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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Archive for the ‘Jackie Chan’ Category

LoveHKToys: SHAOLIN

ShaolinAndy

On their homepage, Dragon Models, Ltd. has announced that figures based on characters from Benny Chan’s Shaolin (2011) are “coming soon” to toy stores, presumably in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Since I live in the currently snow-covered town of Ann Arbor, MI, I’ll have to rely on my friends overseas to keep me informed of the actual release date.

In the near future, toy collectors can look forward to ponying up some serious dough for super-detailed figures of warlord-turned-Shaolin monk Huo Jie (Andy Lau), Cao Man (Nicholas Tse), Wudao (Jackie Chan), Jing Neng (Wu Jing), Jing Kong (Xing Yu), and Suo Xiang-Tu (Hung Yan Yan). Two of these figures even come with horses to play with, so I suppose when you’re tired of re-enacting your favorite scenes from the movie, Andy and Nic can take Barbie and Skipper for a ride. Click on the thumbnails below to get a slightly better look at all the figures in the proposed series.

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Retro Review: DRUNKEN MASTER (1978)

Drunken Master

An essential kung fu classic for every HK fan’s movie library, Drunken Master is a film that not only gave a comedic twist to the Wong Fei-Hong legend, but allowed Jackie Chan the chance to hone his kung fu/comedy shtick. Just as Evil Dead 2 can be called both a sequel and a remake of the earlier Sam Raimi flick The Evil Dead, so too can Drunken Master be viewed as a “re-imagining” of its immediate predecessor, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, a film released only months before with practically the same cast, crew, and storyline. But make no mistake: Drunken Master isn’t some quickie rehash. Instead, the film takes the best elements from Snake to craft not just an excellent kung fu comedy, but a landmark film in the Jackie Chan canon.

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Jackie Takes the White House

Jackie and Biden

Both Biden and Chan agreed not to make fun of each other’s hair.

On his official website, Jackie Chan recently blogged about his experience visiting the White House. Attending a State Dinner in conjunction with Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States, Chan got a tour of the White House and met with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Bill and Hilary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, among others.

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Retro Review: THE YOUNG MASTER (1980)

Young Master

After a failed bid for Hollywood success, martial arts megastar Jackie Chan returned to Hong Kong for 1980’s The Young Master, a film that marked the beginning of a long and successful relationship with Golden Harvest. After a great deal of backstage wrangling thanks to Golden Harvest head honcho Raymond Chow and Jimmy Wang Yu, the young Chan was finally released from all contractual obligations to director/producer Lo Wei, and consequently became free to do his movies the “Jackie Chan way.” And while The Young Master certainly hearkens back to the old school charms of his previous work in terms of plot and setting, the film possesses more than enough of Chan’s trademark slapstick humor and high-energy stunts to make it a noteworthy transitional film in the Jackie Chan filmography. As his first film for Golden Harvest, this is one of Chan’s best from the pre-Police Story era.

Not only can read my full review here, but you can actually watch THE WHOLE MOVIE¬† for free online. Although it is a dubbed version, I’ve gone to the trouble of embedding¬† The Young Master below. Apparently, this is all legally kosher, but if you happen to know otherwise, please throw me a line.

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Little Bitty Jackie Chan

Little Big Soldier

“Err…it’s not what it looks like.” — Leehom Wang and Jackie Chan in Little Big Soldier.

For quite a while now, Jackie Chan has seemed pretty cognizant of the need to re-invent himself as an actor in order to stay relevant to a contemporary audience. He’s made it clear in interviews that he knows he’s getting older, and he can’t keep (and hasn’t kept) playing the young romantic lead doing the same death-defying stunts with any degree of believability. Over the years, Chan has made several attempts at reinvention as a dramatic actor, but he’s always reverted back to the comfortable “Jackie Chan-type” character in Hong Kong and American films. More recently, he’s tried to walk on the dark side as reluctant crime lord in The Shinjuku Incident and tried to act his age as the Sifu in the recent remake of The Karate Kid. But in my view, the most successful attempt at reinvigorating Chan’s career was 2010’s Little Big Soldier.

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Jackie & Michelle Take Malaysia: A Look Back at SUPERCOP

Supercop

While Jackie Chan attempted to break into the American market in the early Eighties with appearances in two Cannonball Run films and starring roles in The Big Brawl (aka Battlecreek Brawl) and The Protector, he didn’t catch the attention of mainstream U.S. audiences until a full decade later. In 1995, New Line Cinema released¬† Rumble in the Bronx in the United States and the film was a surprise hit. Slightly re-edited and dubbed in English (even the English speakers!), this Chan actioner was number one at the box office ($9.85 million) during its opening weekend and went on to gross $32.3 million overall. The success of Rumble led to Dimension Films to release Police Story 3: Supercop in the United States, which was a modest box office success, insuring not only more Jackie Chan films in the United States, but catapulting Michelle Yeoh to international acclaim.

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Retro Review: POLICE STORY 2 (1988)

Police Story II

Jackie Chan and Maggie Cheung in Police Story 2

The original Police Story (read Kozo’s review) was a slam-bang action movie that was high on stunts, but low on plot. Still, the movie had some of the greatest action sequences ever put on film, not to mention a strong cast and a winning performance by Jackie Chan, so quibbles about the script are pretty much beside the point. Three years later, Jackie Chan and company returned for Police Story 2, a film which was more plot-driven, had better camerawork, and boasted somewhat higher production values. The results are pretty much the same as its predecessor. Still, nobody comes to a Jackie Chan flick expecting Hamlet. Believe me, when the action heats up, Police Story 2 delivers. While the finale of the original is hard to top, the last fifteen minutes of Police Story 2 comes pretty damn close.

You can read my LoveHKFilm.com review here and view an old-school, English language trailer after the jump.

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