Archive for the Jackie Chan Category

Railroad Tigers (2016)

Posted in Jackie Chan, Jaycee Chan with tags , on June 22, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jackie Chan, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Huang Zitao, Sang Ping, Jaycee Chan, Kai Wang

Fight Choreography by He Jun

Directed by Ding Sheng

Railroad Tigers is one of the newest offerings from Jackie Chan, he the classic king of martial arts and stunts. Now over the age of 60, Jackie continues to make his action films, though the quality of them are beginning to vary in a troubling way. Nevertheless, any Jackie Chan is still better than most. So how does Railroad Tigers fare?

In the film Jackie plays, Ma Yuan, a Chinese railroad worker whom, along with his fellow workers, also moonlights as freedom fighters as they work to free their town that has been taken over by the Japanese. Up till now, his group has robbed a few trains, but done nothing of real note to affect the war effort. This all changes when a Chinese soldier trying to escape the Japanese after he is separated from his garrison after a failed assault and recruits Yuan and his small team to do the impossible: blow up the nearby bridge, cutting off supplies to the Japanese soldiers on the front lines. Can Yuan and his group pull it off and survive?

This is a Jackie Chan movie, so do you REALLY expect him to fail? The real question is how will they pull it off?

This is a slick movie. By that I mean it’s well made, and looks terrific. Ding Sheng does a good job with the shots, and every action beat looks and is edited in a coherent way. Jackie looks great onscreen, even as his age advances, as do his co-stars, particularly Kai Wang as Fan Chuang, a bar keep who quit being a soldier but tries to help the freedom fighters discreetly as a sharpshooter, and Jaycee Chan as Rui Ge, who, actually has some of the best moments of the film with his father Jackie, starting first with their fighting while having ropes attached to each other scene, which is a highlight, and their capture, which initiates some light ribbing and winking at the camera in regards to their similar looks. Jackie still has his physical comedic talents still in check, and does a great job here as a robin hood of sorts, being serious but at the same time beating the Japanese with a delightful air about him that really does remind me of his old films.

But there is one film in particular this film wants to emulate, and in this regard misses its mark.

This film desperately wants to be Millionaires’ Express. As the story goes JC was originally supposed to be in the film but due to scheduling conflicts couldn’t do so.This film shares a lot of atmosphere and even some comedy with that film, but where this film doesn’t meet expectations is with the fight scenes, which were subpar for what I expect from Jackie Chan, yes, even at his advanced age. You may remember Hiroyuki Ikeuchi as the main villain in the first Ip Man film, and here is a wasted opportunity for JC to match up against him. Most of this is due to the story, as JC’s Ma Yuan is an average guy, and not a marital artist. Those waiting for a great martial arts fight scene are going to be disappointed, even more so when you see the cameo that occurs at the end of the film, which will have scenes from Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars and many other classic 80’s martial arts films dancing through your heads.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 7

While not a martial arts film, this is a solid entry in Jackie’s filmography. A fun war movie with grand heroics and Jackie Chan being every bit the action superhero he is!

 

This is was released this past Tuesday on Blu-Ray and DVD!

Advertisements

Review: Police Story: Lockdown (2013)

Posted in Jackie Chan, Yu Rong Guang on August 11, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

police lockdown1

Starring Jackie Chan, Liu Ye, Jing Tian, Yu Rongguang

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan

Directed by Ding Sheng

It’s no secret that Jackie Chan is without a doubt my favorite martial arts action star. In my book it’s Bruce, Jackie, Gordon, and everyone else., but JC has always been tops for me. It’s amazing how he’s defied what he should be able to do at his age and keeps on trucking. I was as excited as anyone else when a new Police Story was announced. Much like Chinese Zodiac, Jackie returns to one of the series that made him famous.

This new film is called Police Story, but contains none of the fun of any entry in the series, including New Police Story.

Chan returns not as Kevin Chan or Chan Wing, but as Zhong Wen, a troubled and aging Chinese mainland cop who goes into the club district to meet with his estranged daughter Miao (Jing) and finally meet her boyfriend Wu Jiang, the owner of the Wu Bar. Wen is obviously having issues with her new boyfriend, but that doesn’t compare to what happens next, as Wen, Miao, and a dozen others are taken hostage in the bar by Wu Jiang, who is using Miao to capture Wen. Wu Jiang wants the exchange everyone for a prisoner and as the Swat teams stand by to infiltrate the club-turned-fortress, Wen must find his connection to Wu Jiang, the prisoner, and several of the hostages before the ensuing invasion gets a lot of people killed…

POLICE Lockdown3

The story of Police Story: Lockdown moves at a pace that is odd. Many of the action scenes are actually told in flashback, which is infuriating to say the least, because in Jackie Chan films, the situation is immediate and of the moment, and the flashbacks are a story mechanic that is woefully out of place for a Jackie Chan Police Story film (New Police Story did a flashback, but it came at the end of the film and was an appropriate way to close the story).  Jackie Chan is a very serious and dour character, and this doesn’t change from the start of the film through the end. Jackie plays the character well, but it just wasn’t fun. Liu Ye is great as Wu Jiang, and the emotional rollercoaster ride he takes during the film is believable right until the end, where he becomes an Evil Bad Guy. Jing Tian is good in her scenes with Jackie Chan as his daughter, but her part is still a damsel in distress role, which is just played out at this point.

Police Lockdown

Ding Sheng directs the film as if he didn’t know this was a Police Story film. While some of his shots are really gorgeous, some are confusing, particularly a few action moments. I pretty much expect that from Jackie’s American output, but not from his Chinese language films.

The fight scenes are…ok. Nothing special, which is a cardinal sin for this series. Even New Police Story had the great fight vs Andy On. Here the fights are not shot very well, and what’s there is very, very small. Is this due to Chan’s advanced age? I don’t think so, not in the light of what he does in Chinese Zodiac. They try to take a more realistic approach to the fights, but that’s no fun, not for a series called Police Story. Of course that can be said for just about every moment of this film.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

Jackie Chan is in need of a snickers bar, ’cause he’s not himself, nor is this a true Police Story Film. If he decides to close the series out, it needs to be with Kevin (Ka Kui) Chan, in a film with a better balance of comedy and action. Actually a lot more comedy, and Maggie Cheung.

Review: Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1975)

Posted in Chi Ling Chiu, Fung Hak-On, Hwang Jang Lee, Jackie Chan, Roy Horan, Simon Yuen, Yuen Woo Ping with tags , on May 13, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Snake3

Starring Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, Fung Hak-on, Peter Chan, Charlie Chan, Roy Horan, Chi Ling Chiu

Fight Choreography by Yuen Woo Ping

Directed by Yuen Woo Ping

Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow represents a turning point in the career of Jackie Chan; he was deemed a failure by Lo Wei after several box office disappointments. The heir to Bruce Lee he was most definitely not; just another stuntman who couldn’t cut the mustard as a star. So when Golden Harvest came calling, Lo Wei had no qualms about lending Jackie to them. Jackie, understanding that the end was near, asked to control his own films, and to do something no one had really thought of: allowing Jackie to be Jackie, and not Bruce. That thinking, along with pulling JC into the orbit of the Yuen family, culminated in this film, which would become the thematic template to the film that will make Jackie Chan a major star, Drunken Master.

So what to make of the Snake?

In this film we find that he Snake Fist school has been under attack by the Eagle Claw school, and that for a school that once boasted over 3000 members now only has a few left (that’s not an attack. That’s war). We find that Mr. Ass Kicker himself Sheng Kuan (Lee) as he takes out another Snake fist master (Fung Hak-On). Next we meet one of the last masters of the form,  Master Pai Cheng Tien (Yuen), who wanders around as a beggar. His travels brings him to the orbit of a kindly young man Chien Fu (Chan) who “trains” at a school that, while the Master is away, is run by two buffoons who ridicule and embarrass him at every turn. Taking a liking to Chien Fu, Pai Cheng Tien decides to teach him the style of Snake Fist, but warns him not to show it. But since this is Jackie Chan, of course he’ll use it! This brings Sheng Kuan and several assassins to attempt to kill the last remaining Snake Fist masters…but Cheng Fu has a surprise waiting for them…

Snake1

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow really shows the comedy that would become a hallmark of Jackie’s early films and career as a whole. Jackie himself, at least this time, is playing a nice young man, rather than the rapscallions he would later play. Even in this early film, it’s easy to see why JC became the superstar that he is. He has a great screen presence, and his kung fu is fun to watch, especially since he fell under the wing of the Yuen family, Speaking of whom, Simon Yuen, the real ODB himself, is as crazy fun to watch as he ever was. Is there any doubt that Simon Yuen was to Jackie Chan in these early films what Bill Tung would be for his later ones? They were both great comedic foils for JC to play off of, and they are both sorely missed.

Hwang Jang Lee is just awesome, this being a warm-up (as it was for everyone) for his role in Drunken Master. Roy Horan is decent as one of the assassins, and his finale…damn! The story itself is simple but hey, that’s the novel joy of it, and Yuen Woo Ping keeps things moving at a brisk pace, and the training sequences are standout, as is the scene where JC finally practices the Snake Fist form. Still glad to see films where the hero is not an instant badass who is a kung fu expert right out of the womb.

Snake

This film also answers a trivia question “what’s the worst kill of Jackie Chan’s career?” Roy Horan gets the nod here, and his death by skewered testicles ranks up there with some of the worst as JC just pulls a Sonny Chiba on his unfortunate ballsack. I can’t decide if Horan’s death scene is one of the worst acted or one of the best. It’s just that cruel an ending for him. He could’ve screamed for his mommy at the point and I wouldn’t have blamed him.

The fights are as imaginative as Woo Ping has ever been, but is only a small taste for what’s to come. The final fight with Hwang Jang Lee, Jackie Chan, and Simon Yuen is as great as you would think, but still only a small, small taste of what’s to come. Woo Ping brings out the playfulness in JC, and that’s the thing I think Woo Ping does so well; he matches his fight choreography to the personalities of the actor/fighter.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A great kung-fu film that became Jackie Chan’s first real hit film, and would set the stage for one of the greatest kung fu films of all time! A fun filled spectacle to watch.

Review: Winners and Sinners (1983)

Posted in Dick Wei, Fat Chung, Fung Hak-On, Jackie Chan, James Tien, Lam Ching Ying, Mars, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao with tags , on March 2, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Winners Sinners 3

Starring Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Stanley Fung, John Sham, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Dick Wei, Moon Lee, James Tien, Mars, Fung Hak-on, Wu Ma, Lam Ching Ying, Fat Chung.

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

The first official film in the Lucky Stars series finds our first iteration of the group (really missing Eric Tsang!) meeting for the first time in prison, after they are all put there due to their bad luck, and, well, they aren’t really very good and playing bad guys. They form a bond, and the team, consisting of Teapot (Hung), Curly (Sham), Exhaust Pipe (Ng), Vaseline (Charlie Chan), and Rookie (Fung) decide to join Curly’s sister in a cleaning business called the Five Stars Cleaning Company. Meanwhile, a rather bad cop named CID 07 (Chan) does a really inept job of trying to catch a group of drug dealers attached to Jack Tar (Tien), and a mishap causes a briefcase that contains counterfeit plates lands in the hands of the Lucky Stars. Of course they are oblivious at first as they are obsessed with trying to get into the pants of Curly’s sister but soon find themselves in danger as Tar thinks the Five Stars Cleaning company are another rival gang. Most of the Lucky Stars are taken hostage, and its up to Teapot to save his friends and get the girl…

Winners Sinners 1

Too much fun. That’s what all of these actors bring to the table. The story is flat and unoriginal, but never mind that. The Lucky Stars are the draw here, and in particular Sammo Hung and Richard Ng. Sammy brings his innocence as Teapot, a fighter who is good at being a good guy but bad at being a bad guy, but wants to get the girl in the end. Richard Ng, clothes or not, is hilarious as he tries to pull off his complex shenanigans all to see one woman naked, but of course he’s the nut job of the group as well. John Sham brings his normal manic energy to liven things up, and Jackie Chan is on hand to provide stunts, and at the same time play a real prick of a cop. Many HK stars come out to play, and Tien chews the scenes like a nice ham sandwich as Tar, but I was hoping to see more from Lam Ching-Ying as the Butler. As good as everyone is, there is one scene that still has me laughing out loud, involving Vaseline and two thugs, none of whom know kung-fu, but can all strike poses as if they did, and they engage in trying to out-pose each other in the middle of bodies and chairs flying around…and watching what happens when Exhaust Pipe enters this strange scene will have you rolling.

Winners Sinners 2

A warning to Jackie Chan fans: he isn’t the star of this film, and this is the Lucky Stars film where he shows up the least, even though adverts showcase him as if he were one of the major stars of the film.

The fight scenes are as great as one could hope for, the best being the finale in the warehouse as Teapot takes on Fung Hak-On, Dick Wei, and two bald fighters in a duel to the finish. Jackie Chan has a brief fight with Yuen Biao that was under cranked (actions filmed on a slower frame rate to make the speed of the actual fight faster) in a way I thought wasn’t necessary. The battle at Tar’s mansion was also a standout, especially the results of an ill-fated piano jump (you’ll have to see for yourself!). The roller-skating stunts by Jackie Chan were good also, but went a bit overlong, but was worth it for the massive car pileups that occurs at the end of the sequence. With the exception of the final warehouse fight, this is probably the Lucky Stars film with the least impressive fight scenes in the series.

However, any film where Fat Chung sports a Jheri Curl:

Fat Chung

is just gold to me.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

Not my favorite of the series, but it’s still a fun first entry into the world of the Lucky Stars! 

Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody, and John Cusack! The Dragon Blade Trailer!

Posted in Jackie Chan on December 26, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Thanks to friend of Kiai-Kick Lee Golden for this one! I have to say, the production value looks amazing, and for perhaps the first time ever Jackie Chan gets to rock with GOOD Hollywood actors! The trailer seems  a bit disjointed, but I’m still game!

Review: Rumble In the Bronx (1995)

Posted in Jackie Chan, Stanley Tong on August 19, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

rumble2

Starring Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Francoise Yip, Garvin Cross, Marc Akerstream, Bill Tung

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan

Directed by Stanley Tong

When word came that Jackie Chan was making a return to America, visions of films like The Protector and Battle Creek Brawl swept through many people’s minds. But Mortal Kombat, which had come earlier in the year, proved that martial arts, which had been non-existent except for JCVD and Steven Seagal, was still popular. Jackie Chan did make his return, but did it his way, and finally Jackie found the success in America that had eluded him for so long. So what was Rumble in The Bronx like?

Rumble finds Jackie Chan as Keung, a Hong Kong cop vacationing in New York, there to attend the wedding of his Uncle Bill (Tung), who owns his own store in the Bronx. Not long after Keung arrives than trouble finds him as he thwarts a local gang during one of their “amusements”. He must also content with Elaine (Mui), the new owner of Uncle Bill’s store, who finds she may be far over her head. Toss in stolen diamonds, a villainous gangster named White Tiger who will stop at nothing to get them, and Keung falling for the leader of the gang’s girlfriend Nancy (Yip) and the stage is set for fights, stunts, and derring-do!

rumble3

Rumble in the Bronx has a story that a 10-year-old could write, dubbed dialogue, subbing in Vancouver for The Bronx, and a host of other things that would sink other films, but the hell with that, this is Jackie Chan, and while this isn’t one of his best films, it IS one of his funnest (is that a word?). Jackie plays the character he plays best, which is himself. He’s affable to a fault, a hero who doesn’t look for trouble but it surely finds him, and the physical comedy Chan is known for. Anita Mui is game for all of the hijinks, and is able to successfully share the screen with Chan, and of course no Chan film (at least his late 90’s films) is worth its salt without the greatness that is Bill Tung. The bad guys are utterly forgettable, just a group of big guys who grunt a lot and look at Chan menacingly. Stanley Tong keeps things moving at a brisk pace and thankfully never wastes time moving the story along, not allowing the logic of the film catch up to them.

Rumble1

The stunts are just as insane as one would want. Everything from the building jump during a chase to the boat jump that broke his ankle, Chan is in top form, and nowhere is this apparent than in the big fight vs the entire gang, where Chan uses everything around him as weapons, and mixing it with kung fu that shows off Chan’s speed and grace, expertly choreographed, which for Chan fans was expected, but to American audiences it was the signal that Seagal and JCVD’s time had come to an end. If I had one gripe it might have been the absence of a Superkicker to really challenge Jackie, but that is just a wishful nitpick on my part!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

Jackie Chan brought his insanity to the USA shores, and we are all better for it! A rollicking, insanely fun movie that shows Chan at his best!