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


Guest Ivy Ling Po

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Kamen Rider (1971)

Hongo Takeshi, Hayato Ichimonji.

 

 

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Time and Tide: rewatch is always nice. it's a great movie with incredible direction. Those sequences on the rooftops of Hong Kong I think have made school. There is also a fun Korean film: The Thieves that inspired those scenes. 8/10

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Head Hunter (Hong Kong, 1982: Lau Shing-Hon) - aka The Long Goodbye; The Killer in Love - This obscure film starring a pre-fame Chow Yun-Fat and Rosamund Kwan is in the public domain and can be found on the Martial Arts 50-Movie Pack. Chow plays Andy Nguyen, a Vietnam vet living in Hong Kong who works as a stuntman/action director by day and hired killer for a gang called The Eagles by night. He kills a bunch of other Vietnamese refugees working for a rival gang called The Bears. Meanwhile, a reporter named Vicky Lee (Rosamund Kwan) has been assigned to the case. She also starts following case of some school kids mysteriously getting sick, in which Vicky finds out that it was due to exposure to Sarin gas (more than a decade before the Tokyo subway attacks). She finds out that a film-processing lab acting as a front for the Eagles is responsible. Vicky and Andy meet and fall in love--much to the chagrin of Andy's current movie industry girlfriend (Duel to the Death's Flora Cheung). When Andy refuses to carry out a hit on his new love, his former commanding officer (Phillip Chan of Hard Boiled and Bloodsport) is hired to take him out.

Tino Wong of Secret Rivals II and Invincible Armour is credited as the film's action director. There is a brief fight scene at a hotel between Chow Yun-Fat and one of his targets. The movie ends on a gunfight between Chow and Phillip Chan and a brief bout of fisticuffs. There are a few other pyrotechnic stunts and more straight-forward shootings, too. It is interesting to see Chow Yun-Fat in this type of role four years before A Better Tomorrow, with a backstory suggests an alternate universe in which Mark Gor went insane after A Better Tomorrow III. The fact he's playing a Vietnam vet/killer brings to mind another early Chow vehicle, The Story of Woo Viet (also known as God of Killers).

The problems with the movie are many. Not really the film's fault, but the public domain English dub has terrible picture quality and many scenes are too dark and murky to make out what's going on. The story has a number of issue: the Sarin gas subplot is vaguely introduced in the film's first scene, with Chow (in a gas mask) killing another guy (in a gas mask) at a film-processing lab. The introduction of the Sarin gas explains why they were wearing gas masks, but doesn't really explain who he killed and how he knew he'd be there. The film also mentions that Chow might have killed Vicky's dad in a previous hit, but it's so contrived that it has no effect. The idea of a Hong Kong gang dealing in Sarin gas makes little sense, although an HKMDB review suggests that the subtitled version establishes the Eagles gang as a front for American spy activity, so...whatever. There's also the bit about Phillip Chan being a rival assassin who's even more unhinged than Chow is--we learn in a flashback that Chan ordered Chow to murder civilians back in 'Nam--but they never address their past when they confront each other at the end. Finally, the film has no real forward momentum, so it often gets boring; I often found myself debating whether to stop watching or not.

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Beauty Water [2020] - Dir. Cho Kyung-hun

Based on the popular webtoon by Korean artist, Oh Seong-dae, it tells the tale of a homely overweight make up artist whose life is filled with insecurity over her weight and looks. She spends most of her free time trolling on the internet and stuffing her face with junk food. Day in and day out she painfully experiences first hand how "ugly and fat" people are treated in society. Don't want to give away the rest of the plot but it's the usual ugly duckling to beautiful swan trope and what a person is willing to sacrifice to achieve the perfect body and face. Does having said transformation equate to happiness and at what price?

The animation was okay and quite fluid but this is supposed to be a horror story/morality tale and it was pretty weak in the horror department. There were some moments of tension but it didn't come off as genuinely disturbing or scary enough for my taste. I kept thinking back to Fruit Chan's Dumplings & how that movie would've turned out in animated form. It's usually not a good sign when your mind wanders to other films while watching this one but that's not to say it's bad or a complete waste of time. It's just that I've seen this story told before and much more effectively.

 

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One Armed Boxer
On 10/2/2021 at 11:57 PM, DrNgor said:

Head Hunter (Hong Kong, 1982: Lau Shing-Hon) - aka The Long Goodbye; The Killer in Love - This obscure film starring a pre-fame Chow Yun-Fat and Rosamund Kwan is in the public domain and can be found on the Martial Arts 50-Movie Pack.

Solid review for an underwhelming thriller Doc, and very much aligns with my own thoughts (I reviewed it last year over on COF). 

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sifu iron perm
On 3/28/2021 at 2:09 AM, nectarsis said:

yeaaaaah buddy, time for some classic HK action

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One of my favourite Hong Kong films ever!!!!! 

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Flower in the Rain [1972] - Dir. Kim Soo-yong

Typical "rich girl/poor boy" love against all Shaw Brothers production. Mainly watched for Lily Ho. She was one of my favorite Shaw starlets of that era. She was taller and leggier than many of her contemporaries and she had a certain charm about her that set her apart. She is at her peak here in terms of beauty and on screen aura.

Ivy plays the only daughter of a wealthy widower and is the apple of his eye until one day she meets a Ling Yun at a night club. Ling Yun is a n'er do well taking of his ill mother and makes a living being a part time lounge singer. So all the typical tropes of "uptown girl meets poor boy" apply here with Ivy and Ling going on the run after Ivy's father rejects her for dating a poor boy with no future prospects. They soon realize that love alone will not pay the bills and their love is tested by a serious of hardships and tribulations they come across during their journey of independence from their respective families.

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Untold story.

When owner of restaurant loses in mahjong to Wong some money and refuses to pay, obviously Wong chops him to pieces and takes his restaurant. When bodyparts are found in beach and someone is looking for lost restaurant owner, police squad are showing interest to 8 immortals restaurant and Wong..But Wong is tough bone to crack..

Cast is solid, Anthony Wong rocks as bunman and Danny Lee is cool as police officer. Others do fine too, most notably baddie from The Killer as brother of restaurant owner..

While there are few bit nasty bits here and there, why movie has that notorious reputation becomes clear in last 15 mins,..Unearthed BR is superb release.

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Chu Liu Hsiang

THE KILLER'S BLUES - nothing new in the realm of "good" triad guys vs bad triad guys but it didn't get boring either.  With Ti Lung, Lo Lieh and Wong Hap this movie presents 3 Shaw veterans, and of course they shine in their roles. The ending was pretty eruptive. All in all a sad movie. Well, the title is a hint ;) 

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HeavenSword
Posted (edited)

School On Fire ( 1988) - Another “ HK classic” that I couldn’t get into . There’s an incredible 10 minute climax at the end and ok performances from Lam Ching Ying, Damien Lau and Roy Cheung, but the rest of this is just teen drama and people constantly yelling at each other. 
 

A good adrenaline packed climax , it just sucks you have to deal with annoying characters making dumb decisions before you get to it . 

Edited by HeavenSword
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6 hours ago, HeavenSword said:

School On Fire ( 1988) - Another “ HK classic” that I couldn’t get into . There’s an incredible 10 minute climax at the end and ok performances from Lam Ching Ying, Damien Lau and Roy Cheung, but the rest of this is just teen drama and people constantly yelling at each other. 
 

A good adrenaline packed climax , it just sucks you have to deal with annoying characters making dumb decisions before you get to it . 

Nobody watches Ringo Lam movies for action set-pieces, the man was known for realism and authenticity put into his stories. School on Fire is a classic for a reason but simply not for what you expected it to be. It's a movie where story and characters come first before everything else.

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HeavenSword
1 hour ago, DiP said:

Nobody watches Ringo Lam movies for action set-pieces, the man was known for realism and authenticity put into his stories. School on Fire is a classic for a reason but simply not for what you expected it to be. It's a movie where story and characters come first before everything else.

Read reviews and didn’t go into it expecting a lot of action , the climax just happened to be the best part…..in my opinion 🤷🏽‍♂️

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, HeavenSword said:

Read reviews and didn’t go into it expecting a lot of action , the climax just happened to be the best part…..in my opinion 🤷🏽‍♂️

I respect your opinion. The movie is more than just a teen drama with alot of yelling though. It's a bleak and depressing look of the Hong Kong school system (at the time), with the triad life style's influence on students destroying their overall potentials in life. A reality-based subject matter done in a sensitive and cruel way while mixing a bit of onscreen nihilism in there; Not something you come across alot in Hong Kong movies.

Edited by DiP
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Chu Liu Hsiang

FULLTIME KILLER- first viewing, I was quite mesmerized and had to pick up my jaw several times. Never seen Andy Lau in such a role. The scene where he delivers that ultra cool "assassination show" in his red leather jacket, oh my. Simon Yam excellent as always. 

 

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FightingFool

Ebola Syndrome.

It makes "untold story" look almost like PG rated movie, this is pure filth. After certain event in HK, Kai(Anthony Wong) flees to Africa. Murder and rapes occur and finally ebola..Which does not kill Kai but he becomes super spreader...

Great role by Lo Meng as restaurant over,I`ve yet to make mind up is it great flick or not but very addictive it is, after opening scene was not able to stop watching but wanted to see what happens next. Great release by Vinegar.

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Posted (edited)
On 1/2/2022 at 4:41 PM, Chu Liu Hsiang said:

FULLTIME KILLER- first viewing, I was quite mesmerized and had to pick up my jaw several times. Never seen Andy Lau in such a role. The scene where he delivers that ultra cool "assassination show" in his red leather jacket, oh my. Simon Yam excellent as always. 

 

Yeah, I like the somewhat comic-book feel about the movie which was unusual for To's own caliber, who was known his slick and stylistic direction. 

It's such a crime that the movie never got a bluray release at the time when HD had just become the big thing. With other of his most celebrated movies being released in bluray, the movie getting a brand new HD scan is only a matter of time now.

Edited by DiP
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Super Ninja
On 1/1/2022 at 6:44 PM, HeavenSword said:

School On Fire ( 1988) - Another “ HK classic” that I couldn’t get into . There’s an incredible 10 minute climax at the end and ok performances from Lam Ching Ying, Damien Lau and Roy Cheung, but the rest of this is just teen drama and people constantly yelling at each other. 
 

A good adrenaline packed climax , it just sucks you have to deal with annoying characters making dumb decisions before you get to it . 

I must say I'm with @DiP on this one. School is one of favorite HK films, truly powerful experience and a legit classic.

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Majin Android

Taiwanese pervert melodrama. My tape is dubbed in Vietnamese. Husband Killer 1994

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One Armed Boxer
1 hour ago, Majin Android said:

Taiwanese pervert melodrama.

My favorite kind of melodrama.

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Posted (edited)

Fatal Vacation (1990)

I haven't seen this movie since the old ADC days, so I was glad when I heard the news of Panorama Entertainment releasing it on bluray -- HD transfer is great, and the sound is true mono and representative to its' time line. This is a great blend of action, drama, suspense, and culture exposition -- from the skyscrapers and buildings of Hong Kong to the palm trees, villages, and the overall nature of Philippines. Sadly, this movie is now infamous for evoking and drawing awful similarities to the Manila hostage crisis that took place at Rizal Park in Philippines 2010 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila_hostage_crisis). Nevertheless, the movie sells as a CAT-3 rated movie filled with violence, rape (one of the rape scenes apparently went too far for real, and they kept most of the footage in the movie!!! More info: https://www.jaynestars.com/news/actress-was-really-raped-in-eric-tsangs-film-fatal-vacation/), cultural stereotypes, and political incorrectness. One thing that I appreciated was that the movie has the Hong Kong and Filipino actors dubbing their lines in their respect languages. This being a Hong Kong production, it felt weird yet satisfying hearing dialogue in Filipino knowing that Hong Kong filmmakers usually dubs non-Hong Kong actors in Cantonese. It's very refreshing, something that Hong Kong movies at the time could've utilized more. 

The story doesn't have much an emotional punch, as I found the attempts too melodramatic. But there were some moments that truly showed genuine humanity. Eric Tsang's performance is far from what you usually see from him (comedic roles), and really gets to show his dramatic side. Other than him, there's some other notable performances that makes the movie worthwhile. Tommy Kwong is his usual self (cocky, self-assured, sense of being a boss), but gets a memorable scene at the end in true Hong Kong fashion. We also have the late Hong Kong actress Tan Bik-Wan as well as late Chinese-American actor Victor Wong as a couple and among the hostages showing a sense of chaos, hospitality, unity, strong religious belief, and love in their scenes, which serves the story faithfully. That being said, it's late Filipino actor Spanky Manikan that steals the show playing the NPA (New People's Army) leader who underneath the surface seems like a cold-blooded terrorist that willingly kills innocent people, but is shown treating hostages with dignity when its' needed, respecting those that aren't afraid of death, and is a strong believer in the ideology he values (communism). The other performers were a mix of over-the-topness, crying/screaming, and unintentional hilarity which added that extra flavor to the story to take you away from the disturbing scenes.

Despite the movie making Philippines look quite bad -- it's a dangerous country to visit, the high possibility of being held hostage by terrorists, Filipino people doing dumb stuff just to earn money, a country with an uncaring government -- it's a movie that entertains and fascinates thanks to its' maximal shock value and cultural references respectively, staying true to its' highest rating system. Rating: 8/10

For those of you who have seen the film and always wondered the title of the film's theme song... The song is titled Anak (literally means "Child" in English) and sung by Freddie Aguilar, regarded as one of the best singers and songwriters ever in Philippines. Here's the song:

 

Edited by DiP
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One Armed Boxer
57 minutes ago, DiP said:

For those of you, who have seen the film and always wondered the title of the film's theme song... The song is titled Anak (literally means "Child" in English) and sung by Freddie Aguilar, regarded as one of the best singers and songwriters ever in Philippines.

It’s a great track, I was actually switched onto it for the first time when it was used in ‘Gangnam Blues’ (NSFW) -

 

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Posted (edited)

Wow... Amazing! I now see why Aguilar's song is widely known internationally.

Edited by DiP
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