# 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
Witch (1992, Mark Long)

From Ghost Face Killer in Mystery Of Chess Boxing to his sole stint in the directing chair for Witch, Mark Long isn't emerging as a new voice making supernatural/special effects/erotica but it certainly has momentum for a good third of the movie. Despite few means to be as frantic as 80s Taiwanese cinema of its kind (see The Child Of Peach for that), Long still attempts to please (and does) through dopey comedy, hints at genre classics (A Chinese Ghost Story, Mr. Vampire etc), superimposed energy bolts-fighting and nudity. Stalling during a fair few stretches and Lam Wai in a comedic role is an ill fit, when Long does bust out the post-production effects to be mixed with physical elements (whether wires or explosives), it is an endearing time. Somewhat clunky in execution but with the right spirit, Witch scores points with the energy it is able to provide. Also with Ben Lam and Angela Mao.

Witchcraft Vs Curse (1991) Directed by: Fong Yau & Hoh Tin-Shing

Featuring footage from Devil Sorcery (1988) during the opening credits and a really dumb cameo from Kwan Hoi-San, apparently there's some incredibly vague connection made by someone thinking someone out there pays attention. I obviously did to an extent and Witchcraft Vs Curse is more genre fodder (i.e. the sorcery-movie) for those of us gladly feeding on it although this time the welcome is outstayed for most of the film. Basically two families want Fu Yuk Lung (Ng Gong) to marry their daughter but the one he desperately wants to stay away from has a Taoist Priest (Yeung Chak-Lam) cast a spell on him so that he'll offer his love, sexually of course, to her. No choice but to counter the Taoist Priest and his Adultery Ghosts with Thailand's Simol (Nishiwaki Michiko) who along with her elephants starts the Vs of our title...

The fun setup quickly gives way to tedium and evidence of filmmakers only wanting to flood the market with more of the highest rated kind but even key elements are so cheap they borderline on embarrassing. A few scenes in its favour Witchcraft Vs Curse does have however in addition to its shameless behaviour. Simol's usage of elephants is an unusual addition and even though every effect (animated or otherwise) is barely serviceable even for Hong Kong cinema, you also realize there's filmmakers behind this that knows that for certain viewers, cheap and bad is enough. Heck, even the physical effects are suitably subtle as little would take place anyway. The finale with the Taoist Priest employing his what I assume is sex- or temptation-ghosts for what seems like a shameful 10 minutes is further realization of the intentions we're witnessing. The animal cruelty that follows isn't pretty and the film does its thing incredibly bad yet we're entertained for the few minutes it can provide... even though they barely qualify. Funny how that works. Exodus From Afar (1998) features footage from Witchcraft Vs Curse.

Witch From Nepal (1986) Directed by: Ching Siu-Tung

A witch from Nepal (Emily Chu) has finally found her new master as the scriptures have proclaimed. He's a modern day artist named Joe (Chow Yun-Fat) and the relentless devotion the witch has for him threatens to shatter his current relationship. Fate can't be avoided though and our Joe also has to step up to the plate to battle a not as nice witch from nepal (Ng Hong Sang)...

Ching Siu-Tung directs and despite his team of action choreographers being quite large (Alan Chui, Lau Chi Ho and Phillip Kwok), Ching puts a surprising amount of focus on story and characters. He infuses his narrative with a more subdued atmosphere which is truly surprising considering the supernatural elements of the plot. While very basic and unremarkable, he also does follow through on characters and their dilemmas. All this could've been seriously disrupted if Wong Jing had written the script but it becomes serious in a b-movie way and engages decently. Something you rightly can expect from a Ching Siu-Tung helmed production but not that it would come with this tone of filmmaking. Tom Lau (director of The Rape After) also offers up fine cinematography while the action flows and excites well enough. In particular the finale has striking resemblance to the climactic battle between Neo and Mr. Smith in The Matrix Revolutions.

With Or Without You (1992) Directed by: Taylor Wong

Hostess Tweedy (Rosamund Kwan) is the object of desire for sharp-shooting, psychopath Prince (Jacky Cheung) who does leave her alone after hit that forces him to flee. Meanwhile, young cop Ming (Leon Lai) and Tweedy falls in love and of course it's just a matter of time before Prince returns to wreck even more havoc now that he's challenged by another suitor...

Heavily stylized, both on an audio and visual level (Herman Yau was the cinematographer), there seems to be little reason to care for the love triangle presented and predictably because it's Taylor Wong directing, matters quickly turn really boring. The actors fall into their roles dependently though and John Ching is lively as a triad boss that is harsh on the hostesses looking after him. However the extended finale is sustained toughness, with an entertaining overact from Jacky Cheung and plenty enough gunplay mayhem. Also with Ng Man-Tat. The prequel No More Love No More Death was directed by Herman Yau.

Without A Promised Land (1980) Directed by: Keung Chi-Ming & Tung Liu

Produced at Seasonal, Ng See-Yuen co-wrote this social drama detailing the situation of Vietnam refugees trying to make it into Hong Kong or any kind of land. Initially a bit tricky to follow, not only due to the cropped full frame print, but co-directors Keung Chi-Ming & Tung Liu achieves focus very late in their story. There's a plethora of characters featured but in the end there's an actual focus on a very few and that's when the narrative starts to form. The writing allows for some hideously over the top symbolic gestures about how refugees view their fellow man adapting to a higher class lifestyle but a chilling nature comes with the proceedings as well. Not only violence is in your face but the notion of these social destitute's grabbing every opportunity there is results in the more poignant passages. In particular a scene where hordes of people are looting the possessions of a recently diseased. Eventually part of the film takes on the feeling of a pre-cursor to Long Arm Of The Law and the role for the star of that film, Lam Wai, here in Without A Promised Land begins expanding to a fine degree. On the surface seen as corrupting a young boy via his violent ways, it is a preparation for innocence to go out into a form of adulthood at the expense of the death of others, which certainly rings true of realism. Without A Promised Land isn't remarkable or balls-grabbing social commentary but what's said, however minor it is, feels warranted.

Buy the VCD at:

Wits To Wits (1974) Directed by: Wu Ma

Wu Ma and Henry Yu are conmen that gets in trouble with the local thugs (led by Sek Kin). If your standards are the lowest ever and I mean ever, then Wits To Wits might register favorably for a minute or two. When the only thing caring about is the plethora of familiar faces that comes and goes, Wu Ma definitely doesn't have the audiences in the palm of his hand. Yuen Woo-Ping's action sparkles sporadically during the latter stages only.

Wizard's Curse (1992) Directed by: Yuen Cheung Yan

It's dependable Hong Kong horror-comedy hijinxs by Yuen Cheung Yan and starring Lam Ching Ying. The Cat III rating does allow for more outrageous imagery such as the Terrific Vampire's main weapon, easily described as some sort of supernatural glowing penis. Also, the gore level is slightly heightened compared to other horror-comedies but the brain sucking scenes obviously looks like a concept that never was able to flourish due to budget restraints. These previously mentioned points are definite merits though but the Cat III rating also makes way for even more crude so called humour, courtesy of Wong Jing's screenplay. Still, it's good fun and once again Lam Ching Ying demonstrates his flair for comedy in combination with his assured handling of the Taoist priest character.

Wolf Of Revenge (1992) Directed by: Hoh Lin-Chow

Gang war, gang war, gang war and the main character's wife appears as a ghost to sell this as a piece of family melodrama too, Wolf Of Revenge is very eager as it's almost wall to wall fights and gunplay. Some of which is poorly staged but overall energy shines through brightly and the willingness to go all out with squibs and pyrotechnics with stuntmen very much in the midst of it infectious. The fact that Hoh Lin-Chow (listed as director for 1988's Goodbye My Friend, the re-release title of an older Chow Yun-Fat movie) goes through with the supernatural angle is also very endearing and part of a free for all way of thinking that you can't help but to like. Starring Tong Chun-Chung. Dick Wei, Lam Wai and Shum Wai also appear.

Wolf Warrior II (2017, Wu Jing)

While Wu Jing's first entry made a 90 million US dollar dent at the box office, the returns for the sequel has been out of this world with 870 million USD in the movie's favour and counting. And it's important to note that its intentions in 2017 trying to be a big, bombastic 80s/90s Hollywood actioner manages to land quite nicely without being ironically retro. Being the pitch perfect hero that jumps into action at the drop of a hat and looks stylish once done, this of course could spark the discussion of propaganda and nationalism but not really for this movie as it's embracing being loud and sometimes ludicrous in its execution that there's no flag waving to be seriously concerned of here. No, once in Africa Wu Jing unleashes a solid string of set pieces, focusing a little bit on fight action but mostly on gunplay. The positive to that is Wu Jing moves with a grace and fluidity that makes him convincing enough in this department. The movie also attempts the grim, with innocents often getting in the way of the ruthless mercenaries but with little connection to politics, conflict and characters, this stands out very little. The fact that we also get an abundance of daytime computer generated blood is distracting as well. Despite all of that, Wu Jing gets the tone, pace and edge of your seat excitement mostly correct, with the shanty town chase standing out as a highlight as well as the final, quite ferociously brutal end fight with Frank Grillo. Ultimately Wolf Warrior II has the confidence to do the cheesy, hokey and even hollow, with rousing speeches by our lead, manipulative drama and not too much character downtime because it's all about moving so for an audience that might not be used to this formula, he executes in quality fashion. And internationally all this was understood as well. Co-starring Celina Jade.

Women's Prison (1988) Directed by: David Lam

Considering it owes Ringo Lam's classic Prison On Fire pretty much everything, David Lam's Women's Prison is a surprisingly passable prison drama. Everything we expect to be present is. You've got the crooked guards to the internal gang fights but thanks to the trio of leading ladies (Pat Ha, Carol Cheng and Fung Bo Bo), the film stands well on its own as a minor engaging triumph within the genre. Prison On Fire still need not to be threatened but Women's Prison has moments of such extreme gritty violence that even Ringo Lam would be impressed by. Mario Cordero co-stars and sings a Cantonese rendering of "House Of The Rising Sun" for the soundtrack. Liu Fan also adds fine support as the menace of the piece while Simon Yam, Tommy Wong and Ha Chia Ling also appear.

Buy the DVD at:

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07