HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Unseen, The
Tonight She Comes
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Postman Fights Back, The Stop!  Whoa, yes, wait a minute, Mr. PostmanBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Ronny Yu
Stars: Leung Kar-Yan, Chow Yun-Fat, Cherie Chung, Guk Jeong-Suk, Eddie Ko, Fan Mei-Sheng, Yuen Yat Chor, Yeung Wai, Chiang Cheng, Lee Fat-Yuen, Kwon Il-Soo, Hui Ying-Sau
Genre: Martial Arts, Historical, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the early days of the Republic of China ambitious General Yuan Shikai has amassed an alliance of Northern warlords against its founding father, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. Struggling, martial arts-skilled courier Ma (Leung Kar-Yan) receives an offer from military envoy Hsiu (Eddie Ko) to deliver a sealed package to bandit leader Zhao Long, who holds the northern mountain pass of Laoma that could prove a strategic advantage to Yuan. Caring little about politics, at first Ma refuses but has a change of heart when his troublemaking pickpocket friend Yao Jie (Yuen Yat Chor) joins the mission for his own mysterious ends. Our reluctant heroes rope in portly explosives expert Bu (Fan Mei-Sheng) and are subsequently joined by a fourth man...

And he happens to be kung fu fighting man of mystery Fu Jun played by a young, uber-charismatic Chow Yun-Fat. Newly-graduated from television soap operas and art-house roles, Chow was four years away from his breakout role in A Better Tomorrow (1986) but despite playing second fiddle, steals the film away from ostensible lead and fan favourite Leung Kar-Yan. As the rakish Fu, Chow practices a unique style of scarf-twirling kung fu, hides a cool spring-loaded dart-gun up his sleeve and affects a seemingly shifty, amoral demeanour even though he often proves the first to defend anyone in trouble. Think Han Solo. Interestingly, The Postman Fights Back also marks an early role for Cherie Chung. She and Chow went on to become one of the era’s most popular screen couples, paired repeatedly throughout the decade until her retirement following Once a Thief (1991). Here Chung plays Ma’s winsome sister who tags along on the mission hoping to buy back their younger sister from sex slavery. Along their journey the group also encounter the enigmatic Miss Li (Guk Jeong-Suk) who strikes romantic sparks with handsome Fu but mysteriously vanishes when a couple of bounty killers arrive on the scene. And then there is the matter of the sinister ninja shadowing the couriers’ every move.

Unfortunately Miss Li’s secret agenda, Fu Jun’s backstory and Cherie Chung’s quest are among several undeveloped subplots that consign The Postman Fights Back to the rank of fascinating failure. Produced and developed by Yuen Woo Ping - who directed Miracle Fighters (1982) the same year which also stars his brother Yuen Yat Chor, here proving himself a fine dramatic actor - but directed by New Wave maestro Ronny Yu, of The Bride with White Hair (1992) fame and Freddy vs. Jason (2002) infamy - this wastes its fascinating historical setting as little more than a picturesque backdrop. However, Yu takes care to establish an ailing China on the cusp of slipping Dr. Sun’s reformist grasp into the hands of the autocratic Yuan Shikai. He crafts vivid vignettes establishing each character carries a personal dream swept away by a social system that robs peasants of a brighter future. Outstanding cinematography by Cheung Yiu-Jo, Lee Yau-Tong and Lai Shui-Ming brings a pleasing naturalism to the often outlandish action, but once the plot slides into familiar chop-socky territory Yu’s storytelling grows sadly slapdash.

Lifting motifs from The Guns of Navarone (1961), Seven Samurai (1954) and The Wild Bunch (1969), The Postman Fights Back offers a more character-driven variant on the classic men-on-a-mission movie. It is an angry, uncompromising film featuring scenes wihere captive prisoners hang from a wall and even small children are riddled with machinegun fire. At times its arbitrary slaying of characters seems like calculated cynicism yet the nihilistic violence does serve an underlining point. That is to galvanize the hitherto noncommital Ma to strike a blow against tyranny. Although tellingly, even when Ma springs into action he does so for the sake of his friends, not for any revolutionary cause. A taut finale pits our hero against outlandish ninja trickery, although an earlier sequence with the heroes surrounded by ice-skating masked bandits is equally memorable.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 797 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Ronny Yu  (1950 - )

Hong Kong-born director of action and fantasy. Began directing in the early 80s, and made films such as the historical actioner Postman Strikes Back (with Chow Yun-Fat), Chase Ghost Seven Powers and the heroic bloodshed flick China White. The two Bride with White Hair films – both released in 1993 – were hugely popular fantasy adventures, which helped Yu secure his first American film, the kids film Warriors of Virtue. Yu then helmed Bride of Chucky, the fourth and best Child's Play movie, the Brit action film The 51st State and the horror face-off Freddy Vs Jason. He later returned to Asia to helm the likes of Saving General Yang.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Paul Shrimpton
Graeme Clark
Lee Lopez
Jennifer Thomas
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
   

 

Last Updated: