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Execproducer

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About Execproducer

  • Birthday 05/23/1967

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Reigning Knight of Georgia (9/11)

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  1. Thanks to @J.T. for lifting this thing on his shoulder and carrying it forward so spectacularly. I'm sure Mr. Pelan would have enjoyed it. Thanks also for taking on @odessasteps pick. I want to make sure that everyone that submitted a review gets their film reviewed as well so that just leaves @driver to take care of. Unfortunately for him, while Mr. Coales ultimately got to pick his reviewer, Mr. driver is going to be stuck with me. But it is a film I like a lot so it's going to be favorable if possibly lacking in eloquence. But first other business. When we started this project and the question of chanbara films came up, I said no. I love me some samurai films but it doesn't fit the criteria I had in mind. Sure, there is plenty of sword-play in Chinese martial arts films, especially from the period of the 60's to early 70's, but I view it as an extension of those characters Kung Fu skills (even when there is very little hand-to-hand) so those films are fine. My review thread, my logic. But. as we have seen a serious loss of steam for these projects in general, I figured what the hell? Let's do it because this thing may be at death's door and there isn't much chance that an edged weapons theme is going to get any traction. So imagine my surprise when the guy that advocated for samurai films every year picked Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Now, I enjoy the hell out of that film, I really do, but huh?!! Really??!! That's kind of like picking The Karate Kid as the first film for this project or Bubba Ho-Tep as your favorite Elvis film. I know I said no Akira Kurosawa but that is hardly limiting. Anyway, this isn't meant to be an attack on Mr. Coales. He picked a great film and was rewarded with a tremendous review. But, if we are going to include samurai films then we are going to have some fucking samurai films. So stay tuned to this space as I get that out of my system, then take care of driver's pick and then possibly finish off the two reviews that were meant to be companion pieces to Iron Monkey. In the meantime, as J.T. has set the precedent, if someone wants to toss up a review of their own, feel free to do so.
  2. I was the same age when I saw Breaker! Breaker! on my family's weekly excursion to the drive-in. At the time I had no clue who Chuck Norris was or what he would become. I wouldn't see The Way of the Dragon, or any other Bruce Lee film for that matter, until we had our first VCR a few years later. Oddly enough, there would be a couple of Brucesploitation films during our drive-in days. There must have really been nothing else playing that week in order for that to occur.
  3. Amongst other reasons why The Octagon isn't so great: Art Hindle's character makes really bad decisions. Obviously to drive the plot forward but he could have been written better and still achieved those aims. The side-scrolling video game nature of the fight scenes. A staple of Norris films but executed much better in films like An Eye For An Eye and Forced Vengeance. Lee Van Cleef is underutilized. Tadashi Yamashita is waaaaaay underutilized. Aside from a brief weapons kata he might as well not be there and he's supposed to be the Big Bad! But hey, Ninjas and Carol Bagdasarian side boob. It ain't all bad. I think you're on to something with how fans reacted to his sex scenes. I'm sure parents that had seen Good Guys Wear Black or A Force of One figured these were films they could safely take their kids to, only to be greeted with a biker mama offering Stephen Furst her breasts. But from The Octagon on Norris added earthier tones to his White Knight character and by the time you get to Lone Wolf McQuade no one has a problem with him rolling around the yard with Barbara Carrera. The main issue with Silent Rage though, is I don't think mainstream American audiences were ready for that particular genre mash-up. The complaint I remember was not enough fight scenes, similar to how some Jackie Chan fans reacted to Police Story IV: First Strike. Their loss. I love both of those films. But I'll give the edge to Silent Rage.
  4. I hear Elvis isn't doing well either.
  5. Well, since this is being cast from the 90's, Bruce Willis is a much more likely Nick Fury.
  6. Clearly someone was trying to avoid a major discrimination lawsuit.
  7. I have two bonus reviews that I don't have the energy to finish tonight, so they'll be up tomorrow. At that point I turn things over to J.T. for a special addition to the proceedings. Once J.T. is finished, there will be two more reviews, one of which he has graciously offered to take on. I want to make sure everyone that submitted a review gets their pick done as well. Not a knock on those that didn't get their reviews completed. It's been a tough year for most of us. In the meantime, enjoy this tribute to the incomparable Yukari Oshima and that baby-faced killer the Mighty Moon Lee.
  8. Film: Iron Monkey Picked by: Execproducer " After a few years believing I had outgrown Kung Fu movies, this was one of the early 90's films that brought me back into the fold. Could have been alternately titled Wong Fei-hung Learns How To Be A Hero. With Donnie Yen as Wong Kei-ying and the underappreciated Yu Rongguang in the titular role of Iron Monkey. " Iron Monkey (1993) Golden Harvest Directed by: Yuen Woo-ping Written by: Tsui Hark Cast: Donnie Yen, Yu Rongguang, Jean Yang, Yuen Shun-yi, Yen Shi-kwan, Hsiao Ho, Angie Tsang. Reviewed by: driver. I remember seeing this in theaters back in '01 and thought it was a great movie. Let's see how well it holds up twenty years later. From the beginning the fight scenes seem to be played more for comedy and ass kicking than plain old ass kicking, and I'm good with that. The bit about the shark fin soup is just as good as I remember. Everything about this movie is gorgeous, from the set designs to the way its shot to the acrobatics and fight scenes. Great movie.
  9. I have one more to post. Probably do it tomorrow and then you have the floor.
  10. That would be great because as it stands right now there is just one review left to post before I give @J.T. the floor. I will stretch it out a bit if you and any of the other three still want to get your reviews to me.
  11. Film: The Night Comes for Us Picked by:J.T. " If anyone hasn't chosen it, my pick is The Night Comes For Us, one of the few movies where Iko Uwais is playing a villain. I figure Raziel will appreciate it the most. " The Night Comes for Us (2018) Infinite Framework Studios/Screenplay Infinite Films /XYZ Films Written & Directed by: Timo Tjahjanto Cast: Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Sunny Pang Reviewed by: Execproducer The Night Comes for Us follows in the tradition of other films where a 'bad' character goes on the run to protect a child. Films like Gloria ( Cassavetes, 80), Léon: The Professional (Besson, 94) and Road to Perdition ( Mendes, 02). These films also share thematic connections to others like Little Miss Marker (Hall, 34) and Shane (Stevens, 53). The Indonesian film The Night Comes for Us separates itself from the pack by adding a shit-ton of gore! Like, a lot. Joe Taslim ( Mortal Kombat, The Raid: Redemption) is Ito, a world weary Triad assassin and squad member of an elite group called The Six Seas. Confronted with the lone survivor of a village that he and a group of Triad killers just wiped out, a young girl named Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez) , Ito makes the spur of the moment decision to save her in hope of ultimately redeeming himself. This does not sit well with his Triad bosses and fellow Six Seas member Chien Wu ( Sunny Pang), not just because Ito killed all of his comrades to save the girl. The girl still lives, you see. No, she isn't the daughter of anyone important. No, she doesn't have the codes to some secret Triad whatever buried in her memory. It's just, well, when the Triad says a whole village gets wiped out then EVERY FUCKIN' BODY DIES!!!!!! A wounded Ito takes Reina to his hometown where he is patched up by his ex-girlfriend Shinta ( Salvita Decorte) and reunites with members of his former gang Fatih ( Abimana Aryasatya) and White Boy Bobby ( Zach Lee). Meanwhile another old gang member, Arian ( Iko Uwais, the hero of the Raid films) is recruited by Chien Wu to take out Ito and kill the girl. Arian has been running a Triad club in Macau. A little conflicted about going against his friends, he is nevertheless deeply ambitious and covets Ito's spot. Fatih arranges passports for Ito and Reina. Ito leaves Reina in Fatih's care and goes off to collect money he left behind from another former gang member, the psychopathic Yohan ( Revaldo). Yohan works out of a butcher shop and knows the Triad is after Ito. Naturally, all hell breaks loose. Here is where things get kicked up several notches. Now this being an Indonesian martial arts film I expect a certain level of brutality but this made me think of the old days of kick-boxing where you had to throw a minimum number of kicks each round or be docked points. Otherwise it would be nothing but two dudes punching each other in the face. Here we get the bare minimum of elbow and knee strikes but it is mostly choppity chop chop slice slice. I don't mean Karate chops either. "Well," I reasoned, "it is a butcher shop, after all. Probably the next set piece will settle into something with a bit more emphasis on the hand-to-hand.". Nope! After the horror show at the butcher shop is interrupted by Triad killers with firearms that lay waste to everyone still alive except for an escaping Ito, the action moves to Fatih's place where a horde of knife and hatchet wielding goons sent by Yohan attempt to separate everyone from all of their body parts. Somehow Fatih, his cousin Wisnu ( Dimas Anggara) and White Boy Bobby manage to survive this onslaught and protect Reina but then the real trouble shows up in the form of lesbian super assassins, Elena ( Hannah Al Rashid) and Alma ( Dian Sastrowardoyo). Think Naked Killer only they keep their clothes on. So as not to give everything away, Fatih, with a little assistance from the still conflicted Arian, manages to escape with Reina to his building's parking garage where even more carnage will ensue. Honestly, if I weren't doing the review for this, when we hit the point where even little Reina gets all stabby I might have stopped watching. Director Timo Tjahjanto is probably more known for his horror films and it really shows. I mean I love me some horror but I wasn't in that mindset when I began the film. But then she walked into my life and all was good again. The Operator (Julie Estelle, Hammer Girl from The Raid 2) shows up like the Baddest Badass of Badassville and coolly takes out the remaining Triads in the garage and then disappears. My favorite things in life are puppies breath, long walks in the rain and cinematic female warriors. Later on, before joining forces, she'll square off with Ito , WHUP DAT ASS and deliver a modified RKO through a toilet tank to put him to sleep for a minute. She's a Bad Mama Jama. Anyway, with the killers closing in, Ito decides to take the fight to them where he'll have the eventual showdown with Arian. All things considered, it's a pretty good one. Joe Taslim is pretty good as the lead but his character is underwritten. Honestly almost every other character is more interesting. Except little Reina. You might even forget she is the motivation for all of the killing except she'll pop up around the corner in the middle of all the carnage and a Triad will be like "Oh yeah, gotta kill her!". Her and Ito don't do much bonding as he tends to pass her off to someone else to care for her and when they are together, half the time he is unconscious. Iko Uwais manages to add some depth to his villain. And it's maybe a little early to put Julie Estelle up there with the likes of Cheng Pei Pei, Angela Mao, Pam Grier, or Michelle Yeoh but if the proposed Night of the Operator film gets made, she'll be on her way. A bit too much choppity chop chop slice slice for my taste but I can see this as Chang Cheh's wet dream put on film.
  12. Huo Yuanjia, much like Wong Fei-hung or Davey Crockett or at this point Ip Man, has been so built up with mythology that the real-life man is hard to pin down. His poisoning is more likely down to the medicinal practices of his day rather than an assassination of an unbeatable fighter and his most famous fights probably never happened. In a world where low-level MMA fighters post videos of themselves destroying Kung Fu Masters in seconds, there is something very pro wrestling about his whole story. Makes for great films though! Of the various films and television series that deal directly with Huo Yuanjia, my favorite is probably Yuen Woo-ping's Legend of a Fighter, with Leung Kar-yan (aka "Beardy") and Yasuaki Kurata. Thanks to the success of Fist of Fury, the fictional role of Chen Zhen that Bruce Lee originated has been added onto many of these productions as if he were a historical figure. Aside from becoming a part of the Huo Yuanjia story line, the Chen Zhen character has had his own films and TV series, including remakes of Fist of Fury and continuations of that story. Of those, it's hard to go wrong with Fist of Legend with Jet Li as Chen Zhen and Yasuaki Kurata in a similar role as the one he played in Legend of a Fighter. Many of the TV series can be found with English subs so track down as much as you can.
  13. lol not sure your pick is going to be reviewed. We're still short four.
  14. Film: Fist of Fury Picked by: Raziel " So, I'm gonna go with Fist of Fury (1972, Wei). As much love as I have for Enter the Dragon, this one is more Lee in a showcase for the whole movie, and is a bit more of a template for Kung Fu flicks going forward. Not as good as Big Boss, but we already did that one. " Fist of Fury ( Jing wu men ) - 1972 Golden Harvest Company Written & Directed by: Wei Lo Cast: Bruce Lee (Chen Zhen), Nora Miao (Yuan Le-erh), James Tien (Fan Chun-hsia), Maria Yi (Yen), Robert Baker (Petrov) Reviewed by: J.T. After spending nearly a decade banging his head up against a wall trying to make it in Hollywood, Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong to increase his star power. The first film he made, The Big Boss (1972), broke box office records and transformed Lee into an international star. Fist of Fury is far more polished and slickly executed than The Big Boss as it benefitted from a much larger budget and Lee's creative control over the fight scenes. The aesthetic that martial arts fans have come to identify with Bruce starts taking shape in this particular film. Like most of the Kung Fu movies from the 1960's and 1970's, Fist of Fury is a period piece. It is set in 1910's Shanghai and begins with the mysterious events surrounding the poisoning death of Huo Yuanjia, a real-life historical martial arts master who was especially revered in China for his nationalism and unrivaled fighting prowess. Lee stars as Chen Zhen, a fictional student of Huo’s who returns for his funeral and seeks vengeance for his death at the hands of the Japanese masters of a competing martial arts school. Lee goes full ham during the funeral scene when Huo is laid to rest, hurling himself onto Huo's coffin in comically Baptist fashion as it is being lowered into the ground and swearing revenge until he is knocked unconscious with a shovel. The rest of the movie is pretty formulaic, but Lee manages to show some flashes of comedic genius, donning ridiculous disguises (most memorable being a goofy telephone repairman whose mannerisms were strikingly similar to Jerry Lewis, one of Lee's favorite actors) in order to discover the truth about his master's assassination and taking violent revenge on those responsible.. I have to admit that Fist of Fury is pretty low on my own personal scale of Bruce Lee movies. The blatant racism is borderline offensive and the villains are cardboard cutouts are almost unworthy of Chen Zen's righteous anger. Robert Baker's Petrov provides the template for Bob Wall's Oharra from Enter The Dragon and provides some menace and competition, but we all know that Petrov's brute strength is doomed to be outclassed by the speed and precision of Chen Zen. The fights in Fist of Fury are brutal and worthy of your viewership, but there is a bit too much of the fantastical thrown in for my liking. I much prefer the hyperkinetic realism of Enter The Dragon, but I realize that EtD stands on the shoulders of The Big Boss and Fist of Fury. Not too many people like to get into the mechanics of Lee's dramatic acting skills, but he really does deliver in Fist of Fury. The movie is carried by Chen Zen's unbridled rage and the pursuit of his master's killers feels authentic. Lee never lets you forget that Chen Zen is on a crusade for justice and if the perpetrators in his path just happen to be Japanese, all the sweeter. The violence being heaped on Chen Zen's enemies feels like it comes from a very personal place, unlike the hilarious beatings doled upon the generic, faceless thugs from The Big Boss or Way of The Dragon. Fist of Fury definitely belongs in the mythological hierarchy of classic martial arts films. It is the movie where Lee entered in as a rising star and left as a true legend.
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