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Sharknado 4 - The 4th Awakens (2016)

Sharknado 4 - The 4th Awakens (2016)

It's not just Sharknados now. It's Sandnados, Oilnados, Firenados, Lightningnados, Cownados, Nuclearnados... they take it to the next level here, even if I'm not sure what levels it was at before this. As if the chronological order of these was like Star Wars, I'm starting with the fourth, and considering the many puns that play on that particular franchise it seems suitable too. What the movie's about? Super-evolved tornados, basically, and a tough guy (accompanied by his family) who blows them up with bombs. And other things. And manages to destroy quite a few national treasures in the process of saving the world.

The special effects are bad. But they're so bad that sometimes... they're not so bad after all. Apart from the sharks they have a killer cast, with old unexpected icons like David Hasselhoff, and new ones like Tommy Davidson (I thought he was Usher actually). They're an entertaining gang, the story's high-level sci-fi and plenty entertaining, and there's barely a dull moment in it, but...

The special effects, man. They're just so bad! And then there's the loose ends (didn't the son just get married?), and all that shizzle. Even a B-movie needs consistency, and that's something this one just doesn't have. Not in the filming, not in the effects, and not in the story. It's a crazy, chaotic and entertaining mess, but it's a mess nevertheless. Watched the others after this, and this just might have been the weakest link in the franchise. Lack of consistency and embarrassingly bad effects is what it all boils down too. It had its moments of bad-assery and such but... it's just too much. Vegas was a comparatively bad intro too.

It definitely beats Ice Sharks though. Always something.

 rated 2/5: decent

Ip Man 3 (2015)

Ip Man 3 (2015)

Third one's the charm, right?

Actually it's the depressing one. It's intimate and close to family, dealing with a school feud, a new rival, and Ip Man's wife most of all, detailing events that follow the second, all the while cutting out some earlier key characters like his long-time rival, and the four-dragon friend.

They also give another hint at Bruce Lee but... don't go all the way. It's not there yet, but it still feels like they're going in a new direction entirely.

That's not to say it's not a good movie! It is. The Mike Tyson cameo was something else too. I loved the fight as much as his in-movie personality.

But it's also getting stylized now. It was stylish before but now they're adding CGI. They're starting with close-ups and focus on lighting and coolness of choreography rather than authenticity... at least with the final fight. I will admit the final fight was cool, but it was disappointingly unrealistic at the same time. I feel like they had it covered with the first two movies, but they started going mainstream with this. Sadness, though. Prepare for sadness.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

IP Man 2 (2010)

IP Man 2 (2010)

After the war Ip Man goes to Hong Kong, and starts a school, and gets his first disciple... and no it's not Bruce Lee! Not yet.

He meets old friends and foes alike, and goes from a struggling start-up to greener pastures, and to promote respect between East and West - all the while caring for his own first and foremost.

It's another inspiring story, and one I didn't remember being quite as inspiring as it was. I thought the first one was the best one, but Donnie Yen's really getting the hang of this Ip guy the second time around. He's a master in action all the way, and it's no bad thing we get some Sammo Hung and other masters to do battle in this one too! Some old friends come along for the ride, but the old foes seem dead and forgotten.

Where in the first movie the Japanese were the enemy, it's now the British, and just as last time they settle it in the ring.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Ip Man (2008)

Ip Man (2008)

What a strong movie this is. It details the journey of Ip Man (pronounced Yip Man), a legendary martial arts master who starts off as a high-standing citizen in his home town, with time going on to becoming a folk hero and role model for his people when the Japanese invade, and in a time of poverty he works hard among his peers, fighting against local thieves and Japanese generals alike. There's never a match.

The movie follows his discipline, his wisdom... basically: the essentials of martial arts, as he understands them. It's not just the fighting, it's the philosophy. And the art? Wing Chun.

I watched this movie years ago, but as it's a ten year anniversary and it seems I've yet to review it here we go again! Though I was prepared this time I was still in awe. Donnie Yen is an impressive martial artist and actor, and the movie builds up the atmosphere like it really was back in the day it takes place. A masterful and inspiring tale of a man who had it all, but lost it all, but persevered and made it through unscathed. Somewhat.

If you like martial arts this is just one of those movies you have to see.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Snakes On A Plane (2006)

Snakes On A Plane (2006)

First crowdfunded blockbuster ever, sort of, and a homage to the plane movies of old of which there are never enough installments, and Samuel Jackson! What more could you ask for?

It wasn't crowdfunded per say, but due to considerable Internet buzz and parody prior to release the production company actually added a few days of filming, and incorporated certain fan suggestions into this film, like the unforgettable: I have had it with these motherfucking snakes, on this motherfucking plane!

It worked well with fans, and me too, and every time I re-watch this one I feel a sense of closeness to this movie... even though I played no part in it, not with the fan suggestion nor otherwise. It's just that people did.

And I love it even without this influence. I love the sense of freedom in the intro, I love the character personalities, I love the timing, and sceneries, and adding to that also guessing which moments were suggested by fans and which weren't (some are pretty easy to guess). It makes you feel involved, and enhances the sense of entertainment even further with what is, overall, a pretty solid action/thriller about snakes on a plane.

It's interesting how they manage to fit in both darker and brighter bits of comedy into the movie too, and weave it together with the plot in a way that makes it all stick. There are no loose ends either, though it would've been nice to see how it ended for the bad guy. Some kind of final chase scene. The premise of the movie? Well there's a plane full of snakes, and passengers, and the snakes being venomous presents a certain issue for the passengers. Duh. It's a basic but functional premise, and they really make the most of it.

I did not remember The Sounds outro music/custom music video either! Happy to see they played a part in such a classic, which by now this most definitely is - renowned more for cultural affluence than for anything else, but it was a good movie too. Nathan Phillips, Julianna Margulies and Rachel Blanchard are a few of the other memorables. But everyone who survives the first attack easily become a memorable part of the character roster.

If you haven't seen this one yet: give it a shot. You might've missed out on the hype but it's still a pretty good movie.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The Chieh Boxing Master (1982)

The Chieh Boxing Master (1982)

Here's the story of a stunt double who becomes buddies with a foreigner, catches a job as an insurance agent, runs into a real movie star and happens to fall prey to a scheme of cashing out on insurance money for the star rather than the movie, whilst doing some death-defying stunts in the process.

It's not a professional movie by any means, but it does have a lot of fights, and some nice insights into the old Hong Kong cinema biz. Not with the insurance gamble so much as with the stunts, and the fourth-wall filming.

I love the choreography from this time too, in that it's always structured in a way that makes it easy to follow, so in theory if you watch enough of these maybe you'll start to memorize certain moves. Maybe you can actually become a modern-day HK action star slash stunt-man too?!

Well, maybe not, but it's an entertaining thought regardless, and a watch. Classy classic. Good stunts with zero effects. And I wonder if the title on the movie is actually a typo of the times, or if it was really meant to be that way... all the more intriguing if it is. :)

 rated 3/5: not bad

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