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Asian Cult Cinema Paperback – April 1, 1997
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
In this volume, Thomas Weisser reviews hundreds of Asian cult films, rating them with one to four stars. The book is packed with intriguing data and brimming with its author's knowledge, enthusiasm, and humor. Although Weisser concentrates mainly on movies from the genre's most fruitful period, the 1980s and 1990s, he also provides a supplementary guide to the martial arts films of the 1970s. Also included is an index to the films of kung fu fighters who tried to take Bruce Lee's place after the master's untimely death in 1973. As Max Allan Collins writes in the book's introduction, this is "a travel guide to an exotic but surprisingly accessible foreign land, an alternate universe of filmmaking that has the energy, talent, and enthusiasm that Hollywood long ago squandered."
About the Author
Thomas Weisser has been hooked on Asian cult cinema since 1985, when he happened to see Wolf Devil Woman. Since then, he has viewed countless films in the genre. He is also the author of Spaghetti Westerns: The Good, the Bad, and the Violent.
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For those requiring further documentation, here's just a few examples of the sloppiness from the first few pages of Weisser's door-stopper (please click "Read More" to see the full list):
Page 11 - ALL ABOUT AH LONG - ending revealed
Page 16 - ARMOUR OF GOD 2 - Eva Cob De Gracia spelled as Eva Cobode Gracia
Page 17 - ASHES OF TIME - cinematographer Christopher Doyle called Christopher Boyle
Page 20 - BAMBOO HOUSE OF DOLLS - credits year of release as 1977. Film released in 1973.
PAGE 23 - THE BIG HEAT - "Detective Wong tries desperately to find witnesses who will testify against the big boss, but they are eliminated as quickly as they are discovered." Only the blackmail victim is killed. There were no other witnesses.
Page 24 - THE BIG SCORE - No plot outline given (tonnes of entries are like this)
Page 26 - BLADE OF FURY - claims Samo Hung plays the "maniacal villain." He actually has a small cameo role
Page 26 - BLONDE FURY - claims Cynthia Rothrock is "a newspaper reporter who decides to investigate charges againsst a top banker (Chin Siu-ho) when she sees his conviction was trumped up." WHAAA? Actually, Chin Siu Ho plays an undercover cop posing as an insurance investigator, There is NO BANKER character, and therefore Elizabeth Lee does not play his daughter (as the review claims). She's actually the daughter of a prosecutor who is brainwashed by the villain.
Page 28 - BLOODSTAINED TRADEWINDS - director Chor Yuen listed as Chu Yuan. This would be forgivable if the man's name was spelled consistently anywhere else in the book. The book claims all the characters wind up dead at the film's conclusion. Actually, only one character dies.
Page 33 - BULLET FOR HIRE - Lists director as John Cheong. Actual director is Yuen Chun-man. Entire plot synopsis is fabricated!!
Page 34 - BURY ME HIGH - Lists director as Tang Chi Li. Actual director is Tsui Siu-ming. Claims Jacky Cheung plays the character of Wisely. Actually, Chin Ka-lok plays this character.
Page 34 - BUTTERFLY & SWORD - claims Tang Chi Li as director. Actual director was Michael Mak (interestingly, packaging for Mei Ah DVD credits Kevin Chu Yen-ping as director, even though he's not). Claims the film is from the same director as LEGEND OF WISELY and BURY ME HIGH. Both of those films have different directors, Teddy Robin Kwan on the former, Tsui Siu-ming on the latter.
Page 43 - CITY WAR - review warns "beware of a sugary-sweet ending." In fact, one main character dies and there is no sugary-sweet ending.
Page 47 - CRYSTAL FORTUNE RUN - admits he give it three stars solely for the presence of Cheung Man, then admits the story and execution "suck."
Page 48. Compares CURRY AND PEPPER to Lethal Weapon. Hardly.
Page 49 - CYPRUS TIGER. Actual title is CYPRUS TIGERS. Plot description is inaccurate.
Page 50 - DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS. Credits director as "Lan Nai Kai (Ivan Lai)." If review of THE CAT is any indication, he clearly thinks Nam Nai-choi and Ivan Lai Gai-ming are the same person.
Page 52 - DEATH TRIANGLE. Cast and synopsis sound staggeringly similar to A SERIOUS SHOCK: YES MADAM `92. At least he gives "both" films a three-star rating, so he's consistent.
Page 58 - DR. WAI IN THE SCRIPTURE WITH NO WORDS. Claims Jet Li, Takeshi Kaneshiro and "Charlie (Yeoh) Young" characters fly to the Chinese wilderness in search of inspiration. They do not do this.
Page 63 - DRUGS AREA - incorrect director credit. Not sure of correct director, but Cheng Siu-keung is not him.
Page 64 - DRUNKEN MASTER 3. In slamming the film's "disregard for historical accuracy," the reviewer claims Wong Fei-hung says to a princess "It's just like seeing a movie.," then the reviewer (Weisser?) boasts that "clearly movie theatres didn't exist circa 1900." Perhaps, perhaps not, but "movies" did exist and people COULD see them (nickel kinescope machines and the like, perhaps even theatres). They may not have been called "movies" yet (I'll leave that to the experts), but the film is probably safe in assuming Wong Fei-hung was aware of their existence. Also claims the movie has "vehicles from the roaring 20's and fashions from the 60's. The only vehicle that comes close on screen is a turn-of-the- century STEAM BUS, and the fashions seem very appropriate for the time.
Chang. Also claims the "Alex" character is played by Bee Lee Tan, when he's actually played by Alex Fong, billed as Fu Lik.
Page 68 - ESPRIT D'AMOUR - ending revealed.
Page 68 - ETERNAL COMBAT - director credited as Cheng Chang Yip. Actual director is Yip Shing-hong. Claims magician is played by Zheng Ying Lin. Actually played by Lam Ching-ying (yes, I know, Mandarin vs. Cantonese, but really, it's a HONG KONG film, so Cantonese should rule, but this is typical of the book's inconsistencies). Spells Yuen Wah's name as "Yuen Wak"
Page 72 - FATAL VACATION - claims "trouble erups when a few mischievous youths wander off and, inadvertently, get caught in the crossfire between Filipino cops and a gang" These characters, however, REJOIN the group, and then EVERYBODY is taken hostage.
Page 73 - FIGHT BACK TO SCHOOL 1-3 - claims the lead actor in the 1987 Hollywood movie HIDING OUT was David Neidorf. Actually, it was Jon Cryer, although this MIGHT have been his character name. I simply haven't seen that show. Also knocks the movie for being about a cop going undercover to find the police commissioner's favourite pistol, completely unaware that this is a comedy setup. Calls director "Wong Ching (Jing)" a "proletarian." Does he mean populist? Popular? Refers to the Hollywood movie BASIC INSTINCT as BASIC INSTINCTS.
Page 76 - FISTS OF FURY 1991 - Claims Ching Siu-tung as director. I believe this is wrong. Synopsis is incorrect.
Page 77 - FLAMING BROTHERS - Claims Lin Ching Hsia is in the film. She isn't. Also claims Chow Yun-fat and Alan Tang play brothers. They're not. They're friends from the orphanage.
page 78 - FLYING DAGGERS - Lists Ching Siu-tung as a cast member. He was action choreographer, I believe.
and headache inducing. I bought a copy of this book back in 1997. After reading it and doing my own research I sent the writer a huge list of corrections. I recieved a postcard with a note of acknowledgement. A few years later it was reprinted with the same errors.
Instead of buying this book go out and get a copy of Hong Kong Babylon. At least the writers went out and did their homework and put some time and effort into it. A.C.C. is flat out aweful. I would avoid it like the plague. Even the pictures are mislabeled. At his website he charges high prices for videos that are availible elsewhere. You even have to be a member just to purchase these videos. For shame.
Don't even think about it!
Talented actresses are insulted, he just describes their decorative value and whether or not he likes them. This is fine on a personal web site but I can't condone it for a supposed reference work. Major players and stars are blown off, like Chow Sing Chi, just because he doesn't like their films... The worst part is that the print reviewers give this junk a glowing review! What's wrong with them??? Just because this! guy claims to know what he's saying doesn't mean he does.
If you can, buy The Essential Guide to Hong Kong Movies by Rick Baker and Toby Russel. These guys get it RIGHT! Other good choices are, Hong Kong Action Cinema by Bey Logan, and Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head by Stefan Hammond & Mike Wilkins. They are well written and have correct information.
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