Tony Leung and Andy Lau to reunite in ‘Goldfinger’ from ‘Project Gutenberg’ director ‘Infernal Affairs’ writer Felix Chong

"Infernal Affairs" Japanese Theatrical Poster

“Infernal Affairs” Japanese Theatrical Poster

It has been 18 years since Tony Leung (Happy Together) and Andy Lau (Shockwave) lit up the screen together in Infernal Affairs, but now, the two Hong Kong heavies will reunite in Emperor Motion Pictures’  Goldfinger (no relation to the James Bond title).

The film will be directed by Felix Chong, who is perhaps best-known for writing the Infernal Affairs trilogy, and directing The Lost Bladesman (co-directed by Alan Mak) and Project Gutenberg.

Variety reports: Set in the 1980s, the film depicts cut-throat machinations between Hong Kong’s jostling business elites amidst the backdrop of the tail end of British colonial rule. It tells the story of the rise and bust of a fictional Hong Kong company called Jiali Group, following the travails of its chairman Cheng Yiyan through 15 years of investigations by the Independent Commission Against Corruption as murders Continue reading

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Runaway Blues (1989) Review

"Runaway Blues" Korean Theatrical Poster

“Runaway Blues” Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: David Lai Dai-Wai
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Shirley Lui Sau-Ling, Ngok Ling, Sunny Fang Kang, Blacky Ko Shou-Liang, Kelvin Wong Siu, Tanny Tien Ni, Chang Shih, Chan Ging-Cheung
Running Time: 91 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Say what you want about how in modern Hong Kong cinema Louis Koo is in just about everything, still nothing can compare to the omni-presence of Andy Lau in the mid to late eighties. In the 5 years spanning 1985 – 1989 Lau clocked in over 30 screen appearances, and the majority of them were either starring or co-starring roles. During this time Lau’s onscreen persona came to be defined as the archetypal triad youth with a moral code, one which continued well into the 90’s, with titles like The Dragon Family, Bloody Brotherhood, and Casino Raiders all being classic examples of the role. The downside of Lau’s casting during this era, is that often it’s lumped together whenever brought up, and as a result titles like Runaway Blues can fly under the radar.

Sure it ticks all the boxes that define Lau’s output of the time – Playing a troubled triad youth, check! Inevitably heading to a tragic ending, check! Provides ammunition for those who think Lau should have stayed a popstar, check! However to take any of these into consideration and conclude that the rarely mentioned title is safe to skip would be doing yourself Continue reading

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We Need More Blackjack & Less Poker in Movies

We Need More Blackjack & Less Poker in MoviesCard games have played a big role in countless movies over the years. From old-time casino classics, to back room gambling flicks, to biopics and other true stories, there has always been a certain dramatic pull luring filmmakers to card tables. And more often than not, the focus ends up being on poker.

For many, in fact, the idea of cards in movies is basically synonymous with poker. Just last year, Screen Rant looked back at some of the best poker films of all time and showed just how long this particular game has been dominating the screen. From The Cincinnati Kid in 1965 to Molly’s Game in 2017, there really have been a lot of excellent poker films. At the same time though, there’s an argument to be made that Hollywood’s particular focus on poker is a little bit outsized — and that if we’re going to keep seeing casinos and card games in movies, we could be seeing more blackjack instead.

There are a few reasons behind this argument.

Understanding – The most important factor is that the rules of blackjack are easy to explain and easy to grasp. According to a Gala Casino guide to the game, it can really be summed up in one sentence: “The aim of the game is to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going bust.” Of course there are some intricacies to it, and a newcomer won’t necessarily grasp the strategy. But the simplicity of the core concept makes it much more accessible game to a much broader audience, whereas poker can sometimes be somewhat niche.

Card counting – Let’s face it, card scenes in movies are all the more fun if someone’s trying to game the system. And the simple fact is, this is more feasible in blackjack. Even in the game’s relatively limited cinematic history, in fact, the most noteworthy examples involve attempts to get a leg up. Dustin Hoffman, known for films ranging from The Graduate to Straw Dogs, may ultimately be most beloved for his part in Rain Man. And the card counting blackjack scene in that film is so famous that, according to Hackaday, it is the namesake for an AI that can count cards. Beyond Rain Man, we also have a scene in The Hangover that is based on the same card-counting scheme; a whole saga in 21 revolving around manipulation of blackjack games; and even a goofy scene in Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery in which a villain uses an x-ray eyepatch to glimpse cards about to be dealt. All in all, blackjack just seems to invite more dramatic scenes because of the possibility of counting cards.

Flexibility – There is also a bit more flexibility in blackjack scenes, because there are fewer associations with the game. When it comes to poker, people typically imagine one of three atmospheres: a classic casino with dressed-up players, a tense back room, or a modern casino where millionaire amateurs play in hoodies and headphones. Poker is defined by these atmospheres. Blackjack, beyond a vague association with casinos, is not understood in such rigid confines. There isn’t really a culture around it, which leaves filmmakers free to be a little more inventive, and have a little more fun.

So why don’t we see more focus on blackjack than poker? Part of it might be due to the fact that the movies we have that explicitly involve blackjack have problematic reputations. The 1998 John Woo film Blackjack is a disaster (even if it mostly just uses the name and isn’t a card movie). And 2008’s 21 is tainted by the fact that Kevin Spacey is one of the leads. Despite having some fairly modern headline roles, such as his part in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver or his prestige TV vehicle House Of Cards, Spacey has been so thoroughly disgraced that it already seems odd to feel attachment to his work. As a result, arguably the most prominent blackjack film in modern history has basically been sidelined.

These issues have kept blackjack-related projects from developing much of a reputation for themselves outside of Rain Man, which is by no means about blackjack. Poker, on the other hand, has developed a robust reputation as a cinematic theme, and one that has proven capable of supporting one film after another.

It make sense, but if Hollywood is going to keep making card movies it would do well to balance things out and pay more attention to blackjack. It’s simpler, more accessible, and in some ways more fun.

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‘The Raid’ helmer Gareth Evans and Tom Hardy cause ‘Havoc’

"The Raid" Theatrical Poster

“The Raid” Theatrical Poster

Writer/director Gareth Evans (ApostleMerantau), the mastermind behind The Raid franchise, has his next film lined up: a thriller titled Havoc, which will star and be produced by Tom Hardy (Mad Max Fury Road).

After a drug deal gone wrong, a bruised detective (Hardy) must fight his way through a criminal underworld to rescue a politician’s estranged son, while unraveling a deep web of corruption and conspiracy that ensnares his entire city (via Collider).

An addition to Hardy producing, Havoc will also be produced by Evans’ own One More One Productions, along with Severn Screen’s Ed Talfan and XYZ Films’s Aram Tertzakian.

Havoc will be the first (2nd, if you count Apostle) of multiple projects Evans will be doing with Continue reading

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‘Bullet in the Head’ action stars Simon Yam and Tony Leung Chiu Wai set to reunite in top secret thriller

"Bullet in the Head" Japanese Theatrical Poster

“Bullet in the Head” Japanese Theatrical Poster

Bullet in the Head stars Simon Yam (Run and Kill, Operation Red Sea) and Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Europe Raiders, The Grandmaster) are set to reunite in a top secret movie.

According to TST, the upcoming “untitled” blockbuster, backed by Emperor Motion Pictures to the tune of HK$200 million (S$34 million), also marks Leung’s return to the Hong Kong movie scene after an absence of three years.

The two Hong Kong heavies appeared together 30 years ago in John Woo’s seminal action-drama, Bullet in the Head, which came 5 years after the hit TV series, Police Cadet ’85.

We’ll keep you updated open this story as we learn more. Until then, here’s the Trailer for John Woo’s Continue reading

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‘The Night Comes for Us’ director Timo Tjahjanto to remake South Korean blockbuster hit ‘Train to Busan’

"Train to Busan" Theatrical Poster

“Train to Busan” Theatrical Poster

Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto (The Night Comes for Us) of the “Mo Brothers” directing duo (Killers, Headshot, Macabre), is in talks to to helm a remake of Yeon Sang-Ho’s 2016 South Korean blockbuster hit, Train to Busan.

The original Train to Busan, which starred Gong Yoo (The Age of Shadows), Jung Yu-Mi (A Bittersweet Life) and Ma Dong-Seok (Champion), was actually a sequel itself to Sang Ho’s animated film, Seoul Station. Train to Busan was followed up with 2020’s Peninsula, which was also directed by Sang Ho.

Deadline reports that Atomic Monster’s James Wan and Michael Clear and Gaumont’s Nicolas Atlan and Terry Kalagian will produce alongside Coin Operated’s Gary Dauberman, who is adapting the screenplay. Judson Scott, Sidonie Continue reading

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There will be frozen blood! Don’t miss the Red Band Trailer for the James Wan-produced ‘Mortal Kombat’ Reboot

"Mortal Kombat" Theatrical Poster

“Mortal Kombat” Theatrical Poster

Commercial filmmaker Simon McQuoid makes his directorial debut with a reboot of Mortal Kombat, a martial arts-thriller based on the highly-successful video game franchise of the same name. The film will arrive in theaters and HBO Max on April 16th.

James Wan (Aquaman) is on board as the film’s producer, with a screenplay by Greg Russo (Highwaymen). Other producers include Larry Kasanoff (1995’s Mortal Kombat), E. Bennett Walsh (Men in Black: International), Michael Clear (The Nun) and Sean Robins (Tag).

Original film, which spawned a sequel and a number of TV and web series, involved three unknowing martial artists who are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide Continue reading

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‘New World’ helmer’s ‘Night in Paradise’ hits Netflix in April

"Night in Paradise" Korean Theatrical Poster

“Night in Paradise” Korean Theatrical Poster

Filmmaker Park Hoon-jung (The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion, Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale) returns to The New World territory with Night in Paradise, an upcoming crime-thriller starring Um Tae-goo (The Age of Shadows) that hits Netflix on April.

Directed and written by Park Hoon-jung, while less than 10 years ago Hoon-jung’s calling card was being known as the man who wrote the scripts for I Saw the Devil and The Unjust, in just a short space of time, Night in Paradise, is already his seventh time sitting in the director’s chair. After a modest debut with 2010’s period piece The Showdown, Hoon-jung really marked himself as a director to look out for with his 2012 sophomore feature The New World.

Night in Paradise also stars Jeon Yeo-been (Illang: The Wolf Brigade) and Cha Seoung-won (Believer).

If you haven’t already, check out Continue reading

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Deal on Fire! Ninja III: The Domination | Blu-ray | Only $11 – Expires soon!

Ninja III: The Domination: Collecrtor's Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Ninja III: The Domination: Collecrtor’s Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 1984’s Ninja III: The Domination, directed by Sam Firstenberg (American Ninja).

This 3rd sequel to Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja teams Lucinda Dickey (Breakin’) with the legendary Sho Kosugi (9 Deaths of the Ninja). The film also stars David Chung (Missing in Action 2: The Beginning) and James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China).

Aerobic instructor Christie Ryder (Dickey) becomes possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja when she comes to his aid after he was shot down. Dominated by the killer’s vicious and relentless rage, she sets out to brutally attack his enemies. Her boyfriend, confused by Christie’s changing personality and afraid that he might be her next victim, enlists the help of Yamada (Kosugi). In a life-threatening exorcism Continue reading

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Revenge of the Bushido Blade | Blu-ray (Dark Force)

Revenge of the Bushido Blade | Blu-ray (Dark Force)

Revenge of the Bushido Blade | Blu-ray (Dark Force)

RELEASE DATE: May 25, 2021

On May 25, 2021, Dark Force Entertainment will be releasing the Blu-ray for Revenge of the Bushido Blade (aka The Last Reunion or Ninja Nightmare), a 1980 actioner starring Cameron Mitchell (Raw Force) and Leo Fong (Enforcer from Death Row).

Presented for the first time in a 4K remaster, Revenge of the Bushido Blade revolves around a young Japanese boy who witnesses his parents murdered by American soldiers during World War II. Years later, he plots a bloody revenge against the killers!

This cult classic features cinematography by Frank E. Johnson (Raw Force), a soundtrack by William Loose (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Game). Also starring Chanda Romero (Agaw Armas), Philip Baker Hall (Rush Hour), Hope Holiday (Raw Force) and Vic Silayan Continue reading

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles, News | Tagged |

Odd Family: Zombie On Sale, The (2019) Review

"The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale" Theatrical Poster

“The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale” Theatrical Poster

AKA: Zombie for Sale
Director: Lee Min-Jae
Cast: Jung Jae-Young, Kim Nam-Gil, Uhm Ji-Won, Lee Soo-Kyung, Jung Ga-Ram, Park In-Hwan, Shin Jung-Keun, Jeon Bae-Su, Oh Eui-Sik, Kim Ki-Cheon, Jo Eun-A
Running Time: 112 min. 

By Paul Bramhall

Korea’s infatuation with the zombie genre may have come a few decades later than its western counterparts, but despite its relatively late-in-the-day appearance, that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a popular fixture on both the big and small screens. While there have been zombie movies before in Korea, it was arguably Yeong Sang-ho’s 2016 production Train to Busan that kicked off the current wave. A sequel to his animated feature Seoul Station, Sang-ho’s take on zombie lore can be considered patient zero when it comes to discussions on the subject, and the series was continued in 2020 with Peninsula. In between we’ve had ancient Korean zombies with the likes of Rampant and 2 seasons of the Netflix series Kingdom, zombies in isolation with #Alive, and in 2019 we finally got a zombie comedy in the form of The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale.

The directorial debut of Lee Min-jae, who also wrote the script, TOF:ZOS (as I’ll refer to it from here on in) opens much like any other zombie flick in recent times – a collection of voiceovers from various news broadcasts explain that a pharmaceutical company has been conducting illegal experiments on human subjects in an attempt to find a cure for diabetes, but has had an adverse reaction on a number of patients, turning them into flesh hungry zombies. As the narration continues Continue reading

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Iron Girl Final Wars | Blu-ray (Switchblade)

Iron Girl Final Wars | Blu-ray (Switchblade)

Iron Girl Final Wars | Blu-ray (Switchblade)

RELEASE DATE: April 6, 2021

On April 6, 2021, Switchblade Pictures will be releasing the Blu-ray for Iron Girl Final Wars, a 2019 Japanese actioner from director Ken’ichi Fujiwara (Iron Girl: Ultimate Weapon) that stars Saki Akai (Lady Ninja: A Blue Shadow), Jun Amaki (Hop Step Jump!), Takaya Aoyagi (Ultraman Z TV series), Kirara Asuka (Iron Girl: Ultimate Weapon).

Chris may have survived the Apocalypse, but there are still plenty of threats from the past lurking in the ruins of civilization… and now one of them is actively looking for her! At least, that’s how it seems when she encounters Joe, a member of the resistance who is trying to discover why the artificial intelligence known as JUDA has been sending out murderous cyborgs with a certain heroine as their target! Even more unnerving is the fact that a mysterious young girl Sara has been having dreams calling to Chris for help… even though Continue reading

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400 Bullets (2021) Review

400 Bullets | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

400 Bullets | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Director: Tom Paton 
Cast: Jean-Paul Ly, Andrew Lee Potts, James Warren, Adesuwa Oni, Steven Blades, Spencer Collings, Wayne Gordon, Adam Sina, Thomas Smart, Tina Barnes, Eddie-Joe Robinson, Duncan Holmes, Jimmy ‘The Bee’ Bennett
Running Time: 90 min. 

By Martin Sandison

Being a huge fan of Jean Paul Ly, especially the deliriously fun Nightshooters – I look forward to every project he does with excited glee. While working as a stuntman on such upcoming high profile projects as The Batman and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, 400 Bullets sees Ly in the lead role again for another UK low budget movie. To get it in there quickly; don’t expect the high kicking, tricking exploits of Nightshooters. 400 Bullets is a military actioner with a small amount of realistic hand-to-hand combat and gunplay. While watching the film I was in constant anticipation of Ly bringing the action, when he does in little spurts it’s satisfying, but I do wish I’d known he doesn’t break loose properly. The movie is a different kettle of fish from his usual type, and is a neat change of pace. And, after the initial disappointment for you the reader, I’m happy to report 400 Bullets is an entertaining, atmospheric film that reveals more talent in the UK movie scene.

Rana Rae (Ly) is a soldier manning an outpost in Northern Afghanistan, with only a friend and fellow soldier for company. When a cargo is ambushed near the outpost by Taliban, a surviving soldier Noah (Andrew Lee Potts, The Crown) takes refuge with Rana, with the Taliban Continue reading

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Flowers of Shanghai | Blu-ray (Criterion)

 Flowers of Shanghai | Blu-ray (Criterion)

Flowers of Shanghai | Blu-ray (Criterion)

RELEASE DATE: May 18, 2021

On May 18, 2021, Criterion Collection will be releasing the Blu-ray for Flowers of Shanghai, a 1998 period drama from director Hou Hsiao-hsien (The Assassin).

The film stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Chungking Express), Carina Lau Kar Ling (The Eagle Shooting Heroes), Annie Shizuka Inoh (My Kingdom), Michiko Hada (Tokuso 9), Michelle Reis (Bodyguards and Assassins) and Jack Kao (Island on Fire).

Read the official details below:

An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, this gorgeous period reverie by Hou Hsiao-hsien traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around four late-nineteenth-century Shanghai “flower houses,” where Continue reading

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John Woo’s 1997 actioner ‘Face/Off’ is getting a sequel from ‘The Guest’ filmmaker Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett

"Face/Off" Japanese Theatrical Poster

“Face/Off” Japanese Theatrical Poster

It was originally planned as as reboot, but now a sequel to John Woo’s 1997 actioner Face/Off is currently in-development from Paramount Pictures. The original film centered on an FBI agent (John Travolta) who undergoes a facial transplant surgery to take on the physical appearance of a terrorist (Nicolas Cage).

Adam Wingard – of Death Note, The Guest and You’re Next – is attached to direct, with his frequent collaborator, Simon Barrett, to write. The film will be produced by Neal Moritz (Fast and Furious franchise) and executive produced by David Permut, who also produced the original (via Deadline).

Two lead stars for the Face/Off sequel is currently pending (Travolta and Cage will not be returning), but we’ll be sure to Continue reading

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