# 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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Deaf And Mute Heroine (1971) Directed by: Wu Ma

KENNETH'S REVIEW: No extensive back story or plot, just straight forward, grimy, excessive and over the top swordplay from Wu Ma (also a supporting actor here). Telling the story of the titular character played by Helen Ma, all are after her due to a batch of pearls she carries and her falling in love with cloth-dyer Wang (Ting Ching) puts him in danger...

The first half hour is pretty relentless with pounding, stolen music galore, a heightened gore level that sees Wu Ma emulating his mentor Chang Cheh and fight scenes often turning very dirty as the environments are affected by unstable weather. It's primitive but not in any way an aspect to be looked down upon. However interest peters when the intensity does but nevertheless we're overall offered up watchable, to the point action adventure in the Wuxia world.

Dear Murderer (1969) Directed by: Shima Koji

Favouring promotion and finally showing those that put him down before that he's become something in the world, Zhang (Peter Chen) murders his pregnant girlfriend (a worker in the same company, played by Ting Hung) and marries the daughter (Betty Ting Pei) of the boss. Soon he's haunted by visions of her ghost. Delivering a solid thriller and buildup, Dear Murderer is a bit overlong (the body disposal scene in particular) and the finale twist is rather weak. But the dips into horror are very effective, loud and freaky and tension decent as Zhang's world collapses predictably. Also with Wang Hsieh as the detective closing in on Zhang.

The Death Curse (2003) Directed by: Soi Cheang

Soi Cheang continues on his horror path but this time confining it into a pop star vehicle, led by The Twins (Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung). It is a lot darker than to be expected because of it and admittedly, Soi Cheang's eye for horror visuals is sharp at times. The Death Curse is pretty harm- and aimless most of the time though and while that should count as minor praise considering the type of project, no one involved really progresses, including director Cheang. Production design, art direction and Peter Ngor's cinematography do enhance but it didn't need to be that good. Co-starring Alex Fong and Raymond Wong.

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HK Flix.com

Death Duel (1977) Directed by: Chor Yuen

Derek Yee is the master swordsman who wants to leave that life behind but the swordsman-world isn't about to let him go that easy. Chor Yuengives us another marvelous, yet slightly artificial looking production, action choreography of high quality (by Tong Gaai & Wong Pau Gei) but doesn't fully make his downbeat depiction of the world hit home at the emotional center (The Bastard was a better example of the director hitting all the right notes). Also, the narrative seems too repetitive at times, leading to action scene upon action scene. That's not a bad thing but one expected more sophistication from a Gu Long adaptation and director Chor Yuen. It's definitely worthy of a watch though for positive reasons mentioned and for the chance to see a young Derek Yee, before becoming one of Hong Kong's most acclaimed directors. He has decent presence even if another superstar, veteran Shaw Brother's player might've elevated the film. Chu Yuan also references his other works through the cameos of Ti Lung (as his character from Magic Blade) and Lo Lieh (Killer Clans). Also with Candy Yu, David Chiang, Ling Yung, Fan Mei Sheng and Ku Feng.

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Death Duel Of Kung Fu (1979, William Cheung)

Bless them, they try. But when you tally it all up, Death Duel Of Kung Fu has tried quite hard to be very serious and plot-driven but that is largely an area the audience can't penetrate. But not resorting to comedy is a major plus and that it exists for the parade of fighters and fight-scenes is one as well. Quality intensity, variety and intricacy is on display, with John Liu in particular showcasing an awe inspiring flexibility. That a movie could earn a rather solid pass through the main selling point makes sense but it's not always kung fu movies warrants your attention even during said action. This does. Also with Don Wong and Eagle Han Ying.

The Death Games (1997) Directed by: James Wu

While hardly the movie that would put Fan Siu-Wong on the map as an action star, The Death Games represents part of his long journey as a hard worker and eventually shining in the likes of Ip Man and The Moss. Directed by James Wu (The Super Ninja), as a storyteller we can't rely much in Wu as the revenge tale is by the numbers, the melodrama is cranked up high and romance entirely uninteresting. Some beats between Fan and Kim Maree Penn as the woman of the villain Tiger are interesting however as she approaches matters from a more intelligent, honorable martial arts perspective. Achieving watchable status through some sharp squib work and martial arts, Fan Siu-Wong comes off well and especially when taking on the Japanese fighter of the piece (played with great flamboyancy by Ngai Sing). Oddly enough once the final fight scenario is over, Wu adds another end fight which is entirely inappropriate as it partially takes away the fun high the movie ended on. Also with Leung Kar-Yan and Billy Chow.

Death On The Docks (1973, Cheung Sum)

Ex-con Hsu (Alan Tang) tries to put his life behind him but gets pulled into area of crime again. A fully standard and predictable action-drama (where the martial arts is of the basher-variety), through some actual sincere passages of drama here and there, Death On The Docks manages to become above average as a narrative. Maybe because one might not expect much from it but adding to this anyway is terrific action choreography by Lau Kar-Wing and Huang Pei-Chih. Alan Tang, not much of a kung-fu player, corresponds very well to the hard hitting and sometimes very fast nature of the brawls. Making this effort bearable whilst people are experiencing the downbeat drama and rather compelling when they're fighting for their lives that ultimately ends at the docks. Yea, English title was a bit spoiler-ridden in nature.

Death Ring (1984) Directed by: Chang Cheh & Lu Feng

The loyalty towards Chang Cheh post-Shaw Brothers certainly is uplifting as Ti Lung, Chen Kuan-Tai and one of the Venoms Lu Feng appears in Death Ring. But that joy becomes conflicted because the movie is too. We get a very basic, flat entry into the story via the murder by Dai Chi (Lee Chung-Yat) of Lo Pang Fi. Lo is jealous of Dai's relationship with Lin May (Chen Kuan-Tai plays her father) and being from rival martial arts schools doesn't help either. Dai Chi flees to Thailand, goes back after 3 years for some lovin' but is discovered by the revenge-driven family of Lo Pang Fi's (headed by the father played by Chan Sing). A pimp (Ti Lung) steps in the way of the Lo's achieving revenge the unjust way and off to Thailand Dai Chi goes again to find his father. Here is where the titular death ring comes in as he gets involved with underground boxing matches...

Downright sloppy (study the timeline of the film and the various aging vs- non-aging process some of the characters go through) is the verdict and it's sad to see Chang Cheh having fallen so far from grace, even though some of the martial arts scenes shot in Hong Kong gives way for some watchable fluidity. Switching to Thailand, this is where Lu Feng's direction takes over and the flat mess it once was now turns into boredom, disinterest with a twist of muddled storytelling. Chang Cheh's stamp may have been fading but that stamp was the only thing keeping Death Ring alive for a little bit. As an aside, as with many later Chang Cheh films, they echoed stories, settings and ideas from past productions and Death Ring could be argued to be a little re-thread of Duel Of Fists (1971).

Defenders Of Space (1987) Directed by: Kenneth J. Halls

Made in South Korea as Phoenix King in 1984 (directed by Jeong Su-yong) and distributed by Joseph Lai's IFD Films & Arts as under the title Defenders Of Space, it was yet another market he wanted to tap into while making the ninja cut and paste action range and the sources more often than not were Korean made animation titles. Phoenix King being a particularly infamous example as the shameless exploitation of the market wasn't done by Lai but the original makers. Re-branding but essentially ripping off images and characters from popular animation titles and franchises such as Transformers, don't think for a second it has the chops to do it well. No, underneath a generic save the earth from invading alien forces storyline, the technical merits are pretty low with stiff and crude animation (that relies a lot on moving background elements and still foreground elements). In the hands of IFD though in combination with these images, the very short feature has its enjoyable, daft moments. Ranging from the fake English names in the credits (their advertising material lists another director completely), poor dubbing, intimidating alien names such as Nicholas, robots fighting against each other in space using axes and ball chains (the alien robot is named Super Sirius which becomes, if you're in a good mood, Super Serious) and best of all, our hero character shooting down an incoming missile with essentially a handgun.

The Delightful Forest (1972, Chang Cheh & Pau Hsueh-Li)

Part of the 108 Mount Liang outlaws that populate the classical Chinese novel 'The Water Margin', Ti Lung only made brief appearances in the movie adaptation of the same name and All Men Are Brothers. But The Delightful Forest is focused solely on his story as renowned robber Wu Sung who commits a murder early in the film. Extremely capable and strong (the character is said to have killed a tiger), he withstands torture in jail and therefore isn't broken as easily as anticipated. Leading to being recruited to go to the town dubbed Delightful Forest and clear out Jiang Zhong (Chu Mu) who is a one man terror around the bustling town of merchants, inns and brothels. Jiang Zhong runs for the hills a little too easily though and Wu Sung faces a greater, bloodier challenge ahead.

If The Water Margin was a little bit daunting and impersonal due to the sheer number of characters, The Delightful Forest reduces the focus to essentially a single one and it's standalone to the point where no previous experience with the Mount Liang outlaws is needed. This allows the movie to have fun with an always confident and in-control main character (and as a result actor Ti Lung gets to play) and it feels a little bit outside of the normal template and style for a Chang Cheh film. The playful nature is also enhanced with music cues from Ennio Morricone's scores for Duck, You Sucker! and Once Upon A Time In The West. Add to this a compelling style of action with an emphasis on the raw, gritty, loud and a show stopping, blood soaked ending with Wu Sung slicing, dicing and kicking his way through opponents and fans of the director should be satisfied. In slim form, now all of a sudden 'The Water Margin' seems approachable.

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