# 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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City War (1988) Directed by: Sun Chung

Despite not having a whole lot of originality going for it with its plot content being personal revenge, vigilante acts, choices equaling a journey towards hell and cops in commanding posts being as usual pretty tough to deal with, Sun Chung's (Human Lanterns) re-teaming of Chow Yun-Fat and Ti Lung (both in A Better Tomorrow) is hellish cinema so it's therefore for those who can take it. Sun Chung lights a fuse early on that slowly burns towards ignition, symbolized via Chow's steamy relationship with gangster Ted's (Norman Tsui) girlfriend (a character inflicting doom, played by Tien Niu who shares some quite smoking scenes with lead Chow, especially one on a dance floor) or when just about every innocent soul gets it! It's not John Woo weight to the proceedings and some light detours obviously make a dent in the otherwise excellent, dark impact the film has. Lo Lieh, Michael Chow (as a gay henchman) and Ricky Yi also appear.

City Warriors (1988) Directed by: Johnny Wang

Dick Wei is Lok Han, a Mainlander arriving Hong Kong to look up his sister who's rebelled against him and left with boyfriend Tsai (Ken Lo). She's been forced into prostitution however and Lok Han quickly makes enemies with the underworld in his attempts to get her out...

Johnny Wang, a familiar face from Lau Kar Leung's films but also a director of brutal fare such as Angry Ranger and Escape From Brothel. While there is probably some true commentary about the different train of thoughts between Mainland Chinese people and Hong Kong people, City Warriors first and foremost relies on the action (also directed by Wang). Very few are spared, including women, but it's well-executed gory and intense brutality. It ain't pretty but Wang never set out to make it that and City Warriors succeeds where it aims. Also with Carina Lau, O Chun Hung, Chor Yuen and Phillip Chan.

Clan Of The White Lotus (1980) Directed by: Lo Lieh

Lo Lieh directs this sequel/remake of Lau Kar Leung's Executioners From Shaolin, the movie that gave us one of Lo's standout roles of the white haired priest Pai Mei (later portrayed by Gordon Lau in Kill Bill: Volume 2). Well, Pai Mei is dead and Lo instead takes on the very similar role of The White Lotus that's is constantly being challenged by anti-Ching fighter Man Ting (Gordon Lau). What it takes to defeat The White Lotus is perhaps a little female contribution. That's where Kara Hui comes in...

Director Lo takes certain beats of Lau Kar Leung's original but mostly ejects any notion of a serious narrative to make room for comedic strokes instead. Both broad ones as seen through Lam Fai Wong's endearing and funny performance but several doses of welcome quirkiness rears its head, which is a style of comedy not usually associated with martial arts, at least not in my experience. Clan Of The White Lotus could've taken all its cues from the established kung fu comedy staples of the time but feels very much its own thanks to Lo Lieh's clever direction and the marvelous contribution by none other than Lau Kar Leung, this time acting "only" as action director.

Don't think for a second that he's going in half-assed though. No, Lau's set pieces are as fast and furious as ever with constant high quality and complicated bouts, making Clan Of The White Lotus very much resemble a Lau Kar Leung movie after all, but with a twist, which is Lo Lieh's great compliment as head of this Shaw Brother's production. Johnny Wang, Hsaio Huo and Yeung Jing Jing also appear.

Buy the DVD at:
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Clash Of The Professionals (1985) Directed by: Yeung Jing-Chan

Jimmy Wang Yu fancies himself being way younger, way cooler and just like James Bond and it feels like a forced image for the undeniable talent at brawls in Taiwan and Hong Kong action cinema. Simple story about him being a private detective after a Japanese drug lord for personal reasons, it's no achievement but doesn't bore plus second half offers better set pieces such as Wang Yu having to deal with somewhat threatening hockey players, hanging off a bus and fighting underwater. Set to Goblin's score from Dawn Of The Dead mostly. Chen Hung-Lieh (Come Drink With Me) also appear.

The Clones Of Bruce Lee (1977) Directed by: Joseph Kong

Never claiming it's presenting an alternate truth behind the death of Bruce Lee, we nonetheless have our plot starting once he has passed away at the hospital. There the Special Bureau Of Investigations (SBI) and a professor (John Benn - The Way Of The Dragon) sets in motion their plan to...clone Bruce Lee! Or rather make Bruce Lee copies that take shape in the form of Bruce Le, Dragon Lee and Bruce Lai. Following every command of their papa professor after being hatched in his groovy lab (disco lights seems to be his sole light source), they are sent out on undercover assassination missions so it was a crackin' idea to clone Lee into copies then! As you can understand, this hokey exercise attempts little class and is obviously a disrespectful attempt at respecting the legend but having said that, parts of The Clones Of Bruce Lee are a hoot (and it's possibly the best concept hatched out of any Bruceploitation effort). Although less so as we move along but the Thailand adventure gives us gratuitous nudity in spades, gold warriors manufactured by yet another mad professor but poisonous plants become the Bruce's weapons against these and finally, the clones square off against each other! Bolo Yeung also appears.

The Close Encounter Of The Vampire (1986) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

The Yuen clan were more than capable of supernatural and creative shenanigans (The Miracle Fighters, Taoism Drunkard etc) so involving kids and a hopping vampire in a production they have tons of credits on, you would expect something magical at least every now and again. The answer is no as if anything all involved and their efforts come off as fulfilling a reluctant obligation. The humour is tired, there's no action or exciting physicality and if anything it's an embarrassing example of seeing the Yuen clan get together and no one wants to be there. Starring Yuen Cheung-Yan, Leung Kar-Yan and Yuen Shun-Yi.

Close Escape (1989) Directed by: Chow Jan-Wing

Lam Wai Tung (Miu Kiu-Wai) goes into the diamond robbing business with Chiu Ying Kau (Dick Wei) in order to secure money for his little brother Lam Wai Leung (Max Mok). Running away with the real diamonds, and eventually dying after a chase, it's the brother who's now the target. All while best friend and cop Ben (Aaron Kwok) tries to make sense of the mess unfolding...

Playing it only light when suitable, Close Escape is a solid but more importantly a balanced product out of Hong Kong cinema. Almost a straight on thriller with a plethora of expected beats and compelling (cinematically) brutality, no familiarity is hard to swallow. Yukari Oshima turns up to stir things up in the plot which also means no one involved forgets to utilize her talents (nor Dick Wei's).

Cloud Of Romance (1977) Directed by: Chen Hung-Leh

One of many Taiwan melodramas featuring Brigitte Lin, Chin Han and Charlie Chin, these over the top strokes (made in all seriousness) are both amusing because of their wild, colourful nature but there's some fairly well honed symbolism present too. In what could only be described as a WOW-entrance, Lin is Tuan Wan-Lu, 18, just graduated, flirtatious and free as a bird. She is THE uncatchable cloud of romance indeed, being bought up and spoiled by her wealthy family. For her beauty alone, no wonder men are falling in love with her to the point that they have no problem stating that they'll die for her. The pendulum she also represent will create tears in two of those suitors. One is journalist Meng Chao (Charlie Chin) who has a mother that doesn't approve of this rather wild and sloppy girl. Yu-Lan (Chin Han) has been present in Wan-Lu's life forever and is certainly a suitable man for her. Especially concerning the fit that the respective families are. But Wan-Lu leans towards the "wrong" choice and when not getting acceptance there, life starts dropping one emotional bomb after the other. And tragedy draws near the more desperate love turns out to be, especially in the men...

Director Chen Hung-Leh adheres to Taiwan cinema style (gelled up lenses and zoom-direction is a staple here) and makes little subtle points that will make Cloud Of Romance feel a bit comedic in its highly melodramatic ways. But with his lead Lin simply being an astonishing presence on all fronts (it's quite an epic performance, be it emotions or fashion-wise) and with some of the symbolism representing the difficulty in choosing a life, a right life, a possible wrong life, all according to tradition, Cloud Of Romance certainly turns out to be an affecting work. Despite us looking down on it a little.

The Club (1981) Directed by: Kirk Wong

Kirk Wong's debut film and also an aim to give audiences a rarely seen, realistic glimpse of triad life and activities, with the night club businesses at its center. It's birds, booze, brawls and once a triad Michael Chan in his underwear. Interesting isn't an area Wong ever reaches though and only time some real teeth is shown comes during a few of the action set pieces. But even those get tiring by the end and while the filmmakers may have favoured realism all throughout, The Club won't make anyone miss this era of Hong Kong nightlife. There are far better genre efforts from the time as well (see Cops And Robbers). Norman Tsui, Phillip Ko and Kent Cheng co-stars.

Cobra Vs. Ninja (1987) Directed by: Joseph Lai

TROY'S REVIEW: "The masters of mayhem - the ninja, are terrorizing the city and it's up to Cobra to stop them dead in their tracks. It's guns vs. blades, wits vs. guts and man vs. myth in this action epic! No man is safe from the ninja - unless you're Cobra! Brace yourself for a non stop killing machine of a movie!" (Synopsis taken from the back of the box)

So wrote some imbecile who had quite obviously never viewed the film in question! In fact, in this cut & paste ninja outing, far from being the hero, the eponymous Cobra (as played typically ineptly by bad acting deity Stuart Smith) is the film's villain who is running high stake bets on the combative outcomes of various ninja duels involving the Red Champion (fellow IFD regular Richard Harrison). By some supreme editing "magic", this unrelated tale is woven somewhat less than seamlessly into a veritably mundane Filipino crime flick. Nonetheless, is there anyone out there who actually pays much attention to the original films into which the newer ninja segments are edited anyway? Of course not! No it's the ninja shenanigans that we've all come to laugh at - erm, I mean view.

Watch out for the scene at the very start in which a frankly embarrassed looking Harrison shouts the word 'Ninjaaaaaaaaaa' at the top of his (dubbed) voice. You almost want to give the poor chap a pat on the back and tell him that starring in such films will in no way have any detrimental effect upon his subsequent acting career...er...whoops!
Also be sure to check out the amazing manner in which our ninja pals put on their hoods. It's a case of jumping up in the air and spinning around at super speed after which they land, miraculously fully masked (and ostensibly not even dizzy). Erm... wouldn't it have been simpler to just pull them over their heads? Special mention must also go to the very nifty, pounding (and very stolen!) soundtrack that backs all the ninja action up. Great fun and well worth tracking down for all fans of cut & paste ninja action.

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