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Mr X
cast: Joe Lewis, Alex Man, Lam Wei, Fong Yeh, and Godfrey Ho

director: Ed Woo

90 minutes (18) 1995
Prism Leisure 55th Chamber DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 1/10
reviewed by Christopher Geary
As has been said elsewhere, this dire American offering showcases the best action scenes from a couple of Asian gangster movies, and shamelessly cobbles together a pathetic storyline to show how a US hitman in Hong Kong gets involved in turf wars between aggressive yakuza and vengeful triads.

Mr X is an example of activity by people who'd probably love to be 'in the movie business' and yet they really can't be bothered to actually do any of those creative things - like writing, producing, directing or acting - that are usually required for any level or measurable degree of success in the industry. I suppose this sort of... umm, 'filmmaking', is the screen equivalent of karaoke. A wannabe star borrows images from a stock of existing works, and new footage of dubious artistic value is then unimaginatively or randomly edited into the scrounged material, resulting in something that is generally an inferior product compared to the original. Like a typical karaoke singer who fails to carry a tune, the performer who fronts the new 'flick' cannot really act. If he could, it seems likely that one genuine film producer or another would have cast him in a legit movie. Which begs the question, is this DVD and the bogus feature it carries simply the handiwork of talentless scum?

Here, I'm not going to give details of the 'Joe Lewis' scenes because they are not worthy of discussion. The sequences of bloodthirsty gun battles, swordfights and kung fu, lifted without due acknowledgement from the Asian movies are nothing more than substandard John Woo. The apparently pseudonymous offender, oh, sorry, I meant 'director' of Mr X might well have prayed, and fervently no doubt, that some of the action maestro's considerable popular appeal would transfer to his own travesty and so endear it to gullible fans, just by false-name association.

Honestly, I thought we had seen the back of crap like this after so many hack jobs were released by conmen during the 1980s' video boom. If downmarket, or genre specialist, DVD labels intend to restart that wholly regrettable trend; perhaps it's time for a boycott? Cinema is a 'consumer product' that should never be recycled in this manner!

DVD extras: trailer, promo images, but nothing worthwhile. (An apology from the releasing company should rightly be expected.)

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