Asian Cinema DVD Review
If you live in a major metropolitan area, chances are there's some area in your city referred to as "Chinatown". And chances are, somewhere in Chinatown, there's a theatre or video store that runs nothing but Hong Kong action flicks -- the kind that come with multiple languages of subtitle, and feature the weirdest plots of all time.
Funimation has remastered and released some incredible Hong Kong martial arts films from the vaults of the Shaw Brothers (and if you don't know who Sir Run Run Shaw is, shame on you!). Yes, these are the cheezy, wire-kung-fu films from the 70's you remember as a kid. They are as cheezy as a Spanish soap-opera, and yet are also some of the most innovative films in terms of technique and have inspired a slew of Hollywood directors (Quentin Tarantino, the Cohen brothers, and the Wachowski brothers to name a few).
First up is Fourteen Amazons, which sounds like it could be the start of a Tiger Woods-related joke (Sorry that was 18 ho's), but this bevy of beauties don't kid around, they kick-ass like you've never seen before and the action is fast, fun, and fantastic. Well before "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was a film like Fourteen Amazons, and you can see how it all started, where directors like Ang Lee and John Woo learned their craft. This film comes in widescreen format, with the English subtitles thankfully in the black border below the image, not on top of the action where it's hard to read.
Only one thing I want to know... why are the bad guys dressed like Santa?
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, June 2010
Asian Pop Cinema :
Bombay to Tokyo
Asian Cinema Book Review
This is a passionately researched and nicely designed book which explores the most thrilling popular films from Hong Kong to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and India. No genre is left untouched. While the author Lee Server is clearly well rounded in cinematic history, he focuses on the action, horror, fantasy, erotic, gangster, and animated films that have emerged most recently.
The author explores films that have often been overlooked by film critics and he brings them to light with concise descriptions that are aided by bright, exciting visuals. In addition to presenting films to us, the book also includes some amazing interviews with John Woo, Tomoso Hosokai, Eddie Romero, and others which reveal to us the passion and intelligence that makes these filmmakers important. Asian Pop Cinema is a delicious treat for fans of Eastern cinema, and a splendid introduction for novices in search of enlightenment.
Editors Note: This book is out of print, but it's well worth buying a used copy!
Reviewed by Michael Pinto, May 2002