An odd bunch of releases this week without one major release, or at least one major release I haven’t gotten so far. I’ll start with the best of the bunch, Kung Fu League. Fei Ying Xiong, a shy young man makes a wish on his birthday that brings 4 legendary Asian martial arts masters to life to help him win the girl of his dreams. Ip Man, Master Wong and others come to life in today’s world and don’t fit in. Their ways are different, they are broke and only know martial arts but they keep their promise to help Fei Ying Xiong. The film is a mix of comedy and martial arts and the final fight sequences are fantastic and really funny. I genuinely laughed out loud at some of it and the actors involved playing the legends are of course quality martial artists themselves. If you are familiar with movies like Ip Man, The Grandmaster, Drunken Master and the like you’ll dig this. It reminded me a bit of Stephen Chow films with the mix of comedy and action. I liked it.
Two documentaries are next. The Kids Table is a look at the card game Bridge and how it can bring in a younger audience. Bridge is seen as an old person’s game and even though I play a ton of card games, I’ve never actually played Bridge. Watching this, the game seems similar to Whist, but with slightly different bidding and you get to see your partner’s hand (if you win the bid). I couldn’t tell if this was authentic or staged. One woman in it is pretty hot and I couldn’t tell if she was an actress trying to make a name for herself or genuinely interested in the game. I guess she’s famous on Twitch, but I have no idea who she is. The one guy seemed more interested in the movie than the game. The girl in the glasses came across as genuine and not a plant in a documentary. It’s your pretty standard documentary, here are the people involved, here is the topic, watch how we grow together and climax. It did make me want to learn the game because I like card games so I guess it did what it wanted to accomplish.
Next is Cassandro, The Exotico. In lucha libre most wrestlers wear a mask. Cassandro is a legendary exotico, a flamboyant unmasked wrestler known for crazy clothing and being a champion. He’s older now and the the documentary doesn’t hide the damage wrestling and drugs/alcohol have caused him. He’s been sober for years something he’s extremely proud of. What’s fascinating is that when you think of a champion wrestler, you think of WWE or WCW and millionaires. He lives in a modest house washing and hanging his wrestling attire outside. His looks and persona are his calling card and it shows how age and performing for so long has hurt him physically and emotionally. He can’t be the performer he wants to be. He can’t look the way he wants to look. But he is still very much charismatic and charming. If you know much about wrestling, especially wrestling south of the US border, you’ll enjoy this
Next is Intimacy, a movie about loneliness in a connected world. It revolves around two young adults, their lives in Shanghai, connecting to those online, working (or at least one of them working), struggling to feel a connection to anyone. I get the basic premise of the film, but I’m not 100% sure what I was supposed to take away from it. With more ways to connect to people (phones, internet), people can still feel lonely. I get it, but something about the characters just didn’t work for me. The girl seemed distant from her father and didn’t do much with her life. The boy wanted more in life so he moved to a bigger city. Again, I get all of that, but something about the movie just didn’t connect with me (pun intended).
The Good Fight: Season 3 is out this week. This is a show I only watch when I have to review it because I really don’t like it. I get why others do, but it’s not something I go out of my way to watch. I definitely didn’t get into this third season. It gets super political and even if you lean the way it does, it gets tiresome quickly. It takes on facts and fake news and the president. If you’ve enjoyed the first two seasons and Christine Baranski you’ll like this.
Elementary: The Final Season is also out. Sherlock is definitely the better series, but I will say this show has grown on me. I didn’t love it as first, but actually found myself watching episodes when it aired. The final season finds Holmes and Watson in new careers as consultants for Scotland Yard in London and their first case is an acid attack on a model. The following episodes see Holmes dealing with US cases afar because he still can’t re-enter the US. They then help a tech billionaire. A sculptor is murdered and it might be the work of a serial killer who hadn’t struck in a while. Holmes’ father joins in on a case to help thwart the billionaire. And of course with the series ending, Moriarty had to make an appearance. If you were a fan of the show, pick up the final season this week.
Next is a slew of Mill Creek Entertainment releases. First up is Savage Nature: 4 Deadly Films collection. This features Flu Birds, Monster Wolf, Wolvesbayne and The Headless Horseman. All 4 are SyFy type films. I say type because I know some were on SyFy but I’m not 100% sure if all 4 were. Flu Birds has some laughable special effects with these giant birds hit by a virus and attack people. It’s your pretty standard small-town, in the woods, locals getting attacked film. Monster Wolf stars Jason London, because a London brother has to be in a collection, and sees an ancient wolf type creature resurrected when an oil company blows up Native area. Wolvesbayne is probably the most well known of the group and stars the other London, Jeremy, Christy Carlson-Romano (voice of Kim Possible) and Marc Dacoscos. London is bitten and slowly turns into a werewolf with Romano helping him and teaching him the ways. They fight a pack of vampires lead by the Iron Chef chairman. The Headless Horseman is a re-imagining of the Sleepy Hollow legend and is the classic small-town, kids break down, must be killed to keep the Headless Horseman at bay. If you like SyFy type movies then this is a good collection for you.
Mill Creek has out Duplicity and I-Spy on Blu-ray. I’m sure they’ve been available before but these are at much lower prices. I probably hadn’t seen either film since they came out a decade or so ago. Somehow Julia Roberts got a Golden Globe nomination for Duplicity which she starred in opposite Clive Owen as opposing former agents. She burned his undercover gig and the movie jumps a few years where they both work in the private sector and must team up to find a buyer for a revolutionary new product. Of course there’s a love story and overall I’m not a huge fan of the film although I do like Clive Owen in it. I-Spy stars Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson in a sort of remake of the original TV series. Owen is a federal agent teamed up with Murphy’s boxer character and it really wanted to capture a Rush Hour type vibe. It’s funny at times, but it also feels super dated nowadays.
The latest Andy Sidaris films to hit Blu-ray from Mill Creek are Do or Die and Guns. If you read me often enough you know I have a soft spot for Sidaris films. They are never great films, but they aren’t supposed to be. You expect action, hot babes, over-the-top scenes, a plot straight from the 1980’s or 1990’s and everything in between. Do or Die stars Pat Morita and Erik Estrada. Two Centerfolds are undercover agents who Morita wants revenge on. It’s funny seeing Morita as a crime boss. Estrada is a good guy of course because he always is. Guns flips that switch and has Estrada as the bad guy with the same undercover agents. This has some of the best over-the-top action out of all the Sidaris films that have come my way. I genuinely laughed out loud
The family friendly two-pack of MVP: Most Valuable Primate and MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate is out for those who love animal films. It’s from the people who brought you Air Bud so if you aren’t familiar with the MVP films, but like the Air Bud series you’ll like this. I’m not a huge animal fan nor do I have kids so these aren’t exactly for me, but I can respect what they do. Your kids will laugh at a chimp winning hockey games and then skateboarding. They are safe films for young kids you won’t mind popping in and letting them watch as you do something around the house.
Houses of Hell 4 Movies comes out in time for Halloween. The 4 movies are American Horror House, The Dunwich Horror, House of Bones and Mask Maker. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the creature feature above, but it’s ok for one sitting. The first film involves sorority girls and ghosts and is your standard sorority flick. Dunwich is an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story involving the Necromonicon and historians sworn to protect the book. It won’t be confused with Evil Dead. House of Bones involves a psychic and ghost hunters and if you read me you know ghost hunters and paranormal films really don’t work for me. Mask Maker involves a haunted plantation and new owners and friends getting the fright of their lives.
And last we have True Believer which comes from Mill Creek’s VHS Retro Slipcover line. This technically came out last month but wasn’t delivered to me until recently. This 1989 film stars Robert Downey Jr. as a young lawyer who moves to New York to work with James Woods, a wildcard lawyer who nowadays gets drug dealers out of jail but once was a fantastic lawyer changing the game. They take on a case of an Asian man sent to jail for a murder he didn’t commit. Kurtwood Smith is the prosecutor who sent the man to jail where he committed another murder but claims self defense. I had never even heard of it never mind seen it which is shocking because the cast is pretty big. I’m sure RDJ fans will scoop this up quickly because that slipcover is pretty sweet. If you remember the film it looks great and you’ll like this new release.