Tuesday, September 27, 2011
FLICKS OF THE WEEK: September 11-17, September 18-24
The character of Koga is a great anti-hero figure and Chiba gives him enough charisma and violent skill to make him a memorable character among this rather diverse cast of misfits. The end raid on the drug dealer's headquarters is magnificent in the chaotic way things escalate and progressively get worse and more challenging for the underdog main characters. The film was a fun little escape of insanity and that was all I asked for. Viva Chiba!
With that said, the film is actually pretty fun if you set aside any correlation with the first film and just take it for what it is. In fact there are some pretty interesting scenes and locations in this film, like the creepy green lit graveyard filled with shuffling decomposing zombie figures and the cheesy Amazon village centered around a wrestling ring that looks straight out of the old WWF slobber-knocker days. Even with its faults, Deathstalker 2 has a certain charm to it. Just don't get your hopes up.
What is really interesting about this film is the insanely warped world that the filmmakers have created on this fictitious planet of Ura. We've got nudity abound provided mostly by the alluring Maria Socas, a tentacle monster that is anything but scary, a fat man with a telepathic pet lizard, a sword that can cut through anything but is never explained how it does such a feat, a throng of lizard faced slavers with a thirst for revenge, and a stripper with two pairs of breasts. Yeah it gets a little wacky. The Warrior and the Sorceress is a B movie that at least keeps you entertained and in wonder at what crazy things they'll throw at you next. Check it out for the curious.
The quality of the acting and locations aren't as inspiring as one would hope, but the rather catchy reoccurring score by James Horner of all people, does lift up the film from its less then stellar origins. In the end, I felt that Barbarian Queen was a decent enough flick, but rather forgettable in the long run. Still it wasn't a bad way to spend an evening.
The cast is also rather remarkable having Richard Ng, Tung-Shing Yee, and Chindy Lau all having rather susbtanstial parts that display their own individual talents. Richard Ng especially shines in his comedic role, playing the clumsy and accident prone Paulina Wong. The film was just remarkably entertaining, giving me the perfect fix of Hong Kong action that I require.
There are many comedic aspects to this film and seeing that it is a Sammo Hung production, that comes as no surprise. The fighting styles on display are of the highest quality and the personalities of the large array of characters are quite well played. Sammo even gets into the action, playing Ching-Ying's fat brother and constant adversary. The training sequences are also very memorable, making for a highly charged final fight between Yuen's Leung Chang and the opportunistic and egomaniac Ngai Fei, played by the always consistent Frankie Chan. The film is just a master work and if you're a fan of Hong Kong Cinema and martial arts in general, then you owe it to yourself to see this film. Great work Sammo and company.
OSS 117: Panic in Bangkok is an exceptional French Eurospy film that rounds out my viewings of the amazing Agent OSS 117 series of movies. If you're a fan of the earlier James Bond films, then you have to see these movies. In this entry, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, AKA Agent OSS 117, must stop a diabolical scientists who has created a virus capable of decimating the world's population. Kerwin Mathews takes on the role of the unbeatable secret agent and he does a remarkable job in making it look as fun as all hell. Mathews brought his A game in this film, putting on the charm and charisma that catapulted him into another starring role in the sequel, OSS 117 se dechaine.
His portrayal, much like the other remarkable actors that have taken on the role, is cool and collective, always resulting in Hubert coming out on top no matter what forces are up against him. It really is just a blast watching this larger then life secret agent thwart the bad guys and win the day, not excluding the lush and lavish locales that 1964's Thailand provides. If you're looking for a film that has a fun factor of ten, then you really don't need to look any further then an OSS 117 film and Panic in Bangkok is right up there with the best of them.