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chazgower01

A Book of Heroes (Hong Kong, 1986) Yukari Oshima

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A Book of Heroes (Hong Kong, 1986) youtube 2.5/5

One of Yukari Oshima’s first films, this Taiwanese cheapie is a convoluted story about a treasure map, with way too many characters chasing it and acting silly. The main bad guy (Yasuaki Kurata) lives in a Scarface-style house and unknowingly has an undercover cop, Yukari Oshima working for him as a hired ass-kicker.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that, 15 minutes into the movie, Yukari has maybe one of her top ten movie fights, when she takes on five thugs as an exhibition of her talent for the boss. If this IS her first movie, I can see why she made a quick transition to Hong Kong, because it’s spotlight impressive. And it’s her second fight of the movie!

Unfortunately, most of the movie isn’t about her, though we do get some decently entertaining fights from some of the other characters - from Taiwan - including Pauline Lan who is superbly body doubled in the first fight with Yukari and Elsa Yang (aka Pauline Yang) who they get creative within her fights. And some little kid too, in a cleverly body doubled fight.

The finale is a welcome relief, even though it features some of that silly comedy still, but super tall Black actor Eugene Thomas gets some impressive kicks in as one of the bad guys squaring off with everyone. Literally ‘Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting’.

And after disappearing for most of 45 minutes, Yukari is back, though somewhat limited in the 15-minute finale, sharing fight time with everyone else. The fighting, the stunts, and the creativity is such that, it’s hard for her to stand out here - they really did a great job filming these fights scenes and it’s an entertaining part of an otherwise mostly forgettable Hour and a half.

Then in the final two minutes, after the police congratulate each other - Yukari and Pauline have a sparring match at the gym (Maybe Pauline DOES have some skills) and we see Yukari practically fly through the air, flip, kick, and gymnastically do what she does best in an added display of her talent. A great debut in a very uneven movie.

Note: Sammo Hung recruited Yukari Oshima for Millionaire’s Express, which came out in January of 1986, so THAT was her first film in the Hong Kong market. (She played a regular villain in the Bioman series in Japan previously). She made three other Taiwan movies in 1986, most likely to keep working until her next Hong Kong feature the following year.

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On 6/27/2019 at 8:40 AM, chazgower01 said:

A Book of Heroes (Hong Kong, 1986) youtube 2.5/5

 

I absolutely *love* this film. This arguably has more people being thrown through windows, walls and furniture than a Jackie Chan movie. It slows down a little  in the middle, yes, but it's an extremely satisfying fight film.

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On 6/28/2019 at 11:43 AM, DrNgor said:

I absolutely *love* this film. This arguably has more people being thrown through windows, walls and furniture than a Jackie Chan movie. It slows down a little  in the middle, yes, but it's an extremely satisfying fight film.

I really SHOULD update it to a 3/5 because I would most definitely watch it again, just for the fighting!

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