Dreadnaught (1981)

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Dreadnaught is a lot of things. A cracker of a fun movie for a start. It’s also a Wong Fei-Hung story, a slasher movie, a star turn for Yuen Biao, the inspiration for a scene in Batman Forever and still remains a unique film in its own right, approaching genre conventions with an unconventional spin. Blending generous helpings of action, comedy, and horror into one madcap mixture only 95 minutes long, some scenes incredibly still manage to drag a little!… (read more)

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Decision to Leave (2022)

It’s been a while since Park Chan-wook’s last feature length film. Since The Handmaiden in 2016, he’s done some television and short film work, so the industry was well and truly ready for another big screen event from one of South Korea’s hardest hitting directors. KOFFIA hosted screenings of Decision to Leave in some Australian cities back in September, but Madman has engineered a wider release for the film so now more folks have a chance to see what images … (read more)

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Once Upon a Time in China & America (1997)

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Wong Fei Hung goes west. OK, technically he goes east to get to the American West, but it’s very much Wong Fei Hung in a western genre film. The Once Upon a Time in China film series has always had a historical fiction slant, so the premise of this entry, while more fanciful than those that came before it, is different in degree rather than kind. Once Upon a Time in China & America (OUATICAA) slides into self-parody … (read more)

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Bad Guy

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The casting director deserves a bonus for this series. I can imagine the briefing notes: “Find us a lead actor who can smoulder. We want someone who can seduce all women, and some men, convey a broad range of emotions, or appear mysterious and enigmatic as needed. The ability to look sexy on a motorbike and deliver a spinning back kick would be good too.” Well, they certainly got all that and more with Kim Nam-gil. Add Han Ga-in as … (read more)

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Dali & Cocky Prince

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Who’d have imagined that Lovely Nurse Park ™ from Doctor Romantic could metamorphose into a shouty, obnoxious, tossbadger? It certainly wasn’t on my bingo card, but Kim Min-jae does a sterling job, carrying off the role of the nouveau riche gamjatang tycoon with an unsuspected elan.

I suspect Kim has been typecast as the mild-mannered romantic lead far too often, so this role must have been a welcome opportunity. It was first offered to Lee Jae-wook, of Do Do Sol … (read more)

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A Korean Odyssey

Do we need another version of Journey to the West? We’ve already had the Japanese TV series Monkey! (exclamation mark damn well included), the massively cool anime series Saiyuki, The Monkey King, and numerous other versions of the 16th century Chinese story about Great Sage Equal Of Heaven, otherwise known as the Monkey King.

And my answer is yes, gentle reader, we absolutely do. We need this particular version because we need the mesmerising Son O-gong that only … (read more)

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Special Delivery (2022)

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It’s that time of year again. KOFFIA rolls into town, offering the chance to see some fresh films without knowing much about what’s coming. Special Delivery reminded me once more that South Korean movies, even broad crowd pleasers like this, are consistently surprising.

The movie’s forty-five second trailer sells itself on the car chasing and other action, but elements of a lot of other genres — jokes, jump scares, melodrama and more — are along for the ride as well. … (read more)

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Hwarang

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV Series – 20 episodes

Is it just me, or does Park Seo-jun’s contract stipulate at least one shower scene in every drama?

In this case, he’s joined in his ablutions by several other young men, so if that’s one of your criteria for a good drama, then put Hwarang on your list.

Ditto if you want as many K-pop stars as possible, because this has no less than three: Park Hyung-sik (ZE:A), Choi Minho … (read more)

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