Reviews written by registered user

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374 reviews in total 
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A love story but not with the Chinese love story format, 7 October 2017

For the record the only roaring was done by the lioness not the lion.

It starts with a would-be poet interviewing ladies for some unspecified job then cuts to a lovely lady interviewing a rather crude looking man as a possible husband. She soon displays martial arts skills that could only be done in a comedy.

Reviewing a comedy is never easy because what is funny is a matter of taste. Plus, the Hong Kong comedy genre requires viewer experience just to accept the sight gags and the verbal comedy is often lost in the translation. This opening skit works well in both languages so I found the dialog very funny. The action is a spoof of martial arts movies with a lot of sex role reversals. It includes the standard characters of the wispy woman who is actually a kung fu master, the male poet with no martial arts skills, and others.

A viewer not familiar with this genre would stop watching after fifteen minutes. I have watched many of these movies and I thought the first fifteen minutes was great.

If you run to get a drink about one hour into the movie you will return not to a comedy but a tragic story with the philosophical question is it better to remember or forget lost love. That's another cultural thing about Hong Kong movies, they are not afraid to hit the audience with abrupt changes like this.

After all the cultural differences the movie finishes up with the standard love story plot: boy meets girl, something happens and they split but get back together, then something really bad happens and it seems over forever but they get back together in the last scene. This is not the Chinese love story plot: boy meets girl, fate is mentioned, and the rest is up to fate. Overall I liked it and recommend it exclusively for fans of this genre.

Hang kwai (2000)
Bullet ballet of a different caliber, 20 September 2017

The formulaic "bullet ballet" genre made in Hong Kong in the 1980s and 1990s can wear out the viewer quite quickly, yet so many of them were made. This one does not follow the formula and I enjoyed it from start to finish.

Spoilers of course, to play by the rules, but this movie is almost 20 years old.

The formula is first broken by making the bad guys the lead characters and sympathetic to the viewer. The good guys would be the cops but the movie would play almost as well without any cops at all. Everyone starts killing each other so that turns the movie into a mystery. The mystery is "Who will be alive (if anyone) in the final scene?"

My money would not have been on Lam Suet. Here's my applause to this unsung actor. He has a face you will never forget but not in a good way. Despite the lack of good looks, the flabby body and total lack of any martial arts skills, this actor played in over 200 movies most of the action genre. He is usually killed off in the first fifteen minutes. In this movie – there's your spoiler along with a serving of fermented stinky tofu.

I rate it 7.0 and much more favorably than any of the other reviewers here.

Task Force (1997)
Likable characters and a good mix of action, comedy and drama, 11 September 2017

It opens with Leo Koo Kui-Kei as narrator explaining why he has hired a prostitute. The twist is he is a cop trying to arrest Chinese nationals who illegally entered Hong Kong to work as hookers. Charlie Yeung plays a hooker but she is a Hong Kong citizen, so the sting operation is called off. Charlie Yeung is unforgettably cute in this first scene. She just gets cuter an more adorable as the movie goes on.

Eric, Karen and Leo play atypical Hong Kong cops. All the character relations are complicated but easy to follow and interesting. Nothing about this movie should be good if you examine the individual elements yet it is crazy good. It has action, both straight hand to hand martial arts and bullet ballet. It has romance and comedy. The characters as Hong Kong cops seem impossible, appearance-wise, yet the characters are likable and everything fits together and works.

I must add though that the viewer needs some experience with the Hong Kong comedy genre as a prerequisite to enjoying this one. For example the comedy is mixed with drama. Viewers used to Hollywood movies never see this kind of blend yet in Hong Kong movies the flip from dead serious to crazy funny can be quite abrupt and often.

I enjoyed this movie completely and agree with the current rating of 7.0 and add my duplicate rating.

Something missing in the translation but still above average, 18 August 2017

The movie opens on a slave boat. Our hero character played by Yu Rong- Guang thought he was on a boat with traders but actually is on board with pirates. (I've made that mistake myself , written in "sarcasm" font.) Cut to a festival. The village is attacked. Ji Chun-Hua (former leader of the White Lotus Clan in another good movie) plays the pirate leader. Our hero saves one of the children. The villagers retreat to a fortified city. Yu Rong-Guang gains entrance by pretending to be insane. He ends up holed up in a cave and brought food by the little girl.

A subplot develops involving mixing kung fu styles and marriage. Our hero has come to China to learn "Dog Fist Style" as shown in a flashback. In Japan he was defeated by a white guy and was about to commit suicide because of loss of honor. A monk intervenes and convinces him to go to China to learn Dog Fist style. This is also Cynthia Khan's style.

The action is top notch. Wires are used unobtrusively and the fighting is realistic. Also some of the scenes involve language misunderstandings and mispronunciations that will never be appreciated by the English language viewer. My copy is both subtitled and dubbed in English but still misses the Chinese/Japanese language humor.

I rate it above average for the year and genre and recommend it for fans.

Started good then fizzled out, 17 August 2017

It starts at the Forbidden City with a martial arts demonstration and the narrator tells the story so far. Sam has become an official by order of the emperor. The corrupt officials offer him an arranged marriage to get him on their side. She is hot but Sam already has a girl and will not be corrupted. This will not go well for our Sam.

This is the last movie of a three part series. It is also the last movie for Do Siu-Chun and Zhang Chang-Jun, two great martial artists. The series goes out with a fizzle, too much drama and not enough fights. The plot point, obvious from the title, is completely unnecessary and poorly executed as the missing arm seemed only hidden under his shirt.

Overall, could have been better, but once you watch the first two you might as well watch this once.

A question mark not an exclamation point, 16 August 2017

It starts with a movie within a movie. Cut to a movie director tries to seduce Frankie Chan's girl and he beats him up. Cut also to Eric Tsang (as a girl) acts as a spiritualist when two guys try to find loot buried by a guy who since died. Somehow these two scenes come together as one.

Frankie Chan entered the movie business as a music composer. I have no idea how he got the action lead as a Hong Kong cop in this movie. He fights two white guys in a warehouse setting next. His partner is easily mistaken for another man but she is Wanda Yung Wai-Tak.

By the 15 minute mark I gave up trying to find a story line and decided I was just watching this for the action. By the midpoint I decided I was just watching it for the final fight. Ultimately, I just watched it to write a review.

The most cringe-worthy part of this movie goes to using AIDS as a punch line. "I've got AIDS hand!" Hilarious. This is written in the "sarcasm" font.

An alternate title is "Oh! Yes, Sir!!!" This is definitely the most punctuated Hong Kong Movie ever!!!!!. A question mark would have been more appropriate.

Typical triad street fight action, 4 August 2017

Peter is released from prison. He returns to the triads and deliberately offends them. This is supposed to make him an anti-hero. I have never like that concept, in my mind the guy is simply an idiot. His actions have consequences and innocent people are affected even more than Peter. The scene always goes like this – the bad guys are looking for Peter so they ask one of his friends where he is. They don't know, so the bad guys beat them up.

I also had a problem with the fights. They are mostly gang rumbles, street fights, with the stunt men tossed around and the sets trashed. Every fight starts to look the same beginning with the second. The one exception is the fight with the butterfly knife. When the high point of a movie is a butterfly knife fight, enough said.

I hung in there for the final fight. They set some stunt men on fire and I always enjoy blazing stunt men. Still, this was a watch once, review, and never watch again. Yet, I have read other reviews of this movie and it seems everyone but me enjoyed it.

Standard fare for fans of Bruce Leung, 2 August 2017

It starts with the father ordering his sons into battle. Bruce fights like a whirlwind, sends his younger brother away, somehow loses his armor and retreats. He is wounded and helped by monks. The enemy commander looks for him at the temple. The abbot uses magic kung fu defense. Bruce tries to leave the monastery as soon as he can walk, but he has much more to learn.

Bruce Leung was the son of an action director. His father was classical Chinese opera trained. Oddly, Bruce's first martial arts style was Goju ryu karate. He began movie work as an extra and action director. 1974 was his break out year when he starred in "Call Me Dragon", then "Kidnap in Rome", "Little Godfather from Hong Kong", and "Little Superman". Despite some success as a lead he returned to extra roles. In the late 1970s he again starred in a few movies as a Bruce Lee clone. In 1988 he retired from movies but returned in 2004. Stephen Chow brought him back as the villain in "Kung Fu Hustle", in my opinion his greatest role. I must also mention his role in 2010's "Gallants" because I rate that movie 9/10.

The opening battle sequence is done well using a minimum of actors. This movie came out at about the end of the golden age of martial arts movies. Audiences had seen everything done to death and the genre was dying if not for the creative geniuses like Jackie Chan and the Yuen clan. There is an attempt to do something creative here in the "magical" special effects but they just seem cartoonish and I would preferred more straight forward fighting.

Enjoy the bootleg and buy the Bluray if it ever comes out, 29 July 2017

It starts with four idiots try to rob an escort company. Next to the inn and we meet a scholar, an old guy, the escorts, their boss is guarding ying-yang swords, Kara, and a sword fighting couple. Next day the escort is back on the road. The old guy is Johny and seems a thief at first. The boss loses the swords to the couple though.

Kara and the scholar end up with the blades and the secret. The man uses the left, the girl the right, and if they are in love their power is supreme.

There are a lot of colorful characters in this movie but initially no clear cut hero or villain. In fact there does not even seem to be a plot until the scholar says to Kara, "It seems fate has brought us together". That is the beginning of the Chinese love story plot. The Western love story plot is: boy meets girl, they break up, they get back together, they break up for good, they get back together (usually at the airport). The Chinese love story involves fate. It is fate to meet, they separate, and if they meet again it must be fate so they are true loves.

There are more plot twists before the ending though and a lot of explaining to do.

I suspected to find the Grandmaster, Liu Chia-Liang as the action director but no, I found his students. He taught his students well. The fights are all excellent with a full range of weapons and objects that were never intended to be used as weapons. The comedy is the cherry on top.

Only a hard core fan will be able to dig up a copy of this Shaw Brothers movie. To my knowledge it has never been released on DVD but you can find a copy if you know where to look. The copy is good quality video and widescreen with dual Chinese and English hard subtitles. There is a bit missing from the subtitles but at least they are accurate. I suspect there might be a total minute or two of the movie missing also.

I rate this 8 out of 10 and one of the top martial arts movies of 1982. It deserves a Bluray release and I would buy one but I'm happy with the bootleg.

The Yuen Brothers come through with the action, 28 July 2017

It starts with a confusing scene where Andy and another guy seem to have captured each other and are also surrounded by a criminal gang. After some action, there is a quick cut to Rosamund on a train and Andy, now all cleaned up, enters. Norman is there too playing poker. They disembark. Andy meets his uncle who has money problems. He has a valuable scroll that Andy must protect and Norman and Teddy are out to steal it.

Story-wise it tries to be clever with the gambling and the thievery but it falls short of being truly clever. The action choreography and direction from the Yuen clan are superb and make the movie worth watching.

I found a proper DVD (the picture on the box is just like the one here on IMDb) with wide screen and English subtitles so the picture was easy on the eyes on a modern flat screen television. I rate it an average 6 of 10 for the year and genre.

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