Movie Manathon: Kaiju, Wing Chun and Tai Chi
The wife took the kids to visit her parents this past week, so I took the opportunity to watch a few things that she had no desire to watch. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.
Let’s take a look at what I watched.
Pacific Rim (2013) – I was able to get out to see one movie in the theater this week. I chose Pacific Rim. And I was not disappointed. This robots vs monsters actioneer was amazing in its scale. Huge, epic battles with huge, epic monsters. And the SFX for the giant robots are AMAZING. These things look so awesome. The actual story is a little thin, but that matters little because HOLY SH*T GIANT ROBOTS ARE BATTLING GIANT MONSTERS!!!!
The Legend Is Born: Ip Man (2010) – This is the third movie in the Ip Man series with Donnie Yen. Back in 2011 I watched the first two Ip Man movies. The first one remains one of my favorite martial arts movies of all time. The second is good, but not as good as the original. Even with the addition of Sammo Hung. This third movie is Donnie Yen-free, unfortunately, as it’s a prequel to the first two movies. It features Ip Man as he’s growing up and first learning Wing Chun Kung Fu. This movie, as martial arts movies love to do, contains several actors in the previous movies but not in their original roles. Sammo Hung, for instance, returns in essentially a cameo, but playing a completely different character. As does Siu-Wong Fan, who originally played Jin in the first two movies. The movie certainly feels like a part of the franchise started by Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip. It helped that the fight director and choreographers were mostly the same across the board. I really enjoyed it. Yu-Hang To, who plays a younger Ip Man, really does feel like a younger Donnie Yen. Lots of good stuff in this movie. If you liked the first two, give it a shot. Just go in knowing it’s not as good as that first, classic Ip Man movie.
Tai Chi Zero (2012) – I had several people recommend this movie to me. I really knew nothing about it going in so I’m not sure what my expectations were. This was definitely different than I was thinking (whatever that was). It’s quirky and weird, but in a fun way. The action scenes are off the charts cool, but that doesn’t surprise me as Sammo Hung was involved (he also did the Ip Man movies above). The story is a bit wacky, but endearingly so. I enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing the sequel, Tai Chi Hero, someday.
Hell On Wheels – The Complete First Season – I’m a pretty big fan of westerns. I read Wild West fiction and watch western movies and I love Deadwood (I’m in the middle of Season 1). So I’ve been curious to check this AMC show out for quite some time. I finally watched the Pilot and was mostly disappointed. The main character, Cullen, as played by Anson Mount is an uninteresting imitation of Clint Eastwood’s Josey Wales. You also have the obligatory creepy looking preacher and rotted teeth prostitute and a-hole railroad tycoon. And actually, the saving grace of the show is the a-hole railroad tycoon as played by Colm Meany. He chews up scenery like a Quick and the Dead-era Gene Hackman. He’s truly awesome in this. Everyone else is bland and boring. I’m not even sure where the story is going. There seems to be no coherent overarching story. At least in the first episode. And Mount’s Cullen character is, I think, supposed to be a bad ass but he does nothing to show that to us. I just can’t help to compare this to the first episode of Deadwood (which can’t help matters). What Deadwood did in 1 hour hooked me in to watching more and more. I literally was ready to turn off this show about 40 minutes in. I just didn’t care. Except when Colm Meany was tearing up the goddam scenery. Maybe I should watch a few more episodes, but I know that I’m not.
Continuum: Season One – I’ve been interested in this Syfy series for a bit, but Christian from the Atomic Geeks has talked favorably about it on a few of their shows so I decided to give it a chance. And it’s pretty good. I’m surprised. Cool premise and I like Rachel Nichols and Erik Knudsen. Cool sci-fi cop show involving time travel. It’s not perfect, there are a few characters I don’t like, but the stories are interesting and I want to see where it leads. So I plan on continuing to watch.
I also watched one more movie, but I’m not putting it here because I’ll be talking about that on episode 10 of the Cult Film Club Podcast.