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Mini-Reviews topic

Here you can post self-written mini-reviews of films you just saw. And as Seb says: �No mainstream crap please�.

Master of the Flying Guillotine: 7/10

I was a bit disappointed for this film. Action choreography wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting from a film made in golden age of martial arts cinema. Sometimes the film drags a bit, too. But at times, it’s the coolest movie ever. The films bad guy, the blind master of the flying guillotine, is like a combination of Pai Mei and Zatoichi. He just might be the best kung fu villain of all time. A very cool soundtrack (that Tarantino borrowed for KB Vol. 1) also adds something unique.

Tokyo Godfathers: 9/10

I’m not a huge fan of anime but this film was just wonderful. It’s a story of three homeless people, a middle-aged bum, a transvestite and a young girl, who find an abandoned baby and try to track down the parents. The film is like Almodovar in anime, except less freaky and with a bigger heart. It looks fantastic and it’s touching as hell.

Princess Blade: 8/10

Many people have bashed this film but I found it highly enjoyable.The films is a revenge story based on the same manga as Lady Snowblood. Other that that there’s not much in common between these two films. Princess Blade might be quite superficial but I didn’t let that bother me. It’s got a nice and simple story, a good looking japanese chick in the lead (Yumiko Shaku) and action choreography by Donnie Yen. This is what I call entertainment.

To Sir With Love

I love Sidney Poiter,and as weird as it is growing up in mississippi,I have parents who are teachers,thats right. I grew up around these people thats partly why I am such a fan of this movie. It is a teachers film that doesn’t relly on being sappy,Poiter is such a good actor that he can reveal his emotions with a blink,in a certain way. He actually cares for these kids,He wants them to have a future,and thats part of the relasim,by the end of the movie you feel potiers love for them. It is a lost gym.

5 out of 5

Narc: 9/10

Narc reminds a lot of the 70’s cop thrillers. It’s dark, brutal and well written. The ending is incredibly intense. Jason Patric and Ray Liotta both give an Oscar worthy performances. Some parts of the movie are not so original but overall that’s not a big problem. It’s not perfect but it’s easily the best cop film for years.

Drunken Master: 8/10

Exellent film with some small flaws. My main complaint is that Chan’s character isn’t as sympathetic is it was is Snake in the Eagles Shadow. Snake also beats this film when it comes to soundtrack. But Drunken Master is highly enjoyble film with great action, almost surreal humour and memorable characters. Simon Yuen is fantastic as the old master. I’ll probably raise the rating to 9 when I get a proper version of this film, now the viewing experience was partly destroyed by soundtrack problems.

Warriors Two: 5/10

I have no idea why this Sammo Hung classic from 1978 is so highly appreciated. Comparing to Shaw Bros. films it’s lacking a good story and good characters. Some of the fights were pretty good, but some sound effects kept annoying me constantly. Training scenes were quite ordinary and were missing that originality and exitement of films like Drunken Master. These scenes are more realistic and probably work a lot better if you are interested in real martial arts. Soundtrack was borrowing music from The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which was made in the same year. Overall an okay film but far from the masterpeace I was expecting.

Battle Royale 2: 4/10

Kinji Fukasaku died during the production of Battle Royale 2. His son Kenta Fukasaku finished the film. The beginning of the film is a straight copy of the first one, only that it’s not made as well and features a lot worse characters. Later the movie starts working better. It’s far from the original, but as an exploitation movie it’s okay. The best thing about the movie is an exellent cameo by Takeshi Kitano.

Tiger Cage: 6/10

Yuen Woo Ping’s cop thriller from 1988 is quite average on every aspect. Some nice action and humour, and good actors. Donnie Yen, Jacky Cheung and especially Simon Yam make this movie worth seeing. Tiger Cage is an entertaining film but with this great cast I was expecting more.

Hey guys, I’m feeling a bit lonely in this topic. Anyway…

Tiger Cage 2: 7,5/10

Sequels are always worse? Not this time. Yuen Woo Ping and Donnie Yen are back with this sequel that doesn’t really have anything to do with the first movie. This time Yen plays a cop framed for murder. There’s not much of plot, instead this movie concentrates on action. Fights are good and humour is much funnier than you would expect. The final 20 minutes offer numerous outstanding action scenes.

Pedicab Driver: 9/10

Wow, this must be Sammo Hung’s best movie. Terrific action, great humour and touching drama make this one of the best martial arts movies I have seen. I even loved all the characters. Lau Kar-Leung has a small role in this film, too. His fight with Sammo must be one of the best fight scenes ever made. Pedicab Driver is a classic that could be compared to Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master 2. I think Pedicab is better of the two.

Hitokiri (aka Tenchu): 7/10

A japanese chambara flick starring Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi). The movie starts somewhat slowly, but becomes really interesting as it advances. Katsu plays an ambitious sworman working for a certain clan. He believes killing as many people as possibe will make him famous. The leader of the clan doesn’t have any real respect for him, but he continues working for him as that’s the only thing he’s good at. I was impressed by how real and tragic the movie was. At the same time it manages to be very entertaining and offer some pretty cool action scenes.

Films I watched this weekend (listed from worst to best):

Star Wars Episode 3

Thankfully I went in with low-to-none expectations, so I couldn’t be disappointed. A technically perfect movie, but also a movie without soul and magic.

6 out of 10.

She’s on Duty

Crime-Comedy from Korea. Nothing special, very ordinary and cliche. A few good laughs kept me awake, overall I got what I expected, but could have been a lot better. Kim Seon-Ah grimaced too much, apparently she’s no Jeon Ji-Hyun, whose facial expressions made up a lot of her charme.

6 out of 10.

White Valentine

Nostalgic Love-Story from Korea, starring Jeon Ji-Hyun. Nothing big, just a very small, simple film, but even more beautiful in it’s simplicity. A lot of steady-cam and beautiful postcard-sceneries made it a satisfying experience. The ending was a bit sad and made me feel lonely, but in a very comforting way.

7 out of 10.

Kung-Fu Hustle

Very cool and funny Kung-Fu-Comedy with comic-like action-scenes and over-the-top acting. The fighting was mostly CGI and wire-work but that didn’t bother me at all. And the love-story was soooo sweet, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Sniff, sniff.

8 out of 10.

Survive Style 5+

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Combine Tarantino-Structur with Coen-Brother-Humour, add freaky David-Lynch-Directing and Miike-Inventiveness and you’ll get Survive Style 5+, a movie, that could only be made in Japan. Very bizarr, colourful, and funny, but with meaning. Starring Tadanobu Asano and Vinnie Jones, Avantgarde-Cinema has never been more entertaining.

10 out of 10.

Nowhere To Hide: 3/10

I was so fucking disappointed. I had heard so many good comments on this movie, yet it turned out to be total crap. It had one great scene at the beginning, but otherwise it was a stupid, childish and boring movie with irritating characters. Great cinematography was totally ruined by trillions of camera tricks and special effects that didn’t work at all. I would give it 2/10 if it didn’t have that one great (almost perfect) scene at the beginning.

Kung-Fu Hustle

Very cool and funny Kung-Fu-Comedy with comic-like action-scenes and over-the-top acting. The fighting was mostly CGI and wire-work but that didn’t bother me at all. And the love-story was soooo sweet, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Sniff, sniff.

8 out of 10.

Kung Fu Hustle

An overly-CGed, lousily written, poorly executed slapstick kung fu parody. Neither was it really funny, nor was the kung fu any good. The characters were lousy and the CG sucked. Never have i been so disappointed.

3 out of 10


Jolie and Pitt go at it! The movie offers the old story (as seen in the tv series with Bello and Bakula), told wisely (starting slowly, building up to the action) and two leading actors that offer much for either gender of audience. I particularly loved the little jokes and all. what i didnt like was the PG violence and lovin’, the movie would’ve been much better if Rated R and more violent and more sex. But it was a fun flick.

6 out of 10

Films seen at Love and Anarchy Helsinki 2005 Movie Festival

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Inosensu: Kôkaku kidôtai - Japan - 2004)

Innocence is quite different from GitS 1. While the first film was an action-packed sci-fi classic, the sequel is much more slow paced and philosophical with only a few action scenes. Sometimes it feels even a bit too slow, but the film remains interesting throughout. Minor flaws are easy to forgive as the film offers some of the visually most mind blowing scenes ever made.


3-Iron (Bin-jip - South Korea - 2004)

This films proves Kim Ki-duk truly is a genious. 3-Iron is actually quite hard to describe. There’s not much happening, nor is there’s much dialogue. It’s basically a love story, but the main characters never even speak to each other (though one of them is mute). There’s no loud music in this movie, no fast editing or anything else like that. This is a very �silent� and �little� film that cannot be explained, everybody has to experience it themself. In this aspect it reminds a bit of a Wong Kar-Wai movie.


House of Fury (Jing mo gaa ting – Hong Kong - 2005)

I wasn’t expecting much from this, but it turned out to be one of the most positive surprises of the festival. House of Fury is a very funny feel-good action flic with lots of good fight scenes. Action scenes (choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping) are great considering none the actors are real life martial artists. My favourite HK actor Anthony Wong gives a hilarious performance. Humour is great, too. I have rarely seen the audience laugh this much during one movie.


Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro – Japan - 2004)

A typical Hayao Miyazaki movie. I’ve never been any huge fan of his. I find his movies a bit slow, though still entertaining. Howl’s Moving Castle is good and certainly has it’s moments (a lot of them, actually), but I would like it more if it was 30 minutes shorter. But if you are a fan of Miyazaki movies, then you are gonna love this. Howl’s Moving Castle was the first screening on the festival that got sold out.


Immortel (ad vitam) (France - 2004)

A very strange french sci-fi film based on the comics created by Enki Bilal (who also directed this film). There are only two real actors in this movie, everything else from characters to backgrounds is made with cgi. What makes this film really strange, is that all cgi characters look intentionally unreal. Their look is indentical to video game characters. I don’t know why they made it this way, but it didn’t really work for me. Also, I didn’t understand much of the plot, but that wasn’t necessary a bad thing. Visually (other than character) Immortel looks stunning. Fascinating, but ultimately disappointing movie.


Innocence (France - 2004)

An interesting art film about a private girls’ school located in the middle of a forest. Once the girls arrive at the school, they are not allowed to leave even once, nor do they get any visitors. The whole movie is shot from the view of the childen. There’s only a couple of adults in the whole movie, and they only appear in 4 or 5 scenes. The whole movie is very symbolic. Most people I know loved this movie, but I didn’t think so highly of it. It’s still very interesting, and I really liked the magical atmosphere.


Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai – Japan - 2004)

A true story about a group of young children abandoned by their mother. The oldest child, 12 year old Akira, tries to take care of his bothers and sisters. Nobody Knows is slightly too long, but otherwise a wonderful movie. All young actors give excellent performances, especially the 14 year old Yûya Yagira, who won the best actor award in Cannes for his role.


Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (USA - 2005)

The 80’s is back. Shane Black, the guy who wrote the original Lethal Weapon, has written and directed the best action comedy of the year. The concept is very similiar to Lethal Weapon, only this time the humour is better and much more politically incorrect. My only complaint is that sometimes the movie tries to be a bit too clever. Everything else works. This movie also looks just like if it was made in the 80’s. If you like Lethal Weapon, you will love this.


Brothers (Brødre – Denmark - 2005)

A gripping Danish drama about two brothers. The younger brother, Jannik, is released from prison on the same day when his big brother Michael sent to war in Afghanistan. While his brother is away, Jannik tries to start a new life. Brothers has won a bunch of awards and received excellent reviews, but I think it’s slightly over-rated. The main problem is that the film is not very original. Sometimes it feels a typical harsh Nordic drama, then it turns into A Bullet in the Head, then it starts to remind Deer Hunter, and so on. But it has a strong emotional impack and the actors are absolutely great.


Blood and Bones (Chi to hone – Japan - 2005)

Takeshi Kitano’s latest film, directed by Yoichi Sai, was a disappointment for me. It’s definitely not a bad film, but far from the masterpiece I was expecting. Blood and Bones is a violent historical drama about a Korean immigrant (Kitano) who moves to Japan and becomes a local ganster. Kitano gives a good performance, but the film soon begins to repeat itself. I’ve heard that Blood and Bones has much more to offer if you are familiar with the japanese history and the era in which this film takes place. Even without knowing the history, Blood and Bones is a good film. Just not as good as we’ve come to expect from Kitano.


Our Own (Svoi – Russia- 2004)

Extremely realistic movie about three war prisoners who manage to escape from the german soldiers. Apart from the beginning, there’s no action/war scenes in the film. The movie concentrates on the everyday life in Russia during the war time. Our Own is a masterpiece of it’s genre, but it’s not really my cup of tea. The violence in this movie is very, very hard to watch. It makes films like Platoon or Saving Private Ryan feel like harmless fun.


Appleseed (Appurushîdo – Japan - 2004)

I had heard a lot of negative comments on this film, but I loved Appleseed. There’s some bad music and too many slow-mo shots, but I didn’t let those things bother me. Great animation, striking visuals, cute girls and lots of action, that’s what I want from anime, and that’s what Appleseed offered. This movie has some similarities with Ghost in the Shell, which was to be expected as both are based on manga by Masamune Shirow.


Crónicas (Ecuador - 2004)

Crónicas is a rough thriller starring John Leguizamo and Leonor Watling. Leguizamo plays a South-American reporter who saves a man from a public lynching. It turns out this man has some important information of a serial killer who is terrorizing the city. The reporter decides to find who the killer is himself. Crónicas brings up some interesting themes about how the media works. It doens’t matter whether someones life is ruined in the process as long as it’s good entertainment.


The Bow (Hwal - South Korea - 2005)

The second Kim Ki-Duk film of the festival. A beautiful and provocative love story between a teenage girl and a 60 year old man. The whole film takes place on a fishing boat. As usual in Kim Ki-Duk’s films, there’s very little dialogue. The soundtrack works well, though it repeats the same melodies too many times. Some people will hate this film, but I think it’s a minor masterpiece.


Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (UK - 2005)

The best movie of the year, no doubt about it. I wasn’t sure if turning Wallace & Gromit into a full leight movie would work, but this film is even better than the classic short films. Humour is great, animation is great, the characters are great, the plot is good. In other words; everthing works. I don’t think I have ever laughed this much in a movie theater.


Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (China - 2004)

Interesting but slow paced film about a group of men protecting antelope from poachers. The film looks much like a documentary. It’s based on true events, but I didn’t know that until the end of the movie. I should watch it again some day, because I think I would enjoy it more knowing it’s a true story.


Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari – Japan - 2004)

We need more movies like this. �The extraordinary adventures of a Lolita-look aficionado and a tough biker gang chick�. If that’s sound like an interesting movie to you, then you will probably like Kamikaze Girls. The main stars (Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya) are both great (and cute). The visuaI style works well too, though freeze frame is used too often. Supporting characters are absolutely great.


+ A Bittersweet Life

Flightplan 5/10

It wasn’t definetly not what I expected. It was OK, but nothing perfect. If you loved Panic Room, and knowing that Jodie Fosters gonna be in a similer role, it’s gonna be just as good. Sorry your wrong, this is FAR from as good as Panic Room. I recommend seeing this on your living room TV, not in theatres. And its not something to buy. It has its up, but Flightplan is really nothing perfect.

Golden Nightmare

Going to the Philippines in finding treasures.

Movie is released a decade too late and also looks like from the eighties, with cast like Yukari Oshima, Max Mok, Karel Wong, Lung Fong and Michael Chow.

Typical plot, but here with a heavy setup. Jungle-actions kicks in the second half.

The production value form New Treasurer Films Co. is good enough for this kind of camp action.



Devil Hunters

Action is up to the best standards in the 80’s, and the movie is only about action.

There are reviews saying it’s nearly impossible to figure out what’s going on in this film, but that’s wrong, the plot is very clear and straight.

Great cast [ Francis Ng in early bad role ] and some gruesome stuff. All on the cheap level of course.



Gold Connection

Urban Eastern by Shaw Director Kuei Chi Hung about Bruce Li and his gang of buddies discover a chest of gold, belonging to some smugglers.

Kind of realistic fights with some spectacular effect shots and some really claustrophobic settings. Tense storytelling with an end out of nowhere.



Tough Beauty & the Sloopy Slop

New Treasurer production shot in the Philippines, also a throwback to the low budget action films in the 80ies.

It’s kind of a remake of Police Story 3, some levels below.

The cast with Yuen Biao, Cynthia Khan, Waise Lee and Billy Chow keep the movie from being mediocre.


Deadly Strike

Bruce Li [ as the new Chief of Police ] is assigned to bring a criminal gang [ led by Chen Sing ] to justice. He decides to enlist the help of some of his prisoners, offering pardons to those who survive the encounter with the gang.

En route are some bizzare attacks, but mostly it’s rather pretty mediocre stuff, The Lame Dozen.

The bloody battle comes too late, actors are non-impressive, action is conservative .



Return of Bruce

This time it’s Bruce Le, fighting against some bad guys kidnapping girls for sex slaves.

There are some good emotional nuances, but executed by some real annoying characters, Bruce himself and an old, meager gay guy.

The better subplot with two cops [ 1 female undercover ] trying to get the bad guy is suddenly missed in the half; the action only kicks in the showdown [ Cameo by Chiang Tao and Lo Lieh ]



Deaf Smith & Johnny Ears / Los Amigos

Cross between a spaghetti western and an American western.

The plot is suspect, inaccurate storytelling, like being unfinished.

There are some good jokes in it, and the chemistry between Nero and Quinn is fine. But even that and the action climax doesn’t help recovering from the boring 1st half.


Kiss of the Dragon

I had low expectations on this, but I was so fucking positively surprised. This film kicks some serious ass. The story is decent, the guy playing the villain gives a great over-the-top performance, and the action scenes are fantastic. This is no pg-13 stuff. I was amazed by how strong the violence was. This the kind of stuff they were making in the 80’s and early 90’s (films like Total Recall). Definitely worth the 4€ I payed for the dvd.


A History of Violence

I’ve never been any huge fan of Cronenberg, at least not before I saw this film. A History of Violence is the best american film I’ve seen this year, and can’t imagine any other film coming later this year topping it. I was a bit worried as I had been told Cronenberg went more mainstream with it. Having Viggo Mortensen playing the leading role didn’t help either. Luckily my worries were unfounded. The film is far from mainstream, and Mortensen gives the best performance of his career. Despite this being an R-rated film, it looks like Cronenberg didn’t have to make many compromises. The film is pretty graphic, and the violence really hurts in this film. The ending is one of the best ones I’ve ever seen.


A Day without Policeman

A group of Mainland thugs come to the island to take revenge for one of their brothers and start to take over the entire town, killing and raping as they go. Cop Simon Yam Yam and the island’s few survivors team up to take on the group.

Cat 3 flick mixing The Beasts with Assault on Precinct 13th. The narration goes the small line between exploitation and trash, the hero is the most time a whimpy looser dealing with impotence. Liked it, because it’s more than the usual serial killer plot, and it’s quite entertaining in a special way.

New Fist of Fury

Sequel to Lee’s Fist of Fury, Jackie Chan is beaten up, learns martial arts and leads the fight against the Japanese.

Lacking drama and character with an overuse of extremely racist/nationalist story [ 2hrs ] . Less and only so-so action. Sets & scenery are all quite good, but the movies doesn’t breathe.

Curry & Pepper

1980s action-comedy starring Stephen Chow & Jacky Cheung, trying to catch bad guy Blackie Ko while female TV reporterfilms them in action for a new story.

Not really a Chow vehicle , but standard buddy-cop actioner. Some laughs and some gunfights. Nothing new, but well-handled.

AEON FLUX This film is completely dead, from the opening scene to the very end. The dialogue is flat and uninteresting, and all they talk about is exposition, things to just move the plot forward. You never get a sense of the world they’re living in, truly disappointing. 4.5/10

I didn’t expect it to be good at all in the first place.

BLOODRAYNE - 0/10 The first movie I’ve ever walked out of :’( Why would Michael Madsen even consider beign in this turd of a movie. I think he’s mediocre, I don’t care if he’s one of QT’s actors, he fucking reeked in this…oh and he wears a mullet, which was very hilarious.

You must have some balls to pay to see a Uwe Boll movie.