# 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 Replacement Killers (1998, Antoine Fuqua)

Chow Yun-Fat's Hollywood debut is expectedly echoing his past, commercial action persona and owes a lot to the beats of The Killer. But it's a suitable intro for the star and audiences, with debut director Fuqua tapping into the charisma, cool and non-verbal tactics Chow can bring. There's not a whole lot of setup or treks between action set pieces (where eventually, as designed, eye candy Mira Sorvino joins up) and also, Fuqua doesn't rely solely on Hong Kong action tactics stylistically either. Not a lot of slow motion or desperate cool exists but rather a good amount of firepower for 89 minutes, with the better of their own imagery taking place in an alley shootout towards the end. Ultimately mixing appearances on Eastern and Western markets was a good thing for Chow but his stint in Hollywood was fairly respectable, even though he didn't win over audiences. A good start that led to better usage in non-action fare such as Anna And The King. Also with Michael Rooker, Kenneth Tsang, Danny Trejo and Jürgen Prochnow.

Requital (1992) Directed by: Chu Yen-Ping

Not too far away from his favourite movie and justifiably critical high A Home Too Far, Requital sees Taiwan's "finest", Chu Yen-Ping emulate /steal unashamedly yet again. The heroic bloodshed movie, the gangster movie and a mish-mash of various American ones (including Once Upon A Time In America and State Of Grace) are all run through Chu's filter and the results are predictably familiar therefore. Predictably as well, Chu somehow avoids irritating the crap out of this viewer and his ultra gory take on matters is enjoyable. We're not far from fountain like manifestations of bloodshed, all within the spiral of events lead Tok Chung-Wa is part of. A quality cast in minor to large appearances includes Jack Kao, Amy Yip, Alan Tang, Chan Chun Yung (as a character obsessed with having sex with virgins), Blacky Ko, Lung Si-Hung, Wu Ma, Lo Lieh, O Chun Hung and Jimmy Wang Yu.

The Return Of Pom Pom (1984) Directed by: Phillip Chan

Premiering 4 months after the success of Pom Pom, The Return Of Pom Pom sees the comedic cop duo Ah Chiu (Richard Ng) and Beethoven (John Shum) on different ends of the grown up-scale... kind of. Ah Chiu is getting married to Anna (Deannie Yip) and even though he and Beethoven are called into duty during the ceremony, she is head over heels in love with him. Meanwhile, the usually thoughtless and impulsive kid Beethoven is is kicked out of his apartment and after moving in with Ah Chiu and Anna, it's clear the friendship is going to be tested. Also, Inspector Chan (Phillip Chan) loses a package of money to a former thief with a grudge (Lam Ching-Ying) and Beethoven falls in love with the thieve's daughter, stuntwoman Mimi (Kara Hui).

Ng and Shum are flowing much better as a duo this second time around and although somewhat scattershot still, we're more entertained when the duo usually gets into trouble employing lies and impulsiveness. Whether it's when dealing with superiors or trying to find a blind informant at a pool where everybody wears glasses. The addition of the flexible Kara Hui and in particular Lam Ching-Ying also helps matters. Lam's highlight concerns him acting paralyzed and Richard Ng trying out various techniques to reveal he's not. Also with James Tien.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Return Of The Chinese Boxer (1974) Directed by: Jimmy Wang Yu

Jimmy Wang Yu's follow-up to The Chinese Boxer, which he directed for Shaw's. This Taiwanese independent production ranks as poor in most regards but after the long trek towards the hour mark, Jimmy finally wakes up and gives us some of that wonderful inspired lunacy that really was the driving force of movies such as One-Armed Boxer and Master Of The Flying Guillotine. Best out there-moment being the reanimated Thai fighters (one of them being the late Blackie Ko).

Return Of The Demon (1988) Directed by: Wong Ying

There's few that can rival the goofy horror mayhem of 80s Hong Kong cinema but very few who could make it extremely insane in a very compelling way. Clearly director Wong Ying (yes, that's NOT schlockmeister Wong Jing) is no Nam Nai Choi when it comes to this, even though what's on offer is has all the opportunities to rival the likes of The Seventh Curse.

The various set pieces probably do go on for a bit too long (such as the one where Charlie Cho turns into a dog) but it's nonetheless unique Hong Kong entertainment, one that maybe new viewers won't be so critical of. While it's really a small nugget of momentum on offer, much of it is lost in the latter stages and the finale becomes much of a chore to get through. The last few minutes amps the gore and excitement however, ending Return Of The Demon on a slightly better note. The Seventh Curse should be your first stop if you want an experience like this, Wong Ying's movie...roundabout spot 12 on that list, if you have one. Starring Shing Fui On, Robert Mak, Emily Chu, Wu Ma, Dick Wei, To Siu Ming, Nat Chan (who along with Charlie Cho for once that does not play a happy, horny character) and Chui Sau Lai.

Buy the VCD at:
Yesasia.com

Return Of The Evil Fox (1991) Directed by: Leung Joh-Chi

The fight against Fox Elf starts many generations back and is destined to conclude in the modern world of 1991 where the white paws of the Evil Fox turn up again. Chiang Wu (Wu Fung), his daughters Yu (Sandra Ng), Little Yu (Charine Chan), Mainland relative Hwa (Ng Gong) and a triad turned Catholic priest (Shing Fui-On) fight back. Michael Lai as a building security guard and Charlie Cho turn up to be hassled and get laid respectively...

Opening in a very energetic and goofy fashion but soon cutting to the dragged out, barely interconnected silliness, it's classic Hong Kong cinema where lack of focus and viewer frustration is part of the fun mostly. Unconnected tangents include Wu Fung thinking Ng Gong has gambling skills he can capitalize on, Sandra Ng falling for Hwa but Hwa falling for Charine Chan naturally and on the subject of naturally, there's naturally a lot of stretches of dead film. But it all perks up via some spirit battles, the multiple sights of the white, furry paws of Fox Elf and Shing Fui-On stealing the show as the converted triad. It's not boring, largely unfunny and also quick, harmless run of the mill 90s Hong Kong product. Up to you if you deem that acceptable.

Return Of The Kung Fu Dragon (1978, Yu Chik-Lim)

While it does have a rather simple plot considering it is fantasy, visuals and design to make genre-fans very comfortable, lack of energy to punch AS a genre-effort is missing from Return Of The Kung Fu Dragon. Sluggish and choppy as Yu Chik-Lim depicts various, fantastical feats, combine that with cheap melodrama and inappropriate touches of light humour and there's struggles to be had. Some cheap but visually interesting highlights, especially the Kaiju-inspired ending might linger but that's a few minutes worth of zany and not part of the intended burst of energy. Starring Polly Kuang.

Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman (1969) Directed by: Chang Cheh

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

For Chang Cheh's sequel to the influential and successful One-Armed Swordsman, he consciously leaves much of the character drama behind to deliver an almost constant stream of gory weapons-action. Thankfully though, he hasn't fully forgotten the emotional core of the first film, and Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman wouldn't have been as terrific without the 1967 effort as its backbone.

Fang Gang (Jimmy Wang Yu, reprising his famous role) made his choice at the end of the first film to leave the martial arts world behind in favour of his love towards Xiaoshan (Ciao Ciao). As these things go, inevitably our hero will face a crossroad where his ultimate decision both is unwilling and about the fact that he still has a responsibility towards the martial arts world. Chang finds time in between the copious amounts of bloodshed, to further the relationship between Fang Gang and Xiaoshan and it presents a refreshing warmth and understanding due to the kind of world they're in, even with their backs wanting to turn from it. Again, it's a testament to Chang's strength as a director of character drama that these themes have never faded to become painful clichés.

It also helps that to have Jimmy Wang Yu so confidently conveying the strength and honor of Fang Gang. As an underdog in the first film who transformed into an honorable hero, there's an interesting plot point here in the sequel that all of the elder clan leaders are being held captive, leading to Fang having to step up as a true leader for the younger generation. At the same time there's a reluctance in Fang towards what this martial arts world stands for. These are character elements that Cheng excels at conveying and still pack poignancy today.

Talking action choreography, again supervised by Lau Kar Leung and Tong Gaai, to my eyes there is quite a leap in technical polish from the first film. Pace in battles is tighter as well as intensity and the number of movements, intricate or not, in each shot is increasing. Being a Wuxia effort, there also crops up some otherworldly techniques assisted by wire-work but at the same time, it's also charming to watch action directing in development. For Jimmy Wang Yu, Lau and Tong also came up with some sharper techniques, based on his limitations as a performer but also playing to the character's honed arsenal of skills. It ultimately is more of an simple cinematic technique but power is effectively created through the staging and editing.

Out of the myriad of recognizable faces such as Tien Feng, Chung Wa, Lau Kar Leung, Ti Lung, Wu Ma and Chan Sing, Essie Lin Chia logs a memorably evil performance as The Lady Of Thousand Hands.

Note that Return Of The 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
Yesasia.com

Return Of The Tiger (1977) Directed by: Jimmy Shaw

Bruce Li, a narcotics syndicate... guess who's bringing down who? Despite talky sections with poor attempts at tension while operating within a stock story, Return Of The Tiger is one to demonstrate how Bruce Li could escape Brucesploitation trappings. Showcasing confidence in the multiple fight scenes, the various gym fights are good signs of power and danger that Return Of The Tiger then build upon nicely. All culminating in an end brawl with Li's endless fight with Western villain Paul Smith (from Midnight Express) whose power and size are put to excellent use. There's a reason you take away power, invincibility and danger from Return Of The Tiger. Li and Smith were the poster boys of the movie and delivered. Also with Angela Mao, Lung Fei and Chang Yi.

Return To A Better Tomorrow (1994) Directed by: Wong Jing

Even the Chinese title of Return To A Better Tomorrow puts the word "new" in front of the one for the 1986 John Woo classic and thankfully, Wong Jing isn't echoing storybeats but genre beats only. For half a flick, it works surprisingly well while the work of action directors Dion Lam and Poon Kin-Gwam works pretty much throughout. The usual triad plot mismash goes as follows: Boss Chun (Ekin Cheng) is betrayed by his own brother Wei (Ben Lam) and henchmen along with Holland Boy (Ngai Sing) are sent after him. Chun manages to flee, girlfriend on home turf Chili (Chingmy Yau) isn't so lucky and gets treated to a razorblade. 2 years later along with old brother now big boss Lobster (Lau Ching-Wan), time for Chun to blast himself into the spotlight again...

While very heavy on style almost to the point of parody (heavily colored lights, slow motion, heavy rain), Wong Jing pulls out some technical chops here. The movie may be expected but also feels dangerous eventually thanks to leading villains Ben Lam and Ngai Sing really making a strong impression. The second half is a bit painfully clichéd and the punishing drama doesn't deliver but the "Return" (or New) of the title is justified. Again, Dion Lam and Poon King-Gwam deliver quite strong gunplay and the level of bloody violence towards anything or anyone recalls that dangerous aura the film had in its earlier stages. It's less of a return and more of a re-run but Wong Jing gets unusual strong approval anyway. Shot in synch sound and also featuring appearances by Michael Wong, James Wong (playing a lawyer and why Wong Jing had to have the mention of a sex offender called Bill Tung Biu is anyone's guess. Bill Tung of the Police Story films to clarify), Paul Chun, Lee Siu-Kei, John Ching and Parkman Wong.

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