Archive for the Collin Chou Category

Review: Special ID (2013)

Posted in Andy On, Collin Chou, Donnie Yen, Kenneth Lo with tags , , on May 13, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

 

Special ID 2

Starring Donnie Yen, Tian Jing, Collin Chou, Andy On, Ken Lo

Fight Choreography by Donnie Yen

Directed by Clarence Fok

After living with the moniker “he has the potential, but…” Donnie Yen has finally taken his place alongside Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Sammo Hung as a bona-fide action star, after rattling off a string of hits in Killzone (SPL), Flashpoint, Ip Man 1 and 2, and Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen. Now he returns to the cop genre. But the results are a mixed bag, through no real fault of his own.

Yen plays Chi-Lung “Dragon” Chan, an undercover cop who has been working to infiltrate members of local crime gangs in Hong Kong, in particular one ran by Xiong Cheung Mo-Hung  (Chou) and finds that his old protoge Sunny (On) is trying to take over, and must go to mainland China to find and stop him. There Chan teams up with cop Jing Fang (Jing) to stop Sunny, but things get complicated when Chan’s real identity is revealed, and he’ll have to stop the entire gang if he’s to save the only person he truly cares about…

Special ID 1

The film itself is a mixed bag. The story doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, but I can guess. This film wants to be what Jackie Chan’s Police Story was: a mixture of comedy, drama, and action. Donnie Yen can do the last two. But the first comes off as silly and out of character for him, and out of place for the film in general. Jackie Chan could balance the comedy and serious stuff, but it just doesn’t work here with Yen. The story also has serious logic issues that exist only to make things more dramatic and tension filled. Yen’s character does some things that are head-scratching, as does Jing Fang, as if they don’t understand the concepts of what undercover means. Yen is good in the serious scenes, and Jing Fang is a welcome character, but the best performance here is Collin Chou and Andy On. Collin oozes menace whenever he’s on screen, and really, the finale should have been him. Andy On does a terrific job as the thug who’s set his sights far too high, and his energy brings a needed life to the film, but there’s far too little of either him or Chou.

Special ID

The fights here are of a similar type to the fights in SPL and Flashpoint, with Donnie Yen mixing Mixed Martial Arts with kung-fu, but the results leave much to be desired. The kitchen fight is the best fight of the film, in some ways very reminiscent of a fight in one of the Police Story films, but the finale, the one on one between On and Yen, which should have been the show stopper, is okay, but not great, and no where in the league of Collin Chou vs. Yen in Flashpoint or Sammo vs Yen in SPL. It felt like a “been there, done that” kind of thing, which is not good for a martial arts film. The car fight between On and Jing was good, and maybe it was excellent (it was well-shot) but after the car fight of The Raid 2, you’ll forgive me if I wasn’t as impressed as I should’ve been.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

Special ID isn’t as special as it should have been. Despite some cool moments, the film just doesn’t come together as well as it should have.

The film is out today on Blu-Ray from Wellgousa

 

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Review: Badges of Fury (2013)

Posted in Collin Chou, Corey Yuen, Fung Hak-On, Grace Huang, Jacky Wu Jing, Jet Li, Sui-Lung Leung with tags , , on January 7, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Badges of Fury

Starring Jet Li, Wen Zhang, Michelle Chen, Lui Yan, Stephen Fung, Grace Huang, Fung Hak On, Wu Jing, Collin Chou, Leung Sui-Lung,

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by Wong Tsz Ming

Badges of Fury is perhaps the funniest comedy in Jet Li’s filmography, and for someone who doesn’t do it often, Jet really works here, but don’t be surprised that while his name is at the head of the credits, he is a supporting actor in this film, and Wen Zhang is the star. Of course, the first thing you have to do to best enjoy this film is to understand that the film is a comedy from the outset, a spoof of the kung-fu cop genre.

Around Hong Kong, a slew of actors, dancers, and the wealthy, all of them men, die of unknown circumstances, except that they were smiling at the time of death. Enter Huang Fei Hung (Li) an about to be retired cop, and Wang (Zhang) his overeager young partner are assigned to the case, even after botching up a major crime bust that could have net them a major gangster (great cameo appearance here by Collin Chou, acting like he stepped off the set of Flashpoint). What follows is wrong leads, bike chases, spoofs or mentions of films like Police Story 1, 2 and 3, and in one funny scene, a group of Interpol agents accuse Jet Li of BitTorrenting Fearless and the Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. Their leads take them to one woman who is connected to all of the murdered men, and of course things go sideways, including a fight between Jet Li and Wu Jing, and wait until you see exactly who Wu Jing is playing. I can’t reveal any more of the story without giving away any other jokes!

Badges of Fury 1

The film is just out and out fun. Jet is really game here, playing the grizzled vet who is always mysteriously asking to go home early. Jet is energized, and looks great. Wen Zhang is able to carry the film, doing most of the funny stuff and is able to bounce jokes off of Jet well. Collin Chou and Wu Jing have “fighting” cameos, but perform well in their screen time. Leung Sui-Lung is great as well, but doesn’t really get his performance going until late, playing a character not unlike the one he played in Kung Fu Hustle. The film has scenes that reminded me of the whacked out stuff Stephen Fung did in his Tai Chi Zero series (Of course, he has a small part in this film), like the hilarious entrance of the femme fatale played to perfection by Lui Yan.

Badges of Fury Liu Yan

Corey Yuen choreographed the fights here, and did a great job. The fights were able to match the silliness of the rest of the film, but delivered some good kung fu fights. Jet versus Wu Jing was good, as was Jet vs. Collin Chou. Wen Zhang does a good job and gets the more “out there” fights, but does it well. The final fight between Jet Li and Leung Sui-Lung leaves all believability at the door for a fight that uses a lot of wire work and special effects, but they fit the escalating fantasy of the film.  I said Jet was more of a supporting character, and he is, but the lion’s share of the fights go to him, just as it should.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

 Jet Li and Wen Zhang take us on a hilarious romp through the “kung fu” cop genre, and fight choreographer Corey Yuen pulls out the stops to make this one of the best kung fu comedies to come around in a long while!

Badges of Fury is out today from the good folks at Wellgo USA!

 

NEXT: Mark Dacascos will teach you how to fight the Brazilian way in Only The Strong!

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?

 

 

 

Review: The Four (2012)

Posted in Collin Chou with tags , , , on April 8, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

The Four 01

Starring Collin Chou, Anthony Wong, Deng Chao, Lu Yi Fei, Ronald Cheng, Jiang Yi Yan, Cheng Tai Shen

Fight Choreography by Ku Huen Chiu

Directed by Gordon Chan

Gordon Chan is an interesting director. When he’s on, he’s ON. Fist of Legend. ON. King of Beggars. ON. Thunderbolt. ON. When Gordon’s off, though, Lord have mercy. The Medallion. OFF. The King of Fighters. WAY THE HELL OFF. I haven’t seen Painted Skin or Kung Fu Master so I can’t comment on them…yet. Now here comes Gordon again, with a film he wrote, produced and directed, a film that is part one of a planned trilogy of films.  Can Gordon be ON again?

Oh yeah, Gordon flipped the switch to ON!

The film starts as we meet Leng Lingqi (Deng Chao), a member of Department Six, something akin to the FBI. Led by the Sheriff King (Cheng Tai Shen) they are the preeminent law enforcement agency, and on the eve that they welcome their first squad of female agents led by Ji Yaohua (Jiang Yi Yan), and her friend Butterfly, the Royal Treasury coin plates have been stolen, and without orders Leng Lingqi tracks down the assailant to a restaurant, but before he can apprehend him a series of events occur: The Sheriff King, having arrived at the restaurant with his men avoids an assassination attempt, meanwhile inside the thief of the plates suddenly finds himself trying to escape an extraordinary group of people led by Zhu Zhenwo (Wong): The wheel chair telepath/telekinetic Emotionless (Lu Yi Fei), The man who can control metals Iron Hands (Chou), and their newest member, the Tracker LifeSnatcher (Cheng) who can find anyone. Together they are the Divine Constabulary, working directly for the Emperor. On orders from Sheriff King, Leng Lingqi joins the Divine Constabulary to spy on them while they investigate the reason for the theft of the plates, which in the end will involve ancient Chinese magic and the undead! Leng Linqi, now called Coldblood, must decide where his allegiances truly lies. The fate of the crown rests upon it…

The Four

The film begins a little confusingly but settles down quickly for a good old wuxia version of the X-Men, which is not an insult. They do it rather well. Anthony Wong is right at home as the leader, an older man who has his reasons for bringing the group together, and is the calm voice amidst all the chaos that gathers around them. Deng Chao is pretty good as Coldblood, who really, due to his true abilities, comes off kind of bland in the beginning but settles down as the film progresses. Jiang Yi Yan does a great job a Ji, a woman conflicted with her feelings for Coldblood, and her duties. Lu Yi Fei is great as Emotionless, and really sells herself as a recluse who has problems with people for the very fact that she can read their minds and can spot the lies behind the words. Collin Chou is fine as Iron Hands but really doesn’t get much to do, except for some good fight scenes.

Ronald Cheng, to me, stole the show as the fearless and amoral Life Snatcher. You could tell he was having a great time playing this character. Life Snatcher comes off as a scoundrel who is there for the good wine, but he means it every step of the way, and that makes him a lot of fun when things get crazy. Wu Xiu Bo is fun as the main villain Ah Shigeng. The story overall is fun, not getting too serious and remembering that it’s a fun adventure film. There is one scene that features Anthony Wong doing something that the villain is like “DUDE, WTF!”. It’s rare to see the bad guy of a film surprised by anything a hero does, but in this scene he is, and it’s a hilarious moment. The film is very much in the vein of the X-men in regards to their powers, but it was so well done I didn’t care.

The Four 02

The effects work is fantastic. The CGI powers are great, especially the fire effects, and all of the fighting scenes, but not so much that it’s too intrusive. It’s a good mix of computer versus practical until the end, where the CGI threatens to go crazy, but doesn’t.

The fighting choreography is good, if not spectacular. There isn’t a lot of complexity, and there doesn’t need to be with all of the effect work surrounding the fights. Anything complex would get missed regardless, and I may very well have missed something. As it stands the choreography was exactly what it needed to be with people of such powers.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A rollicking good Wuxia fantasy/superhero film that features great special effects and moments that could give any superhero film a run for its money! So when do we get Part Two?

This film will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD April 9th from the good folks at Well Go USA!

Review: Dr. Wai in The Scripture With No Words (1996)

Posted in Billy Chow, Collin Chou, Jet Li, Takeshi Kaneshiro with tags , on May 29, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Billy Chow, Takeshi Kenishiro, Collin Chou, Charlie Yeung

Fight Choreography by Ma Yuk-Sing  and Ching Siu-Tung

Directed by Ching Siu-Tung

Everybody loves pulp heroes like Indiana Jones, Doc Samson and Allan Quartermain, and little boys who read or watched their exploits wanted to be them on screen, and many have tried but few were successful. The Indiana Jones films became the template on how to do them right, and Jackie Chan had success using some of the formula for his Armor of God films, and Jet Li decided to get into the act with the character of Dr. Wai…

Dr. Wai (Lee) and his good-natured, brave but dim-witted sidekick Pao (Kenishiro) globe trot all over the world searching for ancient Chinese artifacts. The film opens as a fellow archaeologist tries to commandeer a giant mechanical bull built Trojan horse style centuries ago, and Dr. Wai rides in to save workers as the bull goes out of control, running quite a few people over. Dr. Wai is able to save them, and afterward meets with General Leung, who wants to hire Dr. Wai to find a box containing the legendary Scripture With No Words, an ancient document said to contain incredible power. Dr. Wai and Pao take the job, which first finds them going undercover into a party throw by the  Japanese ambassador in Shanghai, in an attempt to retrieve a letter that holds a clue to the whereabouts of the scroll. Things bring them into conflict with General (Chow) and his commanding officer/cohort Yu (Kwan), who poses as a worker within the embassy to in order to gain Dr. Wai’s trust, and Dr. Wai finds himself falling in love with her. Dr. Wai and Pao then head to meet with a small pro-Chinese press office, where the scroll is being kept two oddballs:  the editor and his protege Pansy (Yueng) whom Pao finds himself falling in love with. Soon Dr. Wai and Pao must both protect the scroll and their new loves, but little do they know what trouble the scroll truly brings…

Dr. Wai is a fun but very dated film. The special effects are laughable terrible, and gets worse as the film goes on.. The story itself is also pretty flimsy, but it does have some good-natured humor, and allows Jet to have fun with the role, which he does. He has a good rapport with his co-stars, especially Kenishiro, who has silly fun as Pao. The Dr. Wai character is fun in and of itself, a martial arts master and archaeologist whose weapon of choice is an assortment of pens that can do things to put James Bond gadgets to shame. I’m fairly sure one of them could dial long distance. Kenishiro (Wu Xia, The House of Flying Daggers) is a lot of fun as the hapless Pao, who has moments of comedy that shows he’s comfortable in his dim-witted nature.

The fights are very wushu-centric, making them interesting to watch, but isn’t very innovative except for the fight between Jet Li and the leader of a group of bandits played Collin Chou

(Flashpoint, The Forbidden Kingdom). The next best fight is Jet Li using a metal rope chain against Billy Chow and a group of ninjas. Outside of that the fights were many but not nearly as interesting to watch. Some wirework was used, particularly in the fight where Dr. Wai had to take on two sumo wrestlers, but overall it’s minimal.

Dr. Wai is a fun but forgettable film that lets Jet Li indulge in an Indiana Jones with Kung-Fu style fantasy romp.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (7) The fight choreography is fast and fluid, but lacks imagination and any real hard hitting. Jet Li, Billy Chow and Collin Chou did a good job with what was there, but that kind of talent they could’ve done so much better.

STUNTWORK: (8) The stunts were pretty good here, nothing amazing, and even the few wire assisted scenes were good.

STAR POWER: (9) Jet Li, the great Billy Chow (Petticab Driver, Fist of Legend) and Collin Chou, with Rosamund Kwan really was a showcase of Hong Kong stars, all of whom have made their mark.

FINAL GRADE: (8) Dr. Wai is a fun film that could use a good updating, but Jet Li is great in the role and Kenishiro is perfect as his hapless assistant. A fun time if you can get past the poor special effects.

NEXT: Another Op/Ed from Santanu! This time he tackles Tai Chi Master!

Review: Flashpoint (2007)

Posted in Collin Chou, Donnie Yen, Wilson Yip, Xing Yu with tags , , on August 28, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Donnie Yen, Collin Chou, Louis Koo, Xing Yu, Fan Bing Bing

Fight Choreography by Donnie Yen

 Directed by Wilson Yip

Killzone finally showed that Donnie Yen was ready to take that next step up in the HK martial arts film hierarchy to have his name placed up there with Jackie Chan and Jet Li, thanks to a fantastic fight in that film with Jacky Wu Jing and Sammo Hung. Wilson Yip has a good camera eye for showcasing martial arts moves, so of course the two would team up again for a follow up. The question was whether or not they could achieve the same success again.

*There is something many may not know about the film. In many respects it is loosely a prequel to Killzone. What happened was Sammo Hung had an idea of what he wanted it to be, and Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip had a different idea. Sammo took his idea and made Fatal Move, while Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen took their idea and with it we have Flashpoint.

 

The film follows Detective Ma (Yen) and his team, who look to bust a drug and weapon smuggling ring gang led by the notorious Tony (Chou), his brother, and their crazy enforcer Tiger (Yu). What Tony doesn’t know is that one of his guys, Wilson (Koo) is actually an undercover cop, and is also Ma’s partner. Wilson is having doubts about what he’s doing, and wants to get out, but after Tony gets retribution on a former associate, things start to go downhill fast as Tony’s brother is picked up by the police, and Tony suspects an inside man in their group, and immediately accuses Wilson, and of course he’s right, and Wilson escapes with his life. Now Tony knows who he is, and will use anything he can to get Wilson to acquit his brother on the witness stand. Even if that means killing cops and even kidnapping Wilson’s girlfriend Julie (Bing bing), and Ma will have a fight to the finish to get revenge for his fallen team mates and save his friend’s life and any happiness Wilson may have left…

Flashpoint is a balls out great “ kung-fu cops” film, with enough tension as the story wisely spends as much time following Wilson’s plight as it does Ma’s. The story itself is taunt and rarely lets up, and it’s the stars of the film that have as much, if not more to do with this than the story. Donnie Yen plays Ma pretty much as he did in Killzone, as in Ma doesn’t have much of a personality except that he’s a dedicated cop who suffers from too much red tape, but that’s okay, because Louis Koo really carries the film as Wilson. He plays him perfectly as a man whose chosen profession leads to doubt as he remains undercover for far too long, and one look at Koo’s expressions and you can literally feel the danger closing in on Wilson just as he feels it. As the instigator of this danger Collin Chou hits a home run as Tony, one part fearless nut job and one part criminal mastermind, you always feel the threat of danger when Tony is on screen. It kills me that all Collin Chou could get from a hollywood film was playing Seraph in the Matrix films (He would’ve made a great Neo, or even Agent Smith). Xing Yu also does a good job as Tiger, Tony’s insane right hand man, one who isn’t afraid to kill cops or endanger children to meet his own ends.

The fight choreography and stunts are an evolution of what Donnie Yen started with Killzone, which is to take the popular martial arts and movements of the time, in this case mixed martial arts and Parkour, and to merge them with kung fu fight choreography, and in this film it works brilliantly, particularly the final fight between Chou and Yen, which is is well choreographed and looks more natural and brutal than you would see in many HK kung fu films made today. Without a doubt it’s one of the greatest martial arts fight scenes ever captured on film. Yip does a great job once again making sure the camera is in the best places to capture the fights, and the editing put it together flawlessly.

 

Flashpoint is a fun cops and robbers film that really shows that Donnie Yen is here to stay, and from the acting to the excellent production values and the fantastic final fight, this is marital arts film that will have you rewinding the fight scenes over and over.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) The majority of this grade goes to the final fight, which Chou and Yen pull off flawlessly. You’ll be burning a hole in your DVD player watching this scene again and again. Yen has successfully melded mixed martial arts and kung fu on screen.

STUNTWORK: (8) Great work done here by all involved, and Donnie Yen pulls off some really good parkour sequences.

STAR POWER: (9) Donnie Yen’s star has gone into the stratosphere, and Collin Chou is rising as well, and Louis Koo and Fan Bing Bing carry the emotional weight of the film. Xing Yu continues to shine as he did in Kung Fu Hustle and Ip Man.

FINAL GRADE: (9) A great film that continues to showcase Donnie Yen’s excellent fight choreography and moves, and all of the actors shine in a snap cracker of a crime film. Not to be missed.