Review: Crocodile Fury (Hong Kong/Indonesia 1988)

Easily the most entertaining Godfrey Ho movie I’ve ever seen, Crocodile Fury is a almost non-stop parade of ludicrous reptilian carnage, interrupted only for nonsensical interludes with hopping vampires. The crocodile special effects in particular are mind-blowing. The crocs on display look like they were built out of papier-mâché by an artist who had never seen an actual crocodile. Continue reading

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Review: The Treasure Hunters (Hong Kong 1981)

Certainly not one of Shaw Brothers’ best, this wacky kung fu comedy stars Alexander Fu Sheng and his brother Chang Chen Peng as petty crooks out to steal a big treasure. Everybody does their usual schtick – Fu Sheng is an obnoxious loudmouth, Gordon Liu has a big supporting role as a bald fighting monk, and Wang Lung as always plays the heavy. Continue reading

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Review: Gamer (USA 2009)

I was hoping for the insane highs of Crank 2, but this Neveldine/Taylor joint was a little too bland. The central metaphor – with Gerard Butler as a convict put under the control of rich gamer geeks and forced to fight for his life in a live action roleplaying game called Society (other characters, including Butler’s wife, played by Amber Valletta, seem to mostly play day-glo ravers and strippers) is utterly confused and the mechanics of the game never make any sense at all. Continue reading

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Review: Train to Busan (South Korea 2016)

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Holy shit, THAT is how you do a zombie movie! I’m not usually a fan of fast zombies, but this mash-up of 28 Days Later’s panicky plague and Snowpiercer’s “class war on a train” is great fun, wasting little time before getting into the insanity of a massive zombie uprising, which our protagonists survive only by virtue of being on an overnight bullet train when the breakout occurs. Continue reading

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Review:  Hercules, Samson and Ulysses (Italy 1964)

This middling peplum is an adequate representative of the genre, mostly of interest due to the biblical connection.  Kirk Morris (aka Adriano Bellini) plays Hercules this time around, right in the middle of his lengthy series as the character, following on from Steve Reeves’s successful run. Continue reading

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Review: Captain America: Civil War (USA 2016)

Entertaining enough, for a lumbering behemoth that had to service over a dozen major characters and advance multiple plot threads. Continue reading

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Review: Live and Let Die (UK 1973)

Is it damning to praise Live and Let Die for not being as racist as it could have been (even though it’s still pretty damn racist) because its racism seems to come from a place of profound ignorance rather than active hatefulness?  The film is a smash-up of the Bond and Blaxploitation genres, bringing in ringers like the always great Yaphet Kotto, Gloria Hendry (from Black Belt Jones and Black Caesar), and Julius Harris (so amazing as Big Papa in Hell Up in Harlem), and pitting them against Roger Moore as the lighter, sillier Bond. Continue reading

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Review: Witching and Bitching (Spain 2013)

Man, I wanted to like this – I generally enjoy Alex de la Iglesia movies, and I like what he’s doing for genre – but this black comedy about a bunch of idiot criminals who wander into a town full of witches was an unpleasant chore. Rampantly misogynistic in a way that never gets tweaked, full of tedious and unpleasant characters and irredeemable ugliness. Continue reading

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Review:  Dragon Lord (Hong Kong 1982)

Within the two years after Dragon Lord’s release, Chan would enter into his golden age with the quadruple punch of Project A, Winners and Sinners, Wheels on Meals, and Police Story, catapulting him into superstardom and cementing his reputation as one of the greatest action stars of all time.  But Dragon Lord finds Chan in a transitional period, having established his comedic persona in counterpoint to the more serious Bruce Lee and Shaw Bros film of the previous decade but still trying to move beyond low budget period pieces. Continue reading

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Review:  Creepy (Japan 2016)

Creepy marks something of a return to form for the one-time po-mo J-horror master Kiyoshi Kurosawa.  There was a point in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Kurosawa was one of the most exciting filmmakers working, and his every film was a cause for celebration.  Unfortunately, after an string of innovative work that included Kairo, Doppelganger, Charisma, Séance, Cure and Bright Future, Kurosawa began to languish, retreading old ground with mediocre films like Loft and Retribution, and temporarily trying on new identities with the well-received Tokyo Sonata or his oddity Beautiful New Bay Area Project. Continue reading

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