I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘Chow Yun Fat’

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is an important movie to me for a couple reasons. One is personal, but the other is kinda about you guys. I had been writing reviews on my Geocities websight for a bit, but I didn’t really think anybody gave a shit, so I had kind of given it up for a few months when I ran into an old friend who mentioned he liked what I wrote about CROUCHING TIGER and wondered when I was gonna write more reviews. So I did, and then I continued for like 17 years, and here we are. Thank you, Jacob M., for saying that to me that day.

I love CROUCHING TIGER. I wasn’t sure how well it would hold up after all these years. It was such an exciting movie of its time, but it’s been imitated, techniques have evolved, new things have been achieved in martial arts, we’ve changed. And though I still like HULK, the other Ang Lee film I was obsessed with in the early 2000s, it doesn’t quite knock my socks all the way off anymore. Just part way off.

CROUCHING TIGER, I’m happy to discover, still does. And it knocks them off in a deeper, more mature way than it used to. My socks were very impressed.

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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Killer

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

tn_thekillerwoozoneAs a guy specializing in writing about action movies, sometimes I worry I’m documenting an ancient art form. I romanticize a time when action movies were a rite of passage, a father-son bonding tradition and a major passion for many young people, especially males, but it seems like the youth of today aren’t necessarily interested in this shit. And if they don’t grow up on it then they’re never gonna have that moment when they get a little older and become aware of the other powerful strains of it from around the world.

That makes me sad because whatever they’re watching instead cannot possibly match the rush of joy I got when I saw my first John Woo movie – which was THE KILLER – or each time I revisit his classics now. At the time there was nothing else like it. Somehow that seems even more true today.

The things that are greatest about THE KILLER might be the things that would seem silliest to younger people: the unabashed style and the the unbridled, unironic emotion. I remember people who came up a few years after the era when Hong Kong action cinema was the coolest thing going – people who are old and decrepit now – who would make jokes about John Woo’s doves. “Ha ha, two pistols, and some doves, am I right? Ha ha, I know about a trademark, I have defeated him.”

Well, THE KILLER is gonna be way too much for anybody like that. And maybe I gotta face that they just don’t deserve THE KILLER. The cards are laid on the table in the opening, when Chow Yun-Fat as Ah Jong (or “Jeff Chow,” according to the credits) meets with his Triad manager Fung Sei (Paul Chu Kong) in an empty church at night. That happens in all action movies, but this church is lit with what must be a thousand candles, and there are doves and pigeons flying around, landing on the cross. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

City On Fire

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

CITY ON FIRE, a 1987 Hong Kong crime movie by director Ringo Lam, is a vehicle for Chow Yun Fat’s charm. He’s not a God of Pistols, he’s one of these fuckup characters who loves the ladies but does pretty terrible with them. In a restaurant he argues with two different women, one I thought was his wife and the other his mistress, but that later seems to be wrong. Anyway one of them seems to be leaving him for an older guy who owns the restaurant, so he gets into a confrontation and a brawl.

The cops bring him in for what seems like questioning but is actually a meeting. It turns out he’s an undercover cop, or at least he was, but he doesn’t want to do it anymore. His boss pushes him into it, so he gets a couple guns out of a bowling alley locker and sells them to a gang of jewel thieves.

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

A Better Tomorrow III

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

tn_bettertomorrow3After their disagreements over A BETTER TOMORROW 2, John Woo and Tsui Hark weren’t able to work together on part 3. But they both wanted to do a Vietnam war era prequel, so Woo took his and made it BULLET IN THE HEAD, Hark made A BETTER TOMORROW III: LOVE AND DEATH IN SAIGON. As far as artistic success I’d say Woo definitely won that battle, but at least Tsui got to clean up in the getting-to-hang-out-with-Chow-Yun-Fat department. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

A Better Tomorrow 2

Friday, October 15th, 2010

tn_bettertomorrow2A BETTER TOMORROW II is a crazy fuckin sequel. The story is incredibly convoluted, the plot (or plots) divided between Hong Kong and New York, continuing the story of Ho, Kit and Jackie, but also following a new character called Uncle Lung (Dean Shek) in conflict with the police and with two unrelated crime syndicates. The weirdest (and best) part is that they actually used the gimmick that’s always joked about but almost never actually done: Chow Yun Fat plays Ken, the never-mentioned-before-twin-brother of his deceased part 1 character Mark. I probly don’t have to say any more than that to convince you this movie is stupid. I liked it though. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

A Better Tomorrow

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

tn_bettertomorrowIf you look for pictures from John Woo’s 1986 breakthrough A BETTER TOMORROW you’ll mostly find Chow Yun Fat lighting a cigar with a burning counterfeit American $100 bill, or wearing a real nice suit holding two guns. That’s from the beginning of the movie when his character Mark is a big shot in a Hong Kong syndicate. That’s not a better tomorrow, that’s a more financially stable yesterday. Most of the movie takes place years later, when Mark has been shot in the leg and has to wear a metal brace, so he’s now just an errand boy instead of a Big Brother. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Dragon’s Balls: Evolution

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

tn_dragonsballsDRAGON’S BALLS: EVOLUTION is the weird story of a young misfit named Goku (Justin Chatwin, the guy who everybody thought ruined WAR OF THE WORLDS by not dying) who has a strange hair do and on his 18th birthday finds out that he has to collect 7 (seven) magic dragon’s balls before the eclipse, or an alien guy named Piccolo is gonna resurrect another guy that’s gonna somehow destroy or conquer the world or whatever. That’s why Goku’s grandfather (Randall Duk Kim, “the Keymaker” from the MATRIX sequels) taught him martial arts and magic “airbending techniques” such as using his ki energy to light torches. I’m not clear though why the grandpa waited until the shit went down to explain what was going on. I guess this kid got his John Connor style childhood’s worth of training, but it seems like getting a head start on collecting dragon’s nuts wouldn’t be a bad idea when the entire earth is at stake. I like the earth. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Hard Boiled

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

Well god damn here’s an action picture like I’ve NEVER seen. This is a must see for ANY action fan and I am not fucking joking. I mean you don’t have to see Payback, you don’t have to see Die Hard with a Vengeance or any of these other movies I talk about but in god and mary’s sweet name of christ jesus, you OWE it to yourself and to the lord to see this chinese picture Hard Boiled.

I mean don’t get me wrong I like the van dammes and what not but this is on a whole other plane flying way up in the sky. It will forever change what you expect from an action picture in my opinion although I only saw it this afternoon so what the hell do I know. But it is to shootout movies what Godfather is to mob movies or Jaws is to shark movies. Don’t take this the wrong way but it is such a leap ahead it is like die hard times ten. It is WAY, and I mean WAY more violent than anything you will see in the US of A but at the same time the characters and story plot are far more developed. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Thursday, December 21st, 2000

My friends, you may think I have been neglecting you. In the past month or two I have abandoned all my discipline and stopped doing the column weekly. I haven’t been reviewing all that many movies. I’ve been staying pretty much away from the computers of the internet except for Writing the occasional Ain’t It Cool News joke talk back message under the name “Darth Superman.”

The truth is I’m doing you a big fucking favor. I’m cutting down on my Writing. Focussing it. Putting my emphasis on what matters to me most, like honor, respect, and breaking a motherfuckers legs. I’m hoping less Writing = less crap, and therefore, better Writing. So you get to waste less time reading it, plus it’ll be better. That’s the theory, anyway. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.