The Man with the Iron Fists: loads of warring factions descend upon ‘Jungle Village’ to snatch up some government gold. It could have just been the version I saw but parts of this looked re-dubbed and deliberately out of synch, with illegible subtitles barely peeking up from bottom? While that’s cute, all of the fancy tricks and money can’t re-create the cheese and charm of a low-budget kung-fu flick. Highlights of this film are the absolutely awesome wire-work, fight choreography, and ultra-gore – there’s more throat rips than MacGruber. There’s also a pretty good cast, with some familiar faces; Bond Baddie, Pai Mei encore, and Russel Crowe (‘Jack Knife’ – LOL!) clearly just there to molest hot-chicks – which will make you nauseous. RZA – a Badass black blacksmith with a penchant for Assassin’s Creed clothing and Jax from Mortal Kombat forearms – was alright, deliberately kept his bit to a minimum, which was a wise choice for a non-actor. The film looks solid – costumes, sets, backdrops – all make for popping visuals. The story was a little too convoluted and complex for the first-time director – but the wow-cast and action were distracting enough. From an action perspective, The Man with the Iron Fists has some great scenes, but as a ‘film’, it’s quite flimsy and superficial, and feels far like more of a continuation/extension of the running in-jokes that the WuTang clan have long had with olde, badly dubbed Kung Fu films. (See Kung Faux).
Naked Weapon: when her best assassin is killed on a job, an evil hitwoman kidnaps prize-fighting girls and turns them in to deadly, sexy, naked killers. The first five minutes features sex, nudity, explosions, fighting and bad jokes; the next 30 minutes are set on an exotic island full of hot, leggy, potentially lesbian martial arts chicks trained to become hitwomen – so far so good for a film called Naked Weapon. The fights throughout are pretty spectacular, with some tasty choreography, sweet wire-work, and fluent breakdancing-esque kung-fu – all surprisingly intricate for a film like this. The revenge story is also fairly decent, and there’s some pretty harsh moments like a rape scene and dead kids. There are a few bum notes though, the dialogue is dirt-cheap, any emotional scenes are beyond tacky, and there’s flashes of ‘uber-kewlz’ superpower moments that would be better placed in a manga adaptation. It may have been made in 2002, but looks and feels way more like a ‘classic’ turned up to 11 exploitation action flick. Ultimately, Naked Weapon is a love/hate film that will depend on your tolerance for sleazy action. I’d be going against every manly bone in my body if I gave a solid film with great fight scenes, hot chicks and nudity less that a 7…
Shinjuku Incident: Tells the story of illegal Chinese immigrants doing some of the worst jobs imaginable and struggling to find identity in Tokyo. Jackie Chan flexes his dramatic muscles, pulling off one of his more humble, proud and down-and-out roles with ease. The film starts off quite realistic and believable, but gets progressively ridiculous as it rushes forward, to the point where characters and scenes become laughable (a few hand scenes and the main cyberpunk/tranny/weirdo transformation being the standouts) This flick makes the most of the ancient Chinese / Japanese rivalry, with some memorable turf wars between the Yakuza and immigrant Triads. Annoyingly, there’s no real sense of time – this could al be over a year or ten years, you just can’t tell. The biggest weakness is that the story is so huge: complete rags to riches cycles, with characters going full circle, or off the map and so many other, more minor plot points & events – It just feels like it’s all been bulldozed through. Quite a memorable little number, but all over the place story-wise. Mongkok was better