Cinema-Maniac: Jackie Chan’s Project A (‘A’ gai wak) (1983) Review

Jackie Chan is no doubt the king of action/comedy movies and Project A is a perfect example of the action/comedy genre.

It’s a Jackie Chan movie, so the plot is simple and easy to follow and develops over time. Simply put it Hong Kong troublesome Navy is going up against pirates. The story gets better as the movie progress with a good blend of drama, action, and classic Jackie Chan movie humor in it.

As you can except from any good Jackie Chan movie, the martial arts are well choreographed and fun to watch. It has enough martial art sequences to keep any viewer interest. Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung make a great team in this movie and it’s just magic when they work together.

Project A is a fun action/comedy movie that delivers the action, the drama, and the comedy in a well paced and entertaining movie.

9/10

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Cinema-Maniac: Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010) Review

Donnie Yen second attempt at playing Chen Zhen is much better because he’s not imitating Bruce Lee, but it unfortunate the movie is poorly paced with action sequences that are too quick for full enjoyment.

Donnie Yen no doubt is man of action proven by his Ip Man movies, but when your taking on a legendary character like Che Zhen, who’s a real martial artist, you have to have the right balance of action and drama. The action sequences are well made, but unfortunately short or too fast for our enjoyment. Which is a real shame, I mean the prologue in this movie (one of the best I’ve seen since Goldeneye) gets you excited into watching this and is a real let down when you watch the whole thing.

The story simply put this way, seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher’s death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious stranger arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. That man is a disguised Chen Zhen, who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese. Now while it’s sounds good on paper, execution of it was poor in mu opinion. It could have definitely been better in terms of it story, but there’s enough good moments in the story to keep you entertain.

I have to praise Donnie Yen for learning from his mistake for imitating Bruce Lee in his first portrayal of Chen Zhen. He does a better job in this one not imitating Bruce Lee and feels more like a Donnie Yen movie than a bruceploitation movie.

Overall it’s a okay movie with well done action sequences that are too fast and unevenly pace throughout the movie. If you want a good portrayal of Chen Zhen, I recommend Fist of Legend and The Chinese Connection.

5/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Protector (Tom yum goong) (Warrior King) (2006) Review

Tony Jaa debut in Ong-Bak was absolutely amazing bring a fresh new star in martial arts film and single handily made Thailand action film popular. Unfortunately, Jaa followup to Ong-Bak wasn’t as spectacular.

As with any critic I would give an overall sentence describing the overall story of the movie, but this movie is so bad in story telling there no redeeming value. I blame the editing of this movie which makes the American version of this movie flow uneasily and and most of the acting in this movies doesn’t help much.

Time to talk about the action, one word, average. Yeah that’s right, average mainly due the unspectacular choreography in this movie. Out of all the fight scenes in this movie, only one really stand out and unfortunately it’s a short one. One I personally enjoyed was when Tony Jaa fought against Nathan Jones a second which was entertaining and unbelievable how it was done. Unfortunately what ruin that fight scene was the other villains inference.

The Protector is a disappointing, uneasy, and poorly edited action movie.While it may have tons of fight scenes, whats makes a good action movie is a decent story (or better than average) and great action sequences to be fun and entertaining.

1/10

Cinema-Maniac: Jaws (1975) Review

Jaws came out in the summer of 1975 and is consider the first of a “blockbuster” era in Hollywood. Since then, Jaws has had very few successful imitators in the horror-thriller genre for good reasons.

First, Jaws haunting music adds to the atmosphere making events even more intense. Unlike most films in this genre, Jaws actually uses the music in perfect timing to convey emotion from the audience and add a depth to the movie by doing so.

The plot is simple to understand, it’s about gigantic great white shark beginning to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. Now while this may not sound all that interesting, you’re for even thinking all the talented Steven Spielberg knows how tell a story with the camera. Now having read the book, I have to say I prefer the movie over the book, as Steven Spielberg even said that I found myself rooting for the shark in the book.

The cast is spot on on every level and fits perfectly in their characters. You can’t asked for a better cast when it comes to this movie.

As you can probably tell already, I love this movie. Instead rumbling on how this movie is a masterpiece and how it holds a place in cinema history (there other reviews for that). I’ll say Jaws is still the standard and will always the be high standard of the horror-thriller genre.

10/10

Cinema-Maniac: Crime Story (Zhong an zu) (1993) Review

Jackie Chan is no doubt an icon of his own and is know for his good sense of humor. In Crime Story, Jackie Chan gives us his best dramatic performance ever in a unrecognized classic.

In Crime Story, Chan plays a special agent assigned to protect a wealthy business magnate, but when the businessman is kidnapped in a daring ambush, Chan teams up with a seasoned detective to crack the case…even though he suspects the detective is the crime’s true mastermind! Obviously this make one interesting story as I kept finding myself more and more invested into the movie as the plot developed. Though I think people will be disappointed for the lack of martial arts and a lack of Jackie Chan signature humor in this movie.

I have to say, for the few action sequences it has they sure were memorable. There a car chase, explosion, and Jackie Chan gun fight in building that’s burning shouldn’t disappoint Jackie Chan fans and action fans. Now since this is based around a true crime, I respect the way the film crew handle this story and did a good job of it. While I may not know exactly what happened, it respects the material is base on.

9/10

Cinema-Maniac: Prom Night (2008) Review

Ah, what can I say about Prom Night that hasn’t been said. It’s a watchable movie, that’s both new and 100% false. In what world did these people think they were scary or appealing too when this cliche “horror” movie was made.

What can I say about the awful and non intense story line, nothing interesting about it at all. I’ve seen the Friday the 13Th movies, which i’m force to watch at Halloween parties, even those movies have some redeeming value. Trying to explain why this movie story line was un-suspenseful and boring is like trying to make an Onion cry.

What about the cast, it’s like watching the world slowest train wreck for two hours. They can’t act let alone get our attention. Now I owned the DVD, which I got as a present, and I can tell you the extras are a piece of trash and a watse of your time. Is there any redeeming value, no.

There more, unlike Jaws which masterfully uses the haunting music to keep us in the edge of our seat, the soundtrack usage here gives away any suspense. One thing I complain about horror movie is that there to much blood in that genre, but in Prom Night, my complaint is that there is a lack blood. This movie is the reason why the horror genre is dying slowly and painfully,and unfortunately there many more like this.

Did this even need to be remade, because I never heard anyone talk about the original. In the end, it’s a movie that most likely wouldn’t even be found in a 99 cent store and will forever be lost in obscurity.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Merantau (2009) Review

Merantau is a great martial art film that can easily be compared to the first Ong Bak, in terms of action. The action is kick-ass and it keeps getting better and better. There is plenty of action sequences here to satisfy any action fan, unfortunately the downside is that it has a decent story to tell with bad dialogue. The story really doesn’t developed or gets better in any way, but overall if your in the mood for a good martial art film, you can’t go wrong with Merantau.

8/10

Cinema-Maniac: Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Review

Al Pacino is mostly remembered for his legendary performance in Scarface and The Godfather 1 & 2. His performance in Day Day Afternoon easily ranks up as one of his best performance he has ever given.

When it comes to movie based on true stories, I usually have knowledge on the events in the movie or people their based on. Like Rosewood, I went into this movie not knowing about what happened and being truly blown away by the impact of the movie. While it may be a robbery gone bad movie, Al Pacino performance truly makes us want to learn more about his character and entertains us through the whole movie. Though my only complain is that I felt it lost momentum towards the end, but it wasn’t anything Al Pacino couldn’t handle.

Beside Al Pacino performance being flawless, we forget that we’re watching a movie from how invested you’ll be in this movie. The cast, writers, and director of Dog Day Afternoon deserve recognition for there tremendous accomplishment in this movie. There’s not enough words to describe how much I enjoyed the movie.

Dog Day Afternoon is one of those rare movie that gets everything rights in move. It has anything if not everything you could want from a great Al Pacino movie. I highly recommend this masterpiece for anyone and everyone that watches movie as they will experience a movie words can’t express upon how incredible it is.

10/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Expendables (2010) Review

First to begin with, i’m a huge action fan and I know great action movies when I see them. This is not one of them, unfortunately, I have to blame the cast for this. Most of these actors can’t even speak English properly, especially Dolph Lundgren. Now going into this movie I didn’t expect much from the story, Stallone can’t write a good story let alone write a good action sequence. It’s such a huge let down given the great talent of Stallone, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and even Terry Crew presence were wasted.

I’m not going to be completely harsh on this in terms of action as John Woo classic Hard Boiled and Gareth H. Evan Indonesian martial art movie The Raid (2011) prove America is behind in this category. So why does it have a 40%, because Jet Li and Terry Crew proved they should have been the stars. Jet Li is the only action star in this movie that was both likable and kick-ass at the same time. Even Terry Crew from Everybody Hates Chris was more fun to watch then Stallone fighting Steve Austin, it’s ashamed he’s not in the movie much.

So how was the action, in American standard it was nothing spectacular considering Willis’s in the Die Hard franchise and Stallone’s Rambo franchise. Now if I compared The Expendables to foreign movies it would just be completely unfair, but i’ll do it anyways considering the cast of action stars. My personal favorite Police Story 3: Supercop (or just Supercop in America) was better in terms of action because there was plenty of it and it was all real (except of the death of course). Jackie Chan alone in this classic proves he has more balls than the entire cast of The Expendables as he literally hangs on to a helicopter for several minutes, hundred of feet in the air. Before I start comparing The Expendables to superior movie and start repeating myself how much the action suck, i’ll suggest this if you got some time, but if you want a good action movie I recommend Ip Man 1 & 2, Supercop, Hard Boiled, and The Raid (2011).

4/10

Cinema-Maniac: Fist of Legend (Jing wu ying xiong) (1994) Review

The classic Bruce Lee film, The Chinese Connection (1972), Bruce portrayed the character of Chen Zhen so amazingly that the character had an impact on the media. Since 1972, Chen Zhen has become the subject of numerous films and television series. Of course, no one can out do Bruce Lee legendary performance, but Jet Li comes pretty damn close to doing that.

If you haven’t seen the Chinese Connection (shame on you), here the overall plot without any spoilers. Chen Zhen fights to salvage Jingwu School’s reputation after the death of Huo Yuanjia. There’s more to it, but I don’t want to ruin anything as the story is well paced knowing when to bring in the action scenes (all well done and filmed) and dramatic scene that are actually entertaining unlike many action movies.

I love the hell out of this movie, if you like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, you should check this out. If you don’t like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, for some reason, you should still check this.

10/10