Day Watch (2006)

Day Watch [Дневной дозор (Dnevnoy dozor)] (2006)

Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitskiy, Dmitriy Martynov, Aleksei Chadov, Zhanna Friske

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Expectations: Low, based on my reaction to the first in the series.


Night Watch ended with some serious potential for this movie to be awesome. A fateful decision had been made and supposedly nothing will be the same. The balance has shifted and all that. The resulting film of Day Watch delivers on almost none of that promise though, instead providing you with lots of nonsensical scenes, a weird pseudo lighthearted mood and even worse pacing than the first.

This film is also based on the 1998 Sergei Lukyanenko novel entitled Night Watch, not its sequel novel Day Watch as you might think. The novel is broken into three parts, with the filmed Night Watch taking on part one, and the filmed Day Watch taking on parts two and three. The problem with combining the parts is that it seems like they were written to be companion pieces, working together in a large sense but not in a strict plot-point-to-plot-point sense. So combining them results in a more confusing film than the first. I was on-board for the first 20 minutes or so thinking that with the first film out of the way I would at least have a basic understanding built in for the sequel. That theory panned out for a short while before they starting jerking the wheel around and losing me again.

Continue reading Day Watch (2006) →

Night Watch (2004)

Night Watch [Ночной дозор Nochnoi dozor] (2004)

Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Viktor Verzhbitskiy, Dmitriy Martynov

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Expectations: High. I had heard great things.


I don’t know how big the Russian fantasy film genre is, but I’ve now seen my first. I wish I could come out and say, “Wow, that was amazing,” but unfortunately my response is a lot more tempered than I hoped it to be. This is a movie that doesn’t really know where it wants to go with itself and thus I was left confused. That’s not to say there’s nothing good here. In fact, there’s quite a bit that is fun to watch and works well. It’s these moments of fun that make the movie frustrating because they work as a sort of carrot on a stick being held out in front of you, driving you on, but you never get the carrot.

The film is based on a 1998 novel by Sergei Lukyanenko. I haven’t read it, but from what I understand, the novel is broken into three parts and this film is based only on the first part. Just judging from the basic ideas presented in the film, I can imagine that this book is pretty good. I’ll probably check it out at some point, so I hope that this story is better on the page. To try to briefly summarize the film’s murky narrative will be a challenge, but I will do my best.

Continue reading Night Watch (2004) →

Like Stars on Earth (2007)

Like Stars on Earth [Taare Zameen Par (तारे ज़मीन पर)] (2007)

Starring Darsheel Safary, Aamir Khan, Tisca Chopra, Vipin Sharma, Sachet Engineer, Tanay Chheda, M.K. Raina

Directed by Aamir Khan

Expectations: Moderate.


I’ve had this DVD sitting on my shelf for about two months. I kept putting it off because of its long runtime (165 min.) but when I finally put it in I found myself pleasantly surprised. The film slowly builds, introducing you to its world and by the end I was in love. It is incredibly multi-faceted but never feels stretched or forced. At its heart it is an uplifting drama, but it’s also a musical that features sequences of claymation, traditional animation and even a bit of 3d animation.

The film seeks to tell the story of Ishaan, a young boy who is having trouble keeping himself focused in school. He tends to look out the window and daydream more than actually study. He is an imaginative boy and the many forms of animation and art impart this to the viewer. The film reflects the colorful Indian culture beautifully, from flowing fabrics to intense watercolor paintings. Overall, the film is well-shot and nice to look at. There isn’t anything about the cinematography that stands out all that much, but it does have a general high quality.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: The Super Inframan (1975)

The Super Inframan [中國超人] (1975)
AKA Infra-Man

Starring Danny Lee, Terry Lau Wai-Yue, Wang Hsieh, Lin Wen-Wei, Bruce Le

Directed By Hua Shan


LASERS! EXPLOSIONS! PEW, PEW, PEW!!!!!

This is a definite oddity in the Shaw Brothers catalogue. Every now and then the Shaw Studios would greenlight a project that had absolutely nothing to do with flying swordsmen, Shaolin monks, or rival kung fu schools. It didn’t happen often, but when it did the results were almost always amusing. You have unforgettable gems like their attempt at remaking King Kong with 1977’s Mighty Peking Man (expect a review of that one in the near future) and their genuinely twisted foray into the world of horror films with 1975’s Black Magic.

The Super Inframan stands right alongside those wacky classics in what would be the first Chinese superhero film. Viewers will instantly recognize the inspiration drawn from old-school Japanese tokusatsu heroes like Ultraman in this one. You have epileptic-inducing transformation sequences, anatomically implausible rubber monsters, loads of ’70s transistor-laden techno babble, and lasers… a whole shitload of lasers. But this being a Shaw Bros. film you get the added bonus of Tang Chia-choreographed kung fu fights, which although far from his best work, are actually the best you’ll probably see by a bunch of guys in 100-pound rubber monster suits.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: The Super Inframan (1975) →

The Magic Blade (1976)

The Magic Blade [天涯明月刀] (1976)

Starring Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, Ku Feng, Tang Ching, Ching Li, Lily Li Li-Li, Fan Mei-Sheng, Chan Shen

Directed by Chor Yuen

Expectations: High.


My expectations for this were just soaring after watching Shaolin Intruders. The two films have absolutely nothing to do with each other except that they’re both Shaw Bros. pictures and Tang Chia choreographed the fights, but you could connect most any Shaw Bros. film with that logic. Needless to say, I was let down. The Magic Blade is an interesting movie as it doesn’t really contain a magic blade. You might expect there to be one in a film titled The Magic Blade, but not in this film. There is the rather neato blade that Ti Lung uses throughout the film, but magic isn’t exactly the adjective I’d use to describe it. It’s on a harness attached to his arm that allows it to spin when he wants it to, but it isn’t really used all that much in the film so don’t get too worked up about it. This is possible magic blade candidate number one. Number two is where I’m placing my money though, as the film revolves around everyone trying to get a hold of it. The weapon in question is the mysterious Peacock Dart, a weapon so powerful that — well, I’ll let them explain it.

“The Dart when hurled, emits mysterious and beautiful rays, and the victim dies in a mysterious way.”

“And no one is immune to it.”

After which the dart is thrown, resulting in multiple explosions of light and smoke that very conveniently kill only the hero’s enemies. No one is immune to movie logic either I guess. Anyway I don’t mean to complain, that shit was fun to watch.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: The Dragon Lives Again (1977)

The Dragon Lives Again [李三腳威震地獄門] (1977)
AKA Deadly Hands of Kung Fu

Starring Bruce Leong, Shin Il Lung, Eric Tsang, Alexander Grand, Siu Tien Yeung

Directed By Law Kei


Oh man, do you remember that time when Bruce Lee fought Chuck Norris in the Roman Coliseum? Yeah, that was great! How about when he beat that guy with the claw on his hand in that hallway full of mirrors? Classic stuff!  Yes sir, that guy was a true legend. Hey, that reminds me of another one… do you remember that time Bruce Lee went to hell, confessed infidelity, fought James Bond and the Exorcist, made friends with Caine from Kung Fu, and helped Popeye beat a bunch of mummies?

Hi folks. My name is Uncle Jasper and I am a film critic.

Sometime after the death of Christ and before the dawn of the Reagan Empire, some Chinese guys got together and made a movie called The Dragon Lives Again. This remarkable documentary attempts to chronicle the years following Bruce Lee’s death and his adventures in hell during that period. The film goes to great lengths to convey to the viewer the size of Bruce Lee’s gigantic cock, and includes a heartfelt, personal apology to his wife Linda for all the years of banging hundreds of women with said cock.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: The Dragon Lives Again (1977) →

Uncle Jasper reviews: The Clones of Bruce Lee (1977)

The Clones of Bruce Lee [神威三猛龍] (1977)

Starring Bruce Le, Dragon Lee, Bruce Lai, Bruce Thai, Jon T. Benn, Bolo Yeung-Tze

Directed By Joseph Kong


If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then I guess that answers the age old question of how much flattery it takes to beat the shit out of an army of grass chewing bronze men … Ha! That’s right, three times as much! It’s 1977 now, a year after both of our previously reviewed films, and I guess a year is all it took to suck dry what little integrity there was left to begin with in Bruce Lee exploitation cinema.

Bruce Lee is dead and an urgent call is placed by the SBI (that’s the Special Bureau of Investigations to all you civilians out there). They need the blood of Bruce Lee, and they need it fast… It’s kind of disturbing that the government was lying in the wings, waiting for Bruce Lee to die so they could implement this master plan, but I guess when the world is threatened by the evils of gold trafficking, noble sacrifices must be made. A mysterious man known only as “The Professor” is contracted by the SBI to synthesize three clones from the salvaged blood. The three Bruces all take turns wearing a salad bowl on their heads as the professor prepares them for training. He christens them Bruce Lee 2, Bruce Lee 3, and Bruce Lee 1 (in that order).

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: The Clones of Bruce Lee (1977) →

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