# 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

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21

The Secret Of The Shaolin Poles (1977) Directed by: Ulysses Au

Also known as The Prodigal Boxer 2 (same director and lead cast) as well as Bruce And Shaolin Poles despite having zero hints to Bruce Lee, it's not story revolution director Au helms here. But what it is is as well produced martial arts movie with unusually strong camerawork at points, an even tone (mostly dark) and excellent action from Lau Kar-Leung with every scenario on top of the titular poles being rather exhilarating. Lau Kar-Wing and Mang Fei's early fan-fight is an intricate piece of work as well and special mention goes to Dorian Tan immersing himself well into the role of a crippled fighter.

Secret Police (1992) Directed by: Heaven Yiu

The material for a slightly stronger and dramatic Moon Lee/Alex Fong vehicle is there but certainly not assured filmmaking to deliver such so any hopes of something different with Secret Police diminishes fast. Still, one can't complain about director/action director Heaven Yiu's work in the latter department as it's a fairly competent mixture of fights and gunplay, with Moon Lee sadly not given much to do though. Ku Feng, Shum Wai, Billy Chow and Lung Fong co-stars.

The Secret Rivals (1976, Ng See-Yuen)

Founder of Seasonal Film Corporation Ng See-Yuen initially worked as assistant director at Shaw Brothers on movies such as The Chinese Boxer. Making four films independently before forming Seasonal in 1974, he stepped up as director himself for the company projects such as Kidnap In Rome and Call Me Dragon before scoring a hit with The Secret Rivals in 1976. A bit overshadowed by their Jackie Chan kung fu comedies, the appeal of The Secret Rivals connected to a new set of stars and a genre gimmick centering around Southern- and Northern style martial artists. It's those images and sounds across a trio of performers that Ng See-Yuen clearly saw potential in and what managed to travel. At the same time, there are no pitfalls for him working with a lower budget (Korean locations add value and a new look for the martial arts film though) and a stock plot of revenge, hidden identities, training, conquering the style of your enemy etc. Because he is effective enough working the basic plot acting as springboard for the kicking showcase of John Liu and Hwang Jang-Lee in particular. All performers, including Don Wong, are like freight trains and the feel within the action is that of unusual kicking forces (the constant head kicking in the final fight is an excruciating highlight). All captured in a very active, energetic way as Ng See-Yuen and action directors make sure to add movement and pace to the action.

Seasonal Film Corporation subsequently nurtured talents such as Tsui Hark who made his first two films The Butterfly Murders and We're Going To Eat You for the company, Ng See-Yuen gave a then unknown Conan Lee a distinctive lead role in Corey Yuen’s Ninja In The Dragon's Den and he can also be argued to have discovered Jean Claude Van Damme. Producing JCVD’s first big screen appearance as No Retreat No Surrender with a mix of American cast, Hong Kong director (Corey Yuen) and therefore Hong Kong style of action eventually resulted in three films in the series that continued to showcase that the Hong Kong action flavor could transition to an English language film.

The Secret Shaolin Kung-Fu (1979) Directed by: Ko Pao

When kung-fu comedy broke primarily through Jackie Chan movies like Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, everybody wanted a piece of the pie. But there's a difference critically between those who tried to further established conventions and those who merely copied the exact same formula. It's the category The Secret Shaolin Kung-Fu sorts itself into. Stealing HEAVILY the same plot and scenes from said Jackie Chan classic, everything's just lacking in fun, sincerity and a compelling lead. Lee I-Min is talented physically and lots of that is on display but no action aside from some intricacy towards the end registers as there's no driving force here to make a selling element like action leap off the screen even ever so slightly. Therefore overlong, annoying and in no way wanting to be rescued from being looked at as shamelessly trying to fit in, The Secret Shaolin Kung-Fu ALMOST is fascinating from a market perspective but only for a minute.

The Security (1981) Directed by: Cheuk Ang-Tong

Security guard Wai (Eddie Chan) is the only survivor after a robbery attempt. The case of money from the transport goes missing and now the gangsters are after his knowledge and possibly this was an inside job as well. A gritty and raw thriller that is certainly solid but five star material compared to director Cheuk Ang-Tong next and last film Marianna (the soap/cannibal movie with Sally Yeh). Here we're fairly intrigued about Wai who's a former cop, rash in his decision making and awkward in wooing bank employee Ping (Patricia Chong - The Beasts). As it reveals a dark, downwards spiral, the violence becomes very raw, effective and it's easy to be on board with this experience because Wai is not a victim of circumstance but rather pays the consequences for several decisions made along the way.

Security Unlimited (1981) Directed by: Michael Hui

Michael Hui's The Private Eyes is a comedy masterpiece despite one big flaw; the lack of a real plot, making the movie feel like a series of comedy vignettes rather than fully plotted. Security Unlimited possesses those same exact traits but, unlike The Private Eyes, doesn't manage to maintain its comedic flow for the 90 minute running time. First half is packed with gags that may be looked upon as simple but the comedic timing is wonderful. At the same time, Michael and fellow screenwriter Sam Hui, injects a very sincere message about the struggles of the working man. Subtext that normally gets little attention in the comedy genre. At the halfway point, the comedy takes a dive in quality and remains 'only' amusing as opposed to the hilarious first half. Still, this is another essential effort for both the curious and old fan of the Hui brothers. Ricky gets more screentime here and is very likable as the new security guard on the force. Chen Sing, Lee Hoi Sang (actually very funny despite playing one of the henchmen) and Bill Tung also appear. Chalk up another winning theme song courtesy of Sam Hui as well.

Buy the DVD at:

See-Bar (1980) Directed by: Dennis Yu

An early Chow Yun-Fat vehicle but if you ever were to agree on the fact that the future superstar was box office-poison once, it would apply to See-Bar (re-titled God Father on the vcd). Chow plays happy go lucky mechanic Chieh whose closest ones are drained of all their money via gambling excursions with gangster Kwok (King Hu regular Pai Ying). When even Chieh unjustly ends up in debt with Kwok, he battles back...

Chow presents an annoyingly camp and silly character in the opening reel, only to be taken down a bit to earth by debut director Dennis Yu subsequently. While still creating See-Bar as lighthearted, Yu squeezes no interest, humour or excitement out of any low-budget means at his disposal. Pai Ying has the sole funny scene where his tough guy exterior is penetrated by fear of being caught by HIS boss but the known performers here (that also includes Roy Chiao) had seen and were going to see better days. Same with director Yu who made the effective exploitation nasty The Beasts the same year. Wong Ching, veteran director Ng Wui and Chui Yee-Ha co-stars.

Buy the VCD at:

Seeding Of A Ghost (1983) Directed by: Yeung Kuen

Reportedly and not unexpectedly, Seeding Of A Ghost connects with Black Magic 1 & 2, creating a trilogy content-wise but that's not what Shaw Brother's were here to tout. No, Shaw's showed the world that they were a little engine that could when it comes to b-horror special effects extravaganzas with Seeding Of A Ghost. An effort that clearly lives and breathes on this aspect but you'll have to suffer through an incredibly dull first half to get to it. Basically Phillip Ko's wife is raped and murdered by a couple punks after being dropped off in the middle of nowhere by her lover (Norman Tsui). Ko hires a master of witchcraft. Let the games begin...

Softcore sex, poor production values, poor acting and directing mar this first half despite being a Shaw Brother's production but rest assured, the low-budget SFX train that you'll be on for the remainder is something else. At times really wonderfully gross and imaginative coming from an industry that clearly is not an expert on this kind of thing, director Yeung Kuen also gives props (or steals) from various other iconic horror efforts from the West while adding the unique Hong Kong sensibilities to the religious aspect. If anything it's a shame the movie is played completely serious and therefore it doesn't rival one of the great b-pictures of the 80s, Seventh Curse, but god damn, this stuff will appeal to genre enthusiasts! A crowd that knows to expect flaws and that delivery must be made in other areas. Seeding Of A Ghost passes with flying colours therefore.

The September Song (1975) Directed by: Steven Lau

Between the two sisters Yi-Lan and Yi-Lien (Sally Chen), it's the latter who is lambasted more often as she's not found a boyfriend, is undisciplined in school etc. Rather than going with Wang Shr-Chieh, a high ranking employee in her father's company, she goes after her big sister's boyfriend Wang Hsiao-Tung. Them subsequently falling in love triggers events in the family that is causing it to disrupt little by little. It's not easy to forgive betrayal of trust, even by a character ignorant of her actions until they're done...

An often gorgeous production with Steven Lau (Gone With The Cloud) in particular utilizing his studio interior meant as exterior really well, this emotional story rarely juggles those technical merits and dramatic intentions well. When there's no convincing beats leading into Yi-Lien's and Wang's romance, Lau never really rebounds. Not as melodramatic as you would think, still there's insistency from someone to go that route with the score and with many things in The September Song, the notes are false. Shame because the script in its small scale has complexity but someone was way too infatuated with how Taiwan romances and melodramas usually feel.

Buy the DVD at:

A Serious Shock! Yes, Madam! (1992) Directed by: Albert Lai

A rare chance for the girls with guns genre icons Moon Lee, Cynthia Khan and Yukari Oshima to venture into darkness but A Serious Shock! Yes, Madam! (aka Yes Madam '92: A Serious Shock), rated Category III, gives us that and the efforts are worthwhile. Emotions and villainous acting does register on the soap opera scale at times but Moon Lee in particular is eerily effective as she is easily looked upon as a charming and bubbly personality but when she commits cruel, violent acts here, that is the serious shock of the film. Yukari and Cynthia are also given emotional beats to work with that are only bearable but notable for the genre, although it has to be said that despite 4 action directors (Fung Hark On, Danny Chow, Benny Lai & Chu Tau), there's relatively little action due to the film playing out more like a straight thriller. Albert Lai's direction is at times sloppy and certain details are brushed over but he deserves credit for for giving the battling babes an acting challenge and within the confines of the genre they usually appeared in, A Serious Shock! Yes, Madam! ends up being worth your while. Eric Tsang, Ku Feng, Lawrence Ng, Karel Wong, Lee Siu-Kei, Waise Lee, Fung Hark On also appear.

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21