Firestorm (Alan Yuen/Hong Kong/2013)

Story:

When a wave of bloody daylight heists terrifies citizens and shames the police, a straightlaced cop plays dirty to stop a ruthless criminal gang.(Netflix)

My Opinion:

Sometimes it is really hard to say a lot about movies that are entertaining to some point but mostly nothing special at all.

Movies with similar storys and constellations are kinda typical for Hong Kong cinema. The good cop gone „bad“ story line that gets presented here is not that new and Hong Kong has a long history of similar cop vs. gangster movies. Especially Andy Lau and Gorden Lam played in a lot of these movies.

Overall Iam a big fan of movies like this, if they are good. But there is sometimes just not that much to say about the 50th similar movie. You can see that, cause so far I spent most of the time telling you about that there is not much to say.😂

Still, some things here are special. The most standout things are the action scenes and the ruthlessness of the gangsters, they don’t seem to care about other people’s life at all. The movie isn’t even dull, for a big part of the time it really works ok. Sure, it isn’t the most innovative thing ever, but it works. Like I said, the action is really good and hard hitting, although totally over the top at times (probably a bit more than is good for the movie).

At some point, although I often pointed out the movie is not that innovative, it turns a bit too much into a no-brainer. Some things, even if they are understandable to some point, feel kinda too irrational and seem to only be there to justify the biggest possible final. Before that the movie felt a bit more thoughtful on the dramatic side of things.

The big final could easily be some part of Roland Emmerichs „2012“ in some way. Although it is fun tao watch, it sometimes feels almost ridiculous in terms of being over the top.

Whatever, for most of the time the movie is good to watch. There are a lot of well known plot lines going on but it is ok for a watch and especially the action makes it a fun ride. I still feel it had more potential. At least it has some impact here and there after all.

Trailer

A Family (Michihito Fujii/Japan/2021)

Story:

Taken in by the yakuza at a young age, Kenji swears allegiance to his old-school boss, pledging to adhere to the family code amid ever-changing times. (Google)

My Opinion:

I was really looking forward to see this movie ever since I heard about it. Not because of anyone who is involved here, but simply because I really love mafia movies. No matter from what perspective, movies about the mafia are always something I show a lot of interest in. Also I didn’t really watch that many Japanese movies these days.

So yeah, „A Family“ for me is a very good entry into the genre. Not that it brings much new things to the table but it is really involving and it works. It is very well played and keeps you interested in the characters and the story.

I would say the first half is slightly better in some sense. I felt like the second half felt a bit overly dramatic at some points. That being said, the movie is not an actioner (although there are some quite bloody scenes) but clearly a drama. So the director has a more quiet and serious approach to the content. The characters and the themes are surly the focus here.

Although the movie is dramatic and surly makes it possible to feel for the characters, even if they are shady, it doesn’t really force you to take a side or asks you to forgive all of their sins. For me a strong theme here is showing the everlasting cycle such a life causes and that, once you are connected with it, it is hard to escape at least some kind of consequences somehow or in some way. That made me, personally, feel pity for some of the characters.

An interesting point here, that I will definitely give a deeper research, are the rather harsh laws concerning being a Yakuza or quitting the yakuza. It is something I don’t have deeper insight in, so I can’t judge how accurate the movie shows the laws and the whole situation. For me some of the the things go to far, while some are understandable in terms of setting an example. In the end it is probably also due to cultural things, bringing shame is a very serious thing in some (not only asian) cultures.

Anyway, I don’t wanna take away too much so I will stop here. In the end „A Family“ is not the best genre-movie I’ve ever seen, but it is really well done ,shines a light on some interesting things and is really involving from start to finish. I would recommend it if you are interested in the topic. I’ll say it is a very good movie.

Trailer

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final (Keishi Ohtomo/Japan/2021)

Story:

In 1879, Kenshin and his allies face their strongest enemy yet: his former brother-in-law Enishi Yukishiro and his minions, who’ve vowed their revenge.(Google)

My Opinion:

A few years ago we had „The End Of The Legend“ and now „The Final“. Well, I guess with a story like this you can always add another part to the franchise and to be honest, so far I have nothing against it.

While I never thought that the franchise was super great, I always found it to be really entertainig, with fun characters and a naive charme to it. I also have to point out that I never read or saw the manga/anime and I probably will never read or watch it (completely due to lack of time). So I can’t compare why or if fans are disappointed with this real life franchise.

So when it comes to „The Final“, I would say it probably is the weakest part of the 4. The story is rather simple and maybe a bit blown up, given that nothing here is overly exciting compared to the previous or other, similar movies. That being said, the story still does it for me. I mean Kenshin was never the deepest or most complicated story. The fun lies in its charm, the characters and the action.

The action scenes are still highly entertaining and a highlight for me. To warn friends of nowadays ultra violent action scenes, the action here is not overly bloody but the choreography is very good, even awesome at times. Good action scenes don’t always need a lot of blood, choreography and some good cutting/editing are already 90% of the secret.

Whatever, actually there is no need to say a lot more. To make it simple, if you didn’t enjoy Kenshin so far, don’t bother to watch this one. If you liked the previous parts, I can’t imagine you will be overly disappointed. Again, I can’t speak for people who can compare it with the manga or anime.

Even if it is the weakest part so far, it was still a good amount of fun and even if it says „The Final“, you know how it is…😉

Trailer

Special 26 (Neeraj Pandey/India/2013)

Story:

A team of tricksters pose as CBI officers and conduct raids to rob politicians and businessmen of their black money. With the real CBI on their trail, they decide to pull off their biggest heist.(google)

My Opinion:

Inspired by true events. While I certainly believe that parts of this could be true, it is really the word INSPIRED we should keep in mind here. I didn’t make any research yet, but some parts of the movie just seemed too good, or in the worst cases too illogical, to be true.

That doesn’t take the fun out of the movie though. It is really entertaining from beginning to the end. Always nice to see Anupam Kher and Akshay Kumar also gives us a good performance.

I don’t know what more I could say about this one. It’s a highly entertaining heist-movie and probably well worth your time

Trailer

Run (Aneesh Chaganty/USA/2020)

Story:

Chloe, a teenager, is forbidden from seeing the mail and is kept in isolation. She soon starts suspecting her mother of keeping dark secrets and decides to investigate.(google)

My Opinion:

The newest movie of Aneesh Chaganty, the director of the highly recommended „Searching“, is a really solid thriller.

Overall there probably isn’t much that we haven’t seen ,somwhere or somehow, before (except a few unique details) and the conclusion is rather simple. BUT same as in daily life, sometimes the journey is the goal and that really fits here. Iam sure a lot of people will foresee what happened but the strengths of the movie is really the tension that is on a pretty high level most the the time. On top of that we get some really good performances.

So yeah, if you find the story interesting enough and if you like thrillers, maybe give this one a try.

Trailer

When Fortune Smiles (Anthony Chan/Hong Kong/1990)

Story:

When a rich man dies and wills his fortune to his daughter, other members of the family launch dubious schemes to get some of the money.(Netflix)

My Opinion:

I really don’t know what to tell you anymore, since the movie is not totally different from other movies with Stephen Chow. I have a passion for these movies and I enjoyed this one.

So if you are already a fan, givr it a try. If you want to discover Stephen Chow movies, this one is probably not the best but ok. If you never liked these movies, don’t watch it.

It’s really as simple as that.😂

Trailer

Hosts (Richard Oakes,Adam Leader/UK/2020)

Story:

A family falls victim to unimaginable terror when they invite their sweet young neighbours over to celebrate Christmas Eve. ( Google)

My Opinion:

Well, Iam really open minded and actually the beginning was quite promising. Yeah really, if you are in for some hard hitting violence and terror the beginning is really promising.

Then after that the movie pretty much disappointed me. Look, Iam not someone who needs splatter or who expects too much from a movie. Whatever direction a movie wants to go – it’s fine with me as long as it is good and keeps my attention. On the positive side, the tension is pretty ok until the end. The problem is, you soon start to feel that this will not make any sense at all or won’t offer a satisfying solution or explanation.

Sure, I admit that Iam sometimes really not fast enough or really even too stupid to get things. Some things in the movie were familiar. There are probably some genius explanations all over the internet. The movie just didn’t give me enough to really care about it. I mean if we see it on a straight forward story level, there isn’t much to say. You could use the plot-summary and probably one additional sentence to explain the movie. Then, sure, the movie tries to make you feel like there is a higher meaning behind all of this. I didn’t find it, maybe you are more lucky.

Probably for fans of „Mandy“ or „Colour Out Of Space“, both with Nicolas Cage. Only to make it clear, „Mandy“ bored me to death and „Colour Out Of Space“ was pretty awesome. Still, in the end they probably have both more to offer than „Hosts“, which is a lot simpler in my eyes and like I said, anything else I wasn’t able to find.

Trailer

A Sun (Chung Mong-hong/Taiwan/2019)

Story:

A family reckons with the aftermath of their younger son’s incarceration and a greater misfortune that follows. (Netflix)

My Opinion:

Wow, this is one of them movies where I don’t really know what to say or how to explain them or whatever.

We often have a lot to say when something was bad, but sometimes great movies just leave me without much to say at all. Lucky Iam not a professional reviewer and I don’t pretend to be one.

All I can say is that „A Sun“ feels like a very personal and intimate family drama that always keeps your attention. If you like these kind of movies, without much action or anything fast paced, then definitely give this one a try. Don’t get me wrong, this movie is not really slow to be artful or whatever. Slow is probably not even the right word. Yeah, it’s personal and intimate.

So if you like the story or the trailer and if you are into this kind of movie, you probably won’t regret spending your time with „A Sun“

Ps: maybe I take back what I said about the Trailer, feels a bit too artsy for this film. Anyway, just watch the film.😂

Trailer

Badla (Sujoy Ghosh/India/2019)

Story:

Naina, a successful entrepreneur and married woman, gets caught in a web of accusations when her lover is found dead. She then hires a reputable lawyer to work with her on the case and find answers. (Google)

My Opinion:

Sujoy Ghosh seems to be one of Indias thriller experts. That’s already the second movie I, believe it or not, unintentionally saw of him in the period of a few days. The other one was „Kahaani“

Thinking back now, the shoe really fits. The layers of how the thriller works are pretty much the same. The actors are well chosen, it is always a delight to see Amitabh Bachchan since not many can challenge his presence. Then things never get boring and you wonder how it happened. Everything ends with some pretty heavy twists and turns and you’ve spent your time well if you like thrillers. The twists and turns, although a bit hard to foresee, stay believable and are not too over the top. The movie plants a few things, but overall it is probably not as intelligent as it thinks it is. Again, Iam not the fastest but I would argue that it is hard to foresee all of that. The audience is being tricked, but not in the most intelligent way. It is more like “ Haha noooo it is not like that, it is like this cause I say so“. Yeah something like that, but it all makes sense. So no need to be afraid that everything is totally unlogical for the sake of a twist.

Yeah, „Badla“ is a solid thriller for fans of thrillers. You probably won’t be totally disappointed watching this one. It doesn’t go very deep, it relys on its tricks. Which is ok for me, a thriller is a thriller and nobody says a thriller always has to be super deep or whatever. Just a thriller has a few things that can make it outstanding. Its level of suspense, its cleverness or maybe different layers. „Badla“ is outstanding in neither of those things. In the end its solid, no next level stuff BUT solid. Anyway, although the movie doesn’t go very deep in my opinion, there is probably a message that feminists will find to be a bit problematic.😉

Also to not forget that point, the movies is based on the Spanish movie „The Invisible Guest“ from 2016. I didn’t see that one, yet.

Trailer

Love Is Love (Tommy Leung Ga-shu/Hong Kong/1990)

Story:

Defying family expectations, a pair of childhood sweethearts wed and move to the big city, where work life and temptations test their relationship.(Netflix)

My Opinion:

Wow, it is still pretty strange for me to see Stephen Chow in one of his normal movies. While this is still a romantic comedy, it is almost a serious movie for Stephen Chow standards. Nothing over the top happening here.

That being said, „Love Is Love“ is not the most special or original movie you’ll ever see but it isn’t bad at all. If you are in the mood for a HK RomCom it won’t hurt to give this one a look. Props also to Shing Fui-on for his role as the father in law.

As often the trailer is just too long. Give it a minute to get the idea, so you won’t know the best scenes already.

Trailer