This is for you action movie fans who like me, feel that the majority of today's action films rely on CGI a little too much or that too many titles these days are being bumped down to PG-13 (Live Free or Die Hard I'm looking at you).
Don't get me wrong, Hollywood action films are great and some new ones are ok, but sometimes it can get a little boring watching Die Hard or Commando over and over. Might i suggest looking at movies from the golden age of Hong Kong cinema (ie.1980s to early 90s)?
A long way back I got really into Jackie Chan movies, specifically his older films. Not terribly violent, but amazing stunts, some entertaining humour, and relatively serviceable stories ground in reality. Chan is definitely a good starting point and some good movies of his include Police Story 1,2,3 (3 is called Supercop in North America), Rumble in the Bronx, Project A (one of the best), and Armour of God. Jackie Chan's First Strike (Police Story 4) is also great fun but kind of a bad story.
For those of you who want some more mature stories and characters but still crave action, there is no better then Chow Yun Fat. I'm not talking about his American films, but rather the ones that made him famous: his first action movies of Hong Kong. Try watching A Better Tomorrow which teamed him up with action legend John Woo. This film was arguably the first to set off the gun-heavy crime story or "heroic bloodshed" style of Hong Kong cinema. It was followed by its sequel A Better Tomorrow 2 which contains some of the best action sequences of all time.
Last but certainly not least is Hard Boiled. This is Chow Yun Fat and John Woo in perfect form. The story is clever, you care for the characters, and the action sequences are some of the most celebrated and mimicked in film history. One shootout is 30 minutes long(!) but is so well done and tense that it doesn't feel long or drawn out at all.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of some of the best action movies to come out of Hong Kong. If you have a taste for the genre but have found Hollywood's palate lacking, check these out, heck check them out either way.
One word of warning though: always watch them in the original chinese and never the english subs (except Jackie Chan, because it adds to the fun), your ears will thank you ;)
hard boiled, most certainly. One of my favorite shoot 'em ups of all time. I got pissed when my VHS copy crapped out a few years ago, but luckily got the DVD for christmas! It is most excellent.
The scene in "Police Story" when they were driving down a hillside, destroying a shantytown is to date, one of the finest things Ive seen. That whole movie in fact. Ive always loved (still do) Bruce Lee but you got something else from Jackie Chan. I didnt know much about him until an English friend introduced me to his movies, then they started releasing them here.
You guys should all read "Jackies' Chan who am I?" It is a great autobiography of him from his days in the Chinese Opera up through his stardom and fame, it's told in very readable form and also has a great insight in to Hong Kong cinema, not just his own films. It is definately a must read, you won't be dissapointed.
Love Oriental Action movies, especially martial Art films.
What martial arts film of the last few years is it that had a scene involving the hero fighting scores of bad guys as he runs up the stairwell of a hotel, and it was several minutes long but taken in one shot, without any cutaways - just one continuous long money-shot of chop-sockey porn goodness?
And I love the looney English dubs! Half the fun!
Oh, and if you guys want to check out the movie that 'inspired' The Departed check out Infernal Affairs. Its pretty good and it is the original. Not really a ton of action but still a good Hong Kong cop/gangster thriller.
Lt. Rothwell;4007926Oh, and if you guys want to check out the movie that 'inspired' The Departed check out Infernal Affairs. Its pretty good and it is the original. Not really a ton of action but still a good Hong Kong cop/gangster thriller.
Loved that movie, better then the departed in my opinion. I also liked the japanese version of the Ring, "Ringu" and the Korean movie "The Host"
As moose can testify to this... I'm naturally born HK... Even though I grew up in the 1990's, there are so many movies that you guys leave out...
Now I'm not sure of their movie names, nor the actors for I don't know their english names... If you feel something is fishy, then tooooo bad for you...
HK cinematography isn't established around your "special effects". Yes I know, some of the more recent ones, like the one Jacky played as a racer, there where more special effects in there, but its all on hands stunt work. You get these actors and stunt actors to do all these, "car explosion" scenes with them actually inside them... I'll get to my point soon, but theres more.
HK doesn't have the same mentality compared to the USA... People are so economy driven, I'm not saying USA isn't, but when was the last time you sat down every night talking about the NASDAQ, or the Dow Jones? I mean extensively? I mean HK has all the idle chatter about society, less about politics, and more about what that new TV show was all about, or what that radio dude said was stupid or not, about something totally irrelevant.
We take everything at face value, so thats why our formula for Movies, even TV series, are all about that. We love to "show you some color," and deny those devious subplots that only over complicate things. You talk to an average Cantonese, and they are always stress about something. With a movie, you can expect a very meaning full plot, somewhat deep, but just thrilling as its just something very simplistic about it that attracts people to it. Now the cliche saying goes "its always better heard, and understood in its native language," and I'd have to attribute this to the fact that English and Chinese are two completely different languages... One is full of words with several meanings, with rules to be broken. While Chinese, I'd like to think of it as numbers and math... (rofl, how ironic eh?) Its defined, you memorize an equation, a rule, and your all good to go. Just got to learn those funky symbols to plug in.
How I've managed to ramble off into culture once again... But none the less, thats what defines HK Cinematography... its totally different from what some people are use to. But don't think I don't like Hollywood block busters... Transformers was still a good CG movies, and movies can still be good even if they have really deep, and various, subplots. Like A Beautiful Mind.
Try and pick up movies not but Jacky, and not by Chow Yung Fat, and actually pic up some obscure movie that sounds weird, and looks weird... Even the romance flicks are pretty good... But if you want something really halarious? Look for Stephen Chow...
For many years a local TV station had a late night movie feature called "Kung Fu Theatre" and it played all the martial Arts movies you would even find at a Blockbusters and then some. Many of them were obviously dubbed leading to the infamous dubbing not matching the lips.
But whatever the movies lacked in special effects and sometimes bad acting it made up for in spectacular martial arts. A good friend of mine has a couple of bookcases filled with VHS movies and DVD's and every so often we hang out and watch as many of those old martial arts movies as we can.