Pirate, The (1974) Review

"The Pirate" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Pirate" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Chang Cheh
Co-Directors: Pao Hsueh Lieh, Wu Ma
Writer: Ni Kuang
Producer: Runme Shaw
Cast: Ti Lung, David Chiang, Fan Mei Sheng, Bruce Tong, Yuen Man Tzu, Dean Shek, Tin Ching, Lau Gong, Wu Chih Ching, Yue Fung, Alan Chan Kwok Kuen, Chan Dik Hak
Running Time: 96 min.

By Matthew Le-feuvre

Although Chang Cheh will be fondly remembered for his long association with the Shaw Brothers, there was always more to this film-making zeitgeist than geysering blood, decapitations, disembowelment or torturous imagery. In addition to his prolificacy, Cheh’s alternative meditations occasionally embraced social commentary, usually with concerns about modern youth or the impact of organised crime and how each reflected on urban domesticity: these issues were candidly explored in a handful of films like, The Generation Gap, Young People and The Singing Killer – all starring the iconic David Chiang. However overtly sandwiched between [these] historical romps and contemporary expositions, Cheh often delved into ‘escapist’ theatre, the idea being to steer audiences away from apathy at times when looming social or economic shifts threatened stability in south-east Asia, particularly in Hong Kong. In any case, this strategy worked; mellowing the masses and even inducing the most hardened of critics.

Economics aside, in the advent of Cheh’s most popular, though at intervals ‘ contrived ‘ masterpieces: The One Armed Swordsman, Have Sword Will Travel, Vengeance and The Duel by example, the premiere of The Pirate did not really stir much enthusiasm or controversy upon its initial release back in 1973. Understandably, the general populace were more interested about the circumstances behind Bruce Lee’s demise than in box office ratings or forthcoming attractions. In fact, it was considered something of a commercial distraction than a celebration which Hong Kong audiences widely perceive a movie should represent. Anyhow, retrospectively, The Pirate was a slightly pallid expression of high adventure, drawing inspiration no doubt from the familiar archetypes of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk and The Buccaneers, cross-bred and extravagantly moulded to adhere with Cheh’s signature pastiche for male bonding, a raised fist against the establishment as well as the obligatory betrayer whom the central protagonist has too contend with. Although these components were laxed, there is still enough tension, brutality and innovation to an otherwise enjoyable and dazzling cult rediscovery that, to a point, doesn’t take itself too seriously; yet beneath the surface, Cheh’s palpable hatred of despotism is all too customary, even from the picture’s outset.

Featuring an explosive opening sea channel battle between British Imperialists and indigenous pirates, led by the debonair Chang Pao Chai (Ti Lung). The complex screenplay acts much like the ocean itself, unpredictable one minute and sedate in the next, echoing filmic parallels from Akira Kurosawa to Sam Peckinpah as our deeply flawed anti-hero begins an impromptu journey from the leaking bowels of his vessel to the nearby shoreline of southern china where – masquerading as a rich trader – he becomes unintentionally embroiled with a group of local villagers/ fishermen, whose struggle against exploitation and corruption has forced them into destitution. To quicken repairs, Pao Chai sympathetically agrees to expedite funds for the villagers using currency and jewels plundered from invading colonists.

Returning to his anchored ship/junk, Pao Chai discovers that a vengeful former crew member, Hue er-Dao (Fan Mei Sheng); an escaped convict, has appropriated not only his damaged vessel, but goods and an undisciplined crew. This situation compromises him to take refuge in a gambling house. There he collides with General Wu (David Chiang), a disillusioned loyalist dispatched to apprehend Pao Chai – dead or alive. However as their friendship develops, Wu becomes aware of Pao Chai’s chivalrous nature and, intermittently, begins to question his own moral servitude: what consequences will eventuate? Will Pao Chui retrieve his junk and capital to deliver the villagers from an uncertain fate? Or will Wu conform to his civic duty and arrest Pao Chai?

Verdict: In spite of its somewhat intoxicating artificiality, forty-one years on The Pirate remains a lesser recognized, yet interesting cinematic experience that doesn’t solely rely on political subtleties, trademark cinematography or protracted duels for personal entertainment. On the contrary, the defining novelty of both Ti Lung and David Chiang spearheading their eighteenth collaboration for an indelible saga of obligation, revenge and misguided loyalties, is itself a landmark achievement even by Hollywood conventions.

Matthew Le-feuvre’s Rating: 8/10

Posted in Chinese, News, Reviews, Shaw Brothers | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Game of Assassins | aka The Gauntlet | DVD (Lionsgate)

Game of Assassins | aka The Gauntlet | DVD (Lionsgate)

Game of Assassins | aka The Gauntlet | DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2014

Lionsgate presents the DVD for Matt Eskandari’s Game of Assassins (aka The Gauntlet). A group of misfits find themselves trapped in what they believe to be an underground incinerator, and come together in the hope of discovering a way out. But they quickly realize that to get out alive, they’ll each be tested in ways that are specific to their past – ways that will leave their future changed forever.

Game of Assassins stars Dustin Nguyen (Once Upon a Time in Vietnam), Bai Ling (The Crow), Jaime Ray Newman and Warren Kole. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Game of Assassins from Amazon.com today!

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Tak Sakaguchi out of retirement for the action film ‘Re:Born’

"Versus" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Versus" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Tak Sakaguchi rose to fame with the 2001 cult favorite Versus, a movie that managed to combine the low-budget charms of Evil Dead-like horror with blistering martial arts and gunplay. The actor later scored another cult hit with Battlefield Baseball, but has most recently hitched his wagon to the Sushi Typhoon production company.

In April of 2013, new broke out that Tak was retiring from acting, which left an unknown fate for his recently announced role in Death Trance II, not to mention a long-rumored sequel to Versus.

Cityonfire.com was recently contacted by director Yuji Shimomura (Death Trance) with breaking news that Tak was out of retirement to make Re:Born, which the actor calls his “very last” and “most superb” action movie:

“After I retired, I found myself having a passion for action that was still smoldering inside of me. After a conversation with action director Yuji Shimomura, I wanted to thrive one more time and create the very last and most superb action movie with my utmost power and passion for the sake of a closure to my entire career. I am convinced that I have to give my very best one last time. That is how I feel about this project. I didn’t realize how many people chose to support a person like myself until after I retired. I hope this movie will be satisfying enough for them to feel absolutely alright for me to go. This is for them.”

Re:Born doesn’t start shooting until 2015. Until then, Shimomura provided us with an “audition” video for Re:Born featuring Tak in some intense sparring action. Enjoy!

Updates: Here is more video footage of Sakaguchi getting in shape for Re:Born. – Thanks Takuma!

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Deal on Fire! The Warrior’s Way | Blu-ray | Only $8.97 – Expires soon!

"The Warrior's Way" Blu-ray Cover

"The Warrior's Way" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Sngmoo Lee’s The Warrior’s Way. The world’s most dangerous fighter (South Korean superstar, Jang Dong Gun) flees his homeland to start a new life in the American West. But soon the hunter becomes the hunted, and now the legendary warrior must wage a fierce, all-out battle against a renegade gang of outlaws and a pack of murderous assassins from his own past.

The Warrior’s Way also stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth and Danny Huston. Read our reviews.

Order The Warrior’s Way from Amazon.com today!

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‘Fast and Furious 7′ gets a new speedy release date!

"Fast Five" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Fast Five" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Director Justin Lin is stepping down from his post for now and is passing the baton to Saw and Insidious filmmaker James Wan, who will supposedly put a “gritty, ’70s revenge thriller” vibe on the next installment. Here’s an official plot tidbit: After Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew helped take down Owen Shaw, his brother Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) now wants revenge.

In addition to Vin Diesel and Jason Statham, Fast and Furious 7 stars Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Tony Jaa and Djimon Hounsou.

Updates: First photo of Tony Jaa and Jason Statham on location for Fast and Furious 7. | The fun continues with another on-set photo of Tony Jaa and stunt coordinator Joel Kramer. | Photo of Tony Jaa and Dwayne Johnson. | Visit Film Combat Syndicate has a fight tease, featuring Michelle Rodriguez.

Following the news of Paul Walker’s death, Tony Jaa was one of the many stars, who Tweeted about his friend and co-star: “I am truly saddened over the sudden and unexpected passing of my friend and colleague Paul Walker. I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family. I will not tell you about Paul the actor, I will simply tell you that he was a very caring and sincere person towards friends and family. There are a great many people who will miss him. I knew him a relatively short time, but I am better for the experience. Go in peace my friend, you will not be forgotten. TJ”

In honor of Paul Walker, Universal will donate some of the proceeds from the upcoming Fast & Furious 6 Blu-ray & DVD release to Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide. As far as the future of Fast & Furious 7, there has been some talk about scrapping the current storyline and moving the plot into a completely new direction.

THR reports that Chris Morgan, Fast & Furious 7′s screenwriter, is revising the script that could make use of scenes that were shot before Walker’s death. If the plan works, production may resume by late January. | Visit Film Combat Syndicate to see a photo of one of the last scenes Walker filmed with Diesel.

THR (via Collider) reports that Walker’s character Brian O’Conner will not be killed off in Fast & Furious 7, but will instead be retired “in a way that the studio hopes will satisfy fans of the franchise and make use of the exciting footage of Walker.”

According to an official statement from F7′s Facebook page, Paul Walker’s real life brothers will step in as doubles for the late actor: “We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our FAST family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.” | There are several reports that Cody Walker may be joining future installments of Fast and Furious as Brian O’Connor’s (Paul Walker) younger brother.

BREAKING NEWS: Fast and Furious 7 has a new release date set for April 3, 2015 (formerly April 10, 2015).

Cityonfire.com is hoping you can take a minute to check out www.FrankandBeanz.com, a doggie apparel website that has just released their Fast & the Furrious clothing line. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Paul Walker’s charity, Reach Out World Wide (ROWW).

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New trailer for Lee Suk-Hoon’s swashbuckling flick ‘The Pirates’

"The Pirates" Teaser Poster

"The Pirates" Teaser Poster

South Korean filmmaker Lee Suk-Hoon is known for directing lighthearted comedies such as Two Faces of My Girlfriend and Dancing Queen, but for his 4th upcoming feature, he’s officially entering action-adventure territory in the upcoming flick, The Pirates.

The movie is set in the Joseon Dynasty period and tells the story of rival pirates who have the common goal of capturing a gray whale that has swallowed a precious royal stamp.

The Pirates stars Kim Nam-Gil (Public Enemy Returns), Son Ye-Jin (The Tower), Sulli (Punch Lady), Lee Kyoung-Young (A Company Man), Yu Hae-Jin (The Unjust) and Oh Dal-Su (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance).

The Pirates releases domestically this summer. According to Film Combat Syndicate, the movie struck gold at Cannes, selling up to 15 countries including North America. With that said, we can expect a U.S. release in the future from Well Go USA. Until then, be sure to catch the trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the new trailer! - Thanks to Film Combat Syndicate!

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Misfire | DVD (Image Entertainment)

"Misfire" Theatrical Poster

"Misfire" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

Image Entertainment presents the DVD for Misfire. Martial arts star Gary Daniels (The Expendables) is back with a new action film called Misfire. Directed by R. Ellis Frazier (Dead Drop), the official plot of Misfire centers arounds a hardened DEA agent names Cole (Daniels), who descends into the dangerous underworld of Tijuana, Mexico in search of his journalist ex-wife who he believes has been abducted by a charismatic Cartel boss with aspirations for public office. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Misfire from Amazon.com today!

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Deal on Fire! The Road Warrior | Blu-ray | Only $7.99 – Expires soon!

"The Road Warrior" Blu-ray Cover

"The Road Warrior" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 1981′s The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2), directed by George Miller (Mad Max). In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a drifter (Mel Gibson) agrees to help a gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Miller and crew do the impossible by making a high octane sequel that outruns the classic original in every way possible. The fact that he accomplished the amazing action pieces in a pre-CG era is a miracle! I have my fingers crossed for Mad Max: Fury Road - if it’s even half as good as The Road Warrior, I’ll be surprised!

Order The Road Warrior from Amazon.com today!

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Korean cinematic bad boy Kim Ki-duk is back with the disturbing ‘Moebius’

"Moebius" North American Theatrical Poster

Ever since 2000′s The Isle caught the attention of the international cinema scene,  director Kim Ki-duk has been known as an iconoclast and provocateur of Korean cinema. Although his 2012 effort Pieta earned him the coveted Golden Lion at that year’s Venice International Film Festival, the controversial filmmaker hasn’t decided to play it safe. His upcoming film Moebius is set to land in select North American theaters this August 15th, followed by an On Demand release on August 29th.

The movie’s tagline is ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ and the new trailer promises a violent and disturbing tale of infidelity, castration, and catharsis.

Moebius proved so disturbing, in fact, that it was initially banned in South Korea before their ratings board reviewed film a second time and changed their mind.

Needless to say, fans of ‘extreme Asian cinema’ will want to check out the newly released North American trailer and prepare to have their worlds properly rocked by Kim Ki-duk next month.

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Angels 2 | aka Iron Angels 2 (1989) Review

"Angels 2" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Angels 2" Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Angel 2, Fighting Madam 2
Director: Stanley Tong
Writer: Teresa Woo San
Cast: Alex Fong, Moon Lee Choi Fong, Elaine Lui Siu Ling, Gary Siu Yuk Lung, Sin Ho Ying, Jackson Ng Yuk Su, Yuen Tak
Running Time: 90 min.

By Paul Bramhall

The ‘Girls with Guns’ genre is generally considered to have been kicked off by the 1985 Corey Yuen movie Yes, Madam!, which introduced us to the femme fatale coupling of Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock. The rest of the 80s were spent introducing us to a bevy of dangerous ladies – in 1986 we were given the ferocious pairing of Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima in Iron Angels, and in 1987 we were given yet another deadly duo with Cynthia Khan and Michiko Nishiwaki in In the Line of Duty 3.

Despite the talent of these ladies, the genre arguably always remained a tier below the output from their male counterparts. As time went on the action seemed to increasingly move to countries which had cheaper production costs, such as the Philippines and Malaysia, and by the mid-90s the ‘Girls with Guns’ genre had all but disappeared. For the few glorious years that these movies were getting produced though, the sheer number that got cranked out pretty much guaranteed at least a few minor classics. Often filled with copious machine gun fire and cheap and cheerful pyrotechnics, interspersed with moments of intense fight action, it’s easy to see why these kick ass gals gained a sizable following.

The original Iron Angels delivered a strong cast, apart from the aforementioned Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima, they were ably backed up by Alex Fong, Elaine Lui, and Shaw Brothers legend David Chiang, who essentially filled the role of Charlie in a Hong Kong version of Charlie’s Angels. Throw in Japanese star Saijo Hideki and Korean boot master Hwang Jang-lee, and it would be difficult not to have a good time. The movie is considered a classic of the ‘Girls with Guns’ genre, and spawned two sequels, the second of which has frustratingly yet to be released on DVD in any English speaking country.

It’s a shame, as while Iron Angels 2 is hardly a contender for an Oscar, it is a worthy addition to the genre. The three principal members of the original return in the form of Moon Lee, Elaine Lui, and Alex Fong, who essentially make up the team of angels. Why one of the angels has to be played by a guy is anyone’s guess, but in the pantheon of questions that could be raised out of Hong Kong’s movie output from the 80’s, this is probably one of the lesser ones.

The story concerns the angels being distracted from their holiday in Kuala Lumpur, when the host with whom they’re staying turns out to be an insane revolutionary. This is revealed in a wonderful speech when he explains that he wants to make “an Asia for the Asians”, and we get to see him kick back in the evening with a whiskey on the rocks, while watching videos of Hitler parading through the streets of Germany. Of course in an effort to flesh out the plot a little bit more, Elaine Lui becomes romantically involved with him, unaware of his extreme ideals, and if that wasn’t enough to push the run-time to a suitable length, the rest is padded out by travelogue like shots of Kuala Lumpur city.

While Iron Angels was hardly a big budget affair, it did get by on the merits of having a pair of strong adversaries in the form of Yukari Oshima and Hwang Jang-lee. Oshima seemed to relish her role of the vicious gang boss, and the whole movie stayed true to its genre origins by having Moon Lee and Elaine Lui ultimately have to rescue the captured Fong from her lair.

The sequel loses points somewhat in the fact that if anything, the shift in focus seems to be away from the ladies, and instead Fong is now the image of the macho 80’s Hong Kong action hero, seemingly able to beat up anyone who crosses his path. After playing the deadly leading lady in the Shaw Brothers classic Come Drink With Me, Cheng Pei Pei suffered a similar fate in its sequel Golden Swallow, when she played second fiddle to Jimmy Wang Yu. The only problem here is Alex Fong is no Jimmy Wang Yu, and director Stanley Tong is no Chang Cheh.

While I’m sure a more academically minded critic would be happy to draw comparisons between the notions of feminism between the original Iron Angels and its sequel, let’s face it, at the end of the day we’re all here for the action. Moon Lee would go on to make several movies together with Yukari Oshima, so the real question is how does she fare here with no promise of a final throw down with the Japanese beauty. Thankfully the answer isn’t a disappointing one, in large part due to the showdown that she has with the movies action director Yuen Tak.

Tak is one of the more unsung heroes of Hong Kong action cinema. Originally cast as a kind of Jackie Chan clone in the 1980 Shaw Brothers movie The Master opposite Chen Kuan Tai, he went onto to have a successful career as an action director, working on such movies as Dragon from Russia, while still occasionally making onscreen appearances, most notably returning as the villain in the 1997 version of Hero. Here Tak serves as action director and plays the head henchman, who happens to face off against Lee in a munitions hut in the finale. While their fight is frustratingly brief, what’s there is gold, as the two exchange a lightening fast flurry of feet and fists.

The fight is so good that it makes you realize that she’s just spent the majority of the movie wasted in what for the most part is a non-action role, while it’s Fong who gets given the majority of the movies action beats. While Fong is a passable screen fighter, the fight between Lee and Tak makes his scenes look like rehearsals. This is made even more glaringly obvious when straight after the showdown he’s given the final confrontation of the movie, which while not particularly bad, simply doesn’t stand up compared to the few seconds of excellence we’ve just bore witness to.

There’s also a whole lot of obligatory but satisfying machine gun fire and explosions in the finale, but despite it all, Iron Angels 2 remains a notch under the original. Later that same year Lee would be seriously burnt when she was caught in an explosion, which detonated early while escaping from a building on the set of the movie Devil Hunters, but like the strong female characters she portrayed on screen, she didn’t stay down for long. Hopefully movies like both Devil Hunters and Iron Angels 2 will some day make it onto DVD, and everyone can enjoy watching the ladies of Hong Kong cinema kick just as much ass as the men.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in Chinese, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Takashi Miike is back with bloody horror film ‘Over Your Dead Body’

"Over Your Dead Body" Japanese Theatrical Poster

As advance pictures of Yakuza Apocalypse can attest to, Takashi Miike is back in fine form and doing what he does best: delivering mind-blowing and extreme Asian cinema. Along those lines, the trailer for Over Your Dead Body hit the web today. In this atmospheric and gory-looking horror film, we follow two young stage actors who find their roles bleeding over (no pun intended) into their real lives.

It’s been quite some time since Takashi Miike has played in the horror realm, despite making quite a name for himself with films like One Missed Call (which even saw a subpar Hollywood remake) and his notorious Masters of Horror episode Imprint, not to mention his modern horror classic Audition. Based on the trailer, Miike appears to be pulling out all the stops with Over Your Dead Body. Fans can expect the film in Japanese theaters this August ’14. Thanks to Twitch for the news.

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American Muscle | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

"American Muscle" Theatrical Poster

"American Muscle" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Rafvi Dhar’s American Muscle. Falcon (Nick Principe) did 10 years of hard time in prison, now he’s got 24 hours to get revenge on every person who sent him there. It isn’t exactly a post-apocalyptic flick, but judging from the trailer, it has enough road action, sex and brutal violence to keep up us pre-occupied until Mad Max: Fury Road finally gets released.

American Muscle also stars Robin Sydney (Trophy Heads), Todd Farmer (Drive Angry) and John Fallon (Dead Shadows). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order American Muscle from Amazon.com today!.

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Rain joins forces with Bruce Willis in the action thriller ‘The Prince’

"The Prince" Theatrical Poster

"The Prince" Theatrical Poster

Brian A. Miller (Officer Down) upcoming action thriller The Prince features an all-star cast that includes Bruce Willis (Die Hard 6), John Cusack (Love & Mercy) 50 Cent (Get Rich or Die Tryin’), Jason Patric (Narc), South Korean superstar Rain (Ninja Assassin) and Johnathon Schaech (Doom Generation).

The plot for The Prince, written by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore (2012′s Red Dawn), is as follows: A retired Las Vegas crime boss is forced to return to the city, and face his former enemies, when his teenage daughter goes missing.

Update: It’s been at least half a year since we’ve heard anything about The Prince, but a trailer has surfaced online. The film receives a limited theatrical and On Demand release this August 22nd. Also, here’s the new poster.

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Warrior Princess | aka Queen Ahno | DVD (Lionsgate)

Warrior Princess | aka Queen Ahno | DVD (Lionsgate)

Warrior Princess | aka Queen Ahno | DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: September 16, 2014

Lionsgate presents the DVD for Shuudertsetseg Baatarsuren’s Warrior Princess (aka Queen Ahno), Mongolia’s highest-grossing film to date! In a time when honor was everything, discover how one woman’s (Otgonjargal Davaasuren) sacrifice inspired the courage of a nation’s army in their fight for freedom! Based on the true story of Queen Ahno of Mongolia, who gave her life to save her husband and sons in battle. Watch the violent trailer.

Also starring Myagmar Mondoon, Bayarmagnai Yeguzer, Myagmarnaran Gombo, Sarantuya Sambuu, Altantuya Tumurbaatar and Ravdan Gombo.

Pre-order Warrior Princess from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Want a ‘Pacific Rim 2,’ kaiju fans? You’ll get it April 7, 2017!

"Pacific Rim" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Pacific Rim" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Last summer’s ‘giant monsters vs. mech’ film Pacific Rim proved to be a modest hit worldwide, grossing $400 million on a budget of about half that. The movie arrived in theaters with plenty of internet buzz, thanks in part to the reputation of director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Blade II). Now Del Toro is assuring fans that, if they keep their fingers crossed, we might just get Pacific Rim 2.

The acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth filmmaker recently stated that he is working on a screenplay with Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand), and that Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi’s characters will be returning. In the past, Del Toro has teased that a sequel might involve humans ‘drifting’ (kind of a telepathic link) with a kaiju, or giant monster, and the kaiju/mech that would result from such a connection. Fans of the first film, we ask: what would you like to see in a Pacific Rim 2?

Updates: According to Collider, Guillermo del Toro is returning to the director’s chair for Pacific Rim 2, which has a set release date for April 7, 2017.

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Deal on Fire! Saving General Yang | Blu-ray | Only $6.85 – Expires soon!

Saving General Yang | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Saving General Yang | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Saving General Yang, directed by Ronny Yu (Jet Li’s Fearless). Northeast China, early Northern Song dynasty, AD 986. The Khitan army takes its revenge for a past massacre, abducting General Yang Ye (Adam Cheng) and leaving his wife and seven sons to rescue him – and fall into their deadly trap. Led by the first son (Ekin Cheng), the seven set out with a small band of fighters to face an army of thousands so they can bring their father home. The film also stars Yu Bo, Vic Chou, Raymond Lam, Wu Chun and Fu Xinbo. Stephen Tung (A Better Tomorrow) handles action choreography.

Order Saving General Yang from Amazon.com today!

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Ryuhei Kitamura makes his grand return to Japanese cinema with ‘Lupin the Third’

"Lupin the Third" Japanese Theatrical Poster

When Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura made the transition to Hollywood and began directing low-budget horror fare like Midnight Meat Train and No One Lives, fans were eager enough to see what the talented filmmaker threw our way…but deep down, most were waiting for Kitamura to return to Japan and get back to reinventing action cinema with films like Versus and Azumi.

Well, it appears that Kitamura is back in his native country and his first project is a live-action adaptation of the popular and long-running manga/anime series Lupin the Third.

Lupin the Third, or Lupin III as it’s often known, follows the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin III and his many colorful allies as they steal valuable items all over the globe.

The trailer for Kitamura’s live-action film is here, and it promises to deliver plenty of over-the-top setpieces and diverse characters. Could this be the dazzling return to form that Ryuhei Kitamura’s fans have been waiting for? Thanks to Twitch for the news.

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Hot new Asian titles streaming on Netflix

Journey to the West | Blu-ray & DVD (Magnolia)

Journey to the West | Blu-ray & DVD (Magnolia)

Got a Netflix subscription? If so, you’ve got a gateway to some of the latest and greatest in Asian cinema, as well as related martial arts titles. Let’s take a look at some of the titles that have found their way to Netflix’s streaming service in the last month or two.

Journey to the West (2013) – from director Stephen Chow comes this special FX-fueled martial arts flick about the Monkey King

Oldboy (2013) – this English-language remake from director Spike Lee caused controversy when it hit theaters; not so much for its violent content as the fact that Hollywood would dare to touch the Korean modern classic!

Confession of Murder (2012) – fan favorite distributor Well Go USA presents this dark and gritty Korean action/thriller

The Detective (2007) and The Detective 2 (2011) – Hong Kong actor Aaron Kwok is front and center in these two quirky crime thrillers from director Oxide Pang (The Eye)

Fairy Tale Killer (2o12) – genre veteran Lau Ching-wan (A Hero Never Dies) stars in this serial killer thriller directed by the other Pang brother, Danny Pang

Sleepwalker (2011) – we hope you’re not tired of the Pang Brothers yet since Oxide Pang directs this supernatural thriller starring Angelica Lee (The Eye)

Iron Monkey (1993) – martial arts superstar Donnie Yen appears in the dubbed version of this wuxia classic from director Yuen Woo-ping

Lady Vengeance (2005) – from Oldboy director Chan Wook-park comes the final, thrilling installment in his ‘vengeance trilogy’

Oldboy (2003) – the original Korean-language thriller from director Chan Wook-park! A film that needs no introduction

Puncture Wounds (2014) – MMA sensation Cung Le stars alongside Expendables Dolph Ludgren in this martial arts actioner

The Replacement Killers (1998) – Hong Kong acting legend Chow Yun-fat transitioned to Hollywood cinema with this 90′s actioner

Ring of Curse (2011) – Asian horror is alive and well in this J-horror film about a group of school girls who find themselves cursed and dying off, one by one

Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002) – arguably the finest effort in Chan-wook Park’s ‘vengeance trilogy’ – shhh, don’t tell fans of Oldboy

Caught in the Web (2012) – from the director of Farewell My Concubine comes this thriller about internet culture and cyber witch hunts

Machete Kills (2013) – the latest entry in the Grindhouse-esque series features appearances by ‘Mad Max’ himself, Mel Gibson, as well as international martial arts star Marko Zaror (Undisputed III)

The Wrath of Vajra (2013) – a good old-fashioned martial arts actioner in the Bloodsport vein, featuring fight choreography by Sammo Hung

Commitment (2013) – this Korean action/thriller follows a young North Korean spy manipulated by his own government

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Kundo: Age of the Rampant | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

"Kundo: Age of the Rampant" Korean Teaser Poster

"Kundo: Age of the Rampant" Korean Teaser Poster

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray and DVD for the South Korean film Kundo: Age of the Rampant (aka Band of Thieves). This 19th century period action/martial arts film stars Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) and Kang Dong-won (The X), and directed by Yoon Jong-bin (Nameless Gangster).

Kundo: Age of the Rampant revolves around a group of righteous thieves who steal from corrupt public officials and give to the poor. But things get deadly when the thieves come across a powerful figure. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Kundo: Age of the Rampant from Amazon.com today!

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From Vegas to Macau | aka The Man from Macau (2014) Review

"From Vegas To Macau" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"From Vegas To Macau" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Wong Jing
Writer: Wong Jing
Producer: Andrew Lau, Don Yu Dong
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Nicholas Tse Ting Fung, Sally Jing Tian, Kimmy Tong Fei, Chapman To Man Chat, Max Zhang Jin, Philip Ng Wan Lung, Hui Siu Hung, Natalie Meng Yao, Gao Hu, Sammy Sum Chun Hin, Yue Chi Ming
Running Time: 94 min.

By oneleaf

The Man from Macau (aka From Vegas to Macau) stars Chow Yun-Fat (The Monkey King) as “Magic Hands” Ken, a highly-skilled, legendary gambler (conman) with lightning fast hands and the ability to literally “feel” the suits on the cards.

The film reunites Chow with prolific writer/producer/director Wong Jing. There are obvious similarities between Chow’s character Ken, and another legendary character, Ko Chun, from the God of Gamblers (1989) and Return of God of Gamblers (1994) – two titles made famous by Chow and Jing. The similarities are a recurring gag that alludes throughout The Man from Macau.

The plot is simple. Ken, along with Cool (Nicholas Tse from The Bullet Vanishes) and his cousin Carl (Chapman To from Men Suddenly in Black), get caught up in espionage and danger when they unwittingly become involved in bringing down a money-laundering criminal named Mr. Ko (Hu Gao from The Bullet Vanishes), the head of DOA.

The Man from Macau is heavy on slow motion, CGI and slapstick comedy. The cinematography and sound are top notch. The set design is impeccable; especially Ken’s home, which used to be a Portuguese library with its high vaulted ceiling, beautiful wood bookcases, eclectic hardwood floor, and thin curved metal staircases. The film is visually dazzling with its flying dice and semi-levitating/gold-plated cards being flung around like shiruken (ninja stars).

Most of the comedy involves Chapman To. As usual, he’s unny in a nonsensical way. Unfortunately, his scenes don’t add much to the overall flow, as he repeatedly shouts “production by Wong Jing” throughout the film.

Tse’s character looks disinterested throughout much of the film. He’s just there looking bored. Despite being a capable actor, his character is very under-developed. He yearns to become Ken’s protégé and son-in-law, but these two thematic elements could have been explored a bit more. Instead, they were superficial and went nowhere.

Max Zhang (from The Grandmaster) as Ko’s bodyguard/assassin is a very proficient wushu practitioner and his skills are evident in his fight scenes with Lionel (Phillip Ng from Bodyguards and Assassins). Unfortunately, Zhang is given very little to do nor say other than trying to look menacing.

The choreography by Nicky Lee (Chung Chi Li) and Wong Wai-Leung are pretty good. One of the highlights: A scene where Rainbow bounces around on two giant cables, a la Cirque du Soleil-style. However, any action scene involving Tse looked rehearsed, ineffective and weak.

I am a big fan of Chow and had high expectations when I heard he was reuniting with Jing. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The Man from Macau could have been so much more with the talents of Chow, Tse, To and Hui. Yet, the sum of its part do not equal to the end result of this hodgepodge of sight gags, farce comedy, dull plot and uninspiring characters.

Chow is in fine form as Ken and looks dapper in every scene, courtesy of costume design by Chan Chi-Man and Jessie Dai. A chameleon of an actor, Chow easily switches between comedy and drama effortlessly in the film. He even sings and dances with Benz Hui, which is a breath of fresh air. Yet, even Chow couldn’t save the movie.

Other than Ken, all the other characters are one-dimensional. Ko would have been an excellent adversary for Ken, had Jing given his character more to do, rather than just posturing aimlessly from one scene to another. Kimmy Tong (from The Last Tycoon) as Ken’s daughter, Rainbow, is very pretty and a decent actress. I would have loved to see more of her on screen. Unfortunately, she and the other China-based actors have very little screen time, as their characters are merely accessories.

The Man from Macau is a classic Wong Jing production with stylized images and great cinematography, but the script is weak and formulaic. Obligatory gambling scenes are too few and far in between. They could have been utilized to add more substance to the film. Same goes for the fight scenes.

Nonetheless, it’s good to see Chow in action again. I wanted so much to recommend the movie, but can’t.

Oneleaf’s Rating: 5/10

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John McTiernan’s ‘Predator’ to receive a sequel from a ‘Lethal’ director

"Predator" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Predator" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Hollywood sure loves their remakes these days, and no film is sacred – not even Chan-wook Park’s beloved Oldboy or the Pang Brothers’ Bangkok Dangerous. Still, it’s one thing for the studios to grab the remake rights to a foreign language film that, let’s face it, most American movie-goers haven’t seen. It’s another thing altogether for Hollywood to remake one of their own beloved genre pictures. That’s why today’s news of a Predator remake in the works is so surprising.

While the original Predator may have its share of cheesy one-liners, it’s regarded by most as a modern action classic. It’s a movie that many consider Arnold Schwarzenneger’s strongest effort, a movie that would most likely be called John McTiernan’s finest hour if it wasn’t for a little film called Die Hard.

Still, even more surprising than the fact that Hollywood would touch the sacred cow of Predator is the news that none other than Shane Black will be directing the film. Before he made headlines for writing and directing Iron Man 3, Black was a talented writer who rose to fame on the strength of scripts like Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout.

Alongside his meteoric rise as a screenwriter in the late Eighties, Black actually had a small supporting role in Predator as the character Hawkins; this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part was apparently a way for the producers to try and coax Black into polishing the script for Predator, a task which he repeatedly refused. All these years later, the Predator story appears to be coming full circle, as Black will write the treatment for this new Predator before directing the film itself.

The real question is: what modern actor could possibly step into the combat boots made famous by Arnold Schwarzenneger – let alone the other musclebound roles ably filled by Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Sonny Landham? Considering that most of today’s stars are cast to be pretty rather than buff, it’s most likely that this new Predator will look and feel radically different than the original.

Update: Co-writer/director Shane Black has confirmed that the film is actually an “inventive sequel” and not a reboot as originally thought. Now we’re left to speculate if the film will treat the events of Predator 2 (let alone 2010′s Predators) as canon or ignore everything except the ’87 original.

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Cung Le may just be the busiest man in martial arts action cinema

"Dragon Eyes" Japanese DVD Cover

"Dragon Eyes" Japanese DVD Cover

There’s no rest for the wicked – or for a wicked, musclebound Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Fan favorite actor Cung Le has made a name for himself in and out of the ring, thanks to co-starring roles in films like Bodyguards & Assassins and Dragon Eyes, and the man shows no signs of slowing down. In a recent video interview, Cung Le teased several new projects on his horizon.

Two of the as-of-yet-untitled movies include a film from Sammo Hung (Killzone AKA S.P.L.) and producer Bill Kong (House of Flying Daggers), as well as a role in J.J. Perry’s directorial debut. Perry may not be a name immediately recognizable to action buffs but chances are you’ve seen his work – he served as fight choreographer on both Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing and Blood and Bone!

In addition, Cung Le has mentioned a possible role in the highly anticipated Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: The Green Destiny, which would reunite him with both his The Grandmasters choreographer Yuen Woo-ping and his Bodyguards & Assassins co-star Donnie Yen. Lastly, Le is also in talks for a role in the American remake of The Raid, which is currently in-development from The Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes. Cung Le clearly has great things coming in the near future, so fans of the talented performer have much to look forward to.

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New photos of ‘The Raid 2′s’ Yayan Ruhian in Takashi Miike’s ‘Yakuza Apocalypse’

"13 Assassins" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"13 Assassins" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Shooting has started for Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse. According to filmbiz.asia, the upcoming fantasy action flick revolves around an immortal vampire who joins the yakuza and becomes the most powerful fighter in the criminal underworld. The film is penned by writer-director Yamaguchi Yoshitaka (Neko Samurai).

Miike (13 Assassins) calls Yakuza Apocalypse his return to form. In a public statement, he said: “Goodbye to tediously boring Japanese films… no one wanted this to happen, but I am making a rampage back to the basics!”

Yakuza Apocalypse has an expected theatrical release date for 2015. We’ll keep you updated on further developments.

Updates: According Film Combat Syndicate (Via screendaily.com), Yayan Ruhian (The Raid 2) is joining the cast of Yakuza Apocalypse. Screendaily reports that Ruhian will play one of the international assassins, who specialises in the Silat style of martial arts.

BREAKING NEWS: Check out some of the first photos from Yakuza Apocalypse. - Thanks to Film Combat Syndicate!

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Someone Has to Review It! Bruce Lee’s ‘The Big Boss’

"The Big Boss" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Big Boss" Japanese Theatrical Poster

1971′s The Big Boss, starring the legendary Bruce Lee, did for martial arts movies what Elvis Presley did for music: it made it unforgiving, raw and excessive in almost every way imaginable. Unlike Lee’s other films, The Big Boss’ structure has a slow build up when it comes to the action, so once Lee’s character unleashes his first kick almost 40 minutes into the film, it’s that much more intense.

The Big Boss is also the most brutal, explicit and morally wrong of all his films. Unlike Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you get to see a “saw” slice through bodies. In fact, calling The Big Boss a sleazy horror flick wouldn’t be far from the truth.

There’s also certain mystique behind The Big Boss. Die hard Lee enthusiasts from all over the world are still in search of a version of the film that includes long lost, edited footage, such as the extremely rare saw-in-the-head scene (photo), as well as a bit where Lee’s character decides to get a piece of ass from a prostitute (photo) one last time before he goes on a kill-crazy suicide mission.

One die hard enthusiast is Brandon Bentley, Indie filmmaker and Big Boss-historian (producer the Bruce Lee vs. Peter Thomas feature in Shout! Factory’s Bruce Lee Legacy Collection), has a new series on youtube titled Someone Has to Review It!, and this week he reviews The Big Boss. The reason I find it necessary to share this review is simple: If there’s someone out there that has something new or interesting to say about The Big Boss, Bentley is definitely one of them. Without further ado, here’s a link to the youtube review. Enjoy!

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Guardian | DVD (Millennium)

"Guardian" Theatrical Poster

"Guardian" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

Millennium presents the DVD for the Indonesian action thriller, Guardian. If you’re a fan of Merantau, The Raid or The Raid 2, then Guardian might be your cup of tea. Just keep in mind, this is definitely an action flick where guys take the back seat!

Written and directed by Helfi Kardit (Suster Keramas), Guardian stars Sarah Carter (DOA: Dead or Alive), Dominique Diyose (Love for Share), Belinda Camesi (Laskar Cilia) and Tio Pakusadewo (The Raid 2: Berandal). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Guardian from Amazon.com today!

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Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary | Blu-ray (Warner)

Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary | Blu-ray (Warner)

Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary | Blu-ray (Warner)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Warner presents the Blu-ray for Oliver’s Stone’s Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary Edition. Take a hallucinogenic ride through the minds and exploits of two cold-blooded lovers (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis), and is a powerful, gut-grabbing look at how violence and crime are sensationalized and glamorized in the media. This anniversary edition will contain two versions of the film (Theatrical version and Director’s Cut), and a new featurette Natural Born Killers: Method in the Madness, a rare glimpse provided by director Stone, editor Hank Corwin and technical advisor Dale Dye into the creative process that gave birth to this provocative, unapologetically violent piece of American cinema.

Pre-order Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary today!

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Latest ‘character’ trailer for Jung Woo-Sung’s ‘The Devine Move’

"The Devine Move" Korean Theatrical Poster

"The Devine Move" Korean Theatrical Poster

South Korea is back with another revenge thriller called The Devine Move. Filmmaker Jo Bum-Gu goes against the grain of his last movie Quick, by giving us a more gritty, less humorous, non-cgi approach. No blockbuster explosions or vehicle stunts here… just some dirty hand-to-hand combat.

The Devine Move stars Jung Woo-Sung (The Good, The Bad, The Weird), Lee Beom-Soo (Death Bell), Ahn Sung-Ki (Sector 7), Kim In-Kwon (Quick), Choi Jin-Hyuk (Love Clinique), Lee Si-Young (Five Senses of Eros) and Ahn Kil-Kang (Crying Fist).

Updates: Watch the 1st trailer. | 2nd trailerThe Divine Move opens on July 2014 in Sourth Korea.

BREAKING NEWS: Latest trailer. Also, new character posters at Film Combat Syndicate.

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Once Upon a Time in Vietnam | aka Lua Phat (2013) Review

"Once Upon a Time in Vietnam" Vietnamese Theatrical Poster

"Once Upon a Time in Vietnam" Vietnamese Theatrical Poster

Director: Dustin Nguyen
Writer: Dustin Nguyen
Producer: Dustin Nguyen, Ngoc Hiep, Do Quang Minh
Cast: Dustin Nguyen, Roger Yuan, Veronica Ngo, Thai Hoa, Nguyen Hoang Quan, Xuan Phat, Hieu Hien, Dinh Ngoc Diep
Running Time: 104 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

Since Dragon Dynasty’s U.S. release of 2006’s The Rebel, Asian movie enthusiasts have had a major hard-on for Vietnamese action films. The Rebel, with its snappy fight choreography and rich storyline, proved that a Vietnamese production could hold its own against some of the finest martial arts flicks from any country.

Unfortunately, Vietnamese titles are heavily overshadowed by Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and most recently, Indonesian movies (you can’t compete with Sony’s go-getter marketing for The Raid and The Raid 2). The reasons are most likely due to limited exposure and lack of availability.

Fact is, unless you’re an avid martial arts film fanatic, it’s possible that you’ll fly through life watching Ong BakIp Man or The Raid several more times without ever watching The Rebel or Clash even once. If you’re one of the few who have been following Vietnamese action films, then you’re probably aware of 2013’s Once Upon a Time in Vietnam (aka Lua Phat), which is officially dubbed “the first Vietnamese fantasy film.”

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam is heavily noted for being the brain child of Dustin Nguyen, the film’s director, writer, producer and star. Apart from being “that Asian dude” from the original 21 Jump Street TV series, Nguyen has maintained a semi-famous status in America, but in his home country of Vietnam, he carries a lot more star power; thanks to his appearance in many Vietnamese films, most notably his role as a heartless villain in Charlie Nguyen’s (unrelated) The Rebel.

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam takes place in an “alternative” Vietnam. Its main setting looks like a town from an old west flick where people wear chaps, leather vests and boots. It’s a fantasy world that fuzes 19th Century technology with modern day street bikes, neon signs and rock music.

The heroes and villains aren’t sheriffs or masked bandits, they’re martial artists who carry Final Fantasy-esque swords and embody supernatural powers akin to a Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter characters. Unlike the town’s bystanders, they wear leather Qing Dynasty-like warrior outfits, garnished with metallic accessories that are etched with “gear” symbols.

In a nutshell, the plot involves an anti-hero named Commander Dao (Nguyen) who’s on the hunt for fellow AWOL warriors hiding out in a small town. Within its structure is a love rhombus, a deranged Emperor (Roger Yuan), a beautiful woman (Veronica Ngo), a clueless father (Thai Hoa, one of Vietnam’s top comedians) a troubled kid (Hoang Quan Nguyen) and a mute (Dinh Ngoc Diep).

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam is essentially bits and pieces of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time in the West, Andrew Lau’s The Stormriders, George Miller’s Mad Max, Sho Fumimura’s Fist of the North Star and Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. No joke.

The big question is: Does Once Upon a Time in Vietnam join the stellar ranks of The Rebel and Clash? The big answer is: No. In a perfect world, this could have been Vietnam’s answer to a grittier, edgier, more grounded version of a The Stormriders, but instead, it ends up looking more like a subpar version of Sngmoo Lee’s A Warriors Way.

Nguyen’s vision is full of passion, but his execution becomes distorted the process. From a viewer’s perspective, I couldn’t help but notice a sense of lost direction, self indulgence and pretentiousness. Despite meshing all of this influences (Sergio Leone, George Miller, etc.), the final result feels flat and empty.

For instance, there’s a saloon similar to the Titty Twister bar from Robert Rodriguez’ From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. Whereas Rodriguez’ version is flashing with energy and life, Nguyen’s version feels incomplete, generic and in dire need of several more extras per frame.

The special effects are seriously obsolete. Either their computers were low on RAM, or they hired a CG effects guy that has just awoken from a 1995 coma. But honestly, even if the movie had Industrial Light & Magic’s most valuable employee, it wouldn’t have helped because outdated special effects are the least of this film’s problem.

As far as the action scenes, there’s good news and bad news…

First, the bad news: If you’re expecting Rebel or Clash-style fight choreography, turn away and never look back. Considering all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the action – not to mention two experienced martial artists – the hand-to-hand sequences are seriously lacking. The majority of it is over edited, chopped and loaded with pointless slow motion shots. There’s not one fight that stands out. Sure, there’s a second or two of brilliance, but overall, it’s a wishy-washy mess. It’s hard to put the blame solely on the action choreographer (Bui Van Hai), since the issue lies in camera/editing work. Regardless, in this day and age of hyper-kinetic driven martial arts movies, there’s a new standard, and it’s definitely not met here.

Now for the good news: It’s not the most action-packed movie, so you don’t have to worry about overdosing on mediocre martial arts sequences. It’s a damn shame that Johnny Nguyen (The Rebel, Clash) wasn’t hired for his choreography work, because some hard-hitting sequences alone could have escalated Once Upon a Time in Vietnam from being a disappointment. It’s a practice that works for Tony Jaa’s films: Great action + horrible movie = good martial arts flick!

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam shines when it comes to the performances. I’ve always thought Nguyen was a good actor, but after seeing his work in The Rebel, I was blown away by his charisma. As usual, Veronica Ngo (The Rebel, Clash, House in the Alley) is natural when it comes to everything: acting ability, on-screen fighting (with no formal training) and of course, her beauty. Roger Yuan (Black Dynamite) and rest of the cast do a mighty fine job as well.

There’s also no doubt that Once Upon a Time in Vietnam is a good looking movie. The cinematography is beautiful (courtesy of Thai filmmaker Wych Kaosayananda, who is mostly known for directing Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever); the props and sets are impressive; and the costume designs (by Bao Tranchi) are absolutely stunning.

The bottom line: Maybe Nguyen should have made a couple of smaller films before shooting his passion project. He obviously had the ambition, a decent budget and a competent cast and crew; but none of this added up to the final outcome of the project. To put it simply, Nguyen aimed a little too high and missed.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 5/10

Posted in News, Reviews, Vietnamese | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Watch the newest ‘Revenge of the Pomegranate Hill’ trailer

"Revenge of the Pomegranate Tree Hill" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Revenge of the Pomegranate Tree Hill" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Thanks to Film Combat Syndicate, we have the scoop on Revenge of the Pomegranate Tree Hill, an upcoming chanbara movie directed by Setsuro Wakamatsu, who is perhaps best known for his 2000 Die Hard-type action film, Whiteout.

Based on a novel by Jiro Asada (Failan), the plot is as follows: Shimura Kingo (Kiichi Nakai) is a samurai retainer whose lord Ii Naosuke is assassinated. Instead of allowing himself to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) after the loss of his lord, Kingo pends the next 13 years tracking down his lord’s killers.

Revenge of the Pomegranate also stars Hiroshi Abe, Ryoko Hirosue, Nakamura Kichiemon, Masahiro Takashima and Sei Matobu. Watch the film’s latest trailer.

Revenge of the Pomegranate will be released domestically on September 20, 2014.

Update: Watch the newest trailer. – Thanks to Film Combat Syndicate

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Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge | Blu-ray & DVD (ANconnect)

Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge | Blu-ray & DVD (ANconnect)

Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge | Blu-ray & DVD (ANconnect)

RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2014

ANconnect presents the Blu-ray and DVD for Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge. Kane Kosugi (Choy Lee Fut, Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear) stars in this prequel to 2010′s Tekken. Joining Kosugi is Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Tekken), Gary Daniels (Skin Traffik) and Ron Smoorenburg (Who Am I?). Like its predecessor, Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge (aka Tekken: A Man Called X) is based on the popular Namco fighting game of the same name.

Pre-order the the Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles | Leave a comment