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"During the opening scene, it appears to be a very action packed movie, but the action is hard to follow sometimes because of the close ups on the fighters. I could not get a good feel for the movie because of this. I thought Donnie Yen could have done a much better job with his skills, but I was not impressed. If your looking for a good Donnie Yen movie don't look here. Try Iron Monkey or Sword and Butterfly, the latter may not show a lot of Yen, but what it does show is damn good."
Medicinal use still angers the Fox God
Mantis Lake | Detroit, MI USA | 03/28/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Donnie Yen ("Iron Monkey", "Shanghai Knights") directs and stars as a doctor who opens a clinic in a village ruled under the iron fist of the Axe Gang. The gang's leader, played by Yu Rongguang ("Iron Monkey", "Shanghai Noon"), has given the town an ultimatum: Leave or die. A big fight breaks out but the cops eventually stop it. Donnie goes to talk with an old colleague who turns out to be financing the Axe Gang and a truce is called. Meanwhile, Donnie meets the gang leader's mute sister (Athena Chu Yun) and knows of a procedure that can cure her. The Fox God is already scheduled to fix the problem and her brother wants nothing to do with contemporary methods. Well, she is in love with Donnie and wants him to do the surgery anyway. Then to add to all the drama, someone starts killing children in the village and harvesting their organs!! Thankfully, nothing gruesome is shown.
This is not a bad movie, it's just not a good martial arts movie. There are plenty of fights, but nothing particularly interesting about any of them. Stylish slo-mo with some undercranking, and they're shot in a way that makes it really hard to tell what's going on. The story is well-told and the actors are good, especially Yu Rongguang. This seems to be an exercise for Donnie's directing ability but not for his fight choreography.
This disc was distributed by Universal Laser & Video Company Ltd., and is becoming increasingly hard to find. After viewing it, I understand the film's lack of demand. It is partially widescreen and the picture quality is good, but nothing spectacular. Languages are limited to Cantonese or Mandarin with English subtitles. No real special features either. As punishment for this film, the two leads were eventually forced to share screen-time with the always-annoying Owen Wilson. Donnie learned his lesson and made "S.P.L." shortly thereafter. 2.5/5
I enjoyed the movie, it's just a bad dvd...
Dragon Man X | Sunnyvale, CA USA | 01/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I'm a huge donnie yen fan and own just about everything he has, and I'm glad to own this movie. I agree that he has defintely done better, but this is an all round decent movie. The story sort of keeps your attention: Donnie is a doctor who opens a clinic in a very poor village with his assistant Bond. A gang led by the very underated Yu Rong Guang (the Iron Monkey in Iron Monkey) wants to clear out this village to open a casino. Of course, Donnie and his partner, who happens to be a pretty decent fighter, are protectant of the village people. Soon after, children from the village get kidnapped, and the reason for it is kind of silly in my opinion. Mainly though, it's the love story element involving Donnie that keeps you interested. Just watch it and find out. The fighting is for the most part pretty good. I mean I've seen much worse like Donnie's Legend of The Wolf (or New Big Boss), now that was bad. There are a only a few fights in the film due to more focus on story, but most of the fights are pretty damn good. Yu shows some of the best fighting skills I've seen from him, and this really surprised me...at the time of this film, he is not a very young man at all, but he gave Donnie a run for his money. These 2 went at it very aggressively, and all their fights looked painful. They seemed equal in speed and strength, and knowing how fast Donnie can get...whew. I must say that the camera work is different, but far from bad...Legend of The Wolf was pathetic camera work cuz I couldn't see a thing...at least in Shanghai Affairs I could see the fighters' moves when I wanted and needed to. When Yu and Donnie go at it, it's pretty crazy and if you keep an eye on the background elements such as the leaves moving around, it's pretty surreal. The last fight is obviously the highlight with Yu pulling out an axe on a chain and using it with apparent skill. A complaint I have is there is one pathetic fight scene where Donnie, with a TREE BRANCH, takes out like 30 guys armed with axes....boooooo...very reminiscent of Legend of the Wolf. With the exception of this fight, the other scenes are very good. Another complaint are the horrible sound effects on the dvd, off point sometimes and just wrong sounds for certain blocks and attacks. But overall, this is a decent film as long as you're patient to wait for the fights, and the fights are something to watch. Great choreography and no doubles. It is defintely worth checking out folks if you're etchy about buying it, but it is pretty cheap. Seek out the Universe Laser version though, this above version I've never seen before and it doesn't look very impressive. The Universe is unfortunately the best version so far with mono sound and slightly blurry, but watchable video. The Chinese language is kept intact with english subs. Obviously this is nowhere near Donnie's best work, but Yu Rong Guang shines here. For better Donnie flicks, check out Iron Monkey, In the Line of Duty 4, Wing Chun w/ Michelle Yeoh, OUATIC 2 w/ Jet Li, & Tiger Cage 2 (awesome). Check out my other MA reviews too, thanks for reading."
Donnie Yen's best work as a director
morgoth | omaha, NE | 05/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Donnie Yen decided to start directing his own movies in 1997. He started off with Legend of the Wolf, which was as creative and awesome as can be (the fighting was at least). But then comes Shanghai Affairs, which is somehow even more awesome! Donnie Yen stars as a doctor who moves into town, and finds that the town is being controlled by a really tough gangster played by Rongguang Yu. The fight scenes are very good, but the story and acting are also good. It's a darker movie than I was expecting. I didn't know that Donnie had it in him to direct a good dark movie. And the fights, wow. Rongguang Yu fights Donnie Yen 3 times, and there are a lot of other fights, all very good.
I can't recommend this highly enough. If you are a Donnie Yen fan and haven't seen it, you are really missing out on something special.
The picture quality on the Universe DVD is good, and the burnt in subtitles are pretty easy to read."
Fighting in shanghai!(but hey what would you expect)
"another one of Donnie's movies, where he stars, choreographs and directs......he has given the movie a very fluent feeling...the fight scenes are very good and edited very well.......Donnie really knows how to amaze people with his new way of film making...I'd recommend this movie to anyone!"