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Thread: What Asian Films Have You Been Watching Recently?

  1. #441
    Followed up yesterday's two quality flicks with a couple of complete duds. First up was Leo Zhang's sci fi thriller, BLEEDING STEEL starring Jackie Chan. This shit is just garbage. Nothing about this flick is remotely entertaining or even mildly amusing. Jackie's time has passed him and instead of gracefully bowing out & working behind the scenes, he continues to embarrass himself with shit tier projects like this one. In fact, I can't think of one top notch production that he's been involved with going back at least a decade - I think THE FOREIGNER might be the only semi-decent one.

    The other flick I watched was Clarence Fok's PASSION (1995) starring Simon Yam. I remember watching this one a while back but never finished it for some reason...well, now I know the reason - it's not very good. Simon plays a Mainlander coming to HK in search of his girlfriend but gets more than he bargained for after meeting a motley crew of riff raff and losers along the way. I usually enjoy these type of storylines involving quirky characters and low life denizens especially when they are of the attractive female variety as is here with Christy Chung & Teresa Mak but they were fucking annoying here. I've enjoyed Kingdom Yuen's comedic histrionics in other flicks but she's just exhausting to watch in this one. The biggest flaw is that Simon's character is a dullard and his usually terrific onscreen persona is completely neutered.

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  2. #442
    Quote Originally Posted by Takuma View Post
    The Loyal 47 Ronin (忠臣蔵) (Japan, 1958) - 3/5
    Slightly uneven but generally good Daiei version of the famous story. The film gets to an underwhelming start with a by-the-numbers opening act depicting the events that lead to Lord Asano pulling his sword on Kira, but the segment is either too long or too short (Hiroshi Inagaki showed a more detailed version is Chusingura, Kinji Fukasaku wisely condensed the whole opening act, which simply serves as a trigger to the actual story, to just a few minutes in The Fall of Ako Castle). However, the film improves once the main narrative begins and the focus is on Oishi (the excellent Kazuo Hasegawa), the struggling leader of the vengeful samurai tormented by his will for revenge and the necessity to keep it a secret even from his own family in order to fool the enemy. The supporting cast includes big name actors like Shintaro Katsu, Takashi Shimura and future yakuza film super star Koji Tsuruta before he moved to Toei in 1960.
    Seeing your recent review of THE LOYAL 47 RONIN made me dust off my old AnimEigo dvd and watch it again. I haven't watched this in probably 6 or 7 years but I recall it being my favorite adaptation of the Chushingura tales available here in North America and I preferred it to both the Inagaki & Kon Ichikawa versions. It is sprawling in scope and definitely drags in some parts but as you mentioned, the scenes involving Oishi and particularly Katsu in hiding their motives from their own families is deeply moving. Tsuruta having battle of conscience on whether to use Ayako Wakao's infatuation with him to get the floor plans to Kira's mansion is another very moving storyline.

    Also, checked out a SBs double header with a couple of flicks that I haven't seen in a long time. first up being Chang Cheh's THE DELINQUENT. I think this is one of Cheh's more underrated flicks and it was obviously overshadowed by the more popular CHINATOWN KID that came out a few years later with essentially the same reworked story & bigger star power with Fu Sheng. For me, this is Wang Chung's best role and the baddies were great too with Tung Lam being especially despicable. Lots of crazy action set pieces (the old saw mill makes another appearance here), death scenes (the death by drum cymbal was one of my faves), groovy 70s fashion on display and a funky soundtrack too. A bleak and nihilistic film and the ending just punctuates that fact.

    Last but not least was Wong Jing's MERCENARIES FROM HONG KONG. If you dig films where they have to assemble a team to accomplish a mission such as THE KILLER ELITE, THE DIRTY DOZEN, SEVEN SAMURAI, etc then this one is for you. Fuck that whack ass EXPENDABLES though and check out this OG flick instead. Entertaining mix of serious action with the usual Wong Jing hijinks but thankfully he doesn't go overboard here. There is one scene where Lolento picks up some blond tranny at a bar that I thought was going to be too goofy but thankfully, it turned out not to be too OTT. Good to see Wang Lung-wei playing a good guy for once and his ongoing love/hate relationship with Wong Yu throughout was funny. Although, you can see the final betrayal coming a mile away, it was still satisfying to see the traitor and villain or villainess in this case get his & her comeuppance at the end.

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  3. #443
    Caught a double header, with first up being Teinosuke Kinugasa's experimental silent film, A PAGE OF MADNESS. Borrowed my buddy's blu ray and thought it was interesting viewing but not my cup of tea. Was eager to check out the bonus features but that was a major letdown. It features some segment from a local college public TV show from the late 80s/early 90s with some shrink and that guy who co-wrote with Donald Richie, The Japanese Film: Art and Industry...should've provided some keen insight into this film but they came off as a couple of blowhards & the doofus host didn't help matters.

    Next up was Seijun Suzuki's THE FANG IN THE HOLE. A 1979 Fuji TV production that aired during their Sunday night horror series. I'm not familiar with Japanese TV at all, so perhaps Takuma could shed some light on this TV show? It seems like a sleazier and more violent version of The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone. I recall reading that other directors like 'maverick' Kazuo Kuroki and Yasuharu Hasebe, who were tired of the studio system, also plied their trade for Fuji TV's Sunday horror series. Anyway, back to this flick - it was written by frequent collaborator and director, Atsushi Yamatoya and some of the tell tale trademarks of Suzuki are readily apparent. It's basically a police procedural infused with supernatural horror elements. Yoshio Harada plays a deceased thug who comes back to haunt the detective responsible (played by Makoto Fujita) using his girlfriend as a proxy. The opening 10 minutes or so was simply fantastic (the scene during Harada's autopsy where he appears as an incubus was some good shit). Obviously, the budget and production values don't match his feature films but this is the shit that Arrow should've been putting out from Suzuki instead of those mediocre early studio efforts.

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  4. #444
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by 47lab View Post
    A 1979 Fuji TV production that aired during their Sunday night horror series. I'm not familiar with Japanese TV at all, so perhaps Takuma could shed some light on this TV show?
    I'm not familiar with this show, nor Japanese TV in general really, other than some Toei action shows. But yeah, Japanese TV used to be very liberal and kind of kicked ass from the 60s to the late 80s. In the 80's especially when Japanese action cinema was dead, TV often offered a better platform for action and cop shows.

    Some day I really need to find time to sit through all of Seibu keisatsu.

    Sadly, that's all the past. Nowadays all you have is crappy soap operas, and you can't even show breasts on TV anymore.

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