Posts Tagged Espionage

When Nikkatsu Met the Shaw Brothers


We have Jimmy Wang Yu, woefully outclassed by his co-stars from Nikkatsu. Scenes between Wang Yu and Shishido play less like a battle of wits between super villain and super spy and more like a world-class talent struggling to work with a petulant upstart, or the cool older kid trying to school the spoiled young brat on how to be suave. Everything Jô Shishido does can’t help but expose Wang Yu’s limitations. Ditto Ruriko Asaoka, who does her best to spark some chemistry between her and Wang Yu but can’t draw much blood from the stone.

Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Spies, Lies, and Thighs

uncle5Teleport City is making some changes, but we’re still posting in one of our (revived) offshoots. And the theme so far has been espionage.


Guy Ritchie attempts to do for The Man from UNCLE what he did for (or to, depending on your opinion) Sherlock Holmes, and ended up with one of the biggest flops of 2015. But at least it’s a really fun, stylish flop.


One of the great films of the Hong Kong New Wave, Tsui Hark’s Chinese Revolution era adventure is notable for focusing not on the war or heroic men, but on the friendship that grows between three women who find themselves involved in a tangled web of espionage.


The notion of the Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers teaming up with Japanese studio Nikkatsu to make a colorful spy adventure that pits Jô “The Cheeks” Shishido against Jimmy “The One-Armed Swordsman” Wang Yu, seems fantastic. It’s disappointing that it all turned out so…disappointing.


One of the Shaw Brothers most visually talented directors tries his hand at the spy genre in this colorful, absurd, occasionally slapstick tale of a family of thieves who get mixed up in international intrigue after lifting a wallet.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Little Devils and Deadly Dames

Hooray, it’s update time! A couple articles salvaged from the past and spruced up for 2009 or so.

featConsider that Deadlier that the Male opens with legendary Elke Sommer skydiving from a jet seconds before she blows it up, plunging into the water to be picked up by another European beauty, Sylvia Koscina (from the first two Hercules films, among others), in a skimpy bikini. Seconds later, both bikini-clad women emerge from the ocean and find a man lounging on his seaside patio, whom they promptly impale with a shot from a spear gun. Now that is how you get the viewer’s attention.
droutde Richleau spirits Simon away. It’s difficult to say whether or not he rescues or kidnaps the young man, since we’re unsure whether or not Simon was dabbling in the black arts of his own free will or because he was under the spell of local occult bigwig Mocata (Charles Gray, probably most recognizable as the narrator from The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Eventually, the film leans toward “under the spell,” but the whole thing seems very fuzzy, which allows the viewer to interpret the movie either as a straightforward “good versus evil” tale or a more subversive look at the subjugation of free will and intellectual curiosity at the hands of the ruling elite.

Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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