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Showing posts from September, 2016

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

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Recently I reviewed Spy, lamenting that it didn't really know which direction it should go in.  My theory was that if it took itself just a bit more seriously and didn't go for the obvious jokes that it would be a much better movie.  Turns out that movie was already made and, sadly, it wasn't much better. 

Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton) loses his father at an early age.  Turns out his father was a member of a secret British organization that was pledged to protect the United Kingdom. Codenamed Lancelot, he protected the rest of his group from being killed by a terrorist they had captured.  Harry Hart (Colin Firth), codenamed Galahad, leaves young Eggsy with his father's medal and a number to call if he ever gets in trouble.

20 years later Eggsy is in trouble, both with the law and with a local mobster that also happens to be his stepfather.  The Kingsman organization is also in trouble, with the recent Lancelot (Jack Davenport) murdered while investigati…

Return of the Street Fighter (1974)

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Following the success of The Street Fighter, a sequel was quickly rushed out to capitalize on it.  Shigehiro Ozawa is back as director, Sonny Chiba as well as Terry Tsurugi and much violence ensues - just not as much, nor as interesting as the first movie.

This time around Terry is back to his old habits as a man for hire to take care of special situations, with a new companion in Pin Boke (Yoko Ichiji), a street girl that he has taken in.  He again falls afoul of the mafia, this time by siding with his long time friend Kendo Masaoka (Masafumi Suzuki), who has discovered that a head of rival martial arts school is using a phony charity to raise money not for a new martial arts school, but for the Yakuza.

Tsurugi also finds an unlikely ally in Masaoka's son Kaoru, a police officer who has been trying to prove that the martial arts school charity is a money laundering scheme.  When letters with Kendo's name forged on them arise, proving that other heads of martial arts schools …

The Street Fighter (1974)

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If you have seen the movie True Romance, there is a scene where Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette go to a marathon of Street Fighter films.  Despite being directed by Tony Scott, True Romance was in every other way Quentin Tarantino's second film, as he wrote it and it largely appeared on the screen as he intended.  Unless I am forgetting some references from Reservoir Dogs, it is also the first of his movies to introduce his love of Asian cinema, particularly the more exploitative and violent side.

The Street Fighter came out a year after Enter the Dragon, and that movie had made martial arts films popular on the same level with grindhouse audiences as Blaxploitation and artsy porn flicks.  It was aimed at the same audience as the late Bruce Lee, but with quite a different sensibility.  Instead of focusing on culture and philosophy, The Street Fighter focused solely on violence and revenge, so much so that it earned an X rating upon initial release in the United States.

Terr…

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

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I think I said it in my review of Aliens, but John Cameron is the guy you want to go to for sequels. Unfortunately, it usually means the sequels that come after it will increasingly ruin the franchise, but at least for one shining moment you get something that tops the original.  Cameron does this here with a sequel to his own movie that, along with Aliens, put him on the map.

John Conner (Edward Furlong) manages to get born thanks to the efforts of his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) to vanquish the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that was sent to kill her and prevent Conner from leading a rebellion against Skynet and its army of machines in the post apocalyptic future.  Things haven't gone too well for John in the present.  He spent most of his young years traveling and living with fringe groups, and his mother is now in a mental institution for her insistence that a nuclear war will occur in 1997 and allow the machines to rise.

John himself has become a bit of a deli…

Enter the Dragon (1973)

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Do I have to say much about Bruce Lee?  He is arguably the most famous martial arts film actor next to Jackie Chan, but has the dubious distinction of starring in a number of films while not actually walking the earth at the time.  Game of Death went as far as featuring footage from his funeral. He made a number of renowned films in Hong Kong prior to Enter the Dragon, created his own martial arts style and tried his best to promote his culture and philosophy to the world at large. 

As luck would have it, the movie he is most known for today was the one he made shortly before his death.  Enter the Dragon was one of the few movies of its type that actually bridged the gap between East and West film making, as even today it is hard to find anyone in Hollywood that can properly film a martial arts fight scene.  They still typically bring in Hong Kong choreographers to do the work. Here, Lee did most of the work, even a good portion of the directing if rumors are true.

Lee (Lee) is a tra…