I’m in a bit of a pickle these days as I run out of space to add more movies to my queue list on Netflix so that means, I need to get cracking on some of those movies that I added in without thinking much about it and has overflowed. I wish that Netflix had a way to organize movies that have been added in there for too long. Anyways, maybe one day, right? Seeing as we no longer rank movies by stars but by the familiar system of thumbs up and down. Regardless, the mission to get through the mountains of movies is here. I almost wanted to name this Burning Through My List but then it doesn’t highlight the double feature aspect or triple feature. I’m a complete post on the movie if say, I actually hit a winner. Expect a few more of these to pop up. Also, if you do want to see what movies I’m watching lately, you can always find me on Letterboxd as tranquildreams where I’m using to track movies to easily follow how many movies I’ve watched this year.
Today’s double feature is 2001 Hong Kong action fantasy flick heavily influenced by video game Tekken, The Avenging Fist and 2013’s direct to video N.Y.C Underground also called Brooklyn to Manhattan.
Let’s check it out!
The Avenging Fist (2001)
Director: Andrew Lau
Cast: Leehom Wang, Stephen Fung, Gigi Leung, Biao Yuen, Kristy Yang, Sammo Hung, Kar Lok Chin, Roy Cheung, Cecilia Yip, Ekin Cheng
Special gloves [Power Gloves] that yield an unimaginable power [the ability to tap into unused mental power] are stolen by an agent who subsequently disappears. Decades later, he reemerges to rule the world – Netflix
The Avenging Fist was Hong Kong’s first Dolby Digital Surround Film. It is supposed to be a big deal. Forget about the really bad graphics for a while and forgive it because this movie is 15 years old and we’ve been pampered with better, there is no reason for this film to be as disappointing as it is. Andrew Lau is the director. Remember the guy who brought us the Infernal Affairs trilogy, which did happen after this one. Still, he has a lot of memorable movies under his belt including the Young and Dangerous which is probably why he uses Kar Lok Chin and Ekin Cheng in here. What makes this film disappointing is also the fact that it is trying to tell Tekken but then it seems they don’t have the license so they can’t and have to add in the end credits about how it has nothing to do with the famous video game franchise. You don’t ever want to be the first of something but become a movie that reminds you of something else and this one did that, despite its cast which back in the early 2000s was a big deal. Future Cops launched back in 1993 and put live action and humor and a ton of charm with a great cast bringing to life Street Fighter. While it is incredibly underrated and not a lot of people remember it, there is something there that grabs the audience. Not to mention, Roy Cheung and Ekin Cheng were also part of that movie. You can see my review of it HERE.
Possibly the worse part of this which probably won’t bother non-Chinese speaking audience was the fact that Leehom Wang’s Cantonese dub was okay but yet so awkward with how he reacted at times. Leehom Wang is a great singer and the fact that he is jumping into movies is exciting and the best part of this movie is the fact that there’s some great songs he’s done that’s put on the soundtrack. However, there isn’t much here. The fight scenes are a tad ridiculous and that’s coming from myself who likes a lot of over the top action. The cast was what made me continue like Kristy Yang (who hasn’t been around for a while), Gigi Leung, Stephen Fung (who does some behind the scenes stuff now, I believe). There’s of course Sammo Hung who still proves that age is only a number when it comes to martial arts and acting and to not get fooled by his physical appearance and the fantastic Biao Yuen.
This quick review is turning to be way too long already. Point is, while there is a decent cast, the execution of this movie is rather flawed and just not very good. It reinforces why I don’t watch movies for the cast anymore.
NYC Underground (2013)
Director: Jessy Terrero
Cast: Clayne Crawford, Arielle Kebbel, Sean Faris, Dania Ramirez, Rob Mayes, Evan Ross, Craig Walker, Matt Servitto
Four people run for their lives in the Brooklyn subway tunnels after a botched drug deal.- IMDB
Oh, boy. *shakes head* You know, its hard to not shake your head when you know that some of this cast can be good. It feels a little like Cloverfield, without the found footage angle, you know before things went down the drain. Its funny because Sean Faris has done some decent movies and he was alright in Pretty Little Liars. Arielle Kebbel has proved that she’s decent as well in various TV properties and even the main bad dude played by Clayne Crawford was alright. Deal is, this one wasn’t appealing in the execution. There wasn’t any tense build-up. It was really silly in many parts and there was lot of overacting and whining and screaming. When a movie tries to sell stupid lack of common sense like yelping in an echoing subway tunnel and creating some pretty unappealing chracters that you can’t cheer for, its hard. Plus, it added on the assaulting my eardrums factor and I’m not particularly a happy camper. The fact that I finished this one is already a miracle.
However, its easy to hate on a movie. And I don’t want to do it. If there was one good thing in this movie and that is two of the characters, despite at that point being too far to care too much about them. really lifted the movie up by their growth and finding the courage to move on in a smarter although riskier way. To be honest, those two characters were the stronger characters and that is Sean Faris’s character who plays the older brother dragged into this situation and the supporting girl played by Dania Ramirez.
I think I gave both of these movies 2 stars (out of 5). They both weren’t good. Both had their own faults and very little that pushed me to finish and honestly, at this point, I remember The Avenging Fist just a tad more than NYC Underground. The Hong Kong films was going through an odd change in action and humor in that timeframe and I remember not being a huge fan of it so I had stopped watching a lot of Chinese movies at that point which is probably why I didn’t see The Avenging Fist earlier despite being a die-hard fan of Ekin Cheng and he only had a very small role.