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Lucky Seven (1986) Directed by: Chiu Chan-Kwok

A group of not so cute, not so funny kids run around in undercranked fashion, fight and run from clumsy villains wanting their precious diamond back and get abused quite a bit by the stunt crew by the end... it's the latter aspect that saves Lucky Seven from being a fully terrible, live cartoon for the kids as all of a sudden the adult sit up and notice the action and the little ones take the hits and falls for our celluloid pleasure. It's not violence but it's an edgier nature I was personally asking and wishing for to break up the unfunny parade of the kids on BMX bikes, cross dressing and pop culture references (on the stolen soundtrack as well).

Lucky Seven II (1989) Directed by: Chiu Chan-Kwok

What a difference a couple years does to a filmmaking vision. The original Lucky Seven was a lazy, live cartoon for the family that didn't convey that the kids in any shape or form in MOVIE REALITY could take down their adult counterparts. Except for during the end where they got treated as adult stuntmen and that mentality continues here. Sure there's still a lot of cartoony and juvenile humour left but the energy and atmosphere is a lot more fun this time around. Making little sense, the group of kids are essentially sent to military school (think Full Metal Jacket for kids aside from the murder and suicide) where they are drilled hard while their drill sergeant gets quite physically beaten and blown up in the process. This is a live animation with more thought and snap to it and is only mildly obnoxious to boot! The comedy is shot undercranked at points still but the action is kept logical filmspeed-wise and now the kids feel a bit more like they have power and contrasting all this against the kidnapping plot headed by Yukari Oshima (playing a villain again after Angel is fun to see) adds up to a perfectly sufficient, comedic action time where there's even more ouch moments spread evenly throughout for the majority of the cast. Young and old. Also with Phillip Ko.

Lucky Stars Go Places (1986, Eric Tsang)

With merely a cameo by the established Lucky Stars gang (including Stanley Fung, Richard Ng and Eric Tsang. However Sammo Hung has several scenes as support), the fourth entry in the series wants to establish a new group of idiots mostly after bedding women and somehow saving the day in the end. Eric Tsang sets the stage rather well initially with absurd humour and character-behavior, clever sight gags and a delightful cross over with the Aces Go Places-series (represented by Karl Maka and Sylvia Chang). However when the gang of Andy Lau, Alan Tam, Kent Cheng, Billy Lau and Anthony Chan are assembled, the production leans more towards lame filler usually relying on the lecherous men-formula and a hence a bunch of rape-jokes. It's lame, actors like Andy does not look comfortable, it stalls the movie and makes you miss the original gang despite their imperfections comedically too. Essentially the unique voices of the cast gets exchanged in favour of acting according to formula. The Sammo Hung action choreography is terrific however, with a very funny padded cell encounter between Maka and Hung as well as Andy Lau being thoroughly immersed in the demanding (and powerful) choreography for the action-finale. Also with Maria Tung.

Lung Wei Village (1978) Directed by: Tyrone Hsu

Dynasty opposition, trying to sniff out a traitor and out who the mythical, fast as lightning white fighter is, Polly Kuan, Yueh Hua and Lo Lieh occupy a light time which is a good choice as this is standard genre fare. That director Tyrone Hsu (The Red Phoenix) realizes and not only peppers the movie with quality martial arts but also has fun cinematically conveying the awesomeness of our white fighter (the finale comes together in a fine way thanks to this directorial skill). Aspects that make you forget that several stretches of light stuff is boredom, especially coming from Polly who works way better as a stoic fighter (male or otherwise. Male in the case of this movie). Also known as 99 Cycling Swords.

Lust For Love Of A Chinese Courtesan (1984) Directed by: Chor Yuen

A while into Chor Yuen's Lust For Love of A Chinese Courtesan you realize that it's not so much the remake of his 1972 classic Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan but a new take, using the template in which Ai Nu (Nancy Hu) is forced into prostitution under the watchful but loving eye of Lady Chun (Candace Yu). This time however, the story doesn't take the path of revenge and instead turns into something akin to a thinking man's exploitation/erotica vehicle, with unexpectedly good results.

Ai Nu is here taught the ways of the world where sacrificing ones purity and innocence for wealth is the laid down rule. One character even describes the outside world as no better so accept what's within the confines of the brothel. The path of discovery for Ai Nu instead turns into a tale of rediscovering and holding onto innocence but more importantly love, not being devoured by the world of wealthy men where woman are merely emotionless servants. Chor Yuen's has a compelling grip on the material and long patches of dialogue dominates the second half, to an immersing effect. The stunning Shaw Brother's sets and art direction is dependably captured as well.

Where it's clear Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan fell down was the lack of depth to characters, especially that of Chun (although Betty Pei Ti elevated the shortcomings greatly). Here she gets the full treatment with not so much classy results but when venturing into the main themes of the film subsequently, you get more of a solid ground to stand on. Ai Nu and Chun's relationship contain different dynamics as well since Ai Nu isn't out for revenge, but it boils down to how lost the characters are and can become.

Lust For Love Of A Chinese Courtesan lacks the full grace and effect of, what you might call the original movie (Candace Yu and Nancy Hu do fine work but are not as memorable as Betty Pei Ti and Lily Ho) and possesses a few cartoonish elements such as the portrayal of the wealthy, horny men. It makes for a not so comfortable contrasting two halves but the rise in quality subsequently in thematics makes many flaws forgettable. Also with Alex Man and Chang Kuo-Chu.

Buy the DVD at:
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