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GreenCine Movie Talk
Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

What's your favorite Asian kungfu action flick?
Topic by: hneline1
Posted: May 21, 2003 - 12:27 AM PDT
Last Reply: March 6, 2004 - 8:11 AM PST

author topic: What's your favorite Asian kungfu action flick?
hneline1
post #1  on May 21, 2003 - 12:27 AM PDT  
Let's talk Asian action cinema! You know, where we have all those guys and girls throwing kicks at each others' heads and flying through the air. :-)

What's your favorite flick? Who are your favorite stars and directors and fight choreographers? Is there anything a newbie should know (vocabulary, history, etiquette, whatever) in order to enjoy the genre more?

I admit that I'm a newbie (besides growing up watching Jackie Chan and David Carradine and other U.S. fare). But I've been really impressed by the Asian fight style that's been used in recent U.S. films as well as by recent imports, aka Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I watched the Korean film, Volcano High, last week and was hooked. My ulterior motive is to get recommendations for more fun things to watch!

And, yes, I tried reading the other thread about Asian cinema, but my eyes started to glaze over after the first two pages. So forgive me for starting a new thread. ;-p

We're talking action, action here!
oldkingcole
post #2  on May 21, 2003 - 4:43 AM PDT  
> On May 21, 2003 - 12:27 AM PST hneline1 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Let's talk Asian action cinema! You know, where we have all those guys and girls throwing kicks at each others' heads and flying through the air. :-)
>
> What's your favorite flick? Who are your favorite stars and directors and fight choreographers? Is there anything a newbie should know (vocabulary, history, etiquette, whatever) in order to enjoy the genre more?
>
> I admit that I'm a newbie (besides growing up watching Jackie Chan and David Carradine and other U.S. fare).

I'm not an expert either, and you say you are already familliar with Jackie Chan's ouvre, so maybe these recommendations will be for films you've already seen...

Still, for me, there are two HK action films I find infinitely rewatchable, and both star Jackie Chan:

The first is First Strike (aka Police Story IV), which is probably my favorite Jackie Chan film. I find almost everything about this film charming. The action sequences are terrific (the fight with the ladder is impeccably staged and executed), and the goofy comedy sequences also work for me. The routine with the shark, the knife, and the oxygen tank at the aquarium is genuinely funny and clever.

The other favorite is Drunken Master II. I purposely didn't link this title to the DVD in the GreenCine catalog because, alas, the American Region 1 DVD (actually titled "Legend of the Drunken Master") is a vastly inferior re-edit of the original Hong Kong film. The agressive American underscore music has none of the charm of the original underscore, and the voices in the dub, while not bad as these things go, just don't convey the infectious fun of the original. There is an all-region DVD version of the film as it was originally released in HK (with English subtitles) which is available from the usual outlets (eg, Blue Laser, HK Flix, etc.). I would argue that Matrix: Reloaded owes a heavy debt to Drunken Master II. In fact, I've taken to calling the new Matrix film "Drunken Matrix 2". :-)

Other Jackie Chan films I like a lot:

Operation Condor, which has some good stuntwork;

Police Story (the first one), which doesn't seem to be in the GC catalog. It has a great fight scene on a city bus (possibly an influence on the truck fight in Matrix: Reloaded?), and a punishing but rather exciting fight in a shopping mall. I believe I heard or read somewhere that the film makers refered to this film as "Glass Story" because there was so much breaking glass in the shopping mall fight sequence.

Dragons Forever, which is one of the few movies to star Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao in the same film, with fight sequences involving all three of them.

Other HK action movies that, while not as good overall, still have their moments, include:

Righting Wrongs which has some incredible stunt work from star Yuen Biao, who is amazingly quick and nimble and acrobatic. There's a sequence in parking lot that looks like it was extremely risky and dangerous to shoot, probably because it was. I don't even remember what the plot was in this film, but the action sequences and stunts were good enough to lodge in my memory even though I haven't watched this film in years.

High Risk (directed by Wong Jing). Alas, this also seems to be missing a Region 1 DVD, though there is an all-region DVD you can get from the usual sources. This is the best, funniest (that's an understatement!) HK action comedy I've ever seen. It is a laugh-out-loud funny spoof of American action movies, specifically Die Hard and True Lies, and of course, every Jackie Chan film ever made. The ineptitude of the translation in the English subtitles adds immeasurably to the hilarity of the proceedings. At one point, a wise old man complains about the star (who is a parody of Jackie Chan): "He only has 40% of his Kung-fu left," as if it were some sort of rocket fuel you could run out of. I took a couple of friends to see this movie about 10 years ago, and it turned them into permanent HK action movie fans.

Another HK comedy that I like a lot is Forbidden City Cop. Again, there's no Region 1 DVD, though there is an all-region DVD available from the usual sources. It's directed by its star, Stephen Chow, in a style very remeniscent of Wong Jing, in which any wacky silliness is ok as long as it leads to a good laugh. It is really funny, though it's light on fighting/action sequences. If you like High Risk, give Forbidden City Cop a try.

Finally, although it's not an action movie at all, if you find yourself watching a lot of jackie Chan films, you will probably want to find the time to squeeze in a viewing of Painted Faces, which might be tough, since there doesn't seem to be a Region 1 or all-region DVD version currently in print. :-( But give me a call sometime and we can set up a laserdisc screening of the film here at Cinema Ray. It stars Sammo Hung as the man who, in real life, was the schoolmaster of Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung, at the Peking Opera School where they were all trained as children. Definitely of interest to HK action film fans, as it gives the backstory of the actors who bring these films to life.

Ultimately, though, none of these films have the fluid grace or artful tone of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
dh22
post #3  on May 21, 2003 - 6:42 AM PDT  
Master Killer. I've watched a lot of Kung Fu movies and this one is the best I've ever seen. Some of the things he does in this movie are amazing.

http://www.greencine.com/webCatalog?id=7834
dpowers
post #4  on May 21, 2003 - 10:53 AM PDT  
helen i think this list of movies might not be what you are looking for, it's more of a martial arts list. looking through my own notes and stuff i realize i'm way behind on seeing the HK stuff i want to check out...

also available as a greencine list: "a touch of action"

1967 one-armed swordsman
1969 a touch of zen
1973 fist of fury (the chinese connection)
1973 five fingers of death
1975 masters of the flying guillotine
1978 crippled avengers (return of the five deadly venoms)
1983 project A
1986 peking opera blues
1986 a better tomorrow
1987 a better tomorrow II
1991 hard-boiled
1991 swordsman II
1992 naked killer
1992 dragon inn
1993 the tai chi master
1996 big bullet
1998 beast cops
1999 the mission
2001 cop on a mission

not a lot of gun movies on there, which means, somebody please answer the question, i want to know too!

> Master Killer. <

AKA the 36th chamber of shaolin, the original.
dpowers
post #5  on May 21, 2003 - 1:19 PM PDT  
HK stuff looks different to me now that i've seen so much anime. nobody does fight design better than japanese studios, it's not even a fair comparison, i mean, live action has physical limits. even matrix reloaded, with bajillions of dollars of compositing, has to cut from solid hit to recovery to counterattack, though they can have nearly infinite attack-block-counterblow moments in one scene, nobody can recover from a solid hit until the shot ends.

there are one "shot" fight sequences in rurouni kenshin that are unmatchable with live action, but have depth of field and a really physical feel to them.

it changes the meaning of "action."
syntax
post #6  on May 22, 2003 - 8:13 AM PDT  
I have others, but my favorite HK flick is Hard Boiled.
EKuersten
post #7  on May 22, 2003 - 11:10 AM PDT  
A really good recent release is HERO (with Jet Li) which I think is on the Greencine list, it's co-produced by Miramax and has a huge budget, and is obviously designed to be a sort of CROUCHING TIGER 2. Very colorful and artsy with a stellar cast and amazing action, Matrix-style digital effects, etc. Five out of five stars.
Cinenaut
post #8  on May 22, 2003 - 6:21 PM PDT  
If you haven't seen Iron Monkey, you should check it out. Lots of wire work in that one.
larbeck
post #9  on May 22, 2003 - 8:18 PM PDT  
"The Matrix" Okay, it ain't HK but don't tell me that the action is not Asian!
dpowers
post #10  on May 24, 2003 - 4:37 PM PDT  
i want a really capital-W WACK HK action flick. i know there were some made in the late 80s early 90s that had torture and guns that went off when you loaded them. does greencine have any of these? anyone want to make up a list?
geekgrrl
post #11  on May 25, 2003 - 9:08 PM PDT  
any jackie chan movie done between 1980-1999.
Yeroen
post #12  on July 14, 2003 - 11:36 PM PDT  
If you haven't seen "Fist of Legend" yet it is an absolute must see. This movie got me hooked on Jet Li, but sadly nothing else he's done can compare.

If you're willing to suspend your disbelief check out "Dragon Inn". It's a remake of a King Hu film from the '60s. It's completely over the top, but it's also incredibly well done. Probably one of the best ending fight scenes out there. If you want something a little more believable try "A Touch of Zen", which is an actual King Hu original.

-Yeroen
kamapuaa
post #13  on July 16, 2003 - 2:48 PM PDT  

> If you haven't seen "Fist of Legend" yet it is an absolute must see. This movie got me hooked on Jet Li, but sadly nothing else he's done can compare.

I agree that's his best, but I think "Fong Sai Yuk" (the first one) and "Tai Chi Master" were both in the same ballpark, and could see someone preferring those movies.

These were Americanized, I can't remember the new titles but I heard they got cut heavily, and re-dubbed with english and rap music. The originals can be easily found for $2, and are also definite must-sees.

Brujaria
post #14  on August 2, 2003 - 1:07 AM PDT  

  I gotta say Drunken Master II (the HK laserdisc is the
definitive version on video) is the best martial arts film ever made. Still, one
of my all time faves is the Shaw Brothers classic
Master of the Flying
Guillotine
. Not only has it inspired tons of other films, but it's even
inspired videogames - Street Fighter II would have never been the same
with out it. It used to be a super rare item that was only available via a rare
Greek tape or a rough quality bootleg. Fortunately, unlike so many other HK
flicks that get butchered on their way to US video, the US DVD is not only
letterboxed and remastered, but includes some footage that was previously
thought lost.


  Jimmy Wang Yu never really caught on with "da kidz" these days, which
is fine with me, but he was arguably the most influential film star in the
history of HK cinema. He made films in the '60s and '70s that gave birth to
genres and cinematic traditions that continue to this day (well, sort of, HK
cinema slowly died an ugly death starting back in '96). Without him, Bruce Lee,
Jacky Chan and Jet Li may never have become household names. Maybe.

sc4rf4ce
post #15  on February 16, 2004 - 1:48 AM PST  
well asian ..japanese movie..it has to be the Lone Wolf and Cub series..starting with part 1 Sword of Vengeance and continuing with part 2 Baby Cart at the River Styx and then continuing with parts 3-6 ..which have yet to be released on DVD ...but according to AnimeIgo ..they will be released this year for the U.S. Region 1 ..CANT WAIT.

After seeing Sword of Vengeance..just after 1 viewing..it became one of my favorite movies of all times! ..the main character Ogami Itto is such a take no sh*t bad ass..u just have to love him ..along with his son Daigoro,he leads the life of a hired assassin.

These movies are just too cool for words..they are a MUST SEE .. no comedy at all just straight story,samurai action and lots of blood.

PLEASE do yourself a favor and rent these 2..and as i ..just pray GC will get the remaining titles as SOON as they become available on DVD.

Lone Wolf and Cub - Sword of Vengeance

Lone Wolf and Cub - Baby Cart at the River Styx
underdog
post #16  on February 16, 2004 - 3:33 PM PST  
Have you read the LONE WOLF and CUB manga? I finally got around to reading the first couple this year, after a friend passed them on to me, and they were quite cinematic just on the page.

Can't wait to see the film versions!

I kept forgetting Road to Perdition was inspired by these stories.

C
sc4rf4ce
post #17  on February 17, 2004 - 3:57 AM PST  
> On February 16, 2004 - 3:33 PM PST underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Have you read the LONE WOLF and CUB manga? I finally got around to reading the first couple this year, after a friend passed them on to me, and they were quite cinematic just on the page.
>
> Can't wait to see the film versions!
>
> I kept forgetting Road to Perdition was inspired by these stories.
>
> C
> ---------------------------------

No .i havent had a chance..but after seeing the first two movies..i definitely want to check those out! ..
i REALLY cant wait for the rest of the movies though..

Heres what i read regarding the next batch of dvds from animeigo ..

***
January 22 - Samurai Status: "Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades", "Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril", "Lady Snowblood", and "Zatoichi in Desperation" are all in various stages of replication and should be available on our site throughout February!

The two remaining LW&C and Zatoichi films are still in authoring. The second Lady Snowblood DVD has just started the authoring process. All of these Samurai DVDs should be completed and available for purchase by late spring (if not sooner). Dates will be announced as the projects get closer to completion.
***
sc4rf4ce
post #18  on March 5, 2004 - 4:15 AM PST  
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades,
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril

These are NOW out!!

PLEASE GC ..get this ASAP ...i can not wait to see them..i loved the first 2 and cant wait to see parts 3 and 4 ..

As soon as you get them ..they will go straight to number 1 and 2 on my queue.

Thanks GC ..

and please.. ADD MORE KUNG FU/MARTIAL ARTS movies..i have soooo many on my request list..and there have been a ton of them getting released lately ..but i dont really bother sending request list anymore cause it doesnt seem like they will get picked up 8(


BUT .. these 2 newly released Lone Wolf and Cub movies.. I KNOW you will get...

anyways.. TY.

dwhudson
post #19  on March 6, 2004 - 8:11 AM PST  

> Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades,
> Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril

I guess you've seen by now that they're here... and already very popular!

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