Tag Archives: Martial Arts

Cinema-Maniac: Saat po long (S.P.L.) (Kill Zone)(2005) Review

Saat Po Long is a Martial Film that I’ve heard great things and managed to live it reputation. Unlike The Rebel and Invisible Target, Saat Po Long delivers in both plot and action to make to one great Martial Art film.

Saat Po Long follows a near retired inspector and his unit who are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with a replacement inspector who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss plots a killing spree on them. The plot is dark, gritty, and maintains your interest while no one is fighting on screen. It has enough twists to not only keep the viewer engage with what happening on screen, but also prevents practicability. Although Wilson Yip does have some hiccup when telling a story, often time there are long dialogue scenes and few to little action scenes to fully justify it. While most of the dialogue driven scenes are done well, they do drag out creating an uneven pacing for a film of this genre. One major problem with the movie are the characters, while the cast do a terrific job in their roles the characters aren’t worth caring about much. Some of them simply don’t have enough development while some don’t get enough screen time for their death to have any meaning. When it comes to action on the other hand, Wilson Yip knows what he’s doing making sure the audience could see what’s going on screen. The cast, like I said earlier, are terrific but Sammo Hung steals the show as the movie villain. He truly makes one of most memorable villain in the Martial Art genre while still being able to perform his fight scenes convincingly despite his old age. Donnie Yen is not bad himself and delivers on his fight scene with Sammo Hung.

Saat Po Long may not have memorable characters for the most part, but it does have a great plot and action to satisfy the viewers. Whether you like crime film or Martial Art film Saat Po Long is a movie that successfully combines the two for a great experience.


Cinema-Maniac: Flashpoint (Dao huo xian) (2007) Review

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Donnie Yen in the starring role of movie so I decided to watch one of his more recent efforts. While Donnie Yen once again delivers some great action scenes, the movie story prevents is from being great.

Flash Point is about an agent battling against three brothers of a powerful Vietnamese gang. Alright the story for the movie is poorly done. It lacks depth, character development, and pacing as most of the action is in the last thirty minutes and everything in between is a largely forgettable story. Of course story wasn’t the main focus of the movie, it main focus was in the action.

As for the violence allot of effort when into them and they’re pretty awesome. This movie has one of the best climax for a Martial Art movie, unfortunately you have to endure the lack of a good story. I won’t deny that both Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen make a good team when it comes to violence, drama on the other hand is a big miss here. Donnie Yen proves he’s bad ass, but also proves he’s not able to act when he’s not punching. Wilson Yip has an eye for action, but he doesn’t put in the same effort for telling a story.

Flash Point is a Martial Art movie with great violence, but lacks depth in a story to make it great. If you’re looking for a great Martial Art violence watch this, but skip to the violence as it’s the only part worth watching.


Cinema-Maniac: Ong Bak 3 (2011) Review

After reviewing Ong Bak 3 and seeing how horrible is was, I decided to get the third entry out of the way. I regret watching this with my friend.

Ong Bak 3 picks up where Ong Bak 2 had left off. Tien is captured and almost beaten to death before he is saved and brought back to the Kana Khone villagers. There he is taught meditation and how to deal with his Karma, but very soon his arch rival returns challenging Tien for a final duel, and it’s boring one too. I saw this with one of my friends and he kept asking me what was going, I honestly had no idea myslef as no actual story is told until a hour in. The poorly written story from Ong Bak 2 made Ong Bak 3 even more baffling bad. Why Tony Jaa did you have to write a story that takes a minute to summarize and it takes you a whole hour and a half to tell it. That’s really awful if my summary is simply the whole movie with nothing interesting in between.

The fight scenes are well done, but there is even less. Why Tony Jaa was allowed to write is baffling because the one good fight scene in this movie doesn’t really happened, because somehow Tien rewinds times, and there’s explanation on how he did that. To be honest, I rooting for the villains to kill Tien just so this movie could be over, unfortunately Tien lives and makes us suffer the longer the movie continues.

Now since this was meant to be one movie, I will say it would have sucked even more. Ong Bak 2 had a terrible story, while Ong Bak 3 is a pointless sequel with no story. There some really baffling moments at the climax that will make you laugh like I did. For the nothingness that it’s worth avoid the Ong Bak sequels, stick to the first one.


Cinema-Maniac: Ong Bak 2 (2009) Review

It been a while since I reviewed a Martial Art film so I decided to watch Ong Bak 2 since i’m a big fan of the original movie. Now to be fair, it could have been better than the first one, but it suffers from poor story-telling.

This all I got from the story from Ong Bak 2, a young Thai boxer learns the skills and inner meaning of martial arts. Yup, that’s all I remember from the movie story-line. There’s no good character development for our hero or any of the main characters. The only good part about the story is that it gives you a reason to root for the good-guys, though it just your typical motives and doesn’t give you interesting villains. The movie also does a terrible job for making you care about any of the characters and there boring, it makes you wish they cut out the story parts of the movie and left in the violence, would have been better.

Now the choreography in the first Ong Bak is some of the most spectacular i’ve seen in any Martial Art movie and it was a letdown that the only really good action sequence is at the end of the movie. The good part about the final fight scene in this movie it that it’s about twelve minutes at best with Tony Jaa taking allot of pain, with no dialogue which makes the fight scene fast pace and pleasing to watch. Now this movie wasn’t entirely bad, I mean the cinematography was great (especially whenever you see a Elephant), the crew make good use of most of the location for action sequences, and the mindless violence though not as good as the original is still entertaining.

Ong Bak 2 is a sequel that suffers from a poorly written with great fight scenes that makes enduring the story aspect bearable. If you’re going still planning on watching this, just skip to the action scenes as there the only watchable part of this movie.


Cinema-Maniac: Kerd ma lui (Born to Fight) (2004) Review

I’ve seen many Action movies, both good and bad, but i’ve never seen anything like this movie.

A group of athletes helping a poor village must stop an evil tyrant and his men from terrorizing the village. One thing about this movie I think everybody will complain about is that the story is just a story in this movie. It never fully develops, the character development is barely passable, and doesn’t exactly add any emotional weight to the movie. Though the only thing good about the story is that it gives a solid motivation of the heroes to do there thing and save the day, but it doesn’t completely feels like it. The story really hurts this movie, it could have been better.

The action is entertaining, despite what the movie the title there’s actually a lack of actual fighting. It should have been called Born To Shoot since there is more shooting. While found the action in this movie in the slightly above average category which sucks because the last action scene has some amazing stunt-work. Considering the DVD case says from the creators of Ong Bak and The Protector I expected the same level of action, but it’s better than The Protector, but it’s not as good as Ong Bak, this fits in the middle of those two.

Born To Fight isn’t a bad thanks to the story-line giving our heroes a good purpose to fight the terrorists. As an action fan you’ll be disappointed as I was mainly because of the plot, if care for plot, the action won’t exactly satisfy you until the final action scene. All in all, it’s not a bad movie, but it fails to better than it should have.


Cinema-Maniac: Hak kuen (Fatal Contact) (2008) Review

While Fatal Contact may not be as good as other superior Martial Art movie in terms of choreography, it delivers on story for the most part.

A opera performer, who’s also a former Martial Art Champion, is lured to enter an underground tournament, competing against some of the top fighters of the world. The plot for the most part satisfy me, though I did feel at times some plot-lines are unnecessary. It really doesn’t get any better as it goes on, but it works for the most part as I found the twist to be interesting and liked the ending. Though my main complain about the movie it that it doesn’t with one last battle, now not all Martial Art movies are supposed to end with a final battle, but I still found it disappointing.

The choreography is decent and enjoyable. Out of all of the action scenes in this movie only two really wow. There’re filmed well and performed well, but considering the modern setting I was expecting the environment to be used in combat and it wasn’t used much.

Fatal Contact is an unusual Martial Art movie that doesn’t exactly does one thing better over the other. For what it was I enjoyed it, though I still think it could have been better. While you can’t go wrong with this movie, it’s mostly a you like it or you don’t opinion with this movie.


Cinema-Maniac: Shanghai Knights (2003) Review

Wow, what a shocker, I didn’t expect Shanghai Knights to be as good as the original. Though while it may not be well put together as the first, I stilled had some laughs and fun.

When a Chinese rebel murders Chon’s (Jackie Chan) estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy (Owen Wilson) make their way to London with revenge on their minds. I got the idea that the sequel could have been better, different location, more characters, and Donnie Yen. Unfortunately what we get is to much ideas in a movie that don’t work well together. At points some scene feel out of place or to long. Story wise, the original does a better job with a good pace that not to crazy.

What the sequel does improve on is the action. My personal favorite being Jackie Chan against Donnie Yen, though short, it’s rewarding to see these two legends in the same movie together for Martial Art fans. Though the most spectacular action sequence has to be the fencing match in the clock tower, a reference to what Chan did in his classic film Project A.

Like the original, it has references to famous icons. Like Charlie Chaplin as a kid being portrayed as a crook or Detective Arthur Doyle who wrote the Sherlock Holmes novels being an actual detective in this movie. I found the reference to Jack the Ripper to be the best, probably because I hate famous killers that got away.

So this is a rare case in which both films in the franchise are equal. If you want a good pace story with good humor, Shanghai Noon is the way to go. If you wanting good humor and action, Shanghai Knights the way to go. Though I don’t think you can go wrong whichever you choose to watch.


Cinema-Maniac: Shanghai Noon (2000) Review

Shanghai Noon brings us the pairing of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson together in a movie. This could’ve have gone bad in my opinion, but what we get is a hilarious and enjoyable Western.

Jackie Chan plays a Chinese man who travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber (Owen Wilson), the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss. The story was well crafted, I found myself laughing and getting more interested as the story progress. Both Chan and Wilson work well on screen and makes the movie that much more fun to watch with a good pace script.

The issue I have in this movie is the action, while it delivers the humor. It fails in the action department, while it’s still entertaining to watch, it’s nothing special. Though the cinematography is spot on in every scene and every actor does there job.

I enjoyed this movie, while it may seem weird to pair a China man and a cowboy in a movie, Wilson and Chan pull it off and brings you one hilarious and enjoyable movie.


Cinema-Maniac: Bangkok Adrenaline (2010) Review

Well, this movie sucked. I was looking forward to this after seeing Ong Bak, now after seeing this, i’m convince this is Thailand action movie at it worst.

The plot revolve around four backpackers, all played by assholes, arriving in Thailand to party and drink. A gambling game goes wrong and with their lives on the line they desperately decide to kidnap a billionaires daughter, with bad humor involve. Things go wrong when her ‘father’ doesn’t play ball, act professionally, and prefers to use the kidnapping to further his own interests. The story is bad from the beginning and it gets worst as the movie progress.

The action is disappointing and not fun to watch. The choreography is poorly done, of course you wouldn’t know by how poorly the action scenes are filmed. The action is slow and lack any excitement you would want from a Martial Art movie. As for the acting, same thing, poorly acted and bad humor for the whole movie. Yet despite this, it’s a watchable mess of a movie. Also, why are the Americans doing Martial Art in this movie, not to be racist, but the Americans doing Martial Art in this movie don’t look convincing and act horribly.

Bangkok Adrenaline is a watchable mess that got nothing right in execution. In a genre filled with so many great and memorable movies, Bangkok Adrenaline fails to standout above the competition.


Cinema-Maniac: Iron Monkey (1993) Review

Martial Arts films are always memorable if done right, and Iron Monkey is a great Martial Art film that delivers on story and fantastic choreography.

A doctor fights the corrupt authorities as a masked Robin Hood hero, even while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt for him. The story, though mostly humorous, has enough drama in it for any Martial Art fan to take it seriously. Though, the only misstep in it story is the humor removed some of seriousness of the dramatic scene for me, this is both good and bad. Overall the story written and told well.

The action is spectacular, both with wires and non-wire action sequences are here. The action is fast, fun, and enjoyable to watch. As anyone who seen this movie will tell you, the last battle in this movie is spectacular, i’ve never seen anything like it and is unlikely that anyone will ever come close to making anything like it.

Iron Monkey is a great movie that i’ll recommend to any Martial Art fans, with a terrific and memorable fight sequences. There no reasons why you should skip out on this.