The Guillotines (2012)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
A modern, 3D-rendered retelling of the 1975 Shaw Brothers film, The Flying Guillotine, from director Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs). He uses his visual effects skills to cook-up a flying guillotine worthy of the digital age. This is no flimsy hatbox on a chain which is simply thrown into the air before landing on the necks of its unsuspecting victims. This sophisticated, multi-blade contraption spins viciously at the end of a massive sword, gathering momentum until it is released like a frisbee, whirling violently in various directions, disorientating its victims, and revealing a sequence of ev ..read more
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Return of the Chinese Boxer (1977)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
This has all the hallmarks of a filmmaker throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. It is not too surprising, then, that this would prove to be Wang Yu‘s final film as director, producer and star. His 1970s output – as well as being mostly insane – was prone to repetition, featuring variations of his most popular characters, and sequences which seem interchangeable with his other movies. For instance, this film features an extended tournament sequence plonked in the middle for no good reason, centring on Kam Kong as another mad monk, which feels eerily similar to the main competition seque ..read more
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Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story (2020)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
When talking about the specific subject of female stunt performers in Hollywood, the ‘untold’ story is one about pervasive, decades-long male dominance in the stunt industry, and an implied and often overt misogyny. It is evident in the way female stunt performers were prolific during the silent era – regularly filmed doing dangerous things like leaping from horses onto moving trains and driving cars through buildings – until Hollywood became fully industrialised and incorporated, run by businessmen who pushed women to the margins. It is evident in the way Debbie Evans – one of America’s ..read more
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Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (2022)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
Set in an anthropomorphic version of feudal Japan in which all its inhabitants are cats, an unscrupulous official for the Shogun vows to destroy the small village of ‘Kakamucho’ in order to extend his palace. Without a samurai to protect them, the poor feline folk are doomed. Enter Hank – a dog in a cat’s world, wearing a Game of Death dressing gown with a longing to be a warrior despite any obvious sword skills. He is hired by the official to protect the village, assuming that Hank will fail and the town will be his for the taking. Hank’s fortunes change when he meets Jimbo, an overweight, wa ..read more
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Shadow Master (2022)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
Low-budget horror flick with an effective, devilish, gruesome streak and great action – sort of Clive Barker meets Albert Pyun. Director Peaary Teo leans into the film’s twisted mix of neo-noir, ghost story and devil worship, leaving room for gifted martial artist D.Y. Sao (a USA national wushu team member and Simu Liu’s fight trainer for Shang-Chi) to show his stuff. Set in a vaguely apocalyptic Blade Runner-esque dystopian future, Sao plays a nightwatchman at a creepy hospital where kids are being snatched as they sleep. Their spirits are used by the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse’ in some ..read more
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Baby Assassins (2021)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
Highschool grads Mahiro (Saori Izawa) and Chisato (Akari Takaishi) are at that awkward transitional phase between adolescence and adulthood, negotiating the roles expected of them as two young girls in Japanese society. Both work as coldblooded killers for an unspecified organisation – led by the unseen and mysterious “Mr Tasaka” – and they are seemingly hired to kill wrongdoers, like Yakuza members and the like. They are made to live together and assume a semblance of normality to act as cover for their day jobs. As the two adapt to being roomies, the film becomes less of an action movie and ..read more
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Bring Him Back Dead (2022)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
Cliché-ridden DTV drudgery which starts as an almost carbon-copy remake of Reservoir Dogs before moving into Rambo territory. The first act sees a bunch of criminals decamp at a cabin in the woods after a botched bank heist, with one of the group bleeding out, coupled with lots of shouting, swearing, and overacting. The ‘one man army’ second act is actually a lot more sure-footed, with Gary Daniels going rogue and heading into the forest on horseback after drugging the crew and stealing the stash. At almost 60, Daniels can still kick people in the head with great style, even if it is to i ..read more
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The Woman King (2022)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
This film about the Agojie – an all-fighting, all-woman military regiment of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey – is based on some semblance of fact. Although its coming-of-age story about a young underdog hero might carry the faint whiff of Hollywood contrivance, there is great passion in the film’s postmodern storytelling and scenes of violent retribution, which see the Agojie laying waste to European slave traders with wild, gut-busting relish. Although it may lean on a number of predictable plot devices, the screen is littered with landmark moments, and scenes of great power and ..read more
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Violent Night (2022)
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
87North take their winning formula from films like Nobody and Bullet Train – depressed middle-aged man finds new meaning and purpose in life through violence – and apply it to the Santa Claus story, reimagining a drunk, overweight – and divorced? – Kris Kringle in a mad mix of Home Alone meets Die Hard, with added hammer blows to the face. John Wick fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio delivers the punishing pugilism, with jolly old Saint Nick played by a boozy, cranky, overweight David Harbour (excellent). Santa is recast as an immortal Viking warrior – an origin story we really need to ..read more
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KFMG Podcast S07 Episode 86: End of Year Show 2022 with Mike Fury – Part Two
Kung Fu Movie Guide
by Ben Johnson
1M ago
The wait is over! We can now finally reveal our favourite fight films of 2022 in Part Two of our annual End of Year Show, featuring the action movie expert and author of Life of Action Vol. I-II, Mike Fury. As is tradition with this show, neither Ben or Mike are aware of what the other person has selected for inclusion in their personal top five list; will there be consensus, or will it end in a bloody fight to the death? Top picks for 2022 include a strong roster of big-budget superhero carnage from the Marvel and D.C. cinematic universes; quirky, offbeat action comedies; DTV slugfests from g ..read more
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