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The Mismatched Couple (1985)

The Mismatched Couple (1985)

They don't make movies like this no more!!! Dance off scenes with Donnie Yen and Mandy Chan. A fight against a crazy top boxer (Dick Wei). A love story unfolding in his home, his sister and Mini... though wasn't that other girl his sister too? No?

It's such a feelgood movie, creative in a slice-of-like-like kind of way as only HK ones used to manage, with a refreshingly different theme with the dance scene. May Mei-Mei Lo is in it, and Wan-Si Wong, and Woo-Ping Yuen, and Anna Kamiyama, and a bunch of other awesome people.

Really had a blast with this one! Donnie can dance. Donnie can fight. There's music. There's girls. There's misunderstanding. There's plight. There's hardship but it's alright! The Mismatched Couple cannot squish this hustle! Tonight.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

All's Well, Ends Well (2009)

All's Well, Ends Well (2009)

I got suckered into a love story again, but it's alright! It's a good one. Though if you're looking for Donnie Yen here you might be looking the wrong way. Just like with this one he's just a one second cameo at the end of it. Well he was a bit more than that in the previous, but still. Wonder if they just add him in the cast lists for views or if it's something else, a running gag/buddy thing maybe...

Anyway this is a story of love, and giving up on love. A younger brother and older sister where the sister doesn't want to get married and the brother puts every girl he goes out with in danger if he proposes to them before she does. So a lot of things happen, the classy love doctor Dick Cho gets involved and... well, it's a comedy.

It's a little messy sometimes, but fun. Good fun. Uplifting, hopeful; charming ditto. If you don't have anything special planned maybe this'd do. All's well that ends well. It's true.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Love On The Rocks (2004)

Love On The Rocks (2004)

A little misleading title hmm? What about those rocks? There are no rocks.

It is about love though. Sort of. Ever tried Rooster testicles?

Being romantic, is being unrealistic, not being serious. Being romantic is being adventurous; willing to take risks.

Two girls jump off a roof for our main character, a bank manager with insecurities and trouble with life, though more swag than you'd think at first.

There's an illegal candlelight dinner in a shop after closing. There's a Donnie Yen cameo towards the end.

I really thought this one would end differently though. Maybe a nineteen year old was a little too young? Unfortunately the ending didn't really vibe with me, but relations: complex stuff indeed...

Best women and best men are alike indeed. Always taken.

Really feel sorry for the young girl though.

I realize this review is a little fragmented - as my impressions of the movie were - but it wasn't bad...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Crystal Hunt (1991)

Crystal Hunt (1991)

Two cops search for a mysterious crystal with healing powers to cure a sick old man. On the trail they come up against a team treasure hunter/smugglers with impressive combat skills and big guns.

This is the one with Michael Woods and the RC car! Confused this one with Holy Virgin VS Evil Dead. Both had a similar sense of mystery/adventure, though this one definitely had a more Indiana Jones-like vibe, and a better cast, but unfortunately also a bit too messy, simple and uneven progression/production, despite some really good locales and characters and moments along the way.

Superintendent Wu doesn't seem to have any power in her attacks. The Michael Woods fight was maybe one of his worse ones. I love the gang overall, the great gathering that they are, and it's an at times adventurous journey but... it feels messy too. So many people are sacrificed for naught, there are loose ends regarding what happened to the intended recipient of the crystal, there's lost potential with some of the characters, it had good things going but unfortunately didn't go all the way.

One thing I do really like though is that they added in the behind-the-scenes bit at the end. I seem to remember hearing that Jackie Chan pretty much started those, and maybe it was around this time that others were starting to follow along? As far as Donnie Yen movies go I think this is the first behind-the-scenes segment I see for him, and it does make me appreciate the bike stunt in particular a bit more. It was such a quick thing I didn't really appreciate it when it happened. Didn't think it was as big a thing as it really was.

Makes you wonder about a lot of the stunts here. Maybe they could've done a better job highlighting the ones that mattered most. But the Donnie and John Salvitti fight by the woodworks: that was a solid one all the way.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Butterfly And Sword (1993)

Butterfly And Sword (1993)

Here's a tale of orphans and lovers. A sword and his 'butterfly' - his sister who doesn't want to be considered a woman, and another boy who has trouble conveying his love to her. Two of them are assassins, working to kill a rival to their lord as to become masters of the martial arts world.

The plot feels a little flimsy and fluttery, but from the moment where Yeoh appeared in the first scene with the net of ribbons and a chariot carried above the trees, telling the unreciprocated love of her life his mushroom hadn't grown since he was a kid, I knew I was in for something special, and though it takes a stray step here and there it doesn't disappoint. The introduction of the bra and underpants as this 'one new thing from the West that women are very interested in' was a fun and fascinating one too.

The final showdown it all leads up to it, followed by a recap of the flashiest or most violent bits of the movie accompanied to soft Chinese music, and the Donnie Yen scene when he was trying to have a drink with the girl as she kept downing glass after glass... it has it's moments! Little whirlwind, the prince and his magical ball don't disappoint either. You'll remember scenes from this one for sure.

Feels like a potential predecessor to the Crouching Tiger movies that came later too. A bit more poetic. A bit more light-footed. A bit more mighty and violent compared to the martial art movie counterparts of the time (large projectiles sometimes leave gaping holes in people and so), though unfortunately still with a few of the flaws movies of the time carried.

There's one scene in particular where the thrown spears seem to lack weight and fail to feel dangerous at all. There are a few scenes where exploding items that are too cleanly divided/clearly split-up beforehand. Also a few moments where the action's a bit too sped-up. Overall though they manage. It's fluent and ferocious in a good kind of way, authentic or no, and I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Kung Fu Master (1994)

The Kung Fu Master (1994)

Overturn Ching and Restore Ming - opening slogan.

One year after Iron Monkey they made this! It could've been a good one. It starts good. The martial arts are good. It's a story of political rivalry and intrigue, and a rebel, who much like the Iron Monkey fights for what's good, and a son who's reckless, wants to open a martial art's school, but doesn't seem to understand the political situation, and the feud between Han and Ming that just won't allow it.

It almost seems like two stories that somewhere intertwine, with how light-heatedly it starts, a little son and father rebellion, and how it turns to the Sun and Moon sect and a plot to kill the emperor. And whatever happened to that?

It's full of lose ends. The fights redeem it a bit, but you can understand this one isn't one of the ones that came to be remembered. Even with the included and very unexpected Wu Tang reference!

 rated 3/5: not bad

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