The Wind Rises (2013) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.

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Dynamite Warrior (2006)

The clear indicator that this is simply the lamest of the exports so far is the first twenty minutes where director Chalerm Wongpim asks us to enjoy the realism of the epic battle scenes, while also forcing us to swallow a scene of our hero Siang riding a large rocket in the air. He then takes part in one of the most boring fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Most notable is the choreography which is slow and clunky, while most of the scenes are so poorly edited that they look like rehearsals for actual scenes we’ll never get to watch. It’s the first time I’ve seen a flying knee kick and not gasp in amazement.

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Karate Warriors (1976)

Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s “Karate Warriors” (aka “Killing Fist and Child”) is a solid action film mainly because of Sonny Chiba, and because Chiba’s charisma makes up for the overall plot’s shortcomings. His mystique is often entertaining and there are also the pre-requisite great fight sequences. Chiba is a force of nature here, and like “Yojimbo” he plays the rival gangs against one another for his own personal sake.

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Sonny Chiba’s Dragon Princess (1976)

Yutaka Kohira’s “Sonny Chiba’s Dragon Princess” (Or “Dragon Princess,” or “Lady Karate,” or “Assassin Woman’s Fist”) is a misleading title often being boasted as a Sonny Chiba film, even though he has nothing more than a glorified cameo. The actual star, Etsuko Shiomi headlines as a girl whose father Agaki (Chiba) is confronted by two martial arts masters who challenge him to a fight, intent on taking his position as top karate master.

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#Alive [#Saraitda] (2020)

It’s hard to re-imagine or re-think the zombie movie, especially in the times where just about everyone has thought of everything. Director Il Cho’s “#Alive” is basically the sequel that “Train to Busan,” should have been, “#Alive” is such a great mix of “28 Days Later,” “The Night Eats the World,” and “Dawn of the Dead ’04.” While it doesn’t re-invent the wheel it manages to offer a fun, exciting, and creepy movie about the pros and cons of modern technology and the value of human contact.

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Get The Hell Out (2020)

Wang Yo-Wei works as a security guard at parliament and is regarded as a loser by others. One day during a Parliament session, as a fatal virus is spreading inside the parliament, the MPs are infected and become zombies. Strangely, Wang proves to be only one immune to the virus. Together with his girlfriend Xiong, they not only fight their way out but also save many lives.

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Detention (2019) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

Set in Taiwan in 1962, a period known as the White Terror, Detention takes place in and around a school and its among its student and staff as they are encouraged to turn anyone who may be against the current power in. A group of students and young teachers meets up to discuss banned books and other materials. As they try to stay hidden and survive, something not quite usual starts happening.

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A Witness Out of the Blue (2019) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

The official definition for this film is “[a] Hong Kong crime thriller about a detective and a parrot” and it honestly nails the film. It’s what it’s about with of course other factors involved like a criminal, some corruption, and a little bit of love possibly.

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