Lunar New Year releases are not normally known for being cerebral cinematic material, but 2003's My Lucky Star (no relation to the 1985 Jackie Chan classic My Lucky Stars) is just plain dumb. While that might not be a terrible thing in and of itself, it's also extremely annoying and not funny in the least.
Even the greatest film-makers will have some misfires in their cinematic canon, and Chang Cheh is no exception, with 1977's The Brave Archer probably being the biggest example. Despite having an all-star "who's who" of the Shaw Brothers studio at his disposal, Chang's efforts to bring Jin Yong's classic novel Legend of Condor Heroes to the big screen quickly fall prey to an overly convoluted plot that will leave most viewers -- especially Western ones not familiar with the source material -- scratching their heads and itching for the fast-forward button.
Devil Hunters became famous (or perhaps infamous) as the film that nearly killed Moon Lee because of a botched stunt. While the flawed pyrotechnics certainly provides a curiosity factor, the core movie itself is actually pretty good, being a solid representation of "girls with guns" action cinema.
It takes something a bit out of the ordinary to get a positive (or at least non-negative) rating out of the stone that is this website's heart. 2002's Just One Look manages to do that via a mix of romantic comedy with martial arts, sprinkled with a heavy dose of cinematic nostalgia.
A somewhat divisive new release, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai has had its fair share of both positive and negative reviews. Our take falls somewhere in the middle, as the Yuen Woo-Ping helmed martial arts action is good -- but there's not nearly enough of it, especially considering how much time this film spends in exposition scenes. The overtly obvious "arty" nearly black and white mise en scene combined with slightly wooden acting and a retreaded "let's fight the evil Japanese" storyline doesn't help matters, either.
Though often promoted (and sometimes retitled) as a Jet Li movie, This is Kung Fu only features the superstar for a few brief minutes. Fans expecting to see some of his trademark action will most likely be disappointed, as Li's footage consists mainly of him doing push-ups and eating birthday cake -- though we do get a rare glimpse of a very young Jet performing onstage in Hong Kong, showcasing talent well beyond his years. In the end, what we're left with here is a decent demonstration/documentary about various forms of Chinese martial arts.
Most online reviews would seem to agree that Traffickers is a dark movie. Well, except for this one. While this film couldn't exactly be labeled as a comedy (even a black one) some of the lead characters are so buffoonish that what should be suspense turns into farce.
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