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Legendary Weapons of China (HK 1982)

aka 18 Legendary Weapons of China

Director : Lau Kar-Leung
Cast :  Gordon Liu, Alexander Fu Sheng, Hsiao Ho, Kara Hui Ying-Hung, Lau Kar Wing and Lau Kar-Leung.

During the Boxer Rebellion, gun toting foreigners invade China and begin slaughtering all who oppose them. Finding their skills no match for this deadly new firepower, Lei Kung retreats, but finds himself pursued by other kung fu schools who want him silenced. Using every Chinese weapon available, Lei takes on his informer brother in a battle to the death.

by Edward Tang

Let me first start off by saying that this film is loads of fun that delivers old school kung-fu at its finest. Lau-Kar Leung shines as both director and star of “Legendary Weapons of China”, a film that has no bullshit fighting and a great cast of characters. What really impressed me about this film was that even with a basically stupid plot, they made it more of a simple message, about trying to avoid death with mindless attempts to survive bullet wounds. The cast is very impressive, going down from Lau himself to Gordon Liu, Alexander Fu Sheng, Hsiao Ho, and Kara Hui-Ying Hung. These characters all get their licks in and are very impressive in every fight scene available to the viewer. There’s something about these films that always interest me, and this one shines as one of the better Lau-Kar Leung films of all time. Of course, you can’t go wrong with one of the best fight scenes I”ve seen in a while, where the Lau brothers take each other on in classic fashion. This is a no bullshit fight either, no fancy music, just plain action.

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Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (KOREA 2005)

Directed : Park Chan Wook
Written by : Park Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-Gyeong
Cast : Lee Young-Ae, Choi Min Mik

Synopsis :
“A high school student (Lee) goes to jail in order to save the teacher (Choi) she loves. When she leaves prison 13 years later, she finds she has been betrayed and prepares to take her revenge.”

by Edward Tang

Ah, from the moment you view the opening stylized credits you know that you’ll be in for a damn good ride brought to you by Mr. Park Chan-wook. Returning for the final time to his vengeance-themed flicks, you can bet your ass that he delivers the goods again. From the beginning to end, you are treated with a visual display that most directors couldn’t even handle if they tried. Everything in this film is up to par, whether it be the performances (I don’t think you’ll find a film that this man has directed where the actors weren’t pure goodness throughout), the plot, the awesome musical score, direction or anything in between. Perhaps the only thing people would bitch about would be the lack of “action” in between scenes like the infamous hallway fight in Oldboy or when that Green-haired douche in Mr. Vengeance smacks down the kidney-thieves. What we have here is a gift, the perfect conclusion to the GREATEST trilogy of films I’ve ever seen. Take the gift, unwrap it and enjoy.

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Lady Snowblood (JAPAN 1973)

aka Blizzard From The Netherworld / Shurayuki Hime

Director: Fujita Toshiya
Cast: Kaji Meiko, Kurosawa Toshio, Masaaki Daimon

A woman gives birth to a baby girl while in prison. She tells her fellow inmates that her daughter must take revenge for an attack on herself and her husband by a gang of five which resulted in her husband’s death and her own unhappy life. The baby girl, Yuki, grows up and is trained in sword-fighting techniques . Her aim in life is single-minded – she must track down the four people who destroyed her mother’s life – and
gave her the only reason for her own: to kill.

by Martin Cleary

Whatever you think of Tarantino’s recent Kill Bill, its success has meant that some of the little known (in the west at least) films that ‘inspired’ that film have had some dvd releases, and Lady Snowblood is among the best of them. The films plot is fairly simple – a woman gives birth in prison and dies. Before she passes away she tells the other locked-up women that her daughter has only one reason in life: revenge. We then find out what has happened to cause this situation – the woman’s husband was murdered and she was beaten and raped by a group of five. After managing to kill one of this gang herself, she was sent to prison. In the prison she whores herself out to any man available so that eventually ends up pregnant – with the aim that he child will revenge her dead husband and her own sad demise. The film follows this daughters training and eventual attempt to revenge her parents.Of course, it all gets a bit messy.

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Kibakichi 2 (JAPAN 2004)

Director : Daiji Hattori
Cast : Ryuji Harada, Mike Tanaka, Masaktsu Funaki, Yoko Kamon, and Aimi Nakamura.

Its about a lone swordsman from Yokai, a land of monsters that once co-existed alongside man. Raised on raw meat rations and with an affinity with the full moon as well as a blistering skill with the sword his Yokai persona is that of a werewolf. In his venture to seek out the best in mankind, he finds himself in a desolate village and in the middle of an age-old battle between good and evil. Geisha turn into giant carnivorous spiders, samurai change into werewolves and ghostly monsters and skeletons prey on humans, KIBAKICHI delivers all the grit of a spaghetti western with the violent grace of a samurai flick.

by Edward Tang

Ah, not to long ago for this very website I reviewed a little film called Kibakichi. The film itself was full of monsters, spray-blood effects and entertaining action. Not a classic by any means and not really even a film that deserves to be remembered but it was fun. Now low and behold, a sequel was made and I was quite eager to check out the results. Well, not really eager because it is still a film about a bunch of stupid fucking monsters and has blood effects that are really quite hilarious if anything. But the film itself is so short and enjoyable that I didn’t really care. Yep, Kibakichi 2 is solid entertainment that has an easy story to follow and above average actions sequences that seem to take up the bulk of the 85 minute run time. There were a few things in general that I liked more than the original one that includes more action as compared to the first and the WOLF FIGHT, something that made me laugh that wasn’t suppose to be funny.

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Kung Fu Hustle (HK 2004)

Director : Stephen Chow
Music : Raymond Wong
Action Choreography : Yuen Woo Ping
Visual Effects : Centro Digital Pictures LTD
Editor : Angie Lam
Production Designer : Oliver Wong
Photography : Poon Hang Sang
Co-Producers : Rita Fung, Connie Wong
Executive Producers : Bill Borden, Zhao Hai Cheng, David Hung
Writer : Stephen Chow, Tsang Kan Cheong, Lola Huo, Chan Man Keung
Produced by : Yang Bu Ting, Wang Zhong Jun, Chui Po Chu, Han San Ping, Wang Zhong Lei

Cast : Stephen Chow, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu, Kwok Kuen Chan, Hsiao Liang, Zhi Hua Dong, Yu Xing and Chi Chung Lam.

Set in Canton, China in the 1940s, the story revolves around a hapless wannabe gangster who aspires to become a member of the notorious “Axe Gang.” Other characters include an obnoxious landlady and her apparently frail husband who exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.

by Edward Tang

Best picture winner and top grossing film of all time? There’s not too many films here in the USA that really can match to such. Titanic is the only film that could say it has already passed these waters (ho-hum) but we all know that Titanic is basically a fuckin’ waste of time, unless you like to watch people in anticipation of death. Kung Fu Hustle however has a bunch of overused (good) CGI, great martial arts scenes (Yuen Wo Ping? What did you expect?) and Mr. Stephen Chow whom is the reigning King of Comedy in Hong Kong. Basically I had high expectations for this film, it’s truly hard not to. Chow’s films have a desire to explore different subplots including this film that tries to go into a love story that just doesn’t do anything for my eyes. I guess we are done naming the negatives, because this film is loads of fuckin’ fun. Considering that Hong Kong cinema is on a skid right now, I’ll always look forward to Chow’s films because he delivers when he needs too. On a sidenote, my friend compared this little film to Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, please God no.

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