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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The Current Cinema - John Snadden looks at some allegedly commercial Chinese cinema GIRLS V GANGSTERS 2 and notes a forthcoming Blu-ray of the Shaw Bros classic ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN

A new HK pic GIRLS Vs GANGSTERS 2 is currently screening around Melbourne and in particular at the Chinatown Cinema in Bourke Street. A film like this would normally disappear without mention or much memory mainly due to the fact it's a third-rate genre movie which has been put on as cinema filler.
But this film is directed by Canto talent Barbara Wong Chun-Chun whom I've admired as a an actor (RUNAWAY PISTOL) and film-maker (WOMENS PRIVATE PARTS), but in the past decade she has frittered away her talent in an attempt to break into the Mainland market via a series of forgettable screen romances and dramas, usually starring big name actors.
GIRLS Vs GANGSTERS 2 is actually a HK take on the HANGOVER movies and follows that set-up closely. We're introduced to tigers and tattoos and, believe it or not, Mike Tyson...as a love interest. The storyline and production are threadbare and the pic mostly takes place in the tourist haunts of coastal Vietnam. The best joke in the film happens in the last five minutes but before that we are lucky (?) enough to be introduced to Vietnam's "God of Gamblers", a weird Chow Yun-Fat lookalike.
This film could have actually been quite entertaining except that everyone involved in the production seemed like they couldn't give a stuff about the movie in general. The version I saw was in the Mandarin language but I'm pretty sure GIRLS Vs GANGSTERS 2 won't be the breakthrough film its director might be hoping for. 
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The Chinatown Cinema is heavily promoting a horror movie, THE POSSESSED, which looks to start its run a the week after the Easter break. This film's trailer reminded me very much of a top notch HK horror from the mid-90s....THE ETERNAL EVIL OF ASIA. We can only hope...!
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Some good news for Shaw Brothers fans: the 88 Asia DVD company has just released a new slew of martial-arts and horror titles on Blu-ray Special Editions. And the title which stands out is Chang Cheh's classic swordplay pic ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN from 1967. It’s dual format and packed with extras including an audio commentary from Canto film expert, Bey Logan. Also on the company's release schedule is the 2007 South Korean ghost / horror movie HANSEL AND GRETEL.

One-Armed Swordsman (Chang Cheh, Hong Kong, 1967)

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