual shanteytown (one of the best filmed car chases in movie history), then slides down a steep hill to get onto a double decker bus that has Ku and his men in it; on the street Chan steals a woman’s umbrella, runs after the bus, and grabs onto it by the crook of the umbrella (wait not done yet), hangs on for a couple of minutes until he is thrown off. Chan meets up with the bus again in a minute, blocks it’s way and corners Ku. Ku temps Chan with a bribe but is ultimitly arested. Telling anymore about the film’s plot would ruin the film, but if you are reading this you have most likely seen it. Anyways, so onto the praise…

The film always keeps the action going and has many outstanding fights that make your jaw drop from pure amazement. There is the fight at night with car parts a flying, there’s the fight at a hideaway house of Ku’s men, and finally the daddy of them all the fight in a populated shopping mall that breaks the record for the most glass broken in a single scene. The fight at the end in my opinion is one of the best choreographed and executed fights of any action film ever released. The stunts are so great in this one scene and the fighting so fluid that you’ll be talking about it for days after you see it. I only wish that Chan would continue to make scenes that flow this well in his upcoming pictures.

With films like First Strike, the action is there but there is only one fight scene in the middle. I believe that in all Chan pics there should be an outstanding fight that has the audience yelling and clapping trough it. Okay so I’ve said that onto the rest of the movie, the homour is some of the funniest Chan has done. The best part about the humour is that it really isn’t corny and does fit in perfectly with the storyline. If you pick up the American version called Jackie Chan’s Police Force about ten minutes of the film will be cut out which just happens to be some of the humour. Two scenes are cut out to be exact. On the bright side the film is dubbed and us non Chinese speakers can pick up on some of the dialoge we missed while watching the pan and scanned Asian version that has the classic cut off/blend into the background subtitles. Oh yeah the American version is only ten bucks while the other is forty. But if you can find a widescreen fromat of the film, I say go for it!

Sean Johnson’s Rating: 10/10

Posted in Chinese, Golden Harvest, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) Review

"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" Korean Theatrical Poster

AKA: Kind Ms. Geum-Ja; Keum-Ja, Lady Vengeance; The Kind-hearted Miss Kum-ja
Director: Park Chan-wook (Park Chan-uk)
Writer: Park Chan-wook (Park Chan-uk), Jeong Seo-Gyeong
Cast: Lee Young-Ae, Choi Min-Sik, Kim Si-Hu
Running Time: 112 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

Watching a Park Chan-Wook film is like listening to a new Radiohead album; at first, you’re not exactly sure what to think, but your initial reaction to the production is positive. To simply put it, a Park Chan-Wook or Radiohead project may not instantly suck you in, but if you’re willing to stick with it, you’ll realize that every scene or note is of divine and artistic quality.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is Park Chan-Wook’s third and final chapter in his “Revenge Trilogy” (with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Old Boy being the first two). All three films are not connected story or character wise, but they do share the obvious revenge theme, as well as the same circle of known actors in Park’s other films.

In Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, (don’t worry, no spoilers here) Kum-ja (Lee Young-ae) is charged with the kidnapping and murder of a boy and is sent to prison for 13 years. Because of her stunning good looks, the media feeds off her situation and in the process, makes her a celebrity (ie Natural Born Killers). Her bright, polka-dotted fall dress becomes her image trademark. Even in prison, she makes a name for herself by being an inspiration or “saint” (complete with glowing face) to fellow cell mates because of her kind heart and inspirational speeches.

When Kum-ja is released, she becomes cold hearted and the good old revenge story follows with twists, turns, savage violence, and a truly bad ass gun that I wouldn’t mind owning…

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance takes Park Chan-Wook’s unorthodox style to a greater level than all of his films combined. It’s filled with uncanny visuals, lavish dream sequences, black & white shots, and even scratchy/aged film stock effects. It’s pure eye candy, even though some of it is strange. The music, consisting of crisp orchestrated pieces, enhance the movie in every right way.

Lee Young-ae’s performance is amazing. Think Brigitte Lin in Chungking Express, only a little more twisted. She’s not exactly youthful-looking (after all, she’s supposed to play a thirty-something), but her charisma and diverse acting ability makes her appealing. Choi Min-Sik… need I say anything about this guy? If you’ve seen his other word (Old Boy, Shiri), you can expect another fine performance from one of Korea’s best actors.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is definitely not Park Chan-Wook’s best film (Mr. Vengeance still wins in my opinion) but it certainly shows his continuing growth as a director whose work will probably be studied and imitated for years to come.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 8/10

Posted in Korean, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) Review

"Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" Korean Theatrical Poster

“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” Korean Theatrical Poster

AKA: Myboksu
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writer: Park Chan-wook, Im Jin-Gyu, Lee Mu-Young
Producer: Im Jin-Gyu
Cast: Song Gang-Ho, Shin Ha-Gyun, Bae Doo-Na
Running Time: 175 min.

By Owlman

While watching SFMV, I couldn’t help recalling my own bitter memories of a tragic moment several years ago. A very dear female friend of mine was found stabbed to death and her body dumped in a hockey equipment bag behind a hotel. While her family grieved, my own grief got to the point where it degenerated into pure, unadulterated rage. That rage then further declined into murderous thoughts when they finally caught the bastard who did it.

During that time, I kept wondering whether it would be prudent for me to step into the courtroom proceedings and give that motherfucker his due, courtesy of me and Ginsu, regardless of the cost. To me, it just seemed like the only right thing to do, given the circumstances.

Which is where SFMV comes in. This movie brought that whole scenario rushing back to my mind. Like Eq says in his review, there are no real evil people here (other than the black market human organ thieves) – the main characters simply fall into a downward spiral as a result of unfortunate circumstances that befall them. Watching Ryu and Park make their swift and parallel moral decline due to their equal burning search for vengeance was heartbreaking because it made me realize how easy it could be for anyone to do the same.

It is mainly because of how that message was delivered by Park Chan-Uk that I highly recommend this fantastic film.

However, I must also point out the masterful direction, cinematography, and acting of SFMV. The director used a lot of long takes that offered up an entrancing look into the daily tribulations of Ryu – his work at the electronics manufacturing plant, his journey back home, and his care for his ailing sister. While the movie moved in a slow pace, it wasn’t to the point where it induced sleep. Quite frankly, I think too many people expected a nail-biter with lots of explosions and bodies. SFMV was obviously nothing like that – suspense came in the form of wondering what Ryu and Park were going to do to each other as it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that both were going to kill each other.

Violence came in a shocking manner. It wasn’t so much the gore of bloodletting, which was not as extreme as some would have led you to believe. It was really the delivery of it after such a lull. Like I said above, you knew that violence was going to eventually happen, but after getting used to ordinary citizens like Ryu and Park, it came as a shock that such individuals could be capable of delivering it in such fashion. When you combined the violence with the leisurely pace of the rest of the film, it played out almost like a Takeshi Kitano film.

As for the acting, Shin Ha-Kyun met the challenge of portraying Ryu with all emotions and thoughts solely through facial expressions and actions – a challenge that he met very well. Song Kang-Ho played out the role of Park just as well, starting off as a fairly happy and successful company president and gradually declining into a raging father. Bae Doo-Na portrayed Yongmi as a really annoying bitch at first but it became clear that her character was very important as a catalyst for everything and she did just fine.

In summary, SFMV comes highly recommended, if not for the jarring message that it delivers, then for its wonderful direction and characterization.

Owlman’s Rating: 10/10


By Alexander

(Many spoilers ahead, people.)

“It wasn’t so much the gore of bloodletting, which was not as extreme as some would have led you to believe.” So says frequent poster and sometime reviewer owlman in his review of the excessively violent, needlessly shocking, gratuitous and ultimately boring Korean dud “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.” I’ve read hundreds of the reviews on this site, but never have I scratched my head in confusion like I did upon reading owlman claim, “[it] was not as extreme as some would have led you to believe.” I mean, ANM’s (another frequent poster on this site) near-obsessive fawning over Jean-Claude Van Damme makes more sense than that statement does.

Are you joking? Being ironic? Did we watch the same fucking movie? The same “Sympathy” that features a grotesquely realistic scene of a man slashing his own bloated belly with a knife? Another involving a knife being jabbed into an artery and an ensuing close-up of blood roiling beneath the guy’s skin until he removes the knife at which point gallons of blood erupts from his neck, geyser-like? The same movie that shows, from afar, a man getting bashed in the head with an aluminum bat? A knife being plunged into a chest? A man’s palm slashed with a knife? Achilles tendons ripped apart, in close-up? Scenes of torture? Necrophelia? Bloody urine? Not extreme enough for you, owlman? Dude, do you store severed heads in your freezer next to the Ben and Jerry’s? Human hearts perfectly preserved in Gladware next to the leftover take-out?

Jesus, dude. You scare me.

“Sympathy” is extremely violent. Gratuitously so. NEEDLESSLY so, which serves only to detract from what otherwise could have been a moving and thought-provoking story of revenge on a much deeper level than what we’re used to seeing in the usual Hollywood fare. For example, I thought the most shocking and disturbing scene was of the drowning of the daughter, filmed over the shoulder of a preoccupied man, and the ensuing close-up of her half-submerged in water, lodged against a rock. THAT scene freaked me out, and terrified me on a level that managed to add suspense to the story without turning me off to it.

Remember the torture scene in “Reservoir Dogs”? It was shocking and believable and underscored the bad-ness of Mr. White’s character. It was relevant and necessary and it wasn’t one of a series of equally gruesome and horrifying scenes throughout the film. It was the ONLY horrifying scene in the film, which made it that much more effective. Remember the scene of Travolta and Jackson in the sedan in “Pulp Fiction”? The one where the gun accidentally goes off, destroying that kid’s head in the back of the car and leaving brain matter on the rear window? THAT is the kind of scene that plays repeatedly in “Sympathy.” But Tarantino’s bit works because it’s so novel. It’s not followed by more horrific violence and gore. It’s followed by great dialogue and advancement of the story. Hell, Tarantino even lampooned the waves of violence in Asian films in “Kill Bill.” “Sympathy,” however, plays it straight without a bit of irony (with the exception of the title, as there is no one involved who deserves our “sympathy”)…and it fails. It’s just too much. (“Sympathy” warrants comparison to another ultra-violent Korean movie, “Old Boy.” But the violence in “Old Boy,” while gratuitous, fits within the context of that film. “Sympathy’s” doesn’t.)

As mentioned in previous reviews, there are long stretches in the movie with no dialogue at all. This would have worked fine had this silence not been punctuated with so much villainy and graphic violence. Instead of giving me a few minutes to process the plot (which is ridiculously confusing at times) and themes, we’re instead left bracing ourselves for the next scene of depravity.

Alexander’s Rating: 5.5/10


By Equinox21

Park Chan-wook is at it again. After all the high praise he received for his masterpiece J.S.A., he got the chance to finish his Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance project that he’d started working on even before J.S.A. What results is perhaps one of the most brilliant, brutal and gritty films to ever come out of Korea.

Deaf and mute Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) dropped out of art school to work two shifts at a factory to earn some money so he could pay for medical treatment for his sick sister (Lim Ji-eun), who is in dire need of a kidney transplant. The transplant will cost 10,000,000 won (roughly $8500), which is all the money Ryu has to his name; they’ll need a different donor, however, as Ryu and his sister have different blood types. The waiting list could be very long for a donor, so he meets with some black-market organ dealers and they come to the agreement that he’ll give them one of his kidneys and the 10 million won in exchange for a matching kidney for his sister. He wakes up from his less than clean surgery only to find the dealers, along with his money and a kidney, gone. When Ryu is then fired for missing too many days of work, he and his friend, Cha Yeong-mi (Bae Doo-na), take it upon themselves to kidnap the daughter of the president of his former place of employment, Park Dong-jin (Song Kang-ho), for a 10 million won ransom. Of course, things go wrong and Park takes it upon himself to seek revenge for the death of his daughter. If this has you confused, don’t worry; watching the movie is far easier to follow and far more enjoyable, I’m sure.

There is so much to love about this movie. For one, there are no bad guys in this movie (with the possible exception of the organ dealers), everyone simply does what they feel is the right thing to do at any particular time. Whether what they do is bad or not, does not make the characters bad in and of themselves. Another thing is the direction and visual artistry that are absolutely stunning. This has some of the most beautiful, yet extremely simple, images yet filmed. A third is the acting, which shines. The three lead actors all bring far more to their characters than you would ever expect to see. Finally, the brutality of this movie is completely justified and almost artful, albeit difficult to watch at times. All these things together make for one of the most enjoyable films of 2002.

The most interesting elements of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance are the two main characters, Ryu and Park. The fact that Ryu is a deaf/mute is discussed, but never becomes the major focus of the story. It is simply a trait of his character that is accepted and no one makes a big deal of. Ryu simply deals with the life he’s dealt, difficulties and all. Park on the other hand seems to have almost everything going his way; president of a successful electronics company, plenty of money and a loving daughter. When his daughter is taken from him, he decides to sell the company and his house so as to devote all his time and effort to seeking vengeance. He stops at nothing to get it. As stated before, neither of the characters take the actions they do because they’re bad people, they’re just in situations where they feel the things they do are for the right reasons.

There isn’t much that Park Chan-wook could have done to make this a better film, it is very nearly perfect as is. It’s extremely different from, yet just as enjoyable as, his previous film Joint Security Area. If you want to see a terrific looking, extremely brutal yet highly enjoyable character study, see Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance as soon as possible.

Equinox21’s Rating: 10/10


By Joe909

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is not a pleasant movie to watch. In many ways, it represents all that is good and bad about Korean cinema. Good because of the lush cinematography and effective acting, bad due to the snail’s pace and overt exposition.

MPM’s review below goes into great detail about the plot, so I will just leave it that Sympathy is a morbid tale that is nearly Shakespearean in its darkness. And it is this darkness that leaves such a bad taste in the viewer’s mouth. There are no redeeming, tension-relieving qualities in Sympathy. The lush cinematography lingers over horrifying images, such as a dead bodies floating in a lake, or bloody bags of human remains resting on the ground.

Like most Korean movies, it takes quite some time for the plot to kick into gear. It is this casual pace that most turns me off to Korean movies. I’m as much for jumping on a bandwagon as the next guy, but I still need some convincing when it comes to Korean cinema. The ones I have seen take too many of the bad qualities of Japanese cinema (slow pace, tedious melodrama) and too little of the good qualities (i.e. economical storytelling) of Western/Hong Kong-style cinema.

Undoubtedly Korean films look better than any other Asian cinema; most of them look like they could’ve been produced by a fat-walleted Hollywood production company. I think it is this aspect that has drawn Hong Kong movie addicts to Korean cinema. I also feel that the average HK film-watcher has gotten older, perhaps mellowed with age, and so is open to movies that are less frenetic.

All told, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a dour, downbeat, modern film noir that isn’t afraid to show images most other films would shy from. I didn’t like it, but I still respect the director’s vision, and his conviction in releasing such a non-crowd pleaser after the well-received “JSA.”

Joe909’s Rating: 6.5/10

Posted in Korean, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
Pages: Prev 1 2 ... 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 Next