# 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
Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05
Eagle's Claw (1978) Directed by: Lee Tso-Nam

Acclaimed Taiwanese director of indie kung-fu, Lee Tso Nam (The Hot, The Cool and The Vicious) certainly does only a little to deviate from set formulas but the attempts are notable. Eagle's Claw actually does attempt a surprising narrative with somewhat proper character depth and it's that desire that has made Lee's film a little bit more long lasting than others. Kung-fu historians will tell you that Chi Kuan-Chun (Shaolin Martial Arts) broke new ground here in a more darker role and Chi does portray his character descent into evil quite admirably well considering this really is very close to run of the mill genre filmmaking. Don Wong also displays good power as a fighter and decent chops to lead, in an independent kind of way.

Tommy Lee's action definitely benefits from Wong's presence and while fairly intricate, it also comes off as a bit stale and sluggish. No doubt, Tommy gets the job done but you won't find the polish and flair that someone like Lau Kar Leung could bring. But perhaps we shouldn't expect that either. Nonetheless, Eagle's Claw may look and sound like everything else but possesses enough depth to stand out. Something not all cheap martial arts productions were bothered with trying to achieve. Chang Yi co-stars as our white haired villain while Leung Kar Yan and Phillip Ko add fighting support.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

The Eagle's Killer (1981) Directed by: William Cheung

Tai (John Cheung) tries to enter the local martial arts school (to further an already decent amount of skills but mostly does the dishes or flat out end up in trouble. Mostly making enemies with the stuttering son (Cheng Hong-Yip) of a wealthy man, Tai tries being the student of contract killer Lo (Hwang Jang-Lee). One of many ventures to not work out, Tai's true skill will blossom under the guidance of Chin Pai To (Fan Mei-Sheng) and then it's out to rid the world of fraudulent masters and hired killers...

We smell the influences of Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master early and as much as The Eagle's Killer rips off, it goes certain unexpected directions as well. However it doesn't make it more than a fast-paced annoyance with skills aplenty sporadically. In a fine opening credits demo, we see Hwang Jang-Lee crush bones literally and it's clear he will light up this movie despite himself running on repeat. The film is actually fairly sparse on martial arts and chooses to dabble in comedic scenarios requiring choreography instead. Lacking the more tuned touches needed to stand out, at least you won't see people fighting over money stuck in the mouth of a dead master or our lead being sold as a male sex slave! Originality perhaps, it barely registers and when adhering to age old structure eventually, we look at our hero Tai and feel little relation to his revenge on the world who rejected him. In fact, the cockiness doesn't play well either and as a lead, John Cheung lacks appeal. Chiang Kam co-stars while Wong Jing co-wrote the script. Director William Cheung brought us notorious snake terror in the form of Calamity Of Snakes 2 years later.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

The East Is Red (1993) Directed by: Ching Siu-Tung & Raymond Lee

The follow up to Swordsman II, Brigitte Lin's Invincible Asia has not died as matter of fact but is living in seclusion. An officer (Yu Rong-Guang) seeks her out and it's revealed the martial world is now full of fake Invincible Asia's. Something the real one, that is also worshipped as a god, seeks to rectify and gets a taste of killing once more in the process. Tsui Hark produced, flying madness, The East Is Red makes a case for in a valid way asking the viewer just to sit back and enjoy whatever wire assisted scenarios it can conjure up. Jumping from one story strand to the next in a rapid fire fashion, the dizzying sights are largely astonishing and infectious. Despite knowing this team very much knew story structure, it is ok to sit to treat The East Is Red as an experiment to see just how many special effects ideas you can cram into one movie and certainly wire assisted naval battles is something new. Also with Joey Wong, Jean Wang and Eddy Ko.

East Palace, West Palace (1996) Directed by: Zhang Yuan

A cop (Hu Jun - Lan Yu, Everlasting Regret) and a homosexual writer (Han Si - who now lives in Gothenburg, Sweden!) duke it emotionally out during a nightly interrogation.

Zhang Yuan (Green Tea) doesn't abandon the stage roots of East Palace, West Palace and rightly so. He does superbly expand on the premise via several flashbacks and fantasy sequences though, mainly from the perspective of Han Si's character. A young man who gladly lusts for the definition of love the extreme way (him being gay doesn't matter), being viewed upon as actually sick by the cop. But through what seems like endless and even pointless conversations going round and round, director Zhang reaches the desired boiling point where especially the Hu Jun character displays more bottled up conflicted emotions. How and if they will manifest themselves in front of his "prisoner" becomes a strong driving force for East Palace, West Palace and Zhang Yuan delivers a strikingly, poignant ending. Be prepared to be jerked around a little because this reserved cinematic landscape holds keys to substance of the greater kind. Vicky Zhao (Shaolin Soccer) appears briefly.

The Chinese government didn't approve of the taboo ridden film and revoked director Zhang Yuan's passport as well as putting him under house arrest. Friends smuggled out a print of the film out of the country in order for the film to be screened at Cannes.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Easy Money (1987) Directed by: Stephen Shin

Rich heiress Michelle (Michelle Yeoh) decides to break out of the mundane of her existence and stages a robbery of an armoured transport carrying money from the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. Trying to catch her is Inspector Ken (Kent Cheng) but more importantly, George Lam (and that is of course actor George Lam as well) as the representative sent out by the insurance company. Following Michelle across the globe, he gets close to her and tries to find out where the money is...

D & B were a premium force in terms of slapping Hong Kong cinema with a technically accomplished-label and Easy Money fits nicely into that category (although the car chase is Paris is ridiculously sped up). 1987 also saw the release of the big Magnificent Warriors and Easy Money is honed stuff on the lesser scale but logically so since it openly echoes (remakes?) the plot of The Thomas Crown Affair. Relying little on action but a bit too much on scenes of Yeoh and Lam talking, director Stephen Shin picks himself up very nicely during the final 20 of this light, well made caper with varied scenery (we get a look at London, Hong Kong, Paris, Switzerland and Greece). Echoing themes of loneliness, Michelle Yeoh is good as a cunning, cold rookie thief and George Lam doesn't suck the momentum out of a movie for once.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Edge Of Darkness (1988) Directed by: Fung Hak-On

An undercover cop (Chin Siu-Ho) gets driven towards that darn edge of darkness slowly but surely. Forced to leave both his family and best friend (John Shum) in the dark about his mission, all threatens to be revealed much thanks to his desperate, in-debt superior (Alex Man)....

Fung Hak-On may have cast John Shum but makes his character weak and goofy to the best degree possible, therefore maintaining a thoroughness when it comes to the grim mood of Edge Of Darkness. Giving the undercover angle little surprising facets outside of the dog symbolism (the recurring English dialogue "Good Boy" by Alex Man makes sure we don't miss this), pace and tension ranks as solid as well as the action directing. Dropping in some insane stunt imagery and gunplay, Fung's focus to be brutal pays off as well (even if two particular effects involving dummies can be spotted via obvious jumpcuts). Alex Man for once makes his usual over the top antics absorbing, playing well to the dangerous and desperate traits of his character. The climax that actually takes place after the final large action bits have done their thing is familiar but doesn't disrupt an even surprisingly solid, gritty effort. Known rather than famed director Lo Wei appears in support as the big boss of the piece while Lo Lieh, William Ho, Fung Hak-On, Wilson Tong, Ronald Wong and Tanny Tien also put in appearances.

Edge Of Fury (1978) Directed by: Lee Tso-Nam

Bruce Li (the Bruce Lee clone that could shed that aura more easily, as evident by this film) plays a chauffeur of the wealthy Chan who is caught on a drug smuggling charge and eventually executed. Chan's family and a wealth of bad guys won't leave Li alone though as he's potentially sitting on information contained in a letter and a hidden shipment of drugs. Pedestrian direction by otherwise reliable Lee Tso-Nam and merely solid action doesn't elevate Edge of Fury a whole lot but then again it has decent execution that neither bores nor offends. Also with Michelle Yim, Tommy Lee, Dana and Yasuaki Kurata.

The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1983) Directed by: Lau Kar Leung

An extreme tragedy as played out on the screen but also behind it as star Alexander Fu Sheng died in a car accident during production. Having already shot footage with him, director Lau Kar Leung and crew gathered up all their sorrow and channeled creativity instead, giving Shaw Brother's another genuine classic in the form of The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter.

Darker and bloodier than anything Lau ever directed on his own, Fu Sheng's largely overacted role (a direction that works) was presumably supposed to be part of a double star act with Gordon Lau but even though Fu's character is locked away for the latter half of the film, there's enough cinematic power in the plight of Gordon's character's revenge path. Preaching the buddhist way isn't a fresh template for any film but with such a master at the helm, it's no surprise that the content registers as valid cinema, with iconic scenes to prove it (one involving Gordon's desire to enter the buddhist temple is very powerful). The pole work of the film then goes hand in hand with the bloody revenge plot and buddhist preaching's, with Lau bringing intense and creative action work from an intense period. Cited rightfully as highlights is the Gordon Lau/Phillip Ko pole fight and the amazing finale with the coffins of the lost brothers at center stage gets the emotions flowing. Also starring Kara Hui, Yuen Tak, Lily Li, Lin Ke Ming, Johnny Wang with fighting cameos by Lau Kar Leung, Wong Yue, Hsiao Hou, Robert Mak and Lau Kar Wing.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

The Eight Dragon Swords (1971) Directed by: Chin Sheng-En

Connected to Shaw Brothers at some point (distributor?), regardless this is one of those early Taiwanese swordplay movies that along with King Hu showed some flair working the genre. Most didn't at this time and often efforts came off as being action-cinema in their infant stages. However Kong Ban's Hua Li Qun (also known in the martial world as The Eight Dragon Swords) trying to good in the world by taking on a rapist and a gambler as assistants only to be betrayed because they are eyeing the grand piece of the martial world (The Fire Dragon Magic Ball) is fairly involving stuff because director Chin Sheng-En (Iron Ox, The Tiger's Killer) is interested in this vision. Nothing stands out visually as this is more low-budget and restricted in terms of costumes and design. But armed with a team of choreographers knowing limitations but pushing hard for creativity anyway, there's quite intense and admirably complex, grounded choreography here. The design of the weapons usually containing blades or even flammable material to shoot at your opponent are very cool and the depiction in general of all techniques on display comes through (the 3 on 1 fight finale and wire assisted feats that sees the stuntmen HIGH up in the air, quite visible due to some glorious wide shots, ranks as highlights). Because there's care style here, even, for the genre and a coherent plot, The Eight Dragon Swords is a creative little gem when all is said and done. Also with Chen Hung-Lieh.

Eighth Happiness (1988) Directed by: Johnnie To

1988 Lunar New Year and the recipe for box office success? A romantic comedy, stars such as Chow Yun-Fat, Jacky Cheung, Do Do Cheng, Cherie Cheung and Fung Bo Bo plus a plot with nothing of real importance. Still, this one has merit, mainly in Chow Yun-Fat's wonderful manic performance (not a patch on his role in The Diary Of A Big Man though) as the cheating, flamboyant womanizer. Johnnie To's movie also has an infectious energy that really make it hard to dislike.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05
BACK TO TOP