films seen
average score
Alive and kicking



Dao Cao Ren
1987 / 94m - Taiwan
Strawman poster

A Taiwanese classic that rightfully sank into obscurity. It's not that Toon Wang can't direct a decent film, Strawman looks proper enough, but the lighter dramatic vibe, the poor performances and the bland plot simply don't add up to anything worthwhile. The result is rather forgettable.

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The film follows the last days of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, at the end of WWII. The Japanese are losing the war, in some final desperate attempt they are recruiting villagers and farmers to join their army. There's none of the usual cruelty and war crimes though, apparently this was a pretty jolly time in Taiwanese history.

The story could've been interesting, if it had been told in a more natural way, more akin to the Taiwanese New Wave films. The cheery atmosphere here really felt off, especially with a cast that isn't really fit to carry the film. The cinematography is pretty decent, but not good enough to save this film.

Run Away

Ce Ma Ru Lin
1985 / 115m - Taiwan
Action, Adventure
Run Away poster

A Taiwanese martial arts film that is a lot harsher and dramatic than its Hong Kong counterparts. Wang clearly wanted to elevate his film, but doesn't quite succeed. That leaves us with an arthousey martial arts film that doesn't really convince either way. There are a few interesting scenes, but on the whole it's just not good enough.