aka Zhang wu shuang
Directed by Xiong Xin Xin
Coweb is part of several films that showed up around the same time involving a lone female fighter beating the tar out of lots and lots of people. Others include Chocolate, High-Kick Girl, and Fighter. So of course TarsTarkas.NET was paying attention, because we are all about girl power. Or at least
Jiang Luxia is the Chinese Nation-wide Wushu Champion in Shaolin quan. She has a host of other sports accolade and is the Chief Trainer on the Practical Ladies Self-Defense program on CCTV.com. Jiange Luxia is also an expert in Martial Arts Repertoire, Practical Self-Defense, Qiqong, Taijiquan and Crossbow techniques. First showed up on the scene after she started posting online shorts of herself doing wushu moves in 2007 under the name Mao Er Bao Bei (translates as “Cat-Eared Baby.”) I think this is the link to her video blogs, but to get to the older videos you have to go a few pages back because there are a lot of Coweb shorts before that. She was also on a show hosted by Jackie Chan to find new kung fu stars. What is weird is her videos show her being full of energy and smiling and having a positive attitude, but Coweb keeps her in a somber tone the entire film. Completely drains her personality. That is one of several mistakes that hurt Coweb, however, Jiang Luxia is beyond awesome and will be a big star (assuming she doesn’t get horribly injured.)
Coweb was rumored to have a cameo by Edison Chen (fresh of his sex photo scandal) but the mainland DVD version I watched did not have Edison Chen in it at all. I was disappointed because I wanted to see him get beat up, but maybe Mainland China cut him out and he will still show up if this ever gets released in Hong Kong. As mentioned, the only way this film has been released outside of a few festivals is on a Mainland China DVD, dubbed in Mandarin with no subs. That’s not entirely accurate, there are Chinese subtitles, which were ran through an auto-translator thanks to the magic of the internet. Thus, incredibly confusing English subtitles played while I watched this, but I just ignored them (I left them on some of the screencaps for humor’s sake)
Coweb is the directorial debut of Xiong Xin Xin (aka Hung Yan-Yan), who is an action choreographer and stunt double, who also became an actor just to show off his wushu acrobatic moves.
DOA: Dead or Alive
Directed by Corey Yuen
DOA: Dead or Alive is not a movie. It is not a video game. It is a music video. A ninety minute music video with no discernable song (except maybe “I like the way you move” as it is used during one montage.) But you don’t need a song, you just need lots of women bouncing around in micro-clothes, and dozens of action sequences with posing shots. Actually, there is a movie a lot like this one, but instead of just being mindless action, Hero went a step farther and goes all commie in the end. DOA goes all “Let’s be friends!” and then goes back to sword-wielding chicks in spandex. That’s not to say DOA is any good. However, I was expecting it to be so horrible, that when it turned out to be passable I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I’ll never watch it again, but there are many films I won’t be watching again, for I don’t have the time. Speaking of Hero, several of the scenes here are directly lifted from that film, as well as movies such as Crouching Tiger, Kill Bill, and Charlie’s Angels. Just part of the flash in the pan fun of DOA. But the imitations are not complete nor memorable on their own, giving another reason why there is little value in rewatching this film.
DOA: Dead or Alive is based on a series of video games, fighting video games mostly. These games have plots, as much of plots as fighting games can have, and the film chooses to ignore much of it. As I have never played the game nor care about the original story, it is not a big deal to me, but I remember a few people making a big stink when this came out. As some people complain about everything, they were easily ignored. They probably would have attacked the Q*Bert cartoon had it aired while they were alive. One of the main drawing points of the video games is the many teenage girls that bounce around and jiggle while beating the crap out of gigantic opponents. DOA games also spawned the ridiculous DOA Extreme Volleyball games, where you watch the female characters run around on an island, playing mini-games and buying ever-more revealing bikinis for the girls. Obviously a game for very lonely men. Fan service triumphed and there was plenty of volleyball in the DOA movie, but as they are real girls I am not complaining.
The movie plot itself is ludicrous. The DOA tournament is held, which randomly invites the world’s greatest fighters by some sort of flying invitation/blade that always seems to invite people just after a cool action sequence. They are then set against each other for a $10 million prize, but organizer Donovan may have another agenda. Realistic? Of course not, but much of this movie is not, so no bother. Luckily, some Wikipedia nerd has chosen to tell us that one of the major factual errors in the film is that a ninja clan would not be staffed by hundreds of armed soldiers. He seems not to have taken issue with the nanobot/magic sunglasses technology, which should tell you something about Wikipedia. The biggest flaw he found in a movie that opens with a girl fly-walking over hundreds of troops, diving off a sword, flying over a wall, ripping off her clothes to reveal a backpack, which opens to reveal a hang glider, and gets an invitation to the DOA tournament thrown at her by someone who was watching all this. But, yeah, too many armed guards for a ninja clan. Thanks Asperger McVirgin! People with too much time on their hands aside, the film is rife with several other problems, most noticeably the fact no one seems to get any injury at all, despite constantly being punched and thrown through walls. Hardly a bruise is to be found. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a paper cut. This would spoil all the fun, so just ignore the lack of wounds and go with it. Director Corey Yuen is a Hong Kong import, best known in the US for The Transporter, but best known to me for So Close.