Pirates, bandits, whatever.
In Project A, Jackie Chan and friends battle bandits and pirates in turn of the century Hong Kong. This movie was one of the first (Winners and Sinners was the first Lucky Stars Movie, but this is a Jackie production and only has the three brothers.) movie where Jackie, Samo Hung and Yuen Biao all played together. Yuen and Jackie have a rivalry at the beginning, but it sorts itself out by the end. While this isn’t the first of Jackie’s big movies, this is really the beginning of his superstar period where he did almost no wrong for better than ten years. There was a sequel a few years later, but it’s a Jackie only production. This was One of the best moments from this movie is a scene in which Jackie’s Character, Dragon, fights the bad guys down narrow alleys on a bike before making his escape on said bicycle.
This is not proper use of equipment.
Our first connective theme is “Bikes”
Still sort of improper use of equipment.
In Downfall, Traudl Junge and the kid (I forget his name) escape the madness of Nazi Germany, riding a bike before the movie fades to black. I remember there being some controversy when this movie came out, because some people claimed it made Hitler too human or something. I will agree, it made him human, but if the idea that he was a human being and not a monster from the planet Zargo is too much for you, then grow up! Yeah, the movie made him look like a human, but it made him look like a human douche. He’s such a cockbite I can’t imagine anyone actually following him. It’s like watching your best friend date a psycho and as the relationship is drawing to a close, and he really wants to leave her, he still won’t because he’s sucked into her web. You know it’s going to end with her killing him one day and then killing herself. The murder suicide of this movie isn’t Adolph and Eva, it’s the Nazi Party and Germany. Seriously Europe, you’ve gotta stop dating psychos. Another point about this movie is how no one can smoke in the bunker while Hitler is alive. As a result, people have to smoke outside the bunker and light up inside only after he’s killed himself.
You know they're evil because they smoke!
Anyway, the smoking ban leads us to the next entry.
What? I'm just trying to have a ciggie!
Another movie with a guy who has problems with smokers would be Ronin. Sam, played by Robert DeNiro, always stops people from smoking. This movie is one of the last great old school action movies. Its main plot point is just a big old metal case full of McGuffin, and our heroes need to steal it. Then, having it stolen from them, they need to steal it back again. There are a few good action sequences, but the main reason you’d be here is the car chases, which really are something. I don’t think you’ll get a car chase as good as that in the middle of Paris again. They really use the landscape in a way few chases do.
Fast car goes fast.
Car chases factor into our next movie as well.
Rocking it in a taxi!
The Bourne Supremacy
Did I say you’d never get a car chase as good as that again? Something that comes close is the final chase scene in the Bourne Supremacy. The Moscow Chase is probably one of my all time favorite car chases. It works differently than the chases in Ronin do, being more visceral and quick moving. At the end of course, we learn that the reason he went to Russia was to apologize to the daughter of a man and woman he killed years ago. The movie goes from an action piece to an emotional portrayal of a hitman trying to make things right.
There has to be a joke here. Think damnit THINK!
Much like our next film…
Dry, flaky skin?
Chow Yun Fat’s character fires a gun near her eyes and that strikes Sally Yeh’s character blind and does his best to make up for the fact in the rest of the movie. I know, I know, guns and action and stuff like that is a big part of the movie, but can’t we concentrate on something else for a change? I mean the whole guns and brotherhood thing has been examined I think. Can’t I talk about something not homoerotic? Just once, just so I can get through this list a little more easily? I don’t want to have to write reviews or anything, just to justify how things are connected. Okay? SO! Sally Yeh’s character coincidently is a singer. John Woo wanted a jazz singer, but the studio demanded a more traditional song instead.
I'm not really singing this song, they're just piping in the music.
Music and singers puts us into the next movie…
He's not really singing either.
Night at the Opera
There are lots of singers at an opera. See? Connected! WOOO! Of course our heroes try to help a female singer and a male singer as well. Now, because it’s a Marx Bros. movie, our heroes aren’t the established type, they’re your typical outsiders, which is what you need in a story like this. In fact, most of the movie is dependant on them being outsiders, and building sympathy from the audience because of their status. They rely on madcap adventure to win the day here instead of machine guns or laser beams.
If only I'd come up with a perfect scheme instead of playing Monkey Island all day.
Outsiders are a common theme in many movies, such as…
I can see the music!
Another example of outside help is the deformed mutants in Gandahar, who in the end are the only ones who can help. There is a lot here about governments casting off and hiding their mistakes, trying to pretend they didn’t happen. That behavior tends to bite you in the butt, and I’ve read that there was more than a little bit about how the French government treated some things and how it bit them in the butt. Yeah, the movie is French. You can watch the American English version if you want, but the proper version is in French.
Sometimes, you don't need a caption for it to be funny.
It’s very, totally French.
The French Connection
HEY! There’s French people in this movie! WHAT? I said these connections might be vague and tenuous. The movie is about French people, being all French and stuff. Some of the movie even takes place in France, how much more French can you get? Around all the Frenchness there is also a subplot about drugs.
The good old days, when drug dealers enjoyed brandy over business.
Drugs! Yeah! Connections!
Uh huh, yeah, okay, gimme the drug, yep, uh-huh, I'm listening to every word you say.
Of course dugs play a large part in our next film, Goodfellas. The end of Goodfellas is one long stream, very much like the sort of feelings one has while perpetually stoned. Can you tell I’m trying really hard to talk about these movies? Not feeling very creative really, most my energy was taken up by forming the list. What’s not quite so well remembered is a little scene where they all got to Tommy’s mother’s house and have a meal with her.
Such a nice home cooked meal.
The sort of ancient person giving young folk a home cooked meal comes in at our next movie…
Not such a nice home cooked meal.
The Empire Strikes Back
Where an impatient Luke and an old Yoda share a meal before the training begins. Remember? In his hut thing? Yeah. I knew you’d remember. Of course we can hardly mention Empire without mentioning the hacked off hand. Oh yeah, spoiler, Luke looses his hand just before Vader give him the big “Whose your daddy?” speech. Did I spoil the movie? If I did, go punch yourself in the crotch. Seriously, what planet are you from? How did you even get on the internet?
A break away hand. CLEVER!
More about hands being removed next week…
Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!