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Good, The Bad and The Weird, The

Posted by Josh Samford On March - 27 - 2009

The Plot: Three men in Manchuria are about to embark on an epic journey. First is The Good, Park Do-won (Jung Woo-sung) a traveling bounty hunter from Korea who is after the price laid on the head of on The Weird, Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho) a chubby wandering psychopath who carries two guns and steals as much as he can. Yoon runs into his fortune when robbing a train that holds a map to a buried treasure that everyone is looking for, including The Bad: Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun, soon to be Storm Shadow in the GI Joe movie!), a homicidal gunslinger with a vendetta against the world. These three men have a great treasure that bonds them, but only one of them will walk away the victor of this quest. The question is, who will it be? The Good, The Bad or The Weird.


The Review: Have you seen the trailer for The Good The Bad The Weird? Well if you haven’t, I’ll just summarize it up for you right here: pure hyperbolic mayhem captured on roughly ninety seconds. I first saw one of these trailers online some time around a year or so ago and immediately had my interest spiked. Ever since then it has been at the top of my “most wanted Asian films” list. Although at this point it isn’t the first ever Western made in the confines of the Asian film market – but that doesn’t stop it from delivering an incredibly new and original experience. From the opening credits all the way through the two hour length of the film, The Weird (have to shorten that title down some for the purposes of this review!) hooks the audience and never lets go. Directer Kim Ji-woon, who is best known as the director of the ever so popular A Tale of Two Sisters (which surprisingly I wasn’t really a big fan of), really shocked me with the amount of stylistic vision he packs into the film. Dolly shots, tracking shots, wide sweeping crane shots, long takes, intricate stunts played out in one take – even though this is most assuredly an action adventure spectacular, the amount of visionary brilliance on display is simply astounding.

The Weird, which has surprisingly only received a limited amount of hype from the community so far, feels like something that us genre geeks sit around dreaming about. We all want those amazing films that transcend genres, but aren’t so simple and formulaic to the point of stealing from the films that they seek to emulate. At it’s base, I suppose the best way to think about The Weird is to say imagine the Spaghetti Western genre (mostly the works of Sergio Leone) crossed with the wild gunfire and action of John Woo and mixed with highly intriguing characters who the audience actually grows fond of throughout the course of the film. Not only that though, it also combines all of the best visual moments from these filmmakers and crafts an incredibly “cool” film around a very well written and historically conscious (although not “correct” mind you) script. Almost too good to be true? Well, it isn’t. Although easy to dismiss as simply a juvenile wet dream and blase genre film fare – if you have a set of testicles hanging between your legs or you’re a genre film fan and generally love “cool” flicks that don’t come off as trying too hard, you simply HAVE to love this flick. If you don’t, I make no apologies for my hyping of it, it’s rare that I find myself full of excitement over cinema these days and when that time comes I like to enjoy it.

The name for the film really dictates just what you should expect from The Weird. Although the stories when compared are vastly different, there’s still a lot of influence taken from Sergio Leone’s magnum opus The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. We have three characters, each with their own counterpart between both films (there’s a Tuco-like character, Blondie-like character and Angel Eyes-like character in The Weird) but over the course of the film we find that some characters aren’t all that they appear to be. Generally the archs crafted for the characters are all very well crafted and far beyond what one would expect from a film full of “superhero” type characters who when the time comes for action are almost always infallible. These sort of characters can be hit or miss with audiences, truthfully I often find myself drawn to the “superhero” pastiche. Although not perfect men by any stretch of the imagination, they are of course gifted with nearly godlike abilities when it comes to using their firearms. There is literally a scene where our “Good” character rides into the midst of a blazing gun battle where it appears that half of the Japanese army are against him – but of course, none of the Japanese are capable of .putting a bullet in our hero’s back. However, with just his rifle he is able to severely limit their numbers and seemingly never miss with one bullet. It’s all hard to believe, but then again for fans of John Woo this sort of outlandish behavior should be nothing new. Sometimes realism can be overrated, especially when the grace and acrobatics create such visual poetry as in this film.

What can I say? I truly loved this film! I’ve been on a streak of watching very interesting films and some that I did feel were very close to being classics. However, as of recent there have been very few that I have felt so passionate about as this one. The action is so very over the top, the visuals are so dynamic and beautiful… it carries with it everything I love about the art of entertainment within cinema. I have read from others who didn’t feel the raging passion that I do, but I know that this film will find its audience and they will be just as enthusiastic for it as I am. I give it my highest honors, a fish with a monocle. It ain’t much but it’s the best I can give!



Eight Diagram Pole Fighter

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 30 - 2008
The Plot: Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is at it’s core a story focused around family. The Yang family, comprised of a mother and father who spawned nine children who are all warriors in their own way. Seven brothers and two daughters. When the mongols oppose the Yang family, they set up an elaborate trap to kill all of the men in the family. Things go well enough for the mongols, as they kill all but two. The fifth brother (Gordon Liu) and the sixth (Alexander Fu Sheng). The sixth brother goes insane with battle fatigue in the midst of the fight and is stuck in an aggressive insanity he is unable to shake. When he arrives home, charging into battle there, he is under the impression that all brothers died along with their father. The fifth brother however barely managed to escape and finds shelter with a hunter who helps him escape to a Shaolin temple where he hopes to become a monk. However, the Yang brothers are warriors and not worshipers and thus Fifth brother is not immediately accepted amongst the community. However, he will fight for understanding and then he will fight for revenge for what has come upon his family.



The Review
Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is one of the last remaining big “classics” of the old school Kung Fu film genre I suppose I had not seen until recently. Ranked up there alongside Five Deadly Venoms, Shaolin Master Killer and Five Fingers of Death it’s a flick you’ll usually see resting pretty high on the top ten list of many martial arts film fanatics such as myself. So I finally sat down to enjoy it this evening, with very little in the way of knowledge about the film other than many people thinking a lot of it. Another teaming of the brothers Chia-Liang Liu (who makes a cameo here, but is probably best remembered as the older gentleman Jackie Chan fights underneath the train depot in Legend of Drunken master) and the unmistakable Gordon Liu who after about thirty minutes into the film finally becomes the bald headed monk fighting hero we all know and love. Showing the range of both director and lead performer, the differences between Pole Fighter and the previously mentioned Master Killer are many. Pole Fighter is a darker and more sordid tale of violence and its impact on an entire family as well as those around it, and in many ways it’s a more emotionally gripping film because of all the themes running throughout it. There’s also the violence, which is a considerable change with much bloodshed throughout the course of the film. Although not at all gory, the film does show plenty of the red stuff and doesn’t shy away from it. The martial arts itself stand out quite a bit as being different as well, featuring some wirework throughout – but never enough to distract from the authenticity of the actual film. Simply providing an exaggerated or stylized version of physics. Also, the hand to hand combat in the film is very, very limited with almost all fight scenes being handled by weapon instead of by hand. Mostly spears or staffs are used for fighting, as they are the Yang families trademark… I mean, after all, it is called 8 Diagram POLE Fighter for a reason. I personally never find myself a huge fan of weapons choreography for some reason, I find the fight scenes never grab me quite like style vs. style Kung Fu or boxing. I suppose because I am reminded of swashbucklers and that sort of thing, and it takes away a bit of the movie magic. Even for an old man like myself, movie magic is still somewhat necessary. Pole Fighter however is so accessible and even if you do hold a bias against weapons based choreography like I do, you can’t help but be roped in by the dramatic and epic story that the film is constantly weaving. I’ll give it to the Liu brothers, when they tell a tale they sure make it an experience.

A lot of the times with these older Kung Fu films, whenever comedy wasn’t integrated, the whole structure of the film relied heavily on the plot. You can have fantastic fight choreography, but if that’s all you have and the story is just your basic student searching for revenge sort of affair you have no chances of your film being anything other than “good” in the eyes of the fans. At least here in North America. It’s the script that really sets apart films like Five Venoms and Master Killer, sure they have great Kung Fu and the impact they had was legendary but I’m of the opinion that if those films wouldn’t have come close to that impact had it not been for the strong storytelling that comes with them. Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is probably one of the most impressive in terms of telling a story and expressing the plight of the characters. Few characters are as shallow as one would expect from a Kung Fu flick, with both Gordon Liu and Alexander Fu Sheng (who was originally to be the star of the picture, but passed away before finishing his scenes) both stepping up their performances and creating passionate characters that are seldom felt like they are in this particular film. The film is also one of the most visually stylish Shaw Bros. productions I can think of right off the top of my head. This might have been because it’s one of the few Celestial restored Shaw films I have seen so far (but watched with the English dub, thank goodness for FanEdits!) but there really is a tremendous amount of style infused into the film. From the crane shots to the awesome lighting during the night scenes, it’s just an awesome thing to witness. With the classic Shaw sets, where although you can tell it’s obviously fake and not a real mountain setting – that isn’t the point. Like a play or a musical, there’s a state of heightened reality sustained throughout the Shaw productions. Something a little stripped down and basic, but so over the top that it becomes something entirely different and new. This goes for the elaborate costumes as well, which although not as wild as some of Chang Cheh’s productions – anything made by the Shaw studio generally had some really impressive looking costumes.All of that is nice and all, but I’m sure most are probably curious about the fight scenes. Well, you will not be disappointed. As I said earlier, I’m not even a fan of weapons based Kung Fu – but they really pulled it of with Eight Diagram Pole Fighter. The use of wires in the choreography is very limited, but it helps create that level of heightened reality that takes the movie from something ordinary to something extraordinary. The final fight sequence, which I will do my best not to spoil, takes place atop five stacked coffins and features Gordon Liu essentially fighting an army to get to the top of them. Absolutely classic Kung Fu choreography and without a doubt one of the best old school fight scenes out there.

The Conclusion
I really did not expect to love Eight Diagram Pole Fighter like I did once it started rolling but sometimes you can stop in the middle of a movie and say “wow, I am watching something spectacular” and this is one of those films that lets you do that. Although I wouldn’t put it at the very top of my list for old school Kung Fu flicks, it’s definitely in the top ten (amongst HEAVY competition) and I could definitely see someone else listing it as their personal favorite. Definitely check this one out, if you’re a fan of Gordon Liu’s you’re going to love it and if you’re a fan of traditional martial arts cinema you’re going to love it. If you’re looking for all out action and Jackie Chan style stuntwork… maybe not so much. These films are from a select time and place and represent that, but if you’re open to something new – definitely check this one out. A classic amongst a classic genre.


Chocolate

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 24 - 2008
The Plot: Zen is a young girl born of a Japanese yakuza father and Thai gangster mother. The two were never meant to fall in love, and Zen’s mother was forced into a life of exile due to this. Zen’s mother leads a simple life taking care of her and her cousin, but as the years go by her mother begins to grow sick and it is revealed she has cancer and is dying. When Zen was born she was born with a learning disability that is most likely autism. Although not known at first, she turns out to be a savant and extremely athletic as well. After watching the muay thai students next door and growing up watching Kung Fu films (Ong Bak in particular) she has developed her own style of fighting which she doesn’t put to use until her cousin finds a book that lists all of the old mobsters who owe her mom money. With hospital debt skyrocketing, getting these gangsters to pay back what they owe turns out to be Zen and her cousin’s only option – and these gangsters will pay; one way or another.




The Review
This my friends, is exactly what Thailand’s film community needed. At least as far as action cinema goes. In the wake of Tony Jaa going completely and totally out of his ever loving mind while attempting to direct himself in Ong Bak 2, the Thai movie industry needed to step up and produce another breakout star. Even more, director Prachya Pinkaew who helmed the Jaa vehicles Ong Bak and The Protector, he had a lot to prove to the world as far his own talents go in making a martial arts film without Jaa leading the way. I guarantee you, after you watch Chocolate unless you’re a raving Jaa-a-holic, you’ll be singing this directors praises because he was able to go out and create a story that defeats his previous films; and direct action and co-ordinate just fine without any of Jaa’s input. As someone who actually wasn’t as impressed with The Protector as a whole lot of folks seemed to be, I had only minor hopes for Chocolate. After seeing the trailer and seeing the female lead at work, I admit I was pretty hyped up. Watching the film though, well, what can I say it is just everything that is great about cinema in my opinion. This is the stuff that marks all the reasons why I started watching martial arts films. The innovation, the spectacle, the excitement, the fluid choreography and Chocolate adds that little extra something that not all of these films usually have: the story. A reason to love these characters, a reason to feel for them and a reason to root for them. Having an autistic child as the lead and a mother slowly dying of cancer – these aren’t you usual feel good martial arts motifs by a longshot and if it were not for the fantastic performances from the cast something like that could have brought the film down. Having a handicap like Zen does in the story; they could have played it off in a ridiculous manner. Maybe with a humorous bent to it like Sammo Hung did with his character in Heart of Dragon, but instead the portrayal is in a serious tone. I don’t know enough about savant syndrome to say whether such things are even remotely possible, but the film creates an atmosphere of realism and it becomes easy to believe. Not understanding the language, of course its hard for a English-only sap to really gauge performances to a degree that a Thai filmgoer possible could – and I read a review earlier tonight from a Thai film-goer who said the performances were awful – but I’m not exactly new to reviewing foreign films here either. There’s a lot more to a performance, particularly in an action film, than line delivery. JeeJa Yenin who stars in the film as Zen puts on a show from start to finish, putting in a lot of emotion as well as displaying some tremendous acrobatic talent. I don’t know how well she may have delivered her lines, but she impressed the heck out of me.

I am going to make a bold statement that most of you will not agree with, but I’m going to say it anyway… Chocolate KILLS The Protector. It doesn’t just kill it, it keeps it tied up in the basement with a rag in its mouth and is ritually dismembered. Is the action that much better? Not really, is Jaa the better martial artist? Sure. Is this film a billion times more entertaining and exciting? Why, as a matter of fact yes it is! I can’t help it! Don’t kill me, just an opinion, but a true opinion of mine for sure. Tony Jaa is a brilliant performer when it comes to his fighting prowess and athletic ability – but you’ll never get me to refer to him as the most engaging or charismatic martial arts film star on the market. When watching The Protector, I had several biases against it. First is my disapproval of Jaa’s character which didn’t seem to have that wholesome innocence of his previous film Ong Bak – which I thought was one of the main reasons his portrayal in that film actually worked. Then there was the setting which moved away from the inner city style of Thailand to the less worrysome streets of Australia. I can’t tell you the reason why it didn’t work for me, but it never did no matter how much I tried to get into. I never found myself glued to the screen with that huge grin on my face like I did when first watching Ong Bak – or like I did tonight while sitting through Chocolate. That same passion Pinkaew’s breakout film had is back, and although I will agree that any fight scene featuring Tony Jaa is going to do nothing but benefit; the fight sequences here are top notch as well. A lot of viewers go into the film expecting balls out action from the very start however and I’m going to tell you now don’t even do it. I’ve read enough complaints so far about the lack of action in the first thirty minutes which I find ridiculous. Perhaps mainstream audiences have become too spoiled by modern martial arts films, but it isn’t lik Chocolate is taking the whole genre in a new direction by establishing a strong story and defining its characters for the first thirty minutes or so. Many Kung Fu films followed a similar pattern and most of the time they were better for it. Five Deadly Venoms, if you go back and watch it, can be a pretty slow film. Same thing for much of Bruce Lee’s work which had even less spectacular choreography. Shaolin Master Killer must have an hour worth of training sequences, which is the main draw of the film, so yeah you can expect a very fleshed out bit of development in Chocolate but I promise it is never boring nor distracting. If you can allow yourself be as absorbed as I was during that introductory love story and the subsequent introduction to the daughter born from it – you are going to find probably a simply amazing martial arts film.

There’s so much to go over. The fight sequences are broken up into about five or six highly choreographed pieces. Depending on where you want to cut between one fight sequence and another, they start to really blend together there at the end as our characters fight from one set to another. Including in what starts off as a quaint oriental bar, then breaks through the wall onto a rooftop and ends in another giant forieger that looks like the House of Blue Leaves sequence in Kill Bill. That comparison seems to get made a lot, but believe me, JeeJa Yenin is much more the acrobat/performer in the action department than any of the amazing women in that particular film and even with Yuen Woo-Ping directing the choreography there Chocolate still seems the more genuine and simply spectacular in terms of the action. From the “simple” things like Yenin moving forward in a flipping motion, her doing a vertical split of sorts, or her wrapping her right leg around her opponents attacking arm and bending it into a submission hold before smacking him down, there is a lot to fawn over in this one. Another bit I loved was her jumping from the top of one shelf to another while doing a 360 degree spin-split. Although she apparently had some help through wires throughout the film, it is never obvious and I truthfully would have wondered about it if it were not for the credits which like older Jackie Chan films feature all of the dangerous outtakes – and it is apparent she is wearing a harness during at least one of the more dangerous stunts. Chocolate starts off slow with the first two fight sequences, a little slower than what is to come later featuring just a few bits of flash – however once you get to the warehouse scenes… wow! I found myself shouting obscenities that I dare not repeat here so many times while watching Chocolate and all I can do is recommend you guys get out there and see it as well.


The Conclusion
This fits right in there with the best of Jackie Chan’s older stunt-kungfu fused work. That perfect blend of Harold Lloyd’s daring Safety Last (where you find yourself in fear for the characters as they go through these highly dangerous feets) and adrenaline pumping action. Check it out and pay your respects to these brilliant performers and filmmakers who all deserve every bit of respect they get. I give the film my highest honors in the Stubbing Award and a 5 out of 5. Is it a film that will change your life? Probably not, but I wouldn’t put it past it, but is it everything an action film should be? Without question. Seek this one out!


Full Contact

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 24 - 2008
Plot Outline: After Sam (Anthony Wong) gets in trouble with some triads over a gambling debt, his best friend Jeff (Chow Yun-Fat) has to bail him out. Sam gets word that his cousin Judge (Simon Yam) wants him and his friends to help them pull a job robbing a truck. Once on the job Jeff finds out it was all a trick set up by the triads to kill him. In a turn of betrayal, Sam is forced by his cousin to shoot Jeff. They leave Jeff to die in a burning building, only Jeff makes it out alive. Now he looks for revenge.


  


The Review: Full Contact is easily the sleaziest, grittiest and downright most vulgar HK action film I’ve ever seen. Now that I’ve said that, it’s also just one outright cool film. Taking what could have been just an average tale of revenge, Ringo Lam injected the film with the style of the 80’s and a healthy dose of brutal violence. The film represents all that was great of the all but dead Heroic Bloodshed genre. It’s still around, but you don’t see too many films like Full Contact anymore.

Don’t misunderstand me, the violence in Full Contact, while plentiful, doesn’t quite top the likes of A Better Tomorrow II, but the film is just a whole lot seedier. The violence in John Woo’s films are usually comical to some point, but here the violence takes place somewhat in reality. The gunplay is actually fairly minimal really. There’s only a couple of gunfights, and excluding the first person bullet effects, they aren’t really all that spectacular. The violence in the film is just accentuated by the feel of the film. In one of the more brutal scenes in the film, Anthony Wong’s character shoots a man in the head about seven times, covering the guy in blood. It’s just an ugly image, and made uglier by the scenery and characters. It takes place in a dingy warehouse and watching his blood splatter all over his hands can almost make you feel uncomfortable.

When I first sat down to watch Full Contact I didn’t know much about it and wasn’t expecting much. I had read on a message board somewhere in the past that it was supposed to be a great non-Woo HK action film so I decided to give it a chance. Within the first five minutes of watching the film, it makes it’s case strongly, and lets you know exactly what kind of film it’s going to be. Simon Yam’s gang robs what appears to be a jewelry store, in the process he stabs a innocent woman through the chest then proceeds to have her open the vault. We’re introduced to the rest of his gang too. Mona, the slut and Deano the muscular freak (played by Frankie Chin, best known as the guy who tries to strangle Ricky in Ricky-Oh). The introduction is so simple, but it’s just so perfect. It’s hard to put my hand on it, it’s just the perfect way to start the film. A kick to the gut for the audience.

If one thing bothered me most about the film the first time I watched it, it was surprisingly enough Chow himself. Not that he gives a bad performance or anything like that, it’s just his clothing style is just terrible. He wears a short sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Add to that a crew cut and a leather vest over the shirt, and you’ve got one goofy looking chow. The second time I sat through it I just took it in as part of the cheesyness of the film. The roaring electric guitar solos, the clothes… it’s all so classic 80’s.

The style, the violence, and the characters are what makes the film. Simon Yam is repulsive in his role as a flamboyantly gay sociopath who let’s nothing stand in his way. Chow puts in a great effort, but it doesn’t really take much from Chow to please. He could be playing a coma patient and would still ooze ‘cool’ from his pours. When I first watched the film I wasn’t familiar with Anthony Wong, so I didn’t actually ever notice him, but now that I’ve seen Beast Cops I was surprised to find out that it was he who played Sam. He’s gained a whole lot of weight over the years, but I think he’s actually more suited with the weight on. In this film, when his character becomes a tough guy it’s kind of hard to take serious, but with some weight on him Wong comes off a bit more intimidating. As far as acting goes, those are the central characters. Everyone else puts in decent enough performances even though the girls just seem to be there for eye candy. Nice eye candy, but eye candy just the same.

To wrap things up, Full Contact stands out as one of the best Heroic Bloodshed films made not by John Woo. That actually sounds a little harsh, I don’t compare the film to Woo’s work, but it’s just unavoidable. Anyway, I’ve debated with myself whether to give it a four or a five for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s getting the Stubbing Award. Sure, it doesn’t add a whole lot more to the genre, but it delivers what is one of the funnest rides the genre has ever produced. Full Contact is a classic, not to be missed by HK film fans, or gritty gangster film fans for that matter.


Inglorious Bastards

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 18 - 2008

The Plot: A group of inmates within the military are brought together for movement to a different prison. When the nazis assault the jeep that they’re being moved in however, these misfit troops are given the opportunity to escape! The five that escape decide to team up and head for safety, away from the war once and for all. However, along the way they are presented with the opportunity to save their own necks by helping along with a big military operation. Will these Inglorious Bastards do the right thing?



The Review: I know at this point it’s a disservice to Inglorious Bastards to talk about Quentin Tarantino and his future film of the same name (though not bearing any resemblance to this actual bit of Italian cinema), but you do have to give the guy credit. Without Tarantino, I wouldn’t even be writing this review. Without Tarantino, I would have just spent the past couple of hours completely enthralled by one of the most entertaining bits of war cinema I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Without Tarantino, truthfully there are a lot of films I would have missed out on and chances are you would have to. Okay, okay, the guy is a bit of a motormouth; true. He can also be annoying, depending on your disposition – but there’s no questioning the man’s film knowledge and his tremendous devotion to genre cinema. Whereas guys like me or guys/gals like you, we may not pay immense attention to the credits when they roll by at the beginning of the films we watch. Tarantino however more than likely can tell you who the set designer on any given film might have been without one visit to the IMDB. He has that sort of brain, the kind that latches onto information and is at all times willing to let it spill out. Whether you like him or not, he really is that sort of guy and it has been thanks to his popularity and perseverance that a lot of really great films have seen distribution worldwide. Inglorious Bastards is just the latest, which has received a magnificent 3-Disc DVD special edition from Severin Films who have promoted the film wonderfully. It has been everywhere and even those who have never heard the name Enzo G. Castellari are turning their heads in interest. For those who find the film simply for the magnificent thirty minute back and forth interview on the disc between Enzo and Tarantino, all the better – because this isn’t the sort of film that should leave you disappointed. It is a ridiculously fun film packed full of action and featuring a wicked cult-film cast. Fred Williamson in another one of my reviews? You know it, and the Hammer doesn’t star in bad pictures!

The “Macaroni Combat” subgenre is pretty new to most everyone stateside here. The films simply haven’t been readily available over here so the knowledge database on these kind of flicks is pretty limited so far – but I expect this to start changing as we may see quite a few similar films getting releases if Inglorious Bastards gathers up enough success. Look how far the Poliziotteschi genre has come in the past few years! As my first taste of this genre, I can’t imagine any of the films getting better so I won’t set my hopes up too high for the entire genre but Inglorious Bastards does set a pretty high benchmark for just about any genre. Inglorious Bastards is certainly a film that plays by conventions and generally sticks to the genre pretty closely – but at the same time, it’s the lengths it takes in completing the formula and pushing it to its extremes that makes it so special. Sort of like the saying that having two of anything great is better than one, well having all of the cliches of a genre pushed to their very limits and made spectacle of – well, a better movie it does indeed make! What would you expect from the genre? Espionage, it has that. Action? It has an INSANE amount of that! Especially in the final minutes where things almost get absurd in the “cool” department. How about characters? You’ve got it all here, in the same vein as The Dirty Dozen and other older war movie fare – the characters really had to stand out and take on a macho superhero state. This isn’t exactly a difficult feat however when you have both Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson in the two leads, two men who have that “larger than life” onscreen presence about them and were absolutely in their prime for this particular film. Listening to Williamson talk at length about working with Enzo and his feel for the Italian movie industry on the DVD for 1990: The Bronx Warrirors, I am taken back to his statement that he never understood why Italian filmmakers didn’t make more war pictures – since they already had the sets, uniforms and ability to make these sorts of films more easily than ripping off big budget Hollywood FX movies. Now, when I picture his saying that, I know this particular film had to be in the back of his mind because of his films made in Italy this is without a doubt one of his best and it really does make you wish there were more like it. A roaring adventure tale that grabs up the audience at the start and never stops running. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun with a movie and had such a positive reaction to it after viewing.

For all of its spectacular adventure, charm, action, charisma and intelligence – of course Inglorious Bastards is a relatively simple genre film. Most film reviewers would find this fact too jarring to rate it as highly as I am about to – but I can’t help myself. If you’re looking for a piece of majestic film work that goes all out in delivering gritty, tough and superbly choreographed action – this is your movie. Fred Williamson JUMPS ONTO A MOVING TRAIN! With no stunt double! Our characters shoot down from a zip-line out the side of a castle! There are explosions, slow motion, squibs galore and so many other great memorable moments that I don’t care to spoil. If you’re not a big fan of older War cinema, films like The Great Escape, The Guns of the Naverone, The Dirty Dozen, etc. then this film may only appeal to you slightly but if you would like to see that sort of old Hollywood feel re-created with an even more boisterous tone and with all of the excitement elevated beyond measure – Inglorious Bastards is the picture for you. I won’t call it a perfect movie, it is what it is – but it does it better than anyone else. I give it the Stubbing Award and a five out of five. Hopefully I won’t be crucified for this one – but hey, I am in love with this movie!


Official Captain Stubbing Award Winner

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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