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Thread: What Asian Films Have You Been Watching Recently?

  1. #401
    Had a few movies on my "to watch queue" that I finally got around to catching earlier today. First up was Kinji Fukasaku's DRIFTING DETECTIVE: TRAGEDY IN RED VALLEY. I was thinking it was going to be neat to see a real young Sonny Chiba in a 'drifter' type series with a heavy Western influence but damn, he was goofy as hell here. On top of that, he wasn't even funny in the supposed comedic scenes & Chiba's hammy acting was strictly amateur hour. This is only recommended for Chiba completists and those interested in seeing one of Fukasaku's early works. I believe he made another flick right after in this DRIFTING DETECTIVE series & can only hope that one is more entertaining than this one.



    Next up was Joseph Kuo's THE SEISURE SOUL SWORD OF A BLIND GIRL. Okay, lead actress Cheung Ching-ching is no BLIND OICHI in the CRIMSON BAT series but she puts in a decent effort here. Similar storyline about a blind girl trained by a master and sets on her path for vengeance. I like the fact, this flick doesn't get too much into her backstory, instead it goes straight to the point of what the viewers want to see and that is this blind lady fucking up the baddies with her 'magic' sword. I cracked up at the rather primitive optical effects that show the 'power' of her sword onscreen but can't really expect much from these low budget Taiwanese martial arts flicks. It was still entertaining despite my copy sourced from Jamal having embedded Korean subtitles over the English ones which was annoying.



    The best for last and that was Miike's BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL. I'll have more to say about this flick on its own thread but suffice to say, it was goofy fun. I really enjoyed this one on a purely visceral level. One of the better Miike flicks in recent memory and I prefer this over his adaptations of 13 ASSASSINS and HARI-KIRI.

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  2. #402
    @Jared from Mondo Macabro.

    I tried to PM you back but get this message.

    Jared A. has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space.
    Btw, when are you going to acquire more Korean horror titles or Asian titles in general?
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  3. #403
    Oh shit! Will fix that immediately.

    I am trying! About to make a concerted effort to get a Taiwanese exploitation film from the early 80s. Wish me luck!

    Also have a bead on some more vintage Korean films! So hopefully sometime in the next two years we'll be able to do more of those.

  4. #404
    Quote Originally Posted by Jared A. View Post
    Oh shit! Will fix that immediately.

    I am trying! About to make a concerted effort to get a Taiwanese exploitation film from the early 80s. Wish me luck!

    Also have a bead on some more vintage Korean films! So hopefully sometime in the next two years we'll be able to do more of those.
    okay, the PM should go through now. So check your inbox if you don't get a notification.

    Early 80s Taiwanese exploitation? Hope it's one of the 'rape and revenge' black films like GIRL WITH A GUN.
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  5. #405
    Caught the Korean political crime thriller, V.I.P. directed by Park Hoon-jung. I had high expectations going into this one due to 1) having been scripted & helmed by the guy who wrote the screenplays for I SAW THE DEVIL & THE UNJUST and directed NEW WORLD (all 3 are very good to excellent flicks), 2) starring some big name actors such as Jang Dong-gun, Kim Myung-min and rising young actor, Lee Jong-suk & 3) being a fan in general of Korean crime thrillers as they have a knack for the genre...well, I guess my expectations were too high as this was a terribly disjointed movie with a ridiculous politically motivated plot line. Not too mention it was boring for most of its runtime. The bookend opening and closing scenes were okay but this flick needed some serious editing (another in a long line of Korea films that are over 2 hours) & Lee Jong-suk, with his delicate flower boy looks appeared to be the perfect candidate for the role of the effete North Korean serial killer but halfway in, I realized he was miscast. He lacked any depth to his character and his attempts to emote any type of sinister aura was a joke. Also, that Swedish actor from FARGO (Steve Buscemi's partner in crime) is in this as a CIA operative and he was terrible! The director could've gotten some fat balding sexpat from Itaewon to play that role more convincingly. I believe this is also Jang Dong-gun's first movie since that godawful NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD and he plays a similar type of character. What happened to this guy? He had a string of great roles in the late 90s to early 2000s & was poised to be Korea's breakout star in the West. I blame that movie he did with Kate Bosworth as starting his downfall.

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  6. #406
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Bullet Terror (恐怖の弾痕) (Japan, 1957) [35mm] - 2.5/5
    A young judo expert (Akira Takarada) assumes a white collar job in a night club company that is being harassed by the yakuza and their sword for hire bodyguard (Jun Tazaki), whose father was once upon a time killed by the judo guy's good-for-nothing father (talk about coincidences) - an incident that has stained the decent son's life and career ever since. The new employer soon turns out to be no better - their real business is revealed to be narcotics. Mildly entertaining b-action film with a couple of judo vs. sword duels. The storyline and characterization are purely programmer stuff, though, and some scenes are badly dated (e.g. long episode featuring a time bomb ticking in the clueless hero's car while he's chasing the bad guy).



    Blood and Diamonds (血とダイヤモンド) (Japan, 1964) [35mm] - 3/5
    A diamond heist goes wrong, leaving one member bleeding with a bullet in the stomach. They retreat to a bunker where tensions begin to rise. This Toho crime thriller by Jun Fukuda bears striking similarity to Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (far more than City on Fire) and some plot elements can't be discussed without spoiling both films. Blood and Diamonds isn't as tightly written but features a noirish atmosphere and interesting characterization especially regarding bleeding, sweat-covered gangster Makoto Sato whose greed for money is bone chilling. Takashi Shimura plays a doctor whose daughter is captured by the gangsters to force him to dig out the bullet of Sato's stomach.

    Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (座頭市と用心棒) (Japan, 1970) [BD] - 3.5/5
    Part 20. There's a scene in many of the Zatoichi films where Zatoichi is walking down a countryside road and enjoying life's little pleasures, such as the sun gently embracing his face. This film starts with the rain beating his face. He is sick and tired of it all, the rain, the coldness, the killing. This was the second film in the series produced by Katsu's own company. From visuals to characterization it's a much darker take on the franchise, devoid of the kind of beauty and romanticism that were present in the more conservative crowd pleasers produced by Daiei. Of course, it's still an extremely commercial film with some humorous moments and two legendary characters, but they are both given a grittier portrayal than one might expect. At 115 minutes it's the longest film in the series, and while it may not rank among the very best, the final 20 minutes is quite spectacular with director Okamoto, composer Ikufube, cinematographer Miyagawa and the cast all doing amazing job. In addition to Mifune and Katsu, there are excellent supporting turns by Shin Kishida (assassin) and Kanjuro Arashi (sculptor).



    (Maruhi) Jorô zankoku iro-jigoku ((秘)女郎残酷色地獄) (Japan, 1973) [35mm] - 2/5
    This Roman Porno film has, for some reason, been neglected in English language writing to the extent that it doesn't seem to have an English title. The loss is not big. Decently acted and produced, but unimaginatively directed by the artistically non-gifted Shinichi Shiratori, it's yet another sad story of girls forced to work as courtesans in Edo. Leading girl Rie Nakagawa was one of the early Roman Porno starlets, and had a slight edge over some of her fellow actresses in terms of acting talent.

    Once a Thief (Hong Kong, 1991) [DVD] - 3.5/5
    John Woo's fun and stylish caper where, surprisingly enough, Chow Yun Fat is the weakest link. I used to love the film but seeing it again now I must say Chow is more irritating than charming with his comedy act. He does have his moments though, and there are times when the dumb humour works in the "only in Hong Kong" sense. Otherwise the film is quite enjoyable with cool cinematography, fun action and occasional master class scenes, such as the encounter in front of a grocery store, and the wonderful dance scene which ranks among Woo's finest moments.

    Zatoichi (座頭市) (Japan, 2003) [DVD] - 3/5
    Kitano's over-rated revival of the legendary character features good moments (e.g. the tap dance scene) but suffers from a mediocre script. Kitano himself makes a passable but forgettable Zatoichi. He acquits himself well with sword, and the action could be quite enjoyable if it wasn't for the God-awful CGI blood. Co-star Tadanobu Asano plays a hired-by-the-yakuza ronin with a sick wife, a strangely under-written character whose kind is familiar from dozens of ninkyo yakuza films. The score is pretty good at times, though no Hisaishi. Looking back at the film and its initial popularity, it probably benefitted from Kitano and Asano having been at the height of their popularity, and many viewers not having been terribly familiar with Japanese yakuza and jidai geki films beyond Kurosawa, mistaking Kitano's "vision" as something more original than it really was. It's not that different from Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi films, and in the Zatoichi cannon it's a pretty mediocre entry.

    Exodus (Hong Kong, 2007) [DVD] - 4/5
    A police officer (Simon Yam) begins to suspect women are conspiring to kill all men from the face of earth. Brilliant mixture of satire and paranoia thriller is mostly played straight, without underestimating the viewer, much in the sense of 70s cinema that could be playfully outrageous yet take itself seriously enough not to wink its eye at the viewer every bloody 10 seconds. The latter only happens a few times in Exodus, mainly the poor opening scene and some bits near the end in an otherwise excellent film. Watching the film kept thinking if Twitch Film's Todd Brown has seen the it and taken offence. He had, and he did. Oh, and the cinematography is lovely as well.

    Last edited by Takuma; 01-23-2018 at 11:52 PM.

  7. #407
    Watched Shogoro Nishimura's roman porno take on the dokufu Oden Takahashi story, CRIMSON NIGHT DREAM. This was pretty lame and didn't go into her notorious crime at all but rather focused on making her a sympathetic figure who was abused by her brute of a husband and only found respite from his boorish behavior in the arms of her new found lover. A few foggy sex scenes and a couple of lingering shots of the debauched housemaid were not worth the effort of seeking this out. I'd rather watch the old Nobuo Nakagawa movie based on her life than this pile of crap.













    On my "to watch list" I have the Kara Hui revenge actioner, MRS K, the Korean action noir thriller, REAL & the loose remake BETTER TOMORROW 2018. Hope to watch all 3 of these this weekend.





    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  8. #408
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 47lab View Post
    Watched Shogoro Nishimura's roman porno take on the dokufu Oden Takahashi story, CRIMSON NIGHT DREAM. This was pretty lame and didn't go into her notorious crime at all but rather focused on making her a sympathetic figure who was abused by her brute of a husband and only found respite from his boorish behavior in the arms of her new found lover. A few foggy sex scenes and a couple of lingering shots of the debauched housemaid were not worth the effort of seeking this out. I'd rather watch the old Nobuo Nakagawa movie based on her life than this pile of crap.
    Neither the story description nor the screencaps you posted belong to Nishimura's Crimson Night Dream (which I think is one of Nishimura's better Roman Porno films). Nishimura's film portrays Oden Takahashi as a sympathetic woman who was trying to take care of her sick (and relatively nice guy, if my memory serves me correct) husband. It also shows the murder she committed.







    Your screencaps seen to be from something called 秘蔵版 日傘の女

  9. #409
    @Takuma, thanks for the correction. Upon looking at the file folder again, the movie titles are mixed up. The one named CRIMSON NIGHT DREAM actually is some RP flick by Jun Utsugi(?) called Hizō-ban: Higasa no onna (1984) & it's labeled VHSRip as you can see from the screencaps. This .jpg of the cover is in the folder too.



    The other folder that is labeled HIZOBAN: HIGASA NO ONNA I suppose is the Shogoro Nishimura one but haven't checked yet. It has this .jpg cover art.



    That one says it's a dvdrip but is CRIMSON NIGHT DREAM available out on dvd in Japan? I ask because i see you posted caps from the streaming service you subscribe to on occasion & not a dvd. I think since both starred Takako Shinozuka, there was some sort of mixup in the folders. I'll check that one out tomorrow since you gave it a ringing endorsement.
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  10. #410
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    The latter one is the Nishimura film. It's not available on DVD as far as I know. I'm only aware of the DMM fullscreen stream which I viewed last year.

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