Blog Archives

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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The Shinjuku Incident (2009)

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Jackie Chan has been making forays into more dramatic acting in the last few years — there were early attempts like Crime Story and Thunderbolt, and in the last few years we’ve had New Police Story and The Myth as well. But these have still been identifiably Jackie Chan movies — grueling stunts, inventive high-impact fight choreography, Jackie front-and-centre as the hero.

I didn’t think it very likely that we’d get one of those from director Derek Yee, though. … (read more)

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The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

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The Forbidden Kingdom attracted huge attention from the moment it was rumoured that the world’s two biggest names in martial arts cinema would be working together. The J & J Project, they whispered. Yuen Wo Ping’s choreographing, they typed. There were naysayers, too: It’s American, from Miramax, and from the director of… Stuart Little, of all things. The trailers looked OK, though, with a strong emphasis on the action sequences, and it had Jet Li in … (read more)

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The Myth (2005)

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Well, we’re a little late with this one, and we’re terribly sorry — a new Jackie Chan film should be an event, exploding on to the screen with jawdropping stunts and inspired action choreography. With ceiling fans, clock towers and pachinko parlours. Instead, my copy of The Myth has sat on my shelf a while, looking sorrowfully at me while I passed it over in favour watching of Shaw Brothers classics.

But no more. I picked it up the other … (read more)

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Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978)

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Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow is one of the better films from Jackie Chan’s early career; though the story will be familiar to fans of this style of martial arts film, it has the energy and comedic timing that has really served to differentiate Jackie’s work in kung fu filmmaking from that of others. It’s directed by master of the genre Yuen Wo Ping, who should need no introduction, and co-stars the director’s father, Simon Yuen, in a similar role … (read more)

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The Protector (1985, Jackie Chan)

Don’t watch this film. Really. If you do, I may have to come around and slap you silly.

First, the plot: my garden furniture could do better. That probably goes for a lot of the acting as well. Add in racism, sexism, an overwhelming sense of anti-humour (that cancels out, ohhh, years of humorous things), crap action choreography, filming apparently cunningly designed to miss every single bit of action in the fight scenes, some ridiculous caricatures, and a complete wastage … (read more)

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Project A (1983)

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Project A, made in 1983, marked Jackie Chan’s return to the Hong Kong film industry after his first attempt to crack the American film market (resulting in Battle Creek Brawl and a cameo in Cannonball Run). It reunited the three opera school brothers — Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao — in a huge period comedy with a very liberal dose of action scenes, and earned a ridiculous amount of money at the HK box office at … (read more)

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New Police Story (2004)

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See Jackie laugh! See Jackie cry! See Jackie get drunk and throw up in the gutter!

New Police Story opens in a very unconventional way: the camera pans slowly, in loving and almost surgical close-up, over the stubbly, tear-stained face of the waking Inspector Wong. We know straight away that this is not going to be a humorous waking. There’ll be no knuckles in the mouth, horrified memories of the night before: “Did I really strip down to my underwear … (read more)

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