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blue_skies

What was the last modern martial-arts film you watched?

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I generally revisit BODYGUARD FROM BEIJING once every few years. I was really disappointed with it the first time I saw it and subsequent viewings remind how much it isn't a good movie. But I still enjoy it and both Linda Wong's theme song and the final fight, wires and all. In 1995, it and two other Jet Li films were nominated for Best Action Design, but lost to Drunken Master 2.

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Another issue I will just state with that great quote from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (this fits the ending): "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

With all the people quoting the "there are two kinds of people..." lines, I'm glad somebody remembers this one. It's my fav' line in the movie. :happy 

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I'm not sure technically this belongs here, but there is some martial arts in it.  Plus I thought of the thread on wire-fu when I was watching the ending:

The Defender aka Bodyguard from Beijing (1994: Corey Yuen) Hong Kong
 
I was surprised on how ultimately mediocre this was.  Obviously this was influenced by 1992’s The Bodyguard with a few key differences but the crux remains the same.  Like the former Li is hired to bodyguard a spoiled woman (Christy Chung) who was a witness to a triad murder. They will eventually fall in love with each other. 
 
The shootouts were disappointing.  The common mistake that “bullets hit secondary characters but not main characters” was prevalent (so much so that bullets which ricochet off small metal columns right in front of the characters instead of hitting their targets.) Jet Li shoots way too much and does not particularly look adept at doing it.

There is not much fighting in the movie and the finale with Jet Li versus former Red Guard Wong (Collin Chou) disappoints.  There are a few too noticeable wire uses that detract.  It is also edited too quickly.  But one of the most annoying aspects was the use of gas in this scene (apparently the characters have gills).  It is so inexplicably stupid that is furrowed by brow.  Wait I just remembered something even more idiotic.  The fact that several characters could outrace bullets fired.  Apparently the bullets are so incredibly slow that you could step in front of someone from a large distance to prevent them from being shot (there is one scene even worse than this, but it is a little harder to explain as well as it is a spoiler.)  Another hilarious aspect was that the house that was being watched all of sudden had 30 or so thugs just appear.  How do you get such a large crowd into a watched house without being noticed?  I liked how many of the bodies just disappear and new cronies suddenly appear to be taken out.  It is like a video game with spawning bad guys. The whole finale is a huge mess and I could write an essay on all the issues with it.
 
I watched this in the Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection.  This is a glorified version of the Weinstein release.  Not too much was cut from the original (differences here) and this comes with the Cantonese track which has the Cantonese songs that were missing from the English track so that is plus.  Though the beginning and end credits are from the Weinstein release.  Like with most DD releases there is a Spanish subtitle track.  The movie is not a plus though.

I revisited this and I liked it a lot more than I used to.  Jet Li does a good job playing Kevin Costner and the action is exciting.  My favorite scene is when Colin Chou retrieves his brother's body from the morgue.  I loved the final fight the first time I saw it, but it's really not all that great.  The first time I saw it I had no idea who Colin Chou was and he blew me away.  It's not a bad final fight but not as good as I remember.  

 

I watched it subbed on the Jet Fighter 4 pack.  Dragon Dynasty should be ashamed that Videoasia put out the better version of this movie.  

Edited by Morgoth Bauglir

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With all the people quoting the "there are two kinds of people..." lines, I'm glad somebody remembers this one. It's my fav' line in the movie. :happy 

There are so many films where I think of this line.  It is such a great line even though it is such a truism (one that Bond villains especially forget.)

 

... My favorite scene is when Colin Chou retrieves his brother's body from the morgue.  I loved the final fight the first time I saw it, but it's really not all that great.  The first time I saw it I had no idea who Colin Chou was and he blew me away.  ...

That is probably my favorite as well and I like Chou as well.  It is an interesting weapon that he wields. Anyone have any info on it?

I read a couple of printed reviews on the film over the weekend.  In a rare instance John Charles (Hong Kong Filmography, a must buy book for Hong Kong cinema fans) was harder on the film than Paul Fonoroff (At the Hong Kong Movies) though neither was particularly fond of it.  Like me I did not think there was much chemistry between Li and Chung and neither liked the finale (logic wise.)

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There are so many films where I think of this line.  It is such a great line even though it is such a truism (one that Bond villains especially forget.)

I'd say not just Bond villains, but ANY action movie villain that points a gun at someone and goes on and on (often exposing the main flaw in their master plan) rather than pulling the trigger and blowing the other person's brains to pieces.

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I revisited the 1993 prison action film Live by the Fist starring Jerry Trimble and George Takei. It combined elements of the jungle action films set in the Philippines with elements from another Corman-produced prison flick from two years earlier, Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight. I swear, seeing Vic Diaz as the prison warden, he would have been perfect as a classic Bond villain LOL. Ronald Asinas makes Trimble look good in the fight department, engaging him in many one-on-multiple attacker fights where he shows off his kickboxing skills. And of course, there's "Oh-My!" George Takei as the veteran whom everyone but the higher ups respect and are surprised when they learn he has befriended Trimble's framed ex-Navy SEAL. 

 

Then, I finally got to watch the third of the very funny (yet trying to be serious) Italian rip-off of The Karate KidKarate Warrior films. Granted, I watched it on Youtube and was only in German, but I read from sources the basis of the film. They did mention the original Karate Warrior, Anthony, as he bequeathed his golden gi (although they call it a kimono?!) to a martial arts school in Miami. Some martial arts bully named Joe steals the gi and thinks he's all that and a bag of chips and then we have Cincinnati tranfer Larry Jones, who becomes our new Karate Warrior when he trains with restaurateur Masura, who may be the brother of the original master Kimura apparently.  I don't know...I knew what to expect and I got it...Ron Williams is definitely no Kim Stuart that's for sure. Kim Stuart at least looked believable when he fought and it was clear villain actor Christopher Alan was a better martial artist in this one...but his buddies' haircuts? They looked like refugees of 90's surfer band Ugly Kid Joe LOL

Edited by AlbertV

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my father is a hero. I watched this 1st time ~5 years ago and had good memories of it. And they were accurate, tho plot is nothing to praise about it still does not drag and wu shu wizard kid raises this above most others cop infiltrates into gang flicks.

 

Some excellent bootwork in finale when jet li meets kickers and good performance by anita mui. Definitely one of jets best flick set in modern time.

 

:monk_swinging:

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Wing Chun (1994) - interesting story behind today's viewing. My 5-year old daughter came in my room this morning to wake me up. She saw the posters on the wall and I just happened to have a Hong Kong poster of Wing Chun. She asked what that was and I told her it is a poster for a movie called Wing Chun. She asked what it was so I showed her a trailer to the film on my smartphone. She turned to me and said, "Daddy, I want to watch this!" and lo and behold, it was on Netflix, so we ate breakfast while watching Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen kick some serious tail in Yuen Woo-Ping's film about the titular character whose martial art was practiced by Yip Man and Bruce Lee. Great cameo by Cheng Pei Pei as Ng Mui. Some funny comic relief by Waise Lee and Kingdom Yuen too.

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THE EAST IS RED (1993)- This was the third entry in Tsui Hark and Tony Ching's SWORDSMAN trilogy. The first film is one of my favorite wuxia movies ever and helped revive kung fu movies in the 90s. This one was a huge disappointment, sacrificing a coherent script for over-the-top spectacle. The lack of adequate exposition makes it impossible to reconcile the events of the movie with the last reel of SWORDSMAN 2 and the inadequate dialog renders the three major character arcs nonsensical. There are some crazy wire-fu scenes (but little actual swordplay --the quantity of which decreased witn each film) and naval battles, but nothing to make us care too much about what's going on, whatever that is.

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my father is a hero. I watched this 1st time ~5 years ago and had good memories of it. And they were accurate, tho plot is nothing to praise about it still does not drag and wu shu wizard kid raises this above most others cop infiltrates into gang flicks.

 

Some excellent bootwork in finale when jet li meets kickers and good performance by anita mui. Definitely one of jets best flick set in modern time.

 

:monk_swinging:

I showed my brother-in-law, a casual action fan, the final fight from this. He thought it was really good and considered the opening tonfa segment to be the best part.

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Iron Monkey (1993), what can I say? this film has been talked about a lot and deservedly so. A really fine example of a 90's era Kung Fu flick. I felt some of the action was a little too under cranked and wire heavy. Saying that I'll be revisiting this Donnie Yen flick again.

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The Golden Cane Warrior --- good story; enjoyable characters; love the scenics and location shots; and the choreography is...meh. SIGH. Some wire-worky stuff that I could probably live with, but the fights just weren't filmed and edited properly. Way too many quick cuts and close-ups. At times the segments just didn't make sense to me.

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Born to Defense (1988: Jet Li: Hong Kong/Mainland):

I just watched this for the first time after wanting to see it for years.  Other than rewatching it for a couple of fights I cannot see myself seeing it again.  But I was not expecting much so I was not that disappointed.  This is Jet Li’s one and only directorial film.*  I know he was not overly happy with it and I remember an interview where he stated it was done during an “angry period” in his life, but right now I cannot find that source.  Seriously if anyone has an interview with him about this film please post.
 
Jet Li is a returning solider fresh from the front line against the Japanese.  He returns to find American’s running amok, a capitulating government and his war buddy’s estranged from his prostitute daughter – whom he falls in love with.  As one might expect there is a vast load of pathos that can get downright annoying with an ending that somewhat reminded me of Pedicab Driver.  But the other cast of antagonists are downright annoying with the Americans being the worst.  No humans there and they are portrayed as the Japanese have often been portrayed in Hong Kong cinema.**
 
The main baddie Kurt Roland Petersson, who looks a little like a very tall Ben Affleck in Argo with his sunglasses, is a Captain who loves to fight, one of the few somewhat moderate characters in the film.  There are three main types of characters here: victims (Jet’s friend, his friend’s daughter), antagonists (the KMT Chinese, the Americans, bar owner), and hero (only Jet Li.)  He confronts Li a few times and is mostly successful.  You can tell the multitude of times he is doubled and that there is sometimes lack of coordination between the two because of the vast amount of wild swings that are completely missed, sometimes from a far distance.  But the bar fight scene in the middle of the film is the most fun especially as it erupts into a wild west brawl that would have been at home in a John Wayne Republic western.  That scene and the ending fight are worth watching though one may wonder why chase a guy who just threw a Molotov cocktail at you into an unknown factory.  Not particularly bright military men, especially the one played by Paulo Tocha (one of those hey he’s in Bloodsport moments.)  Of course one might wonder why Jet Li tangles with the Captain when he should be trying to save his friends.  One also might wonder why the Captain had just happened to be there at the end.
 
I wonder if the escaping from jail scene in Shanghai Noon came from this.  Surprisingly without urine here.
 
While the fights are decent-to-good used with little wirework (some is used), some nice stunts there is unfortunately not enough of them and this movie is stuck in a propagandistic plot that panders in a prevalence of pathos and predictability.  I still would like to see Li direct again with a more mature work.
 
I saw the edited Dragon Dynasty version.  Not too much is edited out, mainly a nude scene and Li’s fascination with urine.  It is detailed here.  The Dragon Dynasty release is anamorphic (at 1:78:1), looks decent and has a Cantonese dub (and the old English one and a Spanish one.)  It also has Spanish subtitles like most (or all) of their releases.
 
* The best of one and done actor turned filmmakers has to be Charles Laughton whose The Night of the Hunter has one of Robert Mitchum’s best roles.  I do wonder if Keanu Reeves will direct a second film?
 
** Of course the military would not allow the horrible facial hair and haircuts shown in this movie.  As soon as the war against the Japanese was ended, there was the boiling issue with KMT and the Communists.  Being that this was a Mainland co-production I would not imagine the Americans or the KMT as being portrayed well.  Interestingly enough the American armed forces was not integrated until 1948.  The dubbing for the African-American characters is pretty bad bordering on racist.  Of course this film was not made with historical integrity in mind but the simple concept of Jet Li good everyone else stupid or bad. 

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Not really sure where to stick this since it's more gang related than martial arts, but 

 

Watched Chan Wai man's directorial debut, Gangland Odyssey  (1990) An interesting Triad / Yakuza story about the war between the two countries' mafias and the one family and close friends caught in the middle. Chan's Brother Pu (a.k.a. Yoshida) plays both sides, but kindly leaves his character out of the story after the flashback opening scene to let Andy Lau and the other actors suck you in. It's a bit of a slow burn -I admit I was waiting for Chan to show up and yelled "Oh hello again!" when he finally did-  until things pick up in the last 30 minutes, but worth seeing if you like gang-related stories. Note there are two excellent fights between Chan and his enemies / former cohorts, because the way to handle Yakuza disagreements are with katanas. 

 

Dang, sorry I missed all the abuse of Tuco's "there are two kinds of people..." line earlier in this thread. 

Edited by Lady Jin Szu-Yi

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Revisited Police Story 2 tonight. This one was nominated for Best Action Design at the 1989 Hong Kong Film Awards and won, beating out Dragons Forever and Tiger on the Beat. Did it deserve it? Sort of. The first two fights are exceptional Jackie fare, especially the famous playground fight. It's almost a shame they occur outside of the main narrative. The last 20 minutes has some great stunts, and Benny Lai tears it up, but I've been always been left cold by the lack of good fighting by Jackie in the last portion. Dragons Forever had a far better and satisfying finale than this. 

 

Other observations and questions:

 

- I like that Miramax always got the same guy to dub Bill Tung's characters in all their releases.

- Just how close were Jackie Chan and Bill Tung offscreen?

- The Miramax dub has a similar new soundtrack to First Strike, which is good, but I was let down by them getting the guy who dubbed Jackon Lou's character in First Strike to dub Jackie here.

- And why couldn't they use Kevin Chan as the character's name?

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Revisited Police Story 2 tonight. This one was nominated for Best Action Design at the 1989 Hong Kong Film Awards and won, beating out Dragons Forever and Tiger on the Beat. Did it deserve it? Sort of. The first two fights are exceptional Jackie fare, especially the famous playground fight. It's almost a shame they occur outside of the main narrative. The last 20 minutes has some great stunts, and Benny Lai tears it up, but I've been always been left cold by the lack of good fighting by Jackie in the last portion. Dragons Forever had a far better and satisfying finale than this. 

 

That's always been my only complaint, really. It's a great ending. I love it, I really do. But it's missing some good-old-fashioned fisticuffs.

Edited by ToryK

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I'll follow that up with a question - Police Story 2 or 3? Police Story 3's even more stunt-based, but I like it more, oddly enough. I think it'd have been even better had Philip Kwok actually made his way into the movie. That's near the top of my list of throwdowns that have only happened in my dreams.

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Special ID. I paid €3 for bluray. Not worth it or time wasted. There was some OK action in the end but too late to save anything.

 

I did not believe it could be THAT bad posts in old forum suggested but it unfortunately was...

 

:monk_raging:

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