The Street Fighter (激突！殺人拳): a highly skilled martial-artist is betrayed by mobsters, so he offers up his protection to their next target. What knocked me out is that the centre of this exploitative, ultra-violent, B-movie there’s a layered, intricate, badass, mercenary anti-hero – a great performance from Chiba, who does his complex character justice. There’s a whole lot of playing on the mystique of Karate (techniques, block breaking showboating, large-scale training etc), and more generally the exotic east. The fights and clever stunts are all mighty-fine from the opening through to the ‘boss fights’, and knockout ending: although most are accompanied by some peculiar primal/pneumatic sounds and facial expressions on Chiba’s part. The story’s simple but effective and contains some surprisingly dark and seedy aspects – assassins, mafia, firing squads, prostitution – pretty hard stuff for this era. The direction is also top-rate: stylish and flashy when it needs to be, and no-nonsense handling of the action scenes. Put it all together and this is quite simple a masterpiece in Kung-Fu cinema – blood, guts and tons of action that still feels both shocking and brutal 40 years on. The Street Fighter is an absolute must-see for all fans of action cinema.
Just ripped off another guy’s junk (in hand)
Sttandard reaction to a skull-spliitting punch
Not all sensational: there’s plenty, bold & striking imagery on display too.
MacGruber: Silver screen spoof of TV’s most resourceful hero McGyver. For a Brit that has never seen McGyver or the SNL skits it comes across as an American equivalent of Austin Powers?? The range of humour isn’t very wide; all jokes are either gross-out or something built up then made to look stupid… which starts to wear a little thin by the end. It’s also potty, very potty, with constant sexual references and a couple of back-to-back romance scenes that rival the Team America one. Some gags – like the villain’s name ‘Cunth’ being repeated – get boring pretty fast. The cast all hit the right buttons with their humour & delivery, and the WWE cameos were pretty sweet, especially the Big Show, who was good game. Val Kilmer (ate all the pies!) plays a Seegal-looking villain, and while he’s alright, he doesn’t seem to care much. The whole retro spoof has been done before but this more watchable because it’s done with conviction – the clichéd dialogue/script in particular was my favourite aspect, executed brilliantly for the most part. The soundtrack’s fairly bland, just song after song but with no real purpose other than just being from the 1980s. While it’s not the most polished or sophisticated film in the world it is funny for the duration, totally quotable and has ‘cult comedy’ written all over it. One of the better comedies so far this year.