In The Line of Duty 4: Film Review

I’m not a fan of Auteur Theory. Movies, television, and video games have so many people involved in the process of creating them that putting all the weight of a work’s success on a single person weakens the contributions of everyone else in the project. That said, a good director can make a world of difference on a film, not because of their sole artistic vision, but because of the other contributors who they can ask to take part in the project because of their own past experience. Such is the case with In The Line of Duty 4, which has Yuen Woo-Ping in the director’s chair, which in turn makes a world of difference.

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In The Line Of Duty 3: Movie Review

The In The Line Of Duty series of films is kind of odd as far as film series go. It’s not like the Zombi or the Italian House series – where you had a bunch of directors taking a bunch of desperate films with common elements (zombies or horror films regarding a house respectively), and sticking the label of an existing series of films on them, making for a bunch of films based around a thematic link instead of a narrative link. The first two films in the series – Yes, Madam and Royal Warriors had a thematic link (women police investigators), and a cast link (Michelle Yeoh), but no character linkage, and otherwise did not share a common brand. However, over the course of re-releases and alternative titles, both of those films were re-branded as being the first part of a series of films known as “In The Line of Duty” – with In The Line of Duty 3, from 1988, being technically the third part of that series, but the first to codify the “brand”.

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Bury Me High: Film Review

I love martial arts films – particularly those from South East Asia (starting with Hong Kong but expanding over time to Thailand, Korea, and Malaysia), thanks to role-playing games – with two, in particular, starting me down this path.

The first was Dragon Fist by Chris Pramas, which seeded my love for wuxia. The other was Feng Shui, which expanded my love to the entire Ur-genre. However, when trying to sell people on Feng Shui, I had to downplay why the game had that title – the concept of a variety of factions from through history, past and future, doing battle over “Feng Shui Sites” – places of great magical power where those who hold them can shape the flow of destiny. If I had seen Bury Me High, I would have had a lot more confidence and just told people to watch this instead.

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Film Review: Magnificent Warriors

Magnificent Warriors is another of the early films in Michelle Yeoh’s career – made a little before Royal Warriors. As with Royal Warriors – the film has Michelle Yeoh in the lead, along with another male co-lead in a similar action role, and the third male lead being a comic relief character. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Continue reading “Film Review: Magnificent Warriors”

Movie Review: Royal Warriors (1986)

I’m a fan of the films of Michelle Yeoh – I generally thought she was super-cool back when I first saw her in Tomorrow Never Dies when I was in High School, but unfortunately very few of her movies had become particularly accessible in the US. Supercop got a wide release, as did Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but the rest of her filmography required hunting online, requiring you to hunt down DVDs through Amazon or other services.

Netflix made some of those films accessible on disks, but as those disks fell out of print (and were not returned to Netflix), it became harder to find some of those films. Thankfully, some of those movies have become available again through streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant, such as the film I’m reviewing this time, Royal Warriors. Continue reading “Movie Review: Royal Warriors (1986)”

Film Review: Mr. Vampire (1980)

Jackie Chan, as a performer, is frequently compared with Buster Keaton and, as I’ve mentioned in my own review of Police Story at Letterboxd, Charlie Chaplin.

Well, Mr. Vampire, a martial arts horror-comedy film produced by Jackie Chan’s friend and fellow member of the Five Little Fortunes, is what I’d probably describe as the Hong Kong equivalent of the Abbott and Costello Meet… movies. Continue reading “Film Review: Mr. Vampire (1980)”

Film Review: The Mission (1999)

Johnny To, as a director, has two extremes. On one end is gritty crime thrillers like the Election duology – which may have an action scene or two, but which otherwise are generally grounded in the real world. On the other end is Exiled, a film which has a fight scene early in the film where several characters in a firefight cause a table to flip and spin end over end with their bullet hits, but ultimately both come out of the fight uninjured. In the middle lies The Mission. Continue reading “Film Review: The Mission (1999)”

Movie Review – Election (2005)

The Hong Kong movie poster for "Election"
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The Triads are a bit of an odd duck in terms of how they decide their new leaders, at least in Hong Kong anyway. While in the Mafia, the second in command (Underboss) ascends to the top spot when the boss dies, retires or is imprisoned, and other organized crime groups determine succession based on family ties, or just having the head of the organization hand-pick a successor, the Triads, at least in this film, pick their new head by a vote of all of the heads of the various crews.

That sets up the backstory of this crime thriller which owes more to The Godfather than to A Better Tomorrow. The two candidates for election when this story begins are the violent, hotheaded Big D, played by Tony Leung Ka-Fai (A Better Tomorrow 3, and several other Johnny To films), and quieter, cunning and devious Lok, played by Simon Yam (John Woo’s Bullet in the Head, King of Killers/Contract Killer co-starring with Jet Li, and the first 3 Young and Dangerous movies). The winner getting not only control of the Triads in Hong Kong, but also the Dragon Baton, a powerful symbol of ones control over the Hong Kong Triad. Continue reading “Movie Review – Election (2005)”

Movie Review – “Operation Condor 2: Armor of God”

Jackie Chan is one of my favorite comic actors out of the cinema of Hong Kong. He has, rightfully, been compared with Danny Kaye, with regards to his physical comic prowess. Having heard good things about the second film in the series, and having been amused by the first film, I popped this one on the ol’ NetFilix queue, and then promptly forgot about it. Well, having now bumped it to the top of the queue and given it a watch, I figure I might as well share my thoughts on the topic, particularly while I’m trying to expand the content of my blog to stuff that isn’t about wrestling.

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