Posts tagged "Taiwan"

Machi Action (Review)

Machi Action

aka 變身
Machi Action
Written by Giddens Ko
Directed by Jeff Chang

Machi Action
Machi Action is a hilarious tale of a tokusatsu hero actor who is replaced and must find a new purpose in life. The film will resonate for anyone who has lost a job and struggled through the uncomfortable period of trying to readjust their life to the new actuality. Unfortunately thanks to the Great Recession, far too many of us have experienced that reality.
Machi Action
A unique film in the tokusatsu genre due to the focus on the actors and decisions behind the series, instead of just a parade of easily replaceable teenage heroes. Machi Action covers all the bases, from the lame effects to generic monsters to shows growing stale due to lack of drama and repetitiveness. The visuals are largely inspired from the various Kamen Rider series, with bits of Super Sentai and Ultraman thrown in for good measure.

The success of Machi Action is due to the mix of Tie Nan’s employment struggles and the tokusatsu genre humor. The balance keeps the film grounded enough for you to feel for the character while providing plenty of joke fodder of not only the effects heroes shows, but the entertainment industry in general. 10 years and a ratings nosedive cause Tie Nan to be on the unemployment line, the hero fighting his greatest battle, trying to stay relevant in a world that has moved on. As an ongoing plot thread shows, modern children have changed, and the show’s greatest failure is being stagnant instead of moving with them. People fear change, and it’s all too easy to get stuck in a routine that becomes a rut. But the longer you put off the inevitable, the bigger the pain will be when things are finally altered. Had Space Hero Fly kept up with the times there would have been no danger, but no one looked at the big picture.

The struggles of Tie Nan becomes the struggles of everyone to adapt and change with what life gives you, while still living up to your principles and doing what you believe in. There is always the danger of someone newer and younger coming in to replace you. But don’t give up the fight!
Machi Action

Tie Nan (Wilson Chen Bo-Lin) – Actor who has portrayed the tokusatsu hero Space Hero Fly for the past decade, and soon finds himself without a job. He was born to play a super hero, having pretended to be one as a child to help his sick brother deal with his illness.
Monster (Chiu Yang-Shiang) – Actor who plays all the monsters on the Space Hero Fly show, and best friend of Tie Nan. Opened a noodle shop with his pay. His face is never seen on tv because it’s always under a rubber suit.
FACE (Owodog Zhuang Ao-Quan) – FACE is the new exciting Space Hero actor brought in as Space Hero Face to replace Space Hero Fly and Tie Nan. Is a recording artist and dancer for maximum multi-media penetration.
Jingfen (Chen Ting-Hsuan) – A makeup girl on the Space Hero Fly show who secretly crushes on Tie Nan. They end up together, but his esteem freefall dealing with his home shopping network stint takes a toll until Tie Nan regains his own self-respect.
Su Ying Ying (Puff Kuo Xue-Fu) – Daughter of SUTV Chairman Su and takes over programming after being educated in America. Her first task is to deal with the ratings disaster Super Hero Fly and fix the problems. Hates the super hero show.
Chairman Su Wu Xiong (???) – Owner of SUTV and creator of the Super Hero Fly program. It’s his wish to keep that show on the air to help give the youth good morals to look up to. Has a distant relationship with his daughter after he sent her overseas for education so she’d have a better life.

Machi Action
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Trailer for cool looking Taiwanese flick Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (明天記得愛上我) is a Taiwanese romantic comedy that looks like it treats relationships as a real thing and not a fantasy 6 couple wedding event. This is Arvin Chen’s second feature (after 2010’s Au Revoir Taipei) and stars Richie Jen, Mavis Fan, Mavis Fan, and Kimi Hsia. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February. I for one an looking forward to seeing it when it hits DVD, unless it manages to get a screening somewhere nearby.


Kimi Hsia

Kimi Hsia likes to wear fruit on her head. This is a fact.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 31, 2013 at 12:18 am

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , ,

Fight alongside Taiwanese tokusatsu-themed flick Machi Action!

Machi Action is a tokusatsu flick with a twist, as it’s about the actors who star in the tokusatsu shows. Specifically, it’s about the actor who plays Cosmo Universe Space Hero Fly, and what happens when his low-rated show is replaced by a newer, cooler show with a better suit and a more hip actor. The acto then needs to find himself and become the sort of hero he played on tv. Judging from the look of Machi Action, director Zhang Shilin “borrowed” a lot of the visual style from some of the Kamen Rider series. Which isn’t a bad thing (and wouldn’t be the only time Taiwan had their own version of “Kamen Rider” properties.) Bolin Chen plays the soon-to-be unemployed actor.

via Maser Patrol

Here are some pics I ganked off the official Facebook page for Machi Action!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm

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Shaolin Traitorous

Shaolin Traitorous

aka 大太監 aka Traitorous

Written by Cheung San-Yee
Directed by Sung Ting-Mei

Shaolin Traitorous
In the 1970s, the most dangerous occupation in Taiwan was being Polly Shang Kuan’s father in a movie. And once again, Shaolin Traitorous involves Polly playing a character that is avenging the deaths of her parents. But, shockingly enough, Polly isn’t the focus of the flick, it’s Carter Wong as Shang Yung, who survives the massacre of his family as a child and then trains at Shaolin Temple and eventually go get revenge.

Story wise, Shaolin Traitorous is a by-the-numbers revenge flick. But the choreography makes it rise a bit above the crowd. There is an obsession with array attacks, and there are multiple scenes with many guards stacked on top of each other in a huge human fence formation. Though fun to look at, I’ve never really understood how these attacks do anything except present a bigger target. But maybe that’s the trick…
Shaolin Traitorous
Aside from the many guards stacking, if you’ve seen one of these films, you know the score. If they’re your thing, then you will enjoy the crap out of Shaolin Traitorous. If you’re just seeking some kung fu thrills, it will do the trick. But it’s not going to be a film you rave to everyone about on Twitter.
Shaolin Traitorous

Shang Yung (Carter Wong Ka-Tat) – His parents were killed when he was but a lad, and after intense Shaolin training he’s back for revenge. Luckily the guy is so evil he wasn’t killed and didn’t die of natural causes in the meanwhile. Because that would be anti-climatic! Wears his slain mother’s bracelet as a necklace.
Hsiao Yun Erh/Tso Yun Lan (Polly Shang Kuan ) – Another victom of Tin Erh Keng wiping out her entire family, whe was even adopted by him (though randomly everyone thinks she’s a dude for a while, despite no disguise at all!) Now she wants revenge for her slain family.
Tin Erh Keng (Chang Yi) – Evil jerk whose favorite hobby is slaughtering all the members of a family except a young child who will then hunt him down for revenge. Eventually that hobby comes back to have consequences. Who knew???
First Head (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) – Guard of East Gate who has a ridiculous name and he’s evil. EVIL!!!

Shaolin Traitorous
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Zodiac Fighters

The Zodiac Fighters

aka 十二生南 aka Dragon Zombies Return aka Shi er sheng nan

Directed by Hau Chang

Zodiac Fighters
50 Shades of Grey wishes it was this daring!

Polly Shang Kuan Ling-Feng began her career In 1966 with the United Film Corporation, and was quickly and began studying martial arts. When director King Hu needed a new starlet for 1966’s Dragon Gate Inn (one of the films that helped usher in the modern wuxia films) with Cheng Pei-Pei still under contract at Shaw, Polly was his choice. Polly played a female swordmaster disguised as a man, a role she would be accustom to playing. Often it is hard to figure out what gender Polly is supposed to be in many of her films! 18 Bronzemen, probably her most famous role in the west besides Dragon Gate Inn, also sees her disguised as a man. In 1973’s Back Alley Princess, she was a woman who spent the entire film playing a man, and won the Golden Horse award for Best Actress. 1978’s Little Hero saw her playing a man, and 1977’s Fight for Survival saw her playing a woman who started to become a man thanks to some kung fu, causing her to need to learn a different kung fun style to revert back.

Zodiac Fighters
I have to stay in this cave for a year? But there’s no bathroom, there’s not even a corner!

In some of her earlier roles such as A Grand Passion, The Bravest Revenge, and A Girl Fighter, Polly was regularly cast as a female out to avenge her murdered father. If you stacked the bodies of all of Polly’s murdered fathers in her older films, you could climb to the moon and probably kill her moon father, causing her to seek moon revenge, which wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary by her later films. By the late 1970s, Polly was making some of the most awesome films to come out of Taiwan. Most of these were weird variations of martial arts films packed with comedic tones and funny situations. You don’t watch these films to see expertly performed Eagle Style, you watch it to see wacky costumes, ridiculous fights, and insane situations.

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Polly did not have Peking Opera training, but according to the one biography online that has been copy/pasta’ed everywhere, Polly eventually got black belts in taekwando, karate, and judo. I will point out that none of those are Chinese martial arts. Polly left film in the 1980s and moved to the US. Rumor is she runs a restaurant in LA, but no one has said which restaurant! Polly could be serving you catfish in black bean sauce right now! Or even denying you the ability to sit at your table until the rest of your party arrives… She has appeared occasionally in enough interviews that you can see pictures of her now if you so desire to Google it.

Zodiac Fighters
It’s time for Popeye Style Kung Fu!

So this all brings us to Zodiac Fighters, a film where we have people dressed up as the various Chinese Zodiac animals running around doing kung fu styles in the manner of the animal they are dressed up as. We have a few extra bad guys with different animal suits who show up near the end, and a sequence involving rubber sharks that you have to see to believe. Zodiac Fighters is crazy and freaking awesome, a great martial comedy. Unfortunately, it is also hard as heck to get a hold of. I had to bribe a guy dressed like a moose. Or maybe he was a moose. In any event, I now have a copy, and some moose has a bunch of caramel corn.

I’d like to tell you I did all this research and identified all the random actors, but that would be a lie. I just did what the few of us who watch these films do and went to the source, this Cast Photos Page that is used by every reference source out there, even the HKMDB! So now you know the terrible secret of all us obscure movie bloggers.

Zodiac Fighters is so beloved among cult world cinema fans that it was even featured as one of the Polly Shang Kuan films we talked about in an Infernal Brains Podcast! There is even an even harder to find sequel, called either Zodiac Fighters 2 or War of the Zodiacs depending who whoever wrote the cover of the bootleg with a Sharpie. It does not feature Polly Shang Kuan, but does feature most of the animal actors, little people in dog costumes, and the giant octopuses seen in Little Hero. War of the Zodiacs should probably be called War of the Props Left Over From Other Films.

Zodiac Fighters
The Secret Society of People Dressed as Animals Who Aren’t Furries is ready for battle!

I promise I won’t start quoting lyrics from Talk to the Animals or start wondering what would happen if we could walk with the animals, or possibly even grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals. Because that would just be easy and predictable, and we aspire to a higher standard of lame jokes at TarsTarkas.NET!

Zodiac Fighters
I’m the biggest Shark Week fan in the world!

East Sea Dragon/Polly (Polly Shang Kuan Ling-Feng) – A professional mourner who becomes mixed up in intrigue and thus spends a year learning Dragon Kung Fu in a magic cave, thus then becoming East Sea Dragon. She must then track down the other 11 zodiac sign fighters from the cave and defeat the evil Tiger Shark, because, he’s evil!
Heartbreak Girl (Yee Hung) – Manipulative lass who uses wide-eyed do-gooders to fight for her family’s honor. Despite breaking so many hearts it earned her a new name, she still uses people like East Sea Dragon to do her bidding.
Tiger Shark (Lo Lieh) – Evil jerk with a seafood evil theme, he’s like if a Long John Silvers restaurant came to life and was bad to the bone. The fishbone. Has shark weapons, goons dressed as crabs, the whole nine yards.
Pan Sing (Ngok Yeung) – Good scholar/fortune teller who East Sea Dragon runs into along the way in her quest to take down Tiger Shark. He joins on along with Polly’s old mourning buddies because they got nothing else going on. He will use his brain to figure out things that the audience figured out much earlier in the film. Ngok Yeung shows up in Dwarf Sorcerer and The Legend of Mother Goddess.
The Five Elements (various) – Besides the sea-themed goons, Tiger Shark also employs these five guys based on the five elements – Fire, Wood, Water, Air, and Gold. They are very colorful and have very complex fight moves, but are easily fooled (you might say they are lead by….FOOL’S GOLD!)

The Other 11 Zodiackers:

Rooster (Weng Hsiao-Hu) – The first of the crew they located, Rooster is off crowing in a field and helps East Sea Dragon locate the rest of the signs.
Rat (???) – This Rat guy has the power of digging tunnels and biting people with his rat teeth!
Ox (???) – Ox has the power of the Ox, which is not impressive enough that I noticed what it was. Maybe it was the power of being bought for the game Oregon Express!
Rabbit (???) – Probably the most memorable costume, we got a chick fighting in a fluffy bunny rabbit outfit. And she has a carrot-shaped flute that she plays during musical numbers. Rabbit also has the power of riding toy sharks, which comes in handy during the final battle, believe it or not!
Snake (Wu Feng-Hsien) – Snake is an entertainer at heart and also a fan of walking like an Egyptian, from the looks of her dance moves.
Horse (Gam Sai-Yuk) – Horse has all the power of the Horse, and can even talk like famed horse Mr. Ed.
Ram (???) – Ram enjoys fighting other members of the zodiac crew, because they all love to fight each other all the time. Some real anger management issues going on in this crew.
Monkey (Wang Tai-Lang) – Another entertainer, he uses his monkey skills to earn money as a street performer before being drafted into the ranks of the Zodiackers! Wang Tai-Lang specialized in playing characters named Monkey. Yeah.
Dog (Lee Keung) – When your special powers are biting people on the ankles and peeing on them, maybe you need some new special powers. Just saying. His weakness is rolled-up newspaper!
Pig (Cheng Fu-Hung) – We can’t have a pig zodiac without him looking vaguely like Zhu Bajie from Journey to the West. Cheng Fu-Hung is also in Island Warriors, Fight for Survival, and Fantasy Mission Force.
Tiger (Sek Fung) – Tiger has the most human zodiac costume of them all, and seems like a leader even though he’s subserviant to East Sea Dragon.
Zodiac Fighters
Something’s happening here. What it is, ain’t exactly clear…

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ginseng King (Review)

The Ginseng King

aka 三頭魔王 aka Three-Head Monster

Written by Chu Yue-Lam and Kwok Cheun-Ming
Directed by Wang Chu-Chin

It’s Taiwanese Kaiju Time again! Today’s installment features the fantastical flick The Ginseng King, the story of a kid and an old ginseng guy, and all the freaky deaky stuff they encounter along the way. Many of which are giant monsters that look like they’re made out of roots and tubers. This is one of the least annoying kids in Taiwanese cinema, probably due to the fact he doesn’t whine all the time nor flying around like a crazy person, he’s just a kid trapped in a world gone to crazytown.

The Ginseng King seems mostly a children’s film, though it does feature a bit of disturbing imagery, and some naked woman behind! So it’s perfect for kids! Ginseng King is a mishmash of influences, and manages to come out with something new and strange. It’s also pretty entertaining, with nary a boring part, and a constant influx of new fantasy creations to see. The shame is it is so hard to get a good copy of The Ginseng King.

Hsiaoming (Chan Ying-Kit) – Young boy whose quest to find herbs to help his sick mother gets him involved in magic ginseng, Nazi zombies, crazy witch women, cloaked fiends, three-headed monsters, giant mythical creatures, and cranky old men. You know, a typical Thursday…
Grandpa Earthgod (???) – Local crazy old man guilted into helping Hsiaoming. He also had nothing better to do, anyway.
1000 Year Old Ginseng (???) – A magical root that turned into human form, and who looks like Dobby from Harry Potter. 1000 Year Old Ginseng is always wandering around ancient Chinese forests for some reason.
Princess Hsiaoli (Cynthia Khan) – Evil Princess leading the goons tracking down the 1000 Year Old Ginseng. Or is she…. Cynthia Khan is also in Tomb Raiders/The Avenging Quartet
Three-Headed Demon King (???) – Three heads are worse than none with this triple-jerk! He leads Devil Mountain after overthrowing Princess Hsiaoli’s mom and imprisoning her, and quests to eat the 1000 Year Old Ginseng in order to get even more powerful!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 8, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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