action, drama, martial arts, movie, movie review

May 13th, 2018 Movie – Weapons Of Death

weapons of death

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I hope every takes the time to thank their mother for everything she has done for you in your life, or if your mother has passed on, take the time to remember the times you shared with her. Today’s movie has a slight Mother’s Day theme to it, in that a mother is willing to go to any lengths to get her daughter back, or get revenge if she is dead. Of course, a movie like this is going to be found in the Martial Arts box set so there is no telling how good it will be. Guess we will find out soon enough as I watch Weapons Of Death.

The plot: At a bar in San Francisco, a fight breaks out between a man named Carter and a group of thugs. A second man, Bishop, enters the bar and helps fight off the thugs, then offers Carter a job, which he agrees to take. The two men, along with two others, head outside the city and meet up with a large group of Chinese warriors in the hills led by Foon, who tells Bishop to take one of his men, Chong, with them as they head into Chinatown, to look after their interests. As they head to Chinatown, Bishop points out a house as they drive by and when Carter sees it, he recognizes it and asks if that is the reason he took the job and Bishop says that 18 years is a long time to wait for revenge. In Chinatown, Eric is teaching weapons training to his students, warning them not to get sloppy or bored in their focus as they will be unable to master the training. After class, Eric’s sister Angela is getting ready to go out with Paul, one of Eric’s students, but her mother, Sue-Lin, stops them, as she feels they are moving too fast. When Eric taunts his brother, David, for lacking focus during his class, Paul, who is going to pick up an order for Angela’s mother, convinces David to go with him. While David and Paul are out, Bishop and his men arrive at the dojo and attack Eric and his students, grabbing Angela and Sue-Lin before knocking them out. Curt hands Sue-Lin a note explaining everything before locking her in a room while they leave with Angela. Josh, another student, sees them leave with Angela and tells David and Paul when they return. The three head inside the dojo to find Eric’s mother tending to an injury Eric received while fighting Chong. Paul wants to call the police but Eric’s mom tells them know, as she will just pay the ransom, saying that they are dangerous men. Eric agrees to take the money and David, Paul, and Josh say they will go with him but his mother says that they will have a fifth member go as well, her husband. She calls her husband Curt and tells him about Angela being kidnapped and Bishop’s involvement, just as some men attack Curt. Curt is able to defeat them and after learning that Bishop had sent them, he tells Sue-Lin that he will meet her at Eric’s place. Meanwhile, Bishop and his men get a flat tire and while they are changing it, Angela grabs a sword from the van and attempts to escape and one of the men go after her, only for Angela to stab him with a sword and continue running. Back at the dojo, Curt arrives and briefly speaks with Eric, who is not happy to see him as Curt had walked out on them years ago. Curt then goes to see Sue-Lin and after they talk, she tells them that if Angela is dead, she expects Curt to kill everyone responsible, as Angela is his daughter. Back in the woods, Angela is still running when she is grabbed by a gang of bikers. Carter sees Angela with the bikers and, grabbing a heavy branch to use as a club, he approaches the gang and attempts to get her back peacefully, offering to buy her from them. When the bikers attack him instead, Carter starts fighting back and, when he grabs Angela’s sword, begins killing all of them. After grabbing Angela, he takes her to an abandoned mine to rest for a minute and Angela convinces him to help her escape. As they go to leave, they run into some of Foon’s men, who were looking for them, and Carter refuses to turn Angela over to them, saying he only answers to Bishop. Some of Foon’s men go to find Bishop so they can all go to Foon together and Carter goes with them but once they are out of sight from the group, he shoots them. Pretending to be wounded, he staggers back to the group and tells them someone is out there and shouts to head into the mine for cover but once there, he begins killing them all. With all of the men dead, Carter tells Angela that the gunshots will attract people so she should head for the road, where someone will help get her out of there. Carter heads back to where the bikers were and finds Bishop, Chong, and the other member of the gang there wondering what happened. Suddenly, they are met by Foon’s female fighters, who had been sent to look for them, and they say that they will find the girl and intercept the ransom while Bishop and his crew are free to leave. Back at the dojo, Curt, Eric, and Paul are finishing getting ready while David talks with Josh, who admits he saw everything happen but was too scared to act. The 5 men head out and soon come to where the van had stopped but as they investigate, they are attacked by Foon’s female fighters. Josh freezes up again while Curt and the others fight and kill the women while Paul takes the leader hostage. After the fight is over, Curt berates Josh for not fighting, yelling at him that he won’t be going with them, when the female leader manages to get away from Paul. Curt chases after her and as he makes his way through the woods, he sees Angela and calls out to her. Suddenly, Curt is struck from behind while the female leader grabs Angela and takes her to Foon. Josh manages to rescue Curt but as the two argue and begin fighting as Eric and the others arrive and Eric is forced to break them up. When David finds a picture of Sue-Lin in Curt’s wallet, Eric questions him about it and Curt tells him that when he was on a job out of town, Bishop and his men attacked and raped Sue-Lin and got her pregnant, with Bishop being the father. When she was born, he couldn’t deal with the thought and so that was why he left but now he wants to try and make amends. When they get close to the area, Curt and Eric continue to the meeting, sending David, Paul, and Josh to circle around to attack from behind. When they get there, the start talking with Foon and hand him the money but when Foon prepares to have Angela injured or killed to send back to Sue-Lin as a message, Curt kills the man holding her and then he and Eric begin fighting Foon’s men. David, Paul, and Josh join in and they start killing off Foon’s men, while helping to get Angela to safety. Angela eventually runs to where Bishop and his men are watching the fight and while his man grabs Angela, Bishop goes to kill her only to be stopped by Carter. Carter and Bishop begin fighting and as they do, Paul rescues Angela and the run off, with Carter eventually getting thrown off the cliff and Bishop chasing after them. Meanwhile, Eric eventually is confronted by Chong and the two continue their fight from the dojo but this time, Eric gets the upper hand and kills Chong. Angela is grabbed by Foon and when Curt goes to confront him, Bishop intercepts him and as Foon leaves with Angela, Bishop taunts Curt into fighting him. Curt kills Bishop and goes after Foon with Paul and when they catch up with them, Foon threatens to kill Angela but David, who sees them from a nearby hilltop, shoots Foon with several arrows. As David and Eric meet up with Curt, Angela, and Paul, they wonder what happened to Josh. Suddenly, the last of Bishop’s men comes staggering up before dropping dead, with a sword stuck in his back, and Josh drives up in the jeep and holds up the bag of money.

Honestly, this is kind of a boring movie. The acting was ok, with the characters doing pretty good in their roles. I especially liked Louis Bailey, as he had some great character development during the movie in struggling with his conscience over kidnapping Angela and attempting to help her escape. The story was kind of straight forward, with the various revenge aspects merging into one big storyline. The random gathering of bikers was honestly pretty odd and seemed to serve no real purpose except to help push Carter towards helping Angela instead of helping Bishop. The fight scenes were honestly pretty boring and not at all what I was hoping for. I did like the final fight between Eric Lee (Eric) and Gerald Okamura (Chong), mainly because of all the various weapons Chong was using. I especially liked the use of the twin hooks by Chong, as they were always an interesting weapon in real life and in the movies. A generic movie that is a time killer but that is about it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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February 26th, 2018 Movie – TNT Jackson

tnt jackson

Wow, it’s been a while since I have watched a Blaxploitation and I honestly don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I understand the need for them, as they helped give African-Americans characters that were the focus or hero of the movie, and not just a side character, but they did tend to stereotype them in a bad light sometimes. Now Roger Corman was known for doing plenty of exploitation movies during the 70’s and so it isn’t too surprising that he would do one or two Blaxploitation movies during that time. Today’s movie just happens to be one of them so let’s see what is in store for me as I watch TNT Jackson.

The plot: In Hong Kong, an African-American man, Stan Jackson, is walking down the street when he is cornered by a gang, led by another African-American, Charlie. The gang leader strikes the man, claiming he stole something from him, and the man attempts to get away but the gang chases after him and ends up attacking him backstage in a theater. The next day, Diana “T.N.T.” Jackson arrives in Hong Kong and asks her taxi driver to take her to a place called Joe’s, but the driver refuses, saying it is in a dangerous part of town, but offers to take her as far as he can. When the taxi stops, the driver points Diana in the direction she wants to go and she makes her way through the area, witnessing an attempted rape and a murder. As she asks around for Joe’s place, a group of men attempt to mug her but she is able to fight them off. A woman named Elaine in a passing car stops and offers Diana a lift and tries making some small talk but Diana blows her off so Elaine tells her to finish her business and leave town before dropping her off at Joe’s. Inside, she finds Joe practicing karate in an upstairs room of his restaurant and asks if he has seen her brother, as this was the address she was given to contact him. Joe hands her an unopened letter she had sent and says he hasn’t been there for a while to collect his mail. When a waitress is being assaulted by one of the restaurant patrons, Joe goes to stop the man and as a fight breaks out, Diana helps him when he is overwhelmed. As the fight finishes, she is approached by Charlie, who offers her a job working with him. Diana says she will think about and after he leaves, she asks Joe about him. Elsewhere, Charlie is talking with Elaine, who asks his opinion about Diane, and they then head upstairs to see Elaine’s boyfriend Sid, who is busy making an arrangement to smuggle in some heroin. That night, Sid, Elaine, Charlie, and Sid’s assistant Ming head to Joe’s and ask Diana to meet with them. Diana sits with them and Sid speaks with her and offers her a job but as Elaine insults Diana, she gets up and leaves, later apologizing to Joe for blowing her chance at getting more information from them. Meanwhile, the heroin shipment is ambushed and stolen and Ming believes that Diana has something to do with it. Ming thinks she should be eliminated but Charlie and Elaine both argue that she might be useful. Charlie is sent out to hire some more men and when Diana hears about it, she decides to use the opportunity to try and work her way inside the gang. Going to the temple where Charlie is recruiting some fighters, she ends up sparring with Charlie, who offers her a drink after she beats him. The next day, Diana is wandering around when she ends up being attacked by Elaine, and as the two fight, Elaine ends up getting knocked out. Meanwhile, Charlie and his men are attacked and the shipment they were carrying was stolen. When Ming and Sid arrive, Ming renews his idea to eliminate Diana, as this started when she came to town. Meanwhile, Diana takes Elaine to Joe’s and as she figures out what to do with her, Elaine reveals that she knows about Diana and that she is actually an undercover cop working to break up Sid’s smuggling ring. Ming shows up at Joe’s to get Diana and sees Elaine there and Elaine tells Ming that Diana had nothing to do with the ambush as she was with her all day. Ming still has Diana accompany him as he takes Diana back to Sid’s place and he attempts to rape and torture her for information but Diana manages to turn off the lights and proceed to beat up Ming and his men. Meanwhile, Charlie is talking to Elaine about how he has his own plans to start a criminal empire when they see Ming walking by and comment on what happened. Charlie leaves and makes some arrangements of his own, then goes to see Diana and the two end up having sex. Afterwards, Diana notices the lighter that Charlie uses to light a cigarette as one that belonged to Stan and realizes that he is the one that killed Stan but she doesn’t confront him right then. The next day, Sid has a meeting planned with his heroin distributors and as they make the arrangements, Elaine goes out to enjoy the parade outside. Elaine secretly meets with her boss and tells him about the meeting but notices Diana and goes to talk to her. When Diana says she plans on killing Charlie, Elaine tells her boss to deal with Diana or else she will ruin their sting. The police arrest Diana but when Elaine returns to the hotel, she finds that Sid and Ming had found her contact and Sid knocks her out, then orders Ming to kill the officer, saying they will deal with Elaine after the meeting. Meanwhile, Joe helps break Diana out of jail and she heads to the hotel to find Charlie. At the meeting, the distributors say they won’t deliver any more product unless they get paid first and Charlie tells them that he will pay for the product, revealing that he was the one ambushing the shipments. When Sid confronts him, Charlie quickly knocks him out, then ends up fighting with Ming and some of his men. Elaine regains consciousness and manages to get away from her guards but as she tries to escape, she finds herself surrounded by more of Ming’s men and she is forced to fight them, and Diana shows up to help her. The police arrive and begin arresting the drug smugglers and Sid’s men and Diana sees Charlie sneaking off and goes after him. Sid regains consciousness and goes to leave but runs into Elaine, who fights with him and they both end up crashing through a window and falling to their deaths. Diane catches up to Charlie and when he starts talking with her, she strikes  him and tells him about her brother, and the two start fighting, with Diana eventually killing him.

Well, this was about what I expected it to be, and that is not a good thing. This movie was pretty terrible on a number of levels. The acting was lousy, with most of the people seeming to be too stiff and non organic in their interactions. The story should have been a straightforward revenge movie but the whole drug trade angle kind of muddied the plot some. The fight scenes were terrible, incredibly slow, most likely due to Jeannie Bell’s not knowing any martial arts and having to fake it, rather badly I might add. It was kind of funny, as they would slowly make the motions, then speed up the film at times to make it seem like Diana was moving faster in her attacks. This is a pretty lousy movie and not really worth watching unless you really want to watch one of these movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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February 21st, 2018 Movie – Tiger Love (1977)

tiger love

This should be an interesting movie to watch. It has been a while since I watched a movie from the Martial Arts box set and after seeing the title, I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I mean, I know that some Asian films can be pretty…..out there as far as subject matter goes and I am pretty sure there is nothing disturbing in the subject matter on this movie. So I am curious as to how the tiger works into this movie, as it is quite prominently featured on the poster/video box. Only way to find out is by watching today’s movie, Tiger Love (1977).

The plot: Two recently eloped lovers, Xiaohou and Shinlian, are running through the jungle, being pursued by Shinlian’s father and several of his men. When they find themselves cornered at the edge of a cliff, Shinlian’s father tells her to come home and marry her cousin but she refuses, saying she loves Xiaohou. When Shinlian’s father grabs her, Xiaohou begins fighting with his men and ends up being overpowered and severley beaten and Shinlian, breaking free of her father’s grasp, rushes to his side. Thinking the Xiaohou is dead, Shinlian chooses to jump off the cliff and kill herself and her father and his men quickly head down the cliff to try and find the body, unaware that Xiaohou is still alive, as he crawls to the cliff’s edge and looks down to where Shinlian had jumped. Shinlian, had managed to survive by landing on a tree branch but when she regains consciousness, she sees a tiger staring up at her at the bottom of the tree, causing her to wet herself, some of which lands on the tiger. Shinlian passes out again and when she regains consciousness, she finds that the tiger had taken her to a cave and realizes that it has somehow become her slave. Making a home for herself in the jungle with the tiger, which she calls Uncle Tiger, Shinlian, who was pregnant with Xiaohou’s child, gives birth to a son, whom she calls Xiaochang. Twenty years pass and Xiaochang develops a martial arts style based on Uncle Tiger’s attacks and movements. Realizing he deserves to know the truth, Shinlian talks with Xiaochang and tells him the truth about his father and the events of what brought them to this valley. Xiaochang decides to go visit the village and see how other people live their life but as he watches from behind a cart, some villagers spot him and, noticing his leopard skin clothes, call him out for being a wild man. Several villagers begin harassing Xiaochang and as he tries to get away, start fighting with him, forcing Xiaochang to defend himself. The fight is eventually broken up by an older man, who questions Xiaochang about why he came to the village. Xiaochang said that he was there to see how people lived and technically he was a villager as his father lived there. When the man asks who his father was, Xiaochang tells him about his father and mother and the man reacts in shock, and it is revealed that he is Xiaohou. Xiaochang brings Xiaohou and his wife and son to the valley to see Shinlian, who is shocked to see her former husband. Xiaohou explains that he thought she had died so he married another woman and his wife says that they are all one family and asks Shinlian to come live with them. Shinlian refuses, saying she has grown used to living in the valley, but asks that they take Xiaochang with them so he can live with other people. Overcome with emotions, Shinlian heads back into her home and Xiaohou starts to go talk with her some more but Uncle Tiger appears and lays down in the doorway, preventing him from entering. Sometime later, a group of villagers, lef by Shinlian’s family, is going on a tiger hunt and two women, noticing a rabbit moving through the brush, become separated from the main group. As the women split up to look for the rabbit, one of them, Xiaoling, ends up being jokingly captured by Xiaochang and pulled up into the tree with him. Teasing her about capturing a lovely animal and planning on keeping her, Xiaochang talks with Xiaoling and eventually lets her free. Xiaoling attempts to kill Xiaochang but is eventually won over by his friendly manner and continues talking with him. Xiaochang tells her he is from the Lin family just as the hunting party starts calling out to try to locate Xiaoling. Xiaoling says that he has to go, as she is part of the Shi family and their families are enemies and she doesn’t want him to be killed, and then heads back to her family. Xiaochang heads back home, running into some of his family, who warn him to be careful as the Shi family is about. Xiaochang stops at a restaurant to get some food and overhears some of the Shi family discussing a celebration for their success in the hunt. Xiaochang decides to sneak over to the celebration and, locating Xiaoling watching some of the festivities, sneaks up to her and grabs her hand. Xiaoling is shocked to see him there but he motions her to keep quiet and she lets him drag her off to so they can be alone. Away from the rest of the family, Xiaochang admits that he has fallen in love with her and Xiaoling tells him that she has feelings for him as well. As they discuss possibly having a future together, Xiaoling’s cousin, who is in love with her, goes looking for her and eventually finds them. Learning that Xiaochang is from the Lin family, Xiaolin’s cousin starts attacking him, joined by several other family members, and Xiaochang is forced to defend himself, accidentally killing one of them before he is able to escape. Xiaoling’s father chastises her for talking to Xiaochang and has her confined to her room, ordering her cousin to keep watch over her. Meanwhile, Xiaohou chastises Xiaochang for falling in love with Xiaoling and when Xiaochang comments that Xiaohou had done the same thing, Xioahou says that it almost cost him his life. Xiaohou smacks Xiaochang and continues to chastise him, prompting Xiaochang to run off. Back at the Shi house, Xiaoling’s father and mother mourn the loss of their son, the man Xiaochang killed, and Xiaoling’s cousin suggests they enact a swift retribution on the Lin family for the death. A group of Shi men head to the Lin household and begin attacking and killing several of the Lin family. When Xiaohou shows up, he is confronted by Xiaoling’s father, who demands he turn over Xiaochang for the death of his son but Xiaohou refuses. As the fight continues, Xiaohou is killed and as they search for Xiaochang, Xiaoling’s cousin kills Xiaohou’s wife and other family members. When Xiaochang returns to the house, he discovers the memorials to Xiaohou and his family and drops to his knees, as the surviving members of the Lin family, who had been looking for Xiaochang, return as well and ask what happened. Xiaochang and the surviving Lin family members go to face the Shi family and when they confront them, Xianchang learns of Xianling’s brother’s death and says he didn’t kill him but if he did die it was an accident. The Lin and Shi begin fighting and, finding themselves overwhelmed, Xiaochang rescues his uncle and tells him to run, continuing to fight and hold off the Shi, then leaves as he himself starts to become overwhelmed. Xiaochang’s uncle makes his way to the valley and tells Shinlian what happened and she goes to the Shi household to try and stop the fighting and rescue Xiaochang. When she gets there, she is confronted by Xiaoling’s cousin, who says that Xiaochang isn’t there but when he learns who she is, plans to keep her there to use as bait. Shinlian attempts to fight free but is struck down before Xiaoling’s father appears and stops the fight. Recognizing Shinlian, he invites her in to talk but she says she must leave and he lets her go and when his nephew asks why he let her go, as she is Xiaochang’s mother, he responds that it is fate. Xiaochang returns to the valley and finds his mother near death from her wounds. She begs him not to seek revenge, as he is both a member of the Lin family and the Shi family, and when he promises not to fight anymore, she says that she can die in peace. After Shinlian dies, Uncle Tiger heads off and kills one of the Shi night watchmen. Returning to Shinlian’s grave, Uncle Tiger says that for 20 years he has not killed anyone and been happy but with her death, and her spell on him broken, he is free to kill again. The night watchman was his 100th human killed and he is now turned into a demon, intending on killing all of the Shi family for revenge. At the Shi household, they find the body of the night watchman and realize it is a tiger that killed him so they go looking for it but Uncle Tiger, now able to transform into an old woman, kills several of the men, including Xiaoling’s cousin. As news spreads about the tiger attacking them, Xiaoling’s father goes looking for it but is killed by Uncle Tiger, as is his wife several days later. As Uncle Tiger continues to kill the Shi family, Xiaoling and her sister are soon the only ones left. One night, Xiaoling is woken up by a crunching sound and finds Uncle Tiger, in his old woman form, feeding on her sister. Uncle Tiger then starts chasing after Xiaoling and attempts to kill her but Xiaochang appears and pleads with Uncle Tiger to leave her alone, as she is innocent. When Uncle Tiger refuses to back down, Xiaochang tells Xiaoling to run while he attempts to fend off Uncle Tiger, but Uncle Tiger easily knocks him away. Xiaoling sees a pot of boiling oil and as Uncle Tiger attempts to kill her, she pours the oil on him, killing him. Xiaochang goes to Xiaoling and expresses sorrow at seeing Uncle Tiger dead but says he doesn’t hate Xiaoling, as he feels that maneating tigers should be killed and they can be happy together.

First of all, I am surprised that there was not one, but two movies called Tiger Love. Second, in regards to today’s movie, it wasn’t that bad of an old martial arts movie. The acting was ok, and the dubbing was actually pretty decent, much better than what you usually find in these films. The story was kind of bizarre, not the whole warring families aspect but the whole part about the tiger. First of all, the whole peeing on the tiger making it fall under a spell was probably the most ridiculously plot line I have heard in a long time, and those of you who read my blog and knowing the movies I watch, that is REALLY saying something. Then you have the tiger transforming into a demon woman, which was just bizarre in it’s own right. The main story, that of two warring families and their children falling in love with each other, really was something taken straight out of “Romeo and Juliet”. The fight scenes were pretty well choreographed and while I felt like there could have been more, they had a good ratio of fight scenes and non-fighting to build up a good story. Definitely some bizarre elements to it, but a decent 70’s martial arts movie that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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December 4th, 2017 Movie – Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li

street fighter the legend of chun li

You know what needs to happen, a prequel story to Street Fighter that has no relation with the original movie. Ok, I am completely lying about that and yet that is exactly what we got with today’s movie. Now, as soon as I saw the trailers for this movie, I knew it was going to be a “steaming pile” and had no desire to see it in theaters or rent it. Then I got bored while wandering through Movie Stop one day and ended up buying it. To be honest, I think the only reason I bought it was because I was buying some video game based movies and decided to go full on terrible in my purchases. Well, let me get some antacid ready as I watch today’s movie, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li.

The plot: As a young girl, Chun-Li is forced to travel a lot due to her father’s job but while they are at their home in Hong Kong, her father Xiang begins teaching her wushu. One night, when Xiang returns home, he is attacked by Balrog and some men and he manages to hold them off but when Chun-Li comes downstairs to find out what is happening, Balrog grabs her and Xiang surrenders so he will let her go. Bison enters the room and tells Chun-Li to listen to her father and head upstairs and she watches from her window as Xiang is forced into a car and her mother is struck by Balrog when she tries to stop them. Years later, Chun-Li has become a young woman and is performing a piano concert in Hong Kong and when she returns back stage, her friend says a gift came for her, an ancient scroll. As Chun-Li takes the subway home, she sees some men beating on someone before leaving him lying on the ground and as Chun-Li approaches him and asks someone to help, she notices the web tattoo on his hand. Meanwhile, Bison meets with the heads of the local branches of Shadaloo and says that he will be taking over control of all of them and when the men laugh and leave the building, Bison has Vega kill them all. He then receives a flash drive from Balrog and takes it to Xiang, whom he has been holding captive all this time, and tells him it is photos and a recording of Chun-Li’s concert, which he gives to him in exchange for his continued work for him. After Chun-Li’s mother dies, she decides to find out more about the scroll she received and as she is walking along the streets of Hong Kong, a street sweeper, bearing the same web tattoo, forces her into a shop. Inside, the owner examines the scroll and tells Chun-Li that she should go to Hong Kong and seek out a man named Gen, and Chun-Li realizes that Gen was the one she had helped and forced her into the shop. Meanwhile, Thailand police detective Maya Sunee is joined by Interpol Agent Charlie Nash and they discover the heads of the crime families and Nash tells her that Bison is the one behind it in order to consolidate power. Chun-Li travels to Bangkok, where she lives on the streets, and constantly searches for Gen but has no luck. One night, she sees some thugs beating someone and yells at them to stop, then proceeds to get in a fight with the men. Chun-Li beats them but passes out due to exhaustion and Gen shows up and carries her away. When she regains consciousness, Gen tells Chun-Li that they have been watching her and know where Xiang is being kept. Chun-Li is shocked to learn that Xiang is still alive and asks where he is but Gen tells her she is not ready to know. He then starts to explain about Bison and Shadaloo, saying he used to be part of the organization but now chooses to help those that Shadaloo hurts. He then offers to train Chun-Li in his style of martial arts, warning her that her anger will keep her from realizing her potential and Bison would easily capitalize on it. Meanwhile, Bison has kidnapped the families of various property owners of the slums around the waterfront in order to buy up the property for his own ends. Nash and Maya are keeping tabs on Bison’s operations and follow Bison’s secretary Cantana after she leaves the meeting. Unknown to them, Chun-Li was also watching Shadaloo and follows Balrog, where she overhears him discussing a shipment called the White Rose and asking for it to get into the city without going through customs. Chun-Li continues her training with Gen, who comments on her improvement. That night, Chun-Li heads to the night club where Cantana is and, given her fondness for women, manages to attract her attention and lead her into the bathroom. Once there, Chun-Li attacks her and manages to get the location of where the White Rose will be arriving and gives Cantana a message before she is forced to quickly leave when Cantana’s bodyguards start to break into the restroom. Chun-Li heads to another part of the club, where she ends up being attacked by the bodyguards and some other men, but she quickly defeats them and quickly runs when Nash and Maya, alerted to the commotion, head into the club and see what she did. The next day, Nash and Maya try to find Chun-Li but realize that the people in the area are protecting her. Meanwhile, Chun-Li asks Gen to tell her about Bison and he tells her how Bison had grown up an orphan and became a thief as the years passed. Seeking to get more power, he took his pregnant wife to a hidden temple and transferred all of the goodness in his soul into his unborn child, then kills his wife and cuts the child from her womb. Gen then sends Chun-Li out to get some groceries, wanting to get her out of the house as he knows Shadaloo men are coming. When the men get there, Gen is able to defeat them but Balrog fires an RPG at the house, blowing it up. Chun-Li had just returned and is knocked back by the blast and when she tries to find Gen, all she can find is his medallion and she weeps for the loss of her master. Meanwhile, Bison hires Vega to ensure the White Rose arrives untroubled and to kill Chun-Li. As Chun-Li is walking the streets, she senses someone following her and takes off running along the rooftops before quickly hiding. When Vega approaches where she is, Chun-Li fights with him and quickly beats him, leaving him tied up and hanging off the roof of a building. The next day, Chun-Li heads to the harbor and questions a dock worker as to when the White Rose is supposed to arrive. Meanwhile, Nash returns to his task force headquarters to find that it has been disbanded under orders from above and Maya tells him that he was right about Shadaloo’s influence. Chun-Li heads to the dock to intercept the shipment only to be captured by Bison and his men. Chun-Li is taken to a warehouse and tied to a chair, then Xiang is brought into the room and the two are left alone to talk for a few minutes before Bison enters and breaks Xiang’s neck before leaving. Balrog orders two men to kill Chun-Li but she is able to knock them out and escape. As she makes her way through the streets, Balrog and his men spot her and give chase and start firing at her but some of the crowd begin chasing after them. When Chun-Li is shot trying to prevent Balrog from shooting a kid, the crowd begins throwing things at Balrog and his men, forcing them to leave. Chun-Li ducks into an alley, where she is found by Gen and he takes her away to tend to her injuries. After she is healed, Chun-Li returns to the dock worker, who apologizes for leading her into a trap, and learns when the White Rose is really arriving. Chun-Li then heads to see Nash, telling him of the White Roses arrival and asking him to help her take down Bison. Nash arrives at the dock with his men and are soon joined by Maya and some of her men but as they see Bison arriving, Nash notices a bomb in the building and they quickly evacuate before it explodes. Bison’s men then begin firing on the cops, who are forced to defend themselves but Maya is injured during the fight. Elsewhere, Gen heads onto the boat and encounters Balrog, who reveals that the White Rose is a girl before Gen uses liquid nitrogen to kill him. Meanwhile, Chun-Li is on the boat looking for Gen when she spots a girl and tells her to stay where she is. When Chun-Li finds Gen, he tells her what Balrog said and Chun-Li realizes that the girl she saw is actually Bison’s daughter, Rose. The two go find Nash, who has a helicopter ready and they head off after Bison, who had managed to grab Rose and get away during the confusion. Chun-Li, Gen, Nash, and one of Maya’s SWAT team members head into Bison’s headquarters and attempt to find Bison and Rose, taking out the guards along the way. Gen encounters Bison, who easily defeats him, while Nash finds Rose and takes her out of the building. When Bison enters Rose’s room, he finds Gen waiting for him and the two fight again but when Bison throws Gen out the window, Gen’s leg is impaled on a piece of rebar. Before Bison can finish him off, Chun-Li attacks him and after a vicious battle, she summons a ki blast to knock him off the roof they are on, then jumps down onto him and breaks his neck. Nash approaches her and tells her to leave while he deals with the fallout with the authorities. Some time later, Chun-Li returns to her home in Hong Kong when Gen approaches her and shows her an article about an upcoming street fighter tournament. He says that they need to recruit some more fighters and mentions a prospect in the tournament named Ryu but Chun-Li says that she won’t join him as she is home now.

It may be hard to imagine, but Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li did even worse than it’s predecessor, only earning a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The combination of a shallow plot and miscast performers renders Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li a perfectly forgettable video game adaptation.” The movie marks the third fighting video game franchise that Robin Shou has been a part of, as he had played Liu Kang in the Mortal Kombat movies and the pirate leader in D.O.A.: Dead Or Alive. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $12.8 million off of an $18 million budget.

Oh yeh, this is definitely one of those movies that is famous for being terrible. The acting was ok at best, with Robin Shou (Gen) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Balrog) doing good jobs in their roles but the actual stars, Kristin Kreuk (Chun-Li) and Neal McDonough (Bison), actually being pretty boring with their roles. The story was a horrendous mess, only loosely following the story in the game, that being the fact that Chun-Li was after Bison for revenge for her father, but several of the major characters in the game, outside of Bison’s men Balrog and Vega, are not seen or mentioned, except for Ryu at the end. Some of the fight scenes were ok but a lot of the special effects looked cheap, which hurt the scenes they were used in. If you really want to watch this movie, do yourself a favor and smack your head against a brick wall a few times first, so you can be rendered unconscious before the movie starts.

Rating: 1 out of 5

 

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December 2nd, 2017 Movie – Return Of The Street Fighter

return of the street fighter

Ahhh, a Saturday morning and I find myself watching a martial arts movie. That is really a flashback to my childhood, though the movies would usually come on in the afternoons, as I obviously needed to watch my Saturday morning cartoons first. Anyways, today’s movie is the first of two sequels to The Street Fighter and luckily for me, it happened to be a part of the Martial Arts box set. So let’s see what happens to Terry Tsurugi with today’s movie, Return Of The Street Fighter.

The plot: Terry Tsurugi is hired by Isamu Otaguro to kill two of his former business associates, one of whom is being held and questioned by the police. Terry speeds through town and fights the officers attempting to arrest him in order to get arrrested and taken to police headquarters. As he is being taken to his cell, Terry hears the man being questioned in the interrogation room and breaks free from his captors and smashes his way into the room. Once there, he takes out the guards and kills the witness, then fights off some more cops before making his escape out the window, where he gets into a car and drives off. As he drives, his assistant, Kitty, unlocks the handcuffs for him and then asks about when he will take out the next target. The next day, Shichiro Yamagami, the police inspector in charge of the case,  asks to be allowed to go after Terry but when he is turned down, he resigns. As he is leaving, the police get word that the man’s partner, who is also the second man Terry is to kill, has been spotted and they go to pick him up. The man is hiding in a movie theater while waiting for a flight to take him to Australia. When he sees the police looking for him, he tries to run but ends up running into Terry. Terry tries to stop him from leaving and the man ends up throwing the bag he is carrying at Terry so he can pull out a gun but ends up getting into a shootout with the police, while Terry escapes with the bag. Sometime later, Kitty takes the bag to Otaguro, where it is revealed to contain a priceless statue. At Masaoka’s dojo, Yamagami goes to speak with Kendo Masaoka and tells him what he knows of Otaguro’s martial arts academy and it’s ties to the Yakuza. He also asks Masaoka about Terry and Masaoka tells him that Terry is a skilled fighter and that they had fought once a few years ago. Masaoka goes to speak with Otaguro, saying he knows what is being said and if the rumors are true, that he should stop what he is planning and return the money but Otaguro gets angry and tells him to leave, summoning some of his stronger fighters to try and intimidate him. Meanwhile, Yamagami heads over the the building architect to ask him some questions about Otagura’s proposed building but the architect refuses to answer at first until Yamagami beats all of the security that had come to escort him out of the building. Elsewhere, Terry is working out in his gym with Kitty when they receive a secret message on an 8-track, telling them to head to a nearby subway station. Once there, a man gives them a key to a locker and when Terry opens it, he finds a suitcase of money from Otaguro and a note saying to kill Masaoka. Terry rips up the note and takes the money back to Otaguro, telling him he refuses to kill Masaoka, and after he leaves, Otaguro orders his men to kill Terry. Terry heads up to a snow covered mountain with Kitty and when she asks why he refused the job, he tells her he couldn’t kill Masaoka as he is the only person he can really trust. After riding a ski lift to the top of the mountain, Terry comes under attack from two of Otaguro’s assassins and manages to kill them. As he relaxes at a spa, Terry comes under attack again from a group of men but manages to beat them all, then places their unconscious bodies in a sauna and turns it on high while locking them inside. Back at his dojo, Masaoko is speaking with one of the men that runs another of his dojo and learns that Otaguro is forging his name to solicit donations for his organization. Terry returns to his hotel, where he ends up picking up a woman in the elevator. As they lay in bed together, the woman reaches into her purse to pull out a collapsible baton and tries to attack Terry only for him to easily disarm and beat her. Suddenly, the woman’s escort, an Arabian martial arts champion, breaks through the door and attacks Terry but Terry beats him and questions him, learning that the Mafia had sent him, before finally killing him. Kitty pleads with him not to go but Terry heads out to deal with Otaguro when he is confronted by Junjo, whom he had believed to have killed. Junjo, speaking through use of a voice box, tells Terry that he survived and the Mafia performed an operation to save his life in exchange for killing him and he eagerly agreed to it. Terry and Junjo fight and as Terry tries to fend off one of the sai that Junjo throws at him, he ends up falling off a building, crashing to the ground below, and Kitty cries over the body, pleading for him not to be dead before dragging the body away. The next day, Masaoka, Yamagami, and the heads of several other martial arts organizations, confront Otaguri about his crimes and his connections to the Mafia. A defeated Otaguri goes to see Don Costello and apologizes for what happened only for Costello to kill him, saying he will take over the operations. Costello sends some of his men to ambush Masaoka and the others as they have a celebratory dinner and shoot and kill most of them but Masaoka survives and manages to take out the men that had come to finish the job. Elsewhere, Kitty is tending to Terry’s injuries and is happy to see that he isn’t dead and pleads with him to keep fighting. Terry blacks out, where he dreams about when his father was executed for being a traitor and hears his father’s voice telling him to keep fighting and let nobody beat him. As he is eating and resting, Terry indicates that he knows Kitty was working for the Mafia the whole time and she admits that she betrayed them because she fell in love with him. She then tells him that Yamagami was killed and Masaoka injured and Terry makes plans to deal with the Mafia. As he heads out, Kitty is grabbed by the Mafia while she is walking and is tortured. When Terry arrives at Otaguri’s building, he finds Kitty lying on the stairs, and she warns him to run but he finds himself surrounded by Costello and his men. Costello tells Terry his plans for controlling the area, then kills Kitty but before he can kill Terry, Junjo stops him, saying he and Terry have to settle things. Terry lays Kitty’s body on a nearby table, using the time to slip two hidden blades into his hands, and as he faces off against Junjo, Terry throws the blades, killing one of the Mafia men while the other goes in Costello’s eye. Terry then begins attacking the men, making his way towards Costello, who is trying to escape. Terry eventually takes out all of the attackers, though he is wounded in the process, until the only people left are Junjo and Costello. As they continue to fight near an electrical transformer, Terry knocks Junjo into the leads, electrocuting him, then continues chasing after Costello. The two end up on the roof of a passing tanker truck and Costello pleads for his life but Terry strikes him, knocking him onto the hood of the truck, causing the driver to crash into the support for an overpass while Terry jumps to safety and watches as it explodes into flames.

Not as extreme with the violence but this was still a pretty good movie. Sonny Chiba did a good job in his role and I feel like he actually had a lot more character development with this movie than he did in the first one. I also liked Masafumi Suzuki returning as Masaoka but felt like Masashi (Milton) Ishibashi’s return as Junjo was a little anti-climatic. The story was pretty good, with Terry still working as a mercenary but showing a little more honor in how he handles his contracts. There were a lot more fights in this movie than in the previous and they were pretty well choreographed (such as the fight in the spa)  but the violence was toned down some, such as leaving out the x-ray scenes of various broken bones and some of the more violent death scenes. However, they did decide to leave in one of the funniest scenes I have seen in a serious martial arts movie. When Terry was facing the assassins on the mountain top, he punched one of them in the back of the head and….welll…eye poping out

Needless to say, this had me cracking up for how ridiculous it was. That aside, this is a fun movie to watch and a great way to indulge in some mindless action cinema.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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December 1st, 2017 Movie – The Street Fighter

the street fighter

You know, as hit or miss as the Martial Arts box set has been, I will say that today’s movie is one of the reasons I am glad I got it. Now as odd as it may sound, this movie came to my attention by way of another movie. See, in the movie True Romance (which I will be reviewing sometime next year), Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette’s characters were watching a triple feature of the Street Fighter movies and my interest was piqued by it and decided to rent today’s movie one day. So let’s see what all the hype was about with today’s movie, The Street Fighter.

The plot: Tateki Shikenbaru (Junjo) is awaiting execution in his cell when the police bring a priest, Takuma Tsurugi (Terry), in to offer him last rites. Junjo refuses at first but after staring into the Terry’s eyes, Junjo asks to be left alone with the priest. The police agree and after they close the door, Junjo comments about Terry knowing karate and says he wishes he had the time to challenge him and Terry says he has the time so they begin fighting. Terry wins by using his oxygen coma punch, a technique which Junjo recognizes, and Terry tells him to hold on for 10 minutes before he falls victim to the punch. The police come to lead Junjo to his execution but before he reaches the noose, he collapses and the police send for an ambulance. As the ambulance makes it’s way to the hospital, they stop when a man (Ratnose) is standing in the street and as some of the officers go to move him, Ratnose attacks them. After he deals with the police and doctor, Ratnose is joined by Terry and they drive off in the ambulance. As Terry and Ratnose are watching the news about the ambulance theft, Gijun and Nachi, Junjo’s brother and sister, arrive and ask to see Junjo. When Terry refuses to tell them where Junjo is until they pay him the rest of the money they owe him, Gijun attacks Terry but Terry easily beats him. Nachi pleads with Terry to give him more time and Terry agrees, but says he will need some collateral, grabbing Nachi and kissing her. Gijun becomes enraged and attacks Terry again, joined by Nachi, and during the course of the fight, Gijun does a jump kick at Terry but Terry dodges and Terry ends up jumping through the window and falling to his death. Elsewhere, Kendo Masaoka, the owner of a karate dojo, informs his niece Sarai that her father, a wealthy oil tycoon, has just died while in Cairo and some people arrive to take her home but Kendo says that it is better if she stay there where he and his students can protect her. Meanwhile, Terry sells Nachi to Renzo Metaguchi, who proceeds to sell her to a sex trafficker. Renzo then introduces Terry to two of his associates, who want to hire him to kidnap Sarai but Terry refuses after learning that they are part of the Yakuza. Worried that Terry will be a threat to them since he knows their plans, the Yakuza send some men to kill him but Terry easily beats them and sends them back with a message for the Yakuza’s boss. Terry then heads to the dojo and after making his way to Sarai’s room, challenges Kendo and the rest of the dojo to a fight. Terry easily defeats Kendo’s students but Kendo is able to get the upper hand against Terry. After knocking Terry down, Kendo says he recognizes his name as belonging to a karate master from long ago who wanted to combine karate with Chinese boxing and asks Terry if he is his son. Terry, recalling the events of his childhood, is able to continue the fight and ends up battling Terry to a standstill. As the two men recover, Terry tells him what is going on and Kendo agrees to let Terry take over guarding Sarai, despite Sarai’s objections. Elsewhere, the Yakuza is coming up with plans to kill Terry and kidnap Sarai, planning on sending several of their strongest assassins to handle the job. Junjo happens to be in the same bar as the Yakuza boss and when he discovers that Nachi is one of his prostitutes, he quickly heads to her. Nachi is happy to see that Junjo is still alive and says that he has to avenge their brother’s death. The Yakuza boss, thinking it a coincidence that Junjo happened to be there and discover his sister, decides to take advantage of the situation and agrees to give Junjo a job so that he can get his revenge on Terry. Some time later, Sarai is preparing to head back home to deal with her father’s company, with two students from the dojo accompanying her. Terry and Ratnose follow in another car but the Yakuza box them in and use a crane to capture them, then drive to a ditch and drop the car into it. Two Yakuza members head down to ensure he is dead but Terry quickly manages to kill them. Heading after Sarai, Terry kills one of the Yakuza assassins that is waiting for him, then tells Ratnose to head back to the car and keep the motor running. Continuing to look for Sarai, Terry encounters Junjo and Nachi, who are there to kill Terry, and Junjo tells him he is too late, as Sarai is being taken to Renzo’s place as they speak. Junjo attempts to fight with and kill Terry but Terry jumps out the window, landing in the back of the truck and tells Ratnose to get them out of there. Meanwhile, Sarai and her escorts arrive at Renzo’s place, where Sarai’s father’s worker reveals he double crossed them. Sarai and her guards try to leave but they find their way blocked by a blind swordsman, who manages to kill both of the students, but the students kill his knife throwing companion before they die. The next day, Terry and Ratnose take a motorboat to Renzo’s place, where Sarai sees them and waves out the window to tell them where she is. Sarai is about to be raped but Terry climbs up to her room and kills her attempted rapist by castrating him by hand. Terry then has Sarai climb down the rope and he joins her but when Renzo’s men chase after them, he tells Ratnose to get Sarai to safety while he holds them off. Terry takes out several of the guards before Renzo faces him and the two battle to a stalemate when the other Yakuza bosses say they need to question Terry to learn where Sarai is. Terry is tied up and tortured but refuse to talk when Ratnose, disobeying Terry’s orders, shows up and attempts to free him but is captured. Ratnose gives up Sarai’s location to try and spare Terry’s life but the Yakuza end up knocking Terry off the cliff and into the water below. Ratnose heads down and manages to save Terry but Terry pushes him away, saying he betrayed their duty and are no longer friends. Terry heads out to rescue Sarai, who is being taken to a freighter out at sea but he encounters the blind swordsman on the docks. Terry and the swordsman fight, during the course of which a man on a motorbike interferes and is attacked by the swordsman. Terry manages to take advantage of the distraction and kills the swordsman, then discovers that the motorbiker was Ratnose, who was trying to make amends to Terry. On the freighter, Sarai learns that her father’s business partner was behind her kidnapping, as he wants her to sign over control of her father’s company to him, so the Yakuza will have a monopoly in the oil business. Meanwhile, Renzo speaks with Junjo and says that if he can defeat Terry, he will turn over control of his organization to him. Terry makes his way out to the freighter and begins taking out the guards as he tries to locate Sarai. Terry eventually finds Sarai but is unable to rescue her and Renzo says to let Junjo deal with him. Junjo and Terry head out to the deck and start fighting as a storm buffets the ship. During the course of the fight, the bodyguard of Sarai’s father’s business partner tries to shoot Terry and Renzo kills him and the business father for interrupting the fight. Nachi attempts to stab Terry but when she misses, she grabs onto Terry and tells Junjo to stab Terry through her. Junjo reluctantly agrees, killing his sister and severely injuring Terry, then continues to press the attack. When Terry is knocked down, Sarai rushes over and tells him to get up but Junjo pushes her aside and goes to finish off Terry. As Junjo attempts to strangle Terry, Terry manages to grab Junjo’s throat and rip it out, then get to his feet, where Sarai and Renzo both help him keep his balance.

While there isn’t a critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, the average movie goes loved this movie, giving it an 81% score on the site. The Street Fighter is famous for being the first movie to receive an X-rating in the U.S. due solely because of the violence in the movie (primarily because of the scene where Terry castrated a man with his bare hands). The movie, and it’s sequels, gained a lot of mainstream exposure after it was featured in the movie True Romance. 16 minutes were cut from the movie to give it an R rating, which is the version that was first released on home video. The movie has since been released in it’s entirety but is now in the public domain, where it can be downloaded for free.

This is precisely the type of film that you expected to see during the martial arts craze of the 70’s. Violence, violence, and more violence makes this a great movie to watch if you are in the mood for some almost nonstop fighting and action. Sonny Chiba was really good in his role but I will admit that some of his facial features during the fights were absolutely hysterical. The story was a little confusing after Terry’s first fight with Junjo, but it seemed to correct itself as the movie continued. The fight scenes were as brutal as you would expect from the title and while I think some modern movies look a little smoother, the choreography between Sonny Chiba and his opponents was pretty good. If you are a fan of martial arts movies, this is definitely one of those movies that you should watch, if for no other reason than the cultural impact it had.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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November 2nd, 2017 Movie – SPL: Kill Zone

spl

From a martial arts movie, to an anime movie, and back to another martial arts movie. I sense a pattern here. Now I remember first hearing about today’s movie years ago when I was going through a pretty rough patch in my life and, deciding on a change of pace from my usual sci-fi B-movies that I was drowning my sorrows in, decided to check it out. Needless to say, I obviously liked the movie as I own it so let’s see if SPL: Kill Zone is still as good of a movie as I felt it was back then.

The plot: In 1994, Inspector Chan Kwok-chung is escorting a witness and his family to court in order to testify against Wong Po, a notorious gangster. However, there car is t-boned by another car driven by an assassin named Jack, who ensures that the witness is dead. With the witness dead, the police do not have enough evidence to hold Wongin custody and he is released. Chan survived the crash, as did the witness’ young daughter Hoi-yee, and Chan decides to adopt her due to his guilt over her parents’ death. While visiting the hospital for a check-up, Chan is told that he has a brain tumor and while there is a chance to remove it with surgery, the odds of success are slim. Meanwhile, Hoi-yee had wandered off and encounters Wong, who was sitting in the hallway after being told of his wife’s second miscarriage. Hoi-yee offers Wong a piece of candy but as he speaks with her, Chan comes and pulls her away from Wong, then tells him that as long as he lives, he will come after him. Chan tells the members of his team (Inspectors Kwok Tze-sum, Lo-Kwun-wah, and Lee Wai-lok) about the cancer and they dedicate themselves to trying to bring Wong down, sending one officer undercover to infiltrate Wong’s gang. Three years later, Chan is set to retire in two days and turn over his unit to Inspector Ma Kwun and the police chief asks Chan not to cause problems before he retires. Chan and his team head out and one of Wong’s drug rings and afterwards, they head out to the beach with Hoi-yee. Ma meets up with them there and talks with Chan about his team while on the shore, Chan’s team are dismissive of their new boss and make plans to take care of Hoi-yee when Chan dies. That night, Chan is showing Ma the portion of the city that they are in charge and as they discipline a punk for throwing a bottle at a police officer, they encounter Wong, who taunts Chan by throwing his own bottle on the ground, causing several other thugs to do the same. The next day, Chan and the team arrive at the scene of a murder and discover that it is his undercover officer. At the station, a young man comes forward with a video tape showing the murder and Wah takes the tape to show Chan. Chan calls Lok and Sum into his office, excluding Ma, and they watch the tape to see Wong beating the officer with a golf club before he is shot by one of Wong’s henchmen. Knowing they can’t arrest Wong for murder, Wah suggests erasing the part of the tape showing who really killed the officer. Chan orders Wah to check on the witness, Lok to find the henchman who actually killed the officer, and Sum to come with him to arrest Wong. Ma enters the office to find out what is going on and they show him the altered tape and Ma goes with Chan to arrest Wong. They find Wong at the hospital heading up to see his one month old son and when they try to arrest him he starts fighting with them but they eventually overpower him and arrest him. Meanwhile, Wah is intimidating the witness to say that Wong was the one to kill the officer and ensuring that there isn’t another copy of the tape but after he leaves, the witness reveals he has another tape. Later, Chan and the others go to where the real killer is hiding and after chasing and beating him down, they kick him off a roof. Ma arrives in time to see them kill the man and after a brief fight, confront’s Chan about his framing Wong for the murder. Chan explains his reasoning for doing this, saying that they tried doing it by the books but were going nowhere, and leaves Ma. Ma is conflicted about what to do, as he had once beaten a drug dealer so bad that he is now a mentally handicapped homeless man and Ma’s guilt causes him to check up on him every week. Ma returns to the station to find several of Wong’s henchmen trying to confess to the murder and Ma tells the officers to take their statements but doesn’t turn in Chan or his team. Knowing they need a gun to frame Wong with, Lok contacts a dealer that is not associated with Wong and goes to get a gun from him and Ma accompanies him. Chan heads down to evidence to get the bullet from the crime scene while Sum goes to see his daughter and Wah comes with him. As Chan is in evidence, Wong’s men show up with the witness and the unaltered tape and the chief is forced to release Wong. The chief then goes to arrest Chan but Chan, sensing something went wrong, manages to avoid them with the help of Uncle Ba, an officer who is friends with Chan. Lok and Ma go to meet with Lok’s contact and when he demands more money, Ma goes to get it. While he is gone, another man shows up to talk with the dealer and after he leaves, the dealer and his friends suddenly race out of the area a few minutes later, locking Lok inside. Lok is approached by Jack, who proceeds to fight and stab Lok, but when Ma shows up and starts shooting at him to drive him off, Jack uses Lok as a shield, then slashes his throat before making his escape. Ma calls Chan to tell him what happened and Chan tells him to go check on Wah and Sum but he is too late as Jack shows up at the square where they are at and attacks them both. When Ma arrives there, Wah is still alive but barely and Wah tells Ma that they took the drug money from the raid and hid it in Lok’s car in order to help raise Chan’s daughter. Chan is finally able to sneak out of the station and meets up with Ma, who tells him what his friends did. Chan says if they give back the money, Wong will call off his men so Ma goes to get the money but Chan heads to Wong’s place with a bag full of newspaper clippings, claiming it is the money, and proceeds to attack Wong’s men but he is attacked and injured by Jack. Meanwhile, Ma gets the money from Lok’s car but as he goes to leave, he is confronted by the chief over Chan’s actions and Ma’s knowledge of them so Ma hands over his badge and gun, quitting the force. Ma then calls Wong and tells him he has the money and will turn it over so long as Chan is still alive and Wong tells him to hurry. When Ma gets to the building, he is met by Jack outside and the two start fighting, with Ma using a metal baton to counter Jack’s knife. After a brutal fight, Ma is able to beat Jack, killing him with his own knife. Ma heads inside and, seeing Chan’s body strung up, begins fighting with Wong. During the course of their fight, Wong’s wife calls and Ma, who has Wong in a choke hold, loosens his grip so that Wong can speak with her and Wong tells her to wait downstairs in the car. After she hangs up, the two continue fighting and Ma eventually wins, throwing Wong into the tower of liquor bottles and seemingly killing him. Wong then grabs a bottle of vodka and pours himself a drink then stares at Chan, who asks if he plans on cutting him down. Suddenly, Wong recovers and attacks Ma, pushing him out the window and Ma ends up landing on Wong’s car, killing his wife and and child when the roof collapses on them. Wong stares down the window and recognizes the car, just as his phone starts ringing with his wife’s ringtone, and Wong collapses into a chair. Some time later, Chan is seen at the beach with Hoi-yee and as she plays in the surf, Chan succumbs to his tumor and he ends up dying on the beach.

When I first heard about it, this movie was advertised as one of the best martial arts films of the century and I have to say, the claim isn’t far off. The acting was pretty good, with Donnie Yen (Ma), Simon Yan (Chan), and Sammo Hung (Wong) doing great jobs in their roles. The plot was really good, using a great deal of drama that only accented the brief times where the action scenes took place. The dilemma that Ma faced in deciding if he wanted to help Chan in his vendetta to bring down Wong under any circumstances was made even more poignant in the scene where he hung out with the drug dealer he crippled, as he deals with the results of his actions face to face. As for the fight scenes, they were great, with some of the fastest paced choreography I have seen in a long time. The fight between Ma and Jack (Jing Wu) was incredible and the weapon movement between the two was amazing. Whether you are a martial arts fan, a crime movie fan, or a combination of both, this movie is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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