# 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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The Battle Wizard (1977) Directed by: Pao Hsueh-Li

During a short running time, some nonsense about revenge on the family (and specifically the son played by Danny Lee) that did wrong on the character Wong Po-yen acts as merely functional string for the carnival of high energy, special effects fun Pao Hsueh-Li orchestrates. Lee's Tuan Yu knows no martial arts and walks the world to find out if he's able to live in it sans the knowledge. Of course not and meeting up with a female snake master (Lam Jan-Kei - Tsui Hark's Dangerous Encounter - 1st Kind) leads to getting the power of the red python, encounters with mutants, gorillas, other energy bolt wielding villains and Tanny Tien (in an impressive action role) shooting laser daggers out of what looks like a dog bone. It's Wuxia fun with an emphasis on stepping it up technically and the colorful nature (literally and looking at the elements featured) elevates The Battle Wizard. Especially since it's a lean, simple experience too employing the very basic narrative techniques of the genre. Yet another movie of Danny Lee's at Shaw Brothers that stands out in the busy crowd (because the others were the likes of The Oily Maniac, Mighty Peking Man and Inframan) and while this part of his career didn't mean him finding his voice (various cop roles in the 80s made sure of that), Lee has a lot to be proud of as he was part of a studio trying their utmost to be versatile within sci-fi, horror, Japanese inspired tokusatsu entertainment and wild Wuxia style movies.

Beach Of The War Gods (1973) Directed by: Jimmy Wang Yu

The Seven Samurai story structure and yet another clash between Chinese and Japanese, that's Jimmy Wang Yu's Beach Of The War Gods for ya! Usually by the numbers and featuring A LOT of expansive battles, Wang Yu provides little distinctive style as he pads the running time with swords swinging. Little character (of course) exists in the film other than the displaying of different ideals among the Chinese in war times so it's also (of course) difficult to relate when Jimmy asks us to care for the death of key characters. The package is sufficient though with some parts of the direction being quite atmospheric and the final duel (and really all of the beach scenes) finally sees some creativity rear its head but vintage Jimmy Wang Yu post-Shaw's takes place within a structure of pure creative insanity a la Master Of The Flying Guillotine. For straight faced genre excursions, turn back to his work with Chang Cheh. Also starring Lung Fei.

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Yesasia.com

The Beasts (1980) Directed by: Dennis Yu

If you can get past the fact that The Beasts feature a way too convenient script in order to get the rape/revenge storyline going, ludicrous character traits (except for Kent Cheng's Mo) where one of the titular beasts actually is as close to one, literally, and uneven acting, this Dennis Yu directed low-budget effort can be a fairly effective and nasty piece of work. With stylistic nods to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and drawing inspiration from The Last House On The Left, Yu creates a grim atmosphere, mostly thanks to some effectively lensed island visuals.

Yu, part of the late 70s/early 80s new wave of directors would go on to helm The Imp and later the Lau Kar Leung vehicle Evil Cat. As some of his other fellow new-wave directors, he eventually faded away when there was no room for the pessimism and darkness that accompanied some of these early films. Veteran martial arts actor Chan Sing plays the revenge seeking father and Patricia Chong his daughter, the rape victim. The Beasts was art directed by Tony Au and Stanley Kwan acted as assistant director. Both would go on to direct fine works of their own including Dream Lovers and Rouge.

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The Beautiful Swordswoman (1969) Directed by: Yeung Siu

Trained assassin Yuan (Wong Ling) follows orders given by her tutor but this killing machine will learn the secret behind her past when a target is in her sight that has a family connection. A movie doesn't have to feature strong settings or costumes to stand out in the Wuxia genre. Somewhere in there director Yeung Siu knows this as the tragic story and fates are presented before us in clear, simple manner. But the melodramatic overdrive often hurts proceedings and clearly is a sign of lack of skill too. By no means bottom fodder, never does The Beautiful Swordswoman turn into something valid in terms of its drama. The various killing techniques by what is a dual team of deadly women are fun but spread out, very sporadic pieces of flash.

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HK Flix.com

Beauty And The Breast (2001) Directed by: Raymond Yip

The office setting from Needing You is spiced up with sensibilities from La Brassiere, with added mutation for Raymond Yip's Beauty And The Breast. His handling of the tone is early on already wrong when setting up his terrible male characters. There is no way these should or can be redeemed, but of course, movies such as these go the idealized and predictable ways so what are you going to do? For starters, romance and comedy should not register low! Seeing as Yip manages to actually do that, Beauty And The Breast is simply best avoided.

Admittedly, Francis Ng manages to squeeze actual humour out of the unsympathetic character of Mario and the subsequent physical change he goes through but that's Ng bringing something, not being supported by the director. His sidekick Daniel Wu hardly feels like he's in this picture, nor does Michelle Reis. Although forced and very expected, Lam Tze-Chung (Shaolin Soccer) manages to strike a minor chord with the audience though.

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Yesasia.com

Beauty And Warrior (2002) Directed by: Sukma Romadhon

Fast forward to 2002 and you find yet another Joseph Lai presented, animated title after seemingly having abandoned the train of thought that it may hold market power. Retaining all of the cast and crew's actual names seemingly for this 45 minute short, it requires the plot summary handy and nearby because the movie doesn't tell you a lot. Made in Indonesia, the mix of two twin warriors and a princess guarding an underwater palace plus some sword are plot strands that can be picked up on in bursts. But since the dub track is often very poorly produced and the original makers seem to favour the non-verbal and visual spectacle first (compared to the Korean titles of Lai's past, this one at least looks above average). A choice that never produces engagement and never really on a visual level only either. It's over before you know it but a 'so what happened there?' remark post viewing isn't unwarranted.

Beauty Investigator (1993) Directed by: Lee Tso Nam

Moon Lee/Yukari Oshima vehicles are fan favourites but efforts such as Dreaming The Reality failed to entertain me. It's clear though that they're both competent action heroines and the silly, fast paced and most importantly entertaining Beauty Investigator is a better showcase for that. Other than a few funny moments from Lee, the directing and narrative is standard. The action (mixing gunplay and hand to hand combat) however carries the film nicely. Also starring Gam Chi Gei, Melvin Wong and Choong Fat.

The English dubbed version featured a nude shower scene with co-star Sophia Crawford but was never included in any Hong Kong edit to the best of my knowledge.

The Beauty's Evil Roses (1992) Directed by: Lam Wah-Chuen

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Lam Wah-Chuen searched and found his true calling as a cinematographer for the likes of Fruit Chan and Wilson Yip but before he even made his indie favourite The Runaway Pistol together with directing friends, the Category III label was calling earlier. It was answered tenfold via The Beauty's Evil Roses, a smorgasbord of bad filmmaking but joyous, wild sights only possible from the mind of an Asian filmmaker. While we endure the puzzling, random scenes pasted after each other during the opening reel and the character-relations within it, Lam makes us ask the question of how much sex you can cram into a boring movie. Answer is A LOT but when "focusing" on the missing girls plot leading to the evil sex sect with alien monsters shooting out of women's mouths, the blender has done its thing and the bits left are totally desirable. Creative visual solutions, bundles of black magic, taoist priests and a suitable subtitle job, perhaps this flick remains a logical stepping stone for Lam Wah-Chuen after all? With Alex Fong... in the background.

BB 30 (1990) Directed by: Stephen Shin

Lawyer Benny Bau (Kenny Bee) is put on probation after being under the influence of drugs in court. Dr. Cheng Ho Oi (Carol Cheng) is supposed to evaluate him, the two constantly bump into each other and even more so after a license plate mix-up (the titular BB 30 refers to this). Then more stuff seemingly happens but Stephen Shin provides muddled, uneventful and boring situations. Apparently Hui Siu-Hung has a triad debt Kenny Bee's character gets involved in but despite the D & B stamp and synch sound, nothing in BB 30 flies or coheres. Stephen Shin wasn't a stellar director but could squeeze out a reel or two of pleasant romantic fluff. Skip ahead to Heart To Hearts for that Shin-dosage then.

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Yesasia.com

Beginner's Luck (1994) Directed by: Billy Chan

Kent Cheng wrote and produced this pleasing comedy detailing one of the Hong Kong inhabitants most beloved gambling form. The only legalized one: horse racing. Mark (Lau Ching Wan) together with brother Hark (Michael Chow) and friend Bowie (Bowie Lam) are all gambling addicts and the stakes are getting particularly high for Mark. Finding it hard to balance his love for gambling and love for his fiancee May (an always radiant Wu Chien-Lien), a hard loss forces him to make a living the slow way...

Engaging stars and an easy going pace by director Billy Chan makes Beginner's Luck a very engaging piece plus it doesn't challenge us with complex lessons either. It's all done in a cinematic world where all will turn out perfect by the end but being well-meaning in intent prevents most pitfalls on the horizon. Although referenced throughout, the late Bill Tung doesn't appear in the film in his real life occupation as a horse racing commentator. Kent Cheng (as a character named after comedian Stephen Chow Sing Chi for no apparent reason), Lau Shun, Angelica Lo and Teresa Ha also appear.

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

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