China Heat (Review)

China Heat

aka 中華警花 aka Zhong Hua Jing Hua aka 霸王花之中華警花
China Heat
1992
Written by William Cheung Kei, Goo Siu-Yin, and Naam Fung
Directed by William Cheung Kei and Yang Yang

China Heat

I stop watching The Office after Steve Carell leaves and suddenly Dwight Schrute is a mob boss!


China Heat gives us Girls with Guns, lots of people getting shot, kung fu battles, and an big injection of 80s-90s American cop movie, complete with the cop who doesn’t play by the rules. There are a lot of Western actors in this movie, but they don’t really ruin the movie, the ones depicted as smart let the women take the lead, while the ones depicted as dumb try to get in their way or are working for the other side. It all results in a weird hybrid movie, but also gives China Heat a nice, unique flavor that doesn’t get in the way of the action enjoyment.
China Heat

This takes private jet to a whole new level!


Madam Wu (Sibelle Hu Hui-Chung) is a tough as nails leader of an anti-drug task force that not only engages in major firefights across Asia, but she pilots a fighter jet between countries (!!!) Someone got permission to shoot on an airbase in Asia and took full advantage of the situation! Her squad is massive, which is good because so are the resources available to the drug cartels and smugglers they are chasing. Madam Wu’s biggest assistants are Mandy, Yolanda, and Geoffrey. They are after a squad of drug smugglers lead by Henry Hung, Henry has the amazing powers to be able to escape from gigantic shootouts as the only person from his side left alive. He uses one of those escapes to go to America, where the local mob bosses praise him and give him a special mob ring right before the police arrest him.

Madam Wu sends Mandy, Yolanda, and Geoffrey to go escort him for extradition, and the American police Chief assigns the cop who doesn’t play by the rules named Michael to help guard the prisoner. We all know Henry is going to escape, lots of people are going to get shot, Madam Wu is going to have to arrive to help sort things out, and Michael is going to get thrown off the case. The joy isn’t in the story, but in the action sequences. There are large shootouts, long fight sequences in an airliner, warehouses, construction zones, and a giant shipping crane over the water. The villains even stoop to sending a squad of guys in dresses to attack the women in the ladies restroom! China Heat is not afraid to have obvious dummies with exploding heads used in some of the fight scenes, and I salute them for it.

China Heat

When you’re lucky this movie was shot while McDonald’s still served the McJordan Special!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 16, 2018 at 6:16 am

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Fighting Delinquents (Review)

Fighting Delinquents

aka くたばれ愚連隊 aka Kutabare Gurentai aka Go to Hell, Hoodlums!
Fighting Delinquents
1960
Screenplay by Iwao Yamazaki
Based on the novel by Kenzaburo Hara
Directed by Seijun Suzuki

Fighting Delinquents
Before Seijun Suzuki was making full-bore fever dreams, he was fully bored making B pictures, which lead to him beginning the creative flourishes that he became known for. While Fighting Delinquents is still early in his filmography, it is his first film in color and already shows hints of his use of color to set moods and scenes. Beyond his experiments, Fighting Delinquents isn’t really that special, outside of some goofy scenes and a conflict that spans generations, class, clans, modern Japan vs. old school Japan, and the meaning of family. That’s probably ascribing more than the story pulls off, but it is all there even if only parts of it are actually addressed.
Fighting Delinquents
The story is pretty straightforward, a lost heir is brought back into a clan on Awaji Island to help them stand against a crooked developer. He faces slack due to basically being raised as a street orphan in the city, the rougher personality clashing with the clan-based traditionalists he’s brought to, while his in grained sense of righteousness and justice puts him at odds with the developers. His mentor in the city who plucked him out of an orphanage to learn a trade (along with some other kids) is struck down in the opening scene by a drunken businessman, and we all know he’s going to end up being the businessman who is trying to take the clan’s land, so this isn’t even a spoiler. Sadao Matsudaira (Koji Wada) doesn’t take his crap then, when he tries to buy off the kids in mourning with a pittance offering. Nor does he take it lightly when he finds out who is responsible for his new family’s misery.
Fighting Delinquents
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 9, 2018 at 6:35 am

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A Hero Never Dies (Review)

A Hero Never Dies

aka 真心英雄 aka Chan Sam Ying Hung
A Hero Never Dies
1998
Written by Yau Nai-Hoi and Szeto Kam-Yuen
Directed by Johnnie To Kei-Fung

A Hero Never Dies
Johnnie To takes the heroic bloodshed genre and does a three card monte of deconstruction and chaos to make an entry that is a great example of all the genre’s tropes while simultaneously lampooning them and also pointing out how serious and sad they are in reality. It’s so over the top it wraps around back below and then swings back over the top again. At the time A Hero Never Dies came out, the John Woo movies that popularized it worldwide were over 20 years old, and while that turned things into overdrive, there was still plenty to mine out of the concept.

The two Triad fighters here are both introduced at the top of their game, but as they are from rival factions they know that one day they will be forced to face each other in battle. Until then, there is a mutual respect for the only other person who can approach you in quality and honor. The song Sukiyaki plays constantly, it is the theme of the heroes at the bar where they have a drinking and shooting showoff contest, and later when the heroes are in tragedy, the theme is a constant reminder of their former lives.
A Hero Never Dies
Lau Ching-Wan is Martin (Dealer/Healer), the larger than life killer with a cowboy hat with ridiculous gunslinger vibe. He borrows his look from so many films at once and spends many of the action films popping up to save the day for his crew. Leon Lai Ming is Jack (Three), the cool slick loner assassin character that spends much of his time being in quiet disapproval at how things are run badly by his boss. Both of them wear sunglasses constantly, often while indoors, and each is their own one man army. Martin’s girl is Fiona (Fiona Leung Ngai-Ling), who is experienced with being the girl of a Triad, while Jack’s girl Yoyo (Yoyo Mung Ka-Wai) is more naive with what the eventual end will be.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 2, 2018 at 7:14 am

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Stalked by My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge (Review)

Stalked by My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge

Stalked by my Doctor Patient's Revenge
2018
Written and directed by Doug Campbell

Stalked by my Doctor Patient's Revenge

When you are stalked by yourself but yourself is also a doctor


After waiting far too long, Dr. Albert Beck is back again as the doctor who just loved love so much he would kill anyone who got in the way of his demented fantasies. Stalked by My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge not only brings back Dr. Beck, it also brings back the Green family from the first movie. Sophie Green (Brianna Joy Chomer) and her mother Adrienne (Deborah Zoe) are back, along with the ever-useless father, Jim (Jon Briddell). Sophie has returned in Goth Form, dark hair, full of nightmares about her time with Beck. But Beck is a free man (thanks to seducing a juror!) and has even gotten a teaching job at a university in Arizona. Sophie decides that it is time to be proactive and enrolls in the school as well with the express goal of forcing Beck out.
Stalked by my Doctor Patient's Revenge

Driving while goth


It’s a revenge movie, but this time the victim is someone who is actually bad. But in Lifetime fashion, Beck has some tricks of his own for getting revenge on the revenger. And he may have just found the young lady love of his life! Lifetime really went all out here, hats off to Eric Roberts and Doug Campbell for this amazing gift of a movie. Not only is Dr. Beck still having his obsessions and fantasies, but the fantasies have spilled into his reality. Beck spends part of the film arguing with a more sensible version of himself, who in true Dr. Beck style is always drinking and dressed like he’s on a tropical vacation. The fun in the film is so much is fantasy mixed with reality it’s often a guessing game as to whether things are real or going off the rails in Beck’s fantasy mind. Not knowing makes it so much more fun and more crazy as they can get away with goofy stuff, you’ll just think it’s fantasy until it isn’t, or isn’t until it is. Patient’s Revenge is not above trying to quadruple mindfreak you.
Stalked by my Doctor Patient's Revenge

Perfectly sane, this happens all the time


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 26, 2018 at 5:31 am

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Stalked by My Doctor: The Return (Review)

Stalked by My Doctor: The Return

Stalked by my Doctor The Return
2016
Written and directed by Doug Campbell
Stalked by my Doctor The Return
When last we left Dr. Beck, he was fleeing from unjust prosecution just because he kidnapped and faked the death of a teenager in order to rape her as part of an obsessed stalking spree. A simple misunderstanding, for sure, but for now he’s hiding out in Acapulco, Mexico under the name Dr. Victor Slauson and getting rejected by the visiting ladies his own age, as his lame pickup lines don’t work on them. Fate intervenes again and Dr. Beck is on the beach when an young girl almost drowns, and due to his doctor skills he is able to save her life. He also begins a new obsession, and we’re back on the Lifetime train!

Stalked By My Doctor was great lifetime fun that was full of twists and turns, punctuated by the amazing Eric Roberts bringing to life a character with obvious issues that becomes deadly obsessed with younger women. The fact that Roberts can make such a reprehensible character charismatic to the point where you feel sorry for him is a testament to the man’s acting chops and to the writing and directing from Doug Campbell.
Stalked by my Doctor The Return
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 24, 2018 at 6:59 am

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Animal World (Review)

Animal World

aka 动物世界 aka Dongwu Shijie
Animal World
2018
Based on the manga by Nobuyuki Fukumoto
Written and directed by Han Yan

Animal World
The trailer for Animal World featured a murder clown slicing and dicing his way through subway cars full of rejected alien designs from the Star Wars prequels. Also Michael Douglas was randomly in it. These things meant that of course I was going to go watch it if I got a chance, and thanks to the magic of it actually getting a release in America and MoviePass, I snagged me a seat as soon as humanly possible. It also meant that I saw two separate Michael Douglas movies in theaters in one week, as Ant-Man and the Wasp also dropped. This is what we call synchronicity, and further solidified the goal of seeing Animal World in theaters. While the trailers were almost entirely murder clown-focused, Animal World is actually a movie about high-stakes gambling, as in you play Rock/Paper/Scissors on a ship in international waters, and if you lose, you get experimented on until you die! Don’t worry, it’s even more weird than it sounds, yet I can’t say I was disappointed.

Zheng Kaisi (Li Yifeng) is your typical young guy with problems, in that his parents were brutally assaulted as a child, leaving his dad dead, his mom in a coma, and Kaisi imprinted with a cartoon of a murder clown that was playing on the television during the attack. Now, whenever he is stressed, he will start seeing images of the monsters and believes he is transforming into the murder clown himself and striking them down. While this leads to some ridiculous imagery, it doesn’t lead to a healthy mental life, which is why he’s working as a clown in an arcade and perpetually broke. He can’t even afford to marry his girl Liu Qing (Zhou Dongyu – This Is Not What I Expected), who works at a nurse at the facility his mom is kept at. This changes when his former childhood friend Li Jun (Cao Bingkun) reappears with a can’t miss opportunity to make money. We all know this will miss spectacularly, and now Kaisi is in massive debt. Big enough debt goons are following him. Goons working for Michael Douglas, who plays a bored bankster who has resorted to organizing death sports among people who have gigantic debts. I guess it’s more profitable than them dying in bankruptcy?
Animal World
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 7, 2018 at 7:52 pm

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