Armour of God


Viewed – 05 February 2022 Blu-ray

Asian Cinema Season

(Hong Kong extended cut)

When a religious sect set their sights on an ancient collection of armour known as the ‘armour of god’ – a pop singer turned adventurer seeking the same collection finds himself caught up in a kidnap plot. Along for the journey is a rich collector’s daughter.

First time watching of this 1986 Jackie Chan ‘classic’ and I must say… I was disappointed. I found the story to be weak and it often dragged, with too much focus on an awkward love triangle and long scenes of silly banter rather than adventuring or action. Speaking of action… a five minute brilliantly choreographed end fight, does not make for a great movie. The chase sequence half way through was good though. As a Hong Kong take of movies like Indiana Jones, this had little of the depth or personality and only managed to deliver on a several (admittedly) eye catching locations. Not one of Chan’s best.

I picked up the recent 88 Films limited edition and intend to check out the other cut of the movie, namely the 88 minute international version, which may benefit from a shorter run time. There’s a wealth of extras here, including interviews, music videos, clips from chat shows, a stunts featurette and 3 commentaries. The set also comes with a detailed booklet, cardboard slip case, art cards and double sided poster featuring newly commissioned artwork. The movie itself has a detailed, yet occasionally very grainy image. The soundtrack has original Cantonese on the extended cut, along with an English dub. The international version is English dub only, but is fairly well done. So I’m guessing this made for a worthwhile purchase in the end. However, considering how famous this movie is (I’m guessing more for Chan’s almost died accident than anything else) I found this one of his least entertaining efforts. For a better time, check out the sequel ‘Operation Condor’.

Verdict:

(the movie) Poor

(the Blu-ray) Essential (for fans / collectors)

Update


So I’ve had a break for a couple of weeks. To be honest I haven’t been that in the mood to watch movies and have mostly been focusing of playing games and watch TV shows. Over Christmas I purchased Resident Evil Village which I’m loving and is proving a worthy, atmospheric follow up to RE7. I also put in quite a bit of play on Halo Infinite both single player and multiplayer and consider it a return to form for a franchise which had seemed to lose its footing since developer 343 Industries took over from Bungie. I also finally finished A Plague Tale Innocence – a challenging game with a great premise and a genuinely powerful story. Oh, and I got the platinum on Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart but getting all 47 trophies! A first for me I might add.

Resident Evil Village

As for TV, I have mostly been watching Netflix and Disney+. I am nearly at the end of Hawkeye which is great, and I’m a bit addicted to The Big Bang Theory, which passed me by during its initial run. Desperate Housewives is also a guilty pleasure I’d say, and away from these services I’ve also been trying to finish the final season of Wentworth.

Hawkeye

That’s not to say I’ve not watched any movies. Over Christmas I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, an undisputed classic which was part of a 4K Blu-ray box set I got as a present. Image quality was very good with lots of detail and overall it was fun to revisit the movie. Maybe I’ll check out the other movies in the set at some stage. For my birthday in November I received a Blu-ray box set of the Dirty Harry movies and am slowing watching all but for the first (which I’m overly familiar with) with my Dad who’s quite a fan of Clint Eastwood. So far Magnum Force was quite good, whilst The Enforcer was a bit rubbish.

I have a number of movies I want to check out and will be posting reviews as usual. So normal service should resume soon!

Craig.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec


Viewed – 17 August 2013  Blu-ray

At one time Luc Besson was regarded as one of the coolest directors around and for me at least crafted one of the finest thrillers ever made, Leon.  Although he continued with various moderate hits (most notably The Fifth Element) he soon disappeared, preferring to put his talents to writing and producing other people’s movies (Taken, The Transporter), as if still wishing to keep his name out there but rarely committing himself to directing again … until now.

adele_blanc_sec

This French take on Indiana Jones and based itself on a series of graphic novels stars the rather gorgeous Louise Bourgoin as a popular writer and globe trotting adventurer in early 20th century France who is seeking a cure for her twin sister’s illness.  She travels to Egypt to unearth a pharaoh’s tomb, whilst in Paris an ageing scientist unwittingly resurrects a prehistoric pterodactyl, causing mayhem on the Parisian streets.  This is a fun and energetic movie with decent production values that show off the Paris locations beautifully, and with a wealth of oddball characters this was rarely dull.  Yet some of the French humor is fairly hit and miss, relying a bit too much on corny dialogue and slapstick, whilst a villain introduced early on just kind of gets forgotten about.

On a plus, Besson’s direction is slick and eye-catching, even if the cool action he is known for takes a back seat to knockabout farce.  Moments like a group of dead-pan mummies and an atmospheric tomb raiding stand out, but overall this just felt a bit too Saturday matinee light with a narrative that seems to jump all over the place.  CGI is pretty good however for a foreign production and with a great score by frequent Besson collaborator Eric Serra, I was still entertained.

So not a bad effort for a French adventure movie, but for a Besson comeback … this really needed to wow, but failed.

Verdict:  3 /5

Oeuvre : Drew Struzan


Received this very nice book in the post yesterday which chronicles the life’s work of probably the most celebrated Hollywood poster artist of all time.  This very talented man has created some of the best movie poster art ever seen, and somewhere in this massive collection, you will have more than a few favourites.  I have taken some pictures for you to get an idea of the content in this book, but really, this is something any self-respecting movie fan should own immediately.

Click each image for a larger vew.