Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

The Boxer’s Omen (1983)

The Boxer’s Omen [魔] (1983)

Starring Phillip Ko Fei, Lam Hiu Yin, Wai Ga Man, Bolo Yeung-Tze, Wang Lung-Wei, Elvis Tsui Kam Kong, Cheung Chok Chow, Leung Hak Shun, David Lam Wai, Wan Seung Lam, Lai Yau Hing, Lam Chi Tai

Directed by Kuei Chi-Hung

Expectations: High, it’s a Kuei Chi-Hung black magic movie.


Regular visitors will be familiar with the extreme exploits of director Kuei Chi-Hung, the Shaw Brothers’ resident weirdo. Films such as The Killer Snakes and Virgins of the Seven Seas show his range, but for my money his witchcraft movies are the main event. The Boxer’s Omen is a slight sequel to his previous film Bewitched, and it should open with a serious warning to anyone that could possibly be pregnant and/or have a heart condition. Kuei pulls no punches during the nearly non-stop parade of filth that constitutes The Boxer’s Omen, so fans of Hong Kong witchcraft films ready your snake gallbladders and alligator carcasses and we’ll get down to business.

Continue reading

Advertisements

December 17, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Foreign, Good Trash, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power (1975)

Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power [Kung Fu Contra as Bonecas] (1975)

Starring Adriano Stuart, Dionísio Azevedo, Maurício do Valle, Nadir Fernandes, Edgard Franco, Célia Froes, David Neto, Armando Paschoallin, Helena Ramos

Directed by Adriano Stuart


Wow. So it’s really come to this? Going into Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power I knew two things. One… it is infeasible that this film could possibly live up to its legendary title, and two, there is no way a lack of subtitles would keep me from reviewing a film titled Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power. Talk of this extremely rare and elusive movie had been kicked around for years in cult film circles, gaining an almost mythic status along the way. Every now and then, some rabid fan would dish out a sketchy eyewitness account about spotting it in some dingy Brazilian flea market or something, while others doubted its existence altogether. Indeed, Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power became chalked up as a product of obscure lore, much like a Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster, a mystery that perhaps would never be solved.

Continue reading

December 16, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Comedy, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Sword and the Lute (1967)

The Sword and the Lute [琴劍恩仇] (1967)

Starring Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Lo Lieh, Chin Ping,  Jimmy Wang Yu, Ivy Ling Po, Yueh Hua, Cheng Miu, Lily Ho Li Li, Margaret Hsing Hui, Wu Ma, Ku Feng, Lee Wan Chung, Lau Leung Wa, Kao Pao Shu

Directed by Sui Jang Hung

Expectations: High, after how much I enjoyed The Twin Swords.


The Red Lotus Temple has been burned to the ground and the twin swords of Chin Ping and Jimmy Wang Yu have been entrusted with the beautiful but lethal Phoenix Lute. The lute is more than a simple musical instrument, it is capable of shooting hundreds of needles at once; crippling, killing and maiming anyone in its path. They must take it back to the Jin family, where it is to be destroyed by the Fish Intestine Sword (or the less-fun translation, Invincible Sword).

Continue reading

December 15, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Executioners from Shaolin (1977)

Executioners from Shaolin [洪熙官] (1977)

Starring Chen Kuan-Tai, Lily Li Li-Li, Lo Lieh, Wong Yu, Kong Do, Cheng Hong-Yip, Gordon Liu Chia-Hui

Directed by Lau Kar-Leung


Another month, another film from the Shaw Bros Shaolin cycle… Except this time we have Shaw’s other prolific director at the helm. While many associate the Shaolin cycle with Chang Cheh, Lau Kar-Leung inherited the mantle in this stellar 1977 effort, which further chronicles the life of Chinese folk hero Hung Si-Kwan, played as usual by the magnificent Chen Kuan-Tai. But this film differs greatly from the concise, historical-based efforts of Chang Cheh, who placed the focus on patriotism and brotherhood against the occupying Manchu forces. Lau Kar-Leung, ever the cinematic ambassador of Chinese martial arts, instead shifts the focus to Hung Si-Kwan’s development of his renowned style, Hung Gar kung fu.

Let’s face it. Lau Kar-Leung made films for kung fu nerds. (This review will also be geared towards that crowd, so don’t feel too bad if a lot of this technical / historical gibberish leaves you scratching your head.) Don’t get me wrong, the classic revenge tale that this film tells can be appreciated by even your most casual movie fan, but to really reap the benefits of what Executioners has to offer it helps to understand some of the finer points of kung fu styles and martial technique. Hung Gar is comprised of both tiger and crane techniques. The tiger being a powerful external style based primarily on brute strength while the crane relies more on deft movements and pinpoint accuracy. Executioners from Shaolin tells what I’m assuming is a mostly fictional tale of how the tiger and crane styles became united under one banner.

Continue reading

December 13, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Twin Swords (1965)

The Twin Swords [鴛鴦劍俠] (1965)

Starring Chin Ping, Jimmy Wang Yu, Ivy Ling Po, Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Lo Lieh, Tien Feng, Cheng Miu, Wu Ma, Ku Feng, Lau Leung Wa, Chen Hung Lieh, Chiu Ming, Feng Yi, Kao Pao Shu, Lam Jing, Lee Wan Chung, Wong Ching Ho, Wong Yeuk Ping

Directed by Sui Jang Hung

Expectations: Low. The first film was OK, I don’t expect this will be too much different. I have heard it is better though.


This is more like it. I hope you like martial arts fantasy movies, because The Twin Swords packs lots of imaginative fun into its compact runtime. Starting off with the final scene from Temple of the Red Lotus, our heroes Jimmy Wang Yu and Chin Ping battle through the villainous scoundrels of the Red Lotus clan. They are once again saved by the quick darts of the Scarlet Maid, but the forces of evil are not known for resting on their laurels. They quickly concoct a plan to lure our heroes and their twin swords straight into the Red Lotus temple, which has been newly retrofitted with tons of lethal traps!

Continue reading

December 8, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Fantasy, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Temple of the Red Lotus (1965)

Temple of the Red Lotus [江湖奇俠] (1965)
AKA “The Red Lotus Monastery”

Starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Chin Ping, Ivy Ling Po, Lo Lieh, Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Tien Feng, Ku Feng, Wu Ma, Kao Pao Shu, Lau Leung Wa, Chen Hung Lieh, Chiu Ming, Feng Yi, Ko Lo Chuen, Kok Lee Yan, Lam Jing

Directed by Sui Jang-Hung

Expectations: Moderate, as this is such an early Shaw and it’s bound to be rough, but I’ve been building a lot of mind-hype for this over the past few months.


It all had to start someplace, and for the Shaw Studios, this is evidently the first of their films to include martial arts sequences. It fared very well at the box office, spawned two sequels (which I will be looking at in the coming weeks), and launched an entire genre. While Come Drink With Me and The One-Armed Swordsman may be more well-known films from this early period in Shaw history, Temple of the Red Lotus was their first color martial arts film and is notable for that if nothing else.

Continue reading

December 3, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Virgins of the Seven Seas (1974)

Virgins of the Seven Seas [洋妓] (1974)
AKA “The Bod Squad” & “Enter the Seven Virgins” & “Karate, Küsse, Blonde Katzen

Starring Sonja Jeanine, Diana Drube, Tamara Elliot, Gillian Bray, Deborah Ralls Yueh Hua, Liu Hui-Ling, Wang Hsieh, Helen Ko, Li Ming

Directed by Kuei Chi-Hung and Ernst Hofbauer


This must be bare breasted kung fu fighting week over here at Silver Emulsion because both of my reviews this week feature sexy ladies doing exactly that. But whereas T.N.T. Jackson relegated it to a single action scene, Virgins of the Seven Seas took that classy concept and built an entire film around it. Now if I were to choose potential filmmakers to direct a movie about topless European sex slaves kicking the shit out of Chinese pirates I’m pretty sure Shaw Bros degenerate Kuei Chi-Hung would factor into it somehow, if not at the very top. And guess what? Lo and behold he’s here along with German softcore porn legend Ernst Hofbauer to bring us this tasteful tale of war, love, and vagina training on the high seas.

This two-pronged approach is what really makes this film work at a base level. As each director was allowed to focus on their own specialties, it makes for a thoroughly entertaining experience all the way through. I can’t vouch for Ernst Hofbauer, as I know very little about his work, other than the fact he directed a series of films called Schoolgirl Report (which makes him an instant winner in my book), but Kuei Chi-Hung’s indelible stamp is evident right from the start when a live eel is fished from the water and skinned alive on camera (“The white vixens will get the bowels” one crewman exclaims). His unhealthy obsession with weird misogynistic fantasies and perverse torture sequences once again rears its ugly head here as our scantily-clad heroines are put through their paces. Over the course of the film our ladies are fed raw animal offal, tied to giant spinning wheels, chained to a wall as their nipples are mercilessly lashed and finally, spread-eagle and intimately examined in order to make sure they’re “still sealed”.

Continue reading

December 2, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Action, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Chinatown Kid (1977)

Chinatown Kid [唐人街功夫小子] (1977)

Starring Alexander Fu Sheng, Sun Chien, Shirley Yu, Susan Shaw Yin-Yin, Kuo Chui, Lo Meng, Wang Lung-Wei, Jenny Tseng

Directed By Chang Cheh


 

I’m afraid that this review was a little bungled from the start. This is what happens when you wind up with a bad copy of a film slated for review and are left with no alternatives but to move ahead…

Any true old school kung fu movie fan has no doubt been in sustained elation since the Shaw Bros catalog had been obtained and dramatically restored by those fine folks over at Celestial Pictures almost ten years ago now. It’s been a nice decade of film viewing for fans of the legendary studio, no longer forced to waddle through 7th generation muddy pan & scan copies of their favorite martial arts classics. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved, as I think nobody can complain about the work done on preserving the integrity and beauty of these fine films.

Then we have Chinatown Kid, which proves to be the proverbial one that got away when this whole deal went down. Not to say that the film doesn’t look amazing, the restoration here is every bit as beautiful as Celestial’s other remastering efforts. The problem is that Celestial went through its arduous, painstaking lengths only to wind up remastering THE WRONG FILM!

Continue reading

November 18, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Action, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

The Girl Who Played With Fire [Flickan som lekte med elden] (2009)

Starring Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Tehilla Blad, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Per Oscarsson, Sofia Ledarp, Yasmine Garbi, Georgi Staykov, Annika Hallin

Directed by Daniel Alfredson

Expectations: Low. I didn’t really like the first one that much, but just enough to give this a shot.


 

I wasn’t shy about my indifference to the first film in this series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but despite that I had an urge to see the follow-up. The character of Lisbeth Salander is an intriguing one and I hoped that with a different story surrounding her, I might connect more with the film. This is essentially exactly what happened with The Girl Who Played With Fire and I’m glad I took the plunge.

Continue reading

November 17, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars, Thriller | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Jasper reviews: Challenge of the Masters (1976)

Challenge of the Masters [陸阿采與黃飛鴻] (1976)

Starring Gordon Liu Chia-Hui, Chen Kuan-Tai, Lau Kar-Leung, Kong Yeung, Wong Yu, Lau Kar Wing, Lily Li Li-Li, Fung Hak-On

Directed By Lau Kar-Leung


 

I was a little nervous on revisiting Challenge of the Masters after such a long time in-between viewings of it. It’s a film that I have a long history with since copying it off of a well-worn VHS copy back during the infancy of Blockbuster Video. Yeah, that’s how we did shit back in the days before digital distribution, instant streaming, and the rise of the World Wide Web. Back then, I had no idea what the deal with the Shaw Brothers was. I recognized Gordon Liu in a couple of other films, but directors, actors, and choreographers meant very little to me at the time. I just knew that when I saw that big, fat SB shield accompanied by the thundering fanfare, it was going to be a higher grade kung fu film than I was used to getting. Challenge of the Masters wound up becoming my favorite martial arts film of the Shaw Bros studios. Now revisiting it 17 years later, I can safely say that is an accolade which still stands.

The film is an “origin story” of sorts to the character of Wong Fei-Hung, whom Gordon Liu plays masterfully here. Jet Li did such a good job of making him seem like a righteous and invincible badass in the Once Upon a Time in China series, that it may come as a shock here to find the character portrayed as a clumsy, unsophisticated, buffoon of sorts, prone to bouts of self-pity and frequent temper tantrums. This is all for the sake of the film however, as Challenge of the Masters presents the ultimate journey in martial arts cinema by taking the “unteachable” teenage Fei-Hung and details his transformation into China’s most well-known folk hero.

Continue reading

November 4, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Action, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments