Kung Fu Yoga (Review)

Kung Fu Yoga

aka 功夫瑜伽 aka Gong Fu Yu Jia
Kung Fu Yoga
Written by directed by Stanley Tong
Kung Fu Yoga
Jackie Chan is still a legend, and though he’s running past retirement age, he’s still out there punching bad guys in the face. We get plenty of action in Kung Fu Yoga, a sprawling archeological adventure that spans the whole of Asia while not forgetting to be fun on the way. Fans of CGI lion puking will be especially pleased with Kung Fu Yoga. In an era where Chinese blockbusters can be hit or miss, Kung Fu Yoga delivers a win, even though at first glance you would wonder if it could.
Kung Fu Yoga
Jackie Chan is Jack, the famous Chinese archeologist who is one of the best archeologists anywhere, even though he will repeatedly point out that he’s just one guy and there are many good archeologists in China. Jack is humble, see, but he’s popular enough that the mysterious Ashmita (Disha Patani) has brought an ancient map from her family’s archives that might point the way to the lost treasure of a Chinese army that went to India. We see parts of this flashback in the opening sequence in Playstation-3-o-vision, as CGI Jackie Chan, Aarif Lee, and Sonu Sood battle amidst elephants and nameless troops. Jack and his grad students – Xiaoguang (Zhang Yixing) and Noumin (played by famous yoga practitioner Miya Muqi) snag the son of Jack’s old archeology bud, Jones Lee (Aarif Lee Chi-Ting, and his name is far from the only Indiana Jones reference in the film!) to go treasure hunting! Also Eric Tsang is briefly there because his character owns an oil refinery company that can break through ice. Science and industry, synergizing together!

Continue reading

Bleeding Steel (Review)

Bleeding Steel

aka 機器之血
Bleeding Steel
Story by Leo Zhang Li-Jia
Screenplay by Cui Si-Wei and Erica Xia-Hou
Directed by Leo Zhang Li-Jia

Bleeding Steel
In the climax of Bleeding Steel, Jackie Chan battles goth cyborgs on a Star Destroyer in the futuristic world of 2020 to save his dead daughter who was revitalized with magic blood and a robot heart. That is just the tip of the iceberg here, folks! Moviepass has become a blessing, enabling me to go catch the various Asian flicks that sporadically appear unannounced at the local multiplex for a few days before vanishing into the ether. Chasing the Dragon, Never Say Die, and The Thousand Faces of Dunjia were all benefits of this, and when Bleeding Steel popped up in the listings while I was trying to find times for The Shape of Water, I knew merman love could wait a day! And thank goodness it did, because Bleeding Steel is one of the most bonkers films I have seen all year, it delights in being insane, continually going over the top and then continuing to climb and climb. I filled two pages of notes and then gave up because things were happening too fast to keep up with, and just enjoyed the ride!
Bleeding Steel
Jackie Chan is a super cop named Lin, who leaves his young daughter Xixi dying in the hospital (how many kids has Jackie buried in films now?) because he needs to lead the police escort of a mad scientist named Dr. James, who has switched sides and brought the magic biotech he was working on along with him. Despite there being around 50ish heavily armed police officers, that is not even slightly enough. The villain Andre appears (Callan Mulvey, from Captain America Winter Soldier and Batman v Superman) along with four goons dressed as Cobra B.A.T.S., armed with high powered weapons and a robot snake that plants bombs (and is never seen again or even acknowledged!) Andre is dressed like Emperor Palpatine, bald with pale white skin but his entire jaw is painted black (probably from chewing all the scenery!) He randomly fires grenades at the cops, and when a repeatedly shot Jackie Chan tries to run him over, Andre starts shoving the car! Jackie Chan does manage to blow up Andre, but Chan’s daughter dies alone, Jackie almost dies, every cop except Su (Erica Xia-Hou Qi-Yu) is dead, and the scientist is mortally wounded.
Bleeding Steel
Continue reading

Unauthorized but familiar Chinese movies

My wow Bootleg Warcraft Movie 我的魔兽世界

Chinese cinema hit the news cycle recently, but not because of a new breakout hit or because another Hollywood studio added a big Chinese star for one line of a movie in order to try to get a share of their box office, but because of a movie that is basically a bootleg of a bigger budget movie. Cinemas in China will get what is basically a bootleg Warcraft film, called My Wow (aka 我的魔兽世界 which means My World of Warcraft)! My Wow is set to hit theaters before Warcraft does, and the costumes look shockingly familiar. The plot is completely different, as it features “A man gets transported to a fantasy world of warcraft, where the impossible occurs…”

So basically it’s that same story where someone gets transported into a fantasy world and becomes a hero, except this time the fantasy world looks suspiciously like World of Warcraft without actually being Warcraft. It also stars Jatfei Wong/Wong Yat-Fei, though he doesn’t play the fish out of water character. The image at the top of the article are the oddly suspicious costumes from the film.

If you bootleg fish out of water stories from China, then you might also be excited for the upcoming release of The Adventures of Panda Warrior, which is totally not Kung Fu Panda, don’t get any ideas!

A peace-loving soldier from Ancient China is magically transported into a world ruled by an evil nine-headed snake. Transformed into a panda, he joins forces with a flying pig to free the once-peaceful Merryland from tyranny. But first he must train to be the kingdom’s most courageous panda warrior.

If The Adventures of Panda Warrior seems vaguely familiar, that’s because you might have stumbled across a trailer for it when it was called The Adventures of Jinbao (大兵金宝) in 2012. Jackie Chan voices the panda, because The Adventures of Jinbao is actually a sequel to his 2010 movie Little Big Soldier. Sort of. It’s a sequel to a flash game sequel to Little Big Soldier called FLASH Little Big Soldier (FLASH大兵小將), hence following the art style for the very beginning before Jackie Chan’s character is turned into a panda. Of course, the US version trades Jackie Chan for Rob Schneider and Norm MacDonald. None of this should be confused with the other animated Kung Fu Panda ripoff, Little Panda Fighter, which is Brazilian but also awful.

Adventures of Jinbao

Adventures of Jinbao Jackie Chan

Now if you want even more exciting stuff, April’s Crazy Toy City (疯狂玩具城) mysteriously has a similar poster and title to Disney’s Zootopia, known in China as Crazy Animal City (疯狂动物城). This was roundly mocked on China’s internet, though the film itself seems to have little to do with Zootopia, instead following a boy who is transported to a toy-ruled city after mistreating his toys. So maybe it’s a sequel to Toy Story?

Crazy Toy City Zootopia posters

Whatever the case, I’m sure we’ll soon have many more very original films to talk about! Now I have to go watch Hollywood’s latest reboot of a prequel of a sequel of a remake.

photos/info via qq and thenanfang

Hapkido (Review)


aka 合氣道 aka He qi dao aka Hap Ki Do aka Lady Kung Fu
Hapkido 合氣道
Written by Yan Ho
Directed by Feng Huang

Hapkido 合氣道
When you need villains for your martial arts movie, the Japanese are very handy. Not only did the Japanese actually do a bunch of bad stuff that seems only cartoon supervillains would do, but depicting them doing so helps stir up nationalistic feelings and potentially increases your box office bang. Thus martial arts schools are the setting for rebellion against Japanese occupiers in Hapkido, and Angela Mao Ying is more than capable of beating the snot out of all sorts of Japanese jerks.

Hapkido is one of Angela Mao’s earliest films for Golden Harvest. You can still see legacies of the Shaw Brothers influence, from the Golden Harvest logo having a strangely familiar shape to the film being advertised in “Dyaliscope”, whatever the heck that is!
Hapkido 合氣道
We start out in 1934 Japanese-occupied Seoul, where three Chinese students are studying Hapkido before harassment by Japanese occupiers cause them need to return to China, but that also means they can open a Hapkido school in China. Just as Japan now controls Korea, Japanese influence in China is not something to be ignored, their impending invasion of the whole country means their people act arrogant and criminally. The watchword for Hapkido is “forbearance”, which works fine except when the Japanese are assaulting innocent people and Sammo Hung’s character has a wicked temper. Then it gets put on the wayside while people get punched.
Hapkido 合氣道

Yu Ying (Angela Mao Ying) – Hapkido student who just wants to set up a school and teach everyone Hapkido, except the Japanese have other ideas. So it’s time to kick those ideas out of their heads and also kick many other parts of their bodies to get them to go away!
Fan Wei (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) – Hot-headed Hapkido student who constantly gets into fights and causes trouble for his friends. But he also just happens to be around whenever the Japanese are doing something evil, so he also has very bad luck.
Kao Chung (Carter Wong Ka-Tat) – Hapkido student who tries to calm down all the trouble happening only to get a brutal beatdown to emphasize how the Japanese school is beyond reason.

Hapkido 合氣道
Continue reading

Rush Hour 4: Still Rushin'

Producer Arthur Sarkissian tells Crave that Rush Hour 4 is happening, and both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker will be back. He also claims to want it more like Rush Hour 1. More like Rush Hour 1? Did this guy forget that Rush Hour 3 was Rush Hour 1??? The only difference was the girl was grown up and didn’t sing Mariah Carey! Also someone forgot to tell Jackie Chan that saying Chinese Zodiac is your last action movie means you shouldn’t be doing another action movie. There is no way Jackie Chan will ever really retire until he’s physically unable to act, but gimmick marketing techniques to not become him. But he’ll be less actiony in his movies, so no more jumping off buildings. That much.

Sarkissian also slammed Brett Ratner, the director of the prior 3 films, apparently unhappy at the way the director has moved the franchise. But I bet Sarkissian wasn’t complaining about the dump trucks full of money the series was bringing in.
Rush Hour

Legendary Amazons (杨门女将之军令如山) trailer!

The trailer for Legendary Amazons (杨门女将之军令如山) is here! Looks like most generic giant Chinese battle epics, though. But, every time Cecilia reacts, her hair goes flying up in the air! Red Cliff don’t got that!

Posters here

Legendary Amazons