# 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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Bruce Tuan - 7 Promises (1980) Directed by: Au-Yeung Wang

Ku Long provided with Night Orchid he could pen a movie-script with the usual colour of a Wuxia pian but with scaled down characters and twists in favour of a comprehensible narrative. Perhaps there was one such present in Bruce Tuan - 7 Promises but under the guidance of Au-Yeung Wang, nothing stands out as coherent or compelling. The main weapon of desire, the Jade Sword, that can kill without touching an opponent is a cool but highly awkward looking idea (seeing as it looks more like a knife) but on the surface the movie seems to bring an above average design sense though. The action also keeps matters grounded with only select dips into more fantastical techniques. But the longer it runs, it looks more and more like actors casually saying the lines demanded of them to advance a script that in turns transforms into pure incoherency that is neither charming or fun. Said colors of the genre quickly fades throughout too and even action becomes increasingly flat. Just like the movie. A big parenthesis. Starring Mang Fei, Chen Sing and Yueh Hua.

The Brutal Boxer (1972) Directed by Guan Shan

Also known as Blood Finger for its release abroad, The Brutal Boxer was sold on its carnage and that's no lie. You just have to wade through the standards that occasionally explodes into furious action first though. Concerning characters getting lured into the gangster world and taking on the big boss (Chen Sing, a fine choice if you want a brutal and bloody angle to shine through) eventually, The Brutal Boxer is short but doesn't warrant much attention for approximately an hour. Then laying it on thick with the need for bloody revenge, Raymond Lui heads this section and he is pissed. It's a finale slaughter that isn't the usual sights for these movies as it contains some unexpected make-up effects and a bloodthirsty aura that is welcome. Mars appears in an early supporting role and amidst the stuntmen a young Jackie Chan can be spotted.

Brutal Sorcery (1983) Directed by: Pang Ling

Some do it better than others (The Devil springs to mind) but the black magic genre brings the fireworks in a better way when we get a lead character who's truly an ass and deserves a bit of Thailand Black Death Magic. In this case, taxi driver Alan (Newton Lai) is haunted by the spirits of a couple not buried together so he does the nice thing by bringing their bones to Thailand to set things right. Then he cheats on his wife as he is on a holiday after all (when in Thailand...). Cue problems caused by his mistress in Thailand when he doesn't return.

In fact, we know by the opening moments Alan is dead so hoorah, let's wait and anticipate just how brutal sorcery can be. Passable but disappointing and same can be said for this entry in its particular horror genre. Much thanks to a low budget that can't produce many gruesome sights and I suspect the English dubbed Ocean Shores version I watched wasn't particularly intact either. Still the odd dip into contractual obligatory sights of maggots, maggots being vomited by the cursed, animated devils (who are the creations of our good natured Thai priest employed later in the film) are amusing and Fong Yau yet again playing an evil priest gets to pour maggots on himself and really chew scenery so despite there being little for US to chew on, it's an acceptable time provided by Pang Ling (Curse). Also with genre regular Kwan Hoi-San.

The Buddha Assassinator (1980) Directed by: Dung Gam-Woo

Hsiao Hai (Mang Hoi) saves a Ching Priest (Hwang Jang-Lee) from assassination. Given riches and influence, it quickly gets to Hsiao Hei's head. It turns out he's being played for a fool and being used as leverage in a conflict between once united fighters now turned opponents. Hsiao Hei ends up taking the advice of crazy beggar San Lu (Chin Yuet-Sang) and learns the Buddha style to counter the Prince's Lo Han style (that includes sleeping!)...

A terrific little piece out of the martial arts genre, although it's clear Mang Hoi was never going to break out into stardom akin to Jackie Chan or anyone. He's got the innocence, acrobatic skill, fighting chops but not much of leading man charisma. However it doesn't stop The Buddha Assassinator from being perhaps THE showcase for him. Director Dung Gam-Woo keeps matters efficient and restricted on the comedy side of things to instead focus on some genuinely intriguing and creative choreography by Corey Yuen and co-star Chin Yuet-Sang. The flow and intricacy is jaw dropping and with expert presence from Hwang Jang-Lee and Chin Yuet-Sang, this entry is a home run on all fronts. Also with Lung Fei, Hau Pak-Wai and Corey Yuen appears in the fight intro.

Buddha Palm (Part1) (1964, Ling Yun)

In order to track back to a kind of origin point and progression within the Hong Kong Wuxia film, Buddha Palm is not only a suitable reference point, important but also (if you employ the correct viewing perspective), a good time. The successful first out of five films (this one ends on a cliffhanger) released in 1964 and 1965, if anything it's calm for a fantasy film of its kind. No dizzying storytelling but rather a template this genre and many martial arts movies have employed of a bullied main character evolving into an honorable hero. Therefore training- and fight sequences with Walter Tso throwing superimposed energy bolts out of his hand await you. While no one can claim this is special effects work that had come a long way, the passion and energy is there to convey this and it works tremendously well within the framework (and even better when effects interact with physical elements such as when trees are hit). Martial arts choreography had a good ways to go before igniting the screen and Ling Yun's direction can feel like a filmed stageplay. Despite that, there is a swift pace to the film and for Hong Kong cinema fans, nothing we're not familiar with here. Easy to absorb therefore and it's just made a little earlier than all those other movies we've watched. Plus points for delightful creatures such as The Golden Eagle Tso's Long Gim Fei flies on occasionally, a fight scene mid movie with cave creatures and some gruesome deaths involving energy bolts stripping a head of its skin and even some gore.

Buddha's Lock (1987) Directed by: Yim Ho

Based on a real incident in 1945 about American soldier James Wood's (John X.Heart) time as a slave for one of the clans of the Yi people. After another solider crash lands his plane near the village of one of the clans, Wood is one of the personnel sent in to retrieve him. As the man didn't survive the crash, the Americans are invited to get a taste of a culture they didn't know exist. Wood in particular takes a liking to a piece of jewelry that he trades for but when wanting a guide to get to him to a larger well of this jewelry, him and another solider are kidnapped. One doesn't survive the trip into the mountains and Wood is initiated into his new role. While he didn't see a future back home after the war, it's indeed more than he bargained for to be de-humanized. But Yim Ho (The Day The Sun Turned Cold, Red Dust) directs Hung Leung's affecting script into areas where we come to realize Wood is probably on a correct path for himself. As he is immersed into the village life and used in the armed conflicts between the clans, he's upgraded to a beloved slave almost and meeting fellow slave Niu Niu (Zhang Lu-Tong) sparks feelings of love. The slow tricks of Yim Ho aren't overly breathtaking even come ending time but he does well with his basic beats, especially Wood's established comfort in life (especially after slavery is made criminal offense) and the question of being totally lost, soulless sans the slave-stamp is an intriguing thought. Immersing Western actor John X. Heart is a good anchor, politics are suitably brought forth as he represent a character in a conflict rife with politics and it's this very exact thing that may create heartbreak. Towards the quite abrupt end, we feel all the things we should and need, for better or worse and that's a sign of true viewer engagement.

Buddha's Palm (1982) Directed by: Taylor Wong

Not the kind of nonsense you would normally associate Derek Yee with in this Taylor Wong directed Wuxia at Shaw's. Thankfully, it's very endearing nonsense in the tradition of Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain, but probably about 10 times more insane and creative. The lighting fast pace makes you quickly throw out any notions of analyzing the plot (and it's Wuxia fantasy anyway so it's not supposed to be grounded in any reality) and you just have to be swept away really when Wong showcases the high standard physical production values at Shaw's in combination with the crude, yet so thoroughly entertaining, animated special effects. Also starring Lo Lieh (who's character announces his presence well in advance for all other characters to take note. A scene stealing performance), Kara Hui, Alex Man, Shek Kin and Dameng, a rather compelling reject from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

The Buddhist Fist (1979) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

A zany cast of characters comes and goes in Yuen Woo-Ping's recognizable genre piece but outstanding kung-fu overall erases some of the pitfalls The Buddhist Fist experiences along the way. Starring Yuen-Shun-Yi as Ah Shang who searches for his missing godfather (Cheung Hei) but stumbles upon a stock plot, Yuen Woo-Ping had 4 seminal and extremely noteworthy films under his belt at this point. It's still the casting of Shun-Yi that prevents the film from reaching the heights Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and The Magnificent Butcher did. He is sincere and a likeable enough hero for the film (and less annoying compared to Dance Of The Drunk Mantis) but the film can't gain as much status in the light of Jackie and Sammo's presences in said films. It's perhaps a trifle unfair to compare but many other parts of The Buddhist Fist are hugely enjoyable despite. Your tolerance for mugging and low-brow comedy will be put to the test here and Yuen Woo-Ping for our pleasure populates the film with perverts, stuttering men with birdcages, police conducting animal court, pale faced hunchback assassins and more. All colliding quite jarringly with some slightly more serious tones later in the piece. It all foreshadows the full on insanity of The Miracle Fighters and Shaolin Drunkard and these are fun times to go along with the tragic ones.

As far as choreography goes, the Yuen's can't make all of the choreography within the skits work as smoothly as the subsequent Dreadnaught showed it can but largely Yuen Shun-Yi and Tsui Siu-Ming lead the frame with awesome skill. Performing the direction with the utmost clarity and speed, their double act is classic with a capital C and shows Yuen Woo-Ping's magic at its very best. Fan Mei-Sheng, Simon Yuen (in a variation of the Sleeping Wizard character Chin Yuet-Sang made popular in Last Hurrah For Chivalry), Peter Chan Lung, Yuen Cheung-Yan and Lee Hoi Sang also appear. Tai Seng's dvd includes multiple Chinese tracks and an English dub but omits any kind of subtitles.

The Buddhist Spell (1993) Directed by: Chiu Liu-Kong

The Da Hung religion, headed by characters played by Lau Shun and Pauline Wong, are planning to bring evil into the world in the form of the Blood Kid. He needs just another dose of blood from someone born in the right year. Meanwhile Feng (Mark Cheng) is retrieving a sacred piece of wood to carve a protective statue against evil. Witnessing Shen (Sharla Cheung) being murdered by Register (Jimmy Lung) from the sect, she lingers as a spirit within the piece of wood and pleas for help in order to revenge...

A perfectly adequate time cut out of the A Chinese Ghost Story-mold (Wu Ma co-stars as well!) with an unusually good sense when it comes to mixing the moods. Unusual because The Buddhist Spell doesn't bring in comedy a whole lot. The freaky sights of the Blood Kid slowly being born throughout the movie plus skilled wirework- and animated effects (complemented by fine editing) are driving forces for a standard time with 90s Hong Kong cinema. The core romance isn't particularly noteworthy though but no one makes an ass out of him or herself here.

Bullet For Hire (1991) Directed by: Yuen Chun Man

You initially think Bullet For Hire is going to be a cops vs. assassins movie, with Elaine Lui at center for the former crowd but director Yuen Chun Man turns almost completely away and goes the route of staying with the gangsters instead. Since this is not a particularly deep exploration of brotherhood and loyalty, the choice of "siding" with the outlaws seems ill-fitted. Then again, if you want your Hong Kong gunplay movies fair and balanced, you really shouldn't be watching anything out of the genre explosion in the 80s and 90s. Yuen Chun Man does have enough knowledge about what sells and while the gunplay isn't stylistically great, he really bathes the screen in blood. Not even the smallest ones are spared from neck breaks, chainsaws and the crew loaded up a good chunk of blood for the frequent squib effects as well. It attempts certain things, poorly, but Bullet For Hire delivers its selling points dependently. One note of acknowledgement I do want to point out is the inclusion of comedy that for once fits the situations rather than being tacked on and exaggerated as per usual. That is until some of the black humour enters, then it's the ill-fit again... Also starring Simon Yam, Jacky Cheung, Lo Lieh and Dick Wei.

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