Sunday, July 29, 2012

Operation Scorpio aka The Scorpion King- 蠍子戰士 (1992)

Alternative poster for the David Lai Dai-wai martial actioner, OPERATION SCORPIO.  A rather underrated fight film in the old school vein.  Liu Chia-liang and Chin Ka-lok play master and student, respectively, as they go up against the magnificent ass-kicker, Kim Won-jin and his scorpion style kung-fu.  At first, scorpion style looks like nonsense, but Kim pulls this stunt off like a champ.   Just look at Kim in the poster. That's some HK cinema villain badassery.

 The incredibly buff Frankie Chan Chi-leung.  Frankie enjoys a side of roids with his rice. 

Kim Won-jin rockin' that scorpion style!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Peeping Tom - 赤足驚魂 (1997)

YOWZA!  Japanese AV "actress" Miho Nimoto blazes up this poster for Ivan Lai Gai-ming's 1997 CAT III beauty, THE PEEPING TOM.  Though only a bit player in the film, Miho is nips and bounds (See the movie.  You'll get it. wakka wakka wakka) the main attraction.  A few years past the CAT III prime, a film sporting this rating was usually a shot-on-vid embarrassment.  This film, not so. 

Jade Leung Chang plays a hottie Police Officer who catches the sicko eye of local perv Mark Cheng Ho-nam.  Cheng is a rapist/killer on the rampage who's hobby is to record ALL of his dastardly deeds for posterity.   Enamored with Ms. Leung at first sight, Cheng erects a scheme to snare her into his dirty lair.  Primo CAT III stuff.  Below is an oldie review I did for  It's about 15 years old and shows it's, and my, age.  Enjoy!
The degradation dependable Ivan Lai comes up with another genre winner. The Peeing Tom is Lai's 1996 effort to keep hope alive for the diminished Cat III industry and deserves a piece of the mantle along side his Daughter of Darkness films. The peeper of the title is a nasty throwback to the cut 'em up villains of the early 90's like Simon Yam's Dr. Lamb and Anthony Wong's Bunman. Mark Cheng gives a stylish and eerie performance as the sadist with a camcorder. Wielding an aluminum bat, he abducts beauties of the late night HK streets, takes them back to his den of ill repute, and films them as they scream bloody murder. 
On a fateful day, Cheng, strolling the streets of HK with camera in tow witnesses and films a police shootout, and here, becomes infatuated with super lady cop Jade Leung. For the next hour it's a cat and mouse game as Leung and her police cohorts mount the usual worthless investigation and try to catch the perverted Cheng before he gets to his object of affection. The title of the film more than meets it's expectations. This isn't Cat I family fare and TPT delivers the goods in boobs-n-blood.

There are ample amounts of body parts on display, intact and dismembered, whatever your liking. Japanese beauty Miho Nomoto is exposed for most of her screen time, for no apparent plot reasons, but for the pervs in the audience, and she gives us a lesson in abstinence while in the shower. Along with the genres wagon load of nudity we also get the usual power tool to the flesh and rivers of blood. Cheng adopts his disaffected outsider with creepiness and impending psychosis. There's a great leg (pun intended-you'll see) in the film where Cheng freaks us out by pulling a Chungking Express Faye Wong-sans the Garfield stuffed animal-and sneaks into Leung's apartment.

Once inside he films her intimate surroundings, eats noodles, watches some anime, takes a bath, sniffs her under-things and enjoys a cat nap. All cool psycho behavior. But here's the rub that keeps it from the top of the genre heap. There is no rhyme or reason to his psychosis; he's just crazy for the films sake. The little reasoning offered at films end is poor and mars the effect of the previous hour and a half's madness. 

The genre has been done to death, unfortunately, and the characterization of Cheng, which starts off promising, is reduced, into a flimsy carbon copy of the original baddies from the hey-day. That being said, the production is nicely mounted, as the city locales are well utilized. The direction by Lai is solid and the cinematography is atmospheric, colorful, and grimy enough for Cheng to hack into his work. It's all been done before but I don't care. TPT set out what it intended to do, shock and titillate. There's not much more you can ask of the genre.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hero Dream- 淫妖豪情 (1992)

 HERO DREAM-淫妖豪情 (1992)
Here's another new comer to the stable and quite possibly my new favorite poster, supplanting the boobilicious Cammie Choi-REBEKAH poster that I once claimed to be my tops.  Ladies and gents, I give you HERO DREAM (1992).  HERO DREAM is a CAT III HK sex/action romp cheapie that once seen is not quite forgotten.  Well, in it's entirety anyway.  The film's claim to fame is not it's fine cast, consisting of the brothers Chin, Ka-lok and Siu-ho, Michicko Nishiwaki, and Carrie Ng.  Or it's swift heyday energetic action, one cool scene even set to music ripped from Miami Vice.  Nope.  The movies most mentioned scenes are of it's surprisingly liberal display of some of Thailand's homeliest transsexuals.
Michiko Nishiwaki and her harem of ladyboys.  Michiko looks delighted.
HERO DREAM displays shemales like a menagerie of curiosity also using them in the classic Chinese cinema 'Jade Vase' sense as they are either scenery or abused beyond freakin' belief.  Not only are they used and abused for our CAT III enjoyment but they are shown in various states of undress including full frontal!  The full frontal, I believe, providing a sense of shock value to this run of the mill story but also a curiosity in that HK films, up to this point in time, really didn't show, ummmmm......"male" members in it's cinema.  Oh sure, you saw a ton of little kids running around without clothes.  And sometimes Stephen Chow would flick a poor little kids shmeckle.  But nothing this blatantly adult was on view.

Chin Siu-ho stickin' it to a ho
If you were to watch this film today, these scenes, though eye-opening, are none too shocking as 20 years on from HERO DREAM's initial release, alternative lifestyles tend not to be a big deal.  Well, among most people (I hope?), and I would assume not too many of the folks that watch genre or exploitation oriented cinema, Asian or otherwise, would really bat an eyelash.
HERO DREAM also sports super sexy lady action heroine Michiko Nishiwaki's most racy film appearance as she also strips down, as seen in the pic below.  Though it's no real picnic for the pervs as the goodies aren't seen.  Sorry, gawkers.  This being said, the film is still a ton entertaining and a recommended piece of solid high trash art.
I can't wait to frame and mount this pic in my new house.  I'm thinking the bedroom.  Right over the headboard.  I'm sure if I ask my wife nicely she'll be ok with it.  Right?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ms. Butterfly (1993) R.I.P. Jacqueline Law

A few weeks back I got that itch.  Not the one that invades your undercarriage on hot summer days (though not unlike it).  But it was an itch that I HAD to scratch.   It was time to order more HK movie posters.  Not that I need anymore, really.  But it's an itch.  An oh so beautiful itch that I never mind scratching long and hard.  I spent a pretty penny on about 10 posters straight from HK, and they arrived this past Saturday.  Imagine my feeling coming home after a few flicks at the NYAFF to find a poster tube delivered by Ms. Mail Lady.  Also in the post were a few VHS I had forgot I ordered.  Like a freakin' kid on X-mas. 

Earlier that day I awoke to a few Facebook posts about the passing of HK actress, Jacqueline Law Wai-guen.  Ms. Law succumbed to pancreatic cancer the day before.  As Ms. Law has been far removed from the HK cinema scene for some time, only popping up occasionally in a minor role here and there, she had been placed on my minds back burner.  And honestly, I didn't even know she was ill?
Since the delivery time from HK can take a while I was actually curious to what I had ordered?  I had completely forgotten?  As I teared into the poster tube I prayed I didn't stab myself or lop a thumb off with my scissors.  I unrolled sheet after sheet with anticipation and smiled like a mental patient.  After the final poster was undone, I was confronted, face to face, with Jacqueline.  A quick heat flash of 'Holy-Shit' shot through me and at the same time was elated over this awesome poster and sad for Jacqueline's fate.  Taken way too young.

This MS. BUTTERFLY poster has almost immediately become one of my favorites.  A true to form advert from the heyday to put asses in seats.  A decent crime film centering more on females delinquency rather than young triad rascals, the films CAT III rating comes from it's over use of expletives.  Also, this sexy look at Jacqueline, all 'girls unbutton'-like with her bra and panties blazin', is never seen in the film.  I have seen MS. BUTTERFLY only once.  I have the LD and VHS, unfortunately neither come with English subs.  If any of ya'll are aware of an English subtitled copy, please point me in the direction of it. 
For more on the passing of Jacqueline Law Wai-guen, check out these links:


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Odds and Ends. A Few New Friends. And Chapman To.

Okey dokes, ya'll.  I've been pretty much lying dormant for a bit.  Trying not to go CAT III on my mortgage broker.  The RUN AND KILL kind of CAT III.  Not the Charlie Cho kind.  Ha!  She wishes!  So as the temps flare up outside and my ire is raised as I wait for the closing date on my house, I was in need of a brief respite.  And it's that time of the year for my annual ritual, the NYAFF-2012 Edition!  You can check out the site and schedule here.  I'm going to a bunch of shows and maybe in the coming days or weeks I'll elaborate more on the fest.  Maybe.  I just can't be arsed to go about it in depth like I used to. 

Anyway, this past weekend at the fest was a success as I checked out a few excellent films, including the Opening Night flick, Pang Ho-cheug's VULGARIA.  And true to it's title,  things do get vulgar.  It's has yet to be released but when it does, it's a must to check out.  It is one of Pang's best.  Outside of the fest proved cool too boot as I also met a few new goodfellas that I've only known through social media.  I've added two new blogs to my sidebar so check them out.  The first being Planet Chocko Zine and Unseen Films.  A few nice guys that I'm looking forward to getting to know better.

On a recent HK movie quest in Brooklyn Chinatown (that story in FULL is a planned blog post for the future.) a shop keeper that I've become acquainted with set aside a few HK movie posters for me.  Nothing groundbreaking.  New HK movie crap, which is exactly what it is.  Crap.  Upon returning home and unfolding poster after poster I noticed a trend.  That of freakin' Chapman To on every poster. 
It struck me as a bit funny as I have recently been seeing a bunch of To films ( he's also in VULGARIA) and came to a silly little conclusion.  Chapman To is the new Eric Tsang.  Eric Tsang's work ethic is something to admire and he now not only rears his head in local HK productions but seems to also be a commodity in Mainland garbage as well.  While To has only dipped his toe into Mainland shite, his local film output is beginning to rival the old timer Tsang.  As per the HKMDB (which we ALL know is infallible) Since 2010, Tsang has starred in 25 films.  To, rivaling that output with 22 in the can. 

And look!  It's a poster featuring both Eric Tsang AND Chapman To.  Tsang has padded out his stats throughout the years by staring in his fair share of shit films and, by the above posters, To is well on his way to achieving Tsang's filmic stature.

And, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that today is the 15th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover.  !5 years of unease, unrest, and questionable cinema.  Cinema the least of Hong Kong's problems.