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-James

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Kung Fu Hustle

Posted by james on March 6, 2006

(post.rating: 7)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

Amazing! Again, real asian martial arts films are so far beyond their western equivalents it's incredible. However, they're safe from westernization due to their really strange taste for mixing incredible martial arts with just plain kooky characters and comedy. I guess it's as inseparable as American cinema's gratuitous explosions, obvious puns, and abundance of sexual innuendos/double entendres. I'll take kooky. There's a few scenes here that are just... jaw droping. Esp. the guy who fights with poles. Whoever he is. Definitely more than a bit cheesy, even beyond the whole "I wear pink ladies underwear, but I'm still a world-famous kung fu fighter" kind of crazy. Definitely lives up to my expectations. I still think it would've been better subtitled, but for a movie like this it wasn't nearly as distracting to have overdubs.

Kiss of the Dragon

Posted by james on March 6, 2006

(post.rating: 6)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

Watch it for the action, plot is... benign. Bridget Fonda... oh man, I don't know if she's miscast or bad (can't remember other movies with her in it), but she really saps something out of this one. She tries to do a talks-too-much strung out hooker trying to be good, except she's not strung out (mostly) and talks too much (in a bad way). Jet Li's english is a lot better than The One (thankfully... otherwise I say screw it and give him subtitles, it'd probably be more fun anyway). Some really neat fight choreography and film shots. Not the moves (those are pretty good, but nothing amazing), but the way the fight shots were handled helps suspend disbelief. One kung fu master against a bunch of goons with guns... almost seems believable this time (dodging bullets in the laundry room). Also, there's one neat shot where the camera emphasizes the weight of the punches (big black guy, first 3 punches thrown) for a second, really neat (I don't think I've ever seen that used before). For all of 1.5 seconds. Come on, that could've been really fun! Also, some slightly Matrix-esque crane shots (pre Matrix, not over the top, just nice). And the last "fight" shot with slow motion is... nothing spectacular, but just elegant. So yay for the cinematographer, boo for Fonda, ehh on plot, and Li? Get's a "semi-decent" not-too-bad kinda pat on the back. We'd like to see the evolution of this. Just get over the "I'm just a poor kung fu agent trapped in this plot, I just want to leave my life of violent rescues and avenging behind" stuff. It's been done.

The One

Posted by james on March 6, 2006

(post.rating: 5)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

A really awesome opening sequence. Some neat fight scenes, especially exploiting "faster than time" and "stronger than that buff women in Napoleon Dynamite" physics/selective slow motion. Jet Li hasn't quite mastered ESL yet, it hurts him in this kind of movie. The whole Delroy Lindo and Jason Statham bit as dual time traveling cops with "rules, rules, and damn rules" is "duh" stupid and played out. Please. Looks like Statham went straight from this to "Let's get a script together for the Transporter!" still in character. This is not a good thing (for either movie). Not as bad as you'd think for YATTM (Yet Another Time Traveling Movie); but then again, those standards are slightly above "I won a college script writing contest and now I get to direct!", so that's not saying much. The physics scenes are really the only thing that saves this from "really horrible".


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