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DragonClaws

June 2017 Mutual Review Thread

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13 hours ago, KenHashibe said:

Police Story 2 (1988)

I’m not going to be going as in depth with this one as I did with my Police Story review last month. I’m nowhere near as passionate about this one, but I still feel I have a good amount to say. I’m partially going to retread my Hapa Hero review from last year. Also, just a heads up, I will be reviewing the 100-minute theatrical cut and make comparisons to the uncut version later on. Enjoy!

In terms of pure fighting, I think this one barely edges out the original in terms of quanity and quality...BUT, the first one had a lot better build-up, where it saved the best for last. This one had the great restaurant fight and the even better playground fight, and then peters out a bit with a finale that is well-mounted, but doesn't reach the heights of the playground fight, mainly because Jackie takes more punishment than he dishes out, even though he defeats his foes. And it's a shame, because Ben Lam, Benny Lai and John Chang together could've yielded a truly wonderful one-on-three finale.

Excellent review!

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14 hours ago, KenHashibe said:

Police Story 2 (1988)

I’m not going to be going as in depth with this one as I did with my Police Story review last month. I’m nowhere near as passionate about this one, but I still feel I have a good amount to say. I’m partially going to retread my Hapa Hero review from last year. Also, just a heads up, I will be reviewing the 100-minute theatrical cut and make comparisons to the uncut version later on. Enjoy!

Another great effort @KenHashibe, I pretty much agree with all your thoughts on this one. I brought up similar points in my review from last year. Which I still have hanging on my P.C, I re-post it when the right thread comes along.

Like @DrNgor pointed out, two of the best fights occur early on the film. Maybe he should held back on the action until later in the film?. Slowly build up the tension, and then hit the audience with an action packed final forty minutes?. Could fans sit and wait it out that long for the martial arts/stunts to occur?. Sure Chan had very good reason for doing the movie the way he did it. It easy to point out error in a finnished movie you've watched countless times. Making a movie on the other hand is much more challenging thing. With filmakers often having to settle for things, even they don't particularly like.

You can always spot the sponsors in Jackie Chan movies, but I felt they really went for it in this one, with the excessive Mitsubishi product placement.

jj3.jpg

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8 hours ago, ShaOW!linDude said:

True story. I love this movie, but I think you're right. The flow of the action seems to get interrupted and breaks the rhythm. That happens in the finale of the first one, too, and yet the rhythm of it seems maintained somehow. 

Yep. You can't beat this fight scenes with a stick. (Pun! Man, I'm a funny guy.)

Nice write up and spot on review!

Thanks @ShaOW!linDude! Definitely agree with the points you brought up.

8 hours ago, DrNgor said:

In terms of pure fighting, I think this one barely edges out the original in terms of quanity and quality...BUT, the first one had a lot better build-up, where it saved the best for last. This one had the great restaurant fight and the even better playground fight, and then peters out a bit with a finale that is well-mounted, but doesn't reach the heights of the playground fight, mainly because Jackie takes more punishment than he dishes out, even though he defeats his foes. And it's a shame, because Ben Lam, Benny Lai and John Chang together could've yielded a truly wonderful one-on-three finale.

Excellent review!

Thanks! Definitely agree that the finale was kinda a wasted opportunity, especially with everyone involved. Not a bad fight necessarily, but considering how exciting the previous fights were, it doesn't live up to the hype.

6 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

Another great effort @KenHashibe, I pretty much agree with all your thoughts on this one. I brought up similar points in my review from last year. Which I still have hanging on my P.C, I re-post it when the right thread comes along.

Like @DrNgor pointed out, two of the best fights occur early on the film. Maybe he should held back on the action until later in the film?. Slowly build up the tension, and then hit the audience with an action packed final forty minutes?. Could fans sit and wait it out that long for the martial arts/stunts to occur?. Sure Chan had very good reason for doing the movie the way he did it. It easy to point out error in a finnished movie you've watched countless times. Making a movie on the other hand is much more challenging thing. With filmakers often having to settle for things, even they don't particularly like.

You can always spot the sponsors in Jackie Chan movies, but I felt they really went for it in this one, with the excessive Mitsubishi product placement.

Thanks for the feedback!

I definitely got the impression Jackie was trying to go more for a investigational-crime thriller rather than an action comedy. And, as you mentioned, making a movie (especially in a different style) is definitely a challenge and I will give credit to Jackie for trying something new, though not entirely successful.

As for the product placement, I feel the most distracting it's ever gotten in a Jackie Chan movie was from Wheels on Meals; specifically the scene where the old lady almost crashes her car and, with the Mitsubishi logo prominently displayed in the foreground, talks about how she's lucky she has such a great car. That was downright embarrassing. Hilarious, but embarrassing.

 

Greedy Ken strikes again. I'm gonna cop Tiger on the Beat this month. @One Armed Boxer's review of Aces Go Places 5 reminded me of how awesome this movie is. Probably could've been reviewed last month, but "80's month" works too.

Edited by KenHashibe

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20 hours ago, KenHashibe said:

As for the product placement, I feel the most distracting it's ever gotten in a Jackie Chan movie was from Wheels on Meals; specifically the scene where the old lady almost crashes her car and, with the Mitsubishi logo prominently displayed in the foreground, talks about how she's lucky she has such a great car. That was downright embarrassing. Hilarious, but embarrassing.

Then there's the Cannon surviellance van in PS 2, that was really sublte product placement.

20 hours ago, KenHashibe said:

Greedy Ken strikes again. I'm gonna cop Tiger on the Beat this month. @One Armed Boxer's review of Aces Go Places 5 reminded me of how awesome this movie is. Probably could've been reviewed last month, but "80's month" works too.

Looking forward to that one Ken, just got round to watching this one for the first time last year.

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9 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

Looking forward to that one Ken, just got round to watching this one for the first time last year.

Same here. Tiger on the Beat will be a lot of fun revisiting.

18 minutes ago, LuFengLover said:

The school year is over so I think I can do 2 Chi Kuan Chun Movies from the 1980"s:

Iron Neck Li 1981

Crazy Horse, Intelligent Monkey 1982

Lucky. I still got two weeks of school. Ughhhhh. Once I make getaway, I'll have plenty of time to finish up my reviews.

Looking forward to your reviews BTW.

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12 hours ago, LuFengLover said:

The school year is over so I think I can do 2 Chi Kuan Chun Movies from the 1980"s:

Iron Neck Li 1981

Crazy Horse, Intelligent Monkey 1982

Hi @LuFengLover, great to see you contributing to this months theme.

Looking forward to hearing your views on Crazy Horse, Intelligent Monkey. I reviewed this for one of the theme's last year, it may have been the animal styles month we had?. Hon Kwok Choi and Chu Kuan Chun make for a good Kung Fu team. Never had the chance to watch Iron Neck Li, but its a great sounding title.

12 hours ago, KenHashibe said:

Same here. Tiger on the Beat will be a lot of fun revisiting.

The first place I heard about this movie was in the comic 2000A.D, of all places. They used to run an article on film, mainly exploitation and foriegn productions. Recall most of the comments were about the films crazy chiansaw encounter.

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South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin (1983)

Jointly posted here - http://cityonfire.com/south-shaolin-vs-north-shaolin-1983-review/

In 1982, a year prior to the release of 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin', the movie that launched Jet Li into stardom, and triggered a wave of wushu influenced Shaolin movies, captured the imagination of Asian audiences in the form of 'Shaolin Temple'. Made at a time when Chang Cheh’s own Shaolin Cycle series had been out of fad since the mid-70’s, suddenly Shaolin was cool again, and many filmmakers looked to jump on the bandwagon. This is the background that led to Korea and Taiwan creating a couple of co-productions together focusing on the exploits of the kung fu practicing Shaolin monks, both from 1983, with the other being 'Shaolin vs. Tai Chi'.

While Taiwanese director Wu Chia-Chun helmed 'Shaolin vs. Tai Chi' solo (and indeed, only the opening scene from this movie was filmed in Korea), for 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin', which was shot entirely on location in Korea, it provided star and choreographer Casanova Wong his first opportunity to try sitting in the director’s chair. Wong would go on to direct several notoriously unavailable Korean action movies, such as 'The Magic Sword' and 'Bloody Mafia', but 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin' can be considered his directorial debut. Chi-Chun was a logical decision to be co-director, as he’d already had experience working in Korea, co-directing such productions as 'Jackie and Bruce to the Rescue'.

As with almost any Korean kung fu movie, what can be considered to be the true uncut version is an almost impossible discussion to have. A version was shot for Taiwan with additional scenes of the Taiwan cast, and another version was shot for Korea with additional scenes of the Korean cast, then somewhere in between, you have the horrible hybrid that is the English dubbed version. For western audiences then, the plot of 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin' involves two babies who are said to be princes being smuggled away from murderous Qing soldiers, led by Eagle Han Ying. In a scene that doesn’t make it apparently clear what happens to the other, one gets away via being throw into a tree (so far, so 'Fury in Shaolin Temple'), and ends up being raised by monks in the Shaolin Temple. Growing up to become Casanova Wong, he’s never forgotten his revenge, and intends to kill Han Ying as soon as he’s skilled enough to do so.

At this point you may well be asking what the relevance of the title is to what actually unfolds onscreen, so I’ll be upfront and say none whatsoever. There is no battle of the geographically opposing Shaolin Temples, so for those looking for some inter-Shaolin action, best stick with 'Invincible Shaolin'. What we do have is the rare sight of a shaven headed Casanova Wong in the role of a monk, and what’s more, in one of his first fight choreographer gigs, he decided to move the focus away from his kicks, and instead shift more towards a reliance on weapons. This can again be traced back to the 'Shaolin Temple' influence, which suddenly made the flowery acrobatic flourishes of wushu weapons handling incredibly popular, and the action here clearly shows that influence.

This is the first of 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin’s' problems, Wong is a boot master, not a weapons guy. While his trademark kicks are still there, they’re never the focus, and seeing his jaw dropping kicking abilities side-lined in favour of only average weapons work is a serious error in judgement. The second problem comes in the form of one of the most irritating cast of characters ever assembled. It begins to become apparent fairly quickly that proceedings are going down the comedic route, but literally every character seems to have gone to the Dean Shek School of Comedy Acting, including Wong himself. I don’t consider it too much of a spoiler to say that, when Han Ying mercilessly kills pretty much everyone except Wong, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief as each gurning idiot gets kicked to death on the receiving end of his boots.

Indeed it’s fair to say that it’s Han Ying who looks the best out of everyone, apart from the aesthetically pleasing dyed red stripe running through the middle of his hair, he’s the only martial artist who really gets to show off what he’s good at – kicking. The rest of the action delivers entertainment value not so much from its quality, but more the laugh out loud bizarreness of it. As with so many of these movies, the intentional comedy falls flat, but the unintended variety provides plenty of laughs. In the opening scene ninjas, which are clearly mannequins, burst out of the ground bolt upright, thanks to a spring loaded mechanism which would break any real persons back. It’s a laugh inducing sight. They then proceed to awkwardly crawl along the ground on their side, in what I can only assume was supposed to keep them out of sight from their targets, but considering they’re crawling on a completely clear patch of land, it ends up looking ridiculous.

The ninjas do provide some of the movies most entertaining moments though. After almost an hour of intolerable comedy, there’s a scene in which a gang of them ambush Wong, which involves him having to tackle flying ninjas armed with flame throwing blow pipes and bamboo traps. The ninjas finishing move is also worth a mention, which sees them pile up on top of their target, then when they jump off the victim is already buried in an instantly made grave! However these brief glimpses of entertainment are few and far between, and the more 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin' progresses, the more desperate it seems to become. In the latter half we suddenly have random horror elements thrown in for no apparent reason whatsoever. First we have Wong practicing against a dummy thats head is actually a real skull, which is naturally covered in creepy crawlies, but the most bizarre scene has Wong arriving in a deserted funeral parlour in the middle of the night.

Here he’s suddenly confronted by 4 long black haired cross dressing ghosts, who seem more interested in getting it on with Wong than they do fighting him, but their advances are treated with kicks to the face. Words are difficult to find to do justice to the bizarreness of this scene, so I’ll simply leave it at that. In any case, Wong’s visit to the parlour ends with him fending off several flying coffins, all of which have absolutely nothing to do with the plot itself. Most of the scenes also seem to be of the one take only variety. There’s a scene which has one of Han Ying’s lackeys running over to him in a field to deliver some news, however as he’s just a few paces away he clearly almost falls over due to the uneven ground, but it’s in the movie. In another during the final battle, two monks are taking on one of the villains, and one of them, obviously meant to be standing out of shot until it’s his turn to spring into action, instead is seem simply standing there at the side of the frame.

Events eventually culminate in Han Ying and his four main lackeys heading over to Shaolin Temple, knowing that the monks are harbouring Wong’s brother, who grew up to become a prince in hiding. You may be wondering why I’m so casually throwing in a line about Wong’s brother turning up, a fairly significant plot point if you consider the synopsis, however it’s handled so clumsily that it’s barely worth a mention. Not only does Wong never find out it’s his brother, but we also never find out what happens to the him at the end, he simply disappears without explanation. What it does leave us with, is a 'Shaolin Temple' style finale with the monks taking on the villains. My favorite part of this scene is perhaps what was supposed to be an acrobatic flourish, which sees a row of about 10 monks, all of whom must be about 50 metres from the fight action, decide against charging into the fray, and instead do rolls until they reach the enemy. If there was an award for the lamest attacking tactic ever, this would have to be a candidate.

Wong does of course eventually turn up, which leads to an exhaustive 10 minute one-on-one against Han Ying. This should have been a dream matchup, and indeed Wong gets some of his trademark kicks in – including both the take-three-guys-out-in-one flying kick from 'The Master Strikes', and the awesome over the table flying kick seen in ‘Warriors Two’, just minus the table. However again the overall focus on weapons make the whole fight fall considerably short of what it could have been. Wong brandishes a 3 sectioned staff for a large portion of it, taking on Han Ying who interchanges between a sword and spear, however his handling of it is so slow that the 3rd staff often ends up dangling limply, or barely completing its rotation around Wong’s torso due to a lack of momentum. In the end he simply drops it on the floor, which looks to be more out of relief than anything else.

By the time a fire breathing villain is thrown into the fray, and Wong ends up in a tree fending off ninjas in addition to Han Ying, there’s a distinct feeling that everyone is out of ideas. Perhaps the biggest lesson to come out of 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin', is that wushu practitioners would be best left to show off their wushu skills, and taekwondo practitioners would be best left to show off their taekwondo skills. While it’s admirable to see Wong attempting to break out of the type of roles he usually got cast in for his directorial debut, when it comes to martial arts, sometimes sticking with what you know is best.

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Crazy Horse, Intelligent Monkey (1982)

Starring: Chi Kuan Chun, Hon Kwok-Choi, Candy Wen Xue-Erh

Directed by: Tony Liu Chun-Ku and Chan Hei

Action Directors: Chin Yuet-Sang, Alan Chui Chung-San and Max Lee Chiu-Chun

 

Summary:  Hou Hsiao Shan(Hon Kwok-Choi) is a conman who is saved by Ma Ta(Chi Kuan Chun), a kung fu expert after he is beaten in a casino.  The pair travel to find Ma’s mother who went to visit his uncle but never returned.  On their way, the men meet a mysterious Mr.(Miss) Lee(Candy Wen Xue-Erh).  When they arrive at the uncle’s house, Ma Ta discovers his mother has been murdered and his “uncle” is being blackmailed.  Unfortunately, Hou and Ma are no match for the murderers and are trained by Miss Lee and her teacher in order to take revenge.

 

I enjoy watching this movie because the story is excellent and told very well.  Even though the theme is the typical revenge movie, there is a bit of mystery. There are several plot twists that are not expected as the movie progresses.  The characters are well developed through their interactions with one another.  Hon and Chi are fun to watch as they change from acquaintances to friends and almost brothers.  Hon Kwok-Choi fills the mischievous little brother role which was usually played by Alexander Fu Sheng. Chi Kuan Chun plays the responsible older brother, looking out for his friend.

 

Candy Wen Xue-Erh plays to type in this movie.  She dresses as a man for the first part of the movie but when her true character is revealed she becomes at moments the bratty girl in previous Shaw Brothers films.  Her training scenes as a girl opposite of Hon Kwok-Choi provide comic relief. This pairing has a great chemistry.

 

I usually think the training scenes in some movies go on far too long but they were perfect in this one.  They served the purpose of watching our heroes progress and develop the titular styles in order to take their revenge.  My favorite part of the movie is watching Chi Kuan Chun develop the Crazy Horse technique.  His movements are so graceful and beautiful in every film.  He is mesmerizing to watch. His muscular physique and graceful movements make him the perfect Crazy Horse.

 

Hon Kwok-Choi makes the perfect Intelligent Monkey for the movie as his conman is very smart and able to outwit his adversaries.  His short and wiry body type is perfect to learn the monkey fighting style.

 

This is a great non-Shaw Brothers film if you are a Chi Kuan Chun fan like me.  The story is great and they chose the best actors for each part.  I couldn’t see anyone else in these roles. The training and fighting sequences are excellent, especially if you want to see shapes being performed by a master.  I watch this over and over again.

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19 hours ago, One Armed Boxer said:

South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin (1983)

Jointly posted here - http://cityonfire.com/south-shaolin-vs-north-shaolin-1983-review/

Great review One Armed Boxer, Always been curious about this title.

Even if you got to see the original cut, it would probably just be more of the same

12 hours ago, LuFengLover said:

Crazy Horse, Intelligent Monkey (1982)

Starring: Chi Kuan Chun, Hon Kwok-Choi, Candy Wen Xue-Erh

Directed by: Tony Liu Chun-Ku and Chan Hei

Action Directors: Chin Yuet-Sang, Alan Chui Chung-San and Max Lee Chiu-Chun

Great to here your thoughts on this title LuFengLover, good review.

 

12 hours ago, LuFengLover said:

 

Hon Kwok-Choi makes the perfect Intelligent Monkey for the movie as his conman is very smart and able to outwit his adversaries.  His short and wiry body type is perfect to learn the monkey fighting style.

Loved this line, he's an underatted talent in my opinion.

Edited by DragonClaws

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21 hours ago, One Armed Boxer said:

South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin (1983)

Jointly posted here - http://cityonfire.com/south-shaolin-vs-north-shaolin-1983-review/

In 1982, a year prior to the release of 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin', the movie that launched Jet Li into stardom,

Great review. I watched the movie about 6 or 7 years ago and reviewed it for my old site. We pretty much had the same observations to make about it:

http://bmmb.prophpbb.com/topic4116.html?hilit=south

Edited by DrNgor

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On 6/12/2017 at 8:21 AM, DragonClaws said:

The first place I heard about this movie was in the comic 2000A.D, of all places. They used to run an article on film, mainly exploitation and foriegn productions. Recall most of the comments were about the films crazy chiansaw encounter.

Of course. The chainsaw scene is incredible! I'll likely be talking about the finale extensively in my review. Stay tuned.

On 6/12/2017 at 10:41 AM, One Armed Boxer said:

South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin (1983)

Jointly posted here - http://cityonfire.com/south-shaolin-vs-north-shaolin-1983-review/

By the time a fire breathing villain is thrown into the fray, and Wong ends up in a tree fending off ninjas in addition to Han Ying, there’s a distinct feeling that everyone is out of ideas. Perhaps the biggest lesson to come out of 'South Shaolin vs. North Shaolin', is that wushu practitioners would be best left to show off their wushu skills, and taekwondo practitioners would be best left to show off their taekwondo skills. While it’s admirable to see Wong attempting to break out of the type of roles he usually got cast in for his directorial debut, when it comes to martial arts, sometimes sticking with what you know is best.

Another great review! Always enjoy reading them!

I really like that you put a bit of a "history lesson" at the beginning of your reviews, explaining how Shaolin Temple created a wave of Shaolin-based movies. And speaking movies that actually have South Shaolin fighting North Shaolin, Martial Arts of Shaolin is great too (might still review this one if I have time). This was another movie that I was planning on watching but not so much anymore after reading your review, especially since you said Casanova's kicks are kept to a minimum. Also since the cast seems to have gone to the "Dean Shek School of Comedy Acting." (I laughed while reading that in your review)

22 hours ago, LuFengLover said:

Crazy Horse, Intelligent Monkey (1982)

This is a great non-Shaw Brothers film if you are a Chi Kuan Chun fan like me.  The story is great and they chose the best actors for each part.  I couldn’t see anyone else in these roles. The training and fighting sequences are excellent, especially if you want to see shapes being performed by a master.  I watch this over and over again.

Man, here's another film I'm ashamed I haven't seen yet. I especially want to see it after reading your review. I always love a kung fu movie with a good story and fun training sequences. Those are always great.

Edited by KenHashibe

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On 14/06/2017 at 0:37 AM, KenHashibe said:

Of course. The chainsaw scene is incredible! I'll likely be talking about the finale extensively in my review. Stay tuned.

Sounds good to me, I've taken a break from the monthly reviews just for this week.

There's been some great contributions so far.

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Ninja Terminator (1985)


Starring: Jack Lam, Richard Harrison, Hwang Jang Lee, Phillip Ko Fei, Maria Francesca Harrison, Chiang Tao, Jonathon Watts
Director: Godfrey Ho
Action Director: Alan Wong, Dennis Shin, Hyman Lee (I sure hope nobody broke him during filming...har!)


With the success of movies like The Octagon and Enter the Ninja at the beginning of the 80s, the Ninja Craze became an official phenomenon all over the world, whose effects are felt even today. Ninjas have become a regular part of pop culture thanks to the success (or notoriety) of the movies that flooded theaters and video stores during that decade. While some of them were honestly good movies (by genre standards), many of them were notoriously bad. In fact, most mainstream viewers mightly hardly consider them to be real movies.


The purveyors of such crap included the triumverate of evil: Godfrey Ho, Joseph Lai and Tomas Tang. Those three men, threw their studios IFD and Filmark, had the ingenious idea of taking unreleased or incomplete films from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea or god-knows-where in Asia, filming new sequences with Caucasian actors (and usually a slumming Chiang Tao and/or Philip Ko), splicing them together and dubbing them so as to form a semi-coherent story. So unsuspecting viewers might pick up a film promising awesome green ninjas (I've personally loved green-clad ninjas back since I played Shinobi as a kid) fighting on motorcycles, only to get some Taiwanese film about a love triangle, while poorly-inserted scenes of ninjas break up the action.


Ninja Terminator has been held as the gold standard for these sorts of films, so I decided to check it out. In addition to the scenes featuring Richard Harrison (Medusa against the Son of Hercules) fighting for control of a mystical statue, we also get non-stop tae kwon do from a Korean action film featuring Jack Lam and legendary superkicker Hwang Jang Lee. How could this be bad?


On the 20th anniversary of the "ninja empire," three pieces of a mystical statue have been procured by ninjas Harry (Harrison) and another dumpy white guy. The ninja "emperor" (Chiang Tao) uses the statue to grant him invulnerability to any kind of attack. Later, the two Caucasian ninja, plus a Japanese one named Tamashi, steal the pieces of the statue and go their separate ways. They are obviously marked for death by ninja emperor, who sends his men, plus the Ninja Terminator (Philip Ko Fei) to get the statue back.
Tamashi is killed in short order and his statue piece is retrieved. Enter footage from a South Korean film called The Uninvited Guest. A girl named Michiko and her brother are visiting the grave of their brother, which the dubbing suggests is Tamashi from the newer footage. Meanwhile, we discover that dumpy white guy ninja is the head of a criminal empire, whose main enforcer is Tiger Chan (Hwang Jang Lee in a blond wig). Tiger sends his men to harrass MIchiko and her brother in order to find out where Tamashi's piece of the statue is, not knowing that the empire reclaimed it.


Coming to the rescue is Jaguar Wong (Jack Lam), a likably arrogant, high-kicking tae kwon do expert who beats up everybody who crosses his path (granted, everybody who crosses his path just happens to work for Tiger Chan), while he's not going down on his ex-girlfriend, Lily, who herself happens to be sleeping with Tiger's second-in-command, Vic Lee. Jaguar Wong's scenes mainly consist of him beating people up and stealing Tiger's heroin shipments. Eventually, Michiko is kidnapped and Jaguar must rescue her before a time bomb blows her up.


Meanwhile, back at IFD studios, Harry and dumpy white guy have set aside their differences (although they didn't bother to tell Jaguar and Tiger about that) in order to prepare for a duel with the Ninja Terminator. In the end, the good guys win, the bad guys lose, Philip Ko uses his ninja magic to blow himself up, and Harry presumably becomes the invincible ninja master. The end.


The rewards of this piece cut n' splice-sploitation epic are many. Marvel at bad-a** Richard Harrison taking calls at his apartment via a cute Garfield telephone! Be stunned when we learn that the preferred method of ninja communication are toy robots! Be blown away by the technological marvels of top-loading VCRs! Feel the mature ethnic themes of a Korean actor in a Chinese film talking like a jive black guy before getting his a** handed to him by Jack Lam himself!


Speaking of which, there's a lot of quality action in this film, at least with regards to the original Korean footage. Jack Lam is a solid kicker, and occasionally gets in some nice flying double kicks. His footwork lacks a bit of the altitude of his contemporaries Casanova Wong and Dorian Tan, although he delivers the bootwork quick and crisply. Hwang Jang Lee ultimately outshines him during their extended fight at the end. Hwang unleashes the full arsenal of his kicks, including the triple no-shadow kick, the bicycle kick, the "clap your feet against the temples" kick, the "wrap your leg around the neck and kick you in the face" kick, etc. I take isue with the photography of the fight, which often fails to underscore the awesomeness of Hwang's signature moves, but okay. At least it's visible.


On the other hand, the newer ninja footage is merely adequate, I guess. It's mainly generic katana swinging and jump cuts of ninja disappearing and reappearing, but lacks much of the WTF-ness that dominated the collected works of Robert Tai. Those hoping for an ultimate showdown between the now-unstoppable Harry and the invincible Ninja Emperor (that is, Chiang Tao), will be disappointed. I guess Chiang Tao was appearing in so many of these that he simply didn't have time to film a fight scene. Our loss.


I suppose if you must watch a cut n' splice-sploitation flick, this would be your best bet. It's not quite as inept or over-the-top as other entries in this truly bizarre sub-genre, but it might be the best way to ease yourself into  a universe-within-a-universe of martial arts films that even the most hardened B-movie veterans can have a hard time digesting.

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2 hours ago, DrNgor said:

Ninja Terminator (1985)


Starring: Jack Lam, Richard Harrison, Hwang Jang Lee, Phillip Ko Fei, Maria Francesca Harrison, Chiang Tao, Jonathon Watts
Director: Godfrey Ho
Action Director: Alan Wong, Dennis Shin, Hyman Lee (I sure hope nobody broke him during filming...har!)

I wasn't expecting a review of this exploitation classic, nice work @DrNgor and thanks for posting a link in the Ninja Movie Appreciation Thread.

This was my first taste of Godfrrey Ho/IFD madness, and it was Jack Lam and Hwang Jang Lee that made it all worth while. The Jack Lam/Hwang Jang Lee fight looked good, despite them staging it mostly on sand. Often wondered if Jack Lam made more movies that never got a release outside of Korea?.

Richard Harrison's even got his wfie a role in the movie, though I doubt she was on the set of Challenge Of The Tiger, when he was directing the topless tennis seqeunce

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On ‎14‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 1:37 AM, KenHashibe said:

And speaking movies that actually have South Shaolin fighting North Shaolin, Martial Arts of Shaolin is great too (might still review this one if I have time).

Man, I'd love to see a review from you of 'Martial Arts of Shaolin'!  Peer pressure...:tongueout

1 hour ago, DragonClaws said:

Often wondered if Jack Lam made more movies that never got a release outside of Korea?.

He did indeed, you can check out his full filmography here.  I think it's awesome that he was in a movie called 'Pyongyang Head Butt'!

4 hours ago, DrNgor said:

Ninja Terminator (1985)


Starring: Jack Lam, Richard Harrison, Hwang Jang Lee, Phillip Ko Fei, Maria Francesca Harrison, Chiang Tao, Jonathon Watts
Director: Godfrey Ho
Action Director: Alan Wong, Dennis Shin, Hyman Lee (I sure hope nobody broke him during filming...har!)

Great review @DrNgor!  You know I've never gotten into the lobby card collecting scene, but if I ever did, these would be the 2 I'd want to start with -

DSKB024014_01.jpgDSKB024019_01.jpg

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17 minutes ago, One Armed Boxer said:

He did indeed, you can check out his full filmography here.  I think it's awesome that he was in a movie called 'Pyongyang Head Butt'!

It would be great to see some of those movies, it's a shame he didn't get any work outside Korea. Unless I've missed one of his Hong Kong appearances?.

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1 hour ago, DragonClaws said:

It would be great to see some of those movies, it's a shame he didn't get any work outside Korea. Unless I've missed one of his Hong Kong appearances?.

not sure on that one dragonclaws that kmdb link lists him as being in clones of bruce and 37 plots of kung fu but i don't see him in there.

dunno maybe he only in the korean versions?

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14 hours ago, lungfei said:

not sure on that one dragonclaws that kmdb link lists him as being in clones of bruce and 37 plots of kung fu but i don't see him in there.

Ill keep an eye ut for eye for him next time I watch Clones Of Bruce Lee, yet to see 37 Plots Of Kung Fu. He may only have been an extra/stuntman in those films?.

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Cat vs Rat

Directed by Lau Kar-leung

Lau Kar-leung is probably my favourite Shaw Brothers director. In my opinion, he directed the most "perfect" martial arts films for the Shaw Brothers while ironically having certain quirks which would prevent most of his films from reaching perfection, or completely ruin an entire movie. Cat vs Rat is unfortunately the latter. Before watching this, I had expected it to be one of Lau's worst films especially because of what I heard about the humour aspect. My expectations were absolutely met, though there are still some bright spots.

There isn't much of a story in this one. Alexander Fu Sheng and Adam Cheng are fellow students at a martial arts school and they happen to both come from rich families who live across from one another. It seems like their families have been rivals for a long time and so they constantly fight each other to prove who is better. One day Fu Sheng saves the emperor played by Gordon Liu but doesn't believe he's the emperor. On the same day, Cheng saves the emperor and is appointed as captain of the guard. As you can imagine, Fu Sheng's character becomes jealous and spends the rest of the film trying to snag that position for himself.

So yeah, the humour is this movie absolutely sucks. I maybe cracked a smile about twice throughout the duration of this film, but never did I laugh or even chuckle. I do understand that this wasn't meant to be one of Lau's serious films, or light-hearted films with an agenda, but I can't be the only one to think that most of the humour in his movies just don't work. I dunno, I just don't find an arrogant guy speaking in an annoyingly squeaky voice or the stroking of facial hair very amusing. The moments where I cracked a smile were small moments during fights where Fu Sheng and Cheng are trying to hide their injuries from their opponent just to look cool.

Speaking of the fights though, some of them are pretty good. With Lau, you can always expect the actors to be pushed to their absolute limit in terms of speed and movements. The best fights are early on between Fu Sheng and his master played by Lau Kar-wing and some of the duels between Fu Sheng and Cheng. This is unfortunate because while fights may be enough to get us through a weak story or annoying characters, when the fights get progressively worse as you go along, it just makes it more of a slog. The last 20 or so minutes are all fighting, but it's all very gimmicky as Fu Sheng and Cheng fight Hsiao Ho, Johnny Wang Lung Wei, King Lee King Chiu and Cheung Chin Pan, and each one of them is obscured by some sort of element for a majority of the fight be it underwater, underground, in the sky or behind rocks. We essentially get Cheng punching the water for like 5 minutes at one point.

Despite this though, the film is somewhat watchable because it is incredibly fast paced. There's always something happening, and even when it looks like it might just be dialogue for the next few minutes, the talking is over faster than you expect and it goes on to the next event or bit of action. That doesn't make this film all that fun though, but at the very least you can sit back with your brain turned off and still get everything you could out of it.

One thing that personally helped me get through the film though was the great cinematography. There are some unique shots like this one with the fish (please excuse the low quality screenshots):

2 fish.png

Or even hyper functional shots like these two:

doorway.png

sneak.png

The first of which is not only symmetrical with the three guards in the doorway, but you can see the five rats sneak through the window above Cheng's head (albeit very blurry). The second has each of the rats in shot from the perspective of the bed which is a really nice touch.

Anyway, to wrap this up, Cat vs Rat is probably one of Lau's weakest films. I don't think it quite reaches the unwatchability of Disciples of the 36th Chamber (though that has a very good finale despite me wanting to turn it off for the entire runtime before that) or as boring as The Lady is the Boss, but its definitely his most cartoonish film with the most unfortunate sense of humour. If you're in it for the action, you're gonna get some good fights, but nearing the end they get progressively worse. However, I think the film is still worth a watch if only because Lau directed it. I certainly didn't have a very good time with the film, but if you're more tolerant of this kind of humour, you might actually find a lot more to enjoy than I did.

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1 hour ago, Writ said:

Cat vs Rat

 

Good review, @Writ. I'm glad that you and @LuFengLover have gotten so involved with our Mutual Review tradition. It brings a smile to my face!

I never saw this one, as something about it never seemed to appeal to me.

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On 6/15/2017 at 7:12 AM, DrNgor said:

Ninja Terminator (1985)

Great review! I've seen Ninja Terminator once before. It was the first Godfrey Ho movie I ever saw, but this was way before I knew who Godfrey Ho was and how he basically splices two movies into one. I was just confused watching it for the first time. I kept thinking "What the hell does Jaguar Wong have anything to do with the Golden Ninja Warrior stuff?" Now that I know who Godfrey Ho is, I know why. I'll probably enjoy it if I gave it a watch again. I've seen other Godfrey Ho movies since and I've enjoyed the hell out of them.

On 6/15/2017 at 11:33 AM, One Armed Boxer said:

Man, I'd love to see a review from you of 'Martial Arts of Shaolin'!  Peer pressure...:tongueout

Dammit. Now I have to review Martial Arts of Shaolin. Thanks @One Armed Boxer.

10 hours ago, Writ said:

Cat vs Rat

Anyway, to wrap this up, Cat vs Rat is probably one of Lau's weakest films. I don't think it quite reaches the unwatchability of Disciples of the 36th Chamber (though that has a very good finale despite me wanting to turn it off for the entire runtime before that) or as boring as The Lady is the Boss, but its definitely his most cartoonish film with the most unfortunate sense of humour. If you're in it for the action, you're gonna get some good fights, but nearing the end they get progressively worse. However, I think the film is still worth a watch if only because Lau directed it. I certainly didn't have a very good time with the film, but if you're more tolerant of this kind of humour, you might actually find a lot more to enjoy than I did.

Great review, @Writ! I've always wanted to see Cat Vs Rat. If you know me, you know I'm a Fu Sheng fanatic. Even if this movie is one of Lau's weaker films, I still wanna see it if only to be a completist. I feel I've become accustomed to the kind of humor in these movies and I love Fu Sheng, so I imagine I'd have a good time.

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On 6/18/2017 at 4:23 AM, DrNgor said:

Good review, @Writ. I'm glad that you and @LuFengLover have gotten so involved with our Mutual Review tradition. It brings a smile to my face!

I never saw this one, as something about it never seemed to appeal to me.

Thanks! I've really wanted to get into reviewing movies, and having this obligation to the monthly review thread is great for getting me to do so.

On 6/18/2017 at 1:39 PM, KenHashibe said:

Great review, @Writ! I've always wanted to see Cat Vs Rat. If you know me, you know I'm a Fu Sheng fanatic. Even if this movie is one of Lau's weaker films, I still wanna see it if only to be a completist. I feel I've become accustomed to the kind of humor in these movies and I love Fu Sheng, so I imagine I'd have a good time.

Yeah, I also felt the same way - just wanting to complete Lau's entire oeuvre. I haven't even finished seeing all of Lau's "good" films yet, but I really wanted to get some of the weaker ones out of the way. Lau really was one of the great directors of the 70s and 80s, but his commitment to only doing martial arts films means he was generally overlooked as another one of those exploitative trash directors. It's a shame really, but I think in the next few years, especially with the recent average improvement in film literacy throughout the mainstream, his films (especially his best ones) might finally get more respect as perfect expressions of a unique auteur.

Anyway, I think I might review one more for this month. It'll be The Rebel Intruders (1980).

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On 17/06/2017 at 3:26 PM, Writ said:

Cat vs Rat

Directed by Lau Kar-leung

Lau Kar-leung is probably my favourite Shaw Brothers director. In my opinion, he directed the most "perfect" martial arts films for the Shaw Brothers while ironically having certain quirks which would prevent most of his films from reaching perfection, or completely ruin an entire movie. Cat vs Rat is unfortunately the latter. Before watching this, I had expected it to be one of Lau's worst films especially because of what I heard about the humour aspect. My expectations were absolutely met, though there are still some bright spots.

Hi @Writ, great review, while I'm a fan of Lau Kar-Leung I think I'll give this one a miss.

Hope to squeeze in another review by the end of the week, anyone else have more reveiws planned before the end of the month?.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, its been great to see such a good response from the KFF crew.

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