# 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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Mission Of Justice (1992, Wong Jan-Yeung)

Out of the plentiful action-efforts from director Wong (Dreaming The Reality, The Dragon Fighter etc), here's one of the duds. Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima go undercover in Thailand to catch opium smuggler Somi (Tommy Wong). Low budget aside, this aspect would often be defeated thanks to quality action directing across the board. None is present here, creating a flat and dull frame. Select moments of martial arts exchanges and gunplay are exciting (even Tommy Wong gets to participate) but Mission of Justice is decidedly low in frequency when it comes to action strangely enough. Not even the ending can boost matters, with a center piece fight with Yukari Oshima and Chan Lau taking place in boring slow motion demonstrating this firmly.

Mission To Kill (1983) Directed by: Huang Ha

A movie where the biggest are credited LAST, Mission To Kill does have the personnel and action personnel behind it to make it interesting. But despite Melvin Wong, Kent Cheng, Wong Chung, Wong Ching, Wilson Tong, Fung Hak-On, Simon Yam, Lily Li and Norman Tsui all involved, the film is a limp, simple actioner (concerning robbery of jewels that might be an inside job) that because of its vast character gallery quickly falls into incoherency. A few scenes of gritty action are quite extensive and compelling but it's merely action highlight reel material viewable out of context because viewers of Mission To Kill can't grasp any context either.

Miss Magic (1988) Directed by: Fung Hak-On

A jealous wife (Pauline Wong) kills herself after THINKING her actor husband (Norman Tsui) is cheating on her. Coming back to haunt him and the film crew, they have to battle back with the help of Uncle Fok (Chung Faat) and Master Wong (Bill Tung). Fung Hak-On isn't working with a lot and seems to engaging the higher gear in grating performers such as Billy Lau initially but when the switch in Miss Magic happens, Fung mixes light, energetic and dark confidently. Neither side annoys, truly surprises but confidence in energetically conveying the facets of the production does.

Misty (1992) Directed by: Peter Pau

Mark and Kent are two Chinese students in England who after being kicked out of school, thanks to skirmishes with the mean Italian boys on campus, gets involved in far greater darkness than they could've imagined. It starts with them both falling for Charlie (Gloria Yip), the adopted daughter of crimelord San (Waise Lee). His right hand Hank (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), who disposes off bodies more often than not, however has his eyes... on him, courtesy of San's woman Sally (Carrie Ng).

Shot on location in England and expectedly with a keen sense for elegance since it's a master cinematographer DIRECTING, Peter Pau's storytelling isn't necessarily what's off but it's the content of it that's astoundingly... camp! With a central message of characters in need of exploring the world and finding themselves, beat by beat Pau creates weirdness such as San having African cannibal tribes over for dinner. Accompanied by the mentioned elegance and visual compositions that are damn near laugh-inducing, it's all early taken to a point where the straight faced nature of it all turns the serious intentions on itself into camp territory. Add a little incest to the mix and Pau's additional message about what goes on behind the closed doors of mighty, luxurious surroundings gets even more ludicrous. Camp in this case doesn't equal a hassle to follow should be pointed out. Rated Category III for some intense Tony Leung/Carrie Ng sex-scenes.

Misty Drizzle (1975) Directed by: Steven Lau

Frequent Taiwan romance/melodrama director Steven Lau puts his all into Misty Drizzle by ramping up the running time to a dangerous 107 minutes and filling the drama with repeated misunderstandings and heartache. It's definitely too much, the framing of the visuals yet again evidence of Lau battering us over the head in his eagerness to please but certain key elements are mature enough to warrant examination.

More of an ensemble piece that means neither Brigitte Lin or Charlie Chin are on-screen the most, it all starts with the character of Li Huan-Sheng (Ngok Yeung) seeing his aspiring movie star wife Hui-Lan leave him and the two children. Enter friends Lin I-Chang (Charlie Chin) and Jen-Chuan (Gu Ming-Lun) and soon an infatuation starts between the former and Chi Chuan-Hsia (Brigitte Lin), a girl supported and loved by Huan-Sheng. Friendships are torn apart and that busy plot is only the tip of the iceberg, making Misty Drizzle too busy for its own good. But at heart the character of Huan-Sheng represents a patient angel that might run out of patience the deeper the complications become and that's somewhat intriguing to follow. Adding the fact that director Lau doesn't turn the melodrama up too loud and the cinematography is alluring (despite mentioned eagerness to please), the film is still closest to the most mature and less calculated by Lau that I've seen along with Gone With The Cloud (also starring Brigitte Lin). Seemingly there's a director's statement at the end of the film asking for feedback, representing an unusual touch for any Taiwan movie. Also with Yung Ching-Yuk and Woo Gam (Golden Lotus) in a pivotal role in the latter stages of the drama.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

The Misty Moon (1978) Directed by: Richard Chen

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Liu Ling-Shan (Brigitte Lin) works as a kindergarten teacher and when she one day encounters feisty little Chu Chu, her life changes and she changes lives. Chu Chu is the daughter of Wei Peng-Fei (Charlie Chin) who has sunken into depression and alcoholism after mother and wife has disappeared from his life. Ling Shan is an angel for both Peng-Fei and Chu Chu though but as the past catches up to all involved, Ling-Shan is unsure of her role ultimately...

An honest, sad and sweet tale with weak execution, director Chen provides usual pedestrian direction for these melodramas (the gel on lenses makes an appearance as always) but at least there's some attempts at heartache more often than not. But Chen instead standardizes a better than usual template and while lead Lin is as stunning as always, the pace is ramped up to a fine degree in the latter stages, The Misty Moon just remains one of many from the careers of all involved.

The Modern Love (1994) Directed by: David Lam

Narrated by Chingmy Yau's character Bo Bo, a marriage counselor (taking on her subjects in groups), she and her independent friends Cola (Anita Lee), the one who lives off one night stands and prostitute YSL (Lily Chung) all meet love that will turn their views around on what is modern love. Cola expands her one night stand with a fashion designer (Sunny Chan) to something that begins to involve real feelings while YSL injects confidence into a timid businessman (Lawrence Cheng) but with her profession unknown to him, whatever they are building upon may come crashing down. Finally, the level headed Bo Bo takes the biggest risk of them all by falling in love with a wanted triad (Mark Cheng)

Akin to Andy Chin's Why Wild Girls, which means it's awfully flimsy, frank, a bit wacky and loud, David Lam (First Shot, Asian Connection) can't make his subjects jump off the page to a particularly good degree when keeping proceedings light. It's only when he begins treating his soap opera with some form of dignity and maturity that the actresses too become a fairly immersing part of The Modern Love. Lily Chung unfortunately is told to go broad way too often although she proves to be a fine comedienne in a scene where she's asked to use a typewriter. Chingmy Yau has a well honed presence for simple drama (would go on to acclaim in Stanley Kwan's Hold You Tight where she wasn't so much Chingmy Yau anymore) but it's probably the underrated Anita Lee who wins us over the most. Oh the beats aren't impressive or challenging but it's a credit to her dedication to director Lam's only fair skills for this film that we somewhat begin to care about the final fate of her (and these women). Modern love gets redefined expectedly and a likeable nature comes over the film in the end.

A Moment Of Romance II (1993) Directed by: Benny Chan

Unrelated sequels followed to the classic Andy Lau vehicle but this first follow-up skipped on his star factor and gave the audiences Aaron Kwok instead. A trade-off that is both good and bad depending on which camps of fans you talk to I guess. Wu Chien-Lien is back and elicits viewer sympathy easily but she's got a blank, pretty face to play against in the form of Kwok. True, Andy was not particularly tested by any director before A Moment Of Romance came along in 1990 but he rose to the challenge. Kwok doesn't and he's not aided by any of the subtle strength that came with the first film either. It's a minor moment of romance, not the chunk we loved so much 3 years earlier and this production clearly was green lit to cash in on a name only. To add further insult to injury, many opportunities are given to let Aaron "shine" with his singing talents on the soundtrack. Which is fine if it wasn't for the overload and when his character defies logic by walking away relatively unharmed from a major car crash, aggravation becomes an issue.

Some attractive Ardy Lam photography comes with the package however and at certain frames, excitement in the racing sequences. But with a camera speed in the lower numbers, the playback of death defying bike stunts register as more cartoony sadly. Good support by Paul Chun in a small role plus Anthony Wong (sporting a shaved head from his stint in The Untold Story), Roger Kwok and Kwan Hoi-San also appear.

A Moment Of Romance III (1996) Directed by: Johnnie To

Utilizing the title of Benny Chan's classic once more, the Johnnie To helmed A Moment Of Romance III is a standalone effort but one that reunites Andy Lau and Wu Chien-Lien though (the sequel starred Aaron Kwok). Set during the second World War, Lau plays a pilot who crashes into the cornfield of a Mainland village. He befriends and falls in love with village beauty Siu-Woo (Wu Chien-Lien) and decides to take her back to his wealthy life in the big city. It all comes down to the classic, clichéd question; can you have love for your woman and your country at the same time or does fate only allow one of the choices?

Told in grand and heavy handed style by director To, it is some sort of valid choice here as he clearly is out to echo the classic Hollywood war romance. That means no complexity, no depth or subtle emotions but combining the high production values and the chemistry between the stars, A Moment Of Romance III goes fairly affecting places and sweeps you away for the moment. It's a shame it's branded as another entry in the series because it's not in the same league as A Moment Of Romance. At least it's a bit more perky. Alex Fong appears in support.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Money Crazy (1977) Directed by: John Woo

Despite his apprentice under the late Chang Cheh and martial arts movies under his belt such as Hand Of Death and The Dragon Tamers, John Woo's trademark voice on the Hong Kong cinema scene was far off in 1977. Instead for several years, John Woo dabbled in comedy collaborations with Ricky Hui, starting with Money Crazy. Slow pace dominate from the start and the style of comedy, while universal, is often the pratfall accompanied by silly sound effect-kind, leading only to mild amusement. Ricky Hui is strangely distant which can be due to this not being a vehicle together with his brothers Michael and Sam but Richard Ng pretty much is responsible for any laughs in Money Crazy. Still, there's only a chuckle and a half to be found in Woo's film and even the inclusion of crude gunplay doesn't spark much interest. If you want to follow the man who gave us A Better Tomorrow and The Killer from the beginning, by all means do but you won't get much of an experience out of it. Turn to the Hui Brother's if you want the premium comedy of the 70s instead. Sam Hui sings the theme song together with Ricky though, the best aspect of the film. Law Lan, Lee Hoi San, Cheung Ying, Mars, Lam Ching Ying and Billy Chan also appear.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Money Maker (1991, Wong Jing)

What sounds like the title of Wong Jing's autobiography is actually an energetic exercise in throwing everything commercial at the wall to see what sticks. Quite a lot does and even the failed attempts are somewhat admirable. Wong Jing and Ng Man-Tat are swindlers asked by the ghost of the Gambling Queen (Sandra Ng) to take revenge on a Thai gambling king. Involving her sister (Chingmy Yau) and their Taoist priest uncle (Lam Ching-Ying), stage is set for a little bit of everything in the name of wacky. While not truly hilarious, Wong Jing keeps energy and gags coming at a mile a minute. Often feeling local, overly cartoony and placed in the hands of himself as the lead actor too (Wong and Ng Man-Tat are not a classic comedy team in the making), because we have so many genres merging, there's bound to be something likeable even if sporadically. And indeed by having ghosts, gambling, action, special effects and genre-players making this feel very God of Gamblers and Encounter of The Spooky Kind spiced with a live cartoon feel, Money Maker is very hard to truly dislike. Wong Jing goes for being loud and in your face and in 1991, that trick works. Also with Nat Chan, John Ching, James Tien and Charlie Cho.

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