This page will contain reviews of movies I've seen that I think you should see, or avoid at all costs. Most of them will be anime, martial arts, or otherwise Asian, since that's the sort of movie I mostly watch.

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Review Genre
Blood: The Last Vampire
Blood: The Last Vampire

Beautifully animated fully digital production. The plot is a little thin, but basically the same as Blade but with more focus on the horror aspect and less on the action. It's much too short though; only 48 minutes running time, the remainder being occupied by the making-of feature (which is well worth watching as well). This one really needs to be serialized. The action is a bit sparse, but what there is of it is good. This one is worth watching for the visuals alone, and if you like horror, this one will creep you out at times. If you haven't seen Blade, the minimal plot won't bother you at all.

Anime, Horror, Vampires, Japanese, Digital
Drunken Master

Drunken Master aka Zui Quan aka Drunken Monkey In The Tiger's Eyes aka Eagle Claw, Snake Fist, Cat's Paw Part 2 stars Jackie Chan as a young Huang Fei-hong, undisciplined and always getting into trouble. His father calls on his uncle to whip young Fei-hong into shape, almost literally, with a brutal training regimen in his obscure Eight Drunken Gods form of Kung Fu. And if you haven't guessed by now, this is a comedy. Most of the comedy works on at least 3 levels: one that's obvious to anyone, basic slapstick comedy; one that may be lost on the general public, but will appeal to fans of the genre or of Jackie Chan; and one that's strictly for the Chinese audience. Fans of the genre will recognize many elements taken to new over-the-top heights, such as the intentionally over-dramatized humiliating defeat (a staple of kung fu flicks), and the gutteral grunts that make up for the shortcomings of translation (where the original language recording has been lost). This is a classic, the film where Chan really came into his own, and also a milestone for Director Yuen Woo-ping. The commentary feature is the most valuable aspect of this disc, very educational, although I have to disagree with them with respect to "Gorilla"...I'm very certain he's played by Bolo Yeung...that's his face for sure...although he's not listed in the credits (which are pretty limited anyway). According to the commentators, IMDb credits Bolo Yeung as Gorilla, but according to IMDb, they don't. Anyway, great flick, very funny, some of the comedy aspects may be a bit offensive to those not familiar with Hong Kong Cinema comedy, but you'll get over it.

Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Comedy, Huang Fei-hong, Hong Kong
Ninja Scroll

One of the best anime movies so far, joins Akira and Ghost In The Shell on the must-see anime list. The artwork is very well-done, with beautiful landscapes. While featuring plenty of mystical energies and high-flying moves (what would be wirework in a live action film), the action has almost an air of realism, or at least believability, because the heroes are fallible: they somtimes make mistakes, get hurt, or temporarily lose a fight. This is something often lacking in other movies compared to this one, such as Sword For Truth. Great swordfighting action, beautiful heroine, and that old guy will be familiar (albeit under a different name) if you've ever played Samurai Shodown.

Anime, Martial Arts, Japanese, Action
Once Upon A Time In China

AKA Wong Fei-hung
The first part of a great largely fictional portrayal of the legend of Huang Fei-hong (Wong Fei-hung), a turn-of-the-century Chinese folk hero, scholar, healer, and Hung-gar Kung Fu and Lion Dance master, and the subject of over 100 movies. Great high-flying kung-fu action, but a little excessive in the wirework at times. Fairly typical of Hong Kong Cinema, this film (and the subsequent chapters) are loaded with over-the-top gags that work on numerous levels, some playing on stereotypes, some universal, and some so subtle that, as non-Chinese watching the movies in translation, we will never really get. These films are always fun to watch, and the dvd is well worth picking up for the commentary feature, which, along with the one on Drunken Master, offer great insight into Hong Kong Cinema and film culture, the actors, directors, as well as Huang Fei-hong.

Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Wong Fei-hung, Historical, Hong Kong
Once Upon A Time In China II

AKA Wong Fei-hung ji yi: Naam Yi Dong Ji Keung
Please PLEASE PLEASE watch these films in the original language with subtitles, not dubbed. So much better. And usually, the DVDs give you that option, unlike VHS where you might have to choose one or the other. Subtitles are easy enough to get the hang of. Anyway, this one's definitely not as good as the previous one, but still promises a good time. There's more emphasis on the comedy in this one. The language gag is reversed from the previous film, and continues to be a running gag throughout this movie and the next. The final fight-scene gets a bit silly, although the end is actually not nearly as ridiculously unrealistic as it appears.

Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Wong Fei-hung, Historical, Hong Kong
Once Upon A Time In China III

AKA Wong Fei-hung tsi sam: Siwong Tsangba
This one's a little better than part 2, but not as good as part one. Again, more focus on the comedy in this one. The language gag is taken to new heights. There's less focus on Huang Fei-hong's fighting in this one, although the fight scene in the restaurant is a great one. But with that sacrifice comes a much more developed plot (although things still get kinda confused in places). This one is the most specifically historic of the 3 I've seen, although I can't say how much of it is fact and how much is fiction. But it also features Huang Fei-hong getting uncharacteristically jealous and belligerent on many occasions.

These three volumes are also available as a box set.

Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Wong Fei-hung, Historical, Hong Kong

It's a great action/spy thriller, but much more involved than the typical Hollywood blockbuster. It broke the Korean box office record, previously held by Titanic, by a huge margin, and with very good reason. Highly recommended.

Action, Thriller, Terrorists, Espionage, Korean
Third World Cop

One of a growing crop of films to come out of Jamaica in recent years, Third World Cop is a hard-hitting cops vs. bad guys action flick with a dramatic twist. Featuring stars of Dancehall Queen and The Harder They Come, along with cameos by Jamaican music stars like Elephant Man, Nittie Kutchie, Buccaneer, Cutty Ranks, Robbie Shakespeare, and Lady G, this film is loaded with take-down action and a wikkid soundtrack. The dialogue is almost exclusively in Jamaican patois, but for those who can't understand, subtitles are provided. The movie was filmed and mastered all in digital, and you can tell; it has a very raw, realistic appearance, at times looking more like a TV news report than a movie. But this simply adds to the grittiness. A few parts are a bit silly, but I won't spoil the surprise.

Action, Jamaica