Jackie Chan stars as Jerry Kwan son of a restaurant owner in 1930’s Chicago, a run in with a local gangster and his underlings leads to Chan’s character being forced into taking part in a mass brawl event known as Battle creek Brawl Chan’s Jerry Kwan fights his way to victory, obviously.
This was Jackie Chan’s first attempt at becoming an American movie star the film performed badly at the box office, fortunately, if it had been a success Police Story, Project A, Armour of God and other great Jackie Chan movies would perhaps not exist.
The period clothing is great I much prefer the way people are suspected of dressing in decades before I was born, shirts and suits, hats, good ties, nice shoes, waistcoats, well made coats it looks classier than the fashion of today baseball caps, those awful looking grey sweatpants, hoodies and dirty worn trainers. Or at least the fashion of the past is better than today if you could have afforded nice clothes.
As part of the on going narrative there’s a roller derby scene that’s completely nuts and adds nothing to the story it being another excuse for Chan to be amazing but on wheeled shoes I do remember roller skates being very popular at the time so the inclusion of such a scene does make sense regardless of purpose. There’s also the inclusion of slo-mo, which I love to see in a movie if appropriate of course Michael Bay always seems to use the movie technique appropriately and to good effect.
It’s a daft movie, especially in the fact Jerry Kwan’s brother being a doctor always, and I do mean always, throughout the movie wears a white coat expressing his medical practitioner skills.
The opponents in Battle Creek Brawl are super heavyweight fighters huge heavy powerful looking men all of whom appear capable of snapping Jerry Kwan in twain. There’s no structure to the fighting it really is a big brawl every man for himself unfortunately it’s a poorly choreographed finale.
RATING: 1 out of 10
***Note: I’ve been sitting on this all weekend in light of the UCSB shooting, since I reference both guns as well as guys who just don’t get it, and as usual, I tell the tale in a cheerfully flippant manner that might seem dismissive of the genuine anguish the events–which, it’s worth noting, have been heavily condensed for the sake of narrative convention–caused me. Obviously, I have decided to hit the Publish button nonetheless, because even though I don’t even pretend to have a solution for the likes of Elliot Rodger (although I offer the beginnings of one in a tangential paragraph that would hardly begin to address the underlying issues), I figure I can at least contribute to a conversation about men, women, and the unrealistic expectations in between them by sharing my own experiences with men who take unnecessary offense to rejection.
*Deep breath* DUNNNH, dunh, dun-dun-dun-DUN-dun, dun-dun-dun-DUN-dun, dun-dun-dun-DUUUUUUNH…
Okay, now that I’ve gotten a poor attempt at transliterating the Star Wars theme into text, our tale picks up not in Hoth, but rather back in Colorado, which, compared to the balmy paradise of SoCal, seemed Hothic enough (especially last winter–all that snow made for awesome skiing but terrible driving!). Darth Oblivious and I met for Italian dinner in a small, softly lit restaurant left over from the days when the Mob attempted to forge a Manifest Destiny all its own in my small corner of the West. The romantic setting I was able to ignore thanks to the fact that it was attached to a bar that was as close to a literal hole in the wall as I’d ever seen, and that the bar would be the setting of our shoot about a sleazy bar rat who sees an uptick in his sexual appeal once he gets a vasectomy.
Or at least that was the premise going in. I was presumably being consulted on how to make this storyline into an actual story using the actor DO had already brought on board. We went through several iterations, all of which necessitated a dinner or lunch meeting at the cozy little establishment, and one of which even brought along my BFF and first ex-husband to play a deadbeat dad who would be a contrast to the virtuous Vasectoman who also happened to be a real chick magnet. Nothing came of that idea, of course, but the meeting was memorable for the moment when DO observed a shared chortle between my BFF and me and murmured, “I really need more platonic female friends,” with a look that hindsight gives the soundtrack choice of “Hungry Eyes.” O alarm bells, how I wish I paid more attention to thee!*
*Yes, I know “thou” and “thee” were the pronouns reserved for informal and singular second-person use. Pray permit my poetic license.
But attention was not paid in full and on time, and in the course of our finalizing a sufficiently epic and vasectomy-promoting storyline (our sleaze would get rejected all night until he gets picked up by a suspiciously seductive lady, played by yours truly, who turns out to be completely baby bonkers, thus really testing my acting skills. The scene ends with our hero rushing off to get snipped, then returning for a night of worry-free kinky shit, or would’ve if the sponsors hadn’t deemed it too risqué), we conversed at length and freely.
I took it as a positive that he seemed curious and inquisitive about my self-description as an aromantic asexual and that the doubt in his voice about such a description subsided as I explained how it readily connected, for me, with my highly anti-marriage and -baby stance. Though he wasn’t personally 100% on board with the latter, thus giving unfortunate fruit to my uncle’s theory that guys just don’t really know how they feel about kids and won’t until they have one, DO seemingly understood and accepted where I was coming from.
What we were on the same page about was an interest in skiing and saving gas money getting up to the ski areas, though I raised my eyebrows at his degree of frugality that extended to hiking up above the lowest lifts and skiing only off the higher chairs thereafter–the ones where no one scanned tickets. I, too, have considered impromptu Craigslist organ donation as a means of paying for a pass, but I did ultimately dig deep down into my checking account and pay up, especially when the area in question is the small mom-and-pop one whose enthusiasm for the sport helps it live up to its name of Loveland!
An uneven interest in saving money aside, we also shared a passion for reading and expanding our minds with new perspectives, which led to him lending me a book he rather enjoyed. I accepted, in spite of the fact that the last time I borrowed a book from a guy, it ended rather badly.
Perhaps most interestingly, at least for those who probably have their own preconceived ideas about me, is that DO and I had another mutual interest in guns, though mine was more from a general interest in expanding my knowledge of all things survivalist as well as being able to use “I know how to shoot a gun!” to stem the invariable tide of anti-vaccination and -GMO bullshit I will doubtlessly hear to no end in SoCal, whereas his seemed more rooted in libertarian principles of defending freedom from the baaahing nanny-state goats–er, sheeple–or something like that.*
*In case anyone is curious as to where I stand on gun control based on that confusing paragraph, I’m mostly cool with letting the Fox Newsers have the Second Amendment as long as they let us commie pinko Muslim atheist Jews keep the First, Establishment Clause and all. I do, however, think the Supreme Court** needs to revisit that portion of the Second regarding the right to bear arms as part of a well-regulated militia, as it has not been addressed since being effectively invalidated in the early nineteenth century, and revitalizing it might allow reasonable limits requiring storage of weapons in a locked and secured facility where, say, the family three-year-old and/or mentally disturbed teen-to-twentysomething can’t get to them and would also require gun owners to pass certifications and regular tests on gun safety.
**Not the current Supreme Court, however, as I think that would end more like an episode of Oprah: “And YOU get an assault rifle, and YOU get an assault rifle, and YOU get an assault rifle! ASSAULT RIFLES FOR EVERYONE!!!!!”
But Darth Oblivious was more than happy to teach me all about how to fire a loaded gun just the same. One sunny but windy January day, we took off for an unused National Forest Access campground, set up a series of soda bottles, and promptly engaged in the relentless destruction of all we had previously created. All my liberal-minded intellectual elitism exploded into subatomic fragments as I released a primal scream of joy upon blowing the shit out of a bottle of fruit punch and purred with the delight of a four-year-old ant-stomper as it bled helplessly into the snow.
All my other pretensions of moral superiority fell aside as Darth Oblivious and I stopped at a Central City casino for their $7.99 prime rib special, my unease at the hopelessness of the scatting of senior citizens gambling away their Social Security checks swept away by the delight of the prime rib succumbing to bloody defeat in my mouth. All my primitive hunting instincts sang in glory as I basked in the triumph of a successful day alongside someone with whom I was happy to bask in the bonds of bro-dom.
Alas, not all my newfound broski’s instincts were so easily satiated. On the way home, he commented, “Man, a neck rub sure would sound good right about now.”
“Sure would,” I agreed.
He looked at me in surprise. “I thought you didn’t like being touched?”
“I don’t, for the most part. But my muscles get just as sore as anyone’s. Stupid early hominids, descending from the trees before our back muscles properly fixed themselves to stand upright.”
“So you don’t mind this,” he said, reaching across the car to rub my neck.
“Well, no,” I mused. “I mean, I exchange neck and shoulder rubs with my best friend, the guy for whom I have no sexual attraction just as he has none for me, all the time.”
“Must be nice, having that kind of a friendship,” he said, continuing to rub my neck.
“It is! I mean, we agree that’s the one and only disadvantage to being single, so we step in for each other. Sure keeps things simple!”
“Mmmm, yeah. Well, if you want, I could do an exchange with you if we go back to your place.”
“It definitely couldn’t hurt to have another PURELY PLATONIC friend with whom to share a good back rub! But I’m going skiing with my uncle tomorrow, so you’ll have to leave by 9:30. No negotiations.”
“Yeah, I understand!” he agreed in a tone of voice that, hindsight delights in telling me, indicates he really did not. But my back and shoulders were tight from holding an AK-47, not to mention months of skiing after my massage therapist had left his Denver location to be a ski bum in Vail. First world problems lead to first-rate lapses in judgment, kids.
But back to my place we went, and his entry necessitated taking him past my bedroom, where he screwed his eyes up at my queen bed.
“Man, that is a short bed. I have no idea how I’d fit in a bed that size.”
“Well, lucky for you, you’ll never need to try and figure it out!”
He screwed his face up even more, but I ignored it. We had muscles to relax, and I had a 9:30 deadline at which Cinderella turned into a pumpkin!
The massage I received wasn’t bad, though I did have to laugh uncomfortably as he murmured, “Man, you got a surprisingly hot body under those baggy clothes.” I refrained from commenting on his in return, and when he made no motions to get up and leave at 9:30, I continued rubbing his neck in the interest of equal time given until a few minutes past the anointed hour.
“It’s past 9:30,” I said, and stood up to escort him downstairs. He stared at me uncomprehendingly, and I shifted my weight, waiting for him to get up.
When he didn’t, I gritted my teeth. “It’s past 9:30. I have to go to sleep. My uncle’s an early riser.”
He continued gawking in what appeared to be a combination of surprise and hurt. Finally, after a few seconds of me taking mental inventory of my apartment and trying to figure out what I could use to knock him unconscious but not dead and how to get him downstairs before he awoke, he frowned.
“So you’re okay with this,” he started, standing to rub my neck briefly, “but not this,” this being a hug that I wasted no time in elbowing my way out of.
“You got it,” I sighed as I sat down, already feeling my 10 p.m. lights-out slipping away. Maybe I could keep this short enough to get seven and a half hours of sleep. I crossed my fingers, but Darth Oblivious’ ominous silence wasn’t boding well for that, either.
“Well, that’s too bad,” he finally sighed. “I think this guy you were with really screwed you up. I think there’s a girl buried in there somewhere who loves to be touched, and she’ll come back out with enough time.”
My Wernicke’s area having shut down response processors as a natural defense against rampant stupidity, I could only respond with this:
I stared at him with my jaw hanging open for another few moments, my most pressing thought that I was probably now down to seven hours of sleep. When I finally wrestled my brain back to the matter at hand, I managed, “Yes. But the whole experience helped me realize how much I disliked physicality. You’re confusing the cause-effect relationship here.”
He nodded, his jaw set stubbornly. “It’s too bad,” he repeated as I pointedly checked the clock on my phone. “You’re not boring to me.”
“I’ll…be sure to put that on my resume,” I ground out. I was pretty sure I could still ski okay on six and a half hours of sleep.
“Every other girl bores me so quickly. But not you. God, why are all the good ones unavailable?”
I could ski on six hours of sleep, but my uncle was definitely going to have to drive, I decided. I stood up again. “The only reason you feel that way is because the feeling is completely and utterly unreciprocated.”
“You’re probably right,” he sighed, finally, to my delight, standing up himself.
As I all but shoved him out the door, he paused and turned. “I think I’m gonna go away, out of state, for a while. But don’t worry about the book–take your time reading it.”
“Will do, and that trip sounds like a great idea. Have a good night!” I shouted as I slammed and locked the door.
It turned out that I need not have worried about the hours of sleep I was unlikely to get, as my uncle and I ultimately decided that conditions did not merit the time it would take to drive to the mountains. But the lack of an immediate voyage to the most Hothic part of my state left me with no room for extra shut-eye in any event–like Luke on the verge of a grim new future with awkward revelations about the real nature of relationships, I, too, had to face the prospect of a painful cut: that of someone I had, in spite of our differences, come to regard as a promising friend.
Hong Yi, who goes by the nickname “Red,” created the portrait as a birthday present to the action star, who turned 60 earlier this week. read more
I spent the first ten years of my life in Binondo, the Philippines’ Chinatown. We first lived in my father’s office staffhouse until we moved to an apartment, where most, if not all, of my neighbors were Chinese. Our landlord was an old Chinese man who was my very first image of Confucius. He would be the guy who would give me ang paos on special occasions. I don’t remember a single sentence he ever said to me, but I grew up knowing that I had to pay him my respects all the time. My playmates were all Chinese, Chinese boys to be exact. I would go over to their apartment, play games, and quarrel a lot. I would often overhear a couple next door arguing in very loud Chinese We would go shopping along the famous Ongpin street after mass every Sunday. I would come home to dancing red dragons and fireworks on Chinese New Year. I was exposed to so much Chinese culture for all of my formative years. Interestingly though, I’m not Chinese at all.
Sure, people have mistaken me to be Chinese (or any other non-Filipino Asian heritage). But really, I’m not. I didn’t go to a Chinese school. I never learned to understand nor speak Chinese. No one in our whole family tree is the least bit Chinese. Sometimes though, my mom would borrow some Chinese beliefs, like how red was a lucky color, something we should wear for birthdays, Christmas and New Year. She also believed in the Chinese zodiac, attributing someone’s traits to what year that person was born in. She also took interest in the Chinese regard for numbers, like how the number 13 was lucky and how number 4 was unlucky. And to this day, she still lights incense around the house on New Year (Gregorian calendar).
Other than the exposure I had, whatever I know about the Chinese culture comes purely from pop culture. I learned about it from books like The Good Earth and The Joy Luck Club, from shows like Ni-Hao, Kai-Lan! and from movies like Mulan, Kung Fu Panda, Mano Po and every other film starring Jackie Chan.
But for all of those ten years, being somewhat immersed in that culture was completely normal for me. As a kid, I had no idea that my Chinese neighbors came from an entirely different culture. That’s one remarkable trait about children: they always assume that everything and everyone are alike, without a hint of prejudice. I never wondered why my playmates looked different, or why they spoke a different language with their parents. I never saw the need to treat them differently, or to even consider that they were different from me at all. Kids have no concept of racism, or any other type of -ism for that matter.
As I grew up though, I learned about Chinese culture, traditions and beliefs, not only from Asian History classes, but more importantly from my Chinese friends and classmates. I learned about sinocentrism, about ‘great walls’ among marriages, about the preference for male offspring. I saw how there was a tendency to form a collective opinion about them. It’s a shame how easily these lessons cling to you. As we learn about their culture, we simultaneously and subconsciously create a culture of our own, a culture that tends to separate them from the rest. Nowadays, I find myself labelling someone ‘Chinese’ before I even get to speak to them, when just fifteen years ago I would approach my Chinese friends like I would anyone else on the playground.
It’s not that I blatantly discriminate my Chinese acquaintances. It’s only that my eyes often see the Chinese heritage way before I see the person, and regrettably associate them with other culturally collective ideas of who we think they are, and I guess that’s something we are often guilty of. Conversing with my Chinese friends taught me that there’s really no way to label them, because like every one else, they each have unique stories to tell, which may or may not have anything to do with their bloodline. While some stories reflect an entirely different upbringing, others illustrate that we actually have a lot in common, a lot more than we actually expect.
Being Chinese will forever be a part of a person’s being, but it’s not the only part. There are parts that reveal themselves only when we get to know them, when we urge ourselves to learn from each other, when we drop the cultural barriers and start making bridges. You may even be surprised to find bridges that were already there, yet blocked by walls we have unconsciously created. It’s a struggle to break down walls forged with centuries-old prejudice, but it’s never too late to crack a hole. One day we may just look at it from a new perspective. One day we may find ourselves talking with a man waiting in line at the grocery store who just happens to be Chinese, instead of a Chinese man who just happens to be waiting in line at the grocery store. See the difference?
And of course, this should apply to all cultures.
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker starred in Rush Hour in 1998 spawning 3 sequels in the past 15 years. Although some will debate exactly when or what movie started the age of cramming films with non-stop action filled with death and violence, one thing is clear, this rush is here to stay. As attention spans continue to diminish, this 24 style serves as a drug, a rush of adrenaline to captive minds.
If you live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic part of the United States, this mentality has transformed how people act, behave and treat one another. Unfortunately, you won’t find much southern hospitality here as a spirit of rushing hinders the ability to be kind, nice or pleasant. Though not everyone fits into this category, the side effects of rushing through life are evident. Honking horns, obscene sign language and yelling flood the streets of this corridor.
From a personal perspective, this pace of life influences the quality of your relationships. Either you or the person you are trying to engage is distracted by a wave of rush, in a hurry to get to no where. Sad, but true, I’m the one who is usually persuaded to cut conversations short. If you face a similar struggle, remember the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, leaning on this promise to snap you out of this bad habit.
Please share any other side effects that you see of rushing through life.
by Jay Mankus
More culture splashed across the silver screen… although it’s a pretty loose definition of “culture” for some of the films I’ve seen over the past few weeks. More and more, I find myself avoiding recent Hollywood product (and I use the term “product” deliberately) in favour of arthouse or classic Hollywood films.
Rio Lobo, Howard Hawks (1970, USA) I freely admit Hawks’ Rio Bravo (1959) is one of my favourite films, and certainly my favourite Western, and I was aware Rio Lobo is often considered to be little more than Hawks having another bash at that earlier film. Like Rio Bravo, it stars John Wayne as a sheriff, who must defend a town against a cattle baron’s henchman and… The difference here is that Wayne was a Union officer and the film opens with an ambush by Confederate troops on a gold train he’s responsible for. Later, he meets the Confederate captain who commanded the ambush in a POW camp and the two become friends… and later allies against the evil cattle baron. A solid Hollywood western, but not a patch on Rio Bravo.
Beau Travail, Claire Denis (1999, France) I forget why I put this on my rental list, possibly I’d seen it on some list of top films or something. I’d seen a few by Denis before, and while they were good I can’t say they’d blown me away. But Beau Travail… It’s set in Djibouti among soldiers of the French Foreign Legion, and is framed as the memories of a sergeant after the fact. A new recruit joins the troop and the sergeant becomes envious of his looks, ability and popularity. He tries to kill him by sending him out into the desert with a faulty compass, but the legionnaire survives. The film ends with the sergeant dancing, representing his suicide after failing to adjust to civilian life. It is quite brilliant. I’m pretty sure Beau Travail is going to make my best of the year. It’s also the third film I can think of that’s lifted from good to near-genius by an unexpected dance scene, the other two being François Ozon’s Water Drops On Burning Rocks (2000) and Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009).
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 7 (1993, USA) So I finally got around to watching the final season of Next Gen, and now a week or two later I have very little memory of it all. I think I spent most of the time marvelling at how much make-up Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden were wearing. The plots of the individual episodes were, I seem to recall, rather dull and it all felt very formulaic and “the [tech] does the [tech] with the [tech]“. There were, as usual, some totally cringe-worthy episodes and, surprisingly, one featuring Lwaxana Troi that didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out (it was a bit barf-inducing, though). Ah well, seen them all now. Seen all of DS9 as well. Voyager next, I guess. Sigh.
Outpost 11, Anthony Woodley (2012, UK) The Second World War is apparently approaching its centenary and three men at a listening outpost – listening to Russian radio traffic (er, they were our allies during WWII) – are slowly driven mad by something strange out in the ice and cold. Everything looks a bit steampunk (er, the Victorian Age ended nearly forty years before WWII), the acting is terrible, and the pacing is abysmal. A film to avoid.
Gilda, Charles Vidor (1946, USA) Glenn Ford is a gambler in Buenos Aires shortly after WWII. He ends up working at an illegal casino – though you’d never guessed it was illegal from all the glitz – as floor manager. Some months later, the casino owner goes away on a trip and returns with Rita Hayworth, his wife. Cue smouldering hatred between Ford and Hayworth. Meanwhile, the casino owner is neck-deep in a cartel among tungsten mine owners. A quality Hollywood noir this one. Hayworth is mind-blowing. Definitely worth seeing.
Queen Of Blood, Curtis Harrington (1966, USA) This was actually a rewatch, but it’s such a good film it’s worth mentioning again. It’s another US movie cobbled together from footage from two Soviet films – мечте навстречу (Mechte Navstrechu) and Небо зовет (Nebo Zovyot), with additional US-filmed material starring Basil Rathbone, John Saxon, Judi Meredith Florence Marly, and, yes, that is Dennis Hopper. Alien crashlands on Mars, Earth sends rescue mission, they find sole survivor Marly, but during journey back to Earth she proves to be a vampire and kills all of crew except Meredith and Hooper, who kill her. Marly is astonishingly good as the titular alien, Meredith is treated like just one of the crew (a gender-equal future society, in a 1966 film!), and the footage from the Soviet movies is weirdly beautiful. I love this film.
My Neighbours The Yamadas, Isao Takahata (1999, Japan) The cartoony Studio Ghibli film, in other words. The title pretty much says it all – the film is structured as a series of vignettes about the eponymous family. I quite enjoyed it, although the best Ghibli I’ve seen so far is still Only Yesterday, like My Neighbours The Yamadas also directed by Isao Takahata.
Project A, Part 2, Jackie Chan (1987, Hong Kong) When I was living in the UAE, I watched quite a lot of Jackie Chan films – they were readily available there on VCD. It’s nineteenth century Hong Kong and Chan is drafted in as police superintendent in charge of a notoriously corrupt district. With the help of the Marines, he cleans up the district, battling the local kingpin, an Imperial Chinese spy and his henchmen, and the previous superintendent who has been promoted to a position where he can allegedly do no harm. Also involved are a bunch of Chinese revolutionaries - which is who the Imperial Chinese spy is after. There’s lots of cleverly-choreographed action, including a brilliant sequence with some chilis, and it’s pretty much a pure hit of Jackie Chan comedy-action. Definitely worth seeing.
20 Million Miles To Earth, Nathan Juran (1957, USA) This was on Film4 one weekend afternoon, so I plonked myself in front of the telly and watched it. My expectations were low and it still failed to meet them. A spacecraft on a mission to Venus crashlands in the sea off Sicily on its trip back to Earth. Some Sicilian fisherman rescue the sole survivor, but a young local boy also finds a specimen jar from the rocket containing a blobby thing, which promptly grows into a Godzillary-type creature and subsequently terrorises the island. This is a B-movie, with a B-movie script and B-movie talent, and notable only because Harryhausen animated the ersatz kaiju. Eminently avoidable.
Gentleman’s Agreement, Elia Kazan (1947, USA) This was a surprise. I forget where I stumbled across mention of it, but it was a good call. Gregory Peck plays a journalist who’s just landed a top gig with a New-York-based magazine. He proposes an article series on anti-semitism, but initially finds it hard to present the subject in a way that will really get it across to readers. Eventually he decides that he will tell everyone he is Jewish, and experience anti-semitism for himself – he’s new in New York, so there’s no one around who’ll know different (except his editor, of course, his mother, and his WASP-y fiancée). And experience it he does. Both conscious and unconscious. The topic is handled intelligently and sensitively. Sadly, I doubt a film like this would be made today.
Sons of the Desert, William A Seiter (1933, USA). Also, by various hands, We Faw Down (1928), Their Purple Moment (1928) and On the Wrong Trek (1936), which were all on the same disc. Sons of the Desert sees Stan and Ollie pull a fast one on their wives in order to attend the titular organisation’s annual bash in Chicago, which their wives have forbidden. Ollie fakes an illness, and the pair are allowed to travel to “Honolulu” to recuperate. Everything goes as planned… Except the ship the pair are allegedly returning on sinks. Just after they’ve lied their way out of trouble on that, the wives sees a newsreel about the Sons of the Desert parade in Chicago… and there are Stan and Ollie whooping it up. We Faw Down is a silent with an earlier version of the plot – Stan and Ollie want to attend a poker game so lie to their wives… only to get caught up in various shenanigans and consequently caught out. I thought it funnier than Sons of the Desert. Their Purple Moment is another silent – this time Stan & Ollie are out for some fun with some of Stan’s saved cash, they end up having dinner in a club with a pair of women (not their wives), but it turns out Stan’s wife has replaced his cash with coupons. Also a good one. Laurel and Hardy only make cameos in On the Wrong Trek, which is actually about another actor back from holiday telling his office mates about the disastrous week he’s just spent on the road to California with his wife and mother-in-law. There’s a quite good musical number, but that’s about all.
Red 2, Dean Pariscot (2013, USA) A bunch of oldies run around like twentysomethings, committing implausible mayhem and I completely forget what the actual plot was about. I’d dismiss this as complete tosh, but the script was pleasantly witty and though it trod a fine line it actually managed to avoid falling into stupid. It felt more like a European action thriller than a Hollywood one (amusingly, it featured a Russian aircraft masquerading as a USAF one, the precise opposite of all those Hollywood Cold War films…). For a beer and pizza night, you can do a lot worse than this film.
I’m having a mini obsession with this lovely new rookie band called JJCC or Double JC
The group debuted in March 20, 2014 with five members: SimBa, E.co, EDDY, San-Cheong, and Prince Mak. They were formed and are currently managed by none other than Jackie Chan. The band name also has a cool meaning. The first “JC” comes from Jackie Chan’s initials while the second “JC” comes from the first letters of the words join and cultures. I thought that was pretty cool considering this band does have a variety of ethnicities.Member Profiles:
Birth Name: Kim Young Jin
Stage Name: Simba (심바)
Birthday: June 30
Position: Leader, Rap
Height: 184cm (6ft)
Weight: 66kg (145lbs)
Blood Type: O
Birth Name: Ha Joon Young
Stage Name: E.Co (이코)
Birthday: March 13, 1987
Height: 186cm (6ft 1in)
Weight: 65 kg (143 lbs)
Blood Type: A
Formerly in: J.Rich
Former Stage Name: Hajun
English Name: Eddy Oh
Korean Name: Oh Jong Seok
Stage Name: Eddy (에디)
Birthday: July 7
Height: 177cm (5ft 9in)
Weight: 65kg (143lbs)
Blood Type: O
*Eddy competed on the cooking challenge show “Master Chef Korea” once as he is known for his cooking skills.*
English Name: Henry Mak
Stage Name: Prince Mak (프린스 맥)
Birthday: May 24
Height: 179cm (5ft 10in)
Weight: 60kg (132lbs)
Blood Type: B
*Prince Mak is not included in their first music video, At First, as it is reported that he injured himself before the filming.*
Birth Name: Choi Ha Don
Stage Name: Sanchung (산청)
Birthday: May 14
Position: Rap, Maknae
Height: 180cm (5ft 10in)
Weight: 64kg (141lbs)
Blood Type: B
Unfortunately, I can’t really find set years that they were born. Some sites say their eldest member is 27 and others say he’s 22 so I don’t know. Reportadly, when Jackie Chan announced the group, he said all the members were in their early 20s.
The most popular rumor says
Simba: June 30, 1992 – Age 21
E.co: March 13, 1987 – Age 27
Eddy: July 7, 1990 – Age 23
Prince Mak: May 24, 1990 – Age 23
San Cheong: May 14,1993 – Age 20
The group only has one single out right now and I can’t find any knowledge of the date for the next one or an album release. They seem to be mainly promoting themselves right now.My Bias:
It’s still a little early to tell but I’m leaning towards this fellow ^.^
But this cutie (I have actually nicknamed him Cutie) is also very much still in the running for the title of my bias
How could you do that to us so early in your career?!
I thought this one was really cute because Eddy is just all cool and then the other four just burst in like a bunch of dorks ^.^
We have so much in common, Sancheong
R U OK SIMBA?
Oh come on we all saw this reference coming.
KITTY PLAYDATE BETWEEN ASI AND MISO I VOTE YES
Allow me to end on this note:
Miss Kpop: http://misskpop.weebly.com/jjcc-profile.html
Cooking Rapper: http://cookingrapper.tumblr.com/ (fun tumblr account dedicated to the band)
Other random extras found on tumblr or google
StorySeller- 18th Area Korea
Gackt- Journey Through The Decade Japan
AKB48- Mae Shika Mukanee Japan
An Cafe- NYAPPY in the World 4 Japan
BIGBANG- Fantastic Baby Korea
Artist Spotlight: Yellow Fried Chickenz- Renai Driver ~Foo San No Uta~ Japan
Jackie Chan- Hero’s Story China
BACK-ON ft lil fang- Wimp Japan
Anime Track of the Week: Nami Tamaki- Believe Japan
T.M.Revolution- Meteor Japan
Gacharic Spin- JUICY BEATS Japan
TRAX- Scorpio Korea
TEMPURA KIDZ- ONE STEP Japan
BABYMETAL- Megitsune Japan
fade- Cross Road Japan
LiSA- Rising Hope Japan
Aya Kamiki- V/S Japan
Wagakki-Band- Senbonzakura Japan
Artist Spotlight: Yellow Fried Chickenz- All My Love Japan
VAMPS- Ahead Japan
Masato Nakamura- Chemical Plant Zone Japan
Vocaloid Track of the Week: wowaka ft Hatsune Miku- Rollin Girl Japan
abingdon boys school- JAP Japan
Outsider- Loner Korea
MC Mong- Invincible Korea
DOLL$BOXX- Loud Twin Stars Japan
A fantasy filled adventure that delivers on style and beauty. It also delivers the punches of martial arts fighting though that side of things does start getting annoying after a while. The mix up of Oriental substance and bookending American fish out of water status works enough even if that’s a pretty standard/used a lot trope to go for.
I remember when I first went to see this movie, I was just so excited to see the two massive stars of the martial arts world come together for the first time on film. The meetup isn’t overly disappointing to be fair even though they’re on the same side and only fight once.
This Chinese and American movie starts with a dream that soon becomes more than that. After waking we as the audience discover this Boston teenager named Jason (Michael Angarano) is a huge fan of all things martial artsy. He clearly often visits an old man’s pawn shop to build his foreign film DVD collection and after a dangerous clash with some bullies he finds himself in a village in ancient China of all places. Once there the dream he had of a monkey king and a golden staff become evidently true and he has to return the item to a palace and the rightful owner to restore good in the kingdom. It’s with help from a talented yet misfit crew (Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Liu Yifei) that Jason starts to breathe the real taste of the world he once saw on a screen and as posters on his wall.
It’s a film that does have a beautiful look and to match the changing landscapes of China there is beautiful music. The score by David Buckley is stirring and oriental to suit and it rises for fights and falls in the right places for subtle yet fitting background sounds. The odd thing is at one point when re-watching this film today I swore one of the musical pieces sounded quite like the emotional setting used for ‘The Lion King’ and then I found out the director of this, Rob Minkoff also directed that classic Disney film. Not much to do with this film but a weird coincidence that I thought I’d share.
The locations of greenery, deserts, villages, temples and the parallel of the grungy smoke filled Boston world help make the film look good even if the story of overcoming teenager is a cliched tool. The moment of Jason stumbling out of a shack and onto the discovery of ancient China is similar to Dorothy leaving Kansas and finding herself in the technicolor world of Oz. That isn’t the only similarity as characters from the Far East become other characters in Boston, all in all he wants to return home and must do so by stepping through the gate of no gate or clicking his red shoes together in other terms, there’s that and the dream like wonder of this new world for Jason being akin to the story of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
Jackie Chan is brilliant as two characters and Jet Li is also brilliant with his two characters. Jet Li gets to play the silent one and the crazy mischievous one whereas Chan excelles as the drunken one and the old wise one. The two are literally like fighting gods with their styles and throughout this film there are references and uses of ancient techniques from the Crane to the Tiger to the Praying Mantis. The duel between Chan and Li about 40 minutes in is good but not breathtaking. The fight does go on for a little while giving room for fun and epic clashes and to answer who wins, obviously there is no winner as I don’t think you could ever pick these two apart. Though the fights on the whole throughout the entire film feel repetitive after a while, what with all the stick defending, kicks and punches. More than this it’s the reliance on silly wire stunt work that takes away from the fact that the two leads could fight without these interference. I wanted the brutal skilled nature of Li and the fun yet talented mastery of Chan using the things around him but it doesn’t happen.
The only other main negative is the filling material of shooting back to sequences that describe the past or legends and stories of days gone by. It works when hearing it but then after a while there’s too much and you just want to get back to the main story. It’s that filler of looking at the past that takes up a lot of the movie’s running time in it’s attempt to mirror Jason’s view of this new land. It is just down to cliched storytelling and the frankly poor allusion to a love story strand that makes this film something other than the grand spectacle of the Chan/Li brilliance it could have been.
It’s still an entertaining if not cheesy martial arts romp that lights up thanks to the talents of Jet Li and Jackie Chan.
I thought alot about whether I should have posted the previous post, that included a fight scene from a movie. In pursuing enlightenment, I believe that the martial arts can be a good vehicle, but fighting and martial arts are also used by some to go down a dark, unenlightened path. I hope that in the previous post I framed my approach sufficiently well; that any clips such as that are not meant to glorify violence, but merely to illustrate certain martial styles, and perhaps to provide inspiration before a vigourous physical workout or training session.
Other clips, which feature physical training itself, are perhaps less controversial, and are often even more inspirational. There are a number of training sequences from Jackie Chan movies, and I have saved several interesting ones from YouTube and other sources. Below is one such mix of training sequences from various Jackie Chan movies:
Full thoughts and review of Godzilla (2014) will be posted next week. For now, enjoy this article on Jackie Chan Adventures!
Nostalgia plays a role in our grown up lives but how much of that clouds our passion for our childhood obsessions? This is part of a series where I’ll critically analyze a series from my childhood and see how well it still holds up. Enjoy!
For my free time these past few weeks, I’ve been watching Jackie Chan Adventures on Netflix. I wanted to rewatch some of the good episodes while trying out seasons 4 and 5 as well. How well as this series held up? Pretty good I have to say!
This is probably one of the best shows out there that’s centered on a celebrity. Though the real Jackie Chan doesn’t lend his voice to his character, he’s still involved in the show as seen in his end-of-the-episode “Hey Jackie” shorts along with his brief cameos in the intro. Plus, Jade Chan is voiced by Stacie Chan who is actually Jackie Chan’s real life niece!
One thing you’ll probably not hear many people praise on the show is its animation which is alright but definitely better than some modern cartoons’ flash animation style. However, it’s the story, characters, and voice acting that really pulls the show together. Most of the characters are pretty funny. Jackie, Jade, Uncle, and Tohru lead the way with some of the best comical moments the series has to offer. The running gags can be a little overdone but they usually give them enough spin to keep them fresh. The fights can be frenetic, just like a Jackie Chan movie and that’s fun to watch. The show really gets creative at times, especially with the use of props, scenery and magical devices.
A primary focus on East Asian folklore gives the show a unique flavor that doesn’t feel stereotypic or watered down. Uncle’s chi spells seem genuine, especially with the chi spells’ ingredients such as blowfish or lotus flowers. The standalone episodes also break the East Asian focus by expanding on global folklore such as El Chupacabra and Stonehenge which is definitely needed.
What’s nice about the show is that each season can stand by itself as they have a definite beginning and end with many conflicts in between. Season 1 saw the 12 Talismans, Season 2 had the 8 Demons, Season 3 saw the Talismans in animal form, Season 4 had the Oni Masks, and Season 5 had the Demon Chi. I think the show really took off starting Season 2 as now we have an established universe which is now expanded on and played with.
In fact, Season 4 was probably the JCA’s most creative season. The season broke away from the Chinese focused plotlines and into Japanese folklore via the Oni Demons. Now, Uncle is nearly helpless and Tohru’s importance is expanded on. Also, I loved what they did with the Oni Masks. They took a concept, Oni Masks give the mask wearer the power to summon a unique shadowkahn and the mask can only be removed by a unique spell, and ran with it. They did concepts like a dog wearing a mask, or a mask is split into two, or a mask is revived via the Rat Talisman, the list goes on. I liked it and though it wasn’t as strong as Season 2, it was still enjoyable.
I wish I could say the same thing for Season 5. Oh God, why. I watched a few episodes of Season 5 and I had to turn it off because it was not worth it. The show had definitely run its course with reused plotlines. Also, Drago was just not a good villain, especially when compared to his father, Shendu. And I absolutely can’t stand Ice Man, he’s just sooooo anooooyinnnng. God, shut up. Overall, Season 5 just felt stale and I’m glad they canceled the show after that.
But back to Season 2, I think the main reason why this season worked was because of Shendu and his brothers and sisters. Seeing Shendu in a position where he had to beg, gravel and be frustrated was a delight. The demons were really fun and I especially liked the Moon and Sky Demon. The Demon World episodes were also some of the best in the series as we see our heroes at their lowest but even then they still won the day.
ONE MORE THING, it’s funny to see Shendu transform as the series progressed. We initially see him as a demon who was obsessed in conquering the world to eventually obsessed in killing Jackie Chan. It’s very amusing.
Anyway, Jackie Chan Adventures has held up well. Go see it if you have some free time this summer. I suggest you start with Season 2 and go through to Season 4. But skip Season 5, bleh.
Nostalgia Filter Test Score: A-
“Brick Mansions” is a Spike/TNT special. A movie in which if you stumble upon it on a random Sunday afternoon, you’ll stay for the finish. It’s not a good movie. It’s not a well-made movie. It’s a goofy caricature of an action movie. Once you accept that, you’ll realize it’s an enjoyable movie. It’s a Luc Besson film that Liam Neeson and Jason Statham wouldn’t wipe their behinds with. Luckily Paul Walker doesn’t believe on standing on trite movie ceremony – this film is right in his wheelhouse as the likeable, slightly believable action star. He may get flack for being a mediocre actor (I look at him as a man who accepts and embraces his limitations), but compared to the rest of the cast, he might as well be Daniel-Day Lewis. Any film in which RZA is the second best actor by far should tell you the type if film being made. “Brick Mansions” is a gussied up B movie with a silly plot, parkour, cringe worthy representatives of black people, and in flattering view of Detroit. “Brick Mansions” is basically RoboCop if Donald Sterling directed it and got rid of the robot.
Guess what – I enjoyed it. Within 5 minutes of the film I accepted it for what it was and enjoyed the ride. I accepted that Detroit walled off an entire section of the Detroit projects to reduce crime. I accepted that RZA somehow stole a military transport and was able to attach a neutron dirty bomb to a Russian rocket for ransom. A French parkour expert who never lost his accent despite growing up in Detroit, who defeated armed gunman through brooms and flips? No problem. Paul Walker basically playing the love child of Keanu Reeves and Jackie Chan? I’m all in. Thugs speaking proper stilted English as if it was learned at a French catholic school – damn right. It has no logic besides its own, and follows its own rules. It is a better movie for it. I still remember “Brick Mansions after a week and smile thinking about it…more than I could say for better movies which fall by the wayside. It also reminded me how enjoyable Paul Walker was on film. I would say it’s a shame that his last starring role was this film, but he wouldn’t. So go see it. Definitely turn off the logic and reason and have fun. -Shahid
Originally posted on Super Junior | ELF Forever ♥:
SJM to attend Jackie Chan’s “A career of 100 films” concert (Shenzhen) on 2nd August at 7:30pm