Tag Archives: Martial Arts

Cinema-Maniac: Ong-Bak (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior)(2005) Review

After reviewing several non martial art movies in the following days, I decided to watched Ong Bak because of it popularity and reputation. I was not disappointed and I got to see one of the best martial art movie ever made.

The story is simple, but effective. When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it. The story may not get better, but it works with a great cast of characters that actually fit into this world.

The action sequences are some of the best ever filmed in a Martial movie. There should be enough action to entertain any action fan if you’re not into the story. It’s the complete package when it comes to this movie, good story and great action.

No doubt that Thailand action movies became popular after the release of this movie. Even though I feel Tony Jaa other movies haven’t captured the jaw dropping action he’s capable of, it’s no doubt that this movie is remain a classic and in the hearts of any Martial Art movie fan.


Cinema-Maniac: On Deadly Ground (1994) Review

Steven Seagal, just like many stars in his time, set back American movie back because they played invincible characters that took away any of the excitement we want in a action movie. On Deadly Ground delivers nothing from the action that people like in a Steven Seagal movie and is just another joke in his career.

Steven Seagal plays, and i’m making this up, a martial artist/environmental agent who takes on a ruthless oil corporation. I know story is mostly a Seagal movie weak point, but did the writers have nothing in mind besides extending every scene longer than it needs to be. The movie also has some pointless scene like the vision scene which just add an extra layer of badness to the movie. I haven’t watched a more poorly written story developed since I saw BKO: Bangkok Knockout.

I never found Steven Seagal to be a bad-ass for numerous reasons, one being is that he barely or never get hit at all in his movies. Second being he can’t act as everyone knows, so I find no reason to root for him as a hero in any movie. Third, he always plays a tough guy which makes us wonder if he’s badly acting the main character over and over. The only redeeming value are shots of the mountain in the beginning of the movie.

I never like Steven Seagal to begin with, nothing against him personally, it just his awful movies that I don’t like. To think what started as man being used in a bet ended with Steven Seagal being the most boring action star we’ll ever have.


Cinema-Maniac: Jet Li’s Fearless (Huo yuanjia) (2006) Review

It seems that almost every Chinese good Chinese star that goes to Hollywood lack the success they did in there home country. Thankfully Jet Li made another traditional martial art that is spectacular.

This film tells the story of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia (1869-1910). Huo Yuanjia was the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation. It’s does it job at entertaining, but I personally feel it lacks the emotional attachment to our hero is missing. The action is great and superbly filmed.

Not much I can say about this movie personally, but I think you should check it out.


Cinema-Maniac: Tiger Cage 3 (1991) Review

Finally, i’ve finished the Tiger Cage franchise and I can say like many movie franchise, the third film is the weakest. Suffering from the usual uneven acting that plagues the franchise and the action is not any better.

Basically the plot is that an uninteresting protagonist sporting a gold mask because he disfigured his face. He seeks revenge, but not before the terrible story chugs along with painful melodrama. The Tiger Cage movies aren’t exactly known for good stories let alone the acting. Unlike the first two film which had an uneven scenes with good acting and bad acting, Tiger Cage is just bad when it comes to it actors.

The only redeeming value is the action, though not good enough to recommend. I’m guessing the main actor didn’t want to do anything as slightly above average as Donnie Yen in Tiger Cage 2. It’s a poorly done franchise that lacked improvement needed to stand out from so many movies like it.

The Tiger Cage franchise is not a franchise worth checking out if you’re an action fan. It’s just another cop franchise from China that does little to nothing to stand apart from other movies in the genre and those are the reasons why no one remembers these movies.


Cinema-Maniac: Shaolin (2011) Review

I hesitated considering to watch this seeing the Tomatometer of the users rating. After watching this, I knew I was watching one of the most under-rated movie to ever be reviewed by critics and users.

The problem with most of these user reviews is that they excepted ton of action and were disappointed for some reason. It’s like watching Red Cliff and Bodyguards and Assassins, I expected allot of action, but it didn’t make them bad movies. While you may disappointed in the lack of action, like other users, the action sequences it does have are terrific in many ways and won’t disappoint.

Another complain I want to address is that people thought the movie was predictable, when I watched it didn’t feel predictable. I actually thought the characters were well written and the actors fit well into their role. The story on the other hand was superb in my opinion, I just couldn’t believe how this movie blew my mind away. I think most of these negatives came from people who missed the great spiritual dialogue coming from the Buddhists and the spiritual message of the movie.

In my opinion, it’s great movie with a good story line and though lacking in great martial art sequences to some, the action in this won’t disappoint. So, don’t let the score fool you, pick up this movie, and hopefully you have same experience as I did when I watched it.


Cinema-Maniac: BKO: Bangkok Knockout (2010) Review

BKO: Bangkok Knockout is a Thailand action movie that would’ve put Thailand action movie on top of China action movies. Unfortunately great choreograph fights can’t make up for the terrible story and bad acting.

BKO: Bangkok Knockout doesn’t have much of a story, it’s simply a martial art team wins a tournament to go to Hollywood, but are kidnapped and have to fight for their lives in some building. That’s pretty much it, even the twists aren’t even worth noting or how the main villain gets away. The story is does not get any better or have any emotional value to it.

The action on the other hand is superb. Everyone of the action sequences are well done, though I found the climax a minor disappointment, are thrilling to watch. You won’t believe some of the crazy stunts that are in this movie. It’s great, unfortunately some of these actors can’t act. It’s sometime unbearable to watch this movie when no ones fighting on screen. It’s a shame that all the great action sequences in this movie have a poorly written story behind it. If you want to watch this, skip to the action because it’s the only good thing about this movie.

BKO: Bangkok Knockout is a Thailand martial art film with it only redeeming value being the action. What could’ve been one of the greatest martial art film is held back by a terrible story and bad acting.


Cinema-Maniac: Enter the Dragon (1973) Review

Bruce Lee is a talented actor that needs no introduction to begin with and trying to explain what made him is icon would take hours to explain. It’s no doubt that Enter The Dragon is easily his best movie as well as one of the finest martial art movie ever made.

The plot is simple and easy to follow, a martial artist (Bruce Lee) agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover. Who knew combing both the martial art genre and spy genre would make a very entertaining masterpiece. Of course, there more to the plot, like Bruce Lee character personal vengeance (which I won’t spoil), and two other main characters each we get to learn about in short flashbacks.

Unlike most action stars, Bruce Lee is likable actor and a good one too. I can’t imagine another actor being the star the of Enter The Dragon, let alone a remake (which seems likely in our time). Bruce Lee not only had star power behind, but he true martial art skills demo-started beautifully every time he’s on screen. The same goes with all the other martial artists in film that made this movie more entertaining. This truly is the martial arts at it finest with many memorable fights, my personal favorite is when Bruce Lee fights Chuck Norris who’s only watchable movies are when he gets beaten up by Bruce Lee.

Beside the usual stuff that makes it get a 100% like the cast, direction, pacing, entertainment value, and other stuff like that. I have to give credits to the translator who translated 5 different languages during the production and that people is dedication to making a masterpiece.

Bruce Lee no doubt had a bright future ahead of him, which is why the world was devastated of his death. Their will never be another Bruce Lee, but thankfully his films speaks for his legend.


Cinema-Maniac: Return of the Dragon (The Way of the Dragon) (1973) Review

Bruce Lee plus comedy equal gold in Return of the Dragon. While it’s a unusual movie compared to other of Bruce Lee classic, it’a still a entertaining to watch.

Bruce Lee both wrote and directed Return of the Dragon, by watching the movie you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s Bruce Lee first and only time directing a movie. Like his Martial Arts, he does it with grace and flows easily to watch.

Main plot is Bruce Lee plays a man who visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them. It has a good blend of drama and humor, though I think it lack in Martial Art when compared to Enter the Dragon or Fists of Fury.

It’s still to this day that Bruce Lee died unprecedentedly, he had a bright future many more bright ideas. This movie reminds us of what could have been a legendary career of Martial Art cinema Icon.


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.


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.