The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Beyond my already inflated expectations, this movie and this franchise are one of the greatest achievements in cinema history. When you see this movie, you will see things that you have never seen before, and will probably never see again. You will cheer, weep,and laugh. It just doesn’t get better than this.

Well, we’ve come to it. The end of the story.

Starting back in [[Let’s Party]], I heard that pre-production had started on **The Lord of the Rings*’. I was both excited and nervous. Could this unknown guy ‘*Peter Jackson** who was known for low budget splatter movies pull off what for the previous 50 years was believed to be impossible?
When [[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]] came out, I breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn’t ruined it. Quite the contrary, he had nailed it. But, there were still two more to go, and they were bigger and more complex.
When [[The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers]] came out, I was blown away.

And now this.

Now that the story is complete, I’m going to talk about the work as a whole. Much of what’s written below is from an email conversation between me and a great friend Scott Tibbetts (also a die-hard fanatic). I’ve included some of what he wrote below because of its keen insight. Thanks Scott!

I decided quite a while ago that I wasn’t going to worry about whether everything in the movies matched the books precisely. I was looking for:

# Does he tell the same story. As I read somewhere, if you treat these books as history, the details of a history change depending on whose telling it. Remember, if you buy into the conceit of the books, they were authored by Bilbo and Frodo, so many things in them are second or third hand accounts.
# TRUTH never changes, but FACTS change over time (that sounds kind of weird, but think about it for a minute :-). So, I wanted the TRUTH of the books kept in tact. WOW did he do a beautiful job of that.
# I wanted the details of the world preserved. I.e. do hobbits look like hobbits, do elves look like elves, do orcs look like orcs, do ents look like ents (and not the trees in The Wizard of Oz), did they find Elrond’s house during some archeological dig and fix it up for the movie, do the ringwraiths scare the shit out of you, etc. These are the small details that are so important to the FEEL of the story. As a friend of mine said when he walked out of FOTR, “I never pictured orcs looking like that…. but I SHOULD have.” I felt that way about the entire series of movies
# Were the iconic moments from the books captured well. For instance, Weathertop, “I will take the Ring to Mordor, though I do not know the way”, The Balrog, Helms Deep, “I am no man”, the battle at the Pellenor, the crossroads, etc. Without a doubt, these moments are nearly perfectly in the films.

The details of the story along the way didn’t bother me that much. I was much more concerned with whether or not it worked. For instance, in [[TTT]], I thought Aragorn’s fall and rescue by the horse just plain didn’t work. But, on the other hand, having the people from Edoras end up and Helm’s Deep in the caves during the battle worked brilliantly (I actually liked that detail better than the book).

Of the 3 films, Two Towers had the most wrong with it. Granted, it’s hard to create an independent film when it’s clearly a transition to greater events. But my God, why spend a valuable 5 minutes of film time on a mother and her two displaced children when you could have embellished on Entmoot?

Actually, there’s a good reason that was done. It’s been typical of PJ all along. One of his goals was to humanize the epic scope of the story so that the stakes become very clear. So in this case, you see the mother and her children at the beginning, the reuniting at Helm’s Deep, and the mother and daughter in the caves while the kid goes off to fight. This just raises the stakes.. “Holy shit… if the men fail, that woman and her kid are gonna get eaten!”.

PJ said from the beginning that in order to fit the whole thing in, he’d have to concentrate specifically on the Ring. If you take this view, what does the drinking of the entwash have to do with the ring? Nothing. It’s a nice, fun touch in the book, but in the end it’s just not that important to the story of the ring. I’m glad it made it into the boxed set though 🙂 I also loved the nod to Tom Bombadil and Old Man Willow. Very nice. As Philipa said, she didn’t think that Tom would mind if she gave some of his lines to Treebeard, a kindred spirit so to speak 🙂

That being said, Helm’s Deep was outstanding, with few exeptions. Legolas’ stairsurfing was a clear appeal to kids and I winced when I saw it. But as for the rest I thought it was terrific.

One of the big controversies in [[TTT]] was the changes made to the character Faramir. This didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did other people, especially after watching some of the extra material on the DVD (the extra scenes with Faramir and the discussion that Phillipa Boyens has about the changes to Faramir). I read a posting in a discussion forum where a guy said that in his opinion Faramir was played perfectly in the movie. In his opinion, everyone else has it wrong and PJ has it right. He said that everyone should go back and reread that whole section and realize that Faramir wasn’t being nice, he was being very cunning trying to trip Frodo and Sam up, cross examining them like a prosecutor. I reread it and he’s not too far off.

Also, Philipa said that one of the main reason that “changed” Faramir was to give his character more arc. If he had just been this nice guy from beginning to end, he’s boring on the screen. So they gave him his own personal journey.

Also, the extended scenes on the DVD with the flashback to the retaking of Osgiliath with Boromir and Denethor were truly a revelation as to the motivations of that character, and the addition of his release of Frodo in the tunnels under Osgiliath was wonderful. And again, Sam gets his great moment… “Mr. Faramir, you’ve shown your quality, the very highest.” Wonderful.

Return was not so much a movie but a rush to get everything in before 3 hours was up. I thought it was magnificent. It had all the “Oh, shit!” moments I remembered from the books: the Nazgul King, the Battle of the Pellenor Fields, Shelob’s Lair, the Watchers on the Wall, the Secret Stair, the Opening of the Black Gate, and of course the climax on the precipice of Mt. Doom. I thought it was all true to Tolkien’s vision.

I was especially happy to see the death of the Witch King portrayed so faithfully.

The madness of Denethor was another matter. Woefully underdeveloped, it left me scratching my head, wondering if those who didn’t already know the story knew what was going on. They could have tied things together so easily with Denethor if they had only included Gandalf’s correct assumption that Denethor had been poisoned by the use of the palantir. One small scene was all it would have taken. Oh, well. At least Gandalf kicked his ass like he should have in the book.

Also, I imagined the pyre of Denethor to be more of a tragic, melancholic event — a twisted suicide that made you feel for Denethor, who did not have the power he thought he did, who was ultimately corrupted when he could have been healed so easily. Running off the cliff in flames, plunging into the city below, was not the way I thought it should go. It should have been more sad/tragic and less like a circus stunt. I half-expected a pool of water to be waiting for him at the bottom: “Ta-da! That’s why I don’t do two shows a night.”

But I’ll let that go just because of that absolutely magnificent camera move that follows him falling and then backs out over the battlefield. Unbelievable.

What about the lighting of the signal fires! I know it played out differently than in the book, but what a magnificent piece of film-making. And I was glad the Pippin got something more to do as well. I always felt he kinda got screwed in terms of how much he got to do in the story.

Another great shot in the movie was Gandalf, Pippin, and Shadowfax ascending the rings of Minas Tirith. Absolutely astounding. It was so well done. Some reviewers thought that it was a digital city and a filmed Gandalf, but in actuality it was the other way around. The city was a 35 foot tall “miniature” that was filmed and the Gandalf, Pippin and Shadowfax were digital. Amazing.

And what about the charge of Faramir in the futile attempt to retake Osgiliath. I think that the juxtaposition of that with the mournful song of Pippin was absolutely brilliant.

Sams’ return of the ring was good. Not overplayed, as much of the ending was, but more subtle, more like two friends having their friendship tested. And of course, good ‘ol Sam comes through. “I can’t carry the ring, but I can carry you!” Great stuff. The bonds of friendship, something for which Sauron has no use, in the end prove stronger than all the evil in the world. And isn’t that the message, after all?

I have a confession to make. The first time I saw that, my eyes teared up. Sean Astin deserves a nomination for his performance in this movie.

What about Shelob!!! Yikes was that a scary spider! In every showing that I’ve seen, when she stings Frodo a gasp went up and I heard people muttering “but he can’t die!” (obviously people who had never read the book). The whole thing with Sam getting sent home by Frodo worked well I thought eventhough it was very different than the book. It just showed how much the ring was twisting Frodo’s perception… he trusts Gollum but not Sam? Sheesh!

The Army of the Dead sequence played out much better on screen than in the books. Truthfully, I always had trouble imagining what the army of the dead looked like and how they fought. The idea that they could defy physics (riding over water, riding up the back of an Oliphaunt, etc.) was fitting to the idea that they were a powerful secret weapon that Sauron could not have anticipated. Also, the thematic idea of the Hero journeying throught a Dark Place as a test of his heroism, coming out more powerful for the experience, and rising to his proper station was portrayed flawlessly here.

Thank you Joseph Campbell 🙂

And the spectacle of the battle! It made Helm’s deep look like a small skirmish (as it should have)! He captured, perhaps better than I’ve ever seen it, the way the tides of battle shift back and forth. First, the siege… Minas Tirith is toast, right? Wrong, the Rohirrim show up just in time and stomp the hell out of the orcs (chills go up my spine every time I see that scene). The good guys are gonna win, right? Wrong. Enter the Oliphants. Talk about impressive. I loved the way that they just kind of stomped on horses and men as if they weren’t even there and swatted whole groups of horsemen out of the way like flies. Now, the good guys are doomed, right? Wrong, Aragorn shows up with the army of the dead. The whole thing just left me breathless.

At each of the 4 times I’ve seen the movie so far, a cheer has gone up when Eowyn pushes her sword through the witch king’s head. “I am no man!” YEAH! Perfect!!!!

One last thing. Frodo’s overall haggardness, tiredness, the sense of his having carried a great burden that forever changed him, was perfect.
Did you notice the cuts in his neck that were made by the weight of the ring hanging around his neck! A subtle detail that just adds to the whole thing about the weight of the ring.

He really looked weaker, slower, even older at the end, as it should have been. I thought this was crucial. You can’t bear something like a ring of power and not feel the weight of it even after it’s gone. So many movies today have the “everything’s back to normal now” epilogue. I’m greatly pleased Jackson stayed true to Tolkien’s idea that things do not always stay the same, that the Hero’s journey changes the hero forever. I felt as tired as Frodo at the end, too. I really felt a sense of tremendous relief that the series was over and it turned out alright. In a way I carried the burden of worry that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I was so relieved I cried at the end because it turned out (if not exactly as I hoped) so true to its creator’s vision. That’s the key… some of the details were different, but all of the thematic elements were right on the money.

Here’s a list of things that I’m sure we’re going to see on the extended DVD of ROTK:

# The death of Saruman at the hands of Wormtongue
# The Houses of the Healing
# The wedding of Aragorn and Arwen
# The Mouth of Sauron
# More Frodo and Sam in Mordor
# More battle at the Pelennor

I didn’t realize just how much of a Big Deal this was for me, that they Get It Right. It was unexpectedly emotional, to have waited so long for something and to see it turn out well. We are part of a group of people who will never come again: the Ones Who Read the Books First AND Saw The Movies When They Came Out.

Advertisements

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Peter Jackson has done it again. Step aside George Lucas. Steven Spielberg, your time has past. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s not taking any prisoners.

I sat in the theater in London wondering if the magic could continue. [[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]] was one of the purest joys I’ve experienced while watching a movie. Could part two possibly keep that feeling alive?

The answer is a resounding **yes**!

I’ve been [[Let’s Party]] the progress of this little project for over four years now. Like many other fans of the books, I had some serious trepidation about the possibility of the saga being turned into a series of movies. Thank goodness the task fell to the super genius Peter Jackson.

There’s one perfect sequence after another in this movie:

    * Gandalf’s fall and fight with the Balrog
    * The Dead Marshes
    * Fangorn Forest
    * Gollum
    * The Ents
    * Helm’s Deep

And just like the previous movie, there are some large departures from the text. The amazing thing that PJ has done (along with his entire writing team) is keep the spirit and themes of the books in tact.

[[Roger Ebert]] said in his review that he wishes that the whimsey of the books could have been represented instead of turning the story into an action movie. I have to respectfully, but strongly, disagree. I think he’s confusing **The Hobbit*’ with ‘*The Lord of the Rings**. Also, most of the movie is dedicated to character develpment. There’s very little action until the climax, and even then, the movie ends on a character note, not action.

He cites as an example the big battle at the end of the movie, **Helm’s Deep**, lasts for a huge portion of the movie while it’s only a very short portion of the book. I went back and looked at my copy, and in a sense he’s right. It’s only 26 pages in a 400 page book. However, if you look at the timeline in the appendices, the whole book covers only 6 days, and Helm’s Deep takes 3 of them!

Also, there’s some confusion about the length of the battle. It’s only 15 minutes of screen time.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

A perfect visualization of Tolkien’s universe, the movie stands alone as a separate but equal work of art. This Ring rules them all!

==I made it out alive!==

I’ve been awaiting this movie for three long, torturous years (See [[Let’s Party]] from January, 1999!). I remember my first glimpses of The Shire and of Bree, grainy pictures taken by spies from fan sites. I remember finding out who was to be in the cast, and loving the names. But mostly, I remember a growing sense of anxiety and anticipation as the date approached for the release.

[[fellowship_logo]]
For the past several months leading up to the release, my wife has been playfully telling people that she was putting the house on suicide watch for December 19th. She knew, she **knew** that given how much I was looking forward to the release of this movie that it was simply not possible for it to live up to my expectations.

Thankfully, I’m still alive, and she was wrong. [[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]] is quite simply the best movie I’ve seen in years. To be honest, I’m not sure if a movie has ever so completely delivered on its promise.

===It’s an eleven, man===

Do you remember in the movie *This is Spinal Tap* where one of the band members expains that he has the loudest amplifier in the world because the dial goes to 11? That’s kinda like my thoughts on Fellowship. It so completely captured the emotions, settings, characters, and events of the book that it ends up having a scale of its own.

===The Wonder of it All===

I saw [[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]] twice on opening day, and I’m still trying to pull together coherent thoughts about the perfection of this piece of art.

==Book vs. Movie==

Yes, there are differences from the book; some of them small, and some of them not so small. But, that is irrelevant. For those of you out there that are (for some insane reason) disappointed with the movie because it doesn’t have a particular scene, or something was changed a little bit, I’d like you to consider the following.

There are many different versions of [[King Arthur]] floating around, from *Le Morte’ d’Artur” by Sir Thomas Mallory to ”Excalibur” by John Boorman, to ”The Mists of Avalon* by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Each of these brings a unique vision to the telling of a mythical tale in which the core tale is the same, but some of the details differ. Each brings a **truth** to the tale because of the power of myth.

J. R. R. Tolkien was keenly aware of this power, and with a wink and a nod presented himself not as author, but rather as translator of an old dust covered text that he uncovered and was able to decipher because of his unique understanding of ancient languages.

In the forward to the book, he explains that even he has not translated everything literally, but rather he has tried to convey in our language, as best as he can, the wonder of the tale that he discovered.

Therein lies the power of the story… it’s not in the exact details of every scene, but rather in the **Truth** of the tale.

This **Truth*’ has been captured wonderfully (the same as “Excalibur” beautifully captured the ”’Truth”’ of Arthur) in Peter Jackon’s creation, a ”’sub-sub-creation”’ of one of the greatest ‘*sub-creation** ever composed.

==The Mathematics of it==

Let me put my mathementicians hat on for a second. Consider a 2 dimensional space where the axes are defined as Expectation vs. Results. The expectations are what you take into an experience with you, and the results are what you take out. Now, if you pick a point on the graph (e,r) which describes your expectation and the results, and then draw the rectangle with that point at one extreme, and (0,0) at the other, the area of that rectangle gives you a gauge as to how good your movie going experience was: the greater the area, the better the experience.

You’ve had it happen to you before, you go into to see movie with very high expectations that it just doesn’t deliver, you get a rectangle with a small area, and you were disappointed (see the [[Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace]]).

You’ve also had it happen where you went in expecting to hate a movie, and it turns out to be pretty good. The total area of the experience is larger than you expected, so you enjoyed the movie.

Now, what happens when you go into a movie with very high expectations and the movie delivers beyond what you could have imagined? That’s called *magic” and it’s what happened with ”Fellowship of the Ring*

==The Acting==

[[frodo_sam]]
We’ll start with Sir [[Ian McKellen]], AKA Gandalf. If he isn’t exactly as you imagined Gandalf as you read the book, then you’re just wrong. His performance is so organic that I fear he will be overlooked when it comes time for the Academy to make its nominations (he was already overlooked by the Hollywood Foreign Press at the Golden Globes… what a crime!). Sir Ian McGandalf so completely captured the subleties of this complex character, from his wit to his rage, that I never perceived him acting. He simply was Gandalf.

As for the hobbits, I can’t praise them enough. When I heard they were making this into a film, I wasn’t sure how they’d be able to pull off creating hobbits without drawing attention to either little people in the roles, or special effects to make people look small. But they did, and on top of that, each of the actors emmersed themselves into their hobbit roles so completely that I never thought of them as anything but hobbits. Remarkable.

Aliens

Not only one of the best sequels ever made, but one of the best movies ever made! Ripley is back, and she’s pissed. This time it’s take no prisoners!

From the first frame…

I consider [[Aliens]], the sequel to the 1979 science fiction/horror movie, to be one of the best movies ever made. I don’t make this claim lightly. James Cameron has woven together a magnificent script with wonderfully fleshed out characters in a beautifully directed sci-fi/action/horror movie that has a lot more going for it than it’s genres seem to offer. It was good enough to earn Sigourny Weaver an Oscar nomination and the film 6 other nominations.

[[ripley]] As the movie begins we reestablish a connection with the character of Ripley, the heroine of the first film. She’s been adrift in space for the last 57 years. She’s a troubled woman having nightmares about a creature that nobody’s ever heard of that she claims is on a planet that is now settled by colonists. A board of inquiry from the “Weyland-Yutani” company doesn’t believe her story and essentially accuses her of some sort of coverup in the destruction of her ship from the first film.

A short while later we find Ripley living in a small apartment still waking each night with nightmares of the alien creature bursting from her chest as she helplessly watches. We find out from the company man Carter Burke that the company has lost contact with the colony on LV-426 and that the colonial marines have been called in to investigate. He wants Ripley to go with them in an advisory role just in case there really is an alien as described by Ripley there. It’s during this exchange that we find out that Ripley’s been working the cargo docks running loaders and forklifts. This sounds like just some filler material used to explain what the character’s been up to. But it’s much more important than that.

Siezing on the opportunity to confont her nightmare, she reluctantly agrees.

From the halls of Montezuma…

[[marines]] We meet the marines as they’re waking up from the long hyper-sleep on the way to LV-426. During the short scenes leading up to the landing on the planet, we are introduced to each of the marines. It is a testament to the brilliance of the script that by the end of these scenes with each marine having perhaps a line or two we know who they are and care what happens to them. There’s the joker Hudson, the strong, silent Hicks, and the cool Vasquez among others. I’ve never hear a script that so quickly established the personality of the main players.

During the briefing just before the drop onto the planet we find out that the marines are experienced in dealing with exterminating hostile organisms, so this appears to be just another routine mission for them.

Just another bug hunt…

[[alien-profile]] They drop down to the planet and find that the colony is a shambles. There’s no colonists to be found except for a little girl named Rebecca,AKA Newt. They find the remains of some alien facehuggers,in the medlab of the colony. There are two which are still alive (again, a small detail, but an important one for later in the story).

The marines find that the colonists are all inside the main atmosphere processor by finding their personal data transmitters which were surgically implanted in each colonist on a kind of radar display. Not able to tell if the colonists are alive or dead, the marines head off to rescue them.

After a battle with the aliens that wipes out many of the marines it’s clear that for the first time in their careers they are outmatched. Their only option seems to be to head back to their ship and “nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.”

I don’t want to give away much more because here’s where the story switches gears and becomes a high-octane action thriller with a climax that has to be seen to be believed.

Some more thoughts

The script for this movie is so tight that every line of dialogue seems to have some sort of significance. The characters are all living breathing people that you care about and want to see survive and be successful. The plot twists keep you on your toes.

Part of the beauty of this movie is in the details. There’s far more than I can cover effectively in this review. If your interested, check out the [[Alien FAQ]]. There’s more information there than you can possibly imagine about this great film.

Enter The Dragon

Lee goes under cover to break up an opium and white slave ring.

I remember the first time I saw **Enter The Dragon**. I was
about 12 years old. It changed my life forever.

==The Story==

Lee is asked by an intelligence agency (the movie isn’t very specific about
which one) to infiltrate Hahn’s organization and find proof about his drug
and slave trade. He’s to do this by attending a martial arts tournament
held by Hahn every few years. Lee has been invited because of his skills as
a martial artist. He’s a Shaolin priest with tremendous skills and has
been invited to the tournament.

While there, he pokes around a bit while the tournament is going on and
finds the evidence he needs. But before he can do anything about it, he’s
caught. Then all hell breaks loose.

==What makes it great==

This was the first time that the mainstream American public was exposed to
the incredible skills and excitement of high level martial artists. Of
course Bruce had played Kato in the Green Hornet television series years
earlier, but there he was limited as to what he could show. After all, he
wasn’t supposed to be the hero then.

In any case, Bruce had an incredible screen presence. There’s a magnetism
to him that draws you into watching him. And he was in top form for this
movie. You watch him take on 20 opponents at a time and although you know
that it’s choreographed, it doesn’t feel like that. In fact, you get the
impression that this man could actually do the things you see him doing,
so natural are his movements. In martial arts movies before this one,
everything always had a very choreographed stiff feel to it. This movied
raised the bar. Martial arts in movies after this one had to have a sense
of realism to be successful.

==The Macguffin==

What makes this movie even plausible is the bad guy’s fear of guns. He’s
so afraid that he won’t even let his body guards carry them. So only
someone of superiour martial skills has any kind of a chance to cross him.

==Did you notice…==

Did you notice [[Jackie Chan]] getting his neck broken. Or how about Samo
Hung (of *Martial Law* in the opening fight?

Face Off

Cop changes identity with a bad guy to find out where he hid a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in L.A. John Travolta and Nicolas Cage give fine, if not brilliant performances. John Woo is at his best since **The Killer** opened in Hong Kong.

[[faceoff]]John woo is one
of those directors that you either love or hate. There’s not much in
between. I fall into the former camp and believe is artistic mayhem to be
some of the most visually pleasing directing being done today.

==This action movie has it all==

How often do you see an action movie that has moments of drama so gripping
that they bring tears to your eyes? Not very. But this one does. There’s
also comedy, beautiful direction, great action. In short, this is great art
in the form of a summer movie.

==It’s like looking in a mirror… only not==

==Ballet of Blood==

[[faceoff-mirror]]
John Woo movies tend to be extremely violent. That’s no crime for an action
movie director. But his violence has a certain style that’s almost undescribable. He has said in interviews that his biggest influences in
film were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He loved the way the dance
numbers in their movies were put together. In his own movies the gun play
is choreographed as one of Fred and Ginger’s dance numbers. Little
attention is payed to the realism of what’s going on, but rather on how
things happen visually to create the biggest impact. For instance, there’s
a scene after Travolta and Cage have changed identities where they’re
having a gunfight in a hall of mirrors. Why a hall of mirrors? No reason
as far as the story is concerned, but it gives John Woo a chance to make a
statement about the characters: they have to shoot themselves to get their
nemesis.

Operation Condor

Jackie Chan returns as Condor in search of lost Nazi gold. If only all action movies could be this fun!

##Look out Indiana Jones, we’ve got Jackie now

[[operationcondor]]
I remember seeing this as the second movie of a Jackie Chan
double feature playing with [[Project A: II]]. This oneis an interesting
cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Charlie Chaplain.

The story begins (after a lengthy introduction that pokes fun at the
Indiana Jones movies) with Condor getting an assignment to recover a cache
of Nazi Gold for the United Nations. If he successfully gets the gold, he
keeps 1% for himself. 1% doesn’t sound like much until he finds out that
he’s searching for 640 million dollars worth! So he agrees to take the
job. His patron then gives him the only clue available as to how to
retrieve the gold: an oddly shaped key.

All Condor knows for sure is that the gold is somewhere in the Sahara desert.

For those of you who have seen his recent North American Releases “Rumble
in the Bronx”, [[Supercop]], or “First Strike”, this movie will be quite a surprise. These movies aren’t really [[Jackie Chan]] movies (for those of
you long time fans, you know what I mean). Although they are all quite
fun, each of them was written, produced and directed by someone else.
Jackie’s big creative input on these movies was in the fight choreography
and stunt work. His best efforts have always been when he had complete
control over the production of a movie (see [[Project A]] and [[Project A: II]]
for a couple of great examples).

Jackie wrote, produced, directed and starred in this one, so there’s much
more of his trademark action, humor, stunts and fight choreography.

There are several action set pieces in this film worthy of note. The first is
a chase that has Jackie on a motorcycle and a bunch of Nazi bad guys in
black cars. The scene climaxes with a great stunt where Jackie rides his
motorcycle off a ramp on a dock, releasing the bike, and latching onto a
cargo net suspended about a hundred feet above the water while the cars
that are chasing him fly off the dock into the water. For my money,
however, the stunt he pulls off earlier in the chase while hanging from the
rafters of a warehouse is one of the greatest ever put on film. It’s too hard to describe here, but see the movie and you’ll know which one I’m
talking about.

The finale takes place in a wind tunnel where Jackie is fighting with a
couple of Nazi thugs. Friends of his are at the controls of the wind
tunnel fans, and he uses these to help him defeat his opponents. I don’t
want to ruin it for you, but it’s a real hoot!!

Supercop

AKA Police Story III. Chan Ka-Kui returns to fight the bad guys.

##Planes, trains, and automobiles

I actually saw this years before it came out in mainstream release. Back
then it was touring the art-house movie theaters under the title “Police
Story III”.

I saw it a the “Towne Theatre” where it played to a sold out audience.

This is one of [[Jackie Chan]]’s most plot-driven vehicles yet. He plays
“Chen Ka-Kui”, a Hong Kong cop who is recruited by the British Government
of Hong Kong to infiltrate a drug lords gang by helping to break the
right-hand-man out of prison, thus earning his trust.

It sounds like a plot for the next Sylvester Stallone, or Arnold
Schwarzenegger movie. But it’s much better than that. I liked it so much
because it didn’t dumb down any of the plot devices to make it easy on the
audience. There are quite a few twists and turns, and you’re never quite
sure if Jackie has successfully infiltrated the gang. But it doesn’t stop
there. There are some wonderful comedic moments, and the finale has to be
seen to be believed.