Thursday, September 3, 2015

Film Review: King of Beggars (1992)

King of Beggars (Review)
China/1992
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The action was exciting, the drama was decent, and the humor was, well, humorous."

The story of So Chan (Stephen Chow), the king of beggars during the Qing Dynasty...

King of Beggars follows the lazy and spoiled son of a general in Canton — So Chan. Although illiterate and crass, Chan excels in martial arts. While visiting a brothel, Chan falls in love with a prostitute, Yu-shang (Sharla Cheung). In order to win her services, Chan battles with Chiu, a high-ranking government official. Eventually, Chan is told he'll have to become the King of Martial Arts in order to win Yu-shang's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, his plans snowball out of control and Chan is left as a beggar. Chan then has to find himself to defeat Chiu. It gets a bit formulaic during the latter half, but it does lead to an action-packed climax and satisfying ending.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Film Review: Ejecta (2014)

Ejecta (Review)
Canada/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It simply doesn't do anything with its 80 minute runtime."

William Cassidy (Julian Richings) lives in seclusion after an extraterrestrial experience 39 years ago. As a solar event looms, William invites Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold), a conspiracy blogger and filmmaker, to his humble abode...

Ejecta frequently jumps from past to present. In the present, William has been captured and restrained in a heavily-guarded government facility. He's interrogated about the previous 12 hours. So, the film constantly jumps back as the past is slowly unraveled. The past boils down to William and Joe stumbling upon an extraterrestrial event — to avoid major spoilers. There really isn't much to say about the plot. In fact, I've already told you everything you need to know. It has some subtleties, but most of the narrative is hollow. The ending was also unsatisfying; it kept dragging on and on, always missing a suitable opportunity to end.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Film Review: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kung Fu Hustle (Review)
China/2004
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most entertaining movies you'll ever watch."

In 1930s Shanghai, the Axe Gang reigns supreme; only the poorest neighborhoods are spared by the rampant gangs. One day, two troublemaking impersonators of the Axe Gang stumble into Pig Sty Alley, where their plan snowballs out of control...

Kung Fu Hustle follows the Pig Sty Alley community, the ruthless Axe Gang, and Sing (Stephen Chow). Sing and his pal Bone are losers scamming people into believing they're part of the Axe Gang. When Sing and Bone's plans fall apart due to the very strong locals, Sing manages to incidentally lure the real Axe Gang to Pig Sty Alley. Unfortunately for the thugs, Pig Sty Alley has several kung fu masters that easily defend the community. From there on, Pig Sty Alley discuss how they'll defend themselves — kicking out the kung fu masters and avoiding conflict; the Axe Gang schemes on how they'll take their vengeance — hire the coldest killers; and, finally, Sing plans on joining the Axe Gang, but he has to kill someone first. All of these dilemmas leads to an epic climax and great ending.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Film Review: Child of God (2013)

Child of God (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Scott Haze's stellar performance and the handful of compelling scenes can't remedy the glaring issues within the narrative and direction."

After losing his father and, in turn, his property, Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) descends into madness...

Child of God follows Lester Ballard. Ballard is a troubled man with violent and deviant tendencies. After losing everything, Ballard moves into a vacant home in the forest. He runs into some trouble with the law, then eventually falls in love with a corpse. Upon losing more of his possessions, Ballard delves deeper into his madness and deeper into the forest. That's about as far as I can go without spoiling anything else — and that's more than two-thirds of the movie. It leads to a very bloody and shocking climax. The ending, however, drags its feet and feels far too long.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Film Review: CJ7 (2008)

CJ7 (Review)
China/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...undeniably charming and fun."

Chow Ti (Stephen Chow) is a poor but hardworking construction worker saving money to continue sending his son, Dicky (Xu Jiao), to private school...

CJ7 follows Ti and Dicky. One day while window shopping, Dicky pleas for a CJ1 — a popular robotic dog engineered in collaboration across several countries. Unfortunately, Ti can't afford it. Instead, Ti brings Dicky a bizarre green ball he scavenged from a dump — unaware of its true identity. Eventually, Dicky unlocks the green ball unleashing a dog-like alien he calls "CJ7". Dicky and CJ7 get into their messy mishaps — including a lot of alien feces. Generally, the film follows a very familiar path. A spat with CJ7, it's resolved, a spat between father and son, and so on. It goes exactly where you're expecting, but it is still fairly effective thanks to the charm and performances. The ending is satisfying enough.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Film Review: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (Review)
United States/1999
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...some severe flaws, but I left the film moderately entertained."

Upon the escape of his crime partner, Buck (Robert Patrick) gathers a group of criminals for a bank job in Mexico...

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is a very straightforward horror-crime film. The story follows Buck as he gathers this generic crew. The four arrive at Mexico and spend time in a hotel criticizing porno while they wait for Luther (Duane Whitaker) to arrive — our escapee. Luther runs into a bat, really a vampire, and finds himself a vampire after the encounter. From there on, Luther begins to convert his partners one-by-one while initiating the bank job at night. Buck, being a little more perceptive, catches onto the ill-fitted pieces. The film leads to an action-packed climax and decent ending.