Tag Archives: Theater

Anime Theater: Heat Guy J

Believe it or not, most of these people are male. And one of them is an android! I know, crazy, right?

We are all familiar with the concept of the “Buddy Cop Show”. Typically, a young buck of a detective, usually with potential yet-unfulfilled is partnered with a gruff veteran whose patience and experience serve to keep the young’n in check, and eventually make him better at his job. Over time, the youngster will come to look up to the veteran as a symbol of what he wants to be, and may even adopt him as a father figure. As for the vet, he’s probably weary from all his years of service, but his time with his partner will re-ignite the spark of passion he once had for his job, and both will eventually part as equals.

The reason I start this review with this description is because Heat Guy J is, essentially, a “B.C.S.”, with alot of the tropes associated with said genre. Oh, except the vet is a tall, trenchcoated android and the whole thing takes place in a futuristic city. Despite the cynicism oozing from the above paragraph, Heat Guy J stands as a sterling example of how a combination of good writing, high production values, and well-developed and likeable characters can make even the most stale premise great.

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Kung Fu Theater: Opium and the Kung Fu Master

Kung Fu will change your life! Side effects may include yelling, punching things, justice, punching things, a tendency towards monologuing, and punching things. Ask your doctor is Kung Fu is right for you.

God, that’s a silly title isn’t it? It sounds like the single greatest buddy cop show ever: “Veteran detective Craig “The Kung Fu Master” Kavorsky teams up with hot young cop Andre “Opium” Andorhal, and together, they solve the cases no one else can” *cue Isaac Hayes-style opening theme* Then again, the title it was known by upon arrival in the U.S. back in the day, “Lightning Fists of Shaolin”, isn’t much more dignified.

Nah, but great title aside, “Opium and the Kung Fu Master” is a shockingly dark, well made film from the twilight years of Shaw Bros. Studios, and shows that, even if it is corny, a Kung Fu film can deliver a good story alongside its kick-ass fights. Starring several all-time greats at the top of their game, including legendary leading man Ti Lung and future Gallants star Chen Kuan-tai (who I wish so hard played a character named “Opium”), and featuring immensely satisfying fight scenes choreographed by six (yes, SIX) fight directors, O.A.T.K.F.M. (I am not typing that whole thing again) is a worthy send off for Shaw and an amazing film in its own right.

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