TKDT Reviews

The Last Airbender

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

Review by Elizabeth Brown
Rating:



This film follows a young boy named Aang on his journey to become the Avatar. Aang is an airbender, which means he has the abilities to manipulate air. He is found, by his soon-to-be friends, Katara (a waterbender) and Sooka. Aang finds out that the Fire Nation has started a war against all the other nations. It is up to Aang and his friends to save the Earth and Water Nations. This movie is based on Book 1: Water, in the Nickelodeon animated series, "Avatar: the Last Airbender."



I was looking forward to seeing this film and I did enjoy it, so let me explain why I gave it only 3 stars. If I were to rate the movie on the amazing scenes, the intricate costume design, the magical landscapes and the special effects that were very well done, then I would have given the movie 4 or even 5 stars. But, calculating in the acting that was not great and that the martial arts could have been more disciplined, I had to give the movie only 3 stars.





If you have never seen the series "Avatar: the Last Airbender," then this movie would be an amazing adventure that you should be excited to go on. Sadly, if you did watch the series, then there are a few things that are different, enough to annoy. For one, the characters are much more serious and less light-hearted in the movie than they are in the series. Also, they pronounce Aang differently, pronouncing the double A as a U sound. I also would have liked to have seen Aang ride an air ball, like he does so often in the series. There are many other differences, but these are the ones that really stuck out to me.

While I greatly enjoyed the movie, some viewers may have to get over the bad acting and the fact that it is not based highly on the TV show, in order to enjoy it.


Now available in stores, THE LAST AIRBENDER DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack boasts over two hours of in-depth, behind-the-scenes special features including a nine-part documentary on the making of the film, a featurette entitled “Origins of the Avatar”, deleted scenes, a gag reel, picture-in-picture notes and more.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments


Directed by: Ang Lee
Released originally in 2000
Released on Blu-Ray July 27, 2010

Review by Elizabeth Brown
Rating:

Master Li Mu Bai (played by Yun-Fat Chow) decides that he wants to give
up his life as a warrior. He gives his 400-year-old jade sword to his
friend, Sir Te to show that he has finished that life. Yun Shu Lien
(played by Michelle Yeoh) is put in charge of delivering the sword. She
delivers the sword to Sir Te but it is then stolen. Yun Shu Lien tries
to stop the mysterious black thief, and so begins the first of many
complex and high-flying fight scenes.

Meanwhile Master Li is bent on revenge for his former master who was
killed by the jade fox. The plot thickens as two majestic love stories
are wrapped around the jade sword. The first is a forbidden love between
Master Li and the widowed Shun Lien. Then there is Jen Yu, a young
aristocrat to be married but has a secret love for Lo, who is the leader of
the dark cloud gang of thieves. 

All the characters are intertwined in a way that can make one's head
spin, and yet click all at the same time. The story slowly unfolds and
takes you through a magical journey of traditions, masterful martial arts
and beautiful scenery.

The movie can be viewed with English subtitles or with English voice
overs, which is a plus for young viewers. And the behind-the-scenes
footage gives you a wonderful look into the wire work used, and the small
amount of special effects that were necessary to complete the film.

This is definitely a must-see movie for all martial artists. The use of
traditional weapons and fighting techniques will dazzle the imagination,
and make one want to learn this majestic art.

The Secret War

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

3/11/08 Our Rating: N/A
Unavailable for Preview
Available Through Local Rental, Netflix and Amazon.com

Directed by David Kim and starring Dong Jin Kim (an eighth-dan Tae Kwon Do master), Jim Florentine, and KC Armstrong (The Howard Stern Show), encompasses the obstacles in our everyday lives, but on a higher scale. Thrilling and mysterious, The Secret War will keep viewers on the edges of their seats from start to finish.

Based on the life of a New York City cop and a martial artist, Jack, the movie explores the depths of life and how a normal man is able to overcome his struggles. After Jack gets injured in line of duty, his brother, who works for the Pentagon, secretly implants a chip into Jack in order to save his life; however, it is through stealing government property that he is able to do so. The chip is part of an experiment that the Pentagon is conducting in which the chip is supposed to create a superhuman fighter.


Throughout the movie, the twisted characters will keep the audience filled with suspense...particularly the character of Getty, who challenges and experiments with Jack’s newfound superhuman abilities. However, Jack is unaware of his condition and continues his daily life, but later realizes that something is wrong because he is unable to control his emotions and has become very violent.


Furthermore, the audience is held in suspense to see the final resolution for Jack as tensions mount and the military, a hired assassin, Jack’s girlfriend, and the FBI become involved. The movie brings the audience along on a journey of a man who is fighting against the external forces in addition to himself, trying to overcome the obstacles and burdens that he is suddenly faced with overnight.

Even for those previously uninterested in the martial arts, Kim’s superior skills will inspire and motivate many viewers to experience for themselves this demanding and challenging art form. This film appeals to all audiences as it encompasses the obstacles in everyday life: good vs. evil, moral vs. immoral, and selflessness vs. selfishness. Jack, like all people, must overcome difficulties caused by external forces, as well as fighting a battle against his own internal conflicts. Combining science fiction, martial arts, and the inner struggles all humans face, The Secret War is a spine-tingling rollercoaster ride.

In addition, the film has an additional feature: Grandmaster Kim performs a martial arts demonstration.
 
The film can be rented through local vendors, Netflix, or purchased at amazon.com.

Never Back Down

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

 
3/14/08 Our Rating:
Reviwe by Stephen Faber, The Hollywood Reporter


This may be just another teen exploitation movie, but middle-age viewers who wander into the theater might get the same giddy rush as the kids.

 

Attractive young actors and kick-ass fight scenes would seem to guarantee an audience of teens, and "Never Back Down" has been shrewdly engineered to tap into that hungry market. Although the movie set in the hot new arena of mixed martial arts is a bit short on star power, it's energetic and warm-hearted enough to become a word-of-mouth hit.

The story of a misfit maturing under the guidance of a wise martial arts instructor might stir memories (at least for older viewers) of a hit from 1984, "The Karate Kid." The new film's counterpart to Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi is Djimon Hounsou's Jean Roqua, the taciturn guru who has a profound influence on the alienated young hero, Jake Tyler (Sean Faris).

Jake has not recovered from the accidental death of his father and has been prone to outbursts of anger and violence. Along with his mother and younger brother, Jake has recently moved from Iowa to Florida, and the pressures of being the new kid on the block only add to the resentment that he harbors.


When Jake is goaded into fighting the school bully, Ryan (Cam Gigandet), and is badly beaten, he decides to train with Jean to learn discipline as well as boxing skills. At first he just wants to become a more savage fighting machine, but he eventually learns life lessons that help to calm his demons.

While the outcome of Jake's quest is never really in doubt, the journey itself is always lively and compelling. Chris Hauty's script boasts a lot of sharp, funny dialogue as well as savvy touches depicting high school today. Jake's humiliations spread throughout school with alarming speed, thanks to ubiquitous camera phones and text messaging, which puts a 21st century spin on the gossip grapevine depicted in earlier teen movies. Director Jeff Wadlow supplies breakneck pacing that doesn't allow too much time to analyze the formulaic plot.

Casting also is spot-on. Faris conveys both the explosive anger and the underlying hurt of a troubled teen. Gigandet is marvelously menacing as his smooth, seductive, vicious nemesis. (Both actors display fearsomely ripped torsos.) Evan Peters brings welcome doses of wit to the role of the hero's nerdy sidekick; he also has some of the movie's best lines. On the other hand, Amber Heard as the love interest of both Jake and Ryan doesn't fare as well. She's undeniably beautiful, but her earnest line readings are arch and sometimes laughable, though it must be admitted that some of her dreary dialogue would probably defeat Meryl Streep.

Among the adult actors, Hounsou doesn't really have that much to do except to provide a dignified presence, which he a
ccomplishes in spades. A special mention should be made of Leslie Hope, who gives an outstanding performance as Jake's impatient and critical but always caring mother.

Technical credits are first-rate. The film is expertly shot and designed, and the propulsive editing by Victor Dubois and Debra Weinfeld has a lot to do with the movie's success. At its core "Never Back Down" is just another teen exploitation movie, but middle-age viewers who wander into the theater might get the same giddy rush as the kids.




(click here for source)

Son of the Dragon

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments


3/11/08 Our Rating:
Review by Michael Lee
Hallmark Movie Channel HD on April 2 & 3, 2008

Carradine Returns!
The David Carradine Essentials According to the Man Himself (Click to View)

Son of the Dragon stars David Carradine and John Reardon. It is an action love story based on the classic Thief of Baghdad with a little Robin Hood and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon feats of flight thrown in the mix. It was great to see Carradine on screen again and his acting outclassed some of his younger castmates. The four-hour U.S. television premiere of Son of the Dragon HD will air twice: Wednesday, April 2 (9/8 c) and Thursday, April 3 (9/8 c) on the Hallmark Movie Channel HD.


The film, which was shot entirely in China, revolves around a charismatic young thief known as Devil Boy, or DB (Reardon), who was abandoned at birth and rescued from the docks of Shanghai by Bird (Carradine), a wise former warrior.  Now, DB and Bird have their eyes on the ultimate prize...swindling the royal court of its jewels. The best way for them to execute the perfect heist is by winning the hand of the Governor’s daughter, Princess Li Wei (Desiree Siahaan, "Marco Polo"), whose father is welcoming potential suitors to court. Posing as the Prince of the Seven Seas and his loyal lieutenant, DB and Bird enter a world unlike anything they imagined.


Although DB has genuine feelings for the princess, there is formidable competition from the Prince of the North (Graves) and it is soon apparent that he is playing by a far more dangerous and sinister set of rules. Caught in a dangerous game, DB and Bird must rely on their cunning, street-smarts and a little magic to survive an untimely demise.


The production quality of the film was exceptional and the director captured the beauty of China and its natural scenery as well as its ancient towns.  This film is stunning on a large screen high definition display. Although the plot was sometimes predictable and dialogue flipped from speech patterning its historic timeframe and 21st century, "hey, guys," the film is well worth watching, especially if you are a martial arts practitioner and movie fan.

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