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One Armed Boxer

February Mutual Review Thread

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On 30/01/2016 at 11:07 AM, Tex Killer said:

seek out complete version, I think this movie is so underrated gem, Though my credibility may lose telling I LOVE all prison movies. But honestly it`s very good movie. HK legends have missing scenes as extra features but seeing unedited version makes it feel so much better than cut print.

I'd love to review the full length version but Ill have to settle for the shorter print for now. Just had a big spending binge online and I wont be ordering more DVD/BRs for a month at least. Used to have the HKL's widescreen subtitled VHS release with the cut scenes tagged on after the credits.

Edited by DragonClaws

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3 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

I'd love to review the full length version but Ill have to settle for the shorter print for now. Just had a big spending binge online and I wont be ordering more DVD/BRs for a month at least. Used to have the HKL's widescreen subtitled VHS release with the cut scene tagged on after the credits.

Long taiwan print is so much better. trust me mate in this very movie those extra minutes makes big difference...cut has missing serious minutes of characters,,,

Edited by Tex Killer

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19 hours ago, Tex Killer said:

Long taiwan print is so much better. trust me mate in this very movie those extra minutes makes big difference...cut has missing serious minutes of characters,,,

From what I can remember about the cut scenes they had removed a lot of character development. The international print will do for this review but I'd like to see the original version at some point.

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53 minutes ago, DragonClaws said:

From what I can remember about the cut scenes they had removed a lot of character development. The international print will do for this review but I'd like to see the original version at some point.

Indeed. As far as I can remember action same but in storyline taiwn(original) version delivers lot more...

 

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2 hours ago, Tex Killer said:

Indeed. As far as I can remember action same but in storyline taiwn(original) version delivers lot more...

 

I think the fight scenes are exactly the same in each version but I'm not 100% sure on that one.

Edited by DragonClaws

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I think it`s so underrated movie but if people around rate it lower than most of jackies stuff no probem. Shootout in the end is nice and so is rest of flick. I score this above any police story. Drama level works here too as jackie fails to save his gf...

 

 

I

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1 hour ago, Tex Killer said:

I think it`s so underrated movie but if people around rate it lower than most of jackies stuff no probem. Shootout in the end is nice and so is rest of flick. I score this above any police story. Drama level works here too as jackie fails to save his gf...

 

 

I

Even before the internet and forums came along it seemed to have a bad reputation in book/magazine reviews. It was much better than I expected but I might not see it the same way now.

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What you say is true and I was so surprised it turned out to be great movie. It´s not exactly jackie chan flick same way like police story or armour of god f.e.

 

I like it does not have any comedy and all big name actors deliver solid performances.

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8 minutes ago, Tex Killer said:

What you say is true and I was so surprised it turned out to be great movie. It´s not exactly jackie chan flick same way like police story or armour of god f.e.

 

I like it does not have any comedy and all big name actors deliver solid performances.

If you go into the film expecting a Jackie Chan film your going to be disappointed. It has been misleadingly marketed as a Chan movie by company's hoping to cash in on his fame.

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4 minutes ago, DragonClaws said:

If you go into the film expecting a Jackie Chan film your going to be disappointed. It has been misleadingly marketed as a Chan movie by company's hoping to cash in on his fame.

I am pretty sure it did not hurt this movie one bit it was not tailored for jackie. All cast deliver and for 1st time viewers it has some neat surprises do big names kick the bucket or not...

 

Edited by Tex Killer

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Story of the Gun (1992)

Featuring ex-Shaw stars: Gordon Liu, Tin Cheng, and Lo Lieh

http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?id=9422&complete_credits=1&display_set=eng

The film opens with a robbery at a jewelry store that doesn't seem to connect to the plot at all. It is a pretty average shooting scene. We then are introduced to Gordon Liu (who is a cop in HK) and his family. There is some weird joke about his kid lying on his genitals when they take a bath together, and we learn that his wife has passed. Gordon Liu is sent to the mainland to investigate some curious shipments between China and HK. We then meet our villains, Oshima Yukari is a police chiefs daughter but is in league with the criminals and seems to have a one way relationship with the crime boss(Lee Man-Tai). The bosses right hand man (Mark Cheng) seems to have a fling with Yukari, and they are attempting to somehow overtake one of the bosses shipments and run away together.. Yeah, clearly if they can get away with such a thing our crime boss is pretty incompetent. Anyway while we learn about our little crime family, the film shows Gordon Liu building a romance with a woman in China, and sadly that's probably the more interesting part of the story. The two plots feel very disconnected from one another and don't connect til late in the movie, and it feels pretty cheap.

As you can see, the plot is honestly pretty bad, but the abandoned subplots keep it interesting through one viewing. Oshima Yukari's character starts off with some mystery, and it seems as if maybe she has been abducted, or is working under cover. Sadly, any mystery surrounding that is quickly killed and we learn that she is having an affair with Mark Cheng, in a much less interesting plot(imo). Gordon Liu sports an absolutely ridiculous perm wig (I think!), and is pretty charming in his interactions with his girlfriend and son, making those parts somewhat interesting. The plot mainly focuses on Oshima Yukari and Mark Cheng, and they're both scumbags and arguably worse than their boss they're trying to screw over, making it hard to care about their story. When the two plots finally converge, some admittedly generic and expected things happen to give the story a sense of urgency, and we get a lot more action. The acting is honestly pretty bad, and the Shaw actors are the best in that department, which is bad because only one of them has any substantial amount of screen time.

The action in the film is honestly pretty good and plenty entertaining. With that said, it isn't necessarily anything we haven't seen before either. I believe this is the first I have seen of Yukari Oshima and I have to say I was very impressed. She is a very good screen fighter and an amazing kicker. She has a nice chick fight with Gordons cop partner in Sophia Crawford. Mark Cheng was solid in the fights as well. Gordon Liu was our only Shaw star to do any fighting, and his fights were very basic but he still showed plenty of energy. The shooting scenes were pretty average, and there was some entertaining foot-chasing mixed into the action on at least two occasions. The action came just frequently enough that the story didn't grate me too much.

Onto our Shaw veterans! I already covered about as much as necessary about Gordon Liu. Whether due to bias or any real reason, he was definitely my favorite part of the film. Tin Cheng played an "Uncle" character to the crime family, and was a "wise-advisor" to Yukari and Mark Cheng. Honestly, I felt like Tin Cheng played a similar character to what he did in most Shaw films; A smooth talking guy with plenty of charm, that cant help but annoy the sh** out of me! Lo Lieh is the "big boss" of the mob that Yukari's boss has to answer to. He does a good job at this as is expected, but only gets about 10 minutes of screen time. I have to assume he played a similar role in other films of the time, and would love to see him get more time with this kind of character. Actually, now that I think of it, its similar to his role in Dragons Forever; But it takes him a little longer to get KO'd in this! Lol!

Story of the Gun is an average film. The plot is barely interesting watching it initially due to wasted subplots and Gordon Liu's character. Thankfully, the action is frequent and Yukari Oshima is a beast, so over all the film still manages to be plenty entertaining. The cameos from our other Shaw stars are a nice touch, and they do a good job with what they had to work with. It is one of those cases where I can't recommend it because there are too many great movies, but it isn't "bad" at all in my mind. As far as I know this was my intro to Yukari Oshima and I will be looking forward to seeing more.

 

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Gangland Odyssey  (1990) 

Ex Shaws Stars involved: Chan Wai Man (Director, Costar), Sun Chung  (Production Designer)

Gangland Odyssey is a decent Triad / Yakuza story directed by Chan Wai Man about the war between the two countries' mafias and the family and their close friends caught in the middle. Chan's Brother Pu (a.k.a. Yoshida) plays both sides. After the opening flackback, Chan leaves his character out of play for awhile to let Andy Lau and the remaining cast do their thing.

Let’s talk about this flashback sequence for a moment, any ritual and ceremony is interesting to me. Brother Pu and his peers are asked to draw the Death Straw to see which one of them gets to murder their rivals. No surprise, it’s Pu and the subsequent honorifics he does before the altar are neat. The murder spree itself is performed employing a good deal of slow motion and glory shots (perhaps a reflection of Chan’s work with Sun Chung?)  The murder of their triad rivals forces Pu to flee to Japan for many years leaving behind family.  Meanwhile, Pu inserts himself into Yakuza society without a hitch. 

Cut to 16 years on, when the Yakuza make moves on Pu’s old triad territory in Hong Kong; while  the usual youth versus elder infighting erupts within the triads.  Pu and his old retired cop friend will not let the yakuza incursion pass, but they're up against enemies on all sides. Andy Lau has some nice moments here as a young triad in Pu's old crew and Lau's love affair with Pu's daughter Cindy almost makes the drama work. 

When the much needed action  erupts, it is more kinetic, fierce and over the top. Gangland Odyssey doesn’t linger on culture of the triads and the yakuza too much beyond the opening scene and how both gangs fight. Chan Wai Man directs the drama and action well enough, but you’re left wanting action rather than drama. That’s unfortunate given Chan's work with Sun Chung. Sun handled drama easily and almost always made the action a compelling part of his characters' existence.  (Incidentally, SC’s production design choices are good here, especially in the final fight.) 

There are two excellent fights from action director Danny Chow Yun-Gin between Chan and his enemies / former cohorts, (including a silly one in a hotel room.) The final fight is the way to handle Yakuza disagreements, with katanas.There’s an unnecessary scene of pit bulls fighting for sport which puts a bit of a damper on things,  I'd rather watch Chan Wai Man kick, punch and slash the crap out of his foes than see dogs tearing each other apart.

On second viewing, this isn’t holding up too well for me. It  suffers when CWM isn’t on screen. He gets solid performances from the actors portraying his immediate family and triad / police associates, but the story and pacing don't quite click. 

If you enjoy HK crime dramas, you may like this.  I prefer the acting choices/risks CWM took in late 70s to mid 80s myself. 

Edited by Lady Jin Szu-Yi

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If I can find a copy of A Better tomrrow I'll jump in seeing how I never watched it but was always curious with Ti Lung in that film.

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1 hour ago, Tosh said:

If I can find a copy of A Better tomrrow I'll jump in seeing how I never watched it but was always curious with Ti Lung in that film.

Please don't make my mistake and buy the remake. I think DragonClaws picked A Better Tomorrow, but Ti was in the sequel too. 

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4 hours ago, Lady Jin Szu-Yi said:

What a way to open the reviews, nice job Paimeifist. 

Couldn't agree more, thanks to both @paimeifist & @Lady Jin Szu-Yi for kicking off the thread just hours into February with a couple of killer reviews!

Loved the way you prefaced both of your reviews with the 'Featuring Ex-Shaw Stars' line as well....nice touch, let's maintain it!

43 minutes ago, Lady Jin Szu-Yi said:

I think DragonClaws picked A Better Tomorrow, but Ti was in the sequel too. 

He certainly did - 

On 1/27/2016 at 6:06 AM, DragonClaws said:

I'd like to choose A Better Tomorrow as my second film choice for the presence of Ti Lung.

But as mentioned, 'A Better Tomorrow II' is still up for grabs.

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14 minutes ago, paimeifist said:

I feel like a bit of a dolt, I thought yesterday was the first. Oh well. 

Pffft...somewhere in the world it already was (that's what I told myself anyway!):laugh With a great review like the pne you posted, why worry, sir?

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11 minutes ago, Lady Jin Szu-Yi said:

Pffft...somewhere in the world it already was (that's what I told myself anyway!):laugh With a great review like the pne you posted, why worry, sir?

I have heard a rumor about some people being forced to watch a Dean Shek box set every day for an entire week, just for posting reviews early or late.

Like Lady Jin Szu-Yi said there's no need to feel stupid especially when you posted a good review too.

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Both reviews are good kickstarters, paimeifist and Lady Jin.:BL-GoodJob:

I'm sort of tempted to seek out Story of the Gun. While it doesn't sound spectacular, it seems to be pretty solid.

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Yeah story of the gun isn't bad at all, if you're a fan of the cast I am sure you would enjoy it. Plus seeing Gordon Liu as a n undercover cop is pretty sweet.

 

@DragonClaws I actually don't hate Dean Shek as much as everyone else does, and let's be honest, he is IN some classics.

Now if it is a boxset of films he starred in, I may worry a bit. I don't think I've even seen a film where he stars.

I mean I'm no fan of the guy, but he isn't thaaaaaat bad!

 

So you will have to come up with better punishment.

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15 minutes ago, paimeifist said:

Yeah story of the gun isn't bad at all, if you're a fan of the cast I am sure you would enjoy it. Plus seeing Gordon Liu as a n undercover cop is pretty sweet.

 

@DragonClaws I actually don't hate Dean Shek as much as everyone else does, and let's be honest, he is IN some classics.

Now if it is a boxset of films he starred in, I may worry a bit. I don't think I've even seen a film where he stars.

I mean I'm no fan of the guy, but he isn't thaaaaaat bad!

 

So you will have to come up with better punishment.

The Dean Shek box set also contain a bonus DVD with up to 4-hours of extra Shek madness with a compilation of his best scene's.

I don't mind the guy either as long as he's not given a really big role in a film.

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Five Venoms vs. Wu Tang AKA Five Venoms vs. the Ghosts AKA Kung Fu Vampire Busters AKA The Venoms vs.the Vampires (Taiwan, 1986)

HKcinemagic entry for this one, though they have little information about this movie.

In this Joseph Kuo-produced movie, we follow two pairs of Taoist priests (teachers and apprentices) as one turns out to be malevolent since the master wants to catch a baby Gyonshi in order to use it to control all of the Gyonshi or something - said Gyonshi is eventually protected by a bunch of kids with a fascination for these beings. Meanwhile, there's a really powerful and evil Gyonshi (played by Lu Feng !!) loose who randomly pops up in the film and the benevolent pair tries to help the kids.

 

First thing I'd like to point out is that out of the "Five Venoms" many of its alternate titles refer to, we only see TWO (and they are two of my favorites of the bunch, which makes me more forgiving), Lu Feng (as a pretty impressive Gyonshi) and Chiang Sheng (I think as the comedic student of the benevolent pair of Taoist priests, but I'm not 100% sure).

Second, it's said to be a horror/Kung Fu movie, and the film has an incredibly awesome start with the first 10 or so minutes showcasing Chiang Sheng's character (I guess) practicing his magic by summoning a musical number and the Gyonshi he has under his spell join in a freaking dance number (a sight to behold, and one of the most hilarious moments I've witnessed in Asian cinema) and he and his master later having to deal with the Lu Feng Gyonshi - there's also a Gyonshi who gets screamed at because he can't bounce over a step, so the priest warns him he'd better eat more and grow taller in his future lives (!!). But once the movie introduces and starts focusing on the baby Gyonshi essentially referred to as "little zombie" (who is apparently born of a woman who died while pregnant - or something, I'm not too sure really) the baddies are after, the film turns into a kid movie with a band of kids being the main protagonists and the adults turning into idiots (only other kids see the difference between actual Gyonshi and kids posing as such, a little girl nearly defeats Lu Feng by turning into what I could best describe as an Asian version of Michael Myers' clown costume...). Thankfully Lu Feng randomly pops up at times and eventually causes trouble (including breaking one of the kids' legs and being pretty brutal with "little zombie") and the mother of the Gyonshi eventually appears to get her baby back (somehow I thought she was defeated, but at least one promise is kept in this film - she does return for him).

 

:hvb_tragic:

That emoticon sums up "little zombie"/the baby Gyonshi pretty well.

 

That said, the movie has a lot for it - the atmosphere and some special effects are really nice, the action is okay (lots of flying around and I question how efficient some of the blows from the kids are - next thing you know, a little girl kicks harder than a grown man...) and the soundtrack is very enjoyable (some of it I'm pretty sure comes from other movies), especially the song that plays during that random dancing scene. There's also a ghost compass to locate invisible ghosts (!), a lot of rituals are performed and there's also a lot of urine-related stuff like a priest needs piss for the magic ink on a scroll or kids are out collecting animal piss for one of our benevolent priests (resulting in duck piss squirting on a kid's face and a little kid asking a grown woman for turtle piss).

The movie can be seen on Youtube on the Wu Tang Collection channel, which is the version I watched for this review. This version is fullscreen, but has Mandarin audio with subtitles - the subs aren't too good at points and the cropping removes parts at times, but it's nonetheless quite good. I could even pick up some words, like 哥哥 (pronounced "gēge", older brother).

 

My call about this ? The first ten or so minutes are awesome, but once "little zombie" is loose, either turn off the movie altogether or prepare the remote to skip past some of the annoying kid stuff.

:hvb_chillout:

Edited by Secret Executioner

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Actually (forgot about it in the review) Ricky Cheng (seen in Brave Archer 3, House of Traps or Ode to Gallantry, to name a few of his Shaw Brothers appearances) is actually also in this, but much like Chiang Sheng, I'm not sure about his character in this film.

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