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Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Chan’

The Protector (35th anniversary revisit)

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

August 23, 1985

Here we are again. THE PROTECTOR – Jackie Chan’s widely panned second attempt at an English-language starring vehicle. I reviewed it in 2011 and my opinion hasn’t changed much, but as one of the very few straight ahead action movies of Summer of 1985, it seems important to address in this series. Action-wise, the summer was all about RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. Otherwise you just had the two westerns, PALE RIDER and SILVERADO, and three cop movies – CODE OF SILENCE, YEAR OF THE DRAGON, and this. YEAR OF THE DRAGON is less actiony and has so much more production value it doesn’t seem like a fair comparison, so the one to really hold it next to is CODE OF SILENCE.

And yeah, it makes sense. Chuck Norris and Jackie were both martial arts stars – in fact, guys who had early roles in Bruce Lee movies – who were now expanding their portfolios in the medium of post-DIRTY HARRY American cop movies. CODE is set in director Andrew Davis’s textured and gritty Chicago, but director James Glickenhaus begins THE PROTECTOR in a preposterously exaggerated b-movie vision of the South Bronx where crime is so bad it has literally become a post-apocalypse movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Drunken Master II

Monday, May 11th, 2020

When we last saw Wong Fei-hung (Jackie Chan), he was a bratty kid always getting in trouble, getting disowned by his martial artist/physician father Master Wong, trained in drunken boxing by Beggar So, learning to fight really well if he has access to a gourd he can use to get blitzed out of his, you know, gourd.

Now its… I’m not sure how long later. But it’s the early twentieth century. There are cars and shit. Though he’s presumably an adult, he still lives with his parents – now played by Ti Lung (A BETTER TOMORROW) and Anita Mui (RUMBLE IN THE BRONX) – and fucks around and gets in trouble constantly.

When DRUNKEN MASTER came out in 1978, Jackie was just beginning to explore his comedic approach to kung fu movies, and it established him as a major movie star in China. Sixteen years later, when DRUNKEN MASTER II (a.k.a. THE LEGEND OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER) came out, Jackie and martial arts cinema were in an entirely different place. Jackie had moved over to Golden Harvest, directed ten movies, started the POLICE STORY and ARMOUR OF GOD series, even done a few American movies. And then he returned to the famous folk hero character in the only time he was ever directed by the great Lau Kar-leung (EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN, THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, HEROES OF THE EAST, DIRTY HO, THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER, TIGER ON BEAT). But they fought about the shooting and fighting styles and Jackie took over to direct the final fight that the movie’s best known for. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rumble in the Bronx

Monday, April 20th, 2020

In February of 1996, when RUMBLE IN THE BRONX was released in the U.S., it was an event. I don’t know if it was the zeitgeist or a concerted marketing effort or what, but it came along at the exact right moment for Jackie Chan to achieve his dream of hitting it big in the States. He’d tried twice before with American movies filmed in English: Robert Clouse’s THE BIG BRAWL a.k.a. BATTLE CREEK BRAWL in 1980 and James Glickenhaus’s THE PROTECTOR in 1985. Neither caught on. But he finally did it with a re-edited and dubbed version of one of his Hong Kong movies.

For some of us, we’d had a few years of fiending to see and learn about whatever Hong Kong action cinema we could. Trying to find rentals or bootlegs of subtitled John Woo, maybe Ringo Lam, THE HEROIC TRIO, FONG SAI YUK, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR, or anything Jackie.

Most of those were about a certain poetry, a certain vibe, a mix of style and cool and honor and brotherhood and violence that seemed thrilling compared to what we got at home. But the excitement of Jackie was entirely about the miracle of human movement. A guy who can flip and run up walls and jump off buildings and onto or over moving vehicles. A daredevil and a silent comedian and a kung fu master all rolled into one. He wasn’t cool in the same way that Chow Yun Fat was. He was kind of a dork. But also a god. (read the rest of this shit…)

Supercop 2

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

As I believe I’ve made clear in many reviews over the years, as well as this week’s Profiles in Badass column on Rebeller, I’m aware of Michelle Yeoh’s wide range of talents and accomplishments. I love her most for the movies that really showcase her fighting and her swagger, like WING CHUN, and YES, MADAM!, or her fighting and her regret, like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, and the totally-worth-checking-out straight-to-Netflix sequel, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY. I also very much admire her dramatic acting chops from AH KAM to CRAZY RICH ASIANS. Still, the timing of my specific movie-watching path, discovering Hong Kong action in the ‘90s, means that I will always think of her as Michelle “jumped a motherfucking motorcycle onto a motherfucking train in SUPERCOP Yeoh. That’s just a fact. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wheels On Meals

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

WHEELS ON MEALS is the 1984 Hong Kong action classic starring Chinese opera bros for life Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung (also director), fresh off of WINNERS AND SINNERS and PROJECT A. Jackie and Biao star as Thomas and David, dorky cousins who live together in Barcelona, sharing a bedroom that has separate doors right next to each other for no reason other than a visual gag. In the opening we see them getting up, working out and practicing on kung fu dummies, so that when they’re amazing fighters through the rest of it there’s a foundation for it. (But we never see them practice again.)

Sammo plays a guy named Moby, who’s introduced sporting shades and a perm that almost looks like jheri curls. He’s working (without pay) for a sleazy p.i. (Herb Edelman, a.k.a. Dorothy’s ex-husband Stanley on Golden Girls) who leaves town to hide from a gambling debt and leaves Moby in charge, causing him to strut around town dressed like he’s in the “Smooth Criminal” video, whisper-bragging to everyone that he’s “Acting Chairman of Matt’s Detective Agency.” He also takes a case to find a woman from an old photograph (oh my god this could turn into THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and it seems like all he really knows how to do is look for some guy named Fatso to ask him about it. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Foreigner

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

I’m more of an action guy than a thriller guy. But I can appreciate different stuff. Martin Campbell’s THE FOREIGNER (2017 – not a remake of the Seagal film) is definitely more on the thriller side, mostly seeking its excitement in a complex web of police, compromised politicians and terrorist groups all dealing with the aftermath of the bombing of a London clothing boutique.

At the center of it is Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan, FINAL SCORE). He’s a former IRA member and seems to be pretty fucked over by this incident because he’s built a reputation as a moderating force, but behind the scenes still has relationships and understandings with the IRA. This bombing was done by some young upstarts calling themselves “The Authentic IRA,” and there’s alot of pressure, including from police captain Richard Bromley (Ray Fearon, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), to find out who’s responsible. If another bomb goes off it’ll be the end of his political career, so he spends most of the movie desperately asking around and trying to set up traps to out the culprits and stuff like that. (read the rest of this shit…)

Chinese Zodiac

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

tn_cz12To be frankly honest I haven’t kept up with the modern Jackie Chan pictures, unless you count THE KARATE KID, which I don’t. I had to really think about it to remember that LITTLE BIG SOLDIER (from 2010) was the last one I saw, and it looks like you’d have to go back pre-RUSH HOUR (to ’98’s WHO AM I?) to get to another non-American one I’ve seen.

But 2012’s CHINESE ZODIAC just came out on video here, and he directed that one, they were making a big deal about it possibly being his last full-on action movie, so maybe it’s a good one to reacquaint us with why we love Jackie? (read the rest of this shit…)

Police Story III, a.k.a. Supercop

Friday, May 25th, 2012

tn_supercopMichelle Yeoh jumping a motorcycle onto a moving train. Landing it. Skidding out, letting the bike fall off, staying on the train. This is what I remembered about SUPERCOP. She really fuckin did that stunt! She was a dancer that had turned to acting in kung fu movies, was good at learning the moves. She actually hadn’t made a movie for a while, but her old friend Stanley Tong was making his directorial debut, and she came out of retirement for him. He was actually her stunt double sometimes. I guess he was too busy directing this, so she had to do the stunt herself. (read the rest of this shit…)

Police Story 2

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

tn_policestory2POLICE STORY PART II (as the opening credits call it) begins with a montage of all the highlights of part 1, set to the theme song, sung by star/director Jackie Chan.

The sequel directly follows part 1. Chan’s character Chan Ka-Kui, in the great tradition of movie hero cops, is demoted to traffic patrol for being so awesome and busting the drug lord. His boss and uncle return, and although they develop a stronger friendship over the movie it starts out with him being chewed out for all the property damage his famous part 1 stunts caused, including driving over the shantytown and sliding down the weird Christmas tree looking thing in the shopping mall: “Why didn’t you use the stairs? Did you have to destroy the chandelier?” (read the rest of this shit…)

Rush Hour 2

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
"Victoria Secret, Spring catalog, page 22."
chapter 11: “Victoria Secret, Spring catalog, page 22.”

2001posterreleased August 3rd, 2001

I know, I know. Every motherfucker on the internet is putting up their essays marking the 10th anniversary of Brett Ratner’s RUSH HOUR 2 today. As fascinating a topic as we all know it is, I believe there could be a small chance that one or two of you are probly getting toward the area where pretty soon there is almost really not gonna be that much more to say about RUSH HOUR 2. And I know that for many of us this is a day when we want to be among friends and loved ones, thinking about how much they mean to us, and how much RUSH HOUR 2 means to them. But please, friends – if you have the time, take a few minutes to read my take. It would mean alot to me, just like this movie means alot to each and every one of us as movie fans, as thinkers, as sons and daughters, as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, citizens, humans, spiritual beings.

(read the rest of this shit…)