# 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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The Clones Of Bruce Lee (1977) Directed by: Joseph Kong

Never claiming it's presenting an alternate truth behind the death of Bruce Lee, we nonetheless have our plot starting once he has passed away at the hospital. There the Special Bureau Of Investigations (SBI) and a professor (John Benn - The Way Of The Dragon) sets in motion their plan to...clone Bruce Lee! Or rather make Bruce Lee copies that take shape in the form of Bruce Le, Dragon Lee and Bruce Lai. Following every command of their papa professor after being hatched in his groovy lab (disco lights seems to be his sole light source), they are sent out on undercover assassination missions so it was a crackin' idea to clone Lee into copies then! As you can understand, this hokey exercise attempts little class and is obviously a disrespectful attempt at respecting the legend but having said that, parts of The Clones Of Bruce Lee are a hoot (and it's possibly the best concept hatched out of any Bruceploitation effort). Although less so as we move along but the Thailand adventure gives us gratuitous nudity in spades, gold warriors manufactured by yet another mad professor but poisonous plants become the Bruce's weapons against these and finally, the clones square off against each other! Bolo Yeung also appears.

The Close Encounter Of The Vampire (1986) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

The Yuen clan were more than capable of supernatural and creative shenanigans (The Miracle Fighters, Taoism Drunkard etc) so involving kids and a hopping vampire in a production they have tons of credits on, you would expect something magical at least every now and again. The answer is no as if anything all involved and their efforts come off as fulfilling a reluctant obligation. The humour is tired, there's no action or exciting physicality and if anything it's an embarrassing example of seeing the Yuen clan get together and no one wants to be there. Starring Yuen Cheung-Yan, Leung Kar-Yan and Yuen Shun-Yi.

Close Escape (1989) Directed by: Chow Jan-Wing

Lam Wai Tung (Miu Kiu-Wai) goes into the diamond robbing business with Chiu Ying Kau (Dick Wei) in order to secure money for his little brother Lam Wai Leung (Max Mok). Running away with the real diamonds, and eventually dying after a chase, it's the brother who's now the target. All while best friend and cop Ben (Aaron Kwok) tries to make sense of the mess unfolding...

Playing it only light when suitable, Close Escape is a solid but more importantly a balanced product out of Hong Kong cinema. Almost a straight on thriller with a plethora of expected beats and compelling (cinematically) brutality, no familiarity is hard to swallow. Yukari Oshima turns up to stir things up in the plot which also means no one involved forgets to utilize her talents (nor Dick Wei's).

Cloud Of Romance (1977) Directed by: Chen Hung-Leh

One of many Taiwan melodramas featuring Brigitte Lin, Chin Han and Charlie Chin, these over the top strokes (made in all seriousness) are both amusing because of their wild, colourful nature but there's some fairly well honed symbolism present too. In what could only be described as a WOW-entrance, Lin is Tuan Wan-Lu, 18, just graduated, flirtatious and free as a bird. She is THE uncatchable cloud of romance indeed, being bought up and spoiled by her wealthy family. For her beauty alone, no wonder men are falling in love with her to the point that they have no problem stating that they'll die for her. The pendulum she also represent will create tears in two of those suitors. One is journalist Meng Chao (Charlie Chin) who has a mother that doesn't approve of this rather wild and sloppy girl. Yu-Lan (Chin Han) has been present in Wan-Lu's life forever and is certainly a suitable man for her. Especially concerning the fit that the respective families are. But Wan-Lu leans towards the "wrong" choice and when not getting acceptance there, life starts dropping one emotional bomb after the other. And tragedy draws near the more desperate love turns out to be, especially in the men...

Director Chen Hung-Leh adheres to Taiwan cinema style (gelled up lenses and zoom-direction is a staple here) and makes little subtle points that will make Cloud Of Romance feel a bit comedic in its highly melodramatic ways. But with his lead Lin simply being an astonishing presence on all fronts (it's quite an epic performance, be it emotions or fashion-wise) and with some of the symbolism representing the difficulty in choosing a life, a right life, a possible wrong life, all according to tradition, Cloud Of Romance certainly turns out to be an affecting work. Despite us looking down on it a little.

The Club (1981) Directed by: Kirk Wong

Kirk Wong's debut film and also an aim to give audiences a rarely seen, realistic glimpse of triad life and activities, with the night club businesses at its center. It's birds, booze, brawls and once a triad Michael Chan in his underwear. Interesting isn't an area Wong ever reaches though and only time some real teeth is shown comes during a few of the action set pieces. But even those get tiring by the end and while the filmmakers may have favoured realism all throughout, The Club won't make anyone miss this era of Hong Kong nightlife. There are far better genre efforts from the time as well (see Cops And Robbers). Norman Tsui, Phillip Ko and Kent Cheng co-stars.

Cobra Vs. Ninja (1987) Directed by: Joseph Lai

TROY'S REVIEW: "The masters of mayhem - the ninja, are terrorizing the city and it's up to Cobra to stop them dead in their tracks. It's guns vs. blades, wits vs. guts and man vs. myth in this action epic! No man is safe from the ninja - unless you're Cobra! Brace yourself for a non stop killing machine of a movie!" (Synopsis taken from the back of the box)

So wrote some imbecile who had quite obviously never viewed the film in question! In fact, in this cut & paste ninja outing, far from being the hero, the eponymous Cobra (as played typically ineptly by bad acting deity Stuart Smith) is the film's villain who is running high stake bets on the combative outcomes of various ninja duels involving the Red Champion (fellow IFD regular Richard Harrison). By some supreme editing "magic", this unrelated tale is woven somewhat less than seamlessly into a veritably mundane Filipino crime flick. Nonetheless, is there anyone out there who actually pays much attention to the original films into which the newer ninja segments are edited anyway? Of course not! No it's the ninja shenanigans that we've all come to laugh at - erm, I mean view.

Watch out for the scene at the very start in which a frankly embarrassed looking Harrison shouts the word 'Ninjaaaaaaaaaa' at the top of his (dubbed) voice. You almost want to give the poor chap a pat on the back and tell him that starring in such films will in no way have any detrimental effect upon his subsequent acting career...er...whoops!
Also be sure to check out the amazing manner in which our ninja pals put on their hoods. It's a case of jumping up in the air and spinning around at super speed after which they land, miraculously fully masked (and ostensibly not even dizzy). Erm... wouldn't it have been simpler to just pull them over their heads? Special mention must also go to the very nifty, pounding (and very stolen!) soundtrack that backs all the ninja action up. Great fun and well worth tracking down for all fans of cut & paste ninja action.

Code Name Flash (1987) Directed by: Leung Chi-Keung & Jeu Aau

KENNETH'S REVIEW: "Let's hear it for the boys in red!" Yep, it's war times with Chinese against those pesky Vietnamese, set to your age old upbeat score and propaganda can be smelled miles away indeed. Directors Leung Chi-Keung and Jeu Aau got their mission clear, to portray a select crew of bloodied heroes fighting for their families and country on the battlefield but don't think for a second outside viewers (me being waaaay outside) can engage much emotionally. No, spectacle is the name of the game, which the dual directors manages to find out in their quest to celebrate the nation too. So a healthy dose of war-gore, LOUD war-mayhem (archival footage doesn't detract as such as a matter of fact) passes the time adequately and the English dub feels suitably IFD-ish (but Joseph Lai has nothing to do with the flick) with character names such as Carol, Ronny and Larry.

Cohabitation (1993) Directed by: Roman Cheung

Not enough quality material, charisma but steam accompanies this Clifton Ko production. Director Roman Cheung has many facets to portray when relationships go the living together-route (instead of straight to marriage as any family elder would like to see be the choice). Enter a difficult transition as characters make up house rules, have sex quite a lot and develop an uncertainty after jealousy has done its part. Cheung does not have not the skills to develop further and the attractive acting quartet of Kenneth Chan, Anita Lee, David Wu and Jacqueline Law are even combined, average screen presences. So Cheung resorts to an age old attention grabber via the multiple Category II rated sex scenes and that should tell you a lot where Cohabitation ends up in terms of critical respect. Also with Michael Tong and Chan Suk-Yee (as the male character Mrs. Gay. Wong Jing subtlety on display here).

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The Coldest Winter In Peking (1981, Pai Ching-Jui)

With an anti-communist stance brewing intensely under- and on its surface, this Taiwanese production expectedly got banned in Mainland China (as well as in Hong Kong reportedly after a brief run). Taking place during the Cultural Revolution up until the death of Ma Zedong, it's a bit difficult as an outsider to grasp the entire extent of the characters and the conflict on display. What is clear however is that director Pai (and screenwriters) are clearly criticizing the tyranny and oppression in the name of change. Tearing families and characters apart physically and through violence, this in turn leads to a melodramatic but a generally well performed push. Combine solid production values (the film looks big but not glossy), ugly violence and you can extract that humanistic part of the message as well. Whether the claim of realism is a true one I can't say but there are things to connect to despite being on the outside with no connection to this time in history. Starring Charlie Chin, Sibelle Hu and George Wang.

Combat At Heaven Gate (1993) Directed by: Yu Chik-Lim

Channeling Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and grand adventures in general, this Mainland production does have certain chops to appear grand as it's certainly well-costumed, set designed and the action directing very much its own. Problem is, as we follow Sibelle Hu (who also appears in the period prologue) and crew chasing (along with the Japanese) a famous medicine book hidden behind the Heave Gate, there's not enough eye popping grandeur and mixture of adventurous set pieces for the experience to drive neatly forward. Looking rather flat at points and the steady stream of grounded and wire-enhanced action vary in quality, it's only towards the end where the budget shows up and the danger becomes a little more immediate. It's a valiant but spotty effort. Kenneth Tsang and Jimmy Lung also appear.

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