# 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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Dreaming The Reality (1993) Directed by: Wong Jan-Yeung

One of the very best girls with guns flicks from frequent genre director Wong Jan-Yeung. Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima are since fetus status trained to be professional killers by their foster father (Eddy Ko). When a Thailand mission goes wrong, Moon's character is missing in action, with an amnesia to boot. She ends up in the hands of Lan (Sibelle Hu) and Rocky (Ben Lam, displaying some great kicking during his fight scenes), a sister/brother unit with enemies in the illegal boxing circuit.

No one will confuse Dreaming The Reality with class akin to John Woo's examinations of loyalty and brotherhood (or in the case of this film, sisterhood) but Wong's film, clocking in at an usually epic length of 100+ minutes, gets to us with its combination. It's a B-film compared to anything else but combining bearable emotions, character depth and a nice gory, exercise in mayhem is a success recipe for Dreaming The Reality. Despite little style apparent in the action, there are worthwhile standouts such as the airport shootout, subsequent chase scene and the bloody finale.

The Dream Killer (1995) Directed by: Jeffrey Chiang

Despite Wong Jing producing this thriller, it's prolific writer James Yuen and director Jeffrey Chiang (A Gleam Of Hope) that are at the wheels of this balanced and engrossing thriller. Mark Cheng stars as a psychologically tormented cop with a tough nut of a rape/murder case on his hands. He aquatints a blind psychiatrist (Valerie Chow) who immerses her into the case but unexpected turns occur when his partner (Chan Kwok-Bong) aims his suspicions, due to jealousy, at a cop (Michael Wong)...

Favouring quite a heavy amount of style, using askew angles and initially very long takes of narrative action, director Chiang settles down soon with Yuen's script and delivers partly familiar cop procedure, character drama that parallels past trauma etc etc. The Dream Killer doesn't get buried in its clichés at all though and the screenplay is quite well-structured and intelligent. Featuring understated, possible romantic interludes between leads Cheng and Chow, more interesting tangents flash by such as victims not wishing to come forward for risk of losing face and the intimidation men have of clever women. Mark Cheng comes through with a somewhat rare, charismatic performance, despite the arc of the troubled cop while Valerie Chow may have solely the writing to back her up but is a fine presence nonetheless. Playing with notions of thunderstorms always going on during tense sequences and not truly surprising when revealing the killer identity, Chiang still doesn't cancel out his finely laid out work by the end. Heck, he even gets audience acceptance when structuring the character codas in an ambiguous way. Michael Wong's dubber has chosen to mix Chinese and English as well (!) and Alex Fong also appears.

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Dream Lover (1995) Directed by: Bosco Lam

Shing (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) and friend Man (Nat Chan) earn money by racing cars at night and during the day they run their own garage. Being quite the engineer genius, Shing has created a revolutionary chip that improves his van's performance but first we focus on him being the loveable fool, being a fool in love, with Wu Chien-Lien's Kitty. Then when that doesn't pan out as beautifully as Shing wants to, his invention is discovered and off to the world of billion dollar business he goes. But he won't let go of his dream lover Kitty. Meeting her again and seeing her married seems to squander all future dreams but by meeting a master of supernatural power (Lau Shun), Shing gets the opportunity to affect fate...

Yes, this Sharla Cheung/Gordon Chan production is proud to be a Hong Kong movie with the "gift" of being all over the map but Bosco Lam directing (A Chinese Torture Chamber Story) doesn't equal opportunities wasted at all. In fact, Dream Lover possesses an eccentric, likeable and fairly touching aura that breaks cinematic rules gleefully to quite interesting effect. Interesting automatically being a verdict for any Hong Kong cinema vehicle doing what this does but Dream Lover has something. In fact, Bosco could've made the sweet romance with the otherwise suave Tony Leung and Wu Chien-Lien and gotten something über-pleasant out of it but the five man strong writing team goes for shift of gears where the film turns different to say the least and even dark with later an emotional payoff that is more nice than felt. But the musings of newly hatched love existing in a bubble, the puzzling nature of fate and stars that believe in the material makes Dream Lover better not just because it's different. Nat Chan deserves kudos for putting in a rare performance where he doesn't cover the entire film in annoyance. Perhaps it's the absence of Wong Jing in the directing chair. Also with Law Kar-Ying and Jack Kao.

Dream Of Desire (1989) Directed by: O Sing-Pui

A complicated, pretentious mess involving equally complicated romance, O Sing-Pui (My Wife's Lover) and cast may have felt like they were on to something while shooting but the final assembly of Dream Of Desire is an unfocused product lacking in affection. Frankie (Frankie Chan) is in debt and to clear it up he basically has to become penniless. Shacking up with past friend Fat Chiu (played unusually low-key by Eric Tsang), a timid office worker, here's a point where the movie has a pleasant vibe dealing with a reboot of characters and friendships. Once Sharla Cheung as a love interest for Chiu AND Frankie, Pauline Yeung as a RICH love interest ONLY for Frankie and Sheila Chan as the Tomboy renting a room in Chiu's flat gets thrown in, the movie pulls us in so many unfocused directions that it's hard to keep up. We are way behind the proceedings and the intricacies of the relationships and it doesn't help the movie is deadly abstract at certain points, making matters arty when it should be a really simple, little tale. Characters bounce back, gets shot down, bounce back, friendships are put on the line and to us it sadly doesn't mean anything because it can't be interpreted most of the time. Also with Ricky Yi.

Dreams Of Glory, A Boxer's Story (1991) Directed by: Lawrence Lau

A slice out of lives rather than a fully plotted movie, Lawrence Lau (My Name Is Fame) provides scenery akin to a documentary as he follows a variety of kickboxers in Hong Kong trying to make it big. Lessons of enlightenment are imbedded within, mainly evident in the focus on the 2 year veteran and social outcast Ming (Jackie Lui - The Mission) and Law Yat-Tak (Do Siu-Chun), a martial artist trying out a new direction. Within the declining club they train at, these either blue collar workers or part of that type of family have their fragile inner selves shaken about in order to understand that gaining popularity and skill isn't measured in the ring. Law Yat-Tak tries to learn of this as his father (Lau Kong) opposes his choices while Ming travels to Thailand where the interaction with people does a difference. Shot in synch sound, the distanced direction of Lau's immerses us into a reality where the fighting movie-clichés are never able to detract. As a journey, the movie works. As cinema, the slow pace and lack of spice will turn off most viewers but despite not saying anything original, a noble work it is. Rain Lau, co-star of Lawrence Lau's Queen of Temple Street, appears in support.

The Dream Sword (1979) Directed by: Li Chao-Yung

A widely plotted Wuxia with human thoughts, it's not as masterful as it sounds but when enough translates it's worth acknowledging. But personally the narrative style of these movies are still tough going, with multiple characters presented, mentioned and otherworldly matters being the prime focus in plot. Basically the trio of Dream Sword, Hsia Shang Chou (Chung Wa - The Bastard), his student Fan Chih (Lung Fei in basically one of his few good guy roles) are joined by Swordsman Li (Yueh Hua - Come Drink With Me) to shake up the power balance in the Wuxia world. End target for this is the mighty Tzu Yi Chun (Nora Miao) and her deadly, projectile flowers. In the back of the head of Hsia Shang Chou though lies issues of heartbreak and a desire to reclaim love in his life. The design is suitably fantasy-like in nature, with especially the colours amped and the fantastique elements concerning fighting and weaponry are in tune but an attention grabber in the true The Dream Sword certainly isn't. Definitely just another with bursts of high drama skill, the film benefits more when being small in scope and therefore closer to human issues but this remains a sporadic inclusion. Therefore sporadic acclaim. The action is often grounded which is admireable considering the genre and story we're talking of here.

Dressed Off For Life (1984) Directed by: Lee Wing-Cheung

Former boxing champion Chan Kuen (Michael Chan) possesses self-pity and an impotence problem so he ruthlessly rapes and kills all across Hong Kong. Logical. He chooses to prolong the process with Ping (Michelle Lai - The Butterfly Murders) though. After Chan kills off a veteran cop (Lau Kong), it's up to his younger partner (Wong Yue) to stop the murder mayhem...

An unusual role for Chan, dealing with a character not triad related at all, despite his larger than life force, the chills and efficiency never makes it way into Dressed Off For Life. Wong Yue threatens to derail the film with farce but ends up playing it straight mostly. Screwball comedy ventures that instead takes place in the scenes with the police chief so you'll definitely know this is a Hong Kong movie despite. Goblin's score for Dawn Of The Dead turns up on the soundtrack.

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Dr. Mack (1995) Directed by: Lee Chi-Ngai

a.k.a Mack The Knife, this Lee Chi-Ngai scripted/produced and directed comedy-drama centers around surgeon Dr. Mack (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), his clinic in Lantern Street and what effect he has on all the people that surrounds him (mostly women). Lee Chi-Ngai's lighthearted but stuffed movie talks about life, death, hope etc. but fails to make the kind of impact it apparently strives for. Proceedings are frankly dull at times and it's only towards the end a few of the characters really come to life (in particular Lau Ching Wan as the cop Chiu). It's not surprising that a Lunar New Year film overall is sloppy but Lee Chi-Ngai should get kudos for wanting to put genuine thought into a film released during that time of year. Tony Leung and Lau Ching Wan are good however and being a Lunar New Year film, a cast of stars such as Christy Chung, Richard Ng, Jordan Chan and Andy Hui appear. Based on the Japanese comic "Dr. Kumahige" by Sho Fumimura and Tagumi Nagayasu.

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The Drug Addicts (1974) Directed by: David Chiang

Martial arts superstar David Chiang's directorial debut goes the modern drama route with some gritty action thrown for storytelling- and commercial reasons. Ti Lung plays the titular drug addict who gets unexpected help to kick the habit by Wong Chung's Tseng Chien (after a night in a shed he's apparently clean). Back on the job as a kung-fu teacher, Ti Lung's Kuan gets recruited by the police to gather information about drug smugglers and finds out his saviour belongs to that gang. Over the top acting and some heavy handed commentary aside, Chiang's debut is flimsy and even borderline weak. The beats of strong friendship and brotherhood forged are there but little is felt as our leads are not in synch acting-wise for one. Ti Lung is always a few notches bigger than the admirably low-key Wong Chung and very little resonates dramatically (not even Louis Lee's female drug addict and subsequent love interest does). When danger and bloodshed is put into the mix, we care for the occasional distressing beat and certainly about the gritty end fight between the leads, Lee Hoi-San and Lo Dik as the drug syndicate head (in an excellent turn) but Chiang isn't a big enough visionary to take this story the grim, heart wrenching places he wants. The Drug Addicts sits there for a while, does its thing and disinterest is not a good response to a drama. In bursts a tolerable start but Chiang would grow confidence as a director eventually. Especially after his Shaw Brothers days. Also with Kong Do and Paul Chun.

Drugs Area (1991, Cheung Bing-Chan)

One of many low budget actioners of the 90s but it doesn't embarrass itself. Although it doesn't come recommended either. Lam Wai is Peter who grasps a power position away from drug dealer Mr. Ko (Eddy Ko) in Thailand. Previously he callously killed a cop (Michael Miu) and after revenge is his fiancee played by Sibelle Hu. A movie that needs its sellable goods to deliver because the in between drama isn't competent. Lam Wai however is dependable and gets to work with a few interesting beats but most content outside of his scenes tends to be forgettable. Action-directing mixes and gunplay and fights to a decent degree in a scene or two, with big squibs and effective editing to enhance intensity present. But any worthwhile aspect only comes up to the surface sporadically and Drugs Area really isn't making a mark at all most of the time. Especially evident in the lackluster boat chase-finale. Also with Kenneth Tsang.

Drugs Fighters (1995) Directed by: Yiu Tin-Hung

Functional storytelling (although a bit too thick on characters) in between the action but ultimately the latter aspect is THE showcase for Drugs Fighters. Not a bad thing since Alan Chui goes for intense bloodshed and fairly painful looking fight choreography, mostly showcased when he himself lights up the screen. Cast of Yukari Oshima, Ngai Sing, Lam Wai and Yuen Wah are all on board and game and Chui also ultimately deserves kudos for igniting what is a very low budget actioner anyway.

Drunken Master (1978) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

The key team behind the Seasonal hit Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, producer Ng See Yuen and director Yuen Woo-Ping assembled once again, creating another box-office smash with Drunken Master. As with the former breakout effort, this one still lives and breathes today.

Comedy is broad, with both Jackie and Dean Shek being culprits but Chan, giving us his take on the young Wong Fei-Hung, overcomes such negatives by displaying a lasting sense of childish charm and fun. With that solidified, the martial arts action (choreographed by Woo-Ping, Yuen Shun-Yi, Corey Yuen and Hsu Hsia), with emphasis on the comedic as that was a successful recipe to continue exploring, is intricate, lengthy and thoroughly entertaining. The various training sequences are arguably some of the most memorable aspects of the film as it shows a young Jackie at his very agile best.

Simon Yuen's veteran presence is always welcome, this time taking on the classic character of the drunken beggar (So Hat-yi in Chinese) but if there's a true niggle here for me personally is that the chemistry between the two leads is lacking compared to Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, where a genuine warmth existed between the two. Despite, Drunken Master became and still is an important martial arts classic which was topped tenfold by the Lau Kar Leung/Jackie Chan helmed sequel in 1994.

Mei Ah's remastered dvd is good although there seems to exist a difficulty obtaining a full length Cantonese audio master these days. Columbia's Region 1 release from 2002 filled in the blanks with English dubbing while Mei Ah in 2004, via branching, feature Mandarin instead. Shame that no effort was made to cull the audio master from older home video releases such as the Far East laserdisc but the branching works smoothly and it's a more preferable solution the Hong Kong disc provides. That said, the first fight scene in the film, between Hwang Jang Lee and Yuen Shun-Yi, is obviously newly redubbed. Madness. Thanks to John Charles of Hong Kong Digital for the above information.

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