# 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 Never Ending Love Story (1994) Directed by: Stanley Ko

May (Shin Chui-Saan) leaves her boyfriend KK (Lam Wai) after finding out she's pregnant while also medicating herself with tranquilizer and thus fears the baby being born with illness. KK rebounds in misery via his secretery Candy (Yuen Aan-Ting) but a year later May turns up again and consciously stirs up emotions that threatens to derail KK's happiness. This Category III melodrama pours it on with character voice over and director Stanley Ko shows no confidence in conveying the familiar soap beats here. A standard melodrama with some attention spent on the sex scenes, the two leading ladies never acted again in movies anyway which is a damn shame when their heart is into these logically placed and created scenes for the story. Not supported by thorough direction, The Never Ending Love Story is still not equal to an erotica quickie in the era of erotica quickies. Co-starring Michael Wong.

Never Say Regret (1990, Lau Kwok-Ho)

Sanse (Yukari Oshima) is jailed in Mainland China after being caught with drugs and her father hires a team to go after her. Infrequent director Lau Kwok-Ho crafts serious, efficient action cinema here and also realizes there's potential to tell a story without unnecessary sidetracks such as comedy. Coming nicely together as a gritty prison movie, tense breakout- and on the run flick, the term focused comes to mind. Action (whether gunplay or fight choreography) and violence serves the story and their situations (except the machine gun ending) so Lau makes darker moments matter a little bit more than expected. It's an appealing, dark template that isn't deep on theme or anything as Never Say Regret is very much about displaying action tactics. But it's executed well and means it when it claims bloodshed should be taken seriously. It should in this case. Also starring Max Mok, Kara Hui, Eddy Ko, Dick Wei, Peter Yang and Shing Fui-On.

New Fist Of Fury (1976, Lo Wei)

The first starring role for Jackie Chan under the contract of filmmaker and producer Lo Wei. He had performed stunts throughout the 70s (including in Fist Of Fury and Enter The Dragon) and appeared in select starring vehicles and supporting roles that didn't break through (Cub Tiger From Kwangtung, later reedited into Master With Cracked Fingers, Not Scared To Die etc) and here in New Fist Of Fury Lo Wei clearly wanted to present the next Bruce Lee to the world. Making about 8 or 9 movies for Lo Wei between 1976 and 1979 (with only Snake & Crane Arts Of Shaolin and Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu handled by another director and making Fearless Hyena himself), Jackie was loaned out to Seasonal and became a major star via Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master and then returned to conclude his contract. This stretch of movies does have quality across them, sometimes not and feature the experimentation with comedy he would develop to a greater degree so it's not a waste but they got better when Lo Wei dropped the notion of branding Jackie as Bruce. The stretch is about forming, moulding and that's the advantage of the Lo Wei era is we get to see Jackie grow his persona that would truly flourish when he got away from him. But here at the start Lo Wei really comes off as the worst director ever. There’s no reason for this to be a 2 hour kung fu picture with a Chinese versus Japanese storyline because he attempts no substance to carry us through such a hefty running time for the genre. We need kung fu and we barely get it. Even the worst directors shooting everything outdoors and in a hut knew how to offer up action elements and be over and done with in 90. Lo Wei however thinks he’s making something important and grand but New Fist Of Fury manages to look as cruddy as a low budget martial arts film.

Lo Wei is also a director whose movies benefited from massive trimming once exported and the same was true for New Fist Of Fury. But giving the 2 hour cut a chance here furthermore confirms he did not know when to stop, how to craft pace and affect through story. Granted there is a draw there to the director, for instance to his Shaw Brothers movies like The Shadow Whip but working at Golden Harvest and during his own producing reign meant a lack of vision for more precise, snappy genre cinema. I suppose you call it indulgence but he should also thank his lucky stars he had Bruce Lee. Lo Wei was not a man to invent or reinvent. His leads did but by slotting Jackie into this spot Bruce had, by putting him in a shadow, it's not surprising we don't see any flashes of brilliance. Simply put, if we never saw or heard from Jackie Chan ever again after this movie, I wouldn't have been surprised. Intriguing enough initially since it picks up shortly after Fist Of Fury, the shift to Taiwan reveals more or less an ordinary kung fu movie shot in drab, standing locations. The gritty isn't cinematically vibrant and the connective tissue feels forced at best with its call backs to weapons, characters and images from Fist Of Fury that does not act as a motivator to dig into the story. It quickly reveals itself to be an unnecessary follow up instead. Lo Wei tries out the trick of keeping his star out of action for long stretches akin to The Big Boss but that tactic doesn't manifest anything fresh and powerful once the reluctant hero does take charge. So sans spark in our lead and direction, Han Ying Chieh's action choreography only shows promise when involving Chen Sing and female fighter Cheng Siu Siu is an aggressive force. Han Ying Chieh himself breaking bones and people towards the end before Jackie takes center stage represents the better stretch of the film martial arts-wise as we believe some of the fist of fury in question for a few moments but it's a long, not very worthwhile trek to this finishing line.

The New Game Of Death (1975) Directed by: Lin Bing

From Yu-Yun Film company and eventually ending up at Shaw Brothers for Hong Kong dvd release, Bruce Li does double duty as the Bruce Lee double a company want to hire to complete Game Of Death and as Bruce Lee in the footage he's being shown. Quite a dull and basic kung-fu thriller with Li unwillingly being involved with villains with an international martial arts stable of fighters, the choreography is often stiff and only comes to life when the pagoda sequence hits. There at least the cinematic colors light up as Li takes on Western fighters echoing Muhammad Ali and finally squaring off against Lung Fei and his whip.

New Kids In Town (1990) Directed by: Lau Ga-Yung

Eastern Heroes presented a curious mathematic approach to describing Lau Ga-Yung's (the nephew of Lau Kar-Leung) News Kids In Town. On their UK release under the title New Killers In Town, they promised 70% action, 30% story and 100% over the edge...something. That's entirely agreeable but it's certainly not a 200% movie.

Chin Siu-Ho and Lee Ga-Sing play Mainland martial arts brothers who travel to Hong Kong to help out at the restaurant of their Uncle (Lau Kar-Leung). They are shown the ways and sights of Hong Kong by his daughter (Moon Lee) but are soon unwillingly involved in a bloody fight against drug dealers...of course. It's easy to break apart director Lau's narrative (Chin Siu-Ho goes from introvert to gun wielding maestro PRETTY quickly) but New Kids In Town clinches its goals rather nicely despite. In his supporting role, Lau Kar-Leung ignites the screen every time he's called into action and Moon Lee is elevated to new kickass status under the action direction of Lau. The finale sees the combo work pretty well as it switches between acrobatic gunplay and a thrilling fight between Lau Kar-Leung and Eddie Maher's apple eating villain. Karel Wong is dependently evil (he sets fire to an old man in a wheelchair at one point) and Sophia Crawford also appear. An edit under the title Master Of Disaster has scenes from the Jackie Chan vehicle The Protector edited into it.

New Mr. Vampire (1986) Directed by: Billy Chan

One of the earlier movies that followed in the wake of Mr. Vampire, the stage is occupied by rival masters and brothers (Chung Faat and Chin Yuet-Sang) competing for the task of burying the brother of the local mob leader (Ku Feng). The former gets the task and the latter goes about trying to sabotage the proceedings, including waking the up the vampire by feeding it blood. Enter a thief (Chin Siu-Ho) who robs the deceased of their belongings, a dead concubine (Pauline Wong) who's resurrected by the breath of the thief and is now mimicking his every moves and a nutty Marshall (Shum Wai) who's mourning the loss of said concubine. At a fancy hotel, the stage is set for complications and situations...

Containing what's been seen and what to expect from the genre whether in its infancy or late in the game, director Billy Chan has fun to offer but only fairly amusing fun. The gag of Pauline Wong copying every move of Chin Siu-Ho's is very inspired but the combo of the elements of the plot doesn't translate into as energetic of a time as you would think. Even seeing the vampire (Huang Ha) chasing around our main characters, Shum Wai's Marshall and his soldiers even grows a little tiring. It's more loud than energetic but New Mr. Vampire is worth to have for aficionados of the genre. It doesn't hurt one bit. Also with Tai Bo and Wu Ma in a brief appearance.

The New One-Armed Swordsman (1971) Directed by: Chang Cheh

The great anchor of the One-Armed Swordsman series, Jimmy Wang Yu, had left Shaw Brothers by 1971 to pursue his own career and path for the one-armed character in movies. The tradeoff given to us instead for this unrelated 3rd installment is the assembly once again of the Iron Triangle, namely David Chiang and Ti Lung and director Chang Cheh.

Chang changes around a few elements such as David Chiang's Lei Li in this case not so much loses his ability but is setup by the corrupt the martial arts world. It's somewhat shaky plotting here as Lei Li is on one hand is honoring his word but it's not based on any truth. One can easily pick up on the fact that arrogance gets its comeuppance in the martial arts world through this con though. The forgiving viewers can easily move on. Adding onto that is the trademark theme of loyalty between brothers (which also bears strong homo-erotic subtext, best analyzed by someone else but me) and Chang's flair for creating epic scope to his mayhem. While the brotherhood theme doesn't seem to have aged well in this, or in the Chang Cheh protégé John Woo's movies for that matter, his simple, formulaic even, setup for the plot manages to stand out due to David Chiang's presence. Chiang emotes a commendable aura of sympathy as someone whose now shattered mind possible can't have any place in the martial arts world. Meeting Fung (Ti Lung) at least makes him see that there's honour inhabiting this world but small rays of light can't outshine the darkness that lies ahead. Chang doesn't set out to bring us constant life affirming sentiments and it's a fairly strong poignancy about corruption that's mixed in with the action. The New One-Armed Swordsman is the lesser movie in the trilogy but registers highly accomplished despite.

Again employing the talents of Lau Kar Leung and Tong Gaai, the action choreography, largely weapons- based, isn't shock full of technique as such but remains intense throughout. While rather sparse on action for the longest of time, the winning team of Chang, Lau and Tong do incorporate some absolutely classic and gory images along the way. One that even the IVL created trailer spoils so be sure to watch that after the feature.

Note that The New One Armed Swordsman can only be bought as part of the One-Armed Swordsman Trilogy Box Set.

Buy the One-Armed Swordsman Trilogy at:
HK Flix.com

New Pilgrims To The West (1982, Chen Chun-Liang)

Although a little hard to fully appreciate in cropped form, Chen Chun-Liang's (The Child of Peach) re-telling of a couple of key and known episodes out of 'Journey To The West' is approachable enough and delivers a fairly steady stream of energy. Sharper when dealing in weapons action choreography in combination with wire work, some of the animated special effects performed in single takes are quite remarkably well pulled off. With its very episodic narrative, it's easy to stick with the sections but some resort to more children friendly buffoonery rather than technical creativity and the fun energy born out of that. But for fans of Taiwanese cinema putting its celluloid in full gear should find a decent amount to like here. Starring Liu Shang-Chien as the Monkey King and Liang Hsiu-Chen as Monk Tripitaka. Also with Elsa Yeung and Chen Kuan-Tai.

News Attack (1989) Directed by: Samson Chiu

Samson Chiu's (Golden Chicken) debut devotes its time to reporters and photographers, which is not the subjects of movies usually in Hong Kong. Wilson Lam is Yeung, the rookie reporter being taught the ropes by veteran Chui Kit (Miu Kiu-Wai), ace photographer Turbo (Andy Lau) and editor Wong (Eric Tsang). They all end up in danger as they are on the brink of revealing the shady tactics of businessman Pon (Wong Kam-Kong). You can draw parallels to the interaction and actions of policemen and mentors that resides within that particular genre movie but action isn't on Chiu's agenda. He asks the question if you can afford to stand by principles in this world and what sacrifices you're willing to make. Valid question, at times interesting and excitingly put together results in a fair experience that would only lead to pitch perfect ones for Chiu (such as Yesteryou, Yesterme, Yesterday and Lost Boys In Wonderland). Co-starring Cally Wong, Lo Wei and also featuring glimpses of Anthony Wong, Blacky Ko and Nick Cheung.

New Tenant (1995) Directed by: Anthony Wong

The ever so brutally honest Anthony Wong's path as director started with this highly odd mixture, leaning more towards horror. Utilizing a twisting narrative that drifts back and forth in time, between illusion and reality, the film is more of a show reel to see what little elements Wong can perform as director/co-writer/main actor. Because for this viewer, it sure isn't coherent what's going on here. Wong does show some decent knack for low-key horror, warmth and comedy but within the bizarre framework of New Tenant, them aspects do not end up as merits. Somewhat entertaining but ultimately only a curiosity. Dolphin Chan, Parkman Wong, Lawrence Ng, Teddy Yip, Dayo Wong and Lau Ching-Wan are among those that appear.

Buy the VCD at:
HK Flix.com

New York China Town (1982) Directed by: Stanley Siu

Basic gang war on location in New York highlighted by hard violence, pitting Lui (Alan Tang) against Chao (Melvin Wong). In between boss Lui tries to treat the fellow Chinese well, falls in love with Maria (Maria Chung, also the co-producer on the film) to the point where she sacrifices her body for Lui in an unwarranted plot development. Some endearing side characters like Fatso works though which leads to the lighthearted side to the downtime amidst gangwar. But director Stanley Siu ultimately thrives when working his violence, often involving gritty shootouts and mentioned endearing characters being recipients of violence. End shootout entirely on a New York street caps all this nicely.

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