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THE THIRD (AND HOPEFULLY NOT FINAL) WONG FEI-HUNG KUNG FU MOVIE REVIEW


Execproducer
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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.

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6 hours ago, odessasteps said:

I like thinking outside the box. I think Throne of Blood was my original pick before switching it to Ghost Dog. 

I need to pay to get you a 90 day subscription to HIYAA!! or something.

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7 hours ago, Execproducer said:

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. 

High praise.  This is one of my favorite projects to participate in, so I did not want it to wither on the vine this year..

If we do this next year, you know I am on board.

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  • 1 month later...
2 hours ago, Execproducer said:

It's a shame that it doesn't include the sixth film in the series, the Sammo Hung-directed Once upon a Time in China and America, but yeah, unless you really hate wire-fu, I'd jump on it.

For whatever reason, it’s a “special feature” on the supplement disc:

Quote

Once Upon a Time in China and America(1997) in a 2K digital transfer, featuring 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio and monaural Cantonese soundtracks, along with a stereo Mandarin track with the voice of actor Jet Li

 

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Huh, I've never even heard of in China and America. Not sure how because directed by Sammo starring Jet Li sounds amazing. I'm not even sure which Once Upon a Time in China movies I've seen. One and two, obviously, maybe part 4 as well?

Anyway, as these things tend to go, looked up the cast for the above, recognised Xin Xin Xiong but could not exactly place him which led me to his imdb page and THE BLADE~! I forgot that movie even existed and now I want to watch it again asap to see how well it holds up. 

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OUATICAA isn't really great but I would call it fun. Came out about the same time he "directed" Jackie Chan in Mr. Nice Guy

Man, I still own all of my Tai Seng lasers. I bought The Blade and Burning Paradise at the same time. Think I need to blow the dust off of my player and do a double feature. 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/19/2021 at 4:06 PM, Control said:

I’ve been having a shitty day, so I bought this as retail therapy. Was it worth a slight endorphin boost? Maybe.

OUATIC2 is phenomenal. A bit of a drag that most consider it the best and it comes so soon in the series, but whatever.

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PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS~!

Next project I will review Force: Five as a part of the THE SPIRIT OFJAMES RYAN LIVES~! series of reviews that began with my retrospective of Kill or Be Killed and Kill and Kill Again.

Edited by J.T.
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Posted (edited)

I mean, I already reviewed it (along with that sleaze classic Firecracker)  but maybe you have a more positive take than I do. Anyway, I will be finishing the unfinished business from the last round when my vacation starts in about three weeks. 

Fuck, I just realized we didn't even attempt Christmas last year. Maybe next year it'll make a comeback.

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16 hours ago, Execproducer said:

I mean, I already reviewed it (along with that sleaze classic Firecracker)  but maybe you have a more positive take than I do..

Nope.  It was pretty bad and not even bad in a good way.  Not enough Benny the Jet or Master Bong Soo Han.

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I blame Pat Johnson for the most part. Good at making unskilled actors entertaining to watch but had no business choreographing fights for that cast. I'm not sure who in America from that time period could have done a better job because it isn't like it would have occurred to anyone to bring in someone from Hong Kong. A wasted opportunity.

Edited by Execproducer
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  • 1 month later...

Legendary Weapons of Kung Fu is really good but IMO, the gem of that group is Flag of Iron, one of the better entries of the Venom Mob catalogue right behind Kid with the Golden Arm, Avenging Warriors of Shaolin, and House of Traps.

Shaolin Mantis is a solid David Chiang joint, but I prefer the senseless brutality of Five Shaolin Masters.

If there is another one of these movie review projects, my next installment of the Tales from the Dojo horror wuxia review series was going to be Human Lanterns.  I've never seen it all the way through, but it is one of the late John Pelan's guilty favorites so I owe it to him to give it a watch.  If he liked it, then I am sure that there is something in that movie for me as well.

Edited by J.T.
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4 hours ago, Control said:

Anyone care to share some thoughts on these films?:

https://www.diabolikdvd.com/product-category/browse-by-label/88films/88us/
 

I’ve got my eye on LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA, but that’s because of the flashy title, not because I know anything.

How familiar are you with the actors? I'd say you can't go wrong with these three :

 

Legendary Weapons of China is pretty much peak Lau Kar Leung weapon vs. weapon choreography.

Flag of Iron is top form Venoms like JT pointed out.

Monkey Kung Fu I may remember more positively than most but I think it's a top tier film as well. Think Knockabout with lots of flippy fight scenes and training montages if my memory serves.

Disciples and Shaolin Mantis are a couple steps down from the above, I think.

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  • 1 month later...
15 hours ago, Control said:

 

As someone who loved Miracle Fighters / Shaolin Drunkard / Taosim Drnkard, this looks right up my alley. Surprised I'd never seen it before. 

 

By the way, the new stuntman documentary was really good. Not much that I can think of took me by surprise, but it was a much more honest look at their lives during and after their time as stuntmen. Went fairly big into the pressure stuntmen felt, especially those working with Sammo Hung / Jackie in order to keep their spots. 

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I have seen that fight before.  Drunken Dragon was one of the first movies I got from Tower Records when they expanded from just music to a total pop culture store.

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/20/2022 at 10:03 AM, Control said:

Anyone care to share some thoughts on these films?:

https://www.diabolikdvd.com/product-category/browse-by-label/88films/88us/
 

I’ve got my eye on LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA, but that’s because of the flashy title, not because I know anything.

The ending alley-way fight in Martial Club is one of my favorites. It's another Lar Kar Leung movie where the focus is on the martial arts and no one dies (although legs are broken).
 

Human Lanterns is pretty dark and features a bit more fighting than one would expect from a horror story. Lo Mang makes an appearance as hitman.

I also saw the Kungfu Stuntmen documentary. I wished they could have done a whole series on these guys. Sad that so many of them destroyed their bodies for our pleasure and will never get their due. Interestingly, I was watching the documentary about Weng Weng, the actor from For Your Height Only, and in the Philippines it seems that old action actors (also not well compensated) sit around talking about the old days like the guys in Stuntmen do.

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