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Asian Films and Films About Asia

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Post by Il Gialloblu Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:45 pm

I think this is something that could be worthy of its own thread.

Asian cinema seems to be growing in popularity all the time, from like Japanese horror to that there Chinese kung-fu, to name but two stereotypes.

Christian Bale recently returned to his childhood under the Empire of the Sun in The Flowers of War, as Chinese cinema went a bit global blockbuster.

The Beach wasn't great and when I went there it looked like they'd imported the berks from MTV Spring Break. 'Hey, get a beer!' 'Catch the football, man!'

Right, I don't know much about Asian films really so as an introduction, that'll have to do.

Asian films. Films about Asia. What have you seen? What do you want to talk about?

Go.
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Post by Il Gialloblu Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:47 pm

Ok, well if everyone else is being polite, I'll start.

I watched Empire of the Sun just now. I saw it as a kid but hadn’t seen it since. Really good film I thought. The evolution of Bale’s character was good, so much so that later fragility came as a surprise. Kind of forgot how young and vulnerable he was and how much he’d had to adjust from his life at the beginning.

Nice to see young Nigel Havers and Ben Stiller too! And for me personally, seeing places around Shanghai on film and being portrayed as it was in wartime was extra special.

It also describes a part of history not often spoken about in the West too, surprisingly perhaps with so many British citizens involved, which can only be a good thing.

Splendid.
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Post by Hero Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:09 pm

I remember as a teenager in the early 90s staying up really late on Friday evenings (past the Word even) to watch the Hong Kong & Japanese martial arts films like Mr Vampire and Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, used to love those style of films as well as the old school Godzilla ones that Channel 4 used to show.

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Post by TheMackemMawler Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:38 pm

Anything by Hayao Miyazaki is sublime.

Princess Mononoke is a personal favourite. Love the greed, corruption, pollution and discrimination themes applied to humanity/society/modern industry/the west/the changing east.
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Post by Galted Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:56 pm

The two obvious modern classics are Oldboy & Battle Royale. Watched a Thai film called Chocolate a while back, not really a fan of kung-fu but found it particularly enjoyable. Traditionally anything by Akira Kurosawa who influenced many Western filmakers.

Watched Empire of the Sun last week funnily enough but not sure I'd class it as an Asian film.
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Post by Dass Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:18 pm

Not really sure where to start with this topic, I've been watching Asian movies for 14yrs now and been addicted ever since. The first film I ever saw was Seven Samurai as a 16yr old and as a result I've got most of Kurosawa's films on DVD.

I'm not really sure I'd class Empire of the Sun as an Asian film either, only a short time was spent on location in China and it was a Hollywood production.

In all honesty I'm sitting here thinking where to start on this subject and I have no idea just so many good/great films to cover ranging from Japan/China/Korea/Thailand etc. Maybe check out the following films as a starter.

Infernal Affairs
Violent Cop
Audition
Roshomon
Taegukgi (Tremendous War movie and one of my all time fav films)

There's plenty of others to recommend but I'd be here all night. Very Happy

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Post by Il Gialloblu Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:31 am

Galted wrote:Watched Empire of the Sun last week funnily enough but not sure I'd class it as an Asian film.

That's why I included the second part of the title. Smile
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Post by Galted Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:09 am

Il Gialloblu wrote:
Galted wrote:Watched Empire of the Sun last week funnily enough but not sure I'd class it as an Asian film.

That's why I included the second part of the title. Smile

Smile
Fair point, I shall make February the month of reading headings properly.
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Post by Adam D Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:14 am

I used to be into Hong Kong movies in a big way, specifically John Woo, Tsui Hark and Chow Yun Fat.

Personal faves being The Killer, Once a Thief and A Better Tomorrow 2.

Any other heroic bloodshed fans?

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Post by Skydriver Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:15 am

I am very fond of Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", as well as Zhang Yimou's "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers" in the same style. All supply a beautiful visual experience.

I'll also mention a Japanese movie called "Kuro Obi" [Black Belt]. The story concerns a karate master who passes away and the resultant events/conflicts regarding which of his 3 students will inherit his black belt (symbolising the master's status). The schtick is that they chose highly experienced martial artists to play the leads - not professional actors. The result is that you see genuine karate on screen (albeit of different styles), which I found utterly captivating as a Shotokan practitioner.

For a slightly different take on martial arts, I'd also recommend Stephen Chow's "Kung Fu Hustle" for entertainment value.

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Post by CFCNick Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:10 pm

My brother, who lives in Jinan, got big into Martial Arts and Chinese culture about 10 years ago so I grew up watching Martial Arts movies with him. All the Police Story movies, Drunken Master, Bruce Lee movies, Shaolin Temple, Once Upon a Time in China 1 & 2, Mr Nice Guy, Who Am I?, Gorgeous, and newer ones like The One, Romeo Must Die, Fearless, A Man Called Hero, and Ip Man 1 & 2.

I love the Martial Arts films set in the old times.

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Post by TheMackemMawler Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:14 pm

As a boy I loved American Ninja 1 to 4.

Classic Cheese!


Last edited by TheMackemMawler on Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by CFCNick Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:25 pm

I'm coming stuck if anyone can help. I'm racking my brain trying to think of the name of a Martial Arts film set in ancient China where in one part they have to transport somebody safely accross the city and they have a big fat guy helping them who stops to slow down the people chasing them and ends up being stabbed over and over again by smaller, faster guys.

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Post by Dass Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:38 pm

If we are talking about over the top in your face action then I have to recommend both "The Streetfighter" and "Magnificent Butcher" as two of my personal favourites.

With Sonny Chiba and Sammo Hung you can't really go wrong.

If you want to see some tremendous samurai movies of recent times then I highly recommend you to watch "When the Last Sword is Drawn" or Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy which features "Twilight Samurai", "Hidden Blade" and "Love and Honour".


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Post by TheMackemMawler Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:44 pm

I watched The Last Emperor about the same time as Empire of the Sun.
Another Classic.
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Post by Skydriver Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:46 pm

13 Assassins is worth a watch if you like Kurosawa / samurai movies.

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Post by Dass Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:58 pm

Speaking of 13 Assassins which is a very good film in itself, it serves as a very good introduction to the director Takashi Miike.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:36 am

I watched City of Life and Death over the weekend on the back of a previous discussion I had with Ill Gia. It had been in a draw at home for months but I finally got round to viewing it. The film deals with the Japanese invasion of Nanking in 1937 which is one of histories most shocking incidents.

I have to say, I was hugely impressed. It is brutal and harrowing and if even half of it's content is true, then I shudder to think how bad Nanking must have been. It is shot in black and white and it does feel almost documentary like. It doesn't have that typical flamboyance that some Chinese directors put in their films and I think that works in this instance. Flowers of War is different, although based on the same 'incident'. Flowers of War has lots of blood splattering in every direction and slowed down against the backdrop of classical music in a kind of Last Samurai style. CofLD is far more 'real' and visceral and makes it a much tougher watch. The guy who plays one of the central Japanese soldiers is very good as well. He plays it with a real sense of innocence even amidst the carnage going on. It is a great performance as I felt sympathy for his character whilst my brain is telling me how horrific the Japanese army were. Good film making, to me, should make you feel conflicted and CoLD certainly does that. The films really catches the depths of horror that we can inflict on each other and doesn't pull many punches. Man's inhumanity to man is explored in the most brutal fashion but done with a deftness of touch that is quite often lacking in 'war' films.

It is a story that probably doesn't get as much attention as it should in the West, but films like this go a small way to rectifying that knowledge gap.

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Post by superflyweight Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:47 pm

I'm currently obsessed with the Indonesian film (although directed by a Welsh guy), The Raid. The best action film I've seen in some time and possibly my favourite since, Die Hard. It's about to be remade by Hollywood and I'm pretty sure they're going to ruin it so I would recommend watching the Indonesian version.

Haven't seen Empire of the Sun but have read the book as I'm a huge fan of JG Ballard.


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Post by Hero Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:50 pm

I've still not seen the Raid but it's certainly one I want to watch, believe the recent Dredd film is very much influenced by it.

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Post by Skydriver Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:54 pm

I've not seen The Raid either - I was led to believe that Dredd coincidentally has a very similar plot (story/script developed around the same time / v unfortunate), rather than it being a direct influence.

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Post by SharkSoul Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:54 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:I watched City of Life and Death over the weekend on the back of a previous discussion I had with Ill Gia. It had been in a draw at home for months but I finally got round to viewing it. The film deals with the Japanese invasion of Nanking in 1937 which is one of histories most shocking incidents.

I have to say, I was hugely impressed. It is brutal and harrowing and if even half of it's content is true, then I shudder to think how bad Nanking must have been. It is shot in black and white and it does feel almost documentary like. It doesn't have that typical flamboyance that some Chinese directors put in their films and I think that works in this instance. Flowers of War is different, although based on the same 'incident'. Flowers of War has lots of blood splattering in every direction and slowed down against the backdrop of classical music in a kind of Last Samurai style. CofLD is far more 'real' and visceral and makes it a much tougher watch. The guy who plays one of the central Japanese soldiers is very good as well. He plays it with a real sense of innocence even amidst the carnage going on. It is a great performance as I felt sympathy for his character whilst my brain is telling me how horrific the Japanese army were. Good film making, to me, should make you feel conflicted and CoLD certainly does that. The films really catches the depths of horror that we can inflict on each other and doesn't pull many punches. Man's inhumanity to man is explored in the most brutal fashion but done with a deftness of touch that is quite often lacking in 'war' films.

It is a story that probably doesn't get as much attention as it should in the West, but films like this go a small way to rectifying that knowledge gap.

I've had that very film sat in my front room for over a year MTWs. I will get round to watching it this week.

Off the top of my head, Hard Boiled, Ichi The Killer, Battle Royale, The Audition, Old Boy, Seven Samurai, The Raid. I would recommend 'The Raid' to everyone, probably the best action film I've ever seen, so frenetic and intense it's just amazing.

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Post by kingjohn7 Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:54 pm

Thought the 1st Ong Bak was really good, the chase scene had some great stunts.

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Post by Derbyblue Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:14 pm

MockingJay33 wrote:My brother, who lives in Jinan, got big into Martial Arts and Chinese culture about 10 years ago so I grew up watching Martial Arts movies with him. All the Police Story movies, Drunken Master, Bruce Lee movies, Shaolin Temple, Once Upon a Time in China 1 & 2, Mr Nice Guy, Who Am I?, Gorgeous, and newer ones like The One, Romeo Must Die, Fearless, A Man Called Hero, and Ip Man 1 & 2.

I love the Martial Arts films set in the old times.
Genuinely love the Ip Man films! They're pretty much the only two Asian films I've seen and no idea where to start with watching more but I did receive The Raid on DVD at Christmas so will have to watch that fairly soon.

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Post by SharkSoul Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:33 pm

Derby I only recently watched IP Man and was completely engrossed within it. Brilliant film and what a great back story to his legacy.

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Post by CFCNick Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:47 am

MockingJay33 wrote:I'm coming stuck if anyone can help. I'm racking my brain trying to think of the name of a Martial Arts film set in ancient China where in one part they have to transport somebody safely accross the city and they have a big fat guy helping them who stops to slow down the people chasing them and ends up being stabbed over and over again by smaller, faster guys.

Finally remembered the title. It's Bodyguards and Assassins. It stars Donnie Yen and Nicholas Tse. Great watch, set in 1905 a guy called Sun Wen wants to go to British controlled Hong Kong to plan to overthrow the Qing Dynasty. The Empress sends assassins to kill Sun so a group of revolutionarys have to protect him and the scene I mentioned happens when they moving a cross the city and use one if the men's son as a decoy to protect Sun.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:42 am

SharkSoul wrote:

I've had that very film sat in my front room for over a year MTWs. I will get round to watching it this week.

I'll be interested to know what you think, SS. It has some scenes that are pretty unpalatable but it certainly makes its point.

Hope you post a review on here. As I say, I'd genuinely like to know what you thought?

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Post by SharkSoul Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:36 pm

I will get it watched this week MTWs and post a concise review of it. We can learn a lot from history and I don't believe that atrocities shouldn't just be swept under the rug. I will admit my ignorance when I say I wasn't aware of the war documented in Ip Man and in The City of Life and Death but look forward to finding out more.

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Post by two_tone Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:14 pm

A Tale Of Two Sisters is a very good and eerie piece of cinema. Also recommend the original films that Hollywood have been butchering of late i.e. Ringu, Dark Water and Ju-on aka The Grudge.

Anything by Takeshi Miike is worth a look providing you are not easily shocked and like the weird but wonderful. Dead Or Alive, Ichi The Killer, Audition, Gozu and Visitor Q are all good examples of this.

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Post by Dass Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:17 pm

two_tone wrote:A Tale Of Two Sisters is a very good and eerie piece of cinema. Also recommend the original films that Hollywood have been butchering of late i.e. Ringu, Dark Water and Ju-on aka The Grudge.

Anything by Takeshi Miike is worth a look providing you are not easily shocked and like the weird but wonderful. Dead Or Alive, Ichi The Killer, Audition, Gozu and Visitor Q are all good examples of this.

I mentioned earlier about Miike as well with "13 Assassins" as a suitable place to begin with him, he's such a fantastic director to go on a journey with as you never know what he's gonna chuck at you next.

On the same note with your mention of "A Tale of Two Sisters" (fantastic movie) it is well worth looking at Kim Ji-woon and his other films through the years. His back catalogue is filled with quality and until his first attempt into the Hollywood sphere I'd go as far to say as he has never done a bad film, now I haven't seen Last Stand (Arnold's comeback) so maybe that will continue but I'm always suspect of how Holywood deals with first time Asain directors. John Woo's Hard Target comes to mind.

Aside from that we have some wonderful films like "The Quiet Family", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" and "I Saw the Devil" all of which are worth your time and certainly offer an insight into his capabilities if more chances at the Holllywood helm come a knocking. My personal favourite of his films is "A Bittersweet Life" which is a wonderful piece of cinema and severely underrated but the stand out is the ultra-cool performance by Lee Byung-Hun.

For those that know it Kim Ji-woon is due to direct a feature film version of Jin-Roh which if he manages to get right (I have no evidence based to doubt he will) should be a tremendous prospect of a film. Very Happy

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Post by SharkSoul Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:35 pm

MTWT I've just finished watching 'The City of Life and Death' and I must say it was disturbingly fantastic. To think the Japanese carried out those atrocities and we as 'westerners' know very little about it then I guess it just highlights our ignorance doesn't it.

Brilliantly shot and although the subject matter is difficult to digest it's a glorious film to watch. Cinematogrophy is so beautiful.

9/10 for me.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:47 pm

Nice one SS (not entirely sure I should be abbreviating your username to the SchutzStaffel? No offense pal!).

Glad you found it worthwhile to watch. Hard to say it is a film to 'enjoy', but certainly one that commands respect and admiration in equal measures.

I have a feeling it will stay with me for some time.

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Post by ShahenshahG Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:10 pm

I watched a semi fictional account of a certain war but the name escapes me (the war). Its called Brotherhood. Watched it again when it finished. Fantastic movie.

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Post by ShahenshahG Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:13 pm

Ah I remembernow! it was the N/S Korea war, and the title was tae gook gi

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Post by Dass Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:35 pm

You've mentioned my favourite War movie there Shah and the one I was trying to get Tino to watch Smile

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Post by SharkSoul Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:25 pm

One to watch regarding N/S Korea is Joint Security Area. Anyone seen it?

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Post by Dass Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:43 pm

Yeah I've got it on dvd around here somewhere Shark, saw it for the first time a few years after it was released. Again it stars the wonderful Lee Byung-hun who I mentioned earlier as a favourite actor of mine. Smile

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Post by SharkSoul Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:55 pm

Nice one Dass. Yeah thoroughly enjoyed that movie also. I think the film that comes out of Asia is hugely under-rated and I try and promote it to all my film loving friends.

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Post by Galted Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:08 pm

Mentioned it on the Last Film thread but probably more appropriate here, watched Spirited Away recently, thought it was brilliant. Not really big on animated films but I can clearly recall just about every scene, song at the end still haunting me. Have Howl's Moving Castle on the Lovefilm list, think I'll change it to high priority.
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:27 am

Dass wrote:You've mentioned my favourite War movie there Shah and the one I was trying to get Tino to watch Smile

Don't worry Dass, I have made a note and will pick up a copy at some point!

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by superflyweight Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:10 am

39 posts on Asian films and not one mention of "Asian Babes" - this really is a cultured forum!

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:14 am

I much prefer Asian Persuasion 2 if I'm honest.

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Post by superflyweight Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:39 am

I haven't seen Asian Persuasion 1, Tina. Do you think I could watch the sequal without having seen the first film?

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:41 am

Yes mate, you will get the gist of number 2 without having seen the first one.

Different 'actors and actresses' but completely independent story. Don't even need the sub-titles to enjoy it. If anything, they get in the way of your viewing pleasure.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by superflyweight Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:43 am

Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, I may well suggest to Mrs Superfly that we sit down and watch it this very night!

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:45 am

I wouldn't bother superfly, she and I watched it just t'other night.

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Post by superflyweight Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:46 am

at least someone is getting some.

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Post by Derbyblue Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:50 pm

Recently got round to watching The Raid, which was an amazing film that I intend to recommend to as many people as possible. Some of you may be happy to know that while America are meant to be remaking (and probably ruining) it, there is also a sequel set to be released this year taking place (according to IMDB) 2 hours after the end of the first.

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Post by superflyweight Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:51 pm

Derbyblue wrote:Recently got round to watching The Raid, which was an amazing film that I intend to recommend to as many people as possible. Some of you may be happy to know that while America are meant to be remaking (and probably ruining) it, there is also a sequel set to be released this year taking place (according to IMDB) 2 hours after the end of the first.

That makes me so happy!

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Post by Derbyblue Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:31 pm

superflyweight wrote:
Derbyblue wrote:Recently got round to watching The Raid, which was an amazing film that I intend to recommend to as many people as possible. Some of you may be happy to know that while America are meant to be remaking (and probably ruining) it, there is also a sequel set to be released this year taking place (according to IMDB) 2 hours after the end of the first.

That makes me so happy!
Should be out September 8th in Indonesia. Same writer/director, Rama the main character again, guy who played Mad Dog is choreographing the action again.

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