As the Shaw Brothers film studio business was winding down, resulting in an output of lesser quality than the preceding decades, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter burst forth, a bellowing send-off for both a voluminous cycle of movies and a star who died too young. Bursting with vigour and capturing much of what made the studio and director famous, it never settles for imitating the past, still refining techniques and pushing new ideas.
This is not immediately evident as the … (read more)
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)
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)
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)
Sammo Hung has embraced the fact he is a large fellow. Often giving his characters names that draw attention to his size — Teapot in Winners and Sinners or Moby in Wheels on Meals — or even referencing his physique in the title of the film itself — Enter the Fat Dragon or Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon — he has never allowed his decidedly non-traditional fighting frame to slow him down. This is amply apparent in Pedicab Driver.
Seconds … (read more)
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 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)