Film Review : Return of the Dragon (1972)

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IMDB Score – 7.3
Rotten Tomato Score – 100%
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Directed By – Bruce Lee
Starring – Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao, Ping Ou Wei, Chung-Hsin Huang, Tony Liu, and Jon T. Benn

A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.

Okay, I’m going to have to admit something here. This is the first time, in my life, that I watched a Bruce Lee film from start to finish. You can now take the time to yell at me through your screen because I most certainly deserve it. The thing is, I haven’t really been into film my entire life. I first started getting into movies in high school and by then the television was so flooded by MTV crap that reruns of old Kung Fu movies just wasn’t readily available. I’ve known about the story behind the man and the events surrounding his death, as well as his sons death, but just haven’t been able to sit in front of the tube and watch his films. Hopefully now that most of them are available on Netflix, I’ll be able to view most of them. However, I must say, this movie was really bad.

Hear me out.

Did I enjoy the film? Hell yeah. Was it horribly dubbed, acted, written, and shot? Hell fucking yes it was. Oh my god was it bad. I didn’t expect Scorcese but my god it was like ever single film that ever parodied any Kung Fu movie. I guess that’s why the parodies exist. I just didn’t expect them to be so spot on. The dub over was so comically bad that I had trouble holding in my laughter throughout the course of the film. Have you ever seen “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist”? That’s one of my childhood movies that I know every line to. I remember thinking that they must have found the worst Kung Fu movie to parody cause there is no way films like that actually existed but I think this may be worse. Every line from any character was dubbed over like they were trying to make it sound horrible

I FUCKING LOVED IT.

Seriously. It was like a bad bad movie mixed with amazing Kung Fu from the legend himself. I wish I had gotten drunk while watching it because it would have made it that much better. By the way, watching a whole film amazed me more than watching a few youtube clips of Bruce Lee. The man was just a lightning bolt and seemed to have super human physical ability. The nun chuck scene and the final fight with actual Chuck, Chuck Norris, were both amazing and it was great to see them in the actual film rather than on the internet. I could have watched those two fight all day and the way Bruce Lee kicked the living shit out of the most inept henchmen every assembled left me in stitches. It was a blast.

This is going to be hard to rate because the movie from a film nerds point of view was a piece of shit, but from an entertainments point of view was amazing. Just watch it if you haven’t already because it’s a lot of fun.

1/5 Film rating
5/5 Fun rating



Film Review : Man of Tai Chi (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.0
Rotten Tomato Score – 71%

Directed By – Keanu Reeves
Starring – Tiger Hu Chen, Keanu Reeves, Karen Mok, Simon Yam, and Iko Uwais

A young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.

This was crap.

I don’t really know another way to put it. I pretty much hated it. This film marks the first time Keanu Reeves has ever been behind the camera and while the camera work is promising and occasionally impressive, the end result of his labor is a complete corn fest that seems like it was written by a 8th grader who likes karate. It’s a B level script that makes sense but takes the same generic story arcs from every bad American TV show and terrible 80s kung fu movie. We have one of the following…

1. Ambitious but naive protagonist that falls down the wrong path only to see the error of his ways
2. A gritty detective that will stop at nothing to avenge the death of an innocent, EVEN IF IT MEANS THROWING THE BOOK OUT THE WINDOW.
3. A villain who is never ever seen fighting who just so happens to be the hardest fight of all.
4. A comic relief henchman who likes American slang and rap music.
5. A disappointed master.

It all just felt so silly. If this was all just an homage to old fashioned kung fu movies and not to be taken as a serious attempt at a film then I owe Mr. Reeves an apology. Somehow I don’t don’t think that was the case. Tiger Chen happens to be an excellent and legendary martial artist so the impressive fight scenes were enough to keep my attention but just not enough to keep this film from spoiling. This also might just be the worst acting role from Keanu Reeves. He’s comically bad. The whole thing was comically bad. Maybe I didn’t get it.

No, I got it. It was bad.

1/5



Film Review : The Grandmaster (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.6
Rotten Tomato Score – 74%

Directed By – Wong Kar Wai
Starring – Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Xiao Shen-Yang, and Zhao Benshan

The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

When I first heard that Wong Kar Wai was going to be directed a film about Ip Man, I was both excited and a little peeved. We’ve seen the Ip Man films. We’ve seen them recently. We really don’t need another film about Ip Man. However, when a person like Wong Kar Wai is directing a film like this, you have to have faith. What we finally end up with in The Grandmaster is a very serviceable film.

What I liked…

If Gravity didn’t come out this year, The Grandmaster would be the most beautiful film of 2013. It is visually stunning. The film starts out with an amazing fight scene taking place in a torrential downpour. It’s dark. It’s wet. Yet, every punch and kick is seen and felt which has been a problem in action movies recently. Wong Kar Wai uses a slowed down camera to make sure that each fight seen is taken in as whole instead of a frantic flash of limbs and bodies. Each frame is a carefully constructed painting and honestly, I’m not surprised. Wong Kar Wai has been making beautiful films for two decades and this is one of his most visually achieving films that matches 2000’s In the Mood for Love. The acting was great as Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang has wonderful on screen chemistry. The soundtrack, which is a key character in every Wong Kar Wai film is also fantastic.

What I didn’t like…

The story was a bit muddled. Wong Kar Wai has always had a non linear storyline. This is more linear than usual but what we are given instead is a very bundled plot trying to do way too much This is a biography not only of Ip Man but also a telling of what the country of China looked like from the 1920s until the 50s. There’s a lot og history in there and I really couldn’t get a grip on what was going on emotionally. This led to me not really caring too much about the charcters involved. There were also a bunch of annoying cue cards displaying history information and time changes. I felt Kar Wai was being a little to nice to American viewers but like I said before, it helped make things less confusing. It was just aesthetically ugly.

Overall it was a gorgeous film and an average story rolled up into one. It’s definitely a film to check out of you like Wong Kar Wai and kung fu films.

3.5/5