|# 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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|Wonderful Killer (1993) Directed by: Zhang Ren-Jie
The last film from the director of The Devil is a busy mixture where a simple slasher plot involving ONE killer isn't good enough. Filler exists in spades but also low budget, laughable (the at and with kind) energy. Maria Tung takes out various victims and manages to elude the police (headed by Charlie Cho in a non Category III role) for half a movie. Then the rest of the family goes on a killing spree, including the mentally challenged brother (Shing Fui-On). Also a movie armed with ridiculous looking gangsters, gritty locations looking more embarrassingly cheap but at one point Wonderful Killer catches your approval. A couple of fight scenes involving willing stuntmen, solid gunplay (as Lam Wai logs his cameo), even the ending with a ton of deadly traps set up by an all of a sudden very smart Shing Fui-On sees Zhang Ren-Jie managing to maintain low-budget momentum. A minor surprise. Also with Dick Wei and Karel Wong.
|Wonder Mama (2015, Clifton Ko)
A conflicted, crowded drama about shedding the shadow of your parents in order to start thriving personally but the twist here is that is centers around a 50 year old woman called Lovely Ng (Petrina Fung). Declining a promotion, she instead favors the well being of her elderly parents (Kenneth Tsang and Susan Shaw). But the quarrelling couple are in need of separation and a long overdue divorce, which seems like Lovely's way out. Instead the opposite happens, the problems become greater than ever and previously concealed, emotional wounds are sliced open. Quite adept at the natural Hong Kong drama as demonstrated in the past, Clifton Ko making stories about people in 2015 is very welcome but another contrasting force within isn't. In between some quite excessive shouting and crying, Ko goes into comedic directions that clash with the dramatic and warm intent of Wonder Mama. A sign of insecurity or way too much belief in the theme across the moods here perhaps. It makes a fair amount of sections a screechy product that strays from the reality of the core predicament and it's especially grating to see an otherwise tuned and wonderful veteran cast being thrust into wackiness when they are clearly excelling at tackling the down to earth drama. Because when Ko turns his eye on the plight of Lovely, this is where the intended movie shines. The simple becomes poignant because the simple is a massive, cinematic journey when handled well. So partly Ko is spot on. At other points he seems fearful of lingering on cinematically soothing emotions. Also starring BabyJohn Choi, Crystal Wang and Tse Kwan-Ho.
|Working Class (1985) Directed by: Tsui Hark
Tsui Hark depicts the struggles between the workers and the employers rather simplistically (work together is the complex moral of the story here) but at a time where Tsui was on a creative roll, Working Class expectedly succeeds as a pleasant product of the era that simply wouldn't have worked as well today. The social commentary on display never goes mature places as such and relies more on wacky comedy but truth of the matter is that most of what we see is very amusing. The acting team of Sam Hui, Teddy Robin and Tsui Hark himself bounce well off each other and Working Class becomes a genuine harmless time. It doesn't attempt to be polished but really doesn't have to. Too bad it's somewhat hidden away in Tsui Hark's filmography. Joey Wong, Kwan Hoi-San, Ng Man Tat, Shum Wai, Bolo Yeung and Ken Lo also appear.
Sam Hui's requisite ditty for the film (English title of the song is "The Most Important Thing Is To Have Fun") was nominated at the Hong Kong film awards.
|The World Of Drunken Master (1979) Directed by: Joseph Kuo
With the beggar Su character established firmly via Simon Yuen's performance in Drunken Master, to dig deeper into the past of this drunken boxer ain't a bad idea. So Joseph Kuo actually enlisted the services of Yuen... but only for an opening demo cameo that doesn't translate drunken boxing into fine movie entertainment. No, we quickly cut to Kuo regular Jack Long and a welcome, more wildly acrobatic side is injected into the film as he plays one of the famed students of the art, Fan Ta-Pei. Meeting up with his old friend Beggar Su (also known as Su Hua-Tzu), they start to recap their young days (where Su is played by another Kuo regular, Lee I-Min) going from rival sellers to united kung fu brothers...
Not very ambitious filmmaking though, director Kuo gets the side effect of viewer disinterest when changing up his cast. In classics such as The 7 Grandmasters and Mystery Of Chess Boxing, it was the literal shared frame of the likes of Jack Long and Lee I-Min that made those movies more inspired. Here Kuo can't bring out that inspiration despite loads of fight scenes with the very acrobatic and able cast. The almost adlibbed storytelling when cutting back to the old drunken boxers towards the end serves as an excuse to get a few more fights in but even here with Jack Long and Mark Long the lack of inspiration to provide kung fu translated into movie entertainment is seriously lacking. Also with Lung Fei, Mark Long, Lung Tien-Hsiang and Chan Wai-Lau. Also knows as Drunken Dragon.
|Wrath Of The Sword (1970) Directed by: Wu Ma
Wu Ma's debut as director is a Wuxia pian and common revenge storyline without any revolutionary tactics but a desire to deliver in the genre the likes of Come Drink With Me built. You can swallow it's very much like King Hu's classics in the inn confrontation early on in the film as there is a certain cool here. Losing interest through its primitive swordplay and as the (short) running time moves on, Wu Ma scores points for the bursts of interest merely.
|The Wrong Couples (1987) Directed by: David Chiang
John Chan's script has developments that can be spotted a mile away but David Chiang's adept handling of potentially sappy material and his perfect direction in both comedic- and drama territories for leads Josephine Siao and Richard Ng, results in a very sweet film. Tackling issues of parental responsibility, Chiang keeps his frame real and never gets either mood go overboard. There's slapstick inherent yes but it makes sense to have early on as Siao and Ng's characters go through the hatred toward each other only to gradually fall in love. Add a few fun fantasy sequences into the mix and you have another skillfully executed piece from underrated director David Chiang. Paul Chun, Ku Feng, Dennis Chan, Maggie Lee, Chiao Chiao also appear. Director Chiang swings by in a cameo towards the end.
|Wuinu (Dancing Bull) (1990) Directed by: Allen Fong
A sensitive script by Cheung Chi-Sing (director of Love & Sex Among The Ruins) and Allen Fong's (Ah Ying, Just Like Weather) low-key direction merges into a quiet but rewarding drama that doesn't quite settle on being one thing. At center we find Lisa (Cora Miao) and her boyfriend Ben (Anthony Wong). Both are looking for a break in the business of modern and experimental dance so breaking free by opening their own studio, the duo set out on their mission to succeed. Ben works hard to fine tune the performances and Lisa campaigns to arise interest and funds. The determination begins to take its toll though as Lisa has to compromise and sell out while Ben's inner feeling boils so much that he's on the verge of burning out...
Fong places his camera in situations that literally is documenting the minutia of happy relationships, within the reality of the middle class. As much as the characters go about their business in a noble and valid way, the structure of Cheung's script allows for a collision that feels very much real. Even to the point of being unfair but seeing the determination of main characters not making it because there's only so much hours of the day and energy, is in a low-key way distressing. There's two extraordinary scenes representing this. One where we witness a drunk Lisa admitting she's had an abortion but wants the marriage bliss anyway. The other where Anthony the actor comes into his own as he explains the jobs he can take besides his current one and they depressingly enough only relate to dancing. It's a lethal combo that has the film taking unexpected turns where there's suitably no blame game involved, just natural turns for the characters to find choices and balance in their respective way. Then the superbly reserved Fong makes yet another turn towards the end, pushing for the theme of working out your future not for yourself but for your people. A theme that fits in the timeline without spoiling anything. Wuinu (Dancing Bull) is a work that on the surface is a triangle drama and a soap opera but Fong's always captivating style that isn't stylish never threatens to make the drama clichéd. He just asks for viewer investment because he's not going to provide an answer sheet for all events in the film. It's always a pleasure to announce that the investment is well worth it.
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