# 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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Daddy, Father & Papa (1991) Directed by: Clifton Ko

Little Benny (Siu Ban-Ban) feels very little connected to his modern day urban family, especially so since his current father (Liu Wai-Hung) is merely his stepfather and a cheap, mean one as well. When on his own adventures in the city, Benny bumps into a group of criminals and happen to obtain a roll of film they're desperately after. Chased and subsequently kidnapped, Benny's mom (Teresa Mo) is forced to contact the potential ACTUAL fathers of Benny. One is a cop (Sammo Hung), the other skinny and timid (Raymond Wong). Let the rivalry begin...

Reportedly a remake of the French comedy Les Compères (starring Gérard Depardieu), you won't miss any point Clifton Ko injects into this mess. A kid wants a real fatherly connection, a point you'll notice since Ko slaps you in the face with it. Bad parenting. Very obvious point as Ko goes for our other cheek. And finally all involved, including the dueling papas, must learn to co-operate and evaluate what's best for Benny. By this time Ko goes for a full on blow to the face and you should feel blood streaming down the face. Yes, it's not smoothly integrated sentiments and combined with unfunny gay jokes, AIDS jokes and a sequence pretty much lifted from Home Alone (which isn't that funny anymore anyway), Daddy, Father & Papa is a tiresome farce with not as much heart as the filmmakers thinks it has. Seeing Sammo play something else is always encouraging but he's part of the abusive streak the movie has towards many walks of life (including animals) and it's definitely not fitting logically. It fits a Hong Kong movie however. A minor smirk or two emerges, mainly from Tommy Wong as part of the buffoon gang of criminals (that also includes James Tien). At one point he's force fed a Woody Woodpecker-toy and spends the next few scenes squeezing out nothing but the famed noises of the cartoon character. Think Clifton Ko and company asked for rights to use this or even the French movie copyright?

Dance Of Death (1976) Directed by: Chen Chi-Hwa

Fei Fei's (Angela Mao) clan is taken out so she poses as a man to trick a team of old masters (one literally looking like a beggar and the other is a drunkard judging by the red nose) to teach her their various forms of kung-fu. A lot of forms and styles, high pitched noises as dialogue, Dean Shek but more importantly Jackie Chan choreographed action later, Dance Of Death sure adheres to genre staples. Mostly in the worst of ways as this on autopilot-filmmaking is not a pretty showcase. Especially not when the included pieces simply doesn't gel but are performed anyway. Director Chen Chi-Hwa (Shaolin Wooden Men) seems to interfere a whole lot by favouring the comedy angle to the kung-fu but evidence of a Jackie in development is apparent too. With Mao clearly not a good fit for being a kickass clown basically, the various battles of slapstick mixed in with the fights are slow, stiff and very unfunny concepts. When you decide to let Dean Shek dominate within all this, employing the Pink Panther-form (cue expected music) and fart-form, shaking your head in disbelief won't make the choreography go faster. As the dual masters count which forms of theirs Angela Mao's character is using (it's their little contest between them), the trajectory of Dance Of Death is heading downwards fast but Jackie features fast, hard hitting, acrobatic and straightfaced choreography by the time we reach the end. Nevermind the actual concept of the dance of death, finally Angela Mao is immersed perfectly in the epic, superbly intricate scraps against Ga Hoi and Sun Jung-Chi. It's reference material material that many should and will favour instead of the feature.

Dance Of The Drunk Mantis (1979) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

Although one of its aka's was Drunken Master 2, Yuen Woo-Ping's Dance Of The Drunk Mantis is more of a reunion, with only Simon Yuen reprising his role and big star Jackie Chan did not or could not participate again. It's really unavoidable for the film to not live in the shadow of Drunken Master but it can can easily be judged on its own terms, and the judgment is of positive nature.

We get more of an insight into the family dynamics around Beggar So (Simon Yuen) and how he bonds with his adopted son (Yuen Shuen Yee). Basically the template of master-student training then takes over and quite an overabundance of exaggerated comedy, mainly from Yuen Shuen Yee. He proves that he was not going to break out as a leading man in this genre and to add to the damage, Dean Shek has an unbearable act as a banker with his own set of morals. Thankfully the kung fu is of high quality, going more of an intricate route but is nonetheless accessible and entertaining. This aspect especially flies when Yam Sai Koon's ailing character enters the frey and puts Yuen through his type of training. Other highlights includes a complex duel between Beggar So and Rubber Legs (Hwang Jang Lee) and the finale, ending on quite a darkly comedic note. Also appearing is Linda Lin, Corey Yuen and Chin Yuet Sang.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Dances With Dragon (1991) Directed by: Wong Jing

Out to make a buck with the aid of the God Of Gamblers structure coupled with good looking stars and a whole bunch of wacky silliness, Dances With Dragon is one of Wong Jing's more bearable commercial endeavors. Chairman Lone Ka Chun (Andy Lau) breaks away from fairly dick-ish behaviour and the rich world by hiding at Lantau Island as a Mainland immigrant. He's punished constantly by Shi Yi (Deannie Yip) who along with her daughter Moon (Sharla Cheung), who's just joined Ka Chun's company too, runs a small restaurant out of their house with an ultra-low ceiling. In Ka Chun's absence, people are steering the company in a manner that may endanger the living of his newly found, poor friends. Then Andy Lau has to fall in love with Sharla Cheung (who's a bit of an ugly duckling initially) of course. At first a tough trek and sell in combination with a hefty running time, Wong Jing finds momentum eventually. It's recognizable stuff from him that in other movies usually crashes and burn but he's got performers to act properly silly for him this time. That's why jokes about Sharla Cheung being hungry and seeing food everywhere she goes (including pork buns where Andy Lau's ass is. This joke would be reprised in City Hunter), Deannie Yip's kung fu scam, constant beating of Andy Lau and Ng Man-Tat as Ka Chun's fairly abused assistant gets to you. Yvonne Yung is also amusing as a foul-mouthed Mainlander. Probably very offensive in parts too, this is still lighthearted cinema not to be taken lightly and not seriously. Certainly Wong Jing's intentions at many times in his career but few times were as fun to follow for all its ups and downs during 100 minutes. Also with Alfred Cheung, Wu Ma and Paul Chu.

Dances With Snakes (1993) Directed by: Lee Gin-Hing

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Two voice over narrators setup the story (one telling, one reacting) about three sisters apparently snake-like in actual form or nature in need of constant male air (or rather semen) in order to battle their enemy Tinsan Monster (Dick Wei). When a team of missionaries arrive in the town, the girls find out that one that can give them ultimate energy. So a whole lot of sex for the devoted christian then. And also, some rich guy arranges an oil wrestling match. It's all very irrelevant, low-budget and uneventful. Which is the biggest shame because on paper, sex as a major plot point and therefore an unashamed excuse to feature it, could've been a blast. Charlie Cho appears as a great doctor of sorts with a huge penis and although playing the proceedings light, Dances With Snakes isn't particularly funny either. Just painfully low-budget.

Dancing Lion (2007) Directed by: Marco Mak & Francis Ng

After a video is leaked on to the internet of Fai (Francis Ng) and friend Nine (Lam Tze-Chung) performing lion dancing, the online hit leads to the two forming a successful team also consisting of their lion dance expert uncle Jiang (Anthony Wong) and aunt (Teresa Mo) but with highs as celebrities comes lows...

Although the film reportedly and also somewhat clearly is a satire of local Hong Kong culture and therefore will seem rather inaccessible for anyone not in the thick of it, directors Marco Mak and Francis Ng provides a slight but entertaining slice out of this particular story template. It's entertaining watching the lion dancing shell acting as an anchor of traditions so even fights breaking out will have to be performed from essentially within the costume. Ng and Mak also inject digs at advertising, gross out humour, random silliness, an energetic, entertaining cast and all before the main plot kicks in but have their most fun taking the family through celebrity status to being banned for being loud. The observations are not original but fun to see because of the tradition focused on. It's a cycle of expected proportions but not a thoroughly serious one thankfully either. Action director Ma Yuk-Sing stages some entertaining choreography involving the lion dance including an impressive one at a pool, a disco as well as the finale. Also appearing are Lam Suet, Chin Kar-Lok, Ronald Cheng and Sammy Leung.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Dancing Warrior (1985) Directed by: Chang Cheh

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Also known as The Warrior (which sounds harder) and Venom Warrior (US bootleg title), I'm sure it was a sound idea at the time to combine the craze of disco dancing with martial arts. Opting to be less wacky about it compared to Yuen Woo-Ping's kinda wonderful Mismatched Couples, Chang Cheh tells the story of Andy (Ricky Cheng, whose physical prowess is quite astounding) who has a lifelong dream of making it as a dancer. Eventually being fooled into coming to the land of dreams, i.e. U S of A, he will have to make the choice of living on the bare minimum (beer instead of brandy) or go into underground fighting...

As expected, there are no skills on display that could stand proudly next to Chang Cheh's prior work but Dancing Warrior isn't as typically Chang Cheh eccentric either as it doesn't pour on with his stock themes. Oh for sure we get some gory, glory deaths, bare breasted men and slow motion but the film travels less on the outskirts of cinema like most of Chang Cheh's latter works were. It even attempts to say something pessimistic about pursuing dreams and presents an oddly effective tragedy of an ending. But it's little, very little and odd dubbing such as "He's got style but he's no ninja material" makes you wonder what a wonderful tangent the movie could've had if it had pursued THAT dream. Chen Kuan-Tai and James Wong (also score) appear in cameos.

Dangerous Encounter - 1st Kind (1980) Directed by: Tsui Hark

a.k.a. Don't Play With Fire. Early Tsui Hark movie, his third and probably his most angry. Three high-school kids are involved in a car accident that leaves one man dead. No use trying to cover it up because teenage girl Wan (Lam Jan Kei in a standout performance) witnesses it all and decides to put the boys through hell. The four do join together when they stumble upon a box filled with Japanese currency bank drafts. That finding comes with very grave consequences.

Tsui sets up a very dark mood early through images such as a mouse being tortured, a brief shot of a doll being run over, all set in Hong Kong surroundings devoid of any bright light or colour. Despite having to watch brutal images such as the animal cruelty, you do become curious as to where Hark intends to go with this story. For a portion of the film there seems to exist three different plots but Hark skillfully weaves them together into a dark, very violent social commentary. It's feels more real because it's everyday characters who've headed into this situation and can't get out. Characters that deep inside look on Hong Kong society as opportunistic, via the illegal route. It all comes full circle in the bloody cemetery finale (very obvious symbolism but it works) that clearly reflects the low budget nature of the film but manages to make it's point. The Western bad guys are the elements that does make certain scenes cheesy but that's what you get in Hong Kong movies regardless. Lo Lieh appears in a supporting role as the abusive brother of Wan.

Tsui had to reshoot parts of and cut the movie because of the social critique he presented but the French HK Video dvd release reconstructs his version of the film through the use of low-quality footage.

Dangerous Person (1981) Directed by: Chen Kuan-Tai

Nothing new or extraordinary plot-wise goes on in Chen Kuan-Tai's vision as he's the overworked cop favouring the catching of bad guys instead of his spending time with his family and when one half of a robbers duo get shot, the remaining goes for revenge in callous, heinous ways. Once you get past the slow trek that is the first 30-40 minutes and see how Chen stages a store robbery and subsequent chase, the street grit of this story begins to be effective on screen. Adding layer upon layer of tough and distressing violence, Dangerous Person becomes the ride it sets out to be. The spare no one-stance is well used, Chen's knack for tension is showcased multiple times and while stating a commentary or two about the difficulties of working within the confines of the law because the bad guys doesn't, it doesn't try and be profound about it. Dangerous Person just wants to be violently felt and is all the better for it. Lo Lieh, Jimmy Lee and Paul Chun also appear.

Danny The Dog (2005, Louis Leterrier)

After a string of American movies with little to no challenge thematically and character-wise, Jet Li went to Europe to work for Luc Besson and sans the same commercial preassure he delivers at that time a rarely seen mix of non-verbal acting AND hard hitting martial arts. It's a collision of two worlds that doesn't seem to have a chance to work but does. Being the child like fighting muscle of Bob Hoskins' gangster boss, Danny (Li) escapes these confines, the leash and takes refuge with an American family living in Glasgow. Blind piano tuner Sam (Morgan Freeman) and his daughter Victoria (Kerry Condon) introduces Danny to the basics he's never been allowed to experience and as a consequence, regressed memory comes to life. Besson and Leterrier have pulled off a minor miracle here, showing full understanding of what Jet Li audiences pay to see but asking them to absorb that in combination with a sincere and affecting drama about awakening. Working under the guidance of fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping, the fights are some of the most brutal of both Li's but also Yuen Woo-Ping's career. Plus almost fully coherent camerawork, editing and just enough wire enhanced abilities for it to not stray make these fights feel raw and primal. When then bringing in the tender the world of Freeman's represents (the veteran actor really excels at this mild, kind nature), these are wild contrasts that Besson argues can and should be reside next to each other. Meaning one world has less hope, more violence while the outside has opportunities to progress and grow. Li is relying on many quiet passages, logically increased English dialogue later in the movie and is cast perfectly as he moves from one world to his brand new one. It's a child introduced to the charms the city can offer up. Whether talking food or the key theme of music. There's a natural flow here and no scene or center piece feels scheduled. Despite this logically being a genre film. Or two.

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