Blu-ray Review: Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013)

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Ninja: Shadow of a Tear BR CoverDistributor: Lionsgate

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Isaac Florentine

Starring: Scott Adkins, Kane Kosugi, Mika Hijii, Tim Man, Markus Waldow

Of course, back in the golden years of the 1980s you couldn’t move for a tidal wave of ninja films that seemed to fill up the shelves of VHS rental shops across the whole of the country. They were usually made by production companies like Cannon, starred Michael Dudikoff, Shô Kosugi or Cynthia Rothrock (if you fancied a female spin on the genre) and had titles like American Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, Pray For Death and Ninja III: The Domination. Apart from Shô Kosugi’s Ninja Assassin in 2010, the ninja film hasn’t really been well served since those halcyon days but maybe that will change now that Ninja: Shadow of a Tear is here to dazzle us with displays of brilliantly choreographed violence and a lead actor with Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review: The Raid (2011)

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The Raid BR CoverDistributor: Momentum Pictures

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Gareth Evans

Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno

Apart from the old-school rumblings of The Expendables films and the grindhouse tribute that was Robert Rodriguez’s Machete series, there haven’t been many major balls-to-the-wall action flicks in recent times that deliver thrills like the classics. Yeah, you can have your Bourne or Bond films but those are far too polished and – by comparison – quite tame when put next to The Raid, an Indonesian film directed by Welshman Gareth Evans.

A run-down apartment block is about to get purged of its more corrupt inhabitants as an elite team of SWAT soldiers take advantage of the early morning darkness and Continue reading

DVD Review: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)

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Universal Soldier:  Day of Reckoning DVD CoverDistributor: StudioCanal

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: John Hyams

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Andrei Arlovski, Mariah Bonner

After his wife and young daughter are brutally murdered by Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme – Death Warrant/A.W.O.L.) during a home invasion, John (Scott Adkins – The Expendables 2) awakens from a coma suffering from amnesia and struggling to remember what exactly happened. But as he begins to piece together the events that destroyed his family he vows to avenge their deaths and hunt down the man responsible.

At the same time, Deveraux and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren – Rocky IV/Battle of the Damned) are attempting to build an army consisting Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

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Big Trouble in Little China BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: John Carpenter

Starring: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, Kate Burton, Donald Li, Suzee Pai

Despite being a commercial failure at the time, John Carpenter’s 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China endured and became something of a cult hit on the home video market. Twentieth Century Fox wanted Carpenter to deliver them an action adventure film in the style of the Indiana Jones movies and instead he delivered a genre-mashing comedy that was way ahead of its time by, ironically, harking back to the martial arts films of the 1970s.

Jack Burton (Kurt Russell – The Thing/Tango & Cash) is an all-American truck driver who accidentally becomes embroiled in a war between ancient Chinese Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Blind Woman’s Curse (1970)

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Blind Woman's Curse BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Teruo Ishii

Starring: Meiko Kaji, Hoki Tokuda, Makoto Satô, Hideo Sunazuka

Starring Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood) in her first major role, Blind Woman’s Curse (a.k.a. Black Cat’s Revenge or The Tattooed Swordswoman) is a bizarre mixture of Yakuza gangster, comedy, erotica, horror and Samurai revenge that never really fully embraces any of those styles. The plot initially focuses on a story of revenge when Yakuza gang leader Akemi (Kaji) slashes the eyes of her opponent during a fight. The blood from the wound is lapped up by a black cat and Akemi believes she is cursed by the cat. Five years later the members of Akemi’s gang are Continue reading