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New Escapist Video! On “Shang-Chi” and “Blade” as Homages to Hong Kong Action Cinema…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday’s article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the latest Marvel Studios film. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is loosely adapted from the seventies title Master of Kung Fu, and so it seems interesting to discuss the film in the context of another adaptation of a cult non-superhero seventies comic book: Blade.

New Escapist Column! On how “Blade” is a More Loving Tribute to Hong Kong Action Cinema Than “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it seemed like a good opportunity to discuss the film.

In particular, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been packaged and sold as a love letter and tribute to classic Hong Kong action cinema. However, that seems somewhat unconvincing. As with virtually every film the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the house style exerts an inescapable gravity that warps the movie back around it and forces it to adhere to a familiar template. There’s a sad but revealing irony in the fact that Blade, the movie that quietly launched the modern superhero movie boom, feels like a more sincere and loving tribute to Hong Kong cinema than Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: The Expendables 3

There is something almost laudable about The Expendables as a movie franchise. Like science-fiction conventions do for other genre performers, The Expendables provides retirement planning and income for a bunch of performers who might otherwise have passed their sell-by date. It’s vaguely reassuring to know that sometimes life (and ass-kicking) begins at fifty, and The Expendables is endearingly sincere and upfront about this function – giving action stars who might seem over the hill one last go around.

That goodwill is stretched to breaking point with The Expendables 3. Nobody expects a particularly insightful or well-constructed script for a film like this, but the screenplay is a mess. Structurally speaking, The Expendables 3 feels like it is being held together by rubber bands – rubber bands that are being stretched to breaking point with the film’s two-hour runtime. There is a tighter and exciting movie to be found in The Expendables 3, but the movie awkwardly lumbers past earnest and into indulgent.

Going to town on this one..

Going to town on this one..

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Non-Review Review: Drop Zone

I’m going to level with you up front. I was born in the late eighties, so – in ways – I’m a child of the nineties. I grew up with cheesy action movies, and I have a certain fondness for that sort of outrageously cheesy nineties action thrillers. Hell, I’ll confess to being a huge fan of Demolition Man, for cryin’ out loud. So, in the interest of full and frank disclosure, you should know that I probably have some form of bias in favour of Drop Zone before you read this review. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a great film – I’d struggle to even describe it as “good”– but, if you know what you’re going in for, it can at least be entertaining.

Oh, chute!

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Non-Review Review: US Marshals

Robert Downey Jr. apparently once described the film as “possibly the worst action movie of all time.” That’s quite a statement. Too be honest, it’s just a little bit sensationalist from the actor, but it still doesn’t mean that U.S. Marshals is a good film, even on its own merits. When it stands in the shadow of the movie it was intended to follow, the superb Harrison Ford adaptation of The Fugitive, it seems even weaker.

They had some neck making this film...

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