10. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 03 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
11. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 04 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
12. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 05 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
13. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 06 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
14. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 07 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
15. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 08 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
16. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 09 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
17. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 10 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
18. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 11 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
19. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 12 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
20. Enter the Dragon (1973) (Robert Clouse, United States/Hong Kong)
21. Du bei dao/The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) (Chang Cheh, Hong Kong)
22. Se ying diu sau/
Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978) (Yuen Woo-ping, Hong Kong)
23. Saang gong kei bing/Long Arm of the Law (1984) (Johnny Mak, Hong Kong)
24. Shan zhong zhuan qi/Legend of the Mountain (1979) (King Hu, Taiwan*)
25. Lung foo fong wan/City on Fire (1987) (Ringo Lam, Hong Kong)
26. Dip huet seung hung/The Killer (1989) (John Woo, Hong Kong)
Journey to the West murdered me. I'm really not enjoying it. It's "accurate" insofar as it's hitting all the plot points of the book, but it's really not concerned with the nature of the book. The book is fantastic for its use of structure and poetry and a billion references to religion and the satirizing of contemporary society for which you need the hundreds of pages of footnotes given in the Yu translation, on top of the gods and demons slew of stories slung at you at a rapid pace. It's classic literature with a '40s serial film structure. But this is really dumbed down and mostly just an excuse for a guy to be a jackass in a monkey suit and interact with baddies from Power Rangers. I'm finding it all very annoying. I will probably finish it tho, cuz I'm a masochist like that.
Enter the Dragon: I really liked the first twenty or so minutes, but it fell off once they got to the island and it turned into a sour James Bond knockoff.
The One-Armed Swordsman: The beginning is toooooo looooong, the whole film should not be approaching two hours. But the last two or three fight scenes are super rad, so, equals out I guess. Jimmy Wang got a lil bitch face tho, very punchable.
Snake in the Eagle's Shadow: Yuen Woo-ping's dad is the best. The film suffers every time he's not on screen, even during the Jackie Chan bits. I do plan on watching Drunken Master soon.
Long Arm of the Law: I thought I was with the film for a long time, seemed like a very straightforward, "dudes are having a tough time financially in shitty communist China makin' $5 a month or whatever so let's go rob a place in HK and come back and live like kings the rest of our lives in shitty communist China" and they would be like anti-hero types, and they'd probably end up dead at the end, and we weren't supposed to necessarily root for them, but connect and understand their issues. and then there's the rape scene WTF that the filmmakers treat like, "oh hey he's been tryin' to bang this prostitute the whole movie and he keeps spendin' money but she won't do anything so he threatens her at gunpoint to suck his dick and then we'll play jaunty music and he'll make a stupid face while still pointing a gun at her head, because that's funny, that stupid bitch had it coming F E L L A T I O hahahaha". again, wtf.
Legend of the Mountain: I have an asterisk next to Taiwan, because every website has it listed as a Taiwan production, but as Tony Rayns points out in the interview on the BD, it's a little hazier than that. King Hu always had trouble getting finances for his films once he ran away from Run Run Shaw, and despite Dragon Gate Inn being his biggest hit, nothing was very successful after that for Hu. So, A Touch of Zen tanked and he was trying to get money, so he ended up with a deal with Raymond Chow (founder of Golden Harvest) did a 50/50 deal for two films, he would finance two films and take his pick and own the rights to it, and Hu would have the rights to the other. These two films were The Fate of Lee Khan (listed as an HK film due to Golden Harvest releasing it) and The Valiant Ones (listed as Taiwan as this was released by Hu's own production company, which resided in Taiwan). (also, as he wasn't worrying about a deadline to another producer, he took an extra 18 months to finish The Valiant Ones, despite filming the two films back-to-back). After the continued commercial failure of his films thru the '70s, he was again having difficulty with financing until he heard about a deal from the South Korean government where they would finance a production BUT the catch was, you had to make at least two films
. Thus, the back-to-back/same locations/same actors of Legend of the Mountain and Raining in the Mountain. So, while it was Hu's production company (Taiwan) the money was all South Korean. so, if you want another odd appearance on your Country Counter, maxwell, have at it.
Raining in the Mountain seems to have been the film Hu really wanted to make and needed a backup so he asked his new wife, academic Chung Ling, to provide a script, which she did, based on a Song dynasty legend about ghosts. It's very different from his major, earlier films, and while it does have the occasional trampoline jump, it's mostly an elliptical, atmospheric, meditative film. Shih Chun is tasked with translating a sutra for a dignitary or general or something, it doesn't really matter. He then walks around in the mountains for the first almost thirty minutes of the film. Occasionally, months will pass between shots. And then there's the score. Of all the Hu films I've seen, this one emphasizes the soundtrack the most, and it's not even close. This film is so much about the sound, partially because the film's antagonist can mind-control people with her drum skillz. The first drum scene is one of the most hallucinatory psychedelic scenes I've seen in a non-experimental film, and it owes absolutely nothing to the 1960s, American "psychedelic" hippy thing, which was extremely refreshing. Despite there being limited action, there are quite a few sequences of eerie backwards colored smoke clouds and exploding drums of more colored smoke that sort of constitute fight scenes, but this is something closer to a fantasy horror film than his usual wu xia genre. The whole film is pretty long, 192min, but, because of the atmospheric nature of the film, I don't think it's a problem. You never feel like it needs to get to the next plot point, mostly because there aren't really any plot points. There is something of a story, but it's rather minute. The character psychologies don't even matter all that much, as opposed to the usual Hu film, because it is very much about mood and evoking this Song period feel (many shots are reminiscent of really old Chinese paintings of that same period). Anyway, recommended if any of this sounds like your thing. Also, the monk has got some hella flow up top, I was not expecting there to be anything under that funky hat.
@ morrison-dylan-fan, I appreciate the review of Full Contact, it's at the top of my watchlist now.
uuhh feels like I'm forgetting to list something else that I watched but I can't remember, so, I think that's it for me.
yo maxwell! Thanks for hosting! This tune goes out 2U!
oh, not so sneaky edit, I remember something I was going to say: people who are [descriptive terms] and say their favorite christmas film is Die Hard or something, you can add Long Arm of the Law and
City on Fire to the list of films that aren't christmas films but I'm going to be quirky about it and say something that isn't an actual christmas film. (I say this like it's a bad thing but I'm guilty of it too, my favorite christmas film is Donovan's Reef).
01. Ying hung boon sik/A Better Tomorrow (1986) (John Woo, Hong Kong)
02. Ying hung boon sik II/A Better Tomorrow II (1987) (John Woo, Hong Kong)
03. Tian yun shan chuan qi (1980)/Legend of Tianyun Mountain (1980) (Xie Jin, Mainland China)
04. Nu lan wu hao/Woman Basketball Player No. 5 (1957) (Xie Jin, Mainland China)
05. Jing wu men/Fist of Fury (1972) (Lo Wei, Hong Kong)
06. Wutai jiemei/Two Stage Sisters (1964) (Xie Jin, Mainland China)
07. Meng long guo jiang/Way of the Dragon (1972) (Bruce Lee, Hong Kong)
08. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 01 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)
09. Xi You Ji/Journey to the West episode 02 (1986) (Yang Jie et. al., Mainland China)