REVIEW: Bichunmoo (2000)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
One of South Korea’s most expensive films to date combines dazzling martial arts action with a tragic romance that would do Shakespeare proud, if he were into swordplay sagas of course. BICHUNMOO’s non-linear plot begins when we [...]

REVIEW: Best of the Martial Arts Films, The (1985)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 3 Comments »
This documentary is an entertaining exploration of martial arts film that shows its age. There are plenty of fight scenes taken from some of the best films up to 1985 and it’s actually nice to see some [...]

REVIEW: Best of Shaolin Kung Fu, The (1976)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 1 Comment »
THE BEST OF SHAOLIN KUNG FU sounds like a documentary, but it’s more like a highlight reel of Joseph Kuo films right down to the use of Carter Wong as a villain, the appearance of Shaolin bronze [...]

REVIEW: Belly of the Beast (2003)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 1 Comment »
Having been on the gradual decline since his biggest hit UNDER SIEGE (1992), it comes as a relative shock to see that 11 years later Steven Seagal has managed to pull off an action film nearly as [...]

REVIEW: Bells of Death, The (1968)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 2 Comments »
Chang Cheh had set the tone for the next generation of Chinese swordplay films with ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN and a year later veteran director Griffin Yueh followed closely behind with this Spaghetti Western-like tale of bitter revenge, stoic [...]

REVIEW: Beheaded 1000, The (1994)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 2 Comments »
Owing more to silent-era serial films of fantasy from China than Hong Kong’s early ’90s New Wave, THE BEHEADED 1000 (re-titled THE EXECUTIONER for Image Entertainment’s U.S. DVD release) is a lumbering epic overburdened by a mix [...]

REVIEW: Beautiful Swordswoman (1969)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
If you’re looking for fast-paced or stylish swordplay action you won’t find it in BEAUTIFUL SWORDSWOMAN. What you will find is a routine, familial revenger with tidy, yet simple choreography, heavy dependence on thrown and short, bladed [...]

REVIEW: Battle Wizard, The (1977)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 1 Comment »
In the same year that George Lucas was taking world mythology and audiences to a galaxy far, far away, Shaw Brothers put their spin on Chinese mythology with this highly imaginative and special effects-laden martial arts fantasy. [...]

REVIEW: Battle Creek Brawl (1980)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
As an avid Jackie Chan fan who had yet to see BATTLE CREEK BRAWL, it came as a pleasant surprise to see that his first Hollywood crossover, which had been a box office failure was filled with [...]

REVIEW: Batman Begins (2005)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | 1 Comment »
In BATMAN BEGINS, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer have successfully re-imagined the screen version of Batman by dispensing with the big-budget camp of past features and getting back to the basics of good storytelling. This Batman [...]

REVIEW: Bat without Wings (1980)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
Glam rock arrives in the martial world by way of a Kiss-inspired make-up job on the title character in BAT WITHOUT WINGS, a wuxia pian from director Chu Yuen that’s as classy as the hard-rockin’ ’70s band [...]

REVIEW: Bastard, The (1973)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
Chinese boxing and engaging drama converge in THE BASTARD, a rare and intimate pairing of celebrated Shaw Brothers director Chor Yuan and Yuen Wo-ping in one of his first action directing gigs. Chor’s greatest asset as a [...]

REVIEW: Bare-Footed Kid, The (1993)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
THE BARE-FOOTED KID is a Shaw Brothers co-production and a remake of Chang Cheh’s DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN. With cast members that include Aaron Kwok, Ti Lung and Maggie Cheung, not to mention choreography by Lau Kar-leung, this [...]

REVIEW: Banquet, The (2006)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
THE BANQUET is mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang’s first foray into wuxia territory and a very ambitious one at that. Not content to simply lens another swordsman saga, he chose to adapt William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” into a [...]

REVIEW: Bandits from Shantung (1972)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
Sometimes it’s the simplest of plots that result in the best movies. Take BANDITS FROM SHANTUNG. This Golden Harvest wuxia pian from writer/director Huang Feng is one feature-length reason to carry out bloody and epic swordplay unhindered [...]

REVIEW: Ballistic Kiss (1998)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
Donnie Yen and Bey Logan’s ode to Hong Kong’s dying gunplay genre is a viciously poetic assault on the senses that breaks new ground even as it stumbles over old terrain. Yen plays Cat, a hitman-for-hire who [...]

REVIEW: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

November 8, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
BALLISTIC is the sort of action film I wanted to like. The director’s influences appear to include the Wachowski brothers and Hong Kong filmmakers like John Woo. Effort was made to stylize the action and create a [...]

REVIEW: Azumi (2003)

November 7, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
With the release of AZUMI, exaggerated swordplay action in Japan has a new master and his name is Ryuhei Kitamura. To fully appreciate this director’s epic and stylized manga adaptation, one must know the genre’s history. The [...]

REVIEW: Avenging Fist, The (2001)

November 7, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung are together again onscreen in this sci-fi fighting extravaganza. It contains loads of unrestrained digital effects and lacks originality but THE AVENGING delivers on comic-tinged action. At some point in the future, [...]

REVIEW: Assassin, The (1993)

November 7, 2007 | Posted in Film and TV Reviews by Mark Pollard | No Comments »
THE ASSASSIN is a stylish and bloody film featuring some terrific actors including Mainland Chinese actor Zhang Feng-yi (FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE) and Hong Kong’s Rosamund Kwan in an ambitious, yet dizzying story that may leave viewers frustrated [...]