Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Jackie Chan’ Category

police story 2013

Captain Zhong Wen is a decorated police veteran who is trying to recover from the death of his wife. He agrees to meet up with his estranged daughter Miao Miao at a nightclub which is holding a special event. As Zhong, his daughter and all the guests arrive there, the nightclub is locked down by the owner Wu Jiang where he intends to hold everybody hostage. Making things even more complicated for Zhong is the fact that Wu is Miao Miao’s boyfriend.  This isn’t just a random hostage situation. Wu has invited the guests to his nightclub for a purpose. The hostages all know each other and it boils down to a tragic incident involving Wu’s little sister. The nightclub has also been primed with a bomb. Will Captain Zhong be able to save the day?

This, the 6th Police Story movie in the franchise is unrelated to the first 4 movies and is completely different in tone. What’s really annoying by associating it with Police Story is action fans will expect this to be a high-octane fast paced movie filled with stunts and martial arts fights. I’m sorry to disappoint you all but this movie has none of that. This is more of a serious police drama rather than a thrilling ride – something like New Police Story which came out in 2004. The days of Jackie Chan doing incredible stunts I believe are well and truly over. As I’ve said before when reviewing other recent Jackie movies, time has caught up with him. He can’t be expected to do that kind of work anymore. The guy is still nimble enough and I’m sure if he really wanted to do an all-action movie he could but he’s gone on record in saying he wants to slow down and concentrate on more dramatic roles. Maybe it’s a case of ‘been there, done that’. Fair enough I say.

police-story-2013 screenshot

This is a character driven and tense drama which works fine for the most part. Jackie plays a policeman seeking redemption as he tries to patch up his relationship with his daughter who admits he was a bad father in the past as he took more interest in his work than family matters. I have to admit that the plot was a little bit lacklustre and the fact that the movie doesn’t have a good enough villain didn’t help things either. The first half is dull and plodding but things pick up slightly in the second half as the viewer is shown flashbacks on why Wu Jiang has taken these people hostage. It seems all of the people had a hand in the death of Wu Jiang’s little sister who had her throat slashed in a tense stand-off between Captain Zhong and a man who had taken her hostage. Wu Jiang wants to know the truth as to what happened to her. There are a couple of decent action scenes which include a brutal cage fight between Jackie and a Thai fighter. Jackie is banged up pretty well in this movie – not content with being beaten up, he’s also shot in the chest as well. It’s just a shame that the action scenes are full of CGI effects and fairly short.

Jackie is OK in this movie and he proves that he can take a dramatic role by the scruff of the neck and make it look believable for the viewer. Zhong is quite a serious character so there’s none of the trademark JC humour in the story. Tian Jang is the eye candy of the movie as Jackie’s rebellious daughter. She sadly doesn’t get to do that much except look beautiful. Lie Yu performs well as Wu Jiang but he doesn’t make for a good villain at all.

Overall, this is just an average police drama and is worthy of only being watched once. There’s nothing memorable that sticks out in my mind about this movie and IMO it’s completely forgettable. Let’s hope Jackie can pull off one more brilliant action movie like he did in the past just to remind his fans that he’s still got it. Even though Western fans might be disappointed here, the same cannot be said about people in Mainland China who loved this movie. It proved to be a massive success there.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

chinese-zodiac

JC is the leader of a band of mercenaries who are given the task by a foreign antiques dealer of finding the 12 Chinese bronze statue heads that represent the zodiac and were stolen from the Summer Palace in the 1860’s during the Second Opium War. For each head they find they’ll be given 1 million euros and for finding the very special dragon head an extra zero will be added to the total. The first destination for the team is in Paris, France where they acquire the help of Coco, a relics expert and Katherine, a French heiress who is desperate to know the fate of her long lost grandfather. They follow some clues to a tropical island where they come face to face with some other treasure hunters who are after the same bronze statues.

Billed as the last Jackie Chan action movie (which is false actually as he’s working on a new Police Story movie but maybe they mean his last jet-setting global action movie?), this is supposed to be the 3rd in the Armour Of God series. I’m not sure if that’s true or not as I don’t think Jackie portrays the Asian Hawk in the story. Jackie is getting on a bit now (he is 58 after all) and he cannot continue in these fast paced action movies so the plan was for this to be his swansong and to go out with a bang. Many of his long-time fans will be pleased to see him returning to the genre he is best known for in the 80’s and 90’s with his trademark comedy and innovative fight/action scenes. There’s a brilliant opening sequence as Jackie’s character JC in his latest mercenary mission escapes from some Russians by donning a  rollerblading suit. It’s exciting stuff and it does take your breath away though I didn’t like the special effects used. I was sure that this excellent start would set the tone for the rest of the movie but unfortunately it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, this movie is better than a lot of Jackie’s recent efforts and the action scenes are great but somehow I felt short changed at the end. It did go on for far too long with the story being stretched. A good 20 mins should have been cut. With Jackie in charge of this production, his nationalistic views comes through very strongly (something which he is known for lately) in which he criticises foreign nations for stealing China’s treasures.  It is seen as being preachy and the message is driven home to the viewer on a regular basis throughout the movie. Fair enough if Jackie is patriotic of his country but leave the foreign bashing out of your movies. The viewer could do without it.

chinese zodiac shot

The plot of the movie is somewhat thin and the dialogue is stupid but then again a lot of Jackie’s movies have been like that and besides I don’t think his fans will really care about that. They want to see some action and that’s what they get in spades with some added CGI mixed in. As well as the rollerblading sequence, there’s a cool skydiving stunt near the end which reminded me of the pre-credits scene in 007’s Moonraker. It involves JC diving from a plane after the villain who drops the dragon head statue where it is seen plummeting towards an erupting volcano with JC in hot pursuit. Viewers can look forward to seeing Jackie’s trademark fight choreography in a warehouse which sees the use of a sofa plus an amusing chase in a maze with Jackie on the run from several Doberman Pinchers. There’s a large cast for this movie but it’s Jackie’s character that mostly takes centre stage. The supporting characters are made to look weak. The Westerners (Oliver Platt/Laura Weissbecker) in this movie again fall flat on their faces in the acting department. When will Asian studios employ some decent Western talent in their movies? The characters they portray come across as rather annoying especially Laura Weissbecker playing Katherine who repeats the “speak in English please” line several times. Perhaps in a nod to the Pirates Of The Caribbean, there’s a bunch of smugglers who are also after the bronze head statues with one looking very much like Captain Jack Sparrow which is very appropriate seeing as the segment of the movie is set on an old pirate ship which crashed into a desert island during a storm many years ago. We all know that most of Jackie’s movies like to have their share of comedy but the humour felt a bit tired here.

Try as he might to replicate his glory days in this movie, I don’t think he comes close to his best stuff.  It’s an enjoyable movie to watch though. Younger viewers will no doubt love this movie but those of us who have grown up watching the man will be slightly disappointed. I hope that Jackie can prove me wrong and there’s one more excellent movie up his sleeve – maybe the next Police Story story will be that one?

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Jackie is a thief named Thongs who has an unfortunate habit of gambling away his ill-gotten earnings and who is deep in debt as a result. Along with his partner Octopus, Thongs accepts a job from their desperate landlord after his retirement stash is stolen to kidnap a young baby, lured by the prospect of a massive reward. The duo don’t like the idea of stealing a baby but before they know it, the baby boy has been taken and is kept in a bag and the duo along with their landlord get away in their van. However, the landlord crashes the van whilst trying to escape from the cops and Thongs, Octopus and the unhurt baby manage to slip away from the scene. The landlord however is arrested but phones the duo from jail. He informs the duo that they have to look after the baby for 1-2 weeks until he’s released from jail. The two have to learn fast on how to cope with looking after the baby. As time marches on, the trio have bonded very well with Thongs and Octopus reluctant to hand the baby over to a crime boss who wants to prove that the kid is of his own blood.

A great little action comedy from Jackie Chan. I’ve said it before that whilst JC may have become famous in the US, his work there has been far from good. Disappointing is a word that comes up often to describe his US movies but that’s myself just being nice. I could say something far worse! When Jackie comes back to Hong Kong, it seems the shackles come off and he appears in far more entertaining stuff like this movie for instance. This is like a more action packed version of Three Men And A Baby. The set pieces in this movie are what we’ve come to expect from Jackie and his stunt team. They’re exciting, intricate and inventive. The action might be a little toned down for JC with him now in his 50’s but he can still entertain viewers. The comedy is very well done with plenty of slapstick involving soiled baby diapers etc and also a couple of gay jokes (one even mentions Brokeback Mountain) is thrown in as well. There are many endearing scenes with the real star of the show, baby Matthew Medvedev, who will melt any viewer’s heart. He is put in many perilous situations such as dangling and falling from a building, put in a washing machine and nearly being hit by oncoming cars in a busy HK street! Jackie and his co-stars’ characters are very sympathetic and the acting for the most part is spot on. The pairing of Jackie and Louis Koo is wonderful and they make a good amusing team playing mother and father to the baby. Benny Chan does an excellent job directing his stars and shows that he is not only able to direct a serious action crime drama like Chan’s previous New Police Story but is also adept at the family action comedy as well. There are many cameos from well known HK stars such as Yuen Biao, Charlene Choi, Daniel Wu so be sure to watch out for them. Even at 2 hours long, the movie never overstays it’s welcome and there’s plenty to keep the viewers from becoming bored.

All in all, Rob-B-Hood with it’s mix of comedy and action was fantastic. A very enjoyable and fun movie to watch. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Set during The Warring States Period (475 B.C. – 221 B.C.) in China, an old soldier from the state of Liang who has faked his death during a big battle which has seen 3000 soldiers die captures a young general of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward. The old soldier hopes to use to the reward to retire and become a farmer. During their journey they encounter the general’s younger brother who is pursuing him, abductors, swindlers and other difficulties …

Jackie Chan’s movies in the past couple of years have been a bit hit and miss. This one isn’t too bad I suppose. Jackie wrote the story for the movie himself. He waited nearly 20 years to see his dream finally being made. As this is his own project he injects the story with his customary comedy and acrobatic fights and for the most part it works but there’s just something lacking to make it truly great. He also wanted to portray the younger general but as he’s not a spring chicken anymore he had to settle for the older role instead. The plot is simple enough but is one that is refreshing, and the story progresses through witty plot devices and some funny situations. JC’s various gadgets used for feigning death showcases his trademark slapstick humour which we all have come to enjoy over the years. While the plot’s strength lies in its simplicity, it threatens to throw the viewer off by wearing too thin at times, and the lack of major turning points makes the movie less engaging than it could have been. The action scenes are adequate, despite being slightly less ambitious than those in JC’s other movies, both in complexity and in quantity. His stunts may be less outrageous and his fighting less impressive than it was twenty years ago, but he brings a warmth and genuine presence to his role. The strength of the movie comes from how the two main characters contrast with, and how they rub off their respective ideals on each other. JC plays his character well and the sheer luck and street smarts he has to rely on to get out of sticky situations make him a likeable character even though at times he is a bit cowardly. I’m not too familiar with Leehom Wang but he manages to give a decent performance as the young general and shares some fine chemistry with JC.

This is probably one of JC’s better movies from ther past 10 years considering the crap he’s been doing in Hollywood. The sooner he leaves there and returns permanently back to Hong Kong to make some quality movies I’ll be happy. It demonstrates that JC still has what it takes to deliver a good fun Chinese movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

In a skewed version of WW2, the Japanese capture four high ranking generals (one is called Abraham Lincoln!) during an attack on an allied camp and imprison them for ransom in Luxembourg. The Chinese are outraged at this incident. As 007, Snake Plissken, Rocky Balboa and Karl Maka (from the Aces Go Places movies) are unavailable for various reasons, the allies ask Lieutenant Don Wen to send a group of mercenaries to rescue the generals and stop the nasty Japanese. He rounds up a weird bunch of people such as 2 Chinese soldiers wearing kilts, a tramp, a femme fatale, a con artist and an escape artist with the promise of money as a reward. Along the way 2 thieves get involved with their antics. They are captured by a leopardskin wearing Amazon tribe led by an effeminate man in a tuxedo. The group manage to escape but they run into more trouble by staying the night in a haunted house. Will they manage to rescue the generals before it’s too late?

I’m not really sure what I just saw here but it has to be one of the oddest low budget HK comedies of all time. Maybe that’s why I’d never heard about it. It tries to be a wacky and surreal screwball comedy – maybe they wanted to copy Monty Python? It’s totally insane and so bad it’s ALMOST good. I emphasise on the word ALMOST! This is the only movie to have two HK legends in Jackie Chan and Brigitte Lin star together although the screentime they share is minimal. Jackie himself is barely in the movie – about 10-15 minutes at most. He only did this movie as a favour to one of the other actors (Jimmy Wang Yu) in the production who had protected him from the Triads during the early part of his career. The comedy is cringeworthy and embarassing at times such as 2 stupid Benny Hill type chase scenes which is terrible. The haunted house sequence which sees hopping vampires, skeletons and disembodied hands making appearances drags on for far too long. There’s even a couple of Japanese Nazis that pop up close to the end and don’t get me started on the climax which sees the Japanese attack the mercenaries in their 1970’s clapped out cars almost like something out of Mad Max! The movie is completely incomprehensible, silly, and so OTT with scenes just finishing unexpectedly and moving on to the next. I’m sure the filmmmakers were almost making the script up as they went along. It’s possible that they made it this bad on purpose – who knows? You just don’t know what to expect in it. The beginning of the movie even has a musical number. The only bright spots were the 3 fights that Jackie is involved in and Brigitte Lin is sort of OK in her role. The escape from the Amazon camp at night is well done with plenty of action and explosions. Just about everything including the kitchen sink is thrown into this movie!

Fantasy Mission Force has to be one of the most bizarre movies I’ve seen. It’s not often I’m gobsmacked after watching a movie but I was after seeing this. Actually I would ask Asian movie fans to watch this because it’s something you’ve got to experience……just have a couple of beers first before you do and don’t try to make any sense from the plot because you won’t be able to!!

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Martial arts legend Jackie Chan stars as Jack, a world-renowned archaeologits who has begun having mysterious dreams of a past life as a warrior in ancient China. When a fellow scientist asks for Jack’s help in locating the mausoleum of China’s first Emperor, the past collides violently with the present as Jack discovers his amazing visions are based on fact. Assisted by the spirit of a noble princess, Jack follows a mystical trail that soon finds him battling the forces of the legendary Emperor, as well as the henchmen of a modern-day tomb raider, as he seeks to uncover history’s greatest secret – and his own destiny.

A pretty good movie. The story, while it might be original for a Jackie Chan movie, seemed a little cliché. It plays like a young boy’s fantasy of snagging that exotic oriental princess, enjoying the support of the troop masses, having utmost loyalty to the king, and blessed with good fighting skills topped with a signature sword. The Myth looks and feels like a classic JC movie in terms of production values, like the familiar fight-with-the-baddies-acrobatic-stunts scenes, and physical humour injected at certain points. However, I guess with JC’s age, the number of fight scenes have been reduced, and somewhat slowed down deliberately. The fight at the Rat Glue Factory stood out for being a combination of both brawn and situational humour. Eye candy comes in the form of Kim Hee-seon and Mallika Sherawat and they don’t disappoint. Overall this movie has much that can be enjoyed, just don’t expect too much from a simple predictable storyline, and for some illogical and improbable scenes (a horse back-kicking a couple of people).

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

A Chinese chef accidentally gets involved with a news reporter who filmed a drug bust that went awry and is now being chased by gangs who are trying to get the video tape.

There are 2 things I want to see in a Jackie Chan movie and this one delivers them both. First I look for new physical feats and stunts, and second I want to laugh. This film provides great fights and good humour. The action sequences (and to a lesser extent the comedy) are really impressive in this film. Its what we’ve come to expect from Jackie Chan movies. The finale is really quite impressive in which Jackie goes on an orgy of destruction in a massive dumper truck! If you are a fan of Martial Arts/Action films, or just like Jackie Chan, then watch this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Read Full Post »

Jackie Chan plays orphan Ah Lung, a student in a martial arts school, along with his brother.  Trouble ensues when the brother is bribed by a rival school to fake an injury and join their team in their lion dance competition, leaving Lung to take his place, and subsequently lose.  The brother is released from the school, and Lung must try to find him, but a series of mishaps, the worst of which includes Lung being mistaken for a criminal, prevents the reunion.

This is the first movie that Jackie wrote and directed. This movie has it’s fans but for me I just found it well……boring! There is just a dull feeling throughout that has nothing to do with the comedy or anything. The plot isn’t that great and it drags a bit in the middle and there isn’t the usual quota of physical comedy and crazy stunts you’d expect from a Jackie Chan movie. Even the lengthy fight at the end didn’t do anything for me. The fan fight plus the one with the benches were entertaining though. Jackie was still learning his trade in the movie business at this time and it shows. There are other great movies that Jackie did pre-Police Story like the Drunken Master double bill which I think fans will enjoy better than this hokum. Overall it’s only average.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Read Full Post »

Secret agent Jackie goes with a commando group to Africa to kidnap scientists who are working to unleash a powerful and lethal new energy source. However there is a betrayal amongst the group and the helicopter carrying them suddenly starts to fall out of the sky. Jackie falls out of the helicopter and gets knocked out having fallen heavily through some trees and landing on the jungle floor below with an almighty thud. Awakening in an African village in a desert with a broken leg, Jackie cannot remember who he is. As he starts having flashbacks to his past and does a heroic deed for a Japanese couple taking part in a rally, his former employers send their goons out to kill him but Jackie has no idea why they’re after him.

Not one of Jackie’s best but contains enough of his trademark humour/action to be entertaining. The movie fails to recreate the energy of his older flicks. Higher production values and a couple of impressive fight scenes cannot entirely overcome that the story is to weak to keep the two hour movie together which indicates the major problem: it’s far too long. It’s only when the story moves to Rotterdam that this movie finally spring into life. When Jackie finally comes to his best, the fights, he is still great, but between these fights there’s too little new, including the umpteenth car chase through a market street. This movie is by no means bad, it’s just not in the same league as earlier works.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

Read Full Post »

Death Note (2006)

A young man named Light Yagami who’s a brilliant law student at university finds a mysterious notebook with the name Death Note written on the front in Gothic font which has been dropped by the God of Death Ryuk. The notebook has instructions inside which states that if a person’s name is written in it’s pages that person will die. Initially sceptical of the notebook’s ability to make people die, he tries it out on 2 criminals who promptly die of heart attacks.

Light meets up with Death Note’s previous owner – the God of Death Ryuk and declares himself as the new God of Justice. Soon Light is casting judgement on criminals around the world and the police have no clues who they’re dealing with. The new protector of justice’s popularity sweeps the nation with the media dubbing their new hero as Kira. Some agreeing with his methods of punishment, others seeing Kira as a dangerous individual. With the number of deaths rising, the police turn to the mysterious L, a superb genius detective who’s revealed to be a teenager with some quirky habits. L has his suspicions who Kira is and with the number of leads narrowing down it’s Light’s name which comes at the top of his list. What follows is a brilliant cat and mouse mind battle like a game of chess between L and Light as he tries to cover up his tracks which could lead to his identity as Kira. With L convinced that Light is Kira, how will he be able to prove his innocence. But Light still has a couple of tricks up his sleeve.

The movie Death Note is based on a popular manga and anime series and was released in Japan in June 2006. It proved to be a box office smash with a sequel that came out in November 2006 (I will review this very soon). As I haven’t read the manga or seen the anime I can’t say if any of those are better than this movie but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know most people say that the manga is much better. This movie however is only just setting things up for the sequel and ends just as things start to get interesting. The 126 mins running time flew by. It’s fascinating to see how corrupt Light turns out to be as he becomes arrogant with the Death Note in his possession even sacrificing his girlfriend’s life in order to conceal his identity. I’d say the overall message of this movie is that absolute power breeds corruption. Whilst Light at first only kills criminals, once the police and the FBI are on his tail he doesn’t think twice about killling them as well. He starts out as a hero but descends into being a villain. The two lead actors in this movie especially Kenichi Matsuyama as L are fantastic in their roles. One of my favourite Japanese actresses Erika Toda only has a minor role in the movie as an idol but that’s expanded in the sequel when she possesses another Death Note. The CGI of Ryuk, the God of Death is excellent who resembles the face of Batman’s Joker with his white face and big grin. He tends to have a fixation on apples as well!

A gripping, suspenseful movie which will keep you at the edge of your seats. It makes you wanting to see more. It also asks you a question in what would you do if such a notebook came into your possession? Would you start bumping off criminals and how far would you go? Would you know where to stop even? Something for you to think about there.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

Read Full Post »

Jackie Chan plays Ryu Saeba, a private eye with a lust for babes and burgers. He’s assigned to find a runaway girl who just happens to hitch a ride on a luxury liner that comes under siege by terrorists. Ryu must defeat the terrorists and get the runaway girl back home to her rich father.

Very silly and goofy JC action comedy based on an anime. It’s not like your typical JC comedy at all – too much slapstick with stupid incidental music but it does have plenty of action though. The brilliantly inventive fights that JC is well known for continues here and there’s a funny Streetfighter scrap where JC dresses up as Chun Li and a couple of other characters make an appearance too. City Hunter might not be up there with JC’s best but it’s still hugely entertaining.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

Read Full Post »

Jackie Chan stars as Steelhead, a tractor mechanic in China during the early 90’s. His childhood sweetheart Xiu Xiu goes off to Japan but never returns – seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth. A couple of years later Steelhead takes off to find her with other Chinese people on a ship bound for Japan. Once in Japan, he teams up with other illegal immigrants and finds work cleaning rubbish from the gutter. There’s also a war brewing on the streets of Kabukicho, Shinjuku between rival Japanese and Taiwanese gangs. Steelhead finally sees his girlfriend but she’s now the wife of the yakuza boss Eguchi and has a child. Steelhead gets involved with the yakuza and slowly but surely climbs up the ranks to take control of the Taiwanese gang’s territory for doing a favor by killing two yakuza leaders and documents to make him a citizen of Japan. But tragedy is about to take place…….

This movie shows than when he feels like it, Jackie Chan can do a really good serious drama. It’s very refreshing to see JC act in a drama and I hope he does some more. Daniel Wu and the gorgeous Fan Bing Bing also contribute to this engrossing movie. Those expecting JC to do some kind of fighting will be disappointed as he doesn’t do that at all. JC even said years ago that he would never do a sex scene but we see a brief one in this movie – this shows how different this is from other JC movies. Most Western fans will be not like this movie because there’s no comedy or martial arts and probably think this movie is boring but for me Shinjuku Incident proves just what a versatile actor JC really is. I would definitely recommend checking this one out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

Read Full Post »