I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Posts Tagged ‘Pat Morita’

Mulan

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

June 19, 1998

MULAN is the Disney animated feature of summer ’98. It’s another Broadway-style musical loosely based on an old tale, in this case the legend of Chinese warrior Hua Mulan, as described in The Ballad of Mulan. Fa Mulan – voiced by Ming-Na Wen (STREET FIGHTER), singing voice Lea Salonga (NINJA KIDS) – is a young woman in Han dynasty China in the midst of training to be a great warrior. Oh, whoops, that’s a typo – in the midst of training to be a great wife. She gets all painted up and tries to walk in confining clothes and know all the etiquette for tea drinking and what not. But she’s not up to it, even has to write notes on her hand before a test, and completely fucks it up.

Luckily there is another option. The Huns are invading and every family must provide a man or boy to fight in the army. The only male in her family is her dad Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh, STEELE JUSTICE, DEATH WISH 4), a war vet who is all for going again but he’s an old man who can barely walk and she’s sure he’s gonna get fuckin killed in like two seconds so at night she steals his armor and conscription notice and runs off to pretend to be a dude and fight in the army on his behalf.

Which she’s actually worse at than being feminine. There’s lots of, you know, humor about how she says something in a normal voice and then says “er, I mean” and repeats it in a not even remotely convincing fake-masculine voice. She starts to pick up other things like to spit and do gross things to be accepted as a man. It’s like JUST ONE OF THE GUYS I guess but when they see her boobs it’s off screen. (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.

American Ninja 5 (and Antoine v. Ninja conclusion)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

tn_an5AMERICAN NINJA 5 is the explosive finale to the AMERICAN NINJA saga, by which I mean it’s an unrelated movie starring David Bradley that they retitled. At least that’s my assumption since he’s named Joe in this one instead of Sean. I could easily accept this character as Sean Davidson, who he played in parts 3 and 4, but they call him the other name so they must not have had that in mind while filming. He also opens the movie training with Tadashi “Bronson Lee” Yamashita, who played the Black Star Ninja in part 1, but this time Yamashita is credited as playing himself.

And I guess they must’ve decided that the title was misleading enough that they didn’t have to have a totally unrelated subtitle like all the other sequels. Something like AMERICAN NINJA 5: GAUNTLET OF FIRE or AMERICAN NINJA 5: IRON CLAW JUSTICE.

By the time this came out in 1993, ninjas were a subject of parody and kiddie fare. In the same year, the older brother of AMERICAN NINJA 5’s young star starred in SURF NINJAS with Rob Schneider and Leslie Nielsen. So this is a PG-13, sometimes jokey movie. Bradley has to take care of his master’s grand-nephew Hiro (introducing Lee Reyes). Also, his master, Master Tetsu, is played by Pat Morita, four years after THE KARATE KID III and the KARATE KID cartoon, one year before THE NEXT KARATE KID. Not very Cannonical. But it does have many elements of an AMERICAN NINJA movie: a scheming evil scientist, an army of multi-colored ninjas with one more visually distinguished lead ninja (with a snake-themed name, even), a kidnapping, sneaking into a foreign land, sneaking into a compound, getting jailed, doing a ninja hand signal meditation thing, child ninjitsu training montage, suppressed memories of childhood ninjitsu training. (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 Super-Kumite: Bloodsport II: The Next Kumite

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

tn_bloodsport2ROUND 1, FIRST BOUT, BLOODSPORT SEQUELS VS. TEAM BOLO

“You’re a true warrior, Alex.”

The hero of the original BLOODSPORT, Frank Dux (played by the icon of tournament fighting movies, Jean-Claude Van Damme) trained in ninjitsu as a kid after stealing a valuable katana and then impressing its owner by having second thoughts and returning it. As an adult he’s in the Army, but goes AWOL to enter the dangerous underground Kumite tournament.

The replacement hero for the Van-Damme-less part 2, Alex Cardos (Daniel Bernhardt, the Swiss martial artist and model who had been in a Versace commercial with Van Damme) is also a dirty sword-stealer, but this guy does it as a grown man, has no regrets and doesn’t try to give it back. He goes to a party at Pat Morita’s house, steals the sword from upstairs and makes a lunch date with a lady he was flirting with named Janine (Lori Lynn Dickson) as he flees. (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.

Shadow Fury

Saturday, August 28th, 2010
"I can give a shit about clones!"
“I can give a shit about clones!”

SHADOW FURY is a cheap-ass 2001 sci-fi action movie about clones. It has one of those inexcusable keyboard-pretending-to-be-an-orchestra scores and the acting and dialogue are at higher cheesiness levels than I’ll usually put up with, i.e. worse than a SCANNERS sequel. But I really liked this movie because it rarely goes more than a couple minutes without a really cool action scene, a clever concept or a (usually unintentional) laugh. It has a similar energy to an early Isaac Florentine, so it fits that the director, Makoto Yokoyama, did second unit and stunts for the Power Rangers. An IMDb search finds 7 specific episodes directed by Florentine with Yokoyama on 2nd unit. So let’s call him the 2nd unit Florentine. (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 Karate Kid (1984)

Monday, July 26th, 2010

tn_karatekidTHE KARATE KID was such a phenomenon, man. It mainstream-popularized karate in the U.S. and was heavily imitated in everything from kid’s movies to sports movies to actual action movies. It was sequeled, next generationed, cartooned, action figured, parodied in REVENGE OF THE NERDS, postmodernly referenced and recently remade. It’s hard to remember what the context was then. I can’t really watch it without comparing it to martial arts themed movies made since then. But I’ll try to be nice. (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.

Collision Course

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

tn_collisioncourseAs a Chris Tucker fan in a white-people-heavy part of the country I too often find myself defending the kind-of-funniness of RUSH HOUR. I don’t love the movie or anything (MONEY TALKS is the real classic) but I have to admit that every time I come across it on TV I find myself laughing at the shit Chris Tucker says and saying, “I forgot how funny this was.”

I realize that you all think I’m crazy for that, so I got a new argument in defense of RUSH HOUR, and it’s called COLLISION COURSE (1989). You think RUSH HOUR is such a terrible movie – well, what about the version where instead of Jackie Chan it’s Pat Morita, and instead of Chris Tucker it’s god damn Jay Leno? This is a generic mismatched buddy-cop picture only made novel by the rare hero role for the famous Tonight Show host/usurper. It’s funny – not in the sense that the jokes are funny, but in the sense that it’s sometimes interesting to look back at older movies and remember what was considered cool or funny at that time. (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.

Desert Heat

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

DESERT HEAT aka COYOTE MOON or INFERNO

When I reviewed Jean-Claude Van Damme’s SECOND IN COMMAND on The Ain’t It Cool News recently I made a shocking admission: I haven’t seen a whole Van Damme movie since 1998’s KNOCK OFF. I understand if that means I lose credibility in some of your eyes, but I gotta be open and honest with you people. I’m one of them straight shooters, in my opinion. So I gotta admit it: I learn more and more about Steven Seagal every day, but when it comes to Van Damme I’m a straight up amateur. And I want to become a more well rounded person so I asked for some advice on the best movies from Van Damme’s post-theatrical days. Two people made convincing cases for COYOTE MOON, or DESERT HEAT as it’s called here in the states, so that was my first stop. (one guy described the plot, the other guy a threesome scene.) (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 Next Karate Kid

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

Two time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, hailing from Bellingham, Washington, stars in the explosive finale to the Karate Kid quadilogy. This one was Swank’s first starring role and came out in 1994, when movies were just as crappy but not quite as funny as their ’80s counterparts. The director is Christopher Cain, father of Dean Cain and director of The Amazing Panda Adventure.

Swank plays Julie, a pouty, sullen teenage girl who lives unhappily with her grandma after the death of her parents. Anything anybody says to Julie, she takes offense and throws a hissy fit. You know how old people are, they try to be nice but they don’t really understand where your teenage mind is coming from, so they offer you some lemon bars or something and you’re like “GOD DAMN IT WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?!” and run out of the room crying. So then Julie goes in and stabs grandma to death in her sleep, while jerkin off. Or was that a different movie? I can’t remember. (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.