The Mighty Four (1977)

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Casanova Wong seeks revenge for the death of his parents in this pretty standard Korean action film that makes for some interesting action pieces.

As a child, Yin Chun-Yang watched his father killed and mother committing suicide at the hands of Chinese warlord Ma, who was in love with Yin’s mother. Yin would be raised by Uncle Yi, a kung fu expert and flute player. Many years later, a grown up Yin is determined to seek revenge. However, Yi knows that his nephew is far from ready to take on the now Commander Ma and his three lackeys.

Meanwhile, a mysterious woman has been making her way to find Yin and for some reason offers to help him as she is confronted by Ma’s men as well. Unbeknownst to Yin, the woman is the daughter of Master Wong, the best friend of Yin’s father, who had promise to marry Yin. When Yin’s attempt at revenge results in him being kidnapped, tortured, and crippled, Yi convinces Yin to hide in the mountains so he can heal before training his body to be able to finally set revenge, especially when the mystery woman is kidnapped by Ma and his men after an attempt to pose as an elderly woman fails.

The team of Tomas Tang and Joseph Lai took a 1977 Korean martial arts film and dubbed the film in English. The film, known as Four Brave Dragons, or The Lone Shaolin Avenger, or Big Boss II; stars Casanova Wong as the hero, a young man seeking revenge for the death of his parents. Wong does a decent job in the lead as always. When he is warned that he is not ready to take on the commander who is responsible for his parents’ deaths, he finds himself forced to take on a band of thugs. The first fight scene involves Wong doing something that is borderline ridiculous. He grabs one thug by his crotch and lifts him in the air while kicking away at some thugs then throwing the first in theair This will may one cringe and laugh at the same time.

Carrie Lee plays a mysterious woman who definitely has ties to Wong’s character but is unbeknownst to both Wong and Lee. Hong Kong star Yeung Wai plays the interesting role of Wong’s uncle and martial arts teacher, who is known by the bad guy as “the flute player”. Chang Il-Shik is ruthless as the villainous Ma with Kwak Mu-Seong, Nam Chung-Il, and future Korean cult film lead Elton Chong as the trio of Ma’s warriors who serve as his number one men. Chong and Kwak truly showcase their kicking skills when they go up against Wong in a series of battles.

Yeung Wai choreographed the film’s martial arts action scenes and they range from pretty good to flat out insanity. Being the superb kicker that he is with some amazing hang time, it really is nerve-racking when Casanova Wong does some insane tricks on wires. However, the non-wire fights are decently done especially the climactic showdown between Wong and Cheung. Cheung is quite a nice kicker himself and gets to show that nice bootwork in the finale.

The Mighty Four is definitely a mixed bag. Some of the action is quite nice but some of the action is also a bit cringe-worthy, and that one particular move in a cringe-and-laugh fest. If you are a hardcore fan of Casanova Wong, you will most likely see this.


An IFD Films and Arts Co. Ltd. Presentation. Director: Kim Jung-Yong. Producers: Hwang Yeong-Sil & Tomas Tang (Hong Kong version). Writer: Kang Dae-Ha. Cinematography: An Chang-Bok, Yu Chun, and Yang Yeong-Gil. Editing: Hyeon Dong-Chun.

Cast: Casanova Wong, Chang Il-Shik, Yeung Wai, Carrie Lee, Kwak Mu-Seong, Nam Chung-Il, Elton Chong, Jeon Shook, Hung Sing-Chung, Baek Song, Pearl Lin, Kim Ki-Joo, Baek Hwang-Ki.


Korean Zombie Hit “Train to Busan” Comes to the U.S. This Friday!


Well Go USA will be unleashing the Korean hit zombie film Train to Busan this Friday in theaters.

Train to Busan is a harrowing zombie horror-thriller that follows a group of terrified passengers fighting their way through a countrywide viral outbreak while trapped on a suspicion-filled, blood-drenched bullet train ride to Busan, a southern resort city that has managed to hold off the zombie hordes… or so everyone hopes.

The film stars Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-Mi, Ma Dong-Seok, and Kim Eui-Sung. The film was directed by Yeon Sang-Ho.

For more information, check out Well Go USA’s Train to Busan official homepage.

Five CJ Entertainment Titles at Asian World Film Fest


If you want a major Korean film kick and you are in Culver City, check out the Asian World Film Festival from October 24 to November 1.

CJ Entertainment will be highlighting five of their titles as part of a special screening track entitled Korean Film Days. The titles that will be highlighted include:

  • The Age of Shadows
  • Operation Chromite
  • The World of Us
  • Asura: The City of Madness
  • The Map Against the World

Twenty of the thirty-four films screening at the film festival are actually Oscar contenders for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Asian World Film Festival will be held at the Historic Downtown Theater in Culver City, located on 9500 Culver Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232. To purchase your tickets, go to the Asian World Film Festival official website.


By a Man’s Face Shall You Know Him (1966)

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Real-life former Yakuza head Noboru Ando stars in this very interesting film which depicts the effects of World War II in Japan and one man who just wants to do the right thing.

Dr. Amamiya is a kind-hearted man who is contemplating a transfer when all of a sudden, a patient comes in. Amamiya thinks about having the patient transferred to another hospital but learning the victim will not survive the transport, he looks and recognizes him. Suddenly, Amimaya begins to reminisce about his one-time friend Choi, who is the man who he must attempt to save.

In 1948, three years after the end of World War II, the Nine Heavens League, a Korean gangster unit, is moving in on a local town in Japan. Led by Yoo Seung-Won, the intend to take over the land run by Amimaya. When Yoo and the gang begin to harass local store owners and townsfolk, one man suggests that they go to Amimaya. However, at first, Amimaya refuses to help. Things soon go too far and with the police scared into doing anything, the usually pacifist Amimaya soon must make a choice that could change his fate forever when his younger brother gets involved.

This film, from writer-director Tai Kato, is quite interesting in its disclaimer that the film is an attempt to bring a sense of peace during post-World War II. The film melds the present day with the past all in part to the central character of Dr. Amimaya learning that the man he must now take care of is a face from the past. This leads to a series of flashbacks where the two know each other as far back as the war itself, which is the only scene in the film shown in black and white rather than the vibrant colors the rest of the film conveys. The film also goes by the title A Man’s Face Shows His Personal History.

In what is only his second film, former Yakuza gang boss Noboru Ando brings his former tough guy image to a pacifist character in Dr. Amamiya. Amamiya is the type of guy who can be tough only when he needs to be, not because he wants to. He tends to mind his own business even when he wants to be forced to selling his land to the gangsters. And yes folks, the scar on his face is actually a real scar he sustained during his days as a high ranking gangster and mob boss, which would ultimately lead to his imprisonment and dissolution of his gang before he began his film career.

The film has an on-off relationship between Koreans and Japanese. The off-part comes in the form of the film’s villains, who are a Korean gangster unit who because of the fact they know Japan lost the war, have the notion they can wreak all sorts of havoc on the Japanese village where Amimaya lives. Even though the villains are Korean, they speak only Japanese in the film, which at the time can be said to be acceptable. The leader of the gangsters is played by future film director Juzo Itami while a future action star in his own right, Bunta Sugawara, plays a very high strung member of the gang who thrives on getting drunk and living on violence.

The on-part of the Korean-Japanese relations comes in the form of Korean gangster Choi Mun-Gye, who is actually a Korean-born Japanese who is our catalyst for Amimaya reminiscing his past. When the duo were on the battlefields, Choi was known at the time as Shibata. However, when the war ended, Shibata accepted his Korean heritage and found himself a part of the gang. Yet, he still has some respect for Amimaya and helps him in his greatest time of need, which leads to one of the most dangerous choices the pacifist must make. Another factor comes in the form of Amimaya’s brother Shunji, who despite making efforts to get rid of the gang, finds himself smitten with another Japanese-born Korean, Gye Hye-Chun. It is their relationship that may not play a major factor in the film, but proves to be pivotal.

By a Man’s Face Shall You Know Him is a pretty good film that showcases the acting talent of Noboru Ando, who was once a tough guy and plays more of a pacifist who only goes the tough guy route when needed. A really good film on post-War relations from director Tai Kato.


A Shochiku Eiga production. Director: Tai Kato. Producer: Yoshitoshi Masumoto. Writers: Seiji Hoshikawa and Tai Kato. Cinematography: Tetsuo Takaha. Editing: Iwao Ishii.

Cast: Noboru Ando, Kanjuro Arashi, Torahiko Hamada, Yoshiko Kayama, Akemi Mari, Juzo Itami, Bunta Sugiwara.