# 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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A Chinese Torture Chamber Story (1994) Directed by: Bosco Lam

Some of you might've seen a movie clip on the Internet where two people, Crouching Tiger style are having sex. That was from this 1994 Cat III and Wong Jing production directed by Bosco Lam (who came up with the concept for the Derek Yee/Law Chi Leung directed Viva Erotica). Period effort and the same flashback structure as many Cat III productions from this era. Yvonne Yeung plays Little Cabbage that endures grim Ching dynasty torture while outside influences tries to prove her innocence. For once the combination of low brow humour and the grueling scenes of this story blend well together to create a, at times, completely insane Cat III entry. Not FILLED with insane imagery but instantly memorable ones, the highlight being the flying kung fu sex-fight (with Elvis Tsui and Julie Lee) and a Cat III parody of Ghost. Fans of the Sex & Zen movies should like this but be prepared for fairly strong scenes of torture (cuts to the print was required at time of release and they still remain on the dvd). You have to hand it to the Ching's, they were creative when it came to this. Also starring Tommy Wong and Lawrence Ng. A very much inferior and non-related sequel followed in 1998.

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Chivalry Deadly Feud (1981) Directed by: Tang Chen-Dah

Nothing too complex storytelling-wise in this swordplay universe, Wong Goon-Hung is helping the remainder of the Hsiao family (the daughter who has lost her memory) get revenge by taking out the family enemies one by one. There might be an ending twist too. Certainly up there costume-wise and attempting grand vistas, Chivalry Deadly Feud is the timid production not sure how to showcase being epic. But that has a positive effect on the action and a good mix of grounded and flying feats highlights the production. If anything at points comes off as more feasible and thought out by being scaled back. Also with Chung Wa and Pai Ying.

The Chivalry, The Gunman And Killer (1977) Directed by: Hon Bo-Cheung

Opens up interestingly enough with a string of senseless killings by female assassins led by Hsu Feng in a red mask. Clearing up the mystery and reasons along the way, the film loses momentum and coherence story-wise and merely works as a decent swordplay spectacle with a recognizable cast (including Yueh Hua, Pai Ying and Lo Lieh).

Choi Lee Fat Kung Fu (1979) Directed by: Chan Siu-Pang

No doubt a bi-product of Jackie Chan kung fu comedy breakthrough, the cashing in on a hot mixture and template often came off as ugly in the hands of other filmmakers and stars at the helm. Mostly true for Choi Lee Fat Kung Fu as well. Cliff Lok displays fine physical skill but is not much of a compelling leading man here and the movie just ticks off genre content hoping it'll pop. Elaborate martial arts training and grating comedy aside, for most of the movie the action does not reach any passable standard. Performers seem tired, the choreography is rushed and it's only Lok's final confrontation with Phillip Ko that stands out. Here the performers respond to each other in a rather violent and primal end fight that sticks in your memory but go watch Duel Of The 7 Tigers featuring the same team for highlights that appear all throughout the movie instead. Also with Sharon Yeung

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The Christ Of Nanjing (1995) Directed by: Tony Au

Tony Leung Ka-Fai is Japanese writer Okagawa who meets and marries young prostitute and christian devotee Jin-Hua (Yasuko Tomita - Kitchen). When she finds out he already has a family in Japan, she detaches herself from Okagawa and devotes herself only to her God, a decision that in her mind strengthens but in fact leads her onto a road towards insanity...

Tony Au bid farewell to directing Hong Kong cinema with this his 8th feature, a dark, depressing and complex drama where he and writer Joyce Chan subjects poor Jin-Hua to grave punishment. It's an interesting portrayal in the way they put a blurred line between belief, need and love and you'd better be prepared for pessimism of the highest order. If so, The Christ Of Nanjing offers up fine production values, style and acting, in particular the intense and daring role for Japanese actress Yasuko Tomita.

City Cop (1995) Directed by: Herman Yau

Despite the Chinese title suggesting we're watching a sequel to Danny Lee's acclaimed Law With Two Phases, City Cop holds mere one connection and if you can't figure that out, you're still new to Hong Kong cinema...

Herman Yau made Cop Image the year before, the film where the ordinary cop tried to adopt the characteristics of the unrealistic movie cop. City Cop, written by infrequent but obviously talented Anna Lee, toys with us a little as it's first established we're into buddy cop movie territory. That's the template and via the very small means, Herman crafts a very exciting and affecting film. His talent in this particular production is not just keeping an even pace and getting the action to register as effective but highlighting the little, humane things that make up the lives of cops Jackson (Parkman Wong) and Rambo (Michael Chow). Of course an odd couple to begin with, Yau plants incredibly simplistic notions of the validity of being the cop type you are, valuing family and relationships as well as keeping count of your hour quota. Rarely interrupted by silliness, whenever the generic plot of the invincible Mainland Chinese villains kick in, even here where the script calls for brief commentary on the weaponry possessed by the criminal underworld Yau gets his point across very efficiently. Employing focus when working with action directors Chin Kar-Lok and Yee Tin-Hung as well, the film never strays and offers suitable mayhem (including some very fine stunt work and a terrific finale at a cinema). The downfalls of City Cop, albeit briefly concerns predictability and melodrama played out under Canto-pop. Perhaps it's also too minor to register with the masses but it's a fine film underneath that familiarity despite. Danny Lee appears in support, handing out friendly advice but a lot of credit sure belongs to him as a producer for allowing those mentioned little things to take center stage. Also with a relentless Ben Ng, Peter Yung and Tam Suk-Mooi.

City Cops (1989) Directed by: Lau Kar-Wing

Kent Tong (Ken Tong) has information about a micro film that could bring down a wanted gangster so naturally his henchmen (led by Mark Houghton), the FBI (who sends Cynthia Rothrock to Hong Kong to pick up Tong) and the Hong Kong police take part in the hunt. The task locally is handed to lighthearted duo Ching (Miu Kiu-Wai) and Tai Kau (Shing Fui-On)...

Basically having a troupe of willing stuntmen and the likes of Cynthia Rothrock, Luk Chuen, Mark Houghton and Nishiwaki Michiko on board, it's so obvious City Cops was designed as Lau Kar-Wing and crew went along. There's nothing wrong with a basic frame story but the all too familiar contrasting elements of Hong Kong action cinema (movie starts dark and then cuts to the bumbling idiot cops) doesn't gel since director Lau only sporadically delivers in the action department. 14 bearable minutes, the other 70 or so totally uninteresting. There's an amusing romance subplot between the unlikely duo of Shing Fui-On and Cynthia Rothrock but primary highlight takes place when the latter goes head to head with Luk Chuen. Albeit doubled for the more acrobatic feats, Rothrock looks amazing and the subsequent warehouse finale continues this fine combo whenever Rothrock is involved. Also with Suki Kwan, Wu Fung and John Ladalski.

City Hero (1985) Directed by: Dennis Yu

With Dennis Yu (The Beasts, The Imp) mellowed out a bit, Cinema City took him on board, City Hero being the second production he made for the studio. Still, the antics of Dean Shek takes center stage, playing an arguably deranged instructor of special police unit cadets and even though he takes his role seriously at points, he knows no other gear but maximum. He can't win. As for Yu's work, he shows great disinterest when echoing this Police Academy formula (only slight more darkness enters) and offers up no points of interest along the way. When killing off a main character, it's simple attention seeking that works against him greatly.

Even when subsequently ejecting most of the guys from this premise in favour of women, The Inspectors Wears Skirts by Wellson Chin didn't exactly intend to improve on the lame formula. Heck, one might even think the idea for that series came through the casting of Billy Lau in City Hero. A scary thought. Mark Cheng, Michael Wong, Pat Ha and Ku Feng also stars.

City Kids 1989 (1989) Directed by: Poon Man-Kit

Before Poon Man-Kit went big, historical and tedious with epics such as To Be Number One and Lord Of East China Sea, small stories about small time gangsters infused with loyalty, brotherhood etc was part of his initial streak of films. Hero Of Tomorrow remains a memorable one with high caliber firepower and brutality while City Kids 1989 only fares well for a little while. Third's (Max Mok) family emigrates to Hong Kong and the turbulence of the times eventually sets him on a downwards spiral. Flirts with the gangster world is the step that permanently plants him there, along with childhood friend Sas (Andy Lau). Short and to the point, there's nothing wrong with important pieces of the story only being highlighted briefly but with this brevity comes pretty distant characters that are also part of a pretty ordinary tale. The polished look, a workable double team between the leads and veterans Wong Chung, Shing Fui-On and Pau Hei-Ching lending weight to their characters still can't make City Kids 1989 say anything out of the ordinary. Some ending poignancy and restrained melodramatic acting from Andy Lau is worthy of note. Co-starring May Lo.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

City Of Life And Death (2009) Directed by: Lu Chuan

Depicting the rampage of murder and rape the Japanese army went on after Nanking had fallen, Lu Chuan (Kekexili: Mountain Patrol) takes a fairly unplotted approach where we get nightmarish glimpses from the side of various Chinese AND Japanese. Making City Of Life And Death in black and white but establishing characters on each respective side, Lu Chuan's script covers the last efforts of the Chinese army (involving Liu Ye's character), real life German Nazi party member John Rabe's (John Paisley) attempt to protect soldiers and women in the Nanking Safety Zone, the systematic and cruel rape and murder by the Japanese etc. With the main focus ultimately landing on the conscience ridden soldier Kadokawa (an excellent Hideo Nakaizumi), through his eyes Lu Chuan also establishes a pull no punches attitude as the very realistically tinted (amidst expertly designed sets) violence will turn your stomach. All without resorting to cheap exploitation tactics and during long stretches of non-verbal narrative and random callousness, the historical depiction becomes even more terrifying.

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