# 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 Hong Kong Connection (1987) Directed by: ?

A TVB feature production shot on video, a group of Interpol agents are hot on the trail of reluctant Green Dragon triad leader Steven Mo (Ray Lui) who's planning a big revenge for the death of his brother. Sending in one of their female agents as Sally Wong to gain the trust of Steven, as she gets deeper involved she also finds out more about the Steven that doesn't want the gangster life...

Some decent action-intensity initially promises good things and the dramatic angle has every kind of potential but no potential resides in the filmmakers. A 100 minute running time, triad actioner and melodrama, the movie has to win a lot of battles and in the end it merely gains a tiny bit of respect for trying. But executing standard tactics and clichés in the most standard and cliché way seriously slows down any momentum. Instead the notion of sin takes center stage because you never ever take this crap over 100 minutes. Someone needs to burn for that. A decent supporting cast includes Lau Siu-Ming, Lee Hoi-San, Sek Kin and Liu Kai-Chi.

Hong Kong Eva (1993) Directed by: Cheng Kin-Ping

From the cast & crew that brought us Body Lover, anyone who can make that reference probably watches too many crap Hong Kong movies. But the hell with it, Hong Kong Eva is a step up from Cheng King-Ping as he here logs a relentlessly poor action-erotica-drama-sleaze vehicle as appossed to the relentlessly boring exercise that was Body Lover. There's a difference you see. Starting out with three girlfriends at center, real estate professions with sex attached to it, robbers and perverts galore running amok, Hong Kong Eva creates little steam across the sex scenes but the biggest surprise is that the following darker parts of the film does not bore completely. Focusing on ex-triad Tong (Lau Siu-Gwan) who washes and watches cars for a living, he encounters the girls of the piece that soon will lead into match-up's with triads. Gone is the girl's reaping the benefits of horny apartment buyers (including Japanese men with a penchant for S/M). In is cheap melodrama where friendships are jeopardized and a gunplay ending is offered up. It's not really in the details and any viewer wanting it to make sense will stop early. At 80 minutes, Hong Kong Eva doesn't bore by being poor and that makes stuff watchable for some stretches of time.

Hong Kong Godfather (1985) Directed by: Johnny Wang

Popular screen villain (in among other things Lau Kar-Leung's Martial Club) Johnny Wang debuted at the late stages of Shaw Brothers as director with this completely ordinary and clichéd triad actioner. But having built a strong rep over the years via a censored print, Hong Kong Godfather rightly now takes a place in uncut form on Funimation dvd as a completely MEMORABLE ordinary triad actioner with HEAVY usage of what was probably the very last batch of Shaw Brothers blood available. Norman Tsui is womanizing Lung but is more drawn to the triad brotherhood... not always by choice. Leung Kar-Yan's character is retired. Same story there. They have a cop friend and ultimately are in need uniting, bearing brotherhood and loyalty on their chests and choppers in hands as they take revenge for a betrayal within the gang...

Seriously, you know this flick pretty well and Wang is by no means a finesse director. But he treats it as his baby, both directing, writing and action directing and it's the latter aspect he devotes himself to, big time. We get tastes of chopper action and some spurts of heavy duty violence for the genre throughout but it's the last, vicious reel that turns up the intensity. Smearing tons of blood on screen (and walls), the slice and dice action (literally) is exhilarating and the shopping mall finale (the second of 85, first and different being Jackie Chan's Police Story) gives the stuntmen a painful workout. Hong Kong Godfather lives up to its rep and as goofy as splatter like bloodshed may seem, it's easy to be hypnotized by the animalistic intensity to the violence that would become a Johnny Wang trademark in movies such as City Warriors and Escape From Brothel.

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Hong Kong Godfather (1991) Directed by: Hoh Cheuk-Wing

Hong Kong Godfather is another cops- and triads flick with a cast of comforting faces that does not surprise in the least. Arguably a comfort in itself, in this case much is made muddled aside from a fairly refreshing relationship between a cop (Roy Cheung) and the newly appointed triad head (Andy Lau). Memorable it is though, thanks to another person providing comfort: action director Stephen Tung. Choreographing fun chopper brawls and heavy duty gunplay, it represents a person and aspect that in 1991 Hong Kong cinema could do better than anyone and do it eerily effective. The fine cast includes Tommy Wong, Jimmy Lung, Joey Wong, Lo Lieh, Lam Chung and Lau Kong.

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Hong Kong Nocturne (1966) Directed by: Inoue Umetsugu

Musicals in Hong Kong cinema had by this time taken on a Hollywood style and there was no better place than to provide colour and lavish sets to the various numbers than at Shaw Brother's. Japanese director Inoue Umetsugu was drafted in to helm, and remake his own Odoritai Yoru, his first of many features at Shaw's in this story of three dancing sisters (Cheng Pei-Pei, Lily Ho and Chin Ping) and their hardships trying to make careers for themselves. Despite a colourful and sometimes goofy surface, it comes as a surprise that Inoue sets out to depress the hell out of us throughout. He really punishes our main characters and the main theme about families torn apart doesn't so much resonate greatly but proves to be engaging emotionally nonetheless. Not always on the money with his character-drama and throughlines to each and every one of them, Hong Kong Nocturne is a minor delight thanks to a trio of actresses that light up the screen. None more so than Cheng Pei-Pei who simply radiates during this high point in her career.

The musical numbers themselves (including a fair amount set in fantasy land) feature very little to almost no fancy choreography which may seem surprising considering the industry this comes from and the performers involved. However Inoue again injects his so much flair into his images that you're swept away suitably that way instead rather than by some Gene Kelly-esque put together number.

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Hong Kong Superman (1975, Ting Shan-Hsi)

An anonymous first half with Bruce Leung as a bodyguard for aspiring politician Dr. Chan (Stanley Fung) and how he squanders his friendships because of his job leads to a vigilante thriller! With a dark and melodramatic streak ignited as Dean Shek's girlfriend is raped, Leung (working with Sylvia Chang's character) goes out to clean up Hong Kong (and leaving little plastic figures behind, leading to him being identified as the titular superman). The drama and darkness is nothing new but goes for the jugular in an unexpected fashion and really does create more interest in the movie. From this point carried fairly well by Leung's extraordinary kicking, Hong Kong Superman becomes passable eventually. Featuring all too brief fights with Leung, Sammo Hung and Bolo Yeung.

Honor & Glory (1992) Directed by: Godfrey Ho

Released the same year as Ho's Undefeatable (also starring Cynthia Rothrock, John Ritz Miller and Donna Jason in a small role), at best Honor & Glory has sporadic fun when embracing the b-movie area of action cinema it does reside in but Ho doesn't make sparks fly to an enough extent mixing the Hong Kong style and making an English language film. Undefeatable earned its stripes by being cartoony but Honor & Glory aims for a more grounded feel and the action choreography also comes off as rather stiff and limp. Also shot and released in a version for the Hong Kong market called Angel The Kickboxer, this features cut out subplots to make room for new scenes with the likes of Yukari Oshima, Waise Lee and Pauline Chan but not much is improved. More fun can be had thanks to awful Cantonese dubbing of the Western actors and pretty atrocious subtitles.

Horrible High Heels (1996) Directed by: Chow Keung

Credited to another two directors, this mish-mash of genres and moods would've been far more acceptable had the movie decided not to put all into the mix. The key to a bit of a downfall for Horrible High Heels is subsequently the running time and main interest dying out a reel before the end. A worker in a small shoe factory brings some top of the line leather that becomes an instant seller at the shoe shop the company co-operates with. The key to success in that leather? Human skin.

A VHS release called it a "A Chinese Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and it definitely holds true for a few minutes as the opening murder and skinning contains elements of darkly comedic scenes from the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Cutting to essentially a small drama about a missing father, jealousy and conflicts spiced up with gangsters and cops, it literally feels like three different directors handling their own segment. The Shing Fui-On and Billy Chow scenes may have shoes IN them but are the ones that feel the most out of place (especially when the gangsters re-emerge during the end) while Dick Wei investigating the case has one action scene and very sporadic presence. More so than prior mentioned cast members scenes because eventually the cops are going to get a whiff of the crime by sheer logic. Horrible High Heels is pretty low class filmmaking with some welcome nasty sting to it though, decent gore but two bizarre moments makes it an eyebrow raiser. One is the main villain (whose identity is revealed pretty early on) having a fantasy that his rape victim is a swan or a goose while Dick Wei's tactic to disarm the second villain towards the end literally consists of him faking her out by saying: "Look behind you!". Low level fun that should've ended at the 80 minute mark but while I welcome the closure needed (but I don't welcome the attempted grave seriousness to the film), the aftermath with personal revenge, gunplay, fight scenes makes the movie overstay its welcome.

The Horse Thief (1986) Directed by: Tian Zhuangzhuang

Although requiring some better tuned spirituality than I have myself, the visual splendor combined with quite a minute but tragic story makes Tian Zhuangzhuang's (The Blue Kite) introspective tale quite the experience. Shooting in Tibet, casting untrained locals and highlighting as much of Tibetan culture as he can, the scope frame is incredible, with Tian's cinematographers Hou Yong (The Road Home) and Zhao Fei (The Emperor And The Assassin) capturing vistas of unparalleled beauty. It's not hypnotizing enough however to make us forget there's a largely non-dialogue based plot revolving around Nowre's (Gaoba) fate as a horse thief caught, banned from his town and struggling on the cold plains of Tibet. Tian rarely highlights the why's of Nowre's initial reasoning to actually betray Buddhist learning's but human nature isn't always written in the clear, concise reasoning. What's clear though is that Nowre enters a hell that can't be escaped from, no matter what right steps are attempted after sin.

Host For A Ghost (1984) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Nat Chan collaborated on the script as well as starred in this excessively uneventful and dull ghost-comedy. Directed by Ding Sin-Saai (The Beheaded 1000), the opening murder leading to fairly dopey behaviour with Nat Chan's Ah Nak is classic Hong Kong cinema in the way the mood changes. Especially illogical it seems when we during the opening credits hear the great song about Ah Nak and see how rich he is. Yet he's not and Ah Nak the journalist also engaging himself in an apartment-war resembles little of our expectations if you will. It's a late plot as it turns out, which is no excuse, but when his flatmate Mimi is possessed by a female ghost that gives him horse racing tips and a dead writer pays him a visit, director Ding will get the audience to go aha as he connects the dots. Despite, the whole affair is a missed a train and even though lead Chan plays underplays his annoying-factor, Host For A Ghost can't nail the finer points of how to make a ghost-comedy. Also with Melvin Wong.

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