Blog Archives

Heart of Dragon (1985)

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For the first few minutes, Heart of Dragon — often found with “a” bonus article between “the” second and third word — could have you guessing. The opening shot would be at home in a classic kung fu film. Moments later a yellow-bandanna-sporting Jackie Chan is pulling a funny face in close up. And then… is Jackie really machine-gunning a bunch of uniformed men without blinking? After the opening scene though, Heart of Dragon gets on with being what is … (read more)

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Gorgeous (1999)

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The whimsical opening music of Gorgeous accompanies the narration of a romantic legend, while the camera pans across a dazzling night sky. This is promptly followed by a CGI fish burp gag. It’s not a movie to be taken seriously, but still ultimately wants to be a fairytale romance at heart. I can’t believe I watched this with my brothers back in the day without squirming.

Innocent, starry-eyed, Taiwanese girl Bu (Shu Qi) strikes out for the big city with … (read more)

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Wheels on Meals (1984)

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At least the title is likely to catch an eye running down a list of potential viewing opportunities. The standard explanation for this strangeness is that the previous two films from the Golden Harvest studio that had English names beginning with the letter M had flopped, so the titular nouns were reversed to get away from the unlucky consonant. What the heck — a fun movie needs a fun title, and this one delivers!

Following in Bruce Lee’s footsteps with … (read more)

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Project A: Part II (1987)

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Project A is a highlight of Jackie Chan’s filmography, and the movie I use to introduce those unfamiliar with Hong Kong cinema to the many and varied delights it delivers. However, Project A: Part II is my favourite Jackie Chan movie. It is perhaps one of the purest displays of Jackie’s talent for creating intricate action and comedy scenes, displayed so clearly that the skill behind their construction is almost invisible.

As if as a reminder of the high bar … (read more)

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Mr. Nice Guy (1997)

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According to his autobiography, Chan first received the nickname “Jackie” at a job on a Canberra construction site while visiting his parents, who worked at the US embassy. Although the construction site fight is an action movie staple — along with the warehouse or factory fight — it seems fitting that this Australian set film’s best action scene take place in one.

The second film of Jackie’s “Aussie duology” — after Jackie Chan’s First StrikeMr. Nice Guy is … (read more)

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Jackie Chan’s First Strike (1996)

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The original title positions this as the fourth in Jackie’s Police Story series, but apart from Stanley Tong returning as director after Police Story 3: Supercop and Bill Tung appearing in a few brief scenes as Jackie’s senior in the Hong Kong police, there is no connection to the previous movies. This is surely deliberate, allowing Jackie’s first American release post Rumble in the Bronx to build on the momentum begun by that film, without being billed as the fourth … (read more)

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CZ12 (2012)

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As if we needed confirmation that Jackie Chan has been drinking Beijing’s Kool-Aid, the one-two punch of his recent remarks in the Hong Kong media and the ghastly and cynical CZ12 should put any queries to rest. Right before the film was released, Chan started shooting his mouth off about how Hongkongers complain too much and about how they’re just too quick to exercise their right to free speech and protest. He suggested the government look at putting some kind … (read more)

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Shaolin (2011)

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Our first Chinese film release in Australian cinemas this year is Benny Chan’s Shaolin, a big-budget action film packed full of stars and showcasing Shaolin kungfu and philosophy with an official seal of approval from the Shaolin Temple itself.

Straight off the back of his starring role in Detective Dee, Andy Lau stars as warlord Hao Jie, a calculating general who delights in ravaging across the countryside, capturing cities and amassing a serious retirement nest-egg. His most recent … (read more)

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