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My Life As McDull (2001) Directed by: Toe Yuen

Animated Hong Kong movies are rare but looking at this effort, Hong Kong cinema has what it takes to charm both kids and adults alike. Choosing a non-stylish approach to animation and going all out with CG visuals and doesn't mean the 70 minute running time is a draining assault on the senses. Consciously, director Toe Yuen doesn't try and convincingly blend the elements either, something that unexpectedly fits well alongside the dream themes of the film. Set in a not so thriving Hong Kong society McDull (voiced by Lee Chun-Wai and in the narration by Jan Lam), living with his mother McBing (Sandra Ng - very funny during the bun scene in particular), knows his limitations but takes on different lifedreams, ranging from going to the Olympics to eating a turkey for the first time. No dream is too small but dreams are over fast as well. While children will enjoy the imagery, My Life As McDull is more adult oriented in it's presentation of themes. Clearly the intent and should not be seen as a criticism.

Winner of Best Original Film Score at the 2002 Hong Kong Film Awards.

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My Life's On The Line (1979) Directed by: Wang Chung Kwong

Shot in Taiwan and utilizing Leung Kar Yan (Warriors Two) and unfortunately Dean Shek, Wang Chung Kwong's My Life's On The Line registers favorably not only due to the fast and powerful action directing by lead Wan Li Pang. No, Wang even makes the film a very minor journey with a message concerning Wan's character Minute Fong's refusal to settle down but how he softens up at the sight of a kid who he opts to teach kung fu. Not all plot strands are explored though and whatever narrative choice of Wang's probably is in the end just a springboard for the plentiful fight scenes. However the hand to hand combat in combination with some great acrobatics and fair leg work by Wan Li Pang makes My Life's On The Line very much a worthwhile experience. Lung Fei also appear.

This film also seems to beat Snake Deadly Act in terms of having the most abrupt ending. No final technique is ever shown, only animated blood running down the screen. Mad. Final reel footage lost? Running time too long? You be the judge, every version is like this reportedly.

My Lucky Stars (1985, Sammo Hung)

Sammo Hung does not replicate the comedic magic of Winners And Sinners but makes more monkey so the formula stays. Shot partly in Japan and framing it around Yuen Biao's undercover agent being kidnapped and Jackie Chan asking his old friend Kidstuff (Sammo) to help out on the case together with the womanizing, lecherous 'Lucky Stars' crew (Charlie Chin, Stanley Fung, Richard Ng and Eric Tsang). Adequate car stunts initially and a focus to get the plot in motion are positives but things turn slow and stale as Sammo tries to rely on the light entertainment factor involving perverts. The chemistry is lacking and therefore gags fall flat, aside from a few moments of Richard Ng-genius as he tries to learn ESP (a thread from Winners And Sinners where he thought he could turn invisible). Sammo and his team craft some trademark, powerful action that makes those sequences memorable but does not elevate the film overall. Marvelous and hard exchanges between him and Lau Kar-Wing and laying out Nishiwaki Michiko in one punch ranks as iconic highlights but ultimately. Also starring Sibelle Hu and Walter Tso.

My Name Called Bruce (1978) Directed by: Joseph Kong

Behind the rather amusingly mangled English title lies a Bruce Le effort lacking in effort a movie boasting a Super Starring credit really should've had. Joseph Kong (Bruce And Shaolin Kung Fu and credited here as Joseph Valesco) does signal good things at the start with the appearance of an ambulance (with the dead Bruce Lee in it?) and bad guys in protective face masks injecting an antique dealer with a supposed antidote for his sickness. Sweet and outrageous... heck, is it Outbreak Bruceploitation style and a chase for a diseased monkey is going to paint the narrative in the sweetest Bruceploitation colors possible? Na, it's just a Korean set hunt for robbers by the police and Bruce Le who more or less Super-Stars-very-little. In fact, the film is really devoid of the exploitation it is and seems to want to compete as an action-thriller distancing itself from the commercially viable exploitation it's part of. BAD mistake as it automatically brings in boredom, boring chases and fights in groovy 70s style only sans the fun and groove.

My Neighbours Are Phantoms (1990) Directed by: Lau Shut-Yue

Father and son strike together! In this case it's Wong Tin-Lam and his son Wong Jing who concocts this horror-comedy directed by Lau Shut-Yue (Ghost Fever, New Tales Of The Flying Fox). A very entertaining and creative brew, Nat Chan plays Dragon who falls head over heels in love with Siu Sin (Sharla Cheung) but fellow cop friends and sisters realizes spirits reside next door and tries to stop the plan of them attempting collecting enough blood to unleash hell on earth. And Satan. Siu Sin as it turns out is kind and controlled by the other blood sucking spirits so a mission to lay her spirit to rest becomes a priority too...

By mixing low-brow humour (Amy Yip is in the cast list so draw your own conclusions as to what low means here) and low budget special effects, My Neighbours Are Phantoms certainly sets itself up as something very annoying and only sporadically enjoyable. But both sides of the mood coin means creative inclusions here, even when it's all about squeezing as much comedic value as possible out of Amy Yip's cleavage. Leading us through violent gunplay, one of the robbers being possessed and finally a pervert played by Charlie Cho being thrown into the photo the spirits has been trapped in, the eagerness to please is for once very honed especially in the case of Cho's cameo. He's essentially an expert pepper with lots of technology at his disposal and on director Lau/Wong family goes, logging surprising laugh after laugh as the characters do dumber and sillier things. Director Lau Shut-Yue even features a welcome gruesome side to the film (among other things, humans believing they're eating delicious chicken when in fact they're chowing down on limbs and pulsating brains) and has a good grip on the fast paced energy needed when the movie is about making special effects cinema on a budget. Creative spells, effects and unexpected, supernatural scenarios (one involving Bruce Lee), My Neighbours Are Phantoms is the rare product out of the massive production house that Hong Kong cinema was at the time that could claim it fired on all cylinders... expertly! Also with Chung Faat as the semi-accomplished Taoist priest, Chingmy Yau and Cutie Mui.

My Rebellious Son (1982) Directed by: Sun Chung

A lot of grating noise trying to pass for a comedy, this Sun Chung (Human Lanterns) directed Shaw Brother's production is further evidence why the decline happened at the legendary studio. Fu Sheng in the Jackie Chan role is an irritating mimic and when the whole package is designed around even a basic storyline that doesn't involve, there's a realization that the crew thought either too much of or too little of themselves to actually deliver a fine product. Either way, the film sinks and stinks. The long trek towards the action doesn't make My Rebellious Son worth it but the intricacy of the choreography translates into quality at least. Also with Ku Feng, Cecilia Wong, Johnny Wang and Michael Chan.

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Yesasia.com

The Mysterious Knight (1969, Chan Lit-Ban)

Brevity and some worthwhile glimpses into commendable, intense swordplay for the time, otherwise The Mysterious Knight executes in a way too mild manner to be noticed. Our lead and titular character has a playful aura about him and the relationship with the two swordswomen is interesting for a bit. But when full motivations are revealed through clumsy exposition, the movie manages to make itself incoherent instead. And since it has precious little genre-color outside of said bursts of action, a lot of interest vanishes by the end.

Mystery Files (1996) Directed by: Jeffrey Chiang, Sherman Wong & Tony Leung

Three murder mysteries in one, all with nifty and quirky Mr. Solve-It-All Yat (Andy Hui) at center. Two occur during his Mainland visit, one on a cruise and the 7co-directed effort is a stinker in every sense. Never showing any belief in the material and just having the actors read and act out the short mysteries without any guidance, not only is it the recipe for boredom here but for full on incoherence as well. This is not a Hong Kong equivalent of Monk and never shows signs of ever being. Also with Ada Choi and Edmund Leung.

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Mystery Of Chess Boxing (1979) Directed by: Joseph Kuo

image stolen with kind permission from Dragon's Den UK

Joseph Kuo's independent martial arts cinema can be very much hit and miss but along with The 7 Grandmasters, fan favourite Mystery Of Chess Boxing (aka Ninja Checkmate) ranks as one of his better genre efforts. Not so much thanks to his own directing as much as it covers generic genre content in generic ways while plot devices are pretty much lifted straight out of Snake In The Eagle's Shadow (Li Yi Min playing a bullied wannabe student who eventually gets trained by a reclusive master played by Jack Long). Despite, Kuo never makes the familiar template a hindrance and even gets a assured performance from Jack Long.

Main highlight is of course the work of action directors Ricky Cheng and Wong Chi Sang who gives us extensive fight choreography with emphasis on acrobatics (a particular well-honed skill in Jack Long). This was also one of the movies hip hop group Wu Tang Clan incorporated into their act, hence the familiarity in modern audiences of such names as Ghost Face Kiler. Simon Yuen also appears as a cook and not Beggar So. A surprising fact considering the impact his portrayal had after Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master.

My Young Auntie (1980) Directed by: Lau Kar Leung

Delightful kung-fu comedy from Lau Kar Leung that features Kara Hui (Best Actress winner at the 1st Hong Kong Film Award for her performance) as Ching Dai-Nan, the widow of the deceased 2nd uncle of the Yu family. She travels to Canton deliver the will to Yu Jing-Chuen (Lau Kar Leung) but the evil 3rd uncle of the family, Yu Wing-Sang (Johnny Wang) isn't about to let go off a heritage he thinks rightfully belongs to him...

Kara Hui is as fetching as ever as the titular young auntie, which creates a fun comedic energy throughout and Hsiao Huo is the overseas educated son of Yu Jing-Chuen who's out to make her life a living hell, using the manners he's picked up in the West (including spouting English left and right much to the confusion of Ching and everyone else except of his fellow students). If this was the answer by Shaw's to the kung-fu comedy trend set by Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master over at Seasonal, it's a pleasure to report that not only is it a successful combination of whacky comedy and massive doses of martial arts, but clearly much more polished than anything that subsequently came out of Golden Harvest. Hsiao Hou can grate on your nerves occasionally, as can the peak of the wackiness in the form of the masquerade ball, but that's minor quibbles in this more family oriented martial arts entertainment (if there ever was such a thing).

Gordon Lau appears as one of Hsiao Hou's fellow students, sporting both mustache and a full head of hair and Lau Kar Leung himself, having stayed mostly in the background for larger parts of the film, comes out during the extensive finale to deliver some excellent action as on-screen fighter and choreographer.

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My Wife is 18 (2002) Directed by: James Yuen

Ekin Cheng is livelier and more fun than ever before but it's effort wasted as My Wife Is 18 becomes another one of all too many examples of Hong Kong romantic comedies that can't combine its broad and heartfelt elements into an effective whole. Plus, what the hell is up with clocking in over 100 minutes these days for these kinds of films that doesn't have that much say to warrant the viewing time.

Anyway, Charlene Choi without dedicated direction not surprisingly comes off as annoyance on two feet and James Yuen brings nothing of note to a romantic comedy that has neither romance or as much comedy as it clearly thinks. Richard Ng, Stephanie Che, Ronald Cheng and Patrick Tang also appear.

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Yesasia.com

My Will, I Will (1986) Directed by: Jamie Luk

Miss Wang (Carol Cheng) seeks a suitable man to become the father of a future child and there's money in this deal so the enlisted lawyer (Bennett Pang) and an employee at a detective agency do their best to woo her. Heading that agency is Wang's old flame played by Chow Yun-Fat...

Despite a breezy, pleasant, at times even dopey tone and star power that largely works, Jamie Luk doesn't manage to get My Will, I Will going. It hits several walls trying to be a balanced, pleasant product but somehow it turns incoherent at many points as well. Various scenes with Cheng and Chow are very enjoyable to follow though, even silly scenarios like Chow playing her lawyer and getting mighty drunk in the progress. Catch their collaboration in Alex Law's Now You See Love... Now You Don't... instead. Also starring Kenneth Tsang and Wong Wan-Si.

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