Posts Tagged Shaw Brothers

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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It’s Essential You Have Thunderball Fists


inframanThe greatest compliment you could pay an exploitation film is to say it looks like they designed the poster first and then recreated it on screen. This formulation describes Inframan perfectly. Every one of its scenes could be bullet-pointed with the word “SEE!” in front of it (“SEE! Hong Kong engulfed in flames! SEE! The evil sorceress with an army of kung fu monsters!”) It is, in many ways, a perfect film, in that it is resoundingly successful in achieving what it sets out to do—which is transport its audience into a hyperbolic comic book world and entertain them beyond their wildest dreams. Its production values are high enough that it never seems to be striving beyond its means–its art direction, set and costume design all combining to create a seamless alternate reality. As such, it never once betrays its commitment to being a nonstop celebration of color, speed, style, violence and the joyous suspension of disbelief. In short, it is cinematic escapism in its absolute purest form.

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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