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The Golden Triangle (1975) Directed by: Wu Ma & Rome Bunnag

Shot in Hong Kong and Thailand, it's opium wars reigning with those growing the crop trying to make a living and not have it end up in the hands of drug smugglers. Lo Lieh plays one such hired by Tien Feng's gang to acquire the latest opium batch that is guarded by Tanny Tien's character. A possible undercover cop exists in one of the camps too. Strung together in the dullest of ways, endless scenery shots, stiff action and lack of at least decent pace sinks the only mild ambitions The Golden Triangle seemed to have anyway. Tien Feng is stereotypical evil and Lo Lieh the cool drug smuggler but those favourite performers can only provide mild, very sporadic spark. One shootout at the end redeems Lo Lieh a little though.

The Gold-Hunters (1981) Directed by: Fung Hak-On & Law Kei

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Three pickpockets (Lau Ga-Yung, Lee Hoi-San & Mang Chiu) do their damndest to get hold of a gold treasure circulating around town. It's just a matter of finding the right box and keep out of harms way of others who wants the riches. Greed, murder and undercranked comedy follows as well as the Jackie Chan stamp on the action so The Gold-Hunters can't fail that miserably beforehand. Not in any way a long lasting classic, seeing Lee Hoi-San being part of the light, wacky lead trio is a fun change of pace and a handful of scenes are quite clever. In one we see the trio re-enact a fight that contained written clues and the fake fighting in a local whorehouse registers. Obviously with the involved logging a high level of competence and the Jackie Chan's Stuntmen Association making sure the choreography is intricate while also utilizing props, the film scores sufficiently and adds very little violence to top it all off. Fung Hak-On, Wilson Tong, Tai Po and Wu Ma also appear.

Gold Raiders (1983) Directed by: Philip Chalong

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Presented by Tomas Tang's Filmark merely (i.e. no ninjas as that idea was not yet at the forefront), this Thai/UK production runs way too long and takes itself seriously to the point where it becomes way too uneventful. But unintentional hilarity and decent sized mayhem will have B-movie lovers finding some slight charms to cherish. John Banner (Robert Ginty - The Exterminator) leads a team of soldiers into enemy territory to retrieve a major shipment of gold that has gone done with its cargo plane. Along the way he reconnects with an old flame and fires on hordes of stuff. We need oozes of camp and we're rarely near it, which is a problem imposed on us by director Philip Chalong but pieces scattered throughout are worthwhile. Hear the English language track still make the point that Thai people and Americans don't understand each other, see poor special effects galore in the form of the biggest fish in the pond, vampire bats, a wonderfully dubbed, one-legged General, John Banner's very American-made missile motorbike/hang glider and "serious drama" concerning friends divided by politics. It all even ends with what was attempted to amount to a poignant speech about the hopelessness of it all but caps a hokey experience its audience would want to endure. It certainly is slicker than Filmark's own productions so I bet Tang and co. were proud. Also known as Fire Game.

Gold Snatchers (1973) Directed by: Kim Lung

Chen Sing out of prison aggressively and intensely fights with a ton of his brother's (Lung Fei) henchmen and tries to convert the criminal brother to the good side. If anything a reference example of Chen Sing's strengths as a rough, hard hitting fighter, the parade of fights is highly enjoyable and when by the end taking on dogs as well, you know Gold Snatchers is steering you into fun territory (despite in reality being rather melodramatic).

Gone With The Cloud (1974) Directed by: Steven Lau

In her debut Outside The Window (1973), Brigitte Lin played a schoolgirl engaged in forbidden love with her teacher. The second on-screen appearance in Gone With The Cloud puts her next to someone similarly aged but it's still a romance, between Lee Chung-Liang (Lin) and Shanming (Gu Ming-Lun), not approved by each respective family. Standing on traditions and notions of face, these are choices that leads to ache rather than bright, secure futures. Characters such as Chung-Liang's sister Di Di (the incredibly beautiful Tong Bo-Wan), who is taking care of the family all by herself, are among the ones taking a hard beating after taking part in this decision...

One tradition Gone With The Cloud also stands on is the tools of the trade of the Taiwan melodrama and it's something that strikes back at Steven Lau's film to a degree. Appearing quite calculated in its usage of repetitive sound cues to represent a dramatic beat and theme songs to speak of the emotion on-screen, in fact Lau has an interesting tragedy to speak of. Certainly showing more confidence when creating more cinematic flourishes the darker the drama becomes, Lau easily slips into (and often) the over the top gear as well. Sometimes the moments visually are suitably subtle but blasting on the audio we still get rampant voice over and more songs (accompanied by a montage at times too). Narrative-wise it takes a while to get past the talky nature, Brigitte Lin's nasty and mean character and the fact that she seems to change her opinion of Shanming fast but for somewhat seasoned viewers of the genre, Gone With The Cloud offer some compelling (darker) stretches of film, albeit more sporadic than one would like. Director Lau co-stars as Chung-Liang's brother in a sub-plot that largely feels like filler. Also with Guan Shan (The Tournament).

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The Good, The Bad & The Bandit (1991) Directed by: Lam Ji-Yan

After losing his memory, gangster Lau Chia Tin (Ray Lui) begins to explore what went wrong and the possibility that his boss (Wong Yung) betrayed him. He crosses paths with and teams up with a low ranked triad (Simon Yam) that is in debt but he might be able to clear it if he gives Lau to his former employers...

There's much of The Good, The & The Bandit that is average but also satisfying in a comforting way. Clearly not shot on a single set but rather in cramped apartments and outside, the various fisticuffs and shoot outs are never particularly noteworthy or exciting, it's all only mildly funny or brutal and leading charisma is clearly not put forth by Ray Lui. But it's from such a correct era for me personally where standards, even below standards as long as a wide mix is on display, is very much sufficient. Simon Yam in his 40th movie that year probably has quite a bit of fun though and his entrance on a motorbike of course sets up a later action scene that is the best this mild experience has to offer. Some brutality and a crudely inserted sex scene later, a lot of barely standard familiarity saves The Good, The Bad & The Bandit believe it or not and it's over as well as forgotten quick. Also appearing is Michael Chan, playing a cop in a rare occurrence.

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The Good, The Bad & The Beauty (1988) Directed by: Frankie Chan

Frankie Chan vehicle that shows sparks of promise in the beginning but derails as we move along. This action-comedy has no shame in the way it changes moods in a heartbeat and that combination is acceptable for a while since the action, primarily gunplay and stunts, is of pretty decent caliber. Strangely enough, Frankie seems to have used all his ammo quickly and the rest of the film gives us even less fun comedy and worse action, including the finale. The potential for an entertaining slice of 1980s action distraction was there but not for a full feature. Frankie has definitely done better, especially action-wise. Cherie Chung brings a nice, playful presence though but the film is still a chore to get through. Also starring Kent Cheng and Bill Tung.

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Goodbye Captain (1998) Directed by: Chun Lok

It looks a little tired as it's from a production year not notable for many genre highlights but this mostly Mainland set actioner featuring Yu Rong-Guang fleeing the world of triads to reconcile with his son is a bit of a sleeper hit on the senses. Granted, it's very low-budget and its drama isn't prime or suited for prime time but within the genre framework, director Chun Lok makes his dips into seriousness surprisingly worthwhile. Dealing with how lies affects your child, you do become even more surprised that it actually rings true of poignancy towards the end. But Goodbye Captain is mostly about adhering to its preferred movie type and it almost seems to blow its wad early with some impressive mayhem. Stock bad guys (main one being Ken Tong, sporting an eye patch that "creatively" varies throughout) and some slightly sluggish choreography is very evident subsequently. However grit and flow there continues to be plentiful of, especially in the warehouse finale. Also with Diana Pang, Cheung Kwok-Keung, Takajo Fujimi and a short appearance by William Ho (who is hilariously dubbed on the Mandarin version).

Goodbye Darling (1987) Directed by: Raymond Wong

Many should be asking themselves when faced with Goodbye Darling: how could Raymond Wong bag Cherie Chung as his wife in the film?! Aside from being the creative force of course, the character is probably just a nice guy but he's about let her slip from his gentle grip. All due to a misunderstanding that makes him believe he has terminal breast cancer and he sets out to find a suitable husband to take over after he's gone. The choice is Joe (Mark Cheng)...

Wong's recipe for the film seems to be breakneck speed and going as low brow as possible. Pratfalls, AIDS jokes, gay jokes, transvestite jokes, more gay jokes and the male Hong Kong populous is portrayed as having a great, big hard on for Cherie Chung. This is the politically incorrect world as interpreted by Wong but it's a very funny one. It's simple but it's rapid in a sense, creating comedic effects of the guilty pleasure kind. Hong Kong cinema reveled in this silliness but it's rare when it's actually delightful to boot. More often than not, you sigh along with it. Not that any of those types of comedic executions are hard to get through though.

Raymond does seem to go some heartwarming routes also but never ventures too far into it and never showcases that he's capable either. So it's not an underrated pre-cursor to Always On My Mind but it's a fine, funny addition to Cinema City's catalogue. Co-starring John Shum.

Goodbye Hero (1990) Directed by: Jacob Cheung

A welcome glimpse into the lowly life of a Hong Kong stuntman, Goodbye Hero stars Derek Yee as the veteran Tony who handles both a friend (Chin Siu-Ho) who's been paralyzed from the profession and a cocky, new kid on the block (David Wu). Feeling shame for not having moved on, Tony is at a transition where he's either going to pass on his knowledge or die practicing it...

An ace director directing an ace director, Jacob Cheung (Cageman, Battle Of Wits) gets solid presence out of Derek Yee (who had directed The Lunatics and People's Hero by this point), possessing the shell of a usually reserved character well. The glimpses into the mentioned shame he feels, having not upgraded himself to even action director is quietly communicated and felt. During this heyday of action filmmaking, limits were pushed without much acknowledgements at least in terms of money coming to these brave men and women. The film is at his best when highlighting these issues and the behind the scenes aspects. Having to create more extreme stunts, the risk for the ACTUAL filmmakers here is that they have to do the same for sake of drama. This they pull off but when Cheung directs his attention to the off-set narrative involving David Wu and Vivian Chow's characters, the film doesn't engage as much and would've benefited from even more focus on Yee and supporting player Chin Siu-Ho. Ching Siu-Tung plays a director while Lam Ching-Ying, Petrina Fung and Cora Miao also appear. The story scenario would later be somewhat echoed by Yee when he directed Full Throttle that also co-starred David Wu.

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