Just watched Trang Ti before the latest wave of COVID-19 swept across my country and I gotta say, this movie really surprised me with how good it was consider the fantasy genre in Vietnam still a very tricky one to crack open. All the characters from the beloved comic book series Trang Ti by author Le Linh all come to life in a natural way with a few changes here and there but ultimately work out well in favor of the movie. Since the comic book as far as I can remember very episodic in term of plot and story structure at least in the beginning so I don't mind when the movie basically crammed 2 to 3 volumes worth of content into the first 15 minutes to set up for the original story and despite being generic it still delivers a good all-around performance from an up and coming young cast and the special effects on this one especially blew my mind away. To be honest part of my enjoyment come from the low expectations so please take my review with a grain of salt and see it for yourself (after the pandemic of course).
What the hell happened to Scott Adkins and Issac Florentine ?
After the lackluster Close Range back in 2015, I kinda hope that Seized would be a good comeback from the dream team of DVT action movie Scott Adkins and Issac Florentine but I guess 2020 is the year that nothing good can come out of it because this is one again a low effort action schlock from these guys and I cannot be any more disappointed in it. It definitely not the worst movie Scott has made this year because that spot still belongs to Legacy of Lies but it also far from some of his good ones. I actually really enjoyed Mario Van Peebles performance in this movie when he is the only one bring so much energy to this movie and some of the fight scenes although not as polished as Ninja 2, Undisputed 2&3 or had any fight that stands out from the rest they're still quite fun to watch, yet I can really say the same about the shallow characters and the tragic short runtime.
After the massive success of Hai Phuong a.k.a Furie at the box office and around the world I finally got my hope at the Vietnamese action movie scene back after many years of disappointment so when this movie The Foggy Mountain came out 1 year later I kinda hope it will continue the torch being pass down by Veronica Ngo to deliver us another banger action movie made in Vietnam again and my oh my it let me down once again. The movie despite the generic revenge for a loved one premise bore me to death with it annoying supporting characters, choppy editing fight scenes, and the worst of all a tone-deaf main character. The main actor can really pull out a fight especially when he facing Simon Kook the Muay Thai fighter from Ip Man 3 with Wing Chun which is the only thing you need to look forward to if you decide to watch this movie but other than that, every time there something dramatic about to happen his wooden acting always makes me want to punch his emotionless face for real. in the end, I guess because the mountain was so foggy it ends up lulled me to sleep instead of entertained me.
Goblin Slayer is finally back with more Goblin Slaying....yay ???
I absolutely adore the Goblin Slayer manga and I also find the anime despite the poor animation and skip content to be watchable so when I heard they will adapt the Goblin Paladin arc into an anime movie I kinda expected it to be much better than this not gonna lie. For the first 20 minutes into the movie it just one big recap episode of the first season and when it finally got to the new content I find it rather dull and boring for the most parts. If you already a fan then you will definitely get a kick out of seeing the gang back together with their usual shenanigans but IMO compare to the source material it falls flat in every way possible. The song Static by Mili is the only good thing that comes out of this movie, to be honest
Normally I'm a very forgiving person when it comes to movie like The Doorman and just Die Hard rip off movies in general but when you got a pretty stacked cast and Ryuhei fricking Kitamura as the director and the result is just another bargain bin action flick then what are you even doing here? I mean Ruby Rose as a lead action heroine is not a bad choice when she can pull out some believable action scenes but beside her everyone from Dan Southworth, Louis Mandylor, and Jean Reno they all acting like they don't even want to be in this movie, to be honest. There not a glimpse of Ryuhei's over the top filming style up until the final act and even it can't even save the whole goddamn movie from itself. I hope this movie is just a quick warm-up for Ryuhei Kitamura before he goes on and directs that Versus remake cause I'm definitely not buying this one.
Say what you want to say about Mortal Kombat Annihilation because despite all the rough stuff it still can serve as a good-bad movie and can rewatch every time you need a laugh while this movie The Kings of Fighters was just outright bad on so many levels. From the costume, the set design to the looks of the characters it all screams " I don't know a damn thing about the video game" yet somehow it still costs 12 mil dollars to be make and Gordon Chan the man behind Fist of Legend (1994) was also the one directed this monstrosity of a movie. Even a fan-made movie with a limited resource on Youtube will still be better than this movie.
DOA: Dead or Alive is the movie that makes me realize I'm not a boy anymore and upon rewatching it since the early 2000s for the first time I gotta say the movie still holds up very well. Since I hardly know anything about the DOA franchise nor care to research before this review I can't really criticize the authenticity movie compared to the source material but what I do know is it was a lot of fun from start to finish. The plot is your typical martial art tournament trope with matrix-like fight scenes, wacky sound effects, and last but not least a bunch of colorful and beautiful babes duking it out. Some of the shots during the movie can be a bit questionable and way to sexualize to be view with your family but perfect when you want to watch something with the boys so I highly recommend it.
I know from the start that this movie Legacy of Lies(2020) will not be a full course of Scott just kicking ass and taking name but another chance for him to flexing his acting skills after the jaw-dropping performance in Avengemenet (2019) yet in the end, this movie still feel underwhelming as hell. It got a couple of exciting scenes that will entertain you for the first half but the latter half was a bunch of boring spy mumbo jumbo stuff that I just hardly care about.
Peninsula (2020) the highly anticipated sequel to the surprise smash hit zombie flick Train to Busan (2016) from South Korea just drop this week in my country and as a fan of the genre and the movie I find my self in a very weird love-hate relationship with this movie. From the trailer, I can already tell that this movie gonna be more bombastic with explosion and action than the last one yet I never thought that it gonna be this underwhelming. If you looking for an entertaining zombie movie then this movie is no doubt the best option right now when it features many well-shot action scenes with the best car chase scene I've ever seen in quite a long time but on the other hand, the human drama aspect that makes many people fall in love with the franchise in the first place was pretty weak. The main cast still likable for you to root for them but because the movie doesn't spend enough time to develop them as much as they can all the dramatic moments that meant to draw the audience's tears fall extremely flat. I dare to say that if the movie keeps the premise of the opening sequence and a more grounded cast then maybe.....just maybe Peninsula can bring back the magic touch from the last one but rn lower your expectation is the best advice I can give
Before Paul Verhoeven goes on to directs some of the best movies the action genre can offer he makes Flesh+Blood a medieval movie starring the late great Rutger Hauer as the leading role that sadly turns out to be a massive flop at the time due to how grim, ugly and unapologetic it portrays the world in the late Middle Ages, a time and place where humanity only live for themselves. Because there is no knight in shining armor or any character that you can root for the movie left a bad taste in people mouth at the time but for me, the brutal and hopeless nature of the movie quite fascinating and oddly beautiful cause it definitely not the kind of story that can be told in the sensitive modern day. The movie may not have the cultural impact like many of Paul Verhoeven later movies but if Kentaro Miura the creator of Berserk one of the best manga ever created says he based the design of Berserk protagonist Guts on the character Martin as portrayed by actor Rutger Hauer then clearly the movie must be doing something right all along
I heard many people say that the live-action movie of Rurouni Kenshin is one of the best anime adaptation movies the world has ever seen so I decided to check out the first one in the franchise and all I can say is there definitely things worthy to be praised here and things that not only unnecessary but also make the movie kinda soulless when compared to the source material. The fight choreography is top-notch as expected when it got one of the best guy of the game Kenji Tanigaki as the action/stunt director plus the high production value that I can see from the set-pieces to the costume really show how much love the people behind the camera pour into the making of this movie but sadly all of that can make up for the lack of character development in Rurouni Kenshin. I do think Takeru Satoh as Himura Kenshin is a great choice when he can pull off the character inner conflict beautifully but for characters like Yahiko and Sanosuke two of Kenshin's most loyal companion in the manga is so bland to the point that it baffles me. I'm totally okay with the fact that Jine Udo got a bigger role in the movie but the bunch of ronin the movie pick to replace The Oniwabanshu Corp is laughable at best.
The "I kick ass for The Lord" club just found it newest member and his name is Dominiquie Vandenberg
The Mercenary (2019) is the latest action movie directed by Jesse V. Johnson starring Dominique Vandenberg as the lead and although I only know Vanderberg as the crazy French mercenary guy from Triple Threat his performance in that movie already sold him as an actor for me and this movie is the perfect chance for me to see Vanderberg at his best and I was right. Old school 80s shoot out with many delicious bloody squibs plus Vanderberg awesome knife skill really elevated the movie beyond your usual poorly made B-movie. Louis Mandylor is excellent as the main bad guy LeClerc while Carmen Argenziano as Father Elias the one who shed the new light on Vanderberg character Maxx was a chore to sit through due to how over the top and cringy he is every time he preach about something.
In Vietnam, there is only one person that I can call a visionary director and that is Victor Vu but in the past two years from Loi Bao (2017) a superhero movie to The Immortal (2018) a supernatural action movie despite a great scope for cinematography and genre the script always bring both of them down which frustrated me al lot so with Dreamy Eyes his latest novel adaptation movie from author Nguyen Nhat Anh I keep my expectation at the lowest possible and surprise, surprise the movie blew me away from how good and emotion it is at the Melodrama genre that I'm not very fond of. It a very predictable movie filled with soap drama cliche from start to finish but I can help but fall in love with the characters, the scenery, the OST that by the time I realize it all over I already ugly sobbing in my seat. I hope everyone catches this movie before it leaves the theater and I wish 2020 will be the best year for the director with his Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh mythos movie
A Chinese historical movie made in Japanese ? You better believe it
The long await live-action movie based on the famous manga of the same name KIngdom is finally here and as a fan of the manga, all I can say is "Good fricking job director Shinsuke Sato because you just successfully bring life to another beloved property without heavily rely on the source material". As far as a live-action adaptation can go Kingdom is very faithful to the source material from the characters to the events with some minor changes that I really appreciate it but the biggest disappointment I have with the movie is how tame it is in term of violence and carnage compare to the manga and if they want to continue the story they better jacked up the bloody meter because after the first big arc the next one gonna be an all-out Dynasty Warrior battle scale
Since one of my favorite action star of this generation, Michael Jai White want to make an unofficial sequel to a 90s Die Hard scenario movie called Sudden Death staring the great Jean Claude Van Damme so naturally as a fan of Van Damme and all the Die Hard clone movies no matter how bad or low budget they are I'm quite excited to finally watch this movie for the first time ever and although its not quite awesome like I anticipated it still quite a treat tbh. Because there nothing original in this movie except the hockey stadium setting so all of my attention is on how good Van Damme carry this movie and needless to say, he does that pretty well with many unique ways to kill the bad guys especially the hilarious and definitely in my top 10 favorite Van Damme action sequences where he battles a villain in a mascot costume.
Your Name (2016) directed by Makoto Shinkai an absolute masterpiece of animation and sound design emotionally destroyed me and probably any anime fan in general at that time so to finally able to watch his latest project Weathering with You (2019) yesterday despite the bad weather in my country I gotta say it quite a memorable cinema experience. Weathering With You while no doubt is a masterwork of animation from the beautiful background to the quirky character and the soundtrack definitely will be on my playlist in the future but when it comes to the star-crossed lover's story with supernatural element it overlaps so much with Your Name in term of storywise that I got a hard time to focus on Weathering With You without comparing it scene to scene with Your Name in my head and that a real shame because I really want to remember the anime as its own thing, not Your Name 2.0. Granted, because Your Name is my first exposure to the director Makoto Shinkai so please take my review with a grain of salt and see the anime for yourself
William Kaufman is one of my favorites B-movie director working nowadays because he really knows how to bring the fun out of a cliche storyline with his long shootout scenes and a good cast and I'm pleased to announce that The Brave (2019) his latest project is also a ton of fun and look way better than most low-budget Cops 'n' Crooks right now. There are many shootout scenes in this movie just like I expected and although the CG blood may look bad the shootout still very easy to track plus an excellent performance from both Louis Mandylor and Armand Assante make this movie more worth watching in my opinion
Darc a relative unknown action movie that comes out in 2018 but looks like something Dolph Lungren would do back in the 80s is a cheesy, funny and bloody action movie that unironically better than most old school throwback action movie nowadays when it got the main character that can pull off a good fight without looking fake and a bunch of good supporting characters that elevate the movie out of the "so bad its good" category. The action scenes can get a little choppy at the time but still end with a satisfied result so I highly recommend this movie to low budget action movie fan
If you looking for a full-fledged action movie starring Scott Adkins then you come to the wrong place
It is no surprise that many reviewers here on IMDb hate Karmouz War (2018) an Egyptian action movie despite the above-average score 6.3 when it got a big Scott Adkins face on it and the tag-line "One Man vs One Army" only make his fan and other people believe he the main star of the movie when it actually the opposite of all that. Because Karmouz War is my first Egypt movie so my expectation with it already very low and I'm glad that it turns out I enjoy this one quite a bit even when the screen time Scott Adkin got is less than 10 minutes. The writing of the characters to be honest kinda suck when none of the main cast beside Youssef (the actual main character) caught my eyes to make me care about them when bad stuff about to hit the fan.
I got nothing but respect for all the anime creator from the documentary Enter the Anime (2019) because I actually love some of them and I can see the passion they put into their works is admirable but I can't really say the same about the director and the narrator because all I can get out of the 55 minutes of this shameless Netflix ad to promote their anime series disguised as a so-called anime documentary movie is Anime as a whole don't exist outside of their streaming service like at all. The doc only likable when it shows the interview with people of the industry and some fascinating insights of what people of Japan think about anime and the progress of B: The Begining ss2 but other than that the doc is a disgrace to the medium in every way possible.
Want to see an R-rated Power Ranger episode while you too lazy to go out and search for Super Sentai and Kemen Rider ? Watch Guyver: Dark Hero
Guyver: Dark Hero a superhero movie where people in rubber suit fight each other in a brutal fashion way is the sequel to the first ever American anime live-action movie Guyver (1991) that many people hate for how silly and PG-13 it is while the source material is super violent and gory so naturally the right direction for the movie is to up the rating into R-rated and get the right people to play the characters and thankfully Guyver: Dark Hero got both of that on lock. You can tell that the movie is on budget when the whole movie looks very made for tv and the practical effects on the monster and the Guyver suit being kept to a minimum but it still shows a great deal of passion behind it with the spaceship set-piece and the consistency of the mature-theme. The main problem of the movie for me is the runtime because for a movie with a description like an R-rated Mighty Morphin Power Rangers installment 2hrs long runtime is a bit too much
Because I've been a fan of anime and manga for a long time before I ever watch Ninja Scroll so needless to say I already had my fair share of some of the most brutal ones from the medium but I can't deny that Ninja Scroll is the one that introduces me to the old ultra-violent anime wave in America back in the 80s-90s and the phenomenal career of anime director Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Aside from the whole selling point of the anime for me is the action, the story is pretty generic and the violence against women may come to super-exploited level but compare to an unhealthy amount of trashy Isekai anime that been spit out by the industry right now the sheer brutality and gritty of the anime actually make me appreciated it more over time. If you tired of all the wishy-washy PG-13 of current anime then try Ninja Scroll because it may not be the best anime you've ever seen but it will definitely help refresh your mind
As a fan of Kengan Ashura the manga my worst and probably other fans fear when it comes to the anime adaptation is the animation because in the manga the art style is so damn gorgeous and the quality of the fight scene is so over the top that if the anime made entirely in 3D then no doubt it would fail horribly so when Netflix greenlit the anime in 3D form it like the worst day ever to the fanbase but now after finish the first 12 episodes I gotta say the 3D animation fight scene is not bad at all, in fact, it kinda fresh and unique tbh. Of course, I'm still much more prefer the anime to be made with traditional 2D in the hand of studio-like: Mad House, Wit or Trigger...... but this is the best effort we got with the series right now and I hope other fans and people who hate 3D anime give it a chance
To the people who drop the Furious franchise after Fast 7 for the death of Paul Walker and dislike Furious 8 for how easy Dom accept Shaw into his family do not watch Hobbs & Shaw because you guys will definitely hate it for various reasons but as a person who thoroughly enjoyed the franchise from start to finish despite the recycled movie plot about family and how every main character is basically a superhero now Hobbs & Shaw is a dumb fun action movie to pass time until we get Fast 9 and a sequel. The Rock and Jason Statham are fantastic at their character as usual and thanks to director David Leitch who again direct the hell out of Deadpool 2 this movie got some very interesting cameo that definitely caught me by surprise
Iron Monkey is the movie that makes me fall in love with Donnie Yen and director Woo-Ping Yuen because this is easily one of the best martial art movie ever made for me when it still holds up very well after years. Kung-fu fan gonna have a field trip with this one because under the hand of action director Woo-Ping Yuen all fight scenes pack a serious punch to the viewer eyes and the characters although cliche for the most part still very charming to watch especially Sze-Man Tsang who sadly never become a full-time actor but her performance as a young and naive Wong Fei-Hong will continue to live on forever