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What is the last non martial arts Asian movie you've watched?


Guest Ivy Ling Po

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Train to Busan - It turns out I enjoy films a lot more when not looking at my phone. I disliked this one first time around but thought I’d give it a second go. Really enjoyed it this time. I don’t quite thin it’s the legendary zombie movie some make it out to be but it’s a very enjoyable zombie horror. What it lacks in blood and guts it makes up for in character development. Once it picks up pace it rarely stops and it makes for one thrilling ride (literally).

First Love - Takashi Miike is a bit hit or miss for me but he hits is home run with this one. What begins as a complex crime thriller becomes an interesting romance and then, out of nowhere, it becomes what we all expect from Miike: a blood bath of a climax. I can’t recommend this one enough. 
 

The Cop, the Gangster, the Devil - Do you like gritty, Korean crime thrillers? If yes, this one might be for you. The premise is simple: a gangster teams with a cop to track down a serial killer. It’s a little slow in places and seeing a bunch of macho men yell at each other is boring at times but if you can look beyond these minor flaws, you’ll find a fantastic thriller with moments of levity, fantastic action sequences and a pitch perfect ending.

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Vices of Terror

City on Fire by Ringo Lam. Extremely stylish, well-crafted film with interesting characters and a shady crime plot. The HK at night scenes look super good and the charisma of Chow Yun-Fat is something captivating. Definite recommendation.

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The Last Gunfight (1960).  Mifune in a non-samurai role.  Entertaining piece of celluloid from director Okamoto Kihachi.

 

last gunfight.jpg

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"The Last Samurai(2003)": Really good movie. Use to not be much of a fan of Tom Cruise, but he has really grown on me. Which I'm glad of, because he has made a lot of really good films. 

"New World(2013)": It was pretty good, but I found myself sometimes lost at what was happening. Defiantly will be a movie that I will watch a few more times before I make a call on it. The elevator fight scene was awesome though. 

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Just watched The Detective (2007) starring Aaron Kwok the other day. I've really enjoyed it! Probably a lot more than I expected.

Love how it was filmed with this greenish filter (sorry don't know the right word), giving the movie this dark and bleak look. Perfect for the back alley setting in Thailand.

Also probably one of the funkiest opening scenes I watched in a long time. You'll know what I mean.

On top of that is Kwok's performance. This guy can easily carry a movie with his presence and charm. Great stuff!

As for the story it's ok the ending and twist which gets explained (unnecessarily IMHO) is not too bad either. Nothing out of the ordinary and especially towards the end it felt a bit rushed. Like they didn't really know what to do with the whole story.

Nevertheless I can easily recommend this movie if you're a fan of Aaron Kwok or just want to watch a nice little "Who Dunnit" movie from Hong Kong.

 

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One Armed Boxer

Andrew Lau's 'Lover of the Last Empress' from 1995. A prototype 'John Wick' in which a seductive Chingmy Yau begins her ascent to the top when a group of jealous courtesans conspire to boil her cat for dinner.  Never kill Chingmy Yau's cat. Check out my review over at COF - 

https://cityonfire.com/lover-of-the-last-empress-1995-review/

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A Family Tour from 2018. Fantastic drama movie about a family sneakily meeting up in Taiwan as the daughter/mother of the family is a director who's been exiled out of China for her last movie.

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Super Ninja

The Queen of Black Magic (2019) - Kimo Stamboel remakes Indonesian horror classic from the 80's and does a solid job. It's not the best horror ever or the best remake, but there's enough blood here to satisfy anyone's taste. There's a bus full of murdered children, acid rain, people eating poisonous caterpillars or vomiting nails and of course, being this is a black magic flick, people vomiting centipedes. Joko Anwar wrote the script (he claims the original is one of his favorite movies), and Kimo did a good job delivering a brutal and disgusting horror with imaginative kills. Rapi Films is alive and kicking in 2019. and so is Indonesian horror, this one in particular won the Midnight X-Treme best film award at Sitges last year. 7/10

DreadOut (2019) - Kimo directed two movies in 2019. and it seems when not making brutal martial arts films, both he and Timo prefer horrors. DreadOut is a video game adaptation, first of its kind in Indonesian history it seems. Instead of black magic DreadOut is all about supernatural and occult, so instead of jump scares and brutal bloodbath what you're getting is a creepy atmospheric horror. It could have been better, but Kimo still delivered another solid horror movie successfully balancing between video game aesthetic and classic storytelling. It's perhaps a bit dull in the second half even despite all the zombies, levitating demons, scared teenagers, kris daggers, portals and whatnot. 6/10

 

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The Snake Girl (Taiwan/Cambodia, 1974) - The HKMDB lists this as a Taiwanese film directed by King Weng, but I think it was a Cambodian film that the Kam Shan Film Co., HK picked up, dubbed into Mandarin, replaced the credits with their own names, and released it for local consumption. That would make them the precursors to Asso Asia, right?

When the village chief tries to rape his sister-in-law, his wicked wife does some victim blaming and has her sister tossed into a snake pit and left for dead. She survives and eventually succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome, making out with a snake and letting one crawl up her skirt. She gives birth to a girl with snakes for hair (Saveth Dy, who made a career out of this type of thing).

The film is mainly a relationship melodrama centering around the Chief's daughter, his wife's adopted brother, and the snake girl. There is some animal mutilation at the end, including a live rabbit getting its head lopped off. And some nasty scenes of black magic priests running knives across their tongues. But nothing really of interest here.

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5 hours ago, DrNgor said:

The Snake Girl (Taiwan/Cambodia, 1974) - The HKMDB lists this as a Taiwanese film directed by King Weng, but I think it was a Cambodian film that the Kam Shan Film Co., HK picked up, dubbed into Mandarin, replaced the credits with their own names, and released it for local consumption. That would make them the precursors to Asso Asia, right?

When the village chief tries to rape his sister-in-law, his wicked wife does some victim blaming and has her sister tossed into a snake pit and left for dead. She survives and eventually succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome, making out with a snake and letting one crawl up her skirt. She gives birth to a girl with snakes for hair (Saveth Dy, who made a career out of this type of thing).

The film is mainly a relationship melodrama centering around the Chief's daughter, his wife's adopted brother, and the snake girl. There is some animal mutilation at the end, including a live rabbit getting its head lopped off. And some nasty scenes of black magic priests running knives across their tongues. But nothing really of interest here.

Is it the same as Manda ?

If so, I watched it many many years ago in a horrible French language VHS and I didn't find this movie very interesting...

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7 minutes ago, ShawAngela said:

If so, I watched it many many years ago in a horrible French language VHS and I didn't find this movie very interesting...

Manda seems to be Filipino-HK co-production. But there were a whole slew of these Snake Woman movies made in the early 1970s.

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Cognoscente

I recently saw The Haunted Cop Shop II. It's amusing but the goofiness takes away from the horror unlike Evil Dead 2.

Jeff Lau's film got me thinking about Spooky, Spooky. This is also a 1988 comedy about cops dealing with the supernatural. Sammo's movie grossed more at the local box office but not as much as the first film, which was released in November '87 (after Sammo put Spooky, Spooky on hold to do Dragons Forever).

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Michael L.

Godzilla vs Monster Zero… again. It was on Comet and I was flipping channels and it gets me every time!

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Super Ninja

Okay Madam (2020) - South Korean action comedy with North Korean secret agents. This type of movies are usually a fun watch, (remember Confidential Assignment?) so it didn't take long for me to decide giving this one a go. A family winning a trip to Hawaii ends up in the same plane with agents looking for a NK agent turning active after 10 years. Good comedy and as usual good action, even when limited to a few scenes, Koreans deliver good martial arts action that's way more effective than most of what can be found in Hollywood films of the type.

Gatao (2015) - Taiwanese Triad drama with Jack Wong's action. Nothing here you haven't seen elsewhere but it's done right so if gangsters are what you want on your menu, this one won't disappoint. There's enough turf warring, mass gang brawling, gun fighting and Guan Yu shots here to satisfy anyone's taste and JW's action is no more than good enough to make this one passable. Cheng-Kuo Yen, one of the Kung Fu Kids, also appears and returns to direct a sequel. 

Mission: Possible (2021) - I find action comedies to be precious when you wanna have fun watching a movie and still get your daily dose of martial arts action. In his feature debut Kim Hyung-joo delivers plenty of both, with two clumsy agents looking to stop an arms dealer trying to flood Korean streets with guns and start a revolution. Some people don't like this type of silly humor but I find M:P to be highly enjoyable and I loved all the knife and axe fighting, gunplay and hand-to-hand combat it had to offer. 

Edited by Super Ninja
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Chu Liu Hsiang

COLOUR OF THE TRUTH - what a great movie, with a great cast. But the main theme - wtf?! My only problem with Anthony Wong is that I just can't decide if I like him better as villain or as "hero". He always shines and upgrades every movie he is in. 

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Bullets of Love (Hong Kong, 2001: Andrew Lau) - Well, what do you know? An Andrew Lau film I actually liked! I generally don't care about his movies, as they are all style and no substance, from the story to the action sequences. Legend of the Fist was an exception to the latter because of Donnie Yen, but that film's story was just not very compelling. Conversely, Infernal Affairs had a great story (probably due more to the writers than to Lau), although its nomination for Best Action Choreography is probably the biggest head scratcher in the history of that award.

Leon Lai plays Inspector Sam, who's trying to bust a pair of human-and-drug trafficking brothers. He manages to catch one, and his prosecutor girlfriend, Ann (Japanese actress Asaka Seto), is able to put the man behind bars for five years. However, the brother orders the girlfriend's hit--the assassin being a mysterious Japanese woman. Years later, Sam has retired from the force and is living in the sticks with his two uncles (one of whom is played by Michael Chan Wai-Man). He meets a Japanese woman, You (Seto again), who looks exactly like Ann. The two gradually fall in love, although we the audience know that You is the assassin. She became obsessed with Sam while stalking his girlfriend before the kill. It is only a matter of time before Sam discovers who she really is.

The first and last twenty minutes of the film are heavily stylized, while the middle act, where Sam and You get to know each other, feels like an entirely different film in terms of tone, editing, photography, etc. That said, I felt myself caring about the characters and anxious about their fates. Very novel for an Andrew Lau movie! Things get extremely bleak and bloody in the last ten minutes, which is sad, because I genuinely like the characters. Despite having a credited action director (frequent Lau collaborator Lee Tat Chiu), there is little action and nothing very flashy--straightforward gunplay, a few knife slashes, and a single wire-assisted jump kick. Recommended.

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