Monday, October 4, 2010

Lethal Panther (1990. HONG KONG)


Cut and Paste Master Extraordinaire Godfrey Ho, famous for taking unfinished films, shooting ten minutes of new footage, and editing the whole thing together and releasing it as "NINJA VERSUS SOMETHING OR OTHER" tries his hand at the Girls with Guns craze that was sweeping Hong Kong in the mid-nineties.

As per usual, he delivers a sleazy by the numbers product that goes the extra mile to deliver the goods.

To my eyes, this seems like a straight up original job without any extra footage, but I could be wrong. The final product is still as disjointed as ever, and it deals with two assassins, a police woman and...some other girl...blowing away anyone in a suit and tie. They hate people in suits because one of them killed an entire family of bears.

To be honest, the subtitle on my copy kept hiding right under the screen, so the plot wasn't much of a concern. I had to keep myself interested by the constant barrage of uninspired gunfire, the full frontal nudity, and the non-acting gweilos. The major problem with the film is that most of the action is pretty rote: Close up of gun firing, close up of person being hit, cut to person rolling out of the way.

I actually got *gasped* bored about thirty minutes in.

This is trash ladies and gents. The girls look pretty. The violence is violent. The story is inconsequential. It does nothing new with the genre, in fact, it's fairly happy with flat out ripping scenes off. Hey look! The assassination scene for A BETTER TOMORROW!

Was that Carpenter's Halloween theme song I just heard?

And then the movie just ends.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


An oddity in the usual 'churn them out' gangster action genre.

Two young lovers (Kenny Bee and Joey Wong) are broken up when one of them has to go on the run. Six years later they come together again, only to find themselves tangled in even more complications. Heavy handed melodrama peppered with explosive squibs is ensue.

A good looking film drenched in colored lights (Thanks to the cinematography by Christopher Doyle) that's filled with strong performances from a game cast held back by a fairly routine Heroic Bloodshed plot. Art-House Director Patrick Tam does his best with the trite material, but it can never escape its script. Most Heroic Bloodshed translate the overwrought drama into explosive choreographed gun play, but in this film the action is short and perfunctory. It exists only because the genre demands it to exist. Tonly Leung is the stand-out (When isn't he?) as the body guard that goes beyond his calling.


Did I...Did I...Just see a man force a mentally handicapped child to rape a woman?

Wong Jing does it again. He's only writing this time around, but it's the same old low-brow exploitation trash. The story deals with a young women who breaks up with her rape loving boyfriend, and then he proceeds to rape her for real, prompting her best friend to take legal measures that the rapist weasels out of, and then shit goes to hell as everyone vies for revenge.

Director/Cinematographer Andrew Lau (who later went on to Direct INFERNAL AFFAIRS and STORM RIDERS) delivers a solid looking picture that mixes the Hong Kong's usual 'soft visuals' with gritty hand held camera work to accentuate the brutal going ons. It's technically sound, but personally, I don't find much to withhold my interest. It's a lot of filler, broken up by a few rape sequences, followed by a ten minute set piece of HOME ALONE style pay back (I kid you not).

There's a lot of flesh on display, but as usual, Chingmy Yau does nothing but tease and Simon Yam, the hardest working CATT II author alongside Anthony Wong, shows up to chew up a little scenery.

Not my cup of tea.


It's difficult to try to write a little about Wong Jing without giving the reader a ten volume set on the man's exploits. He's the lowest common denominator man working in Hong Kong, he churns out rip-offs, fad followers, and pure commercial fluff on what seems like daily basis. The man has 91 directorial credits, 125 producer ones, and 121 writing ones! He has no shame, he wants to make a buck, and his kitchen sink approach to production usually guarantees at least a vaguely entraining product that will kill some brain cells in the process

Which brings us to SUPER COPS

Originally conceived as a official adaptation of Wong Jing's obsession STREET FIGHTER 2 that starred all of the most popular Hong Kong pop stars. (Andy Lau, Aarow Kwok, Jackie Cheung) Jing lost the rights at some point, and instead of scrapping the project he used all the costumes in a film that has nothing to do with the video game property. The characters look like STREET FIGHTER 2 characters, they use the same MOVES as STREET FIGHTER 2 characters, and some of them are even named off of STREET FIGHTER 2 characters...but this ain't STREET FIGHTER 2

Instead, it's a weird re-tread of the Wong Jing produced FIGHT BACK TO SCHOOL. The bulk of the running time concerns itself with a Stephen Chau rip-off getting into wacky Zucker Bros style slapstick comedy with the time travelling Video Game characters (Don't ask) in High School. It's not very involving stuff, but it is continually inventive, and stuff is always...moving?

Forget any kind of choreographed action from credited martial arts supervisor Ching-Siu Tung. The action in FUTURE COPS is a complete recreation of the repetitive moves from the video-game. It's an odd choice that could have worked better for one scene, but doesn't keep the viewer interested for AN ENTIRE FILM! Check out Wong Jing's classic Jackie Chan picture CITY HUNTER for a solid STREET FIGHTER parody.

Like most Wong Jing pictures, this isn't a real movie. It's a collection of very odd scenes, untranslatable humor, and pure spectacle trotted out for the audience's enjoyment. And enjoy you will, even if it may be with a trace of horror.


Right from DAY 2 I'm going to go off and cheat and review a DVD instead of an actual film. The SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE films range drastically in quality, but all in all, they're not 'good' films by any stretch of the imagination. The first is a straight ahead slasher with zero frills (You even learn who the killer is fifteen minutes in) and some interesting gags, the second is a a weird musical/hallucinogen hybrid that doesn't work in the slightest but is interesting to see crash, and the third is a routinely competent slasher Directed (as you will learn in the special features) by someone who didn't, and still doesn't, have any interest in horror films.

The new 2-DISC set of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE: THE TRILOGY released by SHOUT FACTORY is everything a fan could ever want. It has commentaries by the cast and crew on every film, an in-depth hour and change documentary on the making of all the films, and a vaguely remastered picture.

I bring up the vague part, because PART 2 still has the crappy sound that my partner in arms (and SPM super-fan) Adam 'The Riot' Thorn has been listening to since he got his first VHS copy of the film. I'm sure that SHOUT FACTORY did its best from the material it could pull out. The films were never meant to be seen in pristine condition after they hit theaters, and any complaints are mere nit picks against this amazing package.

If you're a slasher fan, or just a little curious, take the time out to check these out! Even if you're not a huge fan, the conceptualizations that the SPECIAL FEATURE add are worth the price of admission.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Witch from Nepal (1986. HONG KONG)

Chow Yun Fat stars as a descendant of a mighty warrior that can only defeat an evil one eye browed dude by holding on to a pair of...testicles?

"DUEL TO THE DEATH is one of the crazies films of all time Mr.Cing-Siu...Could you remove all that energy for your next picture?

Very tame effort from wire-fu expert Ching-Siu Tung that seems to be trying really hard to be a 'hollywood art' picture: A very languid pace, not much action, but a very pretty look. Chow Yun-Fat (still in his Box Office Poison phase before A BETTER TOMMOROW) does what he can with the paper thin material, and keeps a straight face through all the out of nowhere explosions, but it's all rather tame stuff from a director that was famous for his insanity. Wire-Gags don't translate to something interest. We need action choreography!

Notable stand-outs is a bizarrely out of palce scene with George Romero style zombies (That don't really do anything) and a villain that loses his face before he explodes.

Skip it.

MADMAN (1982. USA)

Whoa! Long time no see. Instead of returning into this review game at a snail's place, and slowly get back into my groove, I'm going to jump into the demon's maw feet first.


Enough of that. Lets get to the meat.


A fairly standard "SLASHER IN THE WOODS" films that the eighties churned out like rabid rabbits, MADMAN isn't a lost classic by any means, but it does have few times directorial flourishes that make it tentatively interesting.

PLOT TIME: A bunch of camp Councillors are chased by a MARZ THE MADMAN!

The Carpenter-esque synth score matches the blue tinted night time kills perfectly, and the editing gets surprisingly versatile once Mr. Madman steps out of his POINT OF VIEW to actually deal some damage to the wooden-plank imitating camp Councillors sitting around waiting to be chopped up. It takes way too long for things to get really bloody (FIFTY MINUTES!), and while the film is sometimes clever, it isn't smart enough to keep the viewer interested for that long a slog - even with unintentional laughs like the great 'Jacuzzi Ballet'. The film even seems to comment on the fact that all these characters are interchangeable by never having a set protagonist. I don't think the Director deserved to have this be his only feature film, as he did show some chutzpah, but the whole is way too workmanlike.

I recommend it as a tentative watch.

The tagline MARZ NEEDS WOMEN did make me chuckle though.