Monday, March 31, 2014

Spirits Of Bruce Lee A.K.A. Angry Tiger (1973)

A Chinese kung fu written and directed by Ling Shang A.K.A. Shang Lang.
A martial arts expert who is also a jeweler goes searching for his missing brother in Thailand.
What a horrible piece of shit! The production was bad, acting was worse and even the fight scenes were bad. No redeeming qualities at all. I rate it shit.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dreamkeeper (2003)

A Canadian adventure drama directed by Steve Barron, distributed by the Hallmark corporation.
A young native American man living on a reservation is forced to drive his grandfather to the All Nations Powwow. Along the way, they meet people and get in situations which the grandfather explains by telling stories.
This was actually pretty cool. The CG, special effects and monsters were a little over-done, but the plot and characters were good. They used a speeded up/time lapse effect that looked not so great in some scenes and there was a giant snake that came out of a pond which was obviously CG. The grandfather's stories shared about equal (or correct portion) of the time with the characters' journey to the powwow and I liked the ending. I'm rating it adequate.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Return Of The Kung Fu Dragon (1976)

A Chinese kung fu directed by Chick Lim Yu.
A peaceful city is conquered by an invading army and only the princess escapes. 19 years later she fights the leaders of the city to return the city to it's peaceful state.
Yet even more of the same shit. This one was pretty though. The characters were identifiable and the costumes were actually pretty cool. Plot still murky, camera-work terrible and sound atrocious. I'm rating it o.k. because it's better than the load of stupid ninja crap I've been watching.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shaolin Deadly Kicks (1982)

A Chinese kung fu directed by Ma Wu.
A group of thieves steal a map to a buried treasure and split the pieces of the map between them. They plan to meet in 3 years to get the treasure together, but end up fighting amongst themselves over the pieces.
Same shit, different title. This was a little better than the ninja ones, but not very much. The plot was slightly more coherent and some characters more identifiable. Not the slightest mention of Shaolin or deadly kicking in any way (standard disregard for title). The traditional Chinese setting was much appreciated. Based on the competition, I'll be nice and rate it o.k.

Ninja Heat (1988)

A Chinese kung fu crime film starring Chan Sheng.
When a man gets out of a jail term that he was wrongfully sentenced to, his brother has found the men who framed him for the crime.
Murky plot, static characters, horrid camera-work, etc. Same shit, different title. This one had a pseudo-western soundtrack piece that played in the beginning and during a flashback scene. Guess what? No ninjas! Poor.

The Image Of Bruce Lee (1978)

A Chinese kung fu crime film directed by Yueng Kuen, starring Bruce Li.
A gang of criminals is making counterfeit money. A local martial arts expert and a female interpol agent track them down to stop their criminal activities.
These lo-fi kung fuvies should be shorter. If they were about half an hour, they might actually be good. However, this was a full length feature film and hence, sucked. The only redeeming quality was female nudity (picture). I'm rating this poor.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ninja Champion (1985)

A Chinese kung fu crime drama written and directed by Godfrey Ho.
A woman hunts down the 3 men who raped her and her ex-husband gets involved while a group of ninjas watch and wait for the right time to attack them.
Holy muddy plots, Batman! This thing sucked the big one, but I don't care because as soon as I saw the words "Godfrey Ho" cross my screen, I busied myself with writing guitar parts and barely paid any attention to the movie. Why is it that there are European/American ninjas in these Chinese flicks? Reality check on line #1 for Godfrey Ho: Ninjas are Japanese. Static characters, no style, at least I could see what was going on, blah blah blah. I'm rating it poor.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ninja Empire A.K.A. Ninja Phantom Warriors (1987)

A Chinese worthless piece of crap by Godfrey Ho.
Chinese gangsters are sending Russian weapons to the middle east. An American is sent to do... something...
I've said that 1987 is the best year for movies. Apparently, it's also the worst. The plot didn't make sense, the fight scenes didn't fit in the plot, the characters didn't fit together in the story and the camera-work and lighting were both horrible. This is how not to make a movie. It's worse than Ben Hur, worse than Some Kind Of Monster and probably worse than whatever beat them last. I had to turn it off about half way through, looked it up online and read about some fantastic ninja fight "in the last 5 minutes or so", looked for the fabled fight scene, but didn't find it. I have to rate this shit. Fuck you, Godfrey Ho.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Four Robbers (1987)

A Chinese crime film directed by Chin-Lai Sung.
A group of 4 criminals robs a jewelery store and upsets a larger crime syndicate in Hong Kong. They then move to Thailand and repeat the process.
There isn't much to say about a lackluster flick like this. The plot was simple, but stupid. There was no character development (static characters). The style was total crap and the camera-work was pure rubbish (not good enough to use a stronger word for). All in all, a total piece of shit.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Infernal Street (1973)

A Chinese kung fu written and directed by Chiang Shen.
When a Japanese drug gang opens a club in a small town, a doctor and his young assistant become re-involved in a feud that started many years before. The assistant uses his kung fu to fight the gang.
Just another fuvie. Seriously, there was nothing unique about this film whatsoever. For that I rate it poor because it was too bland and uniform to earn any rating in either direction.
Wait! there was one thing that made this film stand out from the rest. The man in this picture has some strange facial hair. Is this the uber-Hitler mustache?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Apache Blood (1975)

An American western directed by Vern Piehl, starring Ray Danton.
A man is wounded in a fight with an Indian and left for dead. Some soldiers find him, but do nothing to help. After they leave him to die, he recovers enough to fight Indians again. He is being actively hunted by a Native American in a yellow shirt who has a reputation for murder.
The plot was murky as hell, the characters were undeveloped and the camera-work was horrifying. Large parts of the film were shot with such bad lighting that nothing could be seen and what could be seen didn't make much sense because the plot was not clearly presented. On the plus side, there was a hallucination scene in which the man was dying of dehydration and saw characters who weren't really there. Unfortunately, that's not enough to save a crappy film. I'm just rating it plain old bad.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fist of Fear Touch of Death (1980)

An American kung fu film directed by Matthew Mallinson, released by Troma.
Legends of Bruce Lee are told and a martial arts competition is held to supposedly determine who will take his place. Most of the Lee Legends revolve around his grandfather who was a martial arts expert as well.
Is there such a thing as a Chinese samurai? No. However, the clips of this impossible character are awesome and he displays every type of kung fu magic and Hong Kong wire trick available. I found the film humorous as the narrator looks like the founder of the Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey. The Aaron Banks character who knows so much about Bruce is obviously portrayed as his murderer and every other element of the film is obviously a joke. That being said, most of it was filler trash with some kung-funtasy sequences thrown in (Grandfather Lee) so I rate it poor.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chase Step By Step (1974)

A Taiwanese kung fu film directed by Yu Min Sheong.
A pair of circus performers guard the gold that they are carrying to help a poor village.
The plot was stupid simple and the characters were about as deep as a puddle. The fight scenes, however, were quite creative. There was a little bit of wire-work and even a tightrope act and some stilt-walking within a battle. One of the fights in the middle of the film was a little bit confusing because all of the combatants were dressed exactly the same. Because there are so many kung fuvies out there, I have to be rather regimented in my rating standards of them. I'm rating this o.k.

Black Fist (1974)

An American crime film directed by Timothy Galfas and Richard Kaye.
An African American street fighter goes to work for a crime boss who ends up being in league with a corrupt cop. The fighter is unhappy with this arrangement and violence ensues.
This is another one of those "Blaxploitation" films where the tough guy with dark skin seeks revenge on those who have wronged him. The soundtrack was AMAZING! There's some really groovy funk and disco going on through the whole film. The fight scenes weren't anything special and I've experienced a very similar plot before. Comparing this to Killer Of Snake Fox Of Shaolin is worthwhile because it demonstrates what I mean by "visibility". Most of this film was made in low light settings and even when the setting is outside during the day, the contrast looks weird. It is, in fact, not very visible. I'm rating it o.k. because of played out plot, shitty video but really really good music.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Time of Your Life (1948)

An American drama directed by H. C. Potter, starring James Cagney.
A rich man sits in a bar and has his friend run strange errands for him. Various other customers enter the bar and reveal part of their life story.
This is why I watch obscure films. A diamond in the rough, this movie has a little bit of everything from song and dance numbers to fighting and insanity. It earns high respect from me by being mostly shot on a single set and showing character development, despite the large number of characters. There are actually surprises in this and my favorite involves the "marble game" (A.K.A. pinball machine). This is one that you have to see to appreciate and it shouldn't be too hard to find (being public domain and all). The real question here is: who would abandon such a wonderful movie? Shitkipedia says it was a "miserable failure in the box office" and that a remake was made in 1958. The original goes beyond the call of duty and ascends to the realm of high art. I rate it best.

Horrors of Spider Island (1960)

A German horror film directed by Fritz Bottger.
A talent agent recruits a group of dancing girls and leaves for Singapore on a plane. The plane crashes on a remote island. They find a dead man imprisoned within a giant spider web there and the agent eventually gets bitten by the giant spider, turning him into a monster.
The simplistic plot, monotonous musical score and low production value do not bode well for this film. On the plus side, the camea-work is none too shabby and the girls look great. What really impressed me were the sounds and vocalizations coming from the girls. Even during times of stress and great peril, these vixens moan and pant like they're involved in the erotic arts. Assuming that there was some voice-over work done, I wonder at the methods used to coax these sensual noises into the microphone. I'm rating this poor because it was a crappy movie with a few good scenes of good looking girls.