Police Story III: Supercop (1992)

PoliceStoryIIISuperCop_1Police Story III: Supercop [警察故事III超級警察] (1992)
AKA Supercop

Starring Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Yuen Wah, Bill Tung, Josephine Koo Mei-Wah, Kelvin Wong Siu, Lo Lieh, William Duen Wai-Lun, Phillip Chan Yan-Kin, Mars, Sam Wong Ming-Sing

Directed by Stanley Tong

Expectations: Superhigh.

threehalfstar


Dimension’s US release of Supercop was the second Jackie Chan film I saw. I was 14 and it blew me away. Rumble in the Bronx made me an instant fan, but Supercop spiked me into overdrive. Not only does it feature Jackie Chan doing amazing Jackie Chan things like hanging from a helicopter’s rope ladder while it flies around a Malaysian city, it also introduced me to Michelle Yeoh. She easily holds her own against Jackie, and in many ways upstages him in his own movie! Re-watching the film amidst the context of my chronological review series provides a different context and understanding, allowing me to appreciate the film in new ways, but also allowing for some disappointment to creep in.

Police Story III: Supercop cuts right to the chase; the first scene can easily be summed up as, “We need a supercop!” This time it’s Interpol coming to the HK police in search for someone who fits the bill to catch an international drug lord named Chaibat. They don’t name names, but they would have to know Chan Ka-Kui’s record, no? In any case, it’s interesting that this kind of traditionally simple action movie writing also serves as an evolution of the Supercop character.

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The Twin Dragons (1992)

TwinDragons_1The Twin Dragons [雙龍會] (1992)
AKA Brother vs. Brother, Double Dragon, Duel of Dragons, When Dragons Collide, Dragon Duo, When Dragons Meet

Starring Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Nina Li Chi, Teddy Robin Kwan, Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting, Wang Lung-Wei, Jamie Luk Kim-Ming, David Chiang, Lau Kar-Leung, Wong Jing, Chor Yuen, Guy Lai Ying-Chau

Directed by Tsui Hark & Ringo Lam

Expectations: Moderate.

threehalfstar


I first saw The Twin Dragons as a teenager. It never really captured my attention; I think I only watched it once or twice. There were other, better Jackie films to watch over and over. Roughly 20 years later, I didn’t remember anything about it. I was able to experience the film with completely fresh eyes because of this, and I loved it. What really helped this time, too, is that now I have a more expansive knowledge of Hong Kong film, so I actually noticed that there were a TON of cameos from luminaries of the Hong Kong film industry. I’m sure I recognized Lau Kar-Leung back in the day, but now I noted the subtext of the scene in which his confident, classic style confronts the lunacy of Wong Jing. Recognizing these moments makes the film play much better and much funnier than I ever remember it being, to the point that the lack of action doesn’t even matter… especially when the film then caps itself off with such an incredible explosion of action!

Twin boys are born in a Hong Kong hospital to a Chinese couple visiting from the US. In a wonderful series of crazy Hong Kong action moments, a criminal takes one of the twins hostage and the infant finds its way into the hands of a childless, alcoholic woman who raises it as her own. Meanwhile, when the missing child was never found, the couple returned to New York and raised the other twin as an only child. The Hong Kong twin is named Die Hard (in my copy’s subtitles), and he a martial artist who works as a shady mechanic who likes to take his customers’ cars out to race with. The twin in New York, Ma Yau, is raised with a thorough education and becomes a world-class pianist and conductor. Ma Yau has recently arrived for a performance in Hong Kong, leading to mistaken identity hijinks and hilarity.

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Christmas in Connecticut (1992)

christmasinconnecticut_1Starring Dyan Cannon, Kris Kristofferson, Tony Curtis, Kelly Cinnante, Gene Lythgow, Jimmy Workman, Richard Roundtree, Vivian Bonnell

Directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Expectations: Not much.

twohalfstar


Right up front: I’ve never seen the 1945 original that this film is a remake of. I imagine this is probably the better way to see this most likely inferior version, as it allowed me to take it for what it is instead of what it isn’t.

Christmas in Connecticut is about Elizabeth Blane (Dyan Cannon), a TV cook in the vein of Martha Stewart. She’s got the perfect family and the perfect house and she makes perfect food. When Park Ranger Jefferson Jones’s (Kris Kristofferson) cabin burns down, the only thing that survives is a cookbook of Elizabeth’s. Never one to miss an opportunity, Elizabeth’s manager/director Alexander (Tony Curtis) finagles a live prime time special featuring Elizabeth at home for Christmas with her family, with special guest Jefferson Jones. It sounds really stupid to type it out, but it plays a little better than it sounds.

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Stephen reviews: Silent Möbius: The Movie 2 (1992)

mp09Silent Möbius: The Movie 2 [サイレントメビウス2] (1992)

Starring Naoko Matsui, Maya Okamoto, Chieko Honda, Hiromi Tsuru, Toshiko Fujita, Gara Takashima

Directed by Yasunori Ide


Oh boy, here we go again. I really didn’t want to dive back into Silent Möbius, but I figured that I would need to tackle the sequel before my memories of the first film faded into complete obscurity. I figured correctly, because even more than most sequels, Silent Möbius 2 absolutely requires knowledge of the first film to make any sense. It also turns out that the sequel was a vast improvement (not that that’s saying much), which I did not expect at all, and it tackles exactly the biggest problem I had with the story of the first film, which was that they had skipped over why Katsumi joins the police after discovering her powers.

The sequel begins immediately after the events of the first film, and it just assumes that you saw all that and don’t need any kind of refresher. This works out rather weird since the first film had a frame setup and after the main story it switched from Katsumi hating the police to four years later when she is a member of the police force. This film starts after the events of the flashback but still well before Katsumi became an officer. In fact, I wonder why they even bothered making the two films separate. They are so short and so integral to each other that they really would have been better had they just been edited into a single film.

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Mindwarp (1992)

mindwarp_1Mindwarp (1992)
AKA Brain Slasher, Dream System

Starring Marta Martin, Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm, Elizabeth Kent, Mary Becker, Wendy Sandow, Brian Brill, Bekki Vallin

Directed by Steve Barnett

twostar


As a fan of Evil Dead, one goes into a Bruce Campbell movie with certain expectations. Chiefly, that you will have your Bruce Campbell jones satiated at least a small bit. I don’t mean to say that Bruce must always be the over-the-top Ash type, but I do expect him to bring something of his inherent swagger to a role. You can probably see this coming, but Mindwarp contains none of that. So if you do venture down this path in your Bruce Campbell fandom, you will now do so well informed. I was not so lucky. Had Mindwarp filled this void with something engaging or interesting, we might have a good movie anyway. Instead we’re left with a rather boring movie that features a lot of good ideas and great, gory KNB FX work. It could definitely be worse!

In a post-apocalyptic future, economic inequality is at its most extreme. The rich live out their days in clean future-huts, hooked to Infini-Synth machines that allow them to dream their lives away in virtual reality. Meanwhile, the rest of the population is forced to survive the harsh desert climate of the radioactive wastelands. Oh, and most of them are hideously deformed cannibal mutants called Crawlers who live in a network of underground caves! But Mindwarp begins on the cheery side of things, introducing us to Judy, a dreamer who desires actual and more tangible stimulation than what VR can provide. Things soon turn sour, as in Judy’s attempt to rebel she mistakenly kills her dreaming mother and is promptly banished to the wastelands. Be careful what you wish for, Judy!

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Seedpeople (1992)

seedpeople_1Seedpeople (1992)
AKA Dark Forest, Devil Seed

Starring Sam Hennings, Andrea Roth, Dane Witherspoon, Bernard Kates, Holly Fields, John Mooney, Anne Betancourt, David Dunard, Charles Bouvier, Sonny Carl Davis, J. Marvin Campbell

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: Moderate, but how can a movie called Seedpeople not be good?

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


It is true that Seedpeople is a variation on Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Piranha, but when the main villains roll around in seed pods and spring out with limbs outstretched to snare another puny human in their mind-control scheme to re-populate the Earth, these types of concerns are pointless. Seedpeople is a film designed for pure fun, and for those willing to get down and dirty with it at its level, it will provide a plethora of hilarity and good times in a slim 81-minute package.

Our main character is a geologist who’s staying in the remote town of Comet Valley to give a talk on meteorites to the Fireball Club. The town was founded on the site where a comet hit the Earth, and recent meteor showers have ignited the townspeople’s desire to hunt meteorites and sell them or collect them or whatever. Meanwhile, there’s some kind of flower spores growing in a resident’s orchard trees. Late at night a man comes by to turn on the water, and instead gets a massive load of plant sperm spewed all over him. It’s a literal alien bukkake, and I wish I could say this was a first in the Charles Band catalog, but it’s not. There are at least two other films I can think of off the top of my head that involve alien sperm, so ponder that for a while before you hit the break for the rest of the review.

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White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

whitemencantjump_4Starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, Tyra Ferrell, Cylk Cozart, Kadeem Hardison, Ernest Harden Jr., John Marshall Jones, Marques Johnson, David Roberson

Directed by Ron Shelton

Expectations: High. I love basketball.

threehalfstar


It’s going to be hard for me to justify my high rating of White Men Can’t Jump, as I can definitely identify some aspects that you could call flaws. But the greatness of the film comes in just how entertaining it is in spite of these issues. This is a movie that will definitely not win everyone over, as its success hinges pretty heavily on your enjoyment of the leads, the ’90s, trash talking and the game of basketball. I happen to be a fan of them all so White Men Can’t Jump was basically preaching to the choir with me.

Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a man in search of a future, floating along the best he can by making money with his basketball skills. He meets Sydney (Wesley Snipes) on the court, and when Billy bests him with ease, Sydney thinks the two of them might have a shot at running hustles around town to make some quick cash. So that’s what they do, and that’s the bulk of White Men Can’t Jump. Outside of the relationships that Billy and Sydney have with the women in their lives, there’s not much else to the movie.

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