# 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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Angel With The Iron Fists (1967, Lo Wei)

Not shy about its inspirations and aspirations, Lo Wei's Shaw Brothers production cashes in on the spy thriller, James Bond-tropes and really a booming genre and cinematic feel of the era. They should because they are armed with the technical goods to deliver. Watching Lily Ho's Agent 009 infiltrate a gang of smugglers with world domination plans, she's placed in an elegant, gorgeous frame that is as much a stylistic showcase fashion-wise as it is for the production designers at Shaw's. Having their own version of Q present fun gadgets, these are all fun per default but not the true color of the movie. These enter as Lo Wei places us in the hidden, expansive lair Tina Chin Fei leads and we might as well be in a science fiction movie at this point. Featuring a tunnel of fire, an instant decapitation device, a blinking map of the world etc, all this would easily come recommended if Lo Wei WASN'T involved. Granted these movies look ten times better compared to his work post Shaw Brothers career but momentum is kept at medium due to an excessive running time and sluggish pace. Making us stay for as long as possible to watch said, actual good elegance and content is not the correct instinct. Similar impact or greater could've been achieved by being swift, tight and sadly this is not the only example of the boring excess of our director. Fine highlights are present, just way too spread out.

Anger (1970, King Hu)

King Hu's contribution to the short story collection within Four Moods (also featuring a part done by Li Han-Hsiang among others), 'Anger' takes place in the by now very well established aspect of Hu's movie universe: The inn. Several strangers and government officials arrive and all through the night there's fighting and a desire for money at the end of it. Looking grand, professional and very much recognizably King Hu, it's also a fairly bland version from the visionary. The short format obviously gets to the point quicker but tension or action isn't all that appealing as you're not invested. It's a basic showcase of style but we've seen it done better before at feature length.

Anger Girl (1988, Wong Gam-Din)

A gang of girls on the fringe of society fights, uses their sexuality to rob and are gradually pulled into escalating events that leads to extensive bloodshed by the end. The mature intent is appreciated and the gritty look but the movie doesn't score convincing points as a tragic drama. Mainly because of the fact that it leans on quite elaborate action set-pieces for the last half instead. One car accident leads to several clashes with police that eventually involves arms smugglers as well. Both sides are fed up. The youths and some of the cops are as bloodthirsty but the lack of sincerity to the drama is made up for quite impressively thanks to the action. It may not be realistic for some characters to transition from youths to fighting back with guns but the movie features very impressively staged and violent gunplay nonetheless. Not playing the John Woo card but rather the violence from desperate characters-card, it may be spectacle ultimately but it's worthy and impactful in its own way. With Eliza Yue, Derek Yee, Ng Man-Ling, Lau Siu-Kwan, Chor Yuen and Wong Jan-Yeung (director of Dreaming The Reality).

The Angry Hero (1973) Directed by: Kim Lung

Thoroughly lacking in inspiration and ambition, this Taiwanese kung-fu film slowy crawls towards its way too epic 90 minute running time. It actually does have ambition in the sense that it's a way too involved revenge story infested with an overabundance of characters. Despite attempts at making gritty fight scenes (one is set in rain) and Taiwanese favourites Lee I-Min and Lung Fei appearing, it's only the inevitable (it's signaled way beforehand) old man in a wheelchair fight at the end that sparks any feeling of creativity. The filmmakers may have only had that and decided to gamble all on that. It's a losing venture but at least it was a cool attempt.

Angry Ranger (1990) Directed by: Johnny Wang

Produced by Jackie Chan and starring Ben Lam, one of his stunt members. Choreographed by JC Stunt Group means we get a steady stream of fast paced action but unlike Jackie's films, this one goes for grittiness instead. It's still top notch action cinema but in terms of filmmaking this is a pure, rocksolid dud. The plot about ex-con Peter getting into fights with local triads is just an excuse for the sometimes painful action and stunts but hey...why not?

The Angry River (1971) Directed by: Wong Fung

One of the first ever released movies from the legendary Golden Harvest studios, on board from the getgo were cast & crew that came to create and participate in signature efforts from the studio. Director Wong Fung eventually got Hap Ki Do, Lady Whirlwind and When Taekwondo Strikes under his belt and leading lady Angela Mao continued to ignite the screen with ferocity in those efforts. With The Angry River, the sharp direction (and also writing) from Wong Fung creates an unexpected romp through conventions. Having Mao's character hunt for the black herb that is needed to cure her father, also looking for it are several swordsmen that more often than not won't conceal their shady behaviour. The titular river is one of many obstacles, a river literally on fire and it's this trek through hurdles that even brings in a creepy atmosphere to this particular world of martial arts. When monsters attack, we as a viewer feel surprised that it's THIS Golden Harvest churned out early on but we're on board. Maybe not for valid reasons but the way Wong Fung conducts himself later helps take The Angry River into classic status.

Injecting a true danger as many hunt for the herb in Mao's possession, a heroine drained of her powers and to boot a vulnerable heroine up for potentially being torn apart by the uncertainty of the world she's in, it's not high drama or too far from a genre vehicle but these features and tweaks of expectations are compelling aspects to the film. Not forgetting to spice things up with action, the latter third becomes a non-stop sword and gore exercise from action directors Sammo Hung and Han Ying-Chieh (both also appear in fighting roles). While prior duels have had the aura of actual danger and darkness, The Angry River isn't wrong in its judgment to travel a bit away from this atmosphere and even features forest duels not too distanced from A Touch Of Zen. Combination of danger and ride is pretty magical. Also with King Hu regular Pai Ying.

Angry Tiger (1973) Directed by: Shang Lang

Although it has a 1979 copyright as well, that's presumably the date it was dubbed and released as Spirits Of Bruce Lee. Disappointingly though, little Bruceploitation-madness occur and the only spirits of Bruce Lee that gets evoked is via the Thailand setting from The Big Boss plus the often used half Jade-amulet plot. They don't even add Lee's war cries for Michael Chan in the dub. Instead, the film is an ordinary martial arts revenge story with no qualities to speak of. Partly, the aggravating dubbing of a consistently laughing character amuses.

The Anonymous Heroes (1971) Directed by: Chang Cheh

David Chiang and Ti Lung plays a pair of robbers who teams up with a revolutionary (Ku Feng) to bring down the ruling warlord of 1930s China.

The usual fine production values found at Shaw's (outside of some poor miniature work) is firmly in place as is the great charisma and interplay of stars David Chiang and Ti Lung, flanked by a stunning Ching Li in a thankless role. Chang Cheh's pet themes of brotherly loyalty and a climax of expected bloody mayhem also turn up but in terms of audience sympathy and participation in the character's cause, The Anonymous Heroes comes up short. With the mentioned technical- and acting talent in their prime, it certainly comes easily recommended despite.

Lau Kar Leung and Tong Gaai's action choreography obviously stays away from traditional forms due to the era the film is set in but they provide solid brawls along the way, with their work peeking during the violent final sections of the film. Tong Gaai's weapons knowledge gets put to fun use as characters both shoot their rifles and fights with them. Chen Sing and Cheng Lei turn up in supporting roles plus many recognizable bit players.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Another Chinese Cop (1996) Directed by: Lam Yee-Hung

Usually gathering a cast like this for Category III material, Lam Yee-Hung (Erotic Ghost Story - Perfect Match, The Story Of Lady Sue) can't inspire Anthony Wong, Diana Pang Dan or Elvis Tsui and therefore can't ignite this thriller. Ironically enough then, some of the explosions are well captured which is connected to Pang Dan and Billy Chow luring in men via her and then blackmailing them. Armed with explosives too, the cop duo (Wong and Tsui) banter in supposedly comedic ways while trying to crack the blackmail operation. Stakes are personal too as Tsui and Billy Chow's characters are friends (shown in flashback with Tsui sporting a baaaaaad wig). Suspense and comedy is pure flatline all throughout Another Chinese Cop, with high annoyance coming in the form of the duo trying to compose a love song at one point. Lam Yee-Hung shows his true colours during Pang Dan's long dance sequence and also shows a comfort the rest of the movie clearly doesn't allow for as this isn't adult material. Lam may not have been perfect working with the III but more assured than in Another Chinese Cop.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Arhats In Fury (1985) Directed by: Wong Sing-Lui

Mainland Chinese production that attempts to echo much that have been said in martial arts cinema before, including in Shaolin Temple (Jet Li's breakthrough film). What we get here are generally finely lensed landscapes, buddhism vs. violence rationales and what I assume is a bunch of genuine Wushu performers adding authentic skill to the film. Director Wong Sing-Lui manages with a heavy hand examine the theme of the film in a slightly above average way but what's missing in the equation is a constant quality showcase for the action performers. The first real fight stands as the best in the film, combining fast, clear and acrobatic traits but the time subsequently offers up more messy and large scenarios than anything else. There's an art in making an epic immersing. That art isn't fully practiced here but Arhats In Fury earns a minor recommendation for the serious nature it does possess.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

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