# 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 Beheaded 1000 (1994) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

This low-budget Taiwanese new wave Wuxia represents Jimmy Wang Yu's to date last on screen appearance, old enough in 1994 to play an elder sifu. Presented on Scholar's Taiwan dvd in its original 2 hour length (Hong Kong release had 20 minutes removed), it's clear director Ding Sin-Saai (The Story of Dr. Sun Yat Sen) has a few things he wants to combine with the excess. With Wang Yu's Executioner Ren having to battle back against the demons of those he executed, the running time allows for characters to stop a little, ponder real life and what just went on. This is as a concept welcome but pace is for the first hour not exactly tight.

Nowhere near the manic pace of productions of this era from Hong Kong, emphasis eventually leans towards the "special" effects rather than the high flying wire enhanced fights. Having set up characters as it turns out efficiently enough for the wild second half, The Beheaded 1000 reveals its charms here. Especially a long sequence with Wang Yu dodging obstacle after obstacle during his confrontation with the dead has some trademark ventures into the bizarre that you would only find in a movie of this sort. You'll get to see a Gremlin like creature, multiple beheadings, ghosts ripping their fellow ghost's intestines out and so it goes. As poor as special effects and especially animated ones are from this era usually are, The Beheaded 1000 possesses some quite extraordinarily ropey ones. Literally ropey as underneath all colours, not much can hide the Ed Wood-esque execution of certain elements. You do know the filmmakers are aiming for a dramatic narrative but as failed as that facet becomes, you'd gladly choose the grade moderately charming when it comes to summing up the hokey experience. The future Image dvd will get its chance to prove how Hong Kong wanted Ding Sin-Saai's vision to look and feel. I wouldn't mind too much if they actually got rid of the character driven bits as they make little to none impression. Also starring Chin Siu-Ho, Joey Wong, Pauline Wong and Wu Ma.

Behind The Pink Door (1992) Directed by: Lam Gam-Fung

After Lyon is raped by a group of illegal car dealers (shortage of rapists in Category III movies is never an issue), she's diagnosed with venereal disease and subsequently kills herself. Left is ex-boyfriend and cop Chin (Alex Fong) and Wella (Pauline Chan) to pick up the pieces and revenge. Chin doesn't get much done his way so Wella poses as a hostess to lure the gang out...

While one of the opening scenes looks like a club setting that is in fact just an ordinary room, Behind The Pink Door is still laughably cheap. It's certainly dark and depressing but created more with an eye for Z-grade TV melodrama with very low class erotica to go with it. True, there's little tenderness and more viciousness intended whenever flesh is introduced but the film works better as the amateur work it is as the laughs are plenty. Especially one brilliant scene containing the subtitle "I'll fight VD with VD!" and a sex-session where our main bad guy (Dennis Tang) keeps his pants on all throughout the acrobatic act. I don't want to go into the technicalities of it all. Elements like excessive sweat on characters after very poorly done sex scenes continues to amuse but the crucial reel of revenge doesn't engage. The repulsive button the filmmakers easily push but there's no shameless movie to go along with it. Alex Fong in his dorky, bad acting-phase barely appears during this last section.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Believe It Or Not (1999) Directed by: Wellson Chin

In retrospect, Wellson Chin's horror-comedy Believe It Or Not could be the subject of in-depth film studies. The topic? The effect an actor like Francis Ng has on a low-grade b-movie.

Believe It Or Not is so cheap it almost look ridiculous at times but it earn its status as amusing, even laugh out loud funny at times thanks to the comedic talents of Francis Ng. Playing the world's most foul and dirty cop who's actually a considerate and nice guy (with a flatulence problem), this is overacting and far fetched writing for sure but Francis, looking like he's walked on to the set of a home movie when standing next to the rest of the "talent pool" (excluding Sam Lee, who's not on top form but logs a few, well-timed moments), overacts for sure but his instincts are correct for this one, leading to several, while Wong Jing-esque, funny character moments.

Director Wellson Chin only aims for scares in a Troublesome Night kind of way and keep things moving along fairly well, when either Ng and Lee are on screen that is but the finale is strangely lacking of spark from either participants. By that time however, the films is still securely in amusing territory. Co-starring Anita Chan and Yoyo Mung.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

The Bells Of Death (1968) Directed by: Griffin Yueh

One of those rare times when the revenge template within a kung fu movie or a Wuxia pian in the case of The Bells Of Death where the unfair feels hard, punishing and the subsequent revenge utterly primal as well. Chang Yi plays the sole survivor of a family victim of a random assault of violence by robbers. Learning martial arts quick and going to work, he also saves a prostitute (Chin Ping) but fears she might be too close to his needed cycle of violence. Chang Yi is excellent at embodying the hard, bloody face of revenge and the movie goes to town with gore as there's beheadings and limb choppings galore and all while it features the rare sight of more darkly colored blood in a Shaw Brothers movie! Someone went against the grain and made a batch of actual good looking movie blood here, something that fits well with the very de-colourized and earthy look of the film and The Bells Of Death is simply raw, violent, basic excellence.

Best Friend Of The Cops (1990) Directed by: Wong Wa-Kei

Sparks rarely fly in this cheap comedy about an ex-cop turned conman (Alex Man) who cheats a number of bumbling, bored cops. The chief among them (Paul Chun, most absorbing performer in the film) is the sole one raising suspicions, culminating in a partially outrageous card game that somehow squeezes in a urine joke that you don't see every day. Jacky Cheung plays an informant and drug-addict whose knowledge of the conmans past doesn't get taken seriously. Also with Elaine Kam.

Best Of Best (1994) Directed by: Rico Chung

At times a wild, off-beat screwball satire about rivaling insurance agents but director Rico Cheung can only go a bit beyond his initial concept and the comedy quickly takes on worn proportions (the dvd cover simply promises a lot more wicked fun). Spicing it up with Category III rated material such as softcore sex and rape further spells a desperation and the lead cast in the form of Mark Cheng and Ivy Leung doesn't help either. The late James Wong however is very funny as a completely mad insurance agent. Also with Kelvin Wong, Dick Lau and Sai Gwa Paau.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

The Best Of Shaolin Kung Fu (1976) Directed by: Chan Siu-Pang

The English title is a tall order the movie doesn't live up too and although it has more of a bronzemen movie feel. Cliff Lok tries to convince the Ching Emperor (Pai Ying) that they're blood brothers and that he's in fact a Han that should join up to bring down the Ching. A crucial piece of evidence lies behind a series of fights and tests for Cliff Lok's character though...

Even at a lean 75 minutes (the running time of the German cinema print), the movie is a basic yarn and yawn that doesn't provide good usage of Lok, Wong or even King Hu regular Pai Ying. About half way into the epic Shaolin temple scenario, things perk up when the bronzemen arrive and those of us, like me, with a weakness for fighting chambers will get a minor kick. But The Best Of Shaolin Kung Fu ranks low despite and without aforementioned kickass aspect, it would've easily qualified as the Worst.

Bet On Fire (1988) Directed by: Joe Cheung

While definitely leaning towards exploitation (but rated Cat IIb), director Joe Cheung's (Flaming Brothers) hostess movie draws out a surprising emotional response, in particular in the portrayal of Man and Hung (anchored nicely by Cheung Man and Cherie Cheung). The violence is definitely jarring (but the grittiness of it is terrifically staged by Stephen Tung) but remains a better balanced contrast against other elements in the movie, compared to what Hong Kong cinema usually gives us. The cameos by people such as Wong Jing, Nat Chan and Stanley Fung also makes sure that men visiting these clubs are portrayed as either perverts or perverts with violent tendencies, as per usual when characters like this are featured. Shing Fui On, Maria Cordero, Wu Ma and Teresa Carpio also appear but best supporting honors goes to Paul Chun, playing the ultra-evil triad boss Tong. It takes a professional actor like Paul to make a flat character become more colorful.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Yesasia.com

Beware Of Pickpockets (1981) Directed by: Wu Ma

One of the very first Cinema City productions, founders Raymond Wong (writer), Karl Maka (actor) and Dean Shek (actor) indeed are at the forefront trying to make their production company take flight. Their various detours into action (the A Better Tomorrow movies for instance) may have made their name later but the local comedy has its fair share to recommend about them and the Wu Ma directed Beware Of Pickpockets surprises. Dean Shek is a good hearted pickpocket who tries to make bad guys lives miserable instead but the law (represented by Karl Maka and Wu Ma) is still after him. Running an orphanage also and teaching them the more kind principles of the pickpocket trade, these resourceful kids are going to play a crucial part in the various musical numbers and slapstick that ensues. Especially when actual thugs come onto the scene...

Dean Shek may look like he's up to his usual over the top antics but in actuality, we're seeing a much more toned down version here. Essentially all the post dubbed high pitched sounds are gone and in fact, Shek makes for an effective conveyer of dishing out painful slapstick as well as receiving. It's one of his funniest performances. Various skits include the kids trying to get him a girlfriend, a drunk judge sentencing Karl Maka to prison and awarding a good citizen award to Shek instead and Hitler gets mentioned 10 times in regards to a dog etc. But the tour de force is an epic slapstick sequence where Shek and kids take on the thugs. Physical pain and undercranking is a center pillar but the energy and timing is usually spot on. Credit Wu Ma for keeping Shek in check and delivering a valuable addition to Cinema City.

Bewitched Area Of Thousand Years (1991) Directed by: Lai Wan

Attacked and now possessed by a snake devil, a woman (Chui Ging-Sin) and her surroundings now seek help to break the spell...

Low-budget and set bound Taiwanese horror quickie that satisfies on very minute levels. Basically either filmed in the forest or in one house, various low-fi transformations and gore represents the only brief fun you can find plus the special effects ending is lively enough to not fall asleep in front of. Certainly was an opportunity somewhere in there to be a little bit more dramatic with the possession plot that us similar to the The Wolf Man but Bewitched Area Of Thousand Years concerns itself with little of that, not even nailing the drama on a soap opera level. Also starring Lung Tien-Hsiang (The Flag Of Iron) and Ku Feng appears briefly.

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