Return of the Bastard Swordsman

As far as anything-goes martial arts mayhem may go, the Bastard Swordsman saga may lack the breakneck choreography of Jackie Chan and Ching Siu-tung, or the technical ambition of Tsui Hark, but none of these short-comings really matter in the long run, because Bastard Swordsman and Return of the Bastard Swordsman are still spectacularly fun wuxia fantasies.

Bastard Swordsman

Although people come for the weirdness and spectacle, Bastard Swordsman offers plenty of other elements that make it worth staying around. For starters, taking a note from Chu Yuan, Lu’s film is packed with complex, well-developed characters. Norman Chu makes a compelling and empathetic lead. We root for him when he’s the abused underdog, and we cheer for him once he begins to discover his true potential as a fighter.

Commando

Commando tells the story of young Chandu, who’s name changes in the subtitles to Chander about halfway through the movie. Either way, I’m simply calling him Commando, in honor of his arch nemesis being named Ninja. The movie begins when Commando is but a boy, and his father is the commando of the family, prone…

House of Fury

Above and beyond all else, kungfu films have always existed so that they can teach to us valuable life lessons. At their best, they are practically training manuals for how to live a healthy, productive, and socially relevant life. For instance, if your pupils are killed by a one-armed kungfu master, then you as a…

Clans of Intrigue

It’s no secret that since the tail-end of the 1990s the Hong Kong film industry has had a rough time. After being gutted by gangsters for decades and plagued by the most rampant video piracy in the world resulting in films being available on bootleg VCD before they even opened in theaters, Hong Kong’s once…

Way of the Dragon

But if you want to see the one film out of all of them that shows Bruce Lee at his finest in all ways, the one film that has the most Bruce Lee in its heart, the one film that, more than any of the others and despite its rough edges, defines where Bruce wanted to take the genre, then you have to see Way of the Dragon.

The Octagon

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.

Enter the Ninja

From crappy American ninja movies to guys with mullets wearing ninja pants and practicing their nunchuka skills in the park, Enter the Ninja spawned far more idiocy than it actually contains. Goofy action fun is all I need sometimes, and that’s all Enter the Ninja delivers.

Pray for Death

Just when you thought America’s cities were getting safer, you leave the house to walk down to the corner bodega and catch sight of a bunch of cops fighting with a ninja.

China Strike Force

The only thing memorable about this film 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. Awkward drama, awkward comedy, and awkward action sequences are tenuously strung together in what proves to be a very average film.

Revenge of the Ninja

Sho Kosugi, after doing time as the villain in Cannon Film’s first ninja movie, gets to step into the lead role for its second, one of the best ninja movies produced during the 1980s ninja craze. Sometimes, real life events contribute to the effectiveness of an on-screen story. A tremendous act of synchronicity results in…