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Wheels On Meals (HK 1984)

Director : Sammo Hung
Producer : Raymond Chow
Screenplay : Edward Tang, Johnny Lee
Cast : Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lola Forner, Benny Urquidez, Keith Vitali

Synopsis
Thomas (Jackie Chan) and David (Yuen Biao) are fast food traders working out of a van in a town square in Barcelona. They cross paths with a young girl called Sylvia, who is – unknown to them – a pickpocket and seems to be in trouble as she is chased by some dodgy looking men. Private Investigator Moby (Sammo Hung) is also looking for this young girl and uncovers a plot to kidnap her. After initially disliking each other the two brothers form a friendship with the private detective, and when the kidnappers snatch Sylvia they decide to go to her rescue.

Review
by Martin Cleary

If you’re a Jackie Chan or have been a Hong Kong film fan for any real period of time, then the chances are you’ve already seen Wheels On Meals. This is one of those classic eighties action-comedies that HK produced rather well. And in this case it has the magic of the three brothers: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.

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Way of the Dragon (HK 1972)

Director : Bruce Lee
Written by : Bruce Lee
Cast : Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Chuck Norris, Ping-Ao Wei, Chung-Hsin Huang, Robert Wall and Ing-Sik Whang

Synopsis
Tang Lung (Bruce Lee) arrives in Rome to help his cousins in the restaurant business. They are being pressured to sell their property to the syndicate, who will stop at nothing to get what they want. When Tang arrives he poses a new threat to the syndicate, and they are unable to defeat him. The syndicate boss hires the best Japanese and European martial artists to fight Tang, but he easily finishes them off. The American martial artist Colt (Chuck Norris) is hired and has a showdown with Tang in Rome’s famous Colosseum.

Review
by Edward Tang

“Let him know. If I ever see him here again… HE WON’T LEAVE ALIVE!”

Being a huge fan of the martial arts genre, you can’t help but know Bruce Lee’s films by heart. My first experience with his flicks was when I bought a piece of crap VHS of Fist of Fury (The Chinese Connection) with horrible picture on dubbing. But still, amongst that, you could still witness Bruce Lee and how much presence the man has on the screen. This film in general is so basic, yet is probably one of the true gems in the particular genre. Everything is pretty basic, from the over-sized ugly ass goons, to your basic plot described in a few minutes, and so so acting. But in watching this film, it showcases why Bruce was great, every fight scene was entertaining and the final confrontation between him and Mr. Walker Texas Ranger is a classic and shouldn’t be missed by anyone. I’ve actually renamed this film “Smiley” because even though shit doesn’t go everyone’s way, smiles are always consistent on their faces.

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Warriors of Heaven and Earth (CHINA 2003)

Director : Ping He
Written by : Ping He
Cast : Kiichi Nakai, Xueqi Wang, Bagen Hasi, Vicki Zhao, Tao Ho, LInian Lu, Deshun Wang & Yeerjiang Mahepushen

Synopsis

A Japanese emissary is sent to the Gobi desert to execute a renegade soldier. When a caravan transporting a Buddhist monk and a valuable treasure is threatened by thieves, however, the two warriors might unite to protect the travelers.

Review
by Edward Tang

This is an example of a great film that was probably tailor made to have something of a notice in the states. Like your “Crouching Tiger” and “Hero”, it’s an epic film with great action sequences and top notch acting/story. But covering familiar ground seems to be the constant with films of this nature, and it doesn’t change here. The film looked good and remained good until the ending. Everything up until that point was great, but the ending seemed rushed and out of place. What we were shown was good enough for me, but how the events unfolded left a sour taste in my mouth, considering we had been along with these characters for almost 2 hours and the harsh tone wasn’t needed. But as in all films of this caliber, it saves itself with a great bunch of actors whom pull the reigns of this film. Both main characters (whom wanted each other dead) pulled off their roles with great respect, you didn’t want either of them to face each other at the end. 

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Vital (JAPAN 2004)

Director & Writer : Shinya Tsukamoto
Cast : Tadanobu Asano, Nami Tsukamoto, Kiki, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Lily and Hana Kino.

Review
by Edward Tang

From the man who brought us the classic mindfuck Tetsuo comes another flick that shows his greatness in every scene. There are very few directors out there who establish themselves to a point where as if you were to see a single frame of their movies, you could tell what director was doing the job and his name is all over this one. Perhaps not everyone is familiar with the name, if not check out some of his great works like the already mentioned Tetsuo, Snake in June, Tokyo Fist or Bullet Ballet. Vital is a basic film that really doesn’t showcase notable odd and plain ol’ nasty shit that the man is usually known for but this shows how he has matured as a director, not needing the violent factor (shame) to spice up the night rather than displaying his excellent style of direction and interesting visuals.

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Versus (JAPAN 2003)

Director : Ryuhei Kitamura
Cast : Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki, Chieko Misaka, Kenji Matsuda, Yuichiro Arai, Minoru Matsumoto, and Kazuhito Ohba

Synopsis
A pair of escaped convicts meet up with a group of gangsters by a remote forest road. After an argument over a girl the mobsters have kidnapped, shots are fired and one of the gangsters is killed. The standoff is cut short, however, when the dead man suddenly springs to life and starts trying to kill his former friends. The zombie eventually goes down in a hail bullets, but their problems aren’t over. It seems the gangsters have been using this forest to dispose of of their victims, all of whom are now looking to settle some old scores. Even if they get through this mess, there is still the question of why they’ve arranged to meet the convicts out here, and why they’ve brought along the girl. How are they connected to the dead bodies coming back to life?

Review
by Edward Tang

I give this movie a perfect score, 5/5 because what it does, it takes an unfamiliar plot and mixes it in with zombies and pure action. I’m a pushover when it comes to flicks like these, completely over the top destruction and a few comedic moments here and there. Versus is a great film because it is non-stop entertainment, backed on with a plot that looked good and delivered the goods in an easy, but interesting way. I’m a realist, films like this aren’t made every day, and when they are, you can’t help but smile and enjoy what you are seeing on the screen. Give me this any day over the dreck I continue to waste money on, every time I got the local theater. Okay, maybe not that bad, but Ben Affleck or Keanu Reeves as an action hero? Give me a break, and a kit kat bar as well. As Versus remains off key, and totally out there with some of the stuff that they dish out, I was asking for more the entire time. Seeing that Kitamura has green lighted the second installment, he better not let me down, I don’t think that my childish lust for blood and zombies can be contained for much longer! (Note: Don’t feed the animals)

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