Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End Martial Arts Movie Mayhem Montage...

Ok. So, over the last 5 months we have watched a lot of crappy movies. And when we say "crappy", we REALLY mean crappy. These movies have been so fantastically crappy that we struggle to find balance between 5,000 word hijinx, and drawing a blank slate due to the crappiness. SO... in an attempt to bring us all up to speed on what we've been watching, how we're doing, and what's news... We, The Mavens, are heretofore writing our year end "Martial Arts Movie Mayhem Montage". Yeah. That IS a lot of "M" words. And with that, we begin...

Back in July we watched "Breathing Fire", aka Foam Pizza of Doom. Why would we call it this? Because the movie starts out with a pack a gangsters casting a GINORMOUS safe key into the back of a foam prop pizza. The key is so large that it is takes on a circus clown ridiculousness of epic and strange proportions. The film stars "that kid" from The Goonies (insert name here), and has a WEIRD scene with pool hall ruffians of minute stature. Yeah. Little People peeps. With the flying kicks and the pool stick whacking. Needless to say, this film is NOT a feather in the cap of (insert goonies kid name), and is perhaps the reason that he never developed a booming career in martial arts films... which is entirely a shame as he had some SERIOUSLY mad skills.

The purpose of the cut up foam pizza, the fighting, the karate, the... Senior bad guy steals gold. Gold is kept in safe. Safe is locked up by ginormo key. The pizza is split up amongst corroborators. Corroborators kill each other off. Goonies kid was adopted by Senior bad guy after he killed his mother in Nam. Because Goonies kid is Asian, he is NATURALLY endowed with the power of awesome martial arts. So awesome in fact that he borders on superhero-crime-fighting epic-ness, which in saves the day by the end of the film.

Did you get all of that??

We then watched "Alien vs. Ninja (2010)", as written and directed by Seiji Chiba, produced by Nikkatsu and North CKY, and starring Shuji Kashibara, Mika Hijii, and a slew of other folks who seem to have been suckered into this "Made for SyFy channel" style film. The whole story is about a clan of Ninja living in the forest. The relationships and structure of the film are complex, yet entirely odd. The action really begins when they see a meteor zoom over their heads. They think it's an invading clan and set out on a quest to capture the invader. Little do they know that the invaders are Power Ranger-esque aliens with relatively cute symbiant brain sucker babies that zombify everyone they come in contact with. The film is loaded with awkward actions scenes, ridiculous costuming, and LOOOOOOONG "bite my crotch" fight scene that has absolutely NO explanation whatsoever, other than "it's a cultural thing".

If you're looking for a hokie Alien Ninja flick... then this one's it, complete with scantily clad, leatherbound Ninja chicks and dolphin-like alien critters.

Oh man... then there was "Hard Target". And if there was ever a point in your life where you MAY have respected Van Damme, this film would immediately make you turn on your heels and retreat. From his greasy Gerry Curl mullet, to the improbable circumstances behind his thick Belgian accent (born in the Bayou... snirk), this film is non-stop, belly rolling, eye watering ridiculous. Even that part near the end where he pulls the no handed "Shark-jumping Fonz" on his motorcycle. Impossibly improbable. ENTIRELY hilarious! The entirety of the film centers around the very real issue of homeless Vets and their struggle to try to do right by their families after having been broken by war. HOWEVER, that having been said, the rest of the film involves a "human hunting" of homeless folks down on their luck, and how a foot-forward daughter and plucky boy from the Bayou bring down said crime syndicate. If you're looking for a drinking game where you take a shot every time something entirely cliche or improbable happens, then THIS is your film. You'll be wasted 30 minutes in.

Now, we have Charles (Kelly's husband) to thank for the WEIRDNESS that is "Norwegian Ninja", aka "Kommander Terholt & Ninjatroppen". This film lies somewhere between poorly made film intended to be serious, and hokey film intended to be tongue in cheek and in the style of crappy films from the 70's. It borders along the lines of "Life Aquatic". It was... well... uh. Imagine white guys training in a military style camp out on the frozen tundra, dressed entirely in black wool, sipping coffee and befriending animals. I just don't... I. Yeah. That pretty much sums it up. Essentially, it is about the TRUE STORY of how Commander Terholt led his team of Norwegian Ninja's against Russian during the cold war. And, if this film is LITERALLY what is passing for true stories in Norway, we question what Norway has been pumping into their water and air these days... 'cause this film is straight up Bill Murray weird.

The One. Oh, "The One". Oh Jet Li in your infinite, tiny, utterly deadly cuteness. You were the salvation of this film. You in your transdimensional multiplicity. (sigh) This film is about an escaped convict from another dimension, travel throughout multiple dimensions killing off his "copies" in order to ensure his sole existence... which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense when you think about. If you were a criminal and there were like 50 copies of yourself, wouldn't that give you an opportunity to hide in the crowd and not get thrown back into the clink?(shrug) And the irony of the film lies in that you have bad, criminal Jet Li trying to kill off good, police officer Jet Li. And after several flying table kicks, an MRI, several kicks to the face, some confusion, and some gunfire, you end up with the equivalent of the "Find the painted lady" game. You honestly have NO IDEA which Jet Li is which. Either way, the action sequences are good, the story line *meh*, and Jet Li's accent entirely ADORABLE!!! It's worth a $.99 rental.

Next, we have "The Raid". And, we would like to go on record as calling this one of THE most fantastically action-packed, violent Indonesian martial arts films of all time. The premise is simple. Cops go into a slum apartment building to flush out the bad guys and their drug Kingpin. Something goes awry. Cops are trapped inside and must fight their way out of the building. We've got shooting, and stabbing, and collapsing floors, and hidden passage ways. Flying knees, and broken bones and swinging neckbreakers on shards of broken doors... Yeah. It IS just that bloody and violent. This film provides minimum thinking and maximum devistation. And, for that we have to give it "10 punches" on our rating scale.

The Hebrew Hammer was our holiday pick this year. Needless to say, this is hands down one of the funniest films we've viewed in 2012. And yes, while it is more of a comedy, it was written to mirror the hokie exploitation Kung Fu films of the 70's. Loaded with funny action scenes, entirely inappropriate social and cultural jokes, and tons of kitsch, Hebrew Hammer left us in tears. Side-splitting, non-stop giggling tears.

Lastly, "Game of Death". And, we are posting this one last, not because it was the last film we watched, but rather due to the nature of the film. Our deep, indebted love for Bruce Lee is so great that we didn't want to dishonor his memory by this ridiculously pieced together mish-mash of Kung-Fu-ery. Yes, Kung-Fu-ery. See, this film has a load of real-life back story that gets tossed in the film-making blender with the fictional screenplay that was "Game of Death", resulting in a bizarre collage of colliding storylines and imagery. Long story short, Lee started making this film just prior to "Enter the Dragon" (ETD). When offered the Hollywood contract for ETD, Lee pressed pause on the Golden Harvest production of Game of Death, with the intention to return to it after filming and finish the whole thing off. Unfortunately, he died and parts of the film were lost. None-the-less, Golden Harvest had sunk money into this film and wanted to see through to release.

What we all ended up with what a strange Dada-esque collage of the life and film fantasty times of Bruce Lee, as played by Lee, non-talking paper cut outs of Lee, a crappy body double of Lee, film footage of Bruce Lee's funeral, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Seriously. On a weirdness scale of 1-5, this film rates a 12... and that makes us sad because Bruce Lee is every shade of awesome, and this film is absolutely not. THOUGH YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST SEE IT FOR THE WEIRDNESS THAT IT IS!!!! We only wish we had a copy of the original story/screenplay so that we could imagine Bruce Lee in all of his punchy, yellow jumpsuit glory. (sigh)


NOTE: There were many more films that we watched. But, we don't want to overkill you in this blog post. Thus, we just chose the most stand-out-ish films that we could remember.

So, as we put a wrap on 2012, we want to wish you the happiest of Happy New Year's, and hope that we can collectively punch 2013 in the face and make it awesome!


- The Mavens
(Kelly & MJ)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kill Zone - Two Crimes for the Price of One

OK. School has started, our brains are settling back in to a schedule, winter is rapidly arriving here in the Frozen North, and we are back on track for your all of your blog reading pleasure.

So, what is this deliciousness that we speak of this week? Why, yes. It is YET ANOTHER Donnie Yen film. And, if you are unfamiliar with how the Mavens feel about Mr. Yen, I suggest that you go back several blogs to read our dissertation on how amazing he truly is. (insert angel choir here)

But, rather than overkill you with adoration and drooliness, let's just talk about the awesomazing film that is  "Kill Zone" (Saat Po Long), starring Donnie Yen (swoon), Sammo Hung (pumps fist), Jacky Wu (Oh, THAT guy), and Simon Yam (NICE HAIR!!!). It is in fact an epically sad, unbelievably tragic, kidney punching, high action Hong Kong cop flick with as many twists and turns as the Iroha-Zaka road in Japan. Seriously. This movie is a series of:

"You... me? No. NO! NOOOOO!"

And that is what makes his a great film!

So, the technicalities: "Kill Zone" was written by Wilson Yip (IP Man 1 & 2, Flash Point, Dragon Tiger Gate, etc), Kam-Yuen Szeto (Exiled, Flash Point, Shamo, etc.) , and Wai Lun Ng. It was directed by Wilson Yip and released in 2005 by Dragon Dynasty. (YAAAY!!!) And yes, it is presently 2012. But no matter how you slice it, or in this case beat the living daylights out of it with your bare knuckles of brutality, this film is rather timeless and still brings us to our feet in all of its brutal punchy glory!

OK, so... on with the film, right? RIGHT!

Our movie opens up to a beautiful oceanside beach scene. We see Inspector Chan Kwok-Chung (Simon Yam) walking along with perhaps the most adorable little girl to have graced the screen in the last 10 years. It's a loving scene, heart wrenching with love... AAAAAND you're going to need to remember this. So, "put a pin in it" and be prepared to come back to that later.

Insert credits... Insert images of Sammo Hung playing the role of a super bad-guy... Aaand we're launched onto the scene of a twisted, bloody car wreck involving two cars.  Just tires and glass and blood and metal bits all over the place.So, what happened here?

Wait for it... 
wait for iiiiit... 
(insert flashback montage)

See, 15 minutes ago Inspector Chan was transporting a witness and his family, including the aforementioned painfully adorable little girl, to a courthouse to testify against the infamous Wong Po (Sammo Hung). Being the super supreme bad guy that he is, OF COURSE Wong Po doesn't want this witness to testify. So, in 3 flicks of the wrist Wong Po calls his "goon squad" into action. Short and sweet here, they T-bone the car, killing 5 of the 7 passengers inside, none of which were wearing their seatbelt, so this doesn't come as a surprise. And, to make matters just about 25% worse, some kid in a white "Thriller" style outfit walks up to the car and slits the throat of the witness, "just to be sure" that he can't testify. Write this down. You'll need to remember it later.

The only survivors are Inspector Chan, who has a HUGE chunk of glass shoved into the back of his head (shudder), and the little girl who is banged up really badly. Now, being the man of ultimate responsibility that he is, he adopts the girl and raises her as his own child. And quite honestly, you really get the sense that he has deep fatherly love for this little girl. And who wouldn't? SHE'S SO DARN CUTE!!!! But enough with the girl... for now.

We're launched forward several months to find Inspector Chan and the little girl back at the hospital where he is having a following screening for his accident. It is here that the doctor tells him that he has an incurable/inoperable brain tumor growing at the site of the aforementioned "glass in the skull" wound.

Donnie Yen's character hasn't even shown up yet and we're already getting punched in the gut emotionally! 

Ok, so. While Insp. Chan and the doctor talk about the situation, his adopted daughter wanders off, and eventually happens upon Wong Po who is visiting his wife who has recently had another miscarriage. Naturally mourning the situation, he is a little teary and the adorable little girl asks him what is wrong and shares her candy with him. (OH GOD... it's so cute and endearing that it hurts.)

When Chan finds her talking to his arch-nemesis of all crime-dom (yes, this is a new official word), he yanks the little girl back to him and lays down an "I am SO gonna bust you Wong Po" threat, which naturally doesn't  ruffle Wong Po's feathers, because he's juuuust that bad. This starts a storm of insults and threats that will help motivate the action and punching for the rest of the movie, including a crazy bumper cars, car-bashing, golf clubs sword fight in the middle of a country rode which is entirely out of the blue, but sort of awesome none-the-less.

All in all, this just affirms the hatred, contempt, cat & mouse relationship between these two men.

Now, back at police headquarters we see Insp. Chan having a meeting with his special ops group. They're about to send in an ever-so-hesitant officer into an undercover scenario within Wong Po's ranks. And, it is at this point that our minds get totally distracted wondering how an undercover cop can slip into the ranks and immediately move into the position of "secondary right hand man to senior bad guy", because we're pretty sure that job position is far more difficult to acquire than your regular old job promotion "within the company". And, let's be honest, that crap ain't happening for "average Joe" in this economy either, undercover or not.


The point here is that Wong Po is big and powerful, and without seriously solid evidence, they're never going to be able to bring him down.

So, once the meeting is over, Insp. Chan tells his bestest buddy on the squad about his brain cancer over the slurpiest, sloppiest lunch ever. And it is here that we realize why very few "eating scenes" are ever shot. (shudder) Now, his bestest buddy happens to be known to us as "Angry Guy", because this guy manages stress and anger as well as my 8 year old handles the mere presence of hornets/moths/spiders/bees/flies/gnats/butterflies...


SO, while Insp. Chan sort of nonchalantly blows off the fact that he is dying and his "daughter" will be left as an orphan again, and that Wong Po will never get caught before he dies, and... and... and... Angry Guy slams down his coffee cup and makes a scene in the middle of the restaurant. He then proceeds to tell the other guys on the squad which forms the beginning of an elaborate plan to ensure the safety, security, and long term provisions for Chan's daughter.

Now, for reasons not explained, we soon find out that Chan is retiring "tomorrow", which feels entirely abrupt and poorly planned considering where the "team" is at in the busting of the Wong Po posse. But, he's retiring none-the-less and he will be replaced by Insp. Ma Kwun (Donnie Yen). Chan's superior gives him a verbal lashing about stepping outside the bounds of the law to accomplish his task, and then makes sure that he prepares everything well for Kwun. But, with a smile, a nod, and a "James Bond driving an economy car"sort of way, the team takes off to bust one of Wong Po's posse's who are trafficking women and drugs just around the corner.

As they make their speedy getaway, they nearly run headlong into the arriving Insp. Kwun. Insp Chan tells the men who he is, that he's taking over, and then out come the urban legends about Insp. Kwun... that he's a super bada$$, that he used to be a special ops force, that he killed a guy with one punch... And, for that most part all of that is true. All but the killing part. No, no, no... he just caused severe brain damage to a guy with one punch. Just launched him up and nearly over his car with one punch. But no. No death. Just maiming the brain into a pile of pulsating tapioca. And, it is here that Mr. Angry has another fit and calls the whole thing a bunch of crap.

Dude... they make meds for that ya' know.

OK. SO, the team flies onto the scene in their "economy wheels" and bust up the drugs/hookers party, shoot a bunch of guys, make a few arrests, and then grab a bag full of money and hide it in the trunk.

These are the cops, right? 
What are they doing with that drug money? 
(insert the reminder of the elaborate scheme from the aforementioned scene). 

And, for a minute there the guys honestly thought they were going to get away with it... considering that they actually hid the whole deal from Insp. Chan. But, as everyone knows there is ALWAYS a snitch just around the corner.

Now, through a fairly epic juxtaposed montage we see Kwun arriving at the precinct, walking through the special ops department with some SERIOUS swagger, observing the desks of the various men, profiling them on what he sees, attempting to get to know them a bit before their first official meeting... His intentions are pure. His swagger is tough. His fists, deadly. (drooool)

WOW... That was a COMPLETE aside!

...and now we're back to the here and now and "first in line to senior bad guy", aka "The Snitch", who just happens to be dressed like an organ grinder's monkey, arrives to tell Wong Po that his business has been broken up by the cops and that his money has been confiscated. And, we're not talking $500 here. We're talking hundreds of thousands of moolah having been stolen. SO, what does any bad guy do when he's been ratted out by a double agent? He takes that agent out to the swamp, plays golf with his head, and then has him snuffed out by an organ grinder's monkey... Errr, I mean his first in command.

NOW, tucked in here is a moment where Insp. Kwun goes out for an obligatory visitation with the guy who's brain he destroyed. The mentally reduced individual is adorable, the exchange is sweet, the "flashback of destruction" is awesome and reaffirms that Kelly HONESTLY believes that Donnie Yen could outrun a cheetah, and through it all we learn a bit more about the man that Insp. Kwun has become as a result of the circumstances. AAaaawww...

The next day Kwun is introduced to his team, and then they collectively head out to the swamp to check out the dead body, who just happens to be the secret agent that Chan sent into the lion's den a few days back, filled with promises of being protected and all. Hhhrrmmm, I guess that didn't work out too well. On the hiking trail to the murder scene they run into an odd character carrying a video camera. They sort of harass this "special" kid. But... meh. Whatever right?

So, there he (the special agent) is. Dead as dead can be, and containing no physical evidence as to whom the specific perpetrator is. Though the ops team has their own opinions on the matter.

"But if only we had some evidence. 
Like some evidence caught on film... 
Like the film you would put in a video camera..."
(scratches chin amusingly)

Back at the station the guys are sitting around rolling the utter lack of clues around in their head, completely ignoring that Kwun is in the room, talking to each other as if he were not there at all. Their obvious dislike and lack of acceptance of him is apparent here. The distrust is so thick in fact that you could spread it over toast and eat it for breakfast like Nutella. MMmmm, Nutella...

OH... and, remember that odd kid from the swamp? Well, while he was out trying to film swamp creatures and alien abductions, he just happened to get footage of the aforementioned golfing/murder spree.
"OOOOH!!! THAT filmed evidence!"
(slaps forehead)

"Angry guy" harasses the kid, confiscates the tape, gives Kwun the shifty "uh, I think your Mom's calling" look and then the team runs into a conference room whereupon they lock the door, draw the blinds, and view the tape... sans Insp. Kwun, their new team leader.


The team sees what really happened, and then they collectively decide that a little creative editing will help them make Wong Po guilty, even if he wasn't the trigger man. Does this sound like a bad idea? You can bet your sweet steamed sticky buns it is! While they show the film the Insp. Kwun, "Angry Guy" is sent out to harass the odd kid who provided the evidence, which he seems to be a pro at, and then confiscates all of his tapes in order to keep the "evidence" air tight... OR DOES HE??? 

And, as if that wasn't a bad enough idea, the team sans Kwun heads out to catch the actual trigger man and "take care of him". But they take two cars because "Angry Guy" is busy messin' up the weird kid's electronics shop (according to wiki). Sensing that something isn't right, and who wouldn't after that awkward video viewing exchange, Kwun follows the team out.

It is here that he witnesses the team murder the "organ grinder's trigger monkey", which results in a merciless beat down of flying gas cans in your face, fists, bloody bits and arguing in equal proportions.

And awesome, with all the sweat and blood and stuff. Kwun get's angry that they're using dirty tactics to fight crime. They point out that he nearly killed a man thus justifying their right to do illegal things to bring illegal behaviors to justice.

Wait! 2+9...+14...carry the one... divide by the square root...
(Yeah. We don't really understand the philosophical math on this one either.)

So, back at the office hundreds of young Wong Po punks show up stating that they are the killer, causing a near riot in the precinct. Kwun whiggs out and shouts to book them all and take their statements. Then, in the upper room the team, INCLUDING Kwun now discuss what they're going to do... They decide to head out and quickly arrest Wong Po who is celebrating the one month birthday of his actual child who has been born for real this time. And, let's be honest here. A beat down involving BOTH Donnie Yen AND Sammo Hung is going to be epic EVERY time. Except this time there is a stuffed pink panther involved, flying, punching, kicking, Donnie Yen laying down the "WAHPUTCHA WAHPUTCHA" in leather, some busted up furniture, and multiple guys needed to finally restrain Wong Po after they thoroughly re-arrange the lounge area of the department store in a fraternity party style manner.

Bloody Mess... 
and we're moving on.

Ok. Now, there has been a lot of back story here in the first half of the movie. However, the rest of the movie just completely flies by with the kicking, punching, Whaputcha's, spooty blood, etc. So, buckle in and be prepared to move at top speed here...

So, they go harass Wong Po down in his jail cell, trying to intimidate him into "confessing his crime". Great idea, right? Pfffft...  This is where Wong Po tells them that they'll never leave the station alive and they won't live to see morning. Nice move guys...

By now you've naturally figured out that the team has half screwed up, half jeopordized their employment status, and has completely guilted and dragged Kwun into their swirling whirlpool of lies, deception, and "two rights makes a wrong" situation. As a group they realize that they are still short on evidence and need to lie more to make the lies they've been telling MORE true so that Wong Po will be convicted.  Insp. Chun heads down to the evidence room to confiscate the bullet pulled off of the dead undercover guy. The youngest member of the team arranges to purchase a gun of the exact same model that was used so that they can fire off another round, replace the evidence, and then place the gun in Wong Po's penthouse. Angry guy and the "fourth Beatle"sit around, smoke, and drink coffee, waiting for the other foot to fall.
Hands in the center

While in the evidence room, Chun develops a nose bleed and passes out. Pesky brain tumor! So, smuggling the bullet out ain't happening.
Wong Po: 1
Special Ops: 0

The young officer and Kwun head out to the pickup point. There's a sort of "shirt vs. skin" style soccer match going on... in the parking ramp. (... and yes. Our minds were a-whirl with all sorts of questions here) There are geeky girls dancing in the corner with a HUGE 1980's boom box. All is well on this typical night of late teens hooliganism. The gun arrives, the price has changed. The guys lack the monetary clams to cover it, so Kwun heads back to the station to get more money, leaving "young guy" all alone. Everything should be ok, right? (slaps head)

Not too soon after everyone runs out of the parking garage, leaving the young officer all alone. Well, wait. OK. He's not entirely alone. Remember that bad guy dressed in white at the beginning of the movie? Yeah. He's there. He goes by "Jack", and he unleashes the bloodiest, most brutal thrashing in all of murderdom.

Kwun arrives just before his death and is unable to stop the perpetrator of the hanous slicery, which pisses him off. And, if you recall from the "I will punch your brains through your head" montage earlier in the film, you know that you DON'T want Kwun pissed off. You will die.

So, now the tampering with evidence plan is out.

Wong Po: 2
Special Ops: 0

Wong Po sends his guys out and retrieves the extra video tape, and they ask nicely, thus proving Wong Po's innocence, though his generalized golf club douchebaggery is apparent. He is released from jail and you can BET that it's going to be a no holds barred payback of epic epicness, because this is Sammo Hung, and he's playing a bad guy.

Wong Po: 3
Special Ops: 0

This is looking bleak.

The "fourth Beatle" frets over the fact that his daughter is leaving "tonight" and that he doesn't know when he'll see her again. It is imperative that he get out, but he's also afraid of dying. WHAT TO DO!!! So, he and "Angry Guy" go out together... because after all there is safety in numbers. They meet the daughter, and while "Angry Guy" looks on at the loving scene, he realizes that he really ought to call home and check up on his "Angry Dad".

Turns out his Dad died three months back. Crushed, he hangs up the phone... and is promptly stabbed to stabby, bloody death by "Jack". And then, he runs up on the "Fourth Beatle" and murders him in a hanously pokey in the back fashion just as his daughter is walking away. Kwun happens upon the scene just in time to close "Angry Man's" throat up and hear the crime confession of a lifetime. And, this death scene is UTTERLY epic in a truly believable struggling to breath and fighting death the end sort of way. It is here that Kwun finds out about the hot money in the trunk, why Wong Po is as pissed off as he is, and the realization of the F-dom that they are in becomes apparent.

Kwun heads back to the precinct to confront Chan...

Back at the precinct, the duplicate tape is delivered, Wong Po is released, and the "man hunt" is ON for Chan and his posse. Chan pulls a "Ninja Cop" move in an attempt to get out of the precinct, but gets cornered in the mens room.

When they finally catch up to one another, Chan is SHOCKED to learn of the hidden money. Really and sincerely shocked! He and Kwun have a conversation about being cops, and then determine that the best course of action is to return the money and apologize for the situation. But, of course Chan couldn't agree to just that. No, no, no, no... he pulls a "fingers crossed behind the back" move and takes a fake bag to Wong Po's penthouse, where upon he pulls out a gun hoping to snuff out everyone and end this ridiculousness once and for all! But... Jack's in the room, and therefore squat gets accomplished.

When Kwun finds out that Chan left without him AND left the money behind, he gets pissed off and heads out to "fix" the situation. The Chief tries to stop him, there is an outburst, Kwun resigns, placing his gun and badge on top of a car. And, for those of you who are familiar with Donnie Yen's work... when you've got fists THAT lethal, a gun is just another accessory that matches your wardrobe.

Kwun arrives at the penthouse and heads to the alley entrance, where he is met by "Jack". And, what happens here is one of the most glorious, deliciously brutal, punchy McWhip fest I think I have EVER withnessed. Words can't really describe the brilliance of the choreography, staging, fighting skills, blood budget, etc that went into this.

But, "Jack" dies, Kwun awesome leather jacket is ruined, and he still has to get the money to its destination.

And, this next scene is one I will remember forever as MJ loudly proclaims "Oh.. HELLO Donnie Yen" when she saw it for the first time. And, to be perfectly honest, you are likely to do the same thing. Within mere seconds, two of our top favorite martial arts guys are brutalizing each other... and it's amazing. You're in awe. Sammo Hung throws down hard, Donnie Yen convinces us that you can in fact fight MMA style in dockers and still be bada$$. And, MJ personally adores the broken bottles bit. It's her favorite and she "squees" each time.

...and in the end you find yourself saying:


...But we can't give you the details because you REALLY need to experience this one on your own! So, hustle your bustle and get this bad boy rented for Friday night. You won't regret it!


The Mavens

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fatal Contact - A Brutal Encounter...WITH MATH!!

Ok. We're not going to lie to you. When it came to this week's review, we spent months looking for this film, and then weeks in anticipation waiting to watch it and write our review. And, yes folks. It's true. We finally got around to watching "Fatal Contact", starring "Oh, that guy" (Jacky Wu) and "Ooooh, THAT guy!!!" (Xing Yu) in an underground fightclub punch fest for dollars... in multiples of $1,250.

So, get out your calculators and prepare to follow along as we provide this week's review.

"Fatal Contact" is a 2006 release written and directed by Dennis Law (Election, Vampire Warriors, etc). And, Kelly had to be up front here right in the beginning... the sweetness and moment of innocence in this film are such that she had to turn on Owl City just to write the blog nice enough in order to catch that spirit. (No joke Adam. Kelly needed that feel good stuff pumping through her headphones.)

OK... The whole film opens on a scene of a Chinese circus where we find the amazing Jackie Wu (Kong) performing various bits, and finishing with a simply amazing poi routine. His athleticism is in fact amazing, and if we see this type of performance in 30% of the rest of the film, we are in for a serious treat. He is approached by a very Sweaty man and his crew. These greaseballs have been in the audience the whole time, scheming as to how they will get Kong (Wu) to get involved in underground fighting. What dirtbags!

Kong, being a naturally shy and honorable young man turns them down, stating that it is an illegal practice that would get him kicked off the national Kung Fu team. And that folks WOULD be a crying shame. Of course, the men go away rather disgusted by this, as they naturally had a lot of money to make off of him. But alas, screw you greaseballs. Go home and leave our temple of art in peace... Not pieces.

Now, while all of this is happening there are two men hanging around outside waiting for their gangster bosses to come out. While neither of these men appear to be rocket scientists, one is obviously a half wit while the other a "strung out" mooch. This is Captain, and we soon learn that we need to keep a close eye on him.  Within seconds he performs a kung fu trick of pencil snapping coolness that defies logic, followed closely by a coin crushing technique... All for a few cigarettes. Cigarettes??? 

It is here that we learn that the gangsters were willing to pay out $2500 if Kong wins, and $1250 if he loses. Now, this offer would be really tempting as this is waaaaay more money that Kong has ever had. However, honor precedes glory. (swoon)

So, the circus folks all pack up and being to walk home from the theatre where they are performing. Now, it doesn't take long for us to realize that the super sweet, innocent, honor bound Kong has a crush on Tin, one of the costume girls from the circus. There is brief discussion about the circus moving on and Kong leaving it for more work, or having to face going back home to his village. 

Now, as they approach the apartment, Ada (girl #2) runs to  meet her super secret boyfriend who seems slightly greasy. But hey, this is Hong Kong and it gets hot there. Don't judge.

Kong proceeds to the rooftop where we witness an explosive display of Kung Fu finery. He absolutely destroys a punching bag and ends up having neighbors start throwing crap at him, complaining about how noisy he is... Blah blah blah. As he and Tin sit together and share an apple (OH FOR THE LOVE OF CUTENESS!!!), they have a discussion about his skills and complain about the people of Hong Kong thinking they are superior to everyone else.

"Why live in such a shitty place 
if you're so great!?!?"

(Yeah... We laughed out loud too!)

SO, the dinner date and Kong blushes. AND... have we mentioned how unbelievably sweet and cute and innocent Kong (Wu) is? Because he is in an entirely adorable way.

Now, Tin and Ada have a one on one conversation about the super secret boyfriend, future plans, hot pot, and how no one is waiting to sit around and take care of them. And, in all of this you get a sneaking suspicion that there is a multi-layered cake of mistrust,  manipulation, , and a series of bad decision making abilities. Note this and tuck it away for later.

Kong arrives for the dinner date, and he and Tin head off to share a two for one hot pot. And no. That's not a euphemism for something else. They talk about how if Kong fought for the gangsters, he'd make more in one night that he does in a month. This would allow him to stay in Hong Kong with her. And, despite her attempts to try and negotiate and convince him that he'd be entirely off the radar and no one would find out, thus jeopardizing his place on the national Kung Fu team... he sticks to his morals and says "no", because it is wrong and illegal.


So, Tin has a two for one coupon... which she forgets to read the fine print on and ends up making a HUGE scene in the restaurant. Being ENTIRELY embarrassed and adorably honorable, Kong pays the bill and drags the feisty Tin out of the restaurant. Once again, she asks Kong why he chose not to fight, despite the fact that it would solve his financial woes. Aaaaaand, it is here at 15:25 into the film that you start to get a feeling that Tin is somehow playing a hidden hand in this fighting/gambling circuit. Why? Because her verbal Kung Fu skills pack a whollop, aaaaaaand... KAPOW!!! Tin presents the a business card that she "just so happens" to have gotten from the gangsters, presenting it to Kong like this was part of some high stakes magic trick... or is it???

"Without money, you are nothing. It's true."

Which brings us to ask... do gangsters even carry business cards? And if so, what do they read? 1-800-Dial-a-Thug?
(scratches head)

The two head off to the warehouse to check out the dealio, perhaps throw down, and play the odds at winning cash and prizes in the amount of $1,250. Outside the not-so-secret warehouse site, they run into Cap't who is doing more tricks for smokes. Now, they don't hit it off too well as Cap't is a little bit of a loose cannon and "off" character who is constantly trying to leverage people for cash and smokes.


They meet with the main fight coordinator. He sets up the first fight between Kong and some clown in a yellow shirt. And really, I think that shirt is just a symbol as to who is going to absolutely die in this fight, just like in Star Trek. Why? Because in just two ass-kickery Kong destroys the opponents face, passes go, and collects $2,000. Wait, I thought it was supposed to be $1,250. (Pulls out calculator, cause this is some weird math.)

But, that is neither here nor there, so let's move on... and be sure to take out your calculator. Because things are about to get mathematically messy from here on out!

Arrangements are then made for him to come back and fight next week, to which he agrees and accepts living arrangements as generously provided by "The Gang". Our good old buddy Cap't is instructed to take Kong and Tin to the gangsters "place", which is actually a hollowed out warehouse space with correctional facility beds. Not very "POSH" for gangsters. (scratches head) Cap't has hoarded the money he was given to purchase provisions, a ridiculous verbal exchange takes place between Tin and Cap't regarding the cost of soup and dirty towels.

Now, we soon find ourselves back that the "OTHER" warehouse owned by the gang to witness a poorly attended and fairly sad looking fight. Enter Mr. Slick-In-A-Blue-Suit (aka Rock, or Fai depending on which translation you see) who arrives and starts making bets on the "Mainland Guy" (aka Kong). It's obvious that he's got some serious "clams" in his wallet as he starts by betting $10k ($1,250 x 8) on a win, and then he ups the ante by throwing in an additional $5k ($1,250 x 4) for a KO and $20k ($1,250 x 16) for  3 minute KO.

(Scratch the four, carry the one, 4 & 9 is 13...)

This is a pretty tough match. However, within 9 moves Kong re-arranges his face with his knee. Impressed by this display, "Fai" belittles and then manipulates the mob boss into using Kong to get into the "Big Time", earning triple what he earned on that night's gambling.

($90k x 3 = 270,000/$1,250 = 216 over initial pay to Kong)

Now, if you're thinking that perhaps these men should have consulted Kong as to whether or not he was going to agree to this, you're right. However, Kong has now placed both feet into the underground fight arena and, let's be honest, there is no going back for him. He's been owned by the gangsters and Tin. Their hooks are in him and there is just no way out.

But we digress once again! 

SO, Kong shows up at the "hideout"and offers to take Tin and Cap't out to dinner with his recent earnings, because he's good people like that. While there they notice that Ada, who is seated a few tables away, has been snookered into prostitution by her beloved mystery boyfriend.


Her boyfriend... err... I mean pimp publicly declares that she'll do anything for money, even the freaky stuff. Ada gets up, walks past Tin, and then exits. And, as MOST girls know, that's secret code for "follow me", because Tin quickly gets up and follows her out the back of the restaurant where they get into a pretty heavy discussion. It is here that Tin lays out her "12 point plan" for escaping her pimp and getting out of trouble.

 Of course, the pimp comes out and breaks things up and promptly hits on Tin. But, before any time passes, Tin flies out the door and roughs up the pimp and then Cap't comes out, creating a relatively humorous window of escape for them all. 

So there the three of them are, hungry, tired, and walking back home through a subway access point. Cap't starts suggesting super lame names for their justice/fighting triad, and they turn the corner to find...


The pimp and his brutes are waiting in the subway access hallway with bats and such. And, you would imagine that things MIGHT go badly. However, it quickly turns into a super-sized subway fight supreme. Turns out cap't is a kung fu genius... Though he denies it entirely.

So, do they ever get dinner? Did they go to bed hungry? Did the bad guys catch up with them??

That girl that blends into the chairs?
Yeah, she's carrying a load of guns.

We have no idea because at the start of the next scene it is STILL night, they are still in the same clothes and they are now arriving at  Mr. Slick-In-A-Blue-Suit's international house of haphazard chair placement. SERIOUSLY bad feng-shui there!

Now, much like the yellow shirt guy in the first fight, this disorganized chair theme is a solid indication that something super bad will happen... And yup, there it is. Poorly dressed Urban Hong Kong cowboy arrives, complete with quasi snake skin jacket, cowboy boots, and a terribly bent up cowboy hat. It's a visual atrocity that really speaks louder than words.

Anyway! He's pissed because Mr. Slick-Now-In-A-Red-Suit has diversified his personal gambling racket and cut the urban cowboy out of the equation. Naturally, this spells trouble.

MAN, with all this hype you'd think that this is going to be one serious beat down brawl. So, FIGHT ON!!!! And... Kong FTW in 3 minutes with the kicky legs of doom. His value? Side bet of $250k. But wait! That's not all. Realizing his skill, and entirely NOT keen on losing money, Senior Urban Cowboy and Mr. Slick-In-A-Red-Suit challenge each other via a HUGE bet that Kong can/can't defeat the best fighter in the room (Cue Conan the Barbarian). And, of course this turns into a financial pissing match that never factors Kong's feelings into the equation. But, then again there is not a numeric value that is a multiple of $1,250 that can be ascribed to his feelings...


So, Kong's "manager" saunters on over to where he is seated and tells him that he's got another fight. Not, "we'd like to you fight again" OR "You could earn a bit more with a second fight"...  Of course, Tin sees an opportunity here and agrees to let him fight for 10 times the initial offering. Angry over this, the manager walks back to Mr. Slick-In-A-Red-Suit to lay out the terms. To this, Mr. Slick-In-A-Red-Suit wanders back over to Kong and agrees to pay out $12,500... but ONLY if he wins.

Yeah, I'd make that face too if I were making $12,500!
OK. "Fighters, BEGIN!" says the announcer wearing the wireless headset... HEY WAIT!!! Where was he for the first fight? And WHY would they need an announcer and a PA for such a small, poorly room?

ANYWAY Conan rises to the challenge in all of his cheap, 13th century leather Viking finery, acting the part of "tough guy". And, now keep in mind, that though this guy IS bigger, and uglier, he has terrible maneuvering and skill. Kong rises out of his chair with a smile and as he enters the circle to start the fight, Mr. Viking Pleather-vest takes a cheap shot to his back.

Seriously, dude?
You ARE as stupid as your wardrobe!

Kong immediately jacks him in the face, which is
resplendent in ways that words cannot aptly describe,  and a two minute metal montage of fighting is on! The whole thing ends with a beautifully landed kick to the face and the destruction of a crappy table that really needed to be tossed out anyway. KONG FOR THE WIN!!!

Naturally, Urban Cowboy is pretty miffed about losing this fight as he totally thought Conan was a sure thing. And, of course Mr. Slick-In-A-Red-Suit can't resist generalized, taunting, jackassery... thus leading to a bigger, no-holds-barred fight to take place in one month. Three on three, with Kong leading the "red team". And, of  course, there hasn't been any discussion, agreement, or otherwise from Kong... as per usual. Only when they pay out his $12,500 do they inform him that he will now earn $20k (16 x $1,250) for each win, ZERO if he loses.

You're asking him to put his assets on the line for potentially nothing??? That's out right criminal! 

OH... wait. Yeah. These guys are criminals. We clarified that within the first 10 minutes of the film.

Now, we don't really know Kong's reaction in the immediate "now", as we are pushed out into the hallway where Mr. Slick-In-A-Red-Suit tells the bookie/manager that he needs to be reminded to insure Kong for this fight... which doesn't make a whole lot of sense as this is an illegal fight, right? (scratches head) But hey, whatever.

As per usual, Kong and Tin head out for a bite to eat after the match. And, just as things are getting adorable between Kong and Tin, Cap't shows up on the scene and weasels his way into a free meal. Aaaand, it is here that he critiques Kong's fighting style. To prove his point, a comedic lid borrowing scene takes place. Once acquired, Cap't has Kong make with the punches and kicks to the lids in the middle of the restaurant. And, it is here that Cap't proves that, though his technique is flawless, he lacks necessary "mean-ness".

Street fight comes, prostitute arrives, it becomes apparent that girl 1 is OBVIOUSLY a manipulator! Dramatic palette jumping entrance. FIGHT ON!!! Kong squad vs. the Wookie and his freaks. We've got bear hugs, and flying kicks, and dirty fighting with nails hidden in gloves, and... and... Well, the total  carnage is as follows:

 Five demolished palettes
Punches/kicks to the Nuts
A white track suit via Shiv/nail in shoe and glove
(Bad call on the track suit Kong)

Release the inner Bruce Lee


Kong FTW - $75,000

The fight ends, the cash is handed out, and then Cap't cracks out his handy travel acupuncture  kit to speed in Kong's healing. Then back at the "lair", Kong expresses his appreciation and interest in Girl 1 (Tin) and honestly, this is about the most adorable scene ever. And, if you didn't just absolutely LOVE Jackie Wu before, this scene will absolutely make you fall in love with him. Seriously. 

OK. So, Kong has been booked into a series of matches to the death via punching and kicking to the face repeatedly. With each booked match, the monetary multiples start flying. $65,000...

IF Kong wins he'll get $250,000 which is likely more than his sweet mainland self has ever seen. But if he loses, he'll still make $12,500 or so... which is STILL likely more than his sweet mainland self has ever seen. They assign a coach to him, but his technique is still static and formulaic. Not fluid and deadly. Well, according to Cap't anyway. So, Kong decided to start training with Cap't in exchange for a promise of $12,500 paid out. MORE than eager to oblige for money, this sets off a hilarious Three Stooges training montage not to be missed.

Aaaaahhh... good times.

Oooh, ok. SO. The big fight comes up. What are we at... $2,375,000? Ada meets up with Tin and wants to thank her for all of her help, support and advice. And, rather than smile, hug, give high fives, etc... Tin chooses to insult Ada, despite that fact that she did everything she was told to do.

I... Errrr... wha? WHO'S SIDE ARE YOU ON TIN!??!?
And this is where we really begin to feels as though Tin is a psychotic, self-serving jerk-face!

Now, rather than start a cat fight in the bathroom, she handles it with dignity and poise, and here we find out that Tin's father was a neglectful jackass that left her and her mother penniless. So, essentially Tin is "damaged goods", which just sort of paves the way for her and her lame behavior for the rest of he film. 

Alright, it's fight time. In the left corner we have Kong, and in the right corner we have... WHOA! THAT GUY!!! This is going to be totally... WTH!!! That only lasted 3 minutes and all we got was:

2 broken tables

That could have been way more brutal. But, we love these two guys... so we choose to forgive.

Now, NATURALLY pissed off over the loss, the aforementioned Urban Cowboy pays a little visit to THAT GUY who is presently bent, bloody, and broken from the sweet fists of Kong. And of course by "visits", we mean "kills". Dead. Kaput. FIN. Not cool Mr. Cowboy!

OK. SO, what is this all leading up to? The big mega fight. There's a lot of money on the line here. Mr. Cowboy and his "people" have brought in a street fighter to take down Kong. But, Kong's ready to throw down. He's ready to train hard and go for the gold. Rise as the underground street fighting champion of all time. ALL TIIIME!!!

But, his "handler" has a different idea in mind. He has decided to side with Mr. Cowboy and make a killing off of all the poor suckers betting on Kong. What does this mean? He has instructed Kong to throw the fight and lose. They'll all make a fortune.

NOW, just in case you have forgotten the beginning of the film at this point, Kong never wanted to get into the fighting scene. He felt it to be dishonest, lacking honor, and illegal. But now, he finds himself caught up in a sticky world of fighting, money, lies, and broken crunchy bone  bits. A far cry from where he started, and waaaaaay beyond his ability to just walk away.

The night of the fight comes. The action is fairly brutal. Kong takes one for the team, but doesn't mind as he is able to take his money, his honey (Tin), and leave the fighting circuit. However, Tin is EXTREMELY bothered by his sweet, loving, optimism.


BAAAH! I don't think I can tell you because then that would be an entire spoiler and pretty much ruin your chances of ever wanting to rent this movie!!! (sigh) Needless to say, the ending is in fact epic. And we mean jaw hitting the floor epic. Holy crap did that really just happen epic. No calculator could ever possibly make that make sense epic.

So the ending is interesting enough, and the film definitely has its humorous and impressive moments, but to be honest, it wasn't entirely what we expected it to be. We kept waiting... and expecting... and waiting... but most scenes just seemed to fall flat. Except for the ending, which increases the epic factor by about 80% for around 30 seconds. So we say rent it, but don't except a Jet Li masterpiece. And perhaps pull out your old TI-83 from College Algebra, because we assure you, the 'fun with factors' portions of the film will make the entire experience more enjoyable.

Join us again next week, when we find out what happens when foam pizza falls into the wrong hands.

~The Mavens

Friday, August 3, 2012

SuperCop - aka, Why Jackie Chan cannot be insured...

There are moments in each of our lives where the answers to our questions are so blaringly clear that they cannot be confused. Like, is the sun bright? Is that bright red burner on the stove hot? Is the fact that Jackie Chan just jumped off that building the reason why he is very difficult to insure?

The answers to these questions are a resounding yes. And we proved the last question this past week when we watched "Supercop", starring Jackie Chan.

Now, if you are unfamiliar with Mr. Chan's work, let us just tell you that this movie involves some sweet martial arts... and moments of ridiculous comedy bordering on the likes of the great American classics like "Laurel & Hardy", and "The Three Stooges". And, if you have no idea who those comedy acts are... (dude), get yourself on YouTube and educate yourself.


Here is a little background on our movie, just so we're official. Supercop, aka Ging Chat goo si2: Chiu kup ging chat, is a 1992 release directed by Stanley Tong (SuperCop2, Rumble in the Bronx, China Strike Force, etc), and is written by Edward Tang (Legend of Drunken Master, Rumble in the Bronx, etc), Fibe Ma (Rumble in the Bronx, Mr. Niceguy), and Lee Wai Yee. It stars Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh (YAY!!), Wa Yuen, and a whole bunch of other people. And, if it seems as though we am glossing those folks over... We are, because we want to talk about the movie.

Our film starts with some seriously crazy graphic novel, Bruce Lee in "Chinese Connection" style credits, complete with soundtrack as written by Joel McNeely. Jackie Chan rolls onto the scene clad head to toe in acid washed denim, and riding on a monster Yamaha that seems to be emitting the sound of a sooped up dirt bike.

But that is neither here nor there.

SO... He walks into police headquarters to overhear the Inspector Wong and Inspector Chen having a rather loud conversation about the troubles they are having with a recent string of crimes and how they need a "Supercop". Of course, the two men know that Kevin (Chan) is outside the room eavesdropping, so they attempt to make the job really enticing in order to lure him in. Aaaaannnd... it works. In two shakes of a rabbits tail, Kevin is now a "Supercop" and is off on a super secret covert mission which he must keep from his girlfriend "May", which he sucks at entirely.

As he arrives at the station to take off on said mission, he and his girlfriend arrive in their generic model asian economy car with Gangsta rap blaring out the windows.

I... uh... buwhaaa???

HEY! Who wrote this soundtrack??? Oh, wait. Yeah. That would be Joel McNeely.

Joel, Joel, Joel... (tsk, tsk) Do you really think Kevin listens to gangsta rap? He's a cop... decked in denim... driving what appears to be a WHITE, economy class Hyundai. 

Fortunately for Mr. McNeely, Supercop was his FIRST film score... so we'll cut him some slack. But just a little. Because scorn is sort of funny when it has a great punchline attached.

OK. So, Kevin is now transported to the new headquarters where he will be working. He is greeted by several upper level police officers that resemble a Moa-esque triad... and Chief Yang, played by Michelle Yeoh (Haaaay... HOooo). She runs Kevin through his new secret identity (A fabric mill owner turned prisoner as a result of some random, undefined crime... according to our translation of the film). And, just as he sucked at lying to his girlfriend, he sucks as learning this secret identity stuff. Frustrated with his lame performance, Chief Yang takes him to an insanely ridiculous photo shoot, and then exercise yard (aka training facilities) to meet a few of the officers on staff, where it is apparent that she intends to make an "ass" of him. This results in a pretty explosive, and entirely hilarious display of Kung Fu shennanigans that ends with Kevin attempting to escape conflict and responsibility, and thus ending up hanging upside down in a tree.  (Classic Jackie Chan, and we're only 17 minutes into the film!) And honestly, it is here that you realize:

1) Jackie Chan's sheer athleticism is AWESOME
2) He has a deep comedic capacity
3) He is TOTALLY un-insurable!!! 

...and again, we're only 17 minutes into the the film here.

SO, moving right along... Kevin is now given his orders and is dumped into the Hsaokuan Prison Camp in order to free "Panther" under false pretense... he in his crisp, clean prison clothes NATURALLY fitting in with all the other filthy coal digging prisoners. (We're surprised that he didn't get "figured out" at this point)

Here is where this becomes a complex storyline. 
So, just do your best to keep pace with our A.D.D. storytelling style.

Several delivery trucks arrive on the scene. They are here to smuggle out "Panther" as well. It's a race to see who can get him out first. The bad guys, OR the good-bad-guys? After a bollocksed escape attempt with the punching and the stabbing and the poking, Kevin grabs "Panther", makes a run for it down a corridor, up THE MOST ridiculously steep hill, complete with hilarious prop comedy bits, only to find that the bridge they are supposed to cross is actually a 2 mile long, several hundred feet high, zip-line with a tiny basket attached.

And again, it is made ENTIRELY clear as to why Mr. Chan cannot get insurance.

The escaped convicts manage to make it safely to the other side, Kevin baits "Panther" with a story of getting paid to spring him out of jail, "Panther" falls for it and then offers him WAAAY more than Kevin's original offer if he will escort him back to Hong Kong. Because this is all part of the "Supercop" master plan, Kevin agrees and the two head off to a super secret hideout... in the middle of a village... in raincoats. (Wait, where did these raincoats come from??? Hrrrmmm...)

Upon arrival, Panther is welcomed in and Kevin gets a gun to the face, which he quickly procures with a punch and twist. (He makes it look so easy!) And, we are suddenly "introduced" to Panther's gang of 6-7 men. Immediately he starts interrogating his men as to who sold him out. And, within mere seconds he shoots the guy in the blue windbreaker... and to be honest he had it coming. He'd have stood out like a sore thumb and busted them all with his clown-like fashion sense and bad hair. So, BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD... and the gang all decides to head off to Kevin's supposed home town of WuHan (sp) to hide out with his family.


Do you remember us telling you that Kevin sort of blew it with memorizing the details of his secret identity? Yeah... right about now would be a good time for him to be familiar with those details. Especially helpful as the men all arrive in WuHan and ask for directions to his house, of which he cannot provide and is beginning to look suspicious. THANK GOD that kid that Chief Yang sent arrived to bail him out!!! He leads the men to a rice paddy, and "Auntie" takes all the men to Kevin's house where they are greeted by his "mother", as played by Inspector Wong. Then his "sister", as played by Chief Yang, comes in. There is a ridiculous scene regarding the costumed Inspector Wong, Chief Yang, Panther, some money, and his gang that plays out and results in them escaping the house and eating "roast cat" in a local restaurant. 

Now, while out at the local restaurant some new police recruits get suspicious and think that they recognize Panther and his gang. How? I'm not entirely sure as the internet wasn't really in full swing in Communist China, and I doubt they had fax lines in the village of WuHan... but we may just be speculating here.

Either way, Chief Yang tries to diffuse the situation with her credentials, but without her badge she has no proof and a ruckus ensues. A RUCKUS I TELL YOU!!! With the punching, and flying chairs, and flipping people, and a sweet Michelle Yeoh style beat down... and Kevin throwing a can of chopsticks. Yes. The most powerful fists in 1990's Kung fu throwing a can of chopsticks like a sissy. The comedic style literally caused me (Kelly) to snort out loud despite the fact that I've seen this movie 10+ times. It's the classics that really get me... (wipes away a tear)

The whole thing ends with a fake Police shooting and a crazy rooftop escape scene resulting in both Kevin and "Hannah" (Michelle's Yeoh's alter ego) joining forces with Panther and heading off to Hong Kong via a totally crazy boat chase.

Suddenly, we arrive to a swank pool party via helicopter (where does one hail a helicopter in rural China??), only to find senior bad-guy crime boss indoors, missing the party, and playing Tetris on the original NES... which brings about an eruption of commentary from The Mavens. But this blog is about movies and not video game system inaccuracies.

Uhhh... crap.

Wanting to test Kevin and his "sister-Hannah", Senior Bad-Guy tells his lackies to shoot them. But, Kevin isn't fooled. He disables his lackie invader, makes a bold statement about the B.S. surrounding the whole situation, and then storms out. When questioned, he tells "Hannah" that the gun wasn't loaded. Of course, this show of out-right balls-ery gets him into the close and personal good graces of Senior Tetris Playing Bad-Guy.

So, of course this whole "thing" is about drugs. Isn't that what these movies are always about? It turns out Senior Bad-Guy (henceforth SBG) is deep in debt to a team of fellow drug lords and can't pay them because his wife is incarcerated in Malaysia and is the only one who knows the codes to their Swiss bank account for Mr. Boss Man to access the money.

Got all that? 

When expected to show up at a "business meeting" in Thailand with said drug lords, SBG straps "Hannah" with a kevlar vest that secretly contains dynamite and then posts Kevin and a few lackies outside for cover, and heads inside. Things obviously don't go well when he says he doesn't have the money, the situation quickly escalates, and things start exploding. And by exploding, we mean bazookas, dynamite, gunfire, mass chaos, crotch-kicking... and I'm pretty sure we saw the same guard tower explode twice. And it still manages to be funny, because it IS Jackie Chan after all. The good stuff starts at 0:30.

Once all the explodey bits are done, SBG tells the Phillipino leader of the drug lords (PhSBG) that he will buy all of the heroine... once he gets his money out of Switzerland. And PhSBG doesn't have much option but to accept the offer, as there are about a million tons of firepower pointed at his head... and all of his other buyers are dead. Kevin and "Hannah" are a little irritated about being used as human shields/bombs/etc, but are kind of stuck with their situation as well, and so everyone gets onto a helicopter and flies off to go figure out SBG's banking issues.

Boy, we wish someone would get on a helicopter and figure out OUR banking issues. A helicopter isn't even really required. Someone please just explain this crap to us. 

Ok. So, in the meantime, SBG's wife is hanging out in prison, waiting for her death sentence, refusing to give anyone but her husband the code for the bank accounts. With this in mind, SBG loads everyone on a plane a ships them off to Malaysia to stake-out the courthouse for what will be an epic attempt to spring her out of there, because he loves her so dearly. And, you know... those Swiss bank codes.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Banana Chan!

So everyone's been magically transferred via scene change to Malaysia, where Kevin is for some reason hanging out at a resort hotel waiting for the action to unfold. Unbeknownst to Kevin, his girlfriend is chilling at the same hotel spending some quality time with her besties. Now... I'm all for comedy bits in my kung fu flicks, especially when Jackie Chan is involved, but if there's one thing that annoys me (MJ)... it's ironic humor. So I'll spare us all the gory details and just say that Kevin and May run into one another, giant misunderstanding ensues, and when Kevin does finally manage to pull May aside and explain, she 2 minutes later completely blows his cover to the already suspicious Panther AND manages to get herself kidnapped to boot.

Annoying bit out of the way. Let's get to some action.

So then Kevin, inexplicably dressed in a bright yellow track suit, is forced (along with Michelle Yeoh) to risk life and limb to rescue Mrs. SBG. They succeed, and try to trade her for May (also dressed in a bewildering fashion, wearing much nicer clothes than those she was kidnapped in...), who is flown down via helicopter to about 15 feet above the ground and pushed, distracting Kevin so Mrs. SBG can jump into a passing van and flee.

They took her and outfitted her in a blazer that matches her shoes?
Now, I personally would give up at this point and go home. You got May back, she's wearing better clothes, this whole ordeal has been a giant pain in the ass at this point, AAAAAaaaand they've got you dressed like a banana... but I guess you started a mission and you have to finish it, right? Right, because you're Jackie Chan. Ok, I'm with you. So how do you make it worth your while? Well, that's obvious. You ensure that you are able to steal an adorable tiny red convertible as your pursuit vehicle.

Ok, final giant action sequence summary!

(strap yourselves in for this)

  • Michelle Yeoh hangs off a giant moving vehicle.
  • Jackie and Michelle run up an incredible number of stairs.
  • Helicopter. Yeah, we don't know why that's necessary...
  • ...Except that at some point Jackie Chan hangs off a rope ladder attached to said helicopter as he is dragged across the city, which is pretty badass, and wouldn't be possible if the unnecessary helicopter weren't included.
  • The landing of said helicopter AND a dirt bike jump onto a moving train.
  • And more 'splosions and stuff that cause Jackie Chan's insurance agent to wet himself with worry.

So, the moral of this tale?

Don't lie to your girlfriend about what you do for work, because she will find out while out with her friends and will blow your cover, resulting in a fate worse than getting fired, that will probably in some way involve a helicopter and a 90's chic banana yellow tracksuit.

So don't lie to your girlfriend.

Watch this movie instead.

~The Mavens