# 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
Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14
Drugs Area (1991, Cheung Bing-Chan)

One of many low budget actioners of the 90s but it doesn't embarrass itself. Although it doesn't come recommended either. Lam Wai is Peter who grasps a power position away from drug dealer Mr. Ko (Eddy Ko) in Thailand. Previously he callously killed a cop (Michael Miu) and after revenge is his fiancee played by Sibelle Hu. A movie that needs its sellable goods to deliver because the in between drama isn't competent. Lam Wai however is dependable and gets to work with a few interesting beats but most content outside of his scenes tends to be forgettable. Action-directing mixes and gunplay and fights to a decent degree in a scene or two, with big squibs and effective editing to enhance intensity present. But any worthwhile aspect only comes up to the surface sporadically and Drugs Area really isn't making a mark at all most of the time. Especially evident in the lackluster boat chase-finale. Also with Kenneth Tsang.

Drugs Fighters (1995) Directed by: Yiu Tin-Hung

Functional storytelling (although a bit too thick on characters) in between the action but ultimately the latter aspect is THE showcase for Drugs Fighters. Not a bad thing since Alan Chui goes for intense bloodshed and fairly painful looking fight choreography, mostly showcased when he himself lights up the screen. Cast of Yukari Oshima, Ngai Sing, Lam Wai and Yuen Wah are all on board and game and Chui also ultimately deserves kudos for igniting what is a very low budget actioner anyway.

Drunken Master (1978) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

The key team behind the Seasonal hit Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, producer Ng See Yuen and director Yuen Woo-Ping assembled once again, creating another box-office smash with Drunken Master. As with the former breakout effort, this one still lives and breathes today.

Comedy is broad, with both Jackie and Dean Shek being culprits but Chan, giving us his take on the young Wong Fei-Hung, overcomes such negatives by displaying a lasting sense of childish charm and fun. With that solidified, the martial arts action (choreographed by Woo-Ping, Yuen Shun-Yi, Corey Yuen and Hsu Hsia), with emphasis on the comedic as that was a successful recipe to continue exploring, is intricate, lengthy and thoroughly entertaining. The various training sequences are arguably some of the most memorable aspects of the film as it shows a young Jackie at his very agile best.

Simon Yuen's veteran presence is always welcome, this time taking on the classic character of the drunken beggar (So Hat-yi in Chinese) but if there's a true niggle here for me personally is that the chemistry between the two leads is lacking compared to Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, where a genuine warmth existed between the two. Despite, Drunken Master became and still is an important martial arts classic which was topped tenfold by the Lau Kar Leung/Jackie Chan helmed sequel in 1994.

Mei Ah's remastered dvd is good although there seems to exist a difficulty obtaining a full length Cantonese audio master these days. Columbia's Region 1 release from 2002 filled in the blanks with English dubbing while Mei Ah in 2004, via branching, feature Mandarin instead. Shame that no effort was made to cull the audio master from older home video releases such as the Far East laserdisc but the branching works smoothly and it's a more preferable solution the Hong Kong disc provides. That said, the first fight scene in the film, between Hwang Jang Lee and Yuen Shun-Yi, is obviously newly redubbed. Madness. Thanks to John Charles of Hong Kong Digital for the above information.

Buy the DVD at:

Drunken Master III (1994) Directed by: Lau Kar-Leung

Creative differences on the style of fighting prompted Lau Kar-Leung to leave the project and immortal classic Drunken Master II, with star Jackie Chan taking over the finale and completing the film. That's one version of the story and the same year a very sad story in moving pictures landed courtesy of Lau Kar-Leung. Namely yet another unrelated entry in the series covering Wong Fei-Hung's younger, more mischievous days and what a full on failure it was to boot. The whimsy story about rebels (led by Andy Lau) supporting Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, an emperor's princess (Michelle Reis) caught in the middle and Wong Fei-Hung (Willie Chi - Burning Paradise where he played another folkhero, Fong Sai-Yuk, as illustrated in dark ways by Ringo Lam) getting up to no good. If the real life backdrop mixed in with the myth of Wong Fei-Hung and comedic shenanigans worked even the tiniest bit, I would probably make an effort explaining the story more. But as this is such an anonymous effort to begin with, headed from the top by the legend Lau Kar-Leung, I shouldn't bother. Nor shall you. Embarrassing interludes with Simon Yam as a flamboyant bus passenger and fairly well executed action towards the last 10 minutes... it ain't enough to redeem anything and you'd wish some unknown crew was on this film. Not legends such as Lau and Gordon Liu. Also with Adam Cheng as Wong Kei-Ying, father of our titular character (who does very little drunken fist or boxing by the way). Lau Kar-Leung's wish for more traditional kung-fu on screen may be visible here but it's a shameful effort despite.

Buy the DVD at:

Drunken Tai Chi (1984) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

Donnie Yen's excellent big screen debut is a true work of Yuen Clan art. Because when at their best, their stamp isn't just on the fight scenes but they take on the challenge of making just about every scene filled with their creativity, wit and insanity. So Drunken Tai Chi is obviously conflicted in the vein of Dreadnaught (and a plethora of other Hong Kong movies) but thoroughly entertains. Oddly enough, the period piece has tons of 80s and modern references, ranging from the Wil E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons (a scene involving extensive usage of fireworks, including a centipede shaped piece cements this), breakdancing, moonwalking and BMX cycling. All very smoothly integrated for the wacky/basic revenge story the movie is. There are some unexpected dramatic turns to take seriously if one like, mainly referring to Yuen Yat-Chor's supporting part as the lowly, mistreated brother of the spoiled Chin Do (Yen). Yuen Shun-Yi also reprises his psychotic killer role from Dreadnaught to an extent but director Yuen adds elements such as Shun-Yi being a mute and a single father. It's there to be taken in but can easily be ignored as scenes involving this are short enough anyway. Main highlight is of course the splendid choreography and character interplay that pays off mostly when it's all about Donnie (who works himself well into the wackiness of it all), Lydia Shum (who has several excellent scenes she performs to an admirable extent) and the drunken tai chi master himself, Yuen Cheung-Yan in a patented performance (and character design). There's no shortage of astonishment. Also with Don Wong and Mandy Chan.

Duckweed (2017, Han Han)

Although he's achieved success as a race car driver, Xu Tailang (Deng Chao) resents his father (Eddie Peng) for criminal activity in the past and how that affected his mother to the degree that he never got to meet her. Taking his father on an aggressive joy ride, a train collides with his car. As he's worked on by doctors, Xu Tailang drifts away and into the past where he meets his father and aids in a local gang dispute. A mix of Back To The Future and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father, director Han Han is here to present a simple story, a re-examination of perception and there's both heart and humour to be found in that. Mainly in Eddie Peng's character who preaches being a helpful gangster rather than a criminal, headbusting one. The dry, quirky humour lands but the connection to this possibly actual occurrence, dream or fantasy gets a little lost behind comedic choices. The farce is well played but it disguises the path of Deng Chao's character towards accepting and forgiving his father. When it echoes themes of the irreversible course of history and there's a chance to mend a relationship, those emotions remain a bit too faded in the background. Director Han Han believes and executes but we are left behind with only fair engagement in the end.

The Duel (1971) Directed by: Chang Cheh

One of 6 Chang Cheh movies released at Shaw Brothers in 1971, it's one of the stronger entries ever for himself and stars Ti Lung and David Chiang as The Duel channels brutality, primal violence and bloodshed like never before to the best of my recollection. In the aftermath of a gang war that leaves their master dead, Tang Ren Jie (Ti Lung) takes the blame and runs away for a year. Coming back, the once solid organization is destroyed and even girlfriend Hu Di (Wang Ping) has been forced into prostitution by the powers now at the top. Before, Jian Nan The Rambler (David Chiang) was brought in to assist in the ongoing rivalry and as Tang Ren Jie uncovers what went down during the months he was away, The Rambler might've been involved in the death of Tang's master so a duel is looming...

Incredible fury, bloodshed, loud sound design for the sake of action impact, The Duel is at heart very basic but with a honed sense of delivering on a basic premise that slowly but surely is developed into something substantial when focusing only on the often used leads. Deadly enemies and one sided, mysterious admiration by Jian Nan, along the way things aren't as clear cut as they seem in terms of their relationship and it's a delight following the bloody brotherhood angle all the way till the end with several graphic, brutal and iconic moments along the way (with the best one saved for last with fights in the rain and mud). A pure massacre on the senses and a violent delight from an acting and filmmaking team on an undeniable and legendary run. Cheng Hong-Yip co-stars as the loyal, knife wielding brother of Tang Ren Jie.

The Duel (2000) Directed by: Andrew Lau

Gu Long Wuxia adaptation with all the bells and whistles that a 2000 production can offer. Premiered at the Lunar New Year and with successful director Andrew Lau (The Storm Riders) at the helm of yet another fantasy romp, of course The Duel would rake in the money. Plus it has the excuse of playing during a time where commercialism rule and therefore its shortcomings feels a little less offensive than they probably should. Still, Andrew Lau's attempt at heartfelt emotions, CGI enhanced Ching Siu-Tung action, mo lei tau comedy and a twisting narrative in the tradition of these Wuxia novels is largely a flat effort. Nick Cheung desperately tries to evoke the comedic chops of Stephen Chow but instead presents a highly forced and unfunny act. Ching Siu-Tung's action would've been a nice throwback to the new wave of the 90s had it not been for the added CGI that doesn't make the choreography fly and Andrew Lau again proves why cinematographers often make poor storytellers. But who am I to complain when the Lunar New Year output isn't supposed to be better than this anyway...

Reasonably clever hints to the modern era and Andy Lau bringing presence that will kick and scream long after he's gone are positives in Lau's big budget frame however. Also with Ekin Cheng, Norman Tsui, Jerry Lamb, Elvis Tsui, David Lee, Patrick Tam and Vicky Zhao.

Buy the DVD at:

Duel For Gold (1971) Directed by: Chor Yuen

Despite the stylish opening with high flying action in the out of focus background and quick shots of carnage mixed in with crates of gold (all glimpses of the end of the story), Chor Yuen keeps matters simple in his story about lust for money. This is not a huge character examination but instead devotion lies showcasing the Shaw Brothers production values with an aura of clarity to the story. Mix that with loud, intense, high flying swordplay that still echoes Chor Yuen's style in bashers like The Killer, Duel For Gold succeeds at what it does without taking an unnecessary, complex route. Bonus points for some surprising gore and creative death scenes. Starring Ivy Ling Po, Lo Lieh, Wang Ping, Chin Han and Chung Wa.

Duel Of Fists (1971) Directed by: Chang Cheh

Shaw Brother's film stock reserve and costume department must've been raided before Chang Cheh went to shoot Duel Of Fists in Thailand. His middle of the road, lightweight effort sure bears some trademarks of his such as themes of brotherhood (quite literal this time around) and the level of blood offered up (it feels rather jarring when it does rear its head in this particular case) but once you settle on the fact he's not out to make or is capable of making much of this David Chiang/Ti Lung collaboration, you sit back and watch the unintentionally funny travel documentary unfold instead. Chang Cheh never fails to remind us we're in Thailand. David Chiang is in Thailand. David Chiang's groovy outfits are in Thailand. David Chiang walks around with a lady friend in all too prolonged shots OF Thailand that are ACTUALLY in Thailand for real. The filmmakers do pay respect to the culture they're inhabiting though, especially in the various boxing scenes that showcase traditional ring rituals. Despite the plot about Chiang's character getting involved with the lethal Bangkok boxing underworld, where his long lost brother (Ti Lung) acts as a fighter, there's rarely a sense of danger here or character. It's a clothing and poor-pacing showcase of fun proportions and perhaps the legendary director felt a need to indulge and relax. Again, once you acknowledge what you're in for, you'll have fun and Chang Cheh's reputation can hardly be tarnished anyway. Even if weaknesses were starting to show in yet another packed year of productions. Ching Li, Ku Feng, Chan Sing, Wong Chung, Pawana Chanajit and Woo Wai also appear.

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14