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

Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Yeoh’

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Okay, so admittedly it’s weird that 17 years after the acclaimed, Academy Award winning CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, The Weinstein Company up and made a sequel without the original director. And filmed it in English. And sold it to Netflix so it was barely released in theaters and may never be available on disc in most countries. It’s not surprising that people seem to have been disappointed, or just confused, or completely unaware of it. But if we think of it in terms of unlikely DTV sequels, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY is in the upper echelon.

No, the director is not Ang Lee, but it’s not nobody either – it’s Yuen Woo-Ping, whose choreography was the life’s blood of the first film. I wouldn’t say he tops it here, but he brings more graceful glides, spinning swords and nimble roof top skips and hops. It’s worth noting that today’s technology is used to create more elaborate magical realism, like when the two leads ride in on horses, block a barrage of spears, leap high into the air, land and begin a sword fight, all in one beautiful shot. (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

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.

(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.

The Mechanic: Resurrection

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

tn_mechanicrJason Statham returns as Arthur Bishop, his character from the 2011 Simon West film THE MECHANIC. He is not the type of mechanic who might help out his driving characters in THE TRANSPORTER, THE ITALIAN JOB, DEATH RACE and FURIOUS 7. He’s the type that is a euphemism for an assassin-for-hire, as seen in the original THE MECHANIC starring Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent.

Having faked his death at the end of the first one, we find Bishop living an appealing lifestyle in Rio de Janeiro. (Do the people of Rio ever get tired of Hollywood helicopters swooping around that Jesus statue?) He’s now known as Otto Santos and he lives on a nice houseboat where he sits and enjoys his espresso and reconstituted vinyl collection.

But one day a woman comes up to him, knows who he is, says her employer wants him to kill three people. Arthur “Otto ‘The Mechanic’ Santos” Bishop is no chump, though, so he fights her and her henchmen, escapes in spectacular (though blatantly green-screeny) fashion, and gets ready for a fight. There’s almost a running joke about how many stashes he has around. When he self destructs his boat he goes right to a shipping container with guns and passports. When he resurfaces at his old hut on a picturesque beach in Thailand there’s another stash under the floorboards. I bet if you dropped him off at any random spot in the North Pole it would turn out he hid some guns under the ice there years ago. (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.

Royal Warriors

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

tn_royalwarriorsROYAL WARRIORS is a pretty good 1986 Michelle Yeoh vehicle directed by David Chung (cinematographer of ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA) with action choreography by Hoi Mang (YES, MADAM!, NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER).

Michelle, called Michelle Khan at the time, plays Michelle Yip, who at the beginning is visiting Japan and enjoying one of those things where Japanese youths dress up rockabilly style and dance in the street. She happens to be in the way watching a guy play barrels as drums when some gangsters come by chasing a fleeing kid. So when she sees what’s happening she goes after them, stickfighting, climbing on statues and kung fu-ing them before she whips out her badge and we learn that she’s a Hong Kong cop. (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.

Summer Movie Flashback: Sunshine

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

tn_sunshine

2007
2007

Yeah, SUNSHINE is still good. It’s kinda like ALIEN but with a (SPOILER) naked crazy dude instead of an alien. Like the alien the crazy naked dude is sneaking around unseen for most of the movie, but a naked dude is harder to pull off special effects-wise than an alien so you never do see him clearly. The camera and editing program start freaking out every time he shows up, like he’s giving off some kind of interference.

A crazy naked dude doesn’t have a projectile mouth, he doesn’t have acid blood. But he’s just as unexpected on a ship with only a few crew members. And he knows how to stab people. In a way he could be more dangerous than an alien because he knows how the ship works and intentionally tries to sabotage their mission. (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.

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…)

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.

True Legend

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

tn_truelegendThis year’s TRUE LEGEND is Yuen Woo-Ping’s first directational work since IRON MONKEY 2 in 1996. During that break he’s done some classic fight choreography, including some of the best ever in American movies (the MATRIXes, the KILL BILLs), but just hasn’t put himself in charge of a whole movie. So this is fun because it’s great wushu mythmaking and the master’s trademark fights working with a new pack of stylistic and technological weapons that didn’t exist 14 years ago. (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.

Babylon A.D.

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

7% on Rotten Tomatoes… that’s bad, right? I was kind of interested in this idea of Vin Diesel returning in a big sci-fi movie directed by the guy who did LA HAINE (you know, Kassovitz. Amelie’s boyfriend, later in MUNICH). But then there were all these stories about the studio cutting it to shreds, and then the reviews were CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST brutal, and even Kassovitz called it “pure violence and stupidity” before it was even released, pretty much signaling that he was so disappointed in the movie that he was willing to throw away any future chance at directing in Hollywood. I mean those are some pretty bad omens there in my opinion so I couldn’t work up the courage to pay money to see it in a theater. I remember even talking a buddy out of going to see it by describing how bad the buzz was. It was so bad it wasn’t even buzz, it was more of a whistle.

So I’m surprised to be sitting here telling you this, but this movie is actually kind of good. I mean, unlike Vin Diesel’s character, who does a flip on a snowmobile in one scene, the movie doesn’t stick the landing. The conclusion borders on silly, the storytelling becomes pretty muddled (possibly due in part to those studio cuts, I’m not sure) and I was not sure I really understood the point of how it ended up. But as a whole it’s so much better than I had been led to believe. Aside from some corny Riddick-style opening and closing narration Diesel is a cool action movie character inhabiting a fleshed out, believable world of chaos not too far in the future. (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.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Friday, December 12th, 2008

PROLOGUE: Long ago, a brave warrior (Jet Li) and a graceful dancer turned actress (Michelle Yeoh) did the movie TAI CHI MASTER together. Then both went to Hollywood and did Lethal Weapon and James Bond and shit. But they had not forgotten each other. They were gonna star in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON together. But Jet backed out for the incredibly classy reason that he had promised his wife to take the year off from movies and be with her while she was pregnant. Years later, they had another chance to do a movie together in Ronny Yu’s FEARLESS – but Michelle’s scenes got cut out of the theatrical version. So it was this last summer, 15 years later, that the two were finally reunited on the big screen. BUT IT WAS IN THE FUCKING MUMMY 3! How’s that for a Tales From the Crypt type twist ending?

Okay, I should get a couple disclaimers out of the way. First of all, mummies are not one of my favorite monsters. Off the top of my head the only mummy movie I can think of that I like is BUBBA HO-TEP, but that didn’t really need to be a mummy to be good. It just needed to be a slow moving monster so an elderly Elvis could be a fair match for it. If it was about a giant space slug or mutant sloth it could also be good if it had the same characterization of a sad, lonely Elvis Presley. The Universal MUMMY with Boris Karloff is a great monster at the beginning, then he disappears and it’s just Karloff in a fez for the rest of the movie. It’s no DRACULA, I’ll tell you that. And as you can see above I didn’t think the Hammer version was that great either. (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.

Sunshine

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

With the release of this movie I’d say there’s now officially a subgenre of sci-fi movies about the angst of long distance space travel. Two of my favorite movies ever – 2001 and ALIEN – are in this category. There’s also DARK STAR, a predecessor to ALIEN and an inspiration to this movie (one of the characters is even named Pinback after Dan O’Bannon’s character in that movie). I also liked the remake of SOLARIS, but I still gotta see the original one. Rounding out the category now there’s Danny Boyle’s SUNSHINE.

This one takes place sometime in the future, but probaly not too long in the future. The main difference between then and now: the sun is dying. Pretty shitty. Humanity came up with a plan where they sent a spaceship called The Icarus which would set off a bomb that would reignite the sun. But that ship was a bunch of slackers or something so nobody heard from them again. This is the story of the Icarus II, where they decided to use up Earth’s resources to make the last possible bomb that they could use to try to relight that bitch. (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.