# 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 Blade (1995) Directed by Tsui Hark

Tsui Hark is a mad genius (or was if you talk to fans today) and his very loose remake of Chang Cheh's One Armed Swordsman is the movie to support that claim. Even without having seen the original Shaw Brother's movie, one can safely say it wasn't this dirty, dark, violent or as visually daring as The Blade. Tsui is one of those directors that will not think of putting the camera everywhere. He is the one who will put it everywhere and in the case of The Blade it creates a dazzling, wild ride that does work with the mood of the film. The martial arts sequences are shot with the same free for all camera style but the reason it's not up for criticism in Tsui's movie is that we know there is quality choreography on display. As opposed to most American efforts where a shaky camera style is choosen and the choreography is very poor to begin with.

Outside of the story of Ling and her looking at the world (heard much in voiceover) The Blade is a familiar revenge tale brought to greater heights thanks to the design of the film. To the best of my knowledge only Ringo Lam's Burning Paradise (which Tsui Hark also produced) attempted this look and feel to a 90s martial arts production. Both are true stand outs because of it. Chiu Man Cheuk gives an intense, charismatic performance while also displaying terrific moves with his blade. Hung Yan Yan and him go at it during the ultra intense finale that is unlike anything I've ever seen. Not Hark's best movie from a storytelling point (some slow passages occur) but visually I would regard it as his most memorable.

The Black Tavern (1972) Directed by: Teddy Yip

80 minutes of swordplay- and fight simplicity. There's rumours of an official arriving at an inn carrying a box of bribes. Out come the robbers. Not giving a damn about being similar to genre tropes established commercially by King Hu, Teddy Yip's film distances itself nicely from obvious comparisons to Come Drink With Me and Dragon Inn. Expertly designed and entertaining, there's plenty of colourful characteristics in each group of performers that arrive at the inn. Chief among them the whipmaster played with confidence by Ku Feng and for an early 70s movie (even at Shaw Brothers), the action choreography is very fast and fluent. Often feeling like each scenario is unique and different through the atmospheric key setting and creative camerawork. Also with Shih Szu, Tung Li, Wu Ma, Wang Hsieh and Dean Shek as the singing beggar in an expressive turn.

Black Wind Inn (1999) Directed by: Yiu Tin-Hung

Certainly not the most high octane setup ever conceived, of a company who transports charity money to flooding victims in 1920s China and the bandits after said money. You'd be right too, not much at all ignites here despite a sufficiently costumed and designed frame and performers taking it seriously. Black Wind Inn wants tension, drama generating from deaths and bloodshed but with no such talent here to provide that, matters are very flat. A scene involving a guillotine promises dark, affecting drama and revenge ahead but it's the sole bright spot in an otherwise tough trek of a movie. Action choreography is often very weak and unconvincing to boot. With Karel Wong and Norman Tsui.

Blade Of Fury (1993) Directed by: Sammo Hung

Reportedly this was to be a directorial comeback vehicle for Lo Wei (The Big Boss, Fist Of Fury) but most likely Sammo Hung (also action) took over full directing reigns in this new wave effort about political power struggles during a planned reformation of China. Therefore we're thankfully left with a highly serious effort in the vein of Once Upon A Time In China 2. The crew also splendidly echoes the feeling of an old Shaw Brother's movie with some beautiful, extravagant design work. There's a big but here because all intentions are correct, the execution in all departments isn't.

Despite an engaging plot, and a focus to deliver something akin to plot driven, the proceedings left me emotionally cold. Characters are established as they should yet this movie doesn't possess the heart that Tsui Hark for instance brought to his classic works of this era. Ti Lung however exudes terrific dignity as Tan Szu Tung and newcomer Yeung Fan probably could've taken over the Wong Fei-Hung role with ease as he embodies those ideals in a competent manner for the character of Wong Wu.

If only the action could've taken the emotions up a notch and it's the same correct instinct by Sammo here as he blends standard over the top wire work with welcome grounded displays of martial arts. However, he seriously undercranks just about everything so the effect of power instead turns Blade Of Fury into a cartoon. Which is sad because Sammo obviously had actual martial arts talent at his disposal that didn't need artificial power enhancement through undercranking. Sad, sad, sad...

Only dvd edition currently available with English subtitles is a Mandarin dubbed one released by Scholar in Taiwan.

The Blazing Temple (1976) Directed by: Joseph Kuo

On a low budget, Joseph Kuo delivers quite an impressive Shaolin rebels vs Manchu epic, executing an scaled down but still exciting destruction of the temple as its centerpiece. Playing proceedings straight, there's a fair focus on drama here as students (among others Carter Wong's character) lose their teachers and the primal strike back is (including the solid fight choreography) is effective throughout. The clichés of the martial arts genre are definitely here but adds color to The Blazing Temple like the fact that the evil emperor (Yee Yuen) has several doppelgangers in case of an assassination plan and the multiple betrayals and un-betrayals at the end makes for an easy going time. Also with Hsia Ling and Chang Yi.

Blind Boxer (1972) Directed by: Cheung Sam

Generic template that would've fit a period martial arts picture as well, Blind Boxer is set in the modern world of organized tournament fighting. With the invincible Japanese fighter dubbed Gorilla (Kim Young-In) viciously beating up and even being allowed to murder his opponents by the bookmaking organizations, Song Lu (Tony Liu, aka Wong Jan-Yeung. Future director of Holy Flame Of The Martial World, Dreaming The Reality etc) manages to get a draw out of his fight with him. The organizers still go after him violently as well as fellow student Fong Man (Jason Pai) who, true to the movie's title, is blinded by in the process. Looming is revenge in the ring and the taking down of an organization. Surviving sufficiently as a movie although no one would mistake this for high drama, Blind Boxer does its best work in the ring and when action in general is concerned. While noticeably sped up at points, the gritty power of the ring-fights is effective but a real time slow factor is not present in select choreography outside of it. Here the ferocity takes a step up and many of the fast exchanges are above average what you would expect out of action choreography of 1972.

The Blonde Fury (1989) Directed by: Mang Hoi

Also known as Lady Reporter and even marketed as a sequel to Corey Yuen's classic Righting Wrongs, Mang Hoi takes over directing duties for this unusual action venture since the lead is a Westerner, Cynthia Rothrock (dubbed in Cantonese though). She's proven to be a pretty kick ass presence under Hong Kong direction and it continues here since Corey Yuen is still around to perform action directing duties. It takes a while but around the hour mark the team delivers solid skirmishes with the finale being filled with more creativity (a fight in between cargo containers would later be a scenario used by Corey in The Transporter). It lacks the impact of Righting Wrongs though because this ain't no morality tale or as bleak and violent. Outside of the action, director Mang Hoi instead does his best to bore us to death with slow pace and straining comedy. Rothrock's leading lady abilities certainly ain't nothing to write home about so best advice is to look at The Blonde Fury only during the moments when Mang Hoi is working with Corey Yuen. Less blonde, more fury would have been nice basically.

Also with some returning cast members from Righting Wrongs that includes Roy Chiao (in a turn echoing his future award winning performance in Summer Snow), Wu Ma and Melvin Wong. Elizabeth Lee, Mang Hoi, Chin Siu Ho, Billy Chow, Jeff Falcon, Chung Fat and Ronny Yu (as the villain!) appears as well.

Blood Brothers (1982) Directed by: Lee Tso-Nam

After gambling away the money of their boss, sworn brothers Chu Cheng (Chen Kuan-Tai) and Chow Po (Don Wong) go their separate ways. The former endures small time jobs, personal tragedy but eventually rises in ranks in the Shanghai gangster world while Chow Po joins the police and eventually the blood brothers connect again. The otherwise dependable Lee Tso-Nam (Shaolin Vs Lama) produces one of his duds here. There's nothing wrong with the basic framework of this particular gangster tale and Lee isn't attempting high drama here. However his desire to be primal, bloody and stunt-heavy action-wise rarely generates sparkling celluloid despite competent players. Only select primal moments stand out but despite the bloody gunplay and the bike/car stunt finale looking like it's something, proceedings are rather stale. Desire is there, not desperation but this time it isn't breaking through plus amusingly the 1930s-1940s set movie seems to forget it IS a period effort as modern tech and clothing sneak into the frame more than once. Also with Chan Sing, Lung Fei and Chen Hung-Lieh.

Blood Call (1988) Directed by: Oli Ncole

A rather unusual aka for our director but under the Chinese name of Tung Liu he also co-directed Without A Promised Land. A hardhitting film in its own right, cementing Blood Call in slasher-territory is not the worst of ideas either. But under the opening credits we find an oil painting by our director and via this abstract behaviour we launch into an utterly dreadful and incomprehensible stalker story. Fear of pagers and fear of a mental patient with a loaded gun, while atmosphere is foreboding and loaded with dread sometimes, it all is indeed dreadful and seemingly someone's consciousness under deep sleep that is manifested on screen. Not so much their nightmare but the illogical, unconnected stream of consciousness. Is that art to some? Max Mok, Eddy Ko, Michael Chow and Charlie Cho appears.

Bloodfight (1989) Directed by: Shuji Goto

Produced by and starring Yasuaki Kurata, the spirit of Bloodsport and Kickboxer is very much present as he brings together Hong Kong stars for another stab at utilizing the moment in time where tournament fight flicks was the rage. Never boring and hitting the genre clichés well, why Bloodfight is to be laughed at a little is the fact that all performers are performing in synch sound English and let's just say rhythm is off by a mile. The snappy pace and fun within the production hitting genre content well can't be neglected though and Bloodfight succeeds in a fair manner. Simon Yam plays the young fighter Kurata takes under his wing, Bolo Yeung is the almighty villain while Stuart Smith, Meg Lam, John Ladalski and Ken Boyle also appear.

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