Archive for July, 2013

Review: Assassin’s Blade (2008)

Posted in Fan Siu Wong (Louis Fan), Ti Lung, Xin Xin Xiong with tags , , on July 30, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Charlene Choi, Chun Wu, Hu Ge, Louis Fan, Ti Lung, Xin Xin Xiong

Fight Choreography by: Haung Ming Jian

Directed By: Jingle Ma

Jingle Ma is a cinematographer who is know for films such as Rumble in The Bronx and Police Story 4: First Strike, and Full Throttle. Here he takes the director’s chair in a film that traditionally I should loathe, for the simple fact that it stars Charlene Choi, an actress I find to be so sugary cute she drives me insane. So does is this film able to rise above my somewhat dislike of Choi?

The film starts as Yangzhi (Choi) is preparing, at the behest of her family, to go to Soul Ease Clan, to learn their style of kung fu. The catch here is that they don’t accept women, and so her wealthy family disguise her as a man, and sends her to them. No sooner does she arrive in town before she finds trouble from rival clans within the town, but finds a savior in Liang (Wu), who is the Big Brother of the clan. What follows is a comedy of errors as Yangzhi tries to maintain her cover even as she falls in love with Liang, who is also confused in his feelings for the new student. Both of them fall into danger when the truth comes out regarding the true reason Yangzhi’s family sent her away, and Yangzhi finds that a childhood friend, Ma, loves her so much he’ll destroy everything she cares about in order to have her, and that includes killing Liang as well…

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Assassin’s Blade is a mish-mash of other films and stories, and after the midway point you can see exactly where things are headed. Part Romeo and Juliet ( a large part, actually) part House of Flying Daggers and a smidgen of Mulan, this story isn’t anything original. Not to say it isn’t entertaining, because it is, but it’s swiped moments from better films and stories. Charlene Choi starts out as cute as you’d expect, but as the drama ramps up and the rom-com moments end, she shows that she can stop being cutesy and look radiant and raise her acting game up. Her character becomes a tragic one quickly, and her romance with Liang is well done, if a bit abrupt (how she fooled everyone into thinking she was a man is beyond my understanding, but I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief in this regard).

Chun Wu also does a good job as Liang, the young fighter who is at once strong, but cannot deny his feelings for Yangzhi, which takes him down a dark path. Xin Xin Xiong does a good job as the head teacher, but I was really let down by Louis Fan. He has one great fight in the film, but he only really amounts to a nice cameo. I think the film would have been better if Louis had a bigger role. Ti Lung, as Yangzhi’s father, also has too small a part in this. For someone of Ti Lung’s stature in HK cinema, couldn’t he have had more to do?
Assassins blade

The fights are choreographed well, and nicely shot, and there is some wirework, but not as much as I thought there would be, which was a pleasant surprise. The fight between Louis Fan and the Assassin was really, at least to me, the best fight in the film, but it was over too quickly. The main fight between the soldiers and Liang is the highlight of the film, and the sword and spear fight after that is actually done really, really well.  In many ways all of the fights evoke some similarities to the 80’s period films Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung made, and I just couldn’t stop thinking that if Jet Li, Donnie Yen, or Wu Jing could have played any of the other major characters in the fight scenes we would be looking at a new classic.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 7.5

Assassin’s Blade is a fun, if not aptly named film that features some good fights and a star turn by Charlene Choi that shows she can play things straight when she needs to. I hope to see more of that from her!

 

This film was released by Wellgousa and you can purchase the blu-ray here.

 

NEXT: Christopher Lambert and John Lone square off in the Ninja epic The Hunted!

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The Heroic Sisterhood have their own website! Go check it out!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 28, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

Heroic

Yeppers. The Heroic Sisterhood are a great group of ladies, a few of whom I’ve gotten to know over the last few years, and they have been running a facebook page for a while now, (about as long as I have been running this website) and have finally started their own website. They are friends to Kiai-Kick and I’m glad to see they’ve taken the next evolutionary step to finally having their own website! It’s a great place to go to find reviews of martial arts films, yes, but also other genres of Asian films like drama, comedy and crime drama. They all know their stuff, and you can check them out here: The Heroic Sisterhood

Welcome aboard, Ladies!

DAMN RIGHT! The Teaser for Tom Yum Goong 2 (The Protector 2) is live!!

Posted in Jeeja Yanin, Kazu Tang, Marrese Crump, Panna Rittikrai, Prachya Pinkaew, Tony Jaa with tags on July 26, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Yes, Yes, Yes. Simply watch. Just watch. Tony Jaa is back, people! Sound off in the comments and tell me what you think!

Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada! The 47 Ronin Trailer has arrived!

Posted in Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves with tags , on July 24, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

Okay, now this makes me feel a bit better about this film. Between the posters yesterday and this, the artistry looks great, and the effects look even better. Whether Keanu Reeves fits this…I still have my doubts. I’m unsure I’m convinced about him even if the explanation is that he’s a half-breed. Hiroyuki Sanada looks as badass as I thought he would, though. This kinda looks like Lord of the Rings with Samurai, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’m still not feeling great about this film, but it looks better than I thought.

The Posters for Keanu Reeves’ 47 Ronin!

Posted in Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves on July 23, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

So…my enthusiasm for this film really died out as more news about the nature of the film came out. I was wanting really cool samurai action, but not as a CGI fest, and certainly not fighting monsters, spirits and the like. However, these posters do look pretty cool. Of course, stuff for the Man With The Iron Fist looked cool too, and we know how that film turned out. So how do you all feel about this one?

Click the posters to embiggen!

 

47 Ronin 147 Ronin 247 Ronin 347 Ronin 4

 

 

 

Thanks to IGN for the news!

Donnie Yen brings his “A” Game to Special ID Trailer!

Posted in Andy On, Collin Chou, Donnie Yen with tags , on July 23, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

Wow. That’s all I can muster. Donnie Yen looks to be back in fine form, and not too much wirework in sight. This film looks like the spiritual successor to Flashpoint in terms of style. This film has had its ups and downs, what with the situation with Vincent Zhao, but whatever…this looks like something quite special. Crazy stunts that hearken back to Police Story days, and Donnie Yen just lookin’ like a Boss. Also starring Andy On,  Collin Chou and Ken Lo.

Holy shit, I can’t wait for this one! So what do you all think?