# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Combo Cops (1996) Directed by: Wong Siu-Ming & Yiu Man-Kei

Mainland supercop and kung-fu specialist (Yu Rong-Guang), Scotland Yard trained Westerner (Michael Wong) and their methods collide as they both become in charge of SDU trainees. You sense we're first into antagonistic territory, turned somewhat buddy-cop comedy-ish with an added robbers plot to give the impression a plot is present? You sense correctly but what you won't be able to sense is that Combo Cops not only goes for the laughs but for the low budget, surrealistic insanity too. It's random insanity aiming to confuse the viewer really as we see Yu Rong-Guang suffering a tragedy that means an infant child is injured. Thankfully the child is ok and wants to be agent 007 when he grows up. Meanwhile, Michael Wong takes center stage in the classic James Bond intro, goes into a cell with a deranged cannibal, rat eater which suits Wong as he has some rat issues in the past. On it goes, with unexpected momentum gained by the dual directors as they manage to greatly entertain with their deep well of silly ideas. Of course the momentum comes and goes, in particular after Law Kar-Ying as the villain is introduced but there's no shortage of off the wall highlights before and sporadically after Law's introduction. Also with Christine Ng as Wong's love interest who shares scenes with him that turns romantic conventions on its head. Kingdom Yuen, Jerry Lam and Manfred Wong, who has a love for umbrellas, also appear.

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Come Drink With Me (1966) Directed by: King Hu

Its action may appear quite soft, stagy and even crude in some respects but the impression that should linger is still that King Hu's Come Drink With Me raised the bar for filmmaking at Shaw Brothers and the Wuxia pian genre (also his first foray into the genre he would be associated with forever, with subsequent movies such as Dragon Inn and A Touch Of Zen having achieved classic status as well). Containing iconic moments throughout the movie starting with Cheng Pei-Pei's immortal (and breakthrough) performance as the swordswoman Golden Swallow, King Hu really seems inspired working with her as the grace, charisma, beauty and fluidity is captured by a camera fluidly following along (writings on the movie described it as “a balletic partner to the actors”).

For instance in the famous inn confrontation (a setting that would be common throughout his films) he draws us in through silences, sharp camera moves, the tension of the stand off and the short bursts of action reminiscent of the Japanese samurai movies of the time (regardless if it’s about showcasing fantastical powers or martial arts abilities). Even character- and production design receives the same attention, all captured with King Hu's floaty camera and eye working on the exquisite Shaw Brothers sets. Even when you think you disconnect from how action choreography of the time was executed, there's a rich, visual, aural and stylish experience at hand here that even turns quite violent come ending time when Yueh Hua's drunken beggar takes center stage. Also starring Chen Hung-Lieh as chief villain Jade Faced Tiger, which adds to the stirring, visual impact of the film.
Come Fly the Dragon (1993) Directed by: Eric Tsang

Minute amusement comes out of Eric Tsang's action-comedy that sees Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as part of a training squad for the special branch of the police. Acting generally silly and exactly like they want to, it's a wonder they're even kept in the team but Tsang is more interested in the sophomoric humour during this training part of the narrative. At least it is funny in parts, proving that Tsang is more adept at this than Wong Jing is but when the film switches to Lau going undercover to catch a triad boss (Frankie Chan), the film stops dead. Some minute audience investment here comes during the small forays into action but Come Fly The Dragon ultimately is a poor showcase for the great stars Lau and Leung. Also with Fennie Yuen, Miu Kiu Wai, Shing Fui On, Ben Lam and Norman Chu, who is simply born to play a hard ass drill sergeant.

Come From China (1992, To Pak-Hon)

While very low budget, Come From China comes loaded with intensity and a skill that's not apparent at first glance at the rough surface. A story crossing over from Macau to Hong Kong where robbers have stolen the loot from another gang and they're quite keen on getting it back to put it mildly. Working on standing locations for both realism and grit, technically it's sufficiently captured. Meaning there's no disinterest in between the aggressive action, ruthless violence and the latter aspects are often set in volatile environments to good effect. The team orchestrates a few car stunts initially but mainly sets the tone through the gang versus gang-plot and all those that happen to be caught in the line of fire. Including kids and the elderly. The fight action has an admirable quality to it considering the budget but it is in the high concept, risky stuntwork and the mighty firepower of the ending that Come From China comes to life. It's loud but done with a sense of dirty style and this leans more towards rough bloodshed rather than heroic. It's pretty clear from the first criminal act that no one will emerge from this puddle of blood unharmed and heroic. Starring Chin Siu-Ho, Lam Wai and female actress Ha Chi-Chun stealing the movie as our chief, bloodthirsty villain.

Come Haunt With Me (1971, Sit Kwan)

Not as lighthearted as the English title (that references King Hu's Come Drink With Me) would suggest, nevertheless Sit Kwan (The Knight Of Knights) isn't intent on serving up dark horror. Mixing a supernatural tone, comedic banter and nudity with music numbers, it takes a while before his story of two scholars being courted and haunted by both fox spirits and malicious ghosts to set in stone its core plot drive. Do they side with the fox spirit trying to achieve immortality or are they being bewitched by it? It doesn't seem like a movie in need of 100 minutes and lack of coherency is a problem for a good two thirds. But Shaw Brothers-style production values and a clever special effects-demonstration across the board makes the movie fairly charming at points. Harmless but not crucial. Especially not during the humans versus fox spirits versus ghosts ending that is more of a Halloween costume showcase than anything else. Starring Margaret Hsing, Chan Ho and Yang Yang.

Come On Girls (1993) Directed by: Chow Bun

Hos/ed by Cindy Yip and structuring itself as a documentary, she gathers up a couple of gigolos and women in an apartment and they take turn telling stories of their rise in their profession, weird sexual encounters and actual erotic ones too. Very threadbare and certainly only produced to satisfy the sex-craving market in the wonderland of Category III movies of 1993, there is some well shot interiors and outrageous inclusions like the rigorous testing for men wishing to get into the gigolo profession, a male strip-o-gram with a duck hat and a plethora of unintelligible subtitles to actually laugh with. No high art, just the occasional hilarity and ticking of the naughty boxes. Which it does well.

The Comet Strikes (1971) Directed by: Lo Wei

Lo Wei clearly had it in him to become a horror director as by this and even darker moments in The Big Boss were rich on atmosphere. While not paid off very clearly, The Comet Strikes has an admirable buildup and aura of mystery surrounding a possibly haunted mansion and mixing Wuxia pian tactics with grounded sword brawls (Nora Miao is impressively physical) makes it a very interesting if not totally fulfilling watch. Also with Patrick Tse, Lo Wei, Sek Kin and Lee Kwan.

The Condemned (1976) Directed by: David Chiang

David Chiang's third and last directorial outing at Shaw Brothers is his most solid but mostly thanks to a pronounced action-side that takes the movie places the in between story and drama doesn't. Quite a simple setup with Feng Dagang (Tsai Hung) being jailed for a massacre he didn't commit and put into a cell with jolly pickpocket Yang Lin (Chiang), a brotherhood is formed and the high ranking members of society that wronged them are targeted. Showcasing through Tong Gai's and Wong Pau-Gei's action choreography a grittier, violent side right from the getgo, The Condemned also shows promise by having Tsai Hung be a giant, brutal force as our lead. Backing his size up with skill as well, the banter and story drive is lacking however. Chiang is trying to find his voice and comfort as a storyteller but it isn't happening here. However he heads a close to rather splendid (and LONG) fight finale which is again a sign of his behind the scenes personnel and lead Tsai Hung responding. Going head to head in gritty and quite epic fight scenes with him versus a dozen henchmen as well as brawls with Ku Feng and Pai Ying, The Condemned feels effective overall when you tally it up. Even though it truly is spotty and average. Also with Lily Li, Chan Shen and Hu Chin.

The Contract (2005) Directed by: Lu Xuechang

Completed in 2004 but not released until the year after when director Lu Xuechang (Cala, My Dog!) reportedly finally found a distributor for his low-budget movie, this is turning out to be a director more destined for overseas love despite his focus continuing to be on characters on the lower end of the scale of Chinese society. Guo Jia Ju (Pan Yue-Ming) is living life in the big city of Beijing. Being a slight introvert, having a failed business under wraps and in debt to loan sharks, he now has to face up to tradition by going back to his home village with a fiancee. Especially so since his father has had a stroke and always expressed his deepest wish to see his son married. By coincidence, Guo meets hooker Lili (Li Jian-Xuan) and strikes a deal with her to act as his future wife...

If it sounds like Can't Buy Me Love Chinese style, you wouldn't be off but Lu Xuechang (who also co-wrote and cast actors from his prior A Lingering Face) basically flirts with a lot, including the on paper, conventional premise. Farce-like in nature, threatening to turn violent but also playing out low-key drama in the beautiful village vistas, main theme concerns synching and connecting to your traditions again or for the first time. Lili is definitely an example of poor choice and planning then as she hasn't got the hang of traditional wedding ceremonies even. But the break from noise provides these characters with a breakdown. In the case of Guo, his bow of respect towards his parents may be fake but they're still the utmost crucial thing in his life at this point. Without that, he's empty. Lili, while not seemingly uncomfortable in her line of profession, dreams of opening a beauty salon but it's again the break from city people that has these characters crash together. Serious concerns all round really but Lu stays suitably observational, low-key and even fragmented narrative-wise. A cool and welcome choice. The Contract isn't as biting as Cala, My Dog! but is definitely on par with The Making Of Steel. Lu immerses us via actors, scenery, themes and continues an interesting path as a Mainland filmmaker.

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Cop Busters (1985) Directed by: Danny Lee

A misleading English title considering that it really comes off as modeled after 3 hommes et un couffin (later remade in the US as Three Men And A Baby). It's only Kent Cheng and Wong Ching for the Hong Kong interpretation though, playing two clumsy traffic cops who has their lives turned upside down when they stumble upon a young orphan girl. They manage to track down a relative, aunt Mary, and her presence triggers life changing desires for Wong's character...

The cop aspect goes hand in hand with the fact that Danny Lee directs but he has sincerity in mind, even if the screenplay isn't shock full of any surprises. Expectedly we get a fairly sizeable chunk of non-plot driven skits and the package is more forced than truly affecting. Still, you can't go all out wrong when you provide amusement coupled with some nice back and forth banter between the leading men. Peter Yang, Shing Fui-On and Billy Lau appear as well.

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