What better place for poorly realized grandiosity wrapped in pompous claptrap and aspirations of greatness than a big, expensive sci-fi CGI film based on a supposedly important comic book by a French guy?
One of the most wild and creative visions of Hell comes from Japan, and more specifically from the gloriously twisted imagination of famed horror director Nobuo Nakagawa.
Mambo Girl opens with a shot of Grace Chang shaking her bon-bon to a Latin-flavored mambo number while wearing checkered Capri pants. So, we’re in pretty good territory right from the start.
The Shaw Brothers take a crack at the jet-set spy genre and come up with a film full of judo, sunglasses, slinky cocktail dresses, secret lairs, gadgets, and of course a super villain in a shiny gold suit and cape.
As a ten-year-old, I found Treasure of the Four Crowns amazingly stupid yet hilariously enjoyable. As an adult, I find once again that I have not advanced much beyond the level of maturity I had attained by age ten.
It’s bombastic, it’s flashy, it’s innovative. It has something to say even if people seem not to hear it. But none of that matters much if it isn’t an enjoyable film, and I thought Nowhere to Hide was simply fascinating.
It’s not Chuck’s fault that fashion in the late 1970s was so abysmal. Luckily for him, cowboy fashion has been the same pretty much since the 1800’s, so at least he isn’t strutting around in all those plaid flares Sonny Chiba had a tendency to don.
Hot on the heels of Chuck Norris’ The Octagon came Golan and Globus with 1981’s Enter the Ninja, the film that really kicked the trend into high gear and gave the world Sho Kosugi.
Ghost of Yotsuya, one of the most famous of all Japanese ghost stories, has been adapted many times. The 1959 film directed by acclaimed master of Japanese horror Nakagawa Nobuo is generally regarded as one of the best.
If you want your thrills delivered with brains and wit, you’d best look elsewhere. If you want them delivered with bloody squibs and asinine writing, then the film for the job just might be…The Soldier!
After Pray for Death, the ninja movement in America was dead. Sho’s career as a leading man had to end at some point, and at least he managed to deliver an enjoyable, if ludicrous (and aren’t they all), “final” film.
The only thing memorable about China Strike Force is how good it might have been if someone else had directed. As has always been the case, Stanley Tong was given all the pieces for a great film and just couldn’t make them fit together.