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Big Swindle (2004)

Big Swindle (2004)

I'm on a roll with Korean movies! After watching The Thieves I wanted something more, so I watched this, and it was... OK. It's the story of one big con and the aftermath of that con. There's a set of cops and crooks, none with very certain loyalties, some more likable than others, some with relationships, some without, some with bad habits, some with handicaps... overall it's one big mixture of different personalities. They all get together for the one big job and a paycheck on five billion (which is probably not as incredibly much as it sounds, considering the currency). The introductory car chase is great, clean, professional, exiting, but after that it's mostly talk and drama.

Korean people seem to be a violent breed. It's like knocking about and hitting each other, or threatening to hit, or talking in a loud tone is all part of their culture. It's probably natural to them, but to me, watching this movie, it seems as if both good and bad guys are all hotheaded and violent, though mostly in a non-lethal way. There's a lot of shouting and threatening and... yeah, you know the drill. It was a good movie, but nowhere near as intense as The Thieves. The plot does twist, but it's not really as complex as the prior movie either. Still a good watch, but not that... special. I guess the main characters weren't extraordinarily charismatic either, though I did recognize one from the other movie. Maybe he's a big act in Korea. All in all it was good action, but a bit too much drama.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Thieves (2012)

Thieves (2012)

So I don't usually watch Korean movies (I think it's Korean, though the characters occasionally speak Chinese and Japanese as well) but whenever I do it turns out to be good! Either all Korean movies are awesome, or only the good ones actually manage to breach the continents. So far I've seen Attack the Gas station 1 & 2 and... this! That's it. I think.

This movie is a bit of a mixture between the many Asian movies I've seen and the Oceans Eleven trilogy. At first I thought it would be a blatant copy, but the further the movie progressed the more I realized there was more to it than that. There was a twist. Well not just one, many. There were cops, robbers, couples, enemies and at the end a small but vicious group of thugs that added an unexpected amount of intense action to the story. When they were swinging across the palisades of a building, jumping from balcony to balcony, diving in through windows, the big bad boss walking calmly through a rain of bullets, I realized... this is a good movie!

Apart from the action the characters have plenty of charisma, and the plot is complex. The plans for the robberies aren't as elaborate as they are in the Ocean's trilogy. They are in fact rather random, but when it's all said and done and the movie's run, I'm left pleasantly surprised. It may be a bit over two hours long, but it's worth the time! Because time is money, and you know... what better way to spend it than on a good movie? :P

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Canton Godfather (1989)

Canton Godfather (1989)

This is the second time I watch this movie, but I didn't get such a great impression the first time around so I'm watching it again (and reviewing it for the first time).

I watched a Jackie Chan documentary between the watches, and learned some more about this flick that probably made me appreciate it a more, but the fight scenes still aren't the most fantastic. The filmography however, is great. According to the documentary Jackie wanted to introduce the classy American 30s to Hong Kong cinema,. This movie holds a higher budget than his usual movies (though it's still low-budget if you compare to Hollywood flicks) and it shows. There are old cars, fancy locales, beautiful sceneries, beautifully dressed people... in short, it's beautiful. This is probably also Jackie's movie with the most suits in it. I don't think there were this many suits even in Accidental Spy or The Suit, where there really were tons of suited secret agents and, well you know... suits. Maybe I should get back to speaking about this movie though...

The plot is simple, and builds with intrigue. Jackie is stranded in Hong Kong, searching for a job, broke, when a gang boss stumbles upon him and dies in his arms and suddenly Jackie is the new boss. He's a goodhearted individual still, as in all of his movies, and the gang change their ways when he leads. There's a damsel (in distress?) involved, an old woman he buys a rose from each day (it gives him luck, which is more than superstition in this movie), his advisor, a police inspector, and well.... plenty of interesting characters. There's also one big fight scene and a few brawls, but it's not about stunts as much as it's about comedy and class.

If you're looking for all-out action then maybe this isn't what you're looking for, but if you are looking for classic Jackie Chan humor with a slower pace than the norm, this is it. I must admit I was a bit disappointed at the lack of action myself, but it doesn't ruin the movie. It's kind of like Gorgeous in that aspect, but though the one fight scene is a good fight scene, this movie is so much more than that. It's a classic!

 rated 3/5: not bad

Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained (2012)

I must admit, the movie didn't start as fast as I expected it to, but the grand finale was really something... and not just the grand finale, but the finale before that, and that one finale earlier as well.

Tarantino directs the movie with authority. All the characters have character, and they don't rush. The movie moves at it's own pace, and still, it never starts to bore. Tarantino does make a quick appearance, Samuel jacksson plays the villain, I don't really know the names of the other actors but I know I recognize them from somewhere... and they all did great. I don't know what it is that makes Tarantino's action movies so damn flashy, but it's something. Oh yeah, Leonardo Di Caprio is init too, probably the most emotional figure (IOW best actor) of the bunch.

The movie is filled with beautiful scenery, some realistic and shocking insight from the olden age of slave trade, calm, screams and agony, gunfights where the blood practically sprays into the air (I do wonder how they go about these effects, it's kind of like a refined style of oldskool Johnny Woo style directing). The splinter whirls in the air, the fire burns, the house goes boom. It's just one big action feast with plenty of drama and personality. Don't know what else to say. The story takes place in the 1800s, it's like a grittier more modern version of a classic western, with a black man on a horse. Looking forward to Tarantino's next masterpiece

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Return Of The Killer Tomatoes! (1988)

I watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes a long time ago, I think (I mean, I remember watching it but I'm not sure when) and it sucked. It really wasn't very good. The whole thing about big tomatoes rolling all over the place just seemed a bit unrealistic. In this one that problem has been analyzed and solved, and now the tomatoes are (by the villainous professor yet again) transformed into humans! There's this one tomato in particular, Tracy, who's been made to act as the professors lover, cook and housekeeper, who's somewhat different from the rest.

She meets the hero in this story one day (the hero works at a pizza place btw) and soon decides to escape the professors evil clutches when he throws away a failed tomato specimen (who she calls Fuzzy Tomates, holds him/it to her bosom, and then exclaims "I got it! I'll call you FT!"). Since this pizza guy is the only person she's ever met she decidee to pay him a visit, runs to his house in the pouring rain and asks him (as he's making a gummibear/peanut butter/strawberry pizza) if he'd like to have sex with her. We never really get that scene, unfortunately, but it was around this time that I realized... if not earlier.... that this might actually be a pretty good sequel.

Actually I think I realized this was going to be a ton of fun already during the intro scene where a fake scene from 'Big Breasted Tomatoes Go To The Beach & Take Their Tops Off'... or something like that, plays. And that was before George Clooney appears. Maybe now's the time to throw in a few memorable moments from the movie. Here you go:

Not Real :(

(more…)

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

I'm not sure if this was the first Lethal Weapon movie I ever watched, but it was definitely the only one I remembered before making my way through the entire Lethal Weapon series again. At the time, I liked the movie, but I don't remember thinking it was anything out of the ordinary. I thought it was on par with pretty much all of the other B-movies I used to watch (a lot of action), but watching it again it is made clear how great a movie it actually is.

The characters are all very down-to-earth and personal. Chris Rock is probably the one that doesn't fit in the most, but maybe that's the point, putting together one big crazy family, and the movie feels real. Sure the explosions are over the roof, and the movie jumps right into a scene with a flamethrower-wielding maniac, but overall the events feel natural, if only overly acted.

The episode in the burning house, the fight on the highway, and the final fight scene, they all really manage to capture the intensity of the situation. The intensity of the fire, of the speed in the chase, and the emotion in the final fight is particularly intense. Jet Li adds some much appreciated martial arts mastership to the mix, and overall it just boils down to a serious dose of action and personality, all intertwined. Riggs is kind of an asshole, but he does care for his friend, and he does have some hardships of his own.

I also like the way that movies from this time period took place in the sun a lot. It wasn't just all darkness and doom and gloom, but actually intense fights even in broad daylight, and that adds to the realism. I don't know if I should call it realism since I'm really not watching movies like this to experience reality, but rather to experience something extraordinary, but I suppose you could call this extraordinary reality. Two cops, lots of criminals, a lot of action, and a lot of talk. It's great. It's just great.

The only two moments that didn't seem very realistic are 1.) the car bursting into flames when hit by a train, twice. The same car gets hit twice, and bursts into flames twice. It feels obviously staged. No... actually, that's all I can think of. Apart from that, it's a great movie. Both antagonists and protagonists have deep personalities, and though there's not really that much comedy, it's a fun watch, with a lot of action. If you haven't seen this series yet you're probably missing out!

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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