In this episode, Tars and Todd sing the praises of Singh, Dara Sing, the manliest man of them all. Be a man and find all about how Dara Singh fights King Kong, cow dinosaurs, lizard puppets, 50 men at once, cyclops, Medusas, magic dwarfs, Moon men, Martians, space rhinos, stalker girlfriends, cardboard robots, and evil comic relief sidekicks.
Watch in slideshow form below the fold:
Out of the Dark
aka Wui wan yeh
Written and directed by Jeff Lau Chun-Wai
Stephen Chow is known as one of the funniest people to come out of the Hong Kong film industry. His films have become favorites around the globe and he has legions of fans. Chow’s mo lei tau films cross all sorts of genres, from spies to action to historical to gambling to sports. People argue over which of his films are the best. But one film that rarely is brought up is Out of the Dark, and here at TarsTarkas.NET we believe that is a crime. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that Out of the Dark is my favorite Stephen Chow film. But it isn’t a non-stop wacky film, it’s a comedy that’s also a pretty spooky ghost film with a very high body count. Most of the look, costumes, and even a few character names are ganked from Besson’s Leon: The Professional. Heck, there’s even a plant! Director Jeff Lau previously directed several ghost movies, and Chow in the Chinese Odyssey flicks. He moved on to Metallic Attraction: Kung Fu Cyborg among other films.
Out of the Dark doesn’t fit the mold of the normal mo lei tau films, it spends time transcending the genre of wackiness while simultaneously embracing it (yes, that’s possible!) Out of the Dark shows much of the genius later captured by Kung Fu Hustle as a mo lei tau that is more. But instead of following a hero arc, we instead follow a group of people caught up in the sins of an evil family and their revenges from beyond the grave. There are kids brandishing knives, creepy old ladies, possessions, and the one man crazy enough to not be scared of this crap. Someone’s gotta bust ghosts and take up where Lam Ching-Ying left off! So let’s get our Dark on!
aka Red Eagle
Directed by Wisit Sasanatieng
Insee Daeng is a tragedy. Because it sucks, not because sad things happen in the film. It’s just terrible. An action flick with no heart, things just happen, you don’t care about any of the characters. It’s too busy trying to look cool to be cool. Insee Daeng is forcing me to rewrite my long-standing rule that The Matrix ruined cinema. The Matrix is so 1999. This is a new decade, and there is a new film that will cast a shadow over terrible action flicks for the next ten years as they attempt to emulate, but fail to duplicate the story and characterizations that made the film great beyond the effects. That is The Dark Knight, who shines over Insee Daeng like a batsymbol over some city with a hero who dresses as a bat in it.
Did we really need a brooding Insee Daeng? Wasn’t part of the reason we loved him because he was so jolly as he was blowing away bad guys? Mitr Chaibancha had presence, he would never be hanging out in an ice room feeling sorry for himself. He’d be so cool any room he entered became an ice room, and he’s so hot the ice would instantly melt. The freezing/melting ice is the Quantum Mitr Factor. It is an impossible standard that we can’t expect Insee Daeng to meet with its Insee Daeng, but it doesn’t even try.
aka Proud Eagle
Directed by ???
By the 1980s and 90s, Thai film had entered a funk of low budget action fare, uninspiring plots, and studio bosses who feuded with each other, hampering the efforts of the few rays of light. It is no surprise that in the midst of all the random action films, someone would try to capitalize on the awesome action films of the 1960s and break out an Insee Daeng film. But what to do? Mitr Chaibancha is long dead. None of the new action stars had his kind of swagger. Nor could you hit them on their burner, prepaid wireless. The bigger money (as far as I can tell) was with female action stars. Thus, Insee Daeng got chick-ified!
Thai action queen Jarunee Suksawat became Rome’s long-overseas daughter, who takes up the Insee Daeng mantle to defeat and evil gang of evil guys who are doing something evil. I’m not quite sure what, but it’s evil. Evil, I tell you! Don’t worry, fellow 80s action hero Sorrapong Chatree is along for the ride, and we even have a secondary female character, a tough cop played by an actress that I sadly do not know the name of. All the violence you know and love is back, along with some other tropes such as the costume switcheroo, an evil Insee Daeng, the cops getting into huge gunfights, Insee Daeng’s real persona being friends with many cops, and Insee Daeng killing scores of people.
Jarunee Suksawat was one of the action queens of the 1980s (another is Suriwan Suriyong, two of whose films show up in the Catman films) Jarunee was dubbed an action queen despite not having the proper training (which she will readily admit!) but ended up starring in scores of action films over the years. Eventually, Thai cinema became even less profitable thanks to television and the aforementioned feuding studio bosses, leading to less movie roles. Combine this with Jarunee being sued by someone for slander, who did nothing but travel around Thailand suing her in every province until he died, causing her to waste her time defending herself constantly, and it was time for a break from film that lasted for years, until she returned recently to television dramas and shows up in the film Queens of Langkasuka.
What we also have is another Thai VCD encoded so awesomely it makes VLC kick out lots of random extra video screens that do nothing but will kill the program if I close them instead of minimizing them. Weird, but a habit of some of the shoddy VCDs (Whoever puts out the Dara Singh VCDs is also guilty of this!) My favorite part is when the end of disc one glitches and the sound gets an echo effect that doesn’t go away for ten minutes. It makes everyone sound like aliens from V (the original, not the awful remake.)
The score is now synthesizer stuff or just outright stolen (possible the synthesizer stuff is also stolen and I just don’t recognize it.) I’ll point out when the Battle of Hoth theme is used down below. I’m a little lost as the only problems with the print is overbled colors and it doesn’t look like it was dragged through a pack of wolverines on crack. But I think I can get used to it! Once again, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! For more Insee Daeng information, please see our reviews of Awasan Insee Daeng, Jao Insee, and Insee Thong.