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Everything posted by Execproducer

  1. You're doing great work here.
  2. Chuck Berry Duane Allman Bruce Springsteen Nils Lofgren Gary Moore Steve Stevens Nancy Wilson Mike Ness Poison Ivy and for influence alone, Maybelle Carter and Lightnin Hopkins.
  3. A young mother visits some old friends off of a check-list.
  4. Sorry for the delay but getting back to work has been brutal. That is the last of the official reviews though I still have a couple of bonus things to finish up and I promised someone I'd review their first pick because it was their back-up that ended up being reviewed.
  5. Film: Hapkido Picked by: Execproducer "Classic Angela Mao. Her fifth film (I think?) working alongside Sammo Hung and her first with Carter Wong. Directed by Feng Huang, who would ultimately direct nine films featuring Mao, the film is about three Chinese students studying Hapkido in Japanese occupied Korea. With the familiar kung-fu film template of clashing schools, evil Japanese and bonds of brotherhood. And when one of your 'brothers' is Angela Mao, asses are getting kicked for sure " Hapkido (1972) Golden Harvest Directed by: Feng Huang Cast: Angela Mao, Carter Wong, Sammo Hung, Whang In-Sik Reviewed by: J.T. It is a damn shame that no one is really familiar with Angela Mao outside of her role as Bruce Lee's asskicking sister in Enter the Dragon. She's been in a ton of movies and deserves to be mentioned with the likes of martial arts leading ladies like Pei-Pei Ching, Chia Ling, and Etsuki Shiomi. Here we have her showcasing her skills in a pretty formulaic yet entertaining actioner, Hapkido from 1972. The premise is dirt simple as it should be. Chang Cheh 101. Three Chinese students studying with Master Shih Kwung-Chan (played by Hapkido's real life founder Ji Han-Lee!) have mastered their training after five years of study and decide to leave Korea and return to China to set up their own school. Unsurprisingly, their excellent teaching draws the ire of the rival Black Bear school run by typically despicable Japanese stereotypes and violence ensues. Our noble trio naturally want to live peaceful and productive lives but the Japanese simply won't let them behave, so they must go out and whoop ass to defend themselves, their school and their village. One of the things that really stands out about Hapkido are the fights, and that's a good thing. Unlike the highly complex choreography from Venom Mob films, the fights in Hapkido are about a realistic looking as you could get without someone possibly getting injured on film. The strikes are brutal and the throws are particularly nasty looking and it's great! There is one memorable scene where Mao defends herself against a katana wielding enemy with a fucking steel bar and I'd be surprised there weren't any real bruises after Feng Huan yelled, "Cut!" It is so awesome to see Angela Mao dominate the screen the way she does. She is lithe and powerful and commands the screen like few before her or after her. If there is a true Godmother of Kung Fu movies, it is probably her or maybe Pei-Pei Cheng. The other thing that sets Hapkido apart from the rest is the cast. Not only do you have a youthful Sammo Hung in his fighting prime in this joint, you also have a budding Carter Wong and the proverbial metric crap ton of cameos including Yuen Biao, Jackie Chan, and Billy Chan! I have never been able to find a good copy of Hapkido, so I thank whomever picked this awesome movie and finally forced me to seek it out so that it may have an honored place amongst the giants of my collection.
  6. Naked is a film I am fond of based solely on the acting.
  7. Maybe it wouldn't have worked because he wasn't that far removed from Eliot Ness but Costner would have made a good Dick Tracy and we could maybe have been spared his Robin Hood.
  8. FYI, I'll probably try to wrap this up by Thursday night. Still time for someone to do that Bruce Lee 30 for 30 if they wanted.
  9. I can't remember which Godzilla I saw first because they ran one on TV every Saturday when I was a kid but I sure remember my first Mike Leigh film. I was concurrently exploring HK action films, American indies and foreign cinema and I saw Naked right around the same time I saw Reservoir Dogs. 26-year old mind blown.
  10. It's still possible to love both.
  11. Great news as long as it doesn't suffer the same fate as so many other three season Netflix shows.
  12. BONUS REVIEWS!!!!! Reviewed by: Setsuna Alright so we are heading into the modern indies here with a look at a couple movies done by Eric Jacobus, who is (part of?) The Stunt People. I followed a lot of their very early work back in the early 2000s and was a frequent commenter on their board, where they had a pretty strong community of people who loved martial arts films. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he’s still making the odd indie short film from time to time so let’s take a look at a couple of the more recent features. Rope A Dope 2 (2015) A sequel to a 2013 project where the main character The Dope (played by Jacobus) Groundhog Day’ed himself into taking out an entire gang. This one sets up the twist early – both he and the antagonist are reliving the same day. Simple premise and zero dialogue, as we watch the two continue to add tools to their repertoire. Some of the physical comedy hits, some misses but what can you expect from a short with zero budget? My favourite part of this is that the love of old school kung fu movies is strong. The homeless man whose cart Jacobus is constantly raiding turns out to be an old hermit/mentor character and there are lots of nice touches in the fights that hit you with the nostalgia. There’s one scene where Jacobus holds a pan over his head while the enemies all whack at it that would be right at home in an early 80s Chan film. After earning the old man’s cane(we’re like 8 minutes in total), The Dope is ready to take on the bad guy’s crew. The final 6-7 minutes is a fight scene and it is blistering! The end sets up a potential trilogy that I hope we get some day because this was great. Highly recommended. Blindsided : The Game ( 2018 ) It’s immediately apparent that this is a much more ambitious project. Everything’s cleaner, it’s shot better and just looks like a proper film. I’ve never given Jacobus much credit outside of his action scenes since it usually seems like he’s just hamming it up, but I thought he did a good job here. He plays a blind man here (Walter ) and his mannerisms really sell it well. It probably hurts that this was done after Daredevil because he’s going to remind you of Murdock, but it’s more an homage to Zatoichi than anything else, which becomes clearer as the movie progresses. Speaking of more ambitious – ROGER YUAN has a role as the shopkeeper who’s in debt to some loan sharks. Walter fights them off at the beginning and yeah, right away, I wish Jacobus could have been the action choreographer in something as big as Daredevil. The guy gets what makes great martial arts scenes. Not that Daredevil didn’t have some great action scenes but I always wanted more, better-choreographed and editted fights. The only one I can really remember at the moment is the hallway fight which was undoubtedly fantastic. Action-wise, this one does not have nearly the quantity I expected. I’m going to be honest, I have not seen many of the Japanese martial arts films but this seems to fit the mold with short, explosive scenes mixed throughout. There are some dumb moments and it features possibly the worst poker game every played where they could have gotten to the point without like five straight all-ins. As a whole though, I really enjoyed this. I thought Eric Jacobus was connected to a Jackie Chan film at one point and it’s too bad that he hasn’t gotten a bigger break. The guy clearly lives and breathes martial arts movies. Just checking his twitter while making this review and he’s going through Royal Warriors (the Michelle Yeoh movie I wish I’d been given in the WFH movie review ). Seems like he’s moved more into motion capture than anything else, and is a bit strange, but aren’t we all?
  13. I agree and there is just enough in that trailer to back that up. Unfortunately, we have to work with what we have available.
  14. The trailer is in Chinese with English subs. As far as I know, the only version available is the English dub.
  15. Film: The Mystery of Chess Boxing Picked by:J.T. "One of the RZA's favorite movies and the film that gave Wu Tang Clan member, Ghostface Killah, his nickname. Speaking of the RZA, his El Rey intro for Enter The 36 Chambers of Shaolin is one of the most fascinating minute and a half vids you will ever watch." The Mystery of Chess Boxing AKA Ninja Checkmate (1979) Hong Hwa International Films Directed by: Joseph Kuo Cast: Jack Long, Mark Long, Lee Yi Min Reviewed by: Execproducer The Mystery of Chess Boxing is a Taiwanese knock-off of Golden Harvest's Jackie Chan film Snake in the Eagle's Shadow , even featuring actors that appeared in that film. It's low-budget evident on-screen, it is nevertheless very entertaining. Director Joseph Kuo, known for his ability to make something out of not much ( see the low-budget classic 7 Grandmasters) delivers a flawed but very watchable film. After a Lau Kar-leung style opening credits sequence where two of the films stars demonstrate their skills, we meet the films third star, an evil former Qing official named Wan Chun-Shan (Mark Long), better known to his enemies as Ghost-Faced Killer, so called due to his penchant for announcing his presence by tossing a ghost-faced amulet at his enemies feet. He is on a kill-crazy rampage of revenge against the kung fu masters that sought to end his reign of terror. There are many face-offs throughout the film as the Ghost-Faced Killer pits his Five Elements style against the various styles of the kung fu masters he kills. The fights are plentiful, mostly short, and fun to watch. All of the masters are worthy foes but just not quite up to GFK's level. Contrasting the deadly seriousness of GFK is Ah Pao (Lee Yi Min), a young man in town to join the Chang Sing kung fu school. Though his reason for learning kung fu is classic revenge for a murder, the character is basically a Jackie Chan style likable goof who in a fight is luckier than he is good. And that will remain the case until he finally meets the right master to teach him, a chess master named Chi Siu Tien (Jack Long) who also happens to be high on GFK's list. Though accepted into the kung fu school, he spends most of his time being bullied by the senior student and doing menial work in the kitchen. It is there that he meets Master Yuen (Yuen Siu Tin AKA Simon Yuen) , someone he doesn't take seriously until he witnesses his skill. Master Yuen tells Ah Pao that he can't teach him kung fu but he can help him develop physically and then guide him to the right master. After being expelled from the school, Master Yuen sends Ah Pao to Chi Siu Tien and he begins training for the ultimate showdown. The film is far from perfect. There are a few bad edits and clearly large parts of it are missing. Simon Yuen, who passed away shortly after the film was released, abruptly disappears and his absence is explained away as his character being killed by the GFK off-screen. When Ah Pao learns of it, we immediately cut to him relaying that info to Chi Siu Tien. But somewhere in between a bruised and bandaged Ah Pao has taken a beating we never see. The chess boxing aspect is really not developed at all. Chi Siu Tien tells Ah Pao that learning chess is meant to teach him patience. During the final fight, after realizing that GFK is repeating the same moves against Ah Pao that he had just used against him, Chi Siu Tien starts calling out chess moves to use as counters but it isn't anything that we have heard before so it is just words. There are also some fantastic moments. When the master of the Chang Sing School learns that the Ghost-Faced Killer has found him, he closes the school and attempts to send his students away. Refusing to go until forced by their master, the students, one after the other, pay their final respects and then leave. Overall, this is a film that would likely be an obscurity even to modern fans of the genre if it hadn't been illuminated by a certain group of rappers from Staten Island. Definitely worth a watch or five.
  16. Nah. Someone recently brought up Sylvia Kristel. It's time for a re-boot of the Emmanuelle series. Think it's been almost a decade since the last one.
  17. If you were using adorable as a synonym for cute then you might be right. But adorable fits her for everything including Center Stage (1991).
  18. @SetsunaI disagree with this just a bit. Perhaps making up for lost time, or just because of the crazy HK production schedules that you mentioned, she had a slew of films from '93 and I'm a fan of most of them. I probably love Super Cop 2 more than most. She also followed with Wing Chun (1994) and Ah Kam (1996) which are two of my favorites. And even though she was past her prime and dealing with a knee injury, I think she is still the best thing about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
  19. Film: The Heroic Trio Picked by: J.H. "I'm in for Wong Fei Hung II: Hung Harder I'm making Heroic Trio my pick" James The Heroic Trio (1993) China Entertainment Films Productions, Paka Hills Productions Directed by: Johnnie To Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, Damian Lau, Anthony Wong Reviewed by: Setsuna Oi, so first off, I’m probably not the person to review this movie. I’ve never been a fan of wuxia films and always prefer my HK movies to have stars capable of doing their own action scenes. Once I received this pick, I knew straight-off that this movie wasn’t going to be for me. I’d watched the sequel (The Executioners) probably 15 years ago, and that was enough to make me give Heroic Trio a hard pass at that time. Now, did that cloud my judgement watching this movie? I don’t know. I really tried to watch this with an open mind, but man, this was a slog for me to get through. Even at the short 80 minute run-time, it took me three rounds. I don’t fault anyone for liking this because to each their own and I can totally see what people enjoy from the movie. The cheese and camp were through the roof, there were some really great moments, and I get the love for the 3 mains. It just wasn’t for me though, and I’d have to rate it pretty low. I didn’t really know how to go about this one so here’s my good and bad : The Good: Michelle Yeoh is a boss. I could watch her water plants and contemplate her life as a demon’s henchwoman all day. Unfortunately, and most definitely selfishly, to me this was the definite end to her as a bad-ass martial artist/stunt woman on screen. I can’t fault her for that because the demands the HK scene put on their performers in those days were insane. Still wish she’d had more of a chance here to show what she’s capable of as an onscreen fighter. The Ninth Chan – that opening exchange with Yeoh and the shot where he lost his finger was my favourite bit of the whole film. He loses his fingers again later on, has a flying guillotine, and growls a lot. Solid number two villain. The finale – the final ten minutes were a lot of fun and kind of contradict a lot of what is going to come up in my ‘bad’ section. It was over-the-top, constantly stunt-doubled, over-cranked to the max, wired as all hell, but that finale was fun to watch. Still would have preferred a straight one-on-one between Yeoh and either the master or the Ninth Chan, but whatever this was, it was pretty fun. The Bad: Maggie Cheung and Anita Mui as leads in this movie. When you put non-action stars in an HK movie, it always leads to a tendency to have dark settings to film the action scenes because they need to be doubled for pretty much everything. The wuxia style of fighting just isn’t for me. I always find the wushu-style weapon choreography glaring in any ‘modern’ HK film. Maybe I’m weird like that. I love a lot of old-school weapon flicks but once it’s put in a modern setting, it loses me. The over the top wirework. I might be contradicting myself in this whole review because I chose as my pick, which is definitely a worse movie overall and has a worse use of wires. To me though, the physical displays by all of the mains trumped that. Here, aside from Yeoh who looked fantastic in very brief moments, this movie just couldn’t deliver in the action department.
  20. I have been extremely busy getting back to work....turns out I didn't lose my job after all.....so I will probably pick this back up on Wednesday.
  21. I could re-watch and review the 1978 Sammo Hung version as a stalling tactic. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Sammo actually does one of the better Bruce Lee imitations. But then there is the thorny issue of the blackface character.
  22. Whenever I hear "Jolene" I can imagine a final verse where Jolene refuses her and the narrator kills her. It feels very much like a murder ballad to me.
  23. Forget about 1939 Batman. Modern Batman has been causing death since at least the 1970's. Whether it is punching, kicking, or throwing bad guys directly into the cause of their doom or merely standing by and allowing characters to die without intervention. Even occasionally throwing explosives. And let's not bring up Batman: The Cult. Batman isn't a killer only because he doesn't perceive himself as such. If another vigilante came to town with the same record and wasn't one of his established allies, oh he'd be hunting that fucker down.
  24. I wonder if there is roadkill that is specific to each state. For example, we lived in Florida for a few years when I was a child and you couldn't throw a rock without hitting a crushed armadillo.
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