Day 03: Kung Fu!
The Battle Wizard (1977)
The prompt of ‘Kung Fu!’ is such a great one because there are so many possibilities on what to watch for it, personally going with something from the Shaw Brothers Studio seemed like a logical choice. The Battle Wizard (1977) is the film for Day 3 of Junesploitation, a film based on Louis Cha’s novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, it is a fantastical film with lasers, gorillas, clawed henchmen, fire breathing, and robotic legs just to name a few. It may be some what nonsensical, which certainly adds to the viewing experience, it is also a lot of fun and rarely takes itself too seriously.
The story is based around a young man more concerned with books than he is of learning martial arts, but when a man in a yellow robe starts to cause trouble, the young man must team with a mysterious masked woman to stop him and uncover the secrets of the past. That is a very basic plot description, there is all sorts going on in the film, with colourful characters and some mighty fun fight and action scenes. From the opening scene it is apparent what sort of film this is going to be with lasers coming out from fingers and legs being cut off, it sets the tone for some over the top action and adventure.
There are several things within the plot of the film that are quite similar to parts in Return Of The Jedi (1983), makes one wonder whether this film inspired that at all. The Battle Wizard at its heart is a really fun fantasy/kung fu film, there is rarely a dull moment to be had and every twist and turn is a surprise. Some may call this a film that is ‘so bad it’s good’ and perhaps it does fall into that, calling this film ‘bad’ feels like a disservice as it really is something just purely fun and enjoyable. After watching this for the first time, there will be many subsequent re-watches. The English dub version does add to the hilarity of the film as it really does not match at all, however whether you want to track this film down (please do) either the English dub or original language with subtitles version would be fine and this one that wont disappoint.
Day 04: 90s Action!
Lady Battlecop (1990)
For Day 4 and the prompt is ’90s Action!’, the film chosen is a little outside the box, there are many fantastic and fun 90’s action films especially in the era of direct to video. Doing research, one title stood out and that is Lady Battlecop (1990), a Japanese actioner that uses some Robocop (1987) influence and has a female lead. How could anyone resist? Off the bat this is a rather silly film, it certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously and it has a lot of charm at the core.
Kaoru (Azusa Nakamura) is a tennis superstar, she soon gets caught up with the Cartel organization who are trying to take over Tokyo. During a confrontation with the gang, Kaoru gets wounded badly and with new technology she comes back as Lady Battlecop, ready to take down the Cartel and stop their hold on the city. The Cartel however have a secret weapon with Amadeus (Masaru Matsuda) who has telepathic powers and a super charged laser weapon. Can Lady Battlecop save the day?
The costume for Lady Battlecop is rather impressive, it has differences from Robocop’s suit, including heels and an earring and it some how works. Kaoru is not built like a cyberborg, the suit can be removed and worn. The performances are quite mixed, some being being wooden and others taking it up to 100 and it some how just mixes together and provides the entertainment. There is a lot of fun to be had with this film, there is the revenge plot, lot’s of action and a very catchy song that claims ‘women are made for tennis’. The film as mentioned does not take itself seriously and it is a good time, it would have been awesome to see a series of Lady Battlecop films, with that said if you the reader can find this one, absolutely check it out.
Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea
Please check out FThisMovie.net, with many thanks to the crew for the concept of Junesploitation and some excellent prompts for 2022!