3.5 stars actually - worth watching!
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A very interesting film (1982). I admit, it was odd to think of Beardy (Leung Kar-Yan) and
Chow Yun Fat working on screen together in co-starring roles, yet its an enticing
proposition nonetheless. I'm hardly a CYF completist, but I always enjoy a flick
with him up front and center. PSB is really Beardy's flick, but Chow's easy
charisma is never overshadowed - if anything, that `grin and a toothpick' charmer is well forshadowed
here - and as we see him do a few martial moves, even an early Mu Bai of sorts is glimpsed (he not only fights but uses darts that shoot from his wrist!!!).Yuen Woo Ping's touch is also evident here and so the choreography is decent and fairly
fast, though the movie is more on 'conspiracy' and 'plot' than 'action' per se. The characters are low-key
and a bit somber, but this, I feel, is a reflection of the movie's intended mood. Having said that,
Beardy et al deliever some tight moves, when we get them. I noted while watching this, that many of the characters smoke: Chow is constantly smoking and Beardy smokes a lot. The
excellent outdoor scerey further removes this from anything resembling a standard chop-socky flick, and yet, its
not yet hong kong's `modern era' - this movie seems to exist in its own somber (not depressing!) place and time. I can't say it feels "original," yet it wasn't ever boring, imo."During the Republican era, an evil warlord instructs his right hand man to find four suitable
candidates to transport his valuable gifts across dangerous grounds. He recruits four men; a
postman (Leung Kar Yan), a thief (Yuen Yat Chor), a dynamiter and a conman (Chow Yun
Fat). The only instructions they are given are to never open the cargo and to deliver it within
seven days. After numerous ambush attempts the group begin to become suspicious but they
have no idea of the horror that awaits them and the consequences of completing the mission
successfully." (Dragon'sDenUk)I'm not sure who the villain is (an arms-selling ninja believe it or not - it works), but
I've seen him in several films. This movie sets a tone of uncertainty and the lead playersfeel as cold and distant as the beautiful and still snow-covered lands that often serve as a
backdrop. Theres a little love, a little betrayal a little rvenge and some bitter-sweet, like
most hong-kong dishes and that will leave you satisfied if you love the genre. The film is
at least a three star, but wants that extra half star too, so at 3.5 stars you should check it out."
Chow Yun Fat in a kung fu movie!
morgoth | omaha, NE | 02/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"During a time when Ronny Yu was just starting out, he made not just a kung fu movie, but a real movie that involves kung fu. Set in China during the time when soon to become Emperor Yuan Shikai was trying to gain that royal spot, Chow Yun Fat, Leung Kar Yan, Fan Mei Sheng, and Yuen Chat-Yor(one of Woo Ping's many brothers)are hired to make a delivery to one of Yuan's Generals. They find out why they were meant to deliver this and it is not for a good reason. Constantly being atacked on the road leads to lots of bloodshed. While it is an exciting movie, it is still a kung fu drama. It gets pretty dark but don't worry, this turns into a pure revenge flick.
The story is well done, but there are some things involved that are just pure nonsense. Don't expect Sho Kosugi type of action but I wasn't really expecting this to be a ninja flick. Eddy Ko was great in 'Duel to the Death', but that was meant to be cheesy. This is a serious movie and the gimmicks just didn't fit in even though they were well done. Eddy Ko is great as always as the villian though. Also on the positive side, Ronny Yu does show some great cinematography with beautiful locations and it is directed well enough.
There are no long extended action sequences but Leung Kar Yan gets to show off quite a bit. An unusally high amount of kicks from him. Chow Yun Fat also looks great even though he can only do a limited number of moves in each take. He still holds his own and looks outstanding. Fan Mei was awesome too. It seems like the fighting is meant to be more realistic but I could have used at least 1 good 1-on-1 extended fight sequence. There is 1 fight with Chow that is about 2 minutes long but that is not really what I was looking for. Still, good action. The choreography is done by the Yuen Clan with Yuen Shun Yi and Yuen Chung Yeung doing most of the work. 3.5/5
The DVD from Fox/Fortune Star is very good. It is presented in a letterboxed widescreen format. Picture quality is acceptable and it has the original Cantonese language track! It also has a bad mix job on both the English and Cantoneses 5.1 tracks but it is always nice to have an English dub. No special features but I consider the original language track to be a big bonus. The way it was meant to be heard is what I always prefer."
"One must have skills to travel the world" -- Fu Jun
Shawn McKenna | Modesto, CA USA | 05/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many of Hong Kong films have a backdrop of historical intrigue in the Qing Dynasty (circa 1644 to 1911). Golden Harvest's The Postman Fights Back takes place a few years after this period in 1913 just after the establishment of the Republic of China with Yuan Shikai and the Northern Warlords fighting Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. The historical aspects behind this is quite fascinating (though only mentioned a little in this film) because Sun was originally elected the first Provincial president after the Qing Dynasty and then helped get Yuan elected as First President of the China Republic, was most likely coerced into doing this and later would rebel against this (Sun would go to Japan shortly after the failed coup and Yuan would die a few years later in 1916.) Back to the story: bandit Zhao Long holds the northern mountain pass named Laoma that is of great use to Yuan militarily and sends envoy Hu (Eddy Ko Hung) to persuade Zhao to side with Yuan.
Hu enlists the help of a courier named Ma (Leung Kar-Yan from Drunken Dragon) a stoic no-nonsense man whose own job is fraught with little money, unappreciative little sods who do not appreciate the melted chocolate he has brought them and the fact that he knows his living is in jeopardy as transportation like the railroads become more commonplace. Even then he was reluctant to help Hu until his troublemaker friend Yao Jie (Yuen Yat-Choh) decided (or was it another reason ...) to employee himself under Hu. Now there is a little confusion on why he eventually took this job. Ma was confronted earlier by his sister Guihwa (Cherie Chung Cho-Hung) who had told him that father sold her 15-year old sister to Shanghai and needed money to get her back. Unfortunately this plot angle did not go anywhere (several story lines are mentioned in the film without resolution or sometimes without even being alluded to again like this one and Ma's career demise).
For 300 taels of gold per person, four cases of an unknown matter need to be delivered to Zhao Long before his birthday of December 20th. If anything gets compromised they are ordered to blow up the contents and to not look at them. Hu hired Fu Jun to join the group -- a cigarette smoking, scarf wearing gambler (reminds me a little of Tatsuya Nakadai in Yojimbo) who has baggage of his own -- played by a skinny Chow Yun-Fat in an early movie role. Joining Ma are friend Bu (played by great character actor Fan Mei-Sheng) a man who is an expert with explosives, Ma's sister Guihwa, and Southern rebel Li Fu whom they save later in the trip and possibly has eyes for Fu Jun (another dissipated angle). They all band together to deliver the goods or perish trying. Several of them would choose the latter.
Several negative aspects hurt an otherwise interesting film. There are too many loose ends, disappearing characters and conflicting storylines with the narrative. This could have been because of the use of four writers including the director Ronny Yu for the script. There is also too much exposition that slows the middle of the story without any progressing of the story. Sometimes Leung Kar-Yan would be too wooden in his acting approach though sometimes his austere nature was appropriate. The only problem I had with the filming was with the night scenes because they are appear murky probably because they are filmed on location and at night.
However, I think there are enough positives to make this an enjoyable movie. The cinematography is excellent and the use of the camera was ingenious in many scenes of a very cold Korean landscape (of course if you notice this then maybe the adventure was stagnant). Ronny Yu's (Fearless, The Bride With White Hair, Freddy vs. Jason) direction is quite good and consistently chooses interesting shooting techniques with hand-held cameras in many exterior shots. Eddy Ko Hung's is excellent as the villain. Ideas were impressive from the ice-skating bandits to Fu Jun's wrist bow to exploding rats. The fight scenes are interesting if a bit short with Chow fighting two bandits at once with one standing on a platform attached to the back of his partner and an excellent finale with the unmasked ninja fighting the protagonist Ma. The penultimate action sequence with Fan Mei-Sheng is probably the best scene in the film with a Ramboesque and Wild Bunch feeling to it. Ultimately though, the cohesion of all the elements is lacking and a tighter script and faster pacing could have made this a splendorous film. Though the movie may not be sublime at least you get to see an exploding ninja and Chow Yun Fat in a non-starring role attempt Kung Fu with his aggressive scarf-style. You may also learn that a compass can save your life against underground enemies.
The DVD copy I have is the Fortune Star/Fox release. It has a good transfer and unlike the earlier releases from this label it does not have dubtitles. There are really no extras except trailers which is normal for the bare-bone releases of Fortune Star/Fox. Of an interesting note here is what Bey Logan of Dragon Dynasty has to say about this film and its Fox release: "I hope one day we can do Postman Strikes Back justice on a future DVD re-issue. ... The Fox US edition, though technically decent, didn't have much in the way of extras." Of course, extras would be nice though I do not see Dragon Dynasty doing a better job of a transfer.
TheHighlander | Richfield, PA United States | 11/28/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie left quite a bit to be desired. The plot had potential, however, for me, it never seemed to get off the ground and get moving. The fight scenes were well done and fast, moving along very well. I enjoyed the fight scenes much more than the rest of the movies, these scenes stood out as well done. Chow Yun Fat stole the show with his easy going mood and quick reactions when attacked. I glimpse of what was to come in his future movie making.
Overall, I was disappointed with the movie and feel I must rank it below average."