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The Wong Fei-hung Kung Fu Movie Review.

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Posted (edited)

My Shaw Brother's crush would either be Chen Pei-Hsi or Pan Pin-Chang.

Chia Ling is also an incredibly beautiful woman, but she could also probably pull my kidneys out of my gut and show them to me before I died.

Honorable mention for Martial Arts Move Crush would probably go to Kim Chung Ja, a Korean actress that showed up in a few of the Taiwan / South Korean martial arts joints from Kee Woo films, most notably Death Duel of Kung Fu with John mother fucking Liu late of The Incredible Kung Fu Mission / Kung Fu Commandos aka my pick for this project!

Eagle Han-ying played such an incredible badass antagonist in Death Duel that Godfrey Ho pretty much cast him as the heavy in like 99% of his films.

Edited by J.T.
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Man I know I"m down to like two brain cells that I'm rubbing together to make sparks but how did I forget Rumble in the Bronx has a guy thrown in a fuckin' wood chipper?!

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Since it hasn’t come up yet, my other option was going to be The Heroic Trio. 

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My Jacky Chan film female crush is tge one and only Maggie Cheung who is like a fine wine as she gets more beautiful with tbe passage of time. Also she really took a few for the team during tge first 2 Police Force films

I don't know where Yuen Biao kicks more ass, Wheels on Meals or Dragons Forever

James

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, J.H. said:

My Jacky Chan film female crush is tge one and only Maggie Cheung who is like a fine wine as she gets more beautiful with tbe passage of time.

It took The Heroic Trio for me to really become a Maggie Cheung fan.

18 minutes ago, J.H. said:

I don't know where Yuen Biao kicks more ass, Wheels on Meals or Dragons Forever

I think he kicked it up a notch with the acrobatics in Dragons Forever.

Edited by Execproducer

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And speaking of acrobatics.....

 

BONUS REVIEW!!
GYMKATA!!!

Picked and reviewed by: J.H.


There are movies featuring Ninjitsu. There are movies featuring Gymnastics. But there is only one movie about Gymnastic Ninjistu and that movie is GYMKATA

I mean the premise of the movie is not only the stupidest thing ever imagined, it is the stupidest thing ever imagined with a Hollywood budget. Seriously, some idiot thought combining gymnastics and martial arts to make a super deadly-form of fighting was a good enough idea to turn into a movie. A movie starring a former U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist no less. Look, movies about gymnastics don’t sell and movies about gymnastics starring ACTUAL GYMNASTS sell even less. I mean the fact that this and Mitch Gaylord’s American Anthem came out in the same year should speak volumes about how people do not want to see movies about gymnastics!

I mean let us take a more in depth look at Gymkata shall we?

“But James” I can already hear at least one of you saying, “Do we have to? I mean it is Gymkata and Gymkata SUCKS!”

While that is true, Gymkata does indeed suck, it is important to examine it to understand exactly why it sucks.

I mean does it suck in an ironic way?

Not really…

Does it sucks in the ‘Worst Movie In A Great Actor’s Career’ way?

Well given that there is no major star in this movie the answer would be no to that as well.

No Gymkata sucks because it does the impossible, it takes a movie that features Ninjas and makes them uncool!

Look, there are certain rules of cinema. Rules like, everything is funny if you add a monkey or a penguin to it. Rules like, if you’re a female in a Blaxploitation you will end up sleeping with John Shaft. Mind you, John Shaft doesn’t even have to be in the movie but that girl is getting it from ‘The Black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks’. It is a rule of cinema and it should always be adhered to… ALWAYS!

Well Gymkata breaks one of the most important rules of cinema, that being “Ninjas make everything badass”. See in the movie Jonathan Cabot, played by Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Thomas, is recruited by the, I swear I can’t make this up, Special Intelligence Agency to enter the country of Parmistan and participate in an endurance race called ‘The Game’. First of all let’s get this out of the way first… PARMISTAN? I know how they came up with the name for this country and it involves a meatball sub with a certain cheese on it and a map with a dart in it, because there is no way anyone would just ‘imagine’ a country named Parmistan. If the name of the country wasn’t bad enough, The Game is even worse since it involves rounding up all the foreigners in the country and making them run a cross-country endurance race. The catch? The whole time they are being hunted by Parmistanian warriors. First of all, fuck this movie for making me have to think about what you would call someone from Parmistan. Second of all, if any Government Agency approached me and asked me to do this I’d tell them to fuck off. Did I mention that the S.I.A. is asking Cabot to do this because he who wins The Game gets one wish granted to them by the King Of Parmistan?

The S.I.A. wants Cabot’s wish to be a U.S. manned satellite monitoring station. Fuck it, why not? I mean it is 1985, we need that station to keep tabs on the Russkies right? So let’s make nice nice with the people of Parmistan, undermine their somewhat racist cultural sporting event and introduce them to the Big Mac. To sweeten the deal though, the S.I.A. informs our man Cabot that his father was sent to infiltrate The Game but was never heard from again. Cabot agrees to take the mission, hoping he can… wait for it…. find some clue to his father’s whereabouts. Now call me crazy, but someone at S.I.A. headquarters probably read the mission dossier on this and flipped the fuck out. “We just recruited a fucking gymnast to run in The Game? FUCK! Get me Special Ops, we actually need to train this moron! Oh and tell the asshole who thought this idea up that he’s fucking fired!”.

So, realizing that a gymnast isn’t going to set the world of espionage ablaze, the S.I.A. sends Cabot for training with a ‘Martial Arts Master’ played by Conan Lee. From there it is time to learn the art of war from all the cultures of the world… all 2 of them! See Cabot  learns from… again wait for it… a white guy and a Japanese guy. Because in the history of mankind the only countries to ever wage war successfully in the history of man have been The United States Of America and Japan. It is during all this training that Cabot develops the greatest Martial Art known to man… GYMKATA!

Finally deemed ‘worthy’ to take on the mission, Cabot is introduced to the Princess of Parmistan, Princess Rubali. Rubali then takes Cabot to the small nation of Karabal on the Caspian Sea, so they can sneak into Parmistan. Along the way they raid a terrorist training camp and Rubali gets taken hostage. Luckily, she has nothing to fear since Cabot is sole heir to art of… GYMKATA! With such an art at his disposal, Cabot is unbeatable and takes out the terrorist cell. With that out of the way he and Rubali are ready to sneak into Parmistan. Of course Cabot, being the world’s greatest gymnast turned super-spy, gets caught right away and put into The Game. It is here we are introduced to the King of Parmistan, The Kahn. The Kahn apparently as no other name. When he came out of the womb his mother just said “Fuck it, he is THE KAHN”. When he goes antiquing in the Berkshires and stays at “Mr & Mrs New Englander’s Bed & Breakfast” he just signs the registry as ‘T.Kahn’. Yes I know is another word for King but honestly, you just don’t go around calling yourself The Kahn unless you’ve recently escaped Arkham Asylum and plan to fight Batman!

Anyway, The Kahn puts Cabot in The Game and we get introduced to an actual antagonist in the form of The Kahn’s right hand man Zamir. Now, don’t tell anyone this but Zamir is totally evil and planning to overthrow The Kahn. In fact, Zamir somehow knew that the S.I.A. was planning this mission and sent a bunch of idiots to try and kill Cabot earlier in the film. Of course Zamir, just happens to be one of the hunters in The Game and feels it is his duty to kill Cabot, y’know for ethnic purity and all.

Anyway shit happens, the other players in the game all get killed and Zamir has everyone chasing Cabot because he is, well the white devil. The people of Parmistan finally have the cracker where they want him when a lone Parmistanian warrior saves Cabot and reveals himself to be… wait for it… a little longer this time…

CABOT’S FATHER (GASP!)!

Cabot’s Dad covers his white-bread son’s escape from Zamir. Zamir determines that Cabot Sr. doing that wasn’t quite cricket, shoots Dad with an arrow. Cabot then gets his horse to jump an impossible gorge. Zamir’s band of… y’know I can’t figure out what Zamir’s guys are. Are his followers like Islamic Jihadists or something? I mean they dress like Ninjas but they are in Parmistan and its cultural heritage is… well, hunting white gymnasts apparently. I mean they are near the Caspian Sea but that tells us fuck all about the ancient ways of Parmistanian culture. Hey, maybe the Mormons had it wrong! Maybe Parmistan is the lost 13th tribe of Israel! It doesn’t explain the Ninja outfits though…

Anyway, Princess Rubali, remember her? Yeah she convinces The Kahn that Zamir is an evil fuckwad and must be stopped. So the Kahn moves into action, gets the people who were hunting Cabot to turn on Zamir and thus avoid a bloody civil war. Now to top it all of The Game is still going on and Cabot, being the only survivor, rides up on his horse with with his new pincushion… er.. that is Father in tow. Cabot wins The Game, there is peace in Parmistan and apparently, the movie lets us know that in 1985 the first U.S. Satellite Monitoring Station went active in Parmistan. Of course in a country where they play ‘Let’s hunt Whitey’ once a year, putting a U.S. Satellite Station is just a plain bad idea.

There you have it, that is Gymkata. Look I’m not saying it is a bad movie. No sir, I’m not saying that at all… no wait… YES I AM! Look, for some reason in the 80’s, whenever Olympic Fever would grip the U.S. of A, some Gymnast becomes the poster-child for a marketing idea. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Mary Lou Retton made Gymkata?

Wait bad example, I’d actually pay to see Mary Lou Retton go Gymkata crazy on someone and then fuck Zamir up with a box of Wheaties. Shit, Hollywood really missed out on Mary Lou Retton. She could’ve been the next Seagal. No, I don’t mean crazy and delusional about being a re-incarnated Buddha! Given Steven Seagal’s size these days, I’d say he ATE all the other Buddhas in a past life and its coming back to haunt him. Mary Lou could’ve made Gymkata and then made a swarm of bad direct to video movies. She could’ve had Cynthia Rothrock’s career!

I’ve actually got nothing bad to say about Kurt Thomas. As a non-actor in movie that really isn’t a tour de force for any one actor, he does ok. I mean Gymkata is what it is. Still, it COULD’VE BEEN more! Can you imagine if some Hong Kong studiuo got involved in this pile of ferret shit of a movie? My lord, the epic kung-fu fight on parallel bars alone would made make weep tears of joy. 2 Chinese guys going nuts on pommel-horses trying to kick the other off would be… well ok it would suck. I mean it doesn’t matter who could’ve been involved, it is still Gymkata! Be glad there is only one. I mean this could’ve gone all American Ninja and had more movies than any bad franchise has the right to have. We could have ended up with Gymkata 2: Pommel Horse Of Pain followed by Gymkata 3: Floor Routine Of Death. God forbid we end up with enough movies to give us a TV series!

Still between this and the other Gymnastics themed movie of 1985, American Anthem, Gymkata comes up as the lesser of the two. “Why is that James?” I can hear the same person from before asking me, “We thought you still kinda liked Gymkata?”

Because as much as American Anthem sucked balls, and make no mistake American Anthem sucked hard, that movie still had Janet Jones in it. Janet Jones in a one-piece and THAT my friends beats Gymkata ANYDAY!

 

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16 hours ago, Execproducer said:

I think he kicked it up a notch with the acrobatics in Dragons Forever.

He's also a blur of steel and motion when he is all about the sword work in Zu Warriors. 

The stories of his cardio are legendary.  It is beyond me how he doesn't pass out after doing so many one take fight scenes that seem to go on for ten or fifteen minutes or more.  Even the epic Venom Mob fights were done in two or three takes in order to change camera angles.

The scary thing is that Yuen is like sixty years old and can still go like a mother fucker.

 

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Have you heard the story Jackie tells in his autobiography, when Biao first showed up at Opera School? They would initiate all the youngest kids by having the two oldest and biggest assist them in doing a standing backflip, then tell them to an an unassisted one. Obviously the new boy would just land on their heads and everyone would fall about laughing.

Young boy Yuen Biao hit it perfectly, two footed landing. Never tried one in his life before.

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12 hours ago, Execproducer said:

Because as much as American Anthem sucked balls, and make no mistake American Anthem sucked hard, that movie still had Janet Jones in it. Janet Jones in a one-piece and THAT my friends beats Gymkata ANYDAY!

Thank God that Paulina Gretzky favors her mom.

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2 minutes ago, AxB said:

Have you heard the story Jackie tells in his autobiography, when Biao first showed up at Opera School? They would initiate all the youngest kids by having the two oldest and biggest assist them in doing a standing backflip, then tell them to an an unassisted one. Obviously the new boy would just land on their heads and everyone would fall about laughing.

Young boy Yuen Biao hit it perfectly, two footed landing. Never tried one in his life before.

Yep.  The man has ridiculous gifts.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome To J.T.'s Classic Drive-In!!!!

 

Film: Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan. 
Picked by: Execproducer
 
"Beautiful sleaze. Shaw Bros first foray into a lesbian storyline that features prostitution, rape, and murder might be unwatchable today had it not been helmed by gifted director Chor Yuen and anchored by leading ladies Lily Ho and Betty Pei Ti. If you've ever wondered what a Douglas Sirk directed 70's drive-in exploiter might look like, this may be the film for you. All this and Wuxia too." 
 
Reviewed by: J.T.
 

"A good exploitation movie does nothing but entertain, even if it does so in a gruesome manner"

- Eli Roth

Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan (1972)
Directed by Chu Yuan
Written by Chiu Kang-Chien
Produced by Runme Shaw
Starring Lily Ho, Betty Pei Ti, Yueh Hua

At times mildly disturbing and sprinkled liberally with sleaze, Intimate Confessions pushes the envelope of good taste, but rarely rips it open.  Oh, and there are some decent quality ass beatings in this thing as well.

Somewhere in the mountains of China, there is a brothel called the Four Seasons run by the wicked madam and accomplished Kung Fu fighter, Lady Chun, played to the nines by Betty Pei Ti (in her debut role no less). 

How's that for table setting?

Anyway, every so often, Lady Chun replenishes her stock by abducting young women and breaking their spirits so that they are a bit more.... appreciative... of the clientele.  This time around, the new batch of girls includes the fiery Ai Nu (Lily Ho).  Not surprisingly, Ai Nu absolutely refuses to accept this horrible fate and tries time and time again to escape Lady Chun's clutches.  Naturally she fails, otherwise the run time on this thing would be like ten minutes, right?

Lady Chun just HAPPENS to be a Lesbian, but this does not keep her from pimping Ai Nu out to her regulars, who compete heavily for the poor girl when they find out she's a virgin.  Ai Nu's repeated degradation takes its toll and she finally succumbs to her lot in life.  Fortunately for Ai, Lady Chun has taken a shine to the girl and showers her with opulence in the hope that she can win Ai's heart with her wealth.  However, it isn't wealth that Ai wants from Lady Chun, oh no.  Ai wants to learn the secrets of Lady Chun's Wu Shu so that she can exact bloody revenge on all that have wronged her.  So Ai submits to Lady Chun's advances in exchange for knowledge of the lethal GHOST HANDS TECHNIQUE~!

If you think that this has to be the single movie in the Shaw Brothers catalog that had boobs in it, you'd be wrong.  Just like Hammer and other studios. Shaw Brothers reached the point where they felt that their stock in trade just wasn't enough and something needed to be added to their films to keep the income coming in.  Movies like Bloody Parrot and Secret Service of the Imperial Court mixed the martial arts you came to see with along with ample nudity as an unexpected  bonus.

Pure heresy if your name happened to be Chang Cheh, but a winner was you if you happened to be in the audience when this thing dropped in '72.

Intimate Confessions has the notoriety of being the template for many the films that adopted its template.  Drenched in blood and showcasing a unapologetically smoldering lesbian relationship, this movie was boundary smashing and genre breaking to be certain.  Its influenced even extends to the martial arts cinema in near present day as movies such as Naked Killer continue to take their cues from this watershed moment in Shaw Brothers cinematic history.

Surreal, brutal, erotic, violent.  Intimate Confessions may be a bit to unsettling to warrant a spot in your collection, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice by sleeping on this gem.

I can see why this was on the list of the "three films a day" Shaw Brothers classics that Quentin Tarantino watched to find inspiration for his magnum opus, Kill Bill.

 

 

Edited by Execproducer
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Posted (edited)

Our Second Feature Will Begin Shortly After This Preview Of Coming Attractions!!!  

 

 

Films: Kill or Be Killed (AKA Karate Olympiad, AKA Karate Killer 1977) and  Kill and Kill Again  (1981)- Film Ventures International

Suggested by: Execproducer     

Reviewed by: J.T.

 

James Ryan:  The South African Bruce Li

In the late seventies straight through to the eighties and nineties, absolutely everyone wanted a piece of the lucrative martial arts action movie pie and the stars of those movies became household names in the hearts of movie nerds every where.

Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Lu Feng, Sho Kusugi, James Ryan..

James Ryan?

I suppose it's time to take a trip in our time machine to take a look at the early movie career of one of the most improbable action stars in movie history.

Back in the day, the country of South Africa had a bit of a public relations problem.  Thanks to its oppressive policy of Apartheid, it was arguably the most hated nation on earth since Nazi Germany.  Only a few nations on earth wanted any business or political relationship with South Africa.

The problem is that even if no one likes your country, you still have to take care of the things that countries have to deal with like maintain a proper economy, ensure political stability and God forbid, broker and nurture relationships with foreign countries.  South Africa wanted respect from other countries, but was pretty clueless about how to go about getting it.

Then someone had a bright idea.   South Africa would become the Shaw Brothers / Golan Globus of the African continent.

The question of where to find talent to work on these movies was ridiculously simple.  South Africa already had a wealth of technical talent and it also had the capital and political will to handle matters of production.  As far as actors go, the government also discovered that it had a thriving martial arts community to pull from that it did not realize existed at all.

So in 1977, producers Igo Kantor and the infamous Edward L. Montoro unleashed the schlock choppy classic, Karate Killer, on to international shores through Montoro's company, Film Ventures International (FVI).

About six years later, Montoro would raid the coffer of his company and flee South Africa never to be seen again, but that is another story.

Anyway, the star of Karate Killer was James Ryan.  A South African martial artist turned actor that had the swarthy good looks and ethnic ambiguity that you could put into a movie produced by a country with one of the most vile social systems ever devised and no one would be the wiser.

Ryan played the role of Steven Chase, a karate master who found himself in a desert fortress with other fighters from around the world including his sweetheart, Olga (Charlotte Michelle). The compound was run by the nefarious Baron Von Rudloff (Norman Coombes) and his trusty sidekick, a little person named Chico (Danie DuPlessis). 

Thanks to The Man With The Golden Gun, it seemed only fitting that the villain of this sort of movie would have a midget henchman.

If you guessed that Von Rudolff was a Nazi, you'd be correct.  Yes, the villain of this South African produced action movie is a Nazi.  You cannot make this kind of shit up.

If the plot of Karate Killer sounds a bit like Enter the Dragon only with Nazis in it, again you wouldn't be far off the mark,

Anyway, you have to applaud Kantor and Montaro because they understood the basic element that directors like Chang Cheh understood a long time ago and that is you don't need a fucking Shakesperian plot line to sell an action movie.  As long as you cover at least two of the Andy Sidaris Three B's (Bullets, Babes, Bombs), you should be good to go.

The storyline was laughable and the dialogue was even moreso, but you could not deny the charisma and ass-beating ability of James Ryan.  Ryan had the agility, fierceness, and technique that begged to be caught on film.  The man could kick like few others could and it showed on film.  You could hear the sound of checks cashing every time Ryan smashed someone in the teeth.

You also have to admire the strategy that FVI used to market the film.  In a time when action movies were taking cues from the horror genre and ramping up graphic violence, Kantor and Montaro made a conscientious effort to reel in the violence JUST enough to earn a PG rating.  This arguably makes Kill Or Be Killed the template for the PG-13 rating.

You also have to respect Kantor and Montaro for the wise manner in which they used their shoestring budget.  What they saved on location costs, they obviously used on the all important fight scenes since they hired Japan Karate Association shihans Norman Robinson and Stan Schmidt to oversee the fight choreography duties.

The result?  Pure box office gold.  An action movie with no other aspiration than to entertain and it did that with campy flying colors. 

Karate Killer did so well in local markets that FVI decided to marker it internationally, but it needed a catchier title.

Kill Or Be Killed.  Now we're on to something. 

Kill Or Be Killed opened in the US to pitiful reviews and a box office so tremendous that someone thought it might be a good idea to make a sequel.

It was.

In 1981, FVI released the Ivan Hall helmed, Kill And Kill Again on an unsuspecting world and we were all the better for it.

In this vehicle we had the return of international crime fighter and ass kicker, Steven Chae, as he is recruited by Kandy Kane (played by South African pageant queen and Playboy model, Anneline Kriel) to rescue her scientist father from the evil clutches of Marduk (Michael Mayer):  a megalomaniacal master criminal determined to conquer the world with his army of mind-controlled karate slaves.

Did I mention that the main ingredient of the mind control drug that Marduk uses to subjugate his followers is the common potato?  As I said before, you cannot make this shit up.  Let's hope that Ireland never decides to try to weaponize the humble spud.

Anyway in any good sequel where the quality of opposition is drastically increased, the hero finds that he cannot accomplish the mission alone.  

He needs a team.

In the case of Steven Ryan, he assembles a fearless group of the best men that money can buy.... within the budgetary constraints of a C-Grade action film.  Ryan's cadre of warriors includes Gypsy Billy, the "former champion of the world", The Fly, a mystic man and Hotdog, the gimmicky weapon-expert and theoretical comic relief.  The roles of Gypsy Billy and The Fly are played by Robinson and Schmidt respectively so once again we see that Kantor and Montaro are genuinely interested in doing their best to make the martial arts scenes in this movie as brutal and entertaining as possible on a budget that is not even shoestring..

To refer to the budgets of these two films as "shoestring," is an insult to shoestrings. 

The last member of Ryan's team is Gorilla, the strongman.  Gorilla is played by classically trained actor Ken Gampu. Yes, Ken Gampu is a black South African.  Yes, I know what you are thinking.

Before you get your panties in a bunch about how racist that might seem, bear in mind that Gampu is a protagonist in this movie so despite Apartheid and all of that, someone smart at FVI thought it might be a good idea to make the co-starring black African actor in this thing one of the good guys.

If they really wanted to be unsavory and played up to the fears and stereotypes of the time, they'd have made Gorilla one of Marduk;s henchman and there would've been some unsavory scene where he is seconds away from committing some unspeakable act on our damsel in distress, Kandy Kane (Kandi is not a nickname.  No, I am not lying), before the white men come in to save the day.

But that didn't happen.  Thank God.

Speaking of henchmen, I remembered that Marduk's right hand was actually a hench-person; the smoking hot and  pink-haired cohort named Minerva played by Marloe Scott Wilson.  It seemed only fitting for Marduk to have a woman as his number two because you can't really end this thing without a girl vs. girl showdown, now can you?

Like its predecessor, Kill And Kill Again opened to critical loathing and box office green but thanks to Montaro's aforementioned embezzlement chicanery, the proposed third film of this budding franchise never made it to development.

And that's a real shame.  James Ryan was certainly no A-List leading man, but he didn't really intend to be.  All he wanted to do was put on a good show and he did.  Ryan would move on to roles in drama and sci-fi before eventually returning to martial arts films, but he never really found the commercial success in those ventures that he did while working with FVI.

When word came out that Sylvester Stallone was recruiting former and current action movie staples to star in The Expendables, I had hoped that someone would remember James Ryan and give the dude a call, but no one ever did.

So let's take this time to remember and salute, James Ryan.  A man that did his best to make sure your $5 matinee dollars were well spent by shattering the vertebrae of as many men as could be hired for a movie with a budget less than most Oklahoma teacher's salaries.

And it came from South Africa.

 

 

 

Edited by Execproducer
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Holy shit what a double feature!!! Please tell me somebody is selling those two.

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I had a great time watching the Ryan joints.   It was bittersweet because I remembered that I had them on VHS.  My dad taped them when they were on HBO one afternoon and the tape is in near pristine condition and I wish my dad were in the state of mind that he could watch them with me again and enjoy them like we did back in the day.

Alzheimer's can eat a bag of shit.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed on to review Chinese Courtesan.  It doesn't get to the martial arts part until you're one kidnapping, six boobie sightings, and about three rapes in and I was like "Holy fuck, Is Exec sure this isn't porn or something?"  My boo walked in during one of the lesbian scenes and I was put on grill cleaning duty as penance.  The only way I was going to avoid sleeping on the couch for a week was steaks and shrimp.

Anyway, despite all of the blatantly exploitative content, this was a really good movie.  I am a sucker for a good revenge movie, so I sat there and waited for Ai to learn her stuff and get her some getback.  It was great!  And BLOODY~! 

Million Billion Stars!

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OK, American Anthem had one other thing going for it...

James

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, J.T. said:

I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed on to review Chinese Courtesan.  It doesn't get to the martial arts part until you're one kidnapping, six boobie sightings, and about three rapes in and I was like "Holy fuck, Is Exec sure this isn't porn or something?"

Before it gets too crazy, lets remember that this is a 1972 Shaw Brothers. The rape scenes all end with freeze frames of lecherous old bastards in mid-leap. There is zero graphic content in those scenes.

Edited by Execproducer
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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Execproducer said:

Before it gets too crazy, lets remember that this is a 1972 Shaw Brothers. The rape scenes all end with freeze frames of lecherous old bastards in mid-leap. There is zero graphic content in those scenes.

Yeah, it's really tame for the standards of the time.   Hammer's vampire lesbian joints were far more racy, and the nudity in Chinese Courtesan is much more tasteful than say, Bloody Parrot or Secret Police which is all about the blatant boobies mixed in with the martial arts..

You can tell those movies were trying to compete with films for other countries as you tended not to see a lot of nudity in Shaw's Wu Shu movies or the ones made by rivals like Golden Harvest or Kee Woo.  

Matter of fact, the only time I have seen nudity in a Kee Woo film was (drum roll) Death Duel of Kung Fu and even then I think that Kim Chung Ja had a body double / stunt tits in the scene in the gambling den where she strategically disrobes in order to sneak loaded dice under the Sic Bo cup.

Edited by J.T.
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Funny thing is I've seen more Kung Fu movie trailers that contained nudity than in any movies I've seen.

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Posted (edited)

Film: Royal Warriors

Picked by: execproducer

"Michelle Yeoh's Royal Warriors and the previous year's Yes Madam!, that she co-starred in with Cynthia Rothrock, were the birth of the Girls with Guns genre. Michelle would briefly retire a couple of films later and the HK film industry, never one not to beat a concept into the ground, unleashed a flood BaddAss Female Warrior films. Different from your average Cheng Pei Pei or Angela Mao film where they are reacting to circumstances, these Lethal Ladies are police or free-lance agents charging into danger to take out the bad guys, blazing away with feet, fists, and firearms. The actresses that would follow Michelle ranged from the fantastic (Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima) to the somewhat less so (Cynthia Khan, Jade Leung). All of these and everyone else in that cycle are worth your time. But there is only ONE Michelle Yeoh."      

Reviewed by: RIPPA

ROYAL WARRIORS/IN THE LINE OF DUTY/ULTRA FORCE/WONG GA JIN SI (Chung, 1986)
(by RIPPA)

I am so not deep into the world of Kung Fu – like I admit that I have more than a passing knowledge than a probably the average movie viewer but that translates basically into I have watched/am aware of some of the big Jackie Chan or Donnie Yen movies. So y’all can sit back and get a kick out of how my little pieces of info here and there start to link together and are comically wrong.

Or this review will just turn into basically me going “HEY! You know what is a really good movie?!?!?! Goodfellas! Have you guys ever seen it?!?!?! Let me tell you about it because you should watch it. OH! And Godfather - that one too!"

Since y’all post on DVDVR, I know you know how wacky movie names can get but this one still made me giggle so I kinda had to point out the absurdity. When Execproducer sent me my pick he just said it was Royal Warriors. Now thank God we all include directors and years too because otherwise I would have been convinced I had the wrong movie. When you drop Royal Warriors into IMDB – it shoots out In the Line of Duty which is really amusing since that isn’t even a movie but more the series name that the movie studio retroactively assigned to this title as the decided to run with the women with guns kicking ass theme. Everyone else runs with Royal Warriors (include Amazon Prime which is where I watched this but you can find it on Youtube too). I also spent far too long envisioning Michelle Yeoh in the Rene Russo role in In the Line of Fire.

If I did a TL:DR on this review it would be Michelle Yeoh is really good at this action hero thing and makes me feel tingly in my pants. The first Yeoh movie I saw was Supercop, which I didn’t know at the time was her return to acting after “retiring” due to getting married. And while I am sure it was a terrible time for her, thankfully her marriage failed because it meant we got all the greatness after. Then I saw her in Tomorrow Never Dies because I was already in love and then you had a Bond movie with Jonathan Fucking Pryce in it. Fuck you – I adore that movie. Anyhoo – so now watching this movie in 2019 is like how someone who started watching wrestling in like 2010 would fall in love with Jushin Liger and then go back and watching Liger vs. Sano (It is not a perfect analogy but hopefully you know what I am trying to throw down. That’s what the kids say, right?)

Yeoh takes a Mollywhopping in this movie. WON’T SOMEONE ALERT THE CHURCH ELDERS?!?!?! I CAN’T UNSEE THIS!!!! NEXT RIC FLAIR IS GOING TO TRY AND KISS HER AND MY LIFE WILL OVER! WHO WILL PROTECT HER?!?!?!?

Okay – got that out of my system.

OH! I am also gonna spoil the fuck out of this movie. So if you haven’t seen it stop here and go watch it. It is only 90 minutes.

This movie is so fucking 80s it isn’t funny and I wanted it injected directly into my veins. The basic premise is Yeoh is a Hong Kong police officer. Hiroyuki Sanada is a Interpol Agent about to retire so he can spend more time with his family because of course he is. Michael Wong is the worst Air Marshal ever and infuriating the entire time. They all end up on the same plane which just magically happens to be same plane as a known criminal is being transported on. Plane gets hijacked by one of the criminals old war buddies (and brothers). I don’t want to say they successfully thwarted the hijacking because if I was grading this – they would barely get a D in that, yes, technically the hijackers didn’t get off the plane. Neither did a whole lotta other people. Some many bullets through backs of skulls.

Really the first 20 minutes is about as insane as it gets. Michelle (Yeoh’s character who conveniently shares the same forename) is on a vacation and she stops an insanely young Donnie Yen of all people from slaughtering some dude. She even poses with a kendo stick and you are all like OH! I AM GOING TO CLAIM THAT IS WHERE AKIRA HOKUTO STOLE IT FROM!!! and pants are going off the balcony.

THEN you get the entire hijacking scene where multiple people get their heads blown off (and all the background actors don’t react at all which I can’t help but laugh and laugh and laugh over). A dude gets sucked out the plane and a grenade goes off yet the plane keeps on flying and I seriously think this is my favorite movie ever.

You get a few minutes break before your next hit. In an act of revenge the remaining band of evil brothers blow up Yamamoto’s (Sanada’s character) family in a car. And boy do they make sure to let you know there was a young kid in the car. LOOK AT THIS STUFFED BUNNY WE FOCUSED ON A LITTLE TOO MUCH EARLY ON BURN BABY BURN!!!! So while the smoldering ash of Yamamoto’s family still burns on the street – it turns into a car chase that between this and a scene during the climax have me wanting this to retroactively be considered the Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift movie. Seriously - how many random fucking jumps are just on the streets of Hong Kong?

The next action scene comes when Yamamoto convinces Michelle and Michael (Michael Wong’s character because NO ONE spent any time worrying about shit like character names) to meet him a nightclub because he found the real killers (That’s how you do it OJ!). At the nightclub – Shinya Hashimoto shows up (Okay it isn’t actually Shinya Hashimoto – it is Ying Bai but when he appears he is wearing a giant Hashimoto-esqe bandana and I couldn’t unsee it. Hell his character might have been called Bandana for all I know). Anyway… a giant fucking shoot out starts where legit I think everyone who isn’t a cop ends up murdered. For the record – the action here was 98% shooting and 2% kung fun. In fact – it was about this point that I realized I hadn’t seen any Kung Fu since the plane was hijacked like 45 minutes ago.

This might as well be a good time to say the only thing I really didn’t like was the whole subplot of Michael wanting to fuck Michelle. You learn WHY they are doing it but A) to repeat myself – Michael is infuriating. B) Way too much time is taken up by it when people could be getting feet to faces. C) Michael is a fucking idiot.
Now the whole point of Michael wooing Michelle (who considers him like a “brother”) is when things start falling apart and we get Michelle yelling at Michael that he isn’t taking the case seriously Michael decides to “take things seriously!” and crack the case by realizing that Shinya Hashimoto is actually the four of the Band of Brothers. Because you know that is the quickest way into a woman's pants who has already rejected you.

Michael immediately gets captured by Bandana/Tiger/Spike (Fuck – I can’t remember his name and I know I am going to forget to go back and look up what it was). Hash dangles him over the side of the building and lures Michelle over because the plan is to get Michelle to charge up to the roof to save Michael and Hash kills her. So to stop this – Michael frees himself and… commits suicide because then Michelle won’t run upstairs and get killed. (FYI – Michelle immediately runs upstairs anyway but Hash decided that his plan was a failure. Yeah – this movie is 80s as fuck). I do not envy the stunt person who took that fall.

Have no fear – we are back to the batshit crazy part where first we get the trope of the police chief (I see you Kenneth Tsang) throwing Michelle off the case and Michelle quitting the force by throwing her school ID at him (I mean that’s what it looked like. What the fuck did the Hong Kong police use for badges back then?) THEN not-Shinya Hashimoto digs up Michael’s corpse and sends Michelle and Yamamoto videos to be all “come and get him”. So the finale is Yamamoto showing up for revenge and getting punked out but Michelle shows up in a DYI tank because I couldn’t make that shit up. Literally I just wrote that Michelle is able to get a Road Warrior looking tank basically because she knows a guy and that isn't the craziest part of the last five minutes because A DUDE JUST HAD HIS CORPSE DUG UP TO BE USED AS BAIT?!?!?! (Clearly there had to have been a Law & Order or CSI or NCIS that stole that idea, right?)

So at this quarry that the final battle is taking place at, we get back to the kung fu. There is a duel over a chainsaw that I am positive was used with a real chainsaw because why not? There are explosions and our heroes riding a casket to safety on a mining cart. I mean the closing shot is them just dragging a casket off into the distance. The only thing that would have made it more 80s would have been if Michelle and Yamamoto had started fucking on top of the casket.

The kung fu to all other types of action heavily skews in the non-Kung Fu direction but you can see where so many movies that followed took their inspiration from. This could and should be a Sleeping Dogs prequel (or sequel - I am not that picky).

And Lord the number of shoot wrestling bumps that they took during fight scenes was crazy (as there always seems to be in these movies). The flat back bump in the nightclub that Yamamoto takes from two stories up is tame compared to the couple of times I was positive Michelle was dead. Once when she was thrown into a pillar but the worst one was when she takes what could on be described as a spike hurricanrana where I wonder how long they had to take a break from after filming that.

I am officially rambling and there was probably other absurd stuff that I wanted to talk about. My highest recommendations.

 

 

Edited by Execproducer
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ooooo, Cynthia Khan brings back bad movies like Avenging Quartet, a movie I only watched because of the movie poster. I swore to myself I would never do that again. From that point forward I watched HK movies based on movie title alone, thus I watched Naked Killer at The Film Forum one Summer/Fall evening and rea,,ized I really needed to stop basing my movie choices  on stupid self prescribed notions

640full-the-avenging-quartet-poster.jpg

James

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All picks have now been reviewed. We have two bonus reviews left.   *****SPOILER ALERT*****  They are both Wong Fei-hung films.

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So no one ended up doing Hong Kong Phooey? 😞 

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Do not remember this at all. 

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I look forward to next year already so I can cover the first 5 minutes of the 199 Super Sentai Legend War. I'm already plotting out my Bonus Reviews

James

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