# 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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Framed (1989) Directed by: Alex Cheung

KENNETH'S REVIEW: A little return to form for Alex Cheung (Cops And Robbers) but one that would come almost at the tail end of his directing career to date. Simon Yam plays Cheung, a former cop that's newly released from prison and out for revenge on the one he thinks framed him. It's no other than department loose cannon Rambo (Alex Man) and through Cheung's trickery, Rambo is charged for a murder he didn't commit. Ray Lui is the sole cop on Rambo's side and starts to uncover a conspiracy having to do with these framed cops...

Yam looks well in the zone as the very prison-worn cop with a love for his diseased mother but showing up in some weird, overly apparent clothing that announces his evilness whether he intended it or not, Framed does goes on some odd tangents not associated with the best of Alex Cheung. However a very watchable and gritty intensity steers the flick too, especially in regards to the Mang Hoi directed action, whether it's Yukari Oshima's martial arts or the gunplay he's called upon to do. The second half looses a little focus and shows why it's the Yam/Man presences that does wonders for Cheung as the comedic asides with the fairly useless cops in the departments doesn't work within the context of it all, however much it tries.

Freedom Run Q (1992) Directed by: Allen Fung

Cops Chang (Alfred Cheung, also writer and producer) and Albert (Lawrence Cheng) both go undercover but end up busting each other trying to rid the world of the drug angel dust. Instead the duo are forced to work together and one of the hottest trails in taking down the angel dust suppliers starts with a slightly kooky martial arts troupe. Within all this a mix up occurs between Tien Chi powder, angel dust, martial arts instruction manuals and an angel dust instruction manual. Wanting to flee to America, troupe member Chou (Yvonne Hung, who performs an admirable amount of her own stuntwork) is the one who ends up with the criminal loot and finds herself hunted...

Allen Fung demonstrated in In Between Loves a slight art in making very contrasting elements gel and certain similar train of thoughts can be found in Freedom Run Q. Priding himself more on the unpredictable, the buddy cop comedy formula is never as interesting as the wild ideas. Casting clownish and geeky presences in each buddy role if you will, that's a major misstep that bores/grates more than anything. But quirky inclusions with definite charm are evident when presenting the odd martial arts troupe and particular their old master (who thinks he's got more powers than he actually has). Even better are Fung's intentions when he cranks up the shootout ending to supernatural levels as one of the villains goes through a transformation after being electrocuted in a tub of liquid. It's of course also a sign of your movie being disjointed but unexpected frames are also signs of wild originality at play. Also with Elizabeth Lee and Bill Tung.

A Friend From Inner Space (1984) Directed by: Ricky Chan

Little Hsiao Chi (Leung Jun-Git) encounters friendly ghost Chien Jen (Sek Kin) and with his help Hsiao Chi might be able to pair up his parents Maggie (Josephine Siao) and Joe (Ti Lung, sporting a black cowboy hat in almost every scene) again. Shaw Brothers comedy of their latter, more mediocre production years so this potentially sweet and pleasant tale registers flat and annoying instead. Considering the talent on display, you can definitely put forth the theory that the filmmakers within the studio had stopped caring. Sek Kin and his kid co-star does show sincerity but it's effort wasted. Also with Nat Chan, Walter Tso (in his trademark inspector-wear), Elaine Kam and Wong Wan-Si.

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Friendly Shock (1988) Directed by: Cheung Chi-Yung & Mau Wa-Kei

Despite being all over the map as it features an erotic scene, stunts and blood squibs, Taiwan's Friendly Shock is largely aimed at children. A mushroom like, tree trunk creature is awakened after being brought home from an expedition and the son (Siu Ban-Ban) becomes its friend. Presenting no threat and taking on human form partly, it gets a taste of life by tasting alcohol and cigarettes before the adults threats its existence due to its tree sap or transparent blood having healing power. Surprisingly restrained comedy-wise, the dual directing them keep matters very cute. The single line of dialogue by the creature Yia Yia on repeat will make you kill yourself though but Friendly Shock is an actual decent kids movie, for almost all its moments.

From Riches To Rags (1979) Directed by: John Woo

Poor Ricky Hui ends up winning the lottery and goes on a spending rampage. After what turns out to be a false doctor diagnosis telling him he's got cancer, he ditches everything and asks a debt ridden gambler to hire assassins to wipe him out. Oops...

If Follow The Star could on a minor level be considered John Woo's first, early flirtation with guns, From Riches To Rags would represent his descent into the dark. However it's more bizarre, twisted darkness and questionable humour that takes center stage during the wild, chase finale that takes stars Ricky Hui and Johnny Koo into a mental hospital with the patients running amok. Before this surprising turn of events, Woo as expected go up to amusing level on the slapstick measuring stick but as with Money Crazy and Follow The Star, there's a pleasant tone to all this, very much unique for its time as Hong Kong comedy cinema had a momentum that can't be replicated today unless you do a tribute to the old days (i.e. Wai Ka Fai's Fantasia). Sam Hui provides another fine, uplifting ditty and co-star Johnny Koo would go on to receive an award nomination in the capacity of cinematographer for his work on Long Arm Of The Law. Melvin Wong (a hell of a snooker player), Lam Ching Ying (also co-action director) and To Siu Ming (cast for the timely Drunken Master parody) also appear.

From The Highway (1970, Chang Tseng-Chai)

A village is terrorized by bandits, led by Iron Guard but stranger He (Peter Yang) steps in to save the day. Meaning this is a common template as a springboard for violence, some martial arts and bigger battle imagery towards the end. While below 80 minutes, it takes its time and feels very slow and internal. The pending battle seems to be on hold for a good portion but about half way in but director Chang shows there's vision present to provide tension and decent camerawork for some of the stylistic flourishes. It helps some of our leading- and supporting actors look very iconic during these moments as well, making From The Highway a quickie with some impressive facets.

From The Same Family (1995) Directed by: Jonnny Lee

Johnny Lee (A Day Without Policeman) wants the handle the modern day gangster movie aspects with some form of depth and as almost always, it really is there for the taking. You do need to flash some form of skills and creativity though, something very absent from Lee's work on From The Same Family. Centering on the rise and fall of Roy Cheung's character, with a little spirituality thrown in, Lee's at times manic style distracts more than it is a benefactor. He tries to sell as this as efficiency but it creates even more distance from characters we early on guess won't be much to care for anyway. The triad lifestyle is an endless cycle and that's how From The Same Family feels too. Also with Hilary Tsui, Jimmy Wong and Lam Man-Lung.

From Zero To Hero (1994) Directed by: David Wu

A repressed writer of adult comic books (Francis Ng) gets hit by a car and all of a suddenly seems to possess superpowers when provoked. David Wu's film (co-written by Cheung Tat-Ming) neatly walks that line between fantasy and reality as Ng's lead character clearly has a streak of psychologically disturbed behaviour in him. Wu is not trying to convince us that an actual fantasy have come to life, even though the film does take off-beat, out there turns at times. Ng in the lead proves to be amusing and as his mother protesting against these types of comics (enter satire), Cheng Pei-Pei even proves that a touching performance can come out of this. Some very cool bits emerge, especially when we see Ng in his superhero costume, speaking "Japanese" (spouting brand names and other assorted nonsense) and afterwards violating anyone he's saved, including old people and animals. This combo however of social satire and black comedy doesn't come with any true poignancy and is probably a bit too silly for its own good (the inclusion of a guitar player as some form of musical narrator is a puzzling choice). Shot in synch sound, co-stars include Joseph Cheng, Anita Lee, Dayo Wong and Emily Kwan.

From Vegas To Macau (2014) Directed by: Wong Jing

Awful from beginning to end, Chow Yun-Fat's return to being under the watchful (or rather ill) eye of Wong Jing was a hit in 2014 and at the time of writing has sparked an incredibly successful 3D sequel and an announced third movie. Largely unrelated to the God of Gamblers universe, Chow is the sole performer showing a broad spark that can be spoken of with any kind of fondness. The energy is at times infectious and even some of Wong Jing's gags linger due to being inspired. But that's some, during a 90 minute running time that tries a lot. Chief offender being over the top antics from Chapman To who is a large reason for the failure at hand here but Wong Jing has no gas in the tank to make the humour click in 2014. He may be working with one of his past performers but the whole affair is a flatline one. Action-wise there's way too much focus on rapid editing and tight framing which nullified any promising choreography and the only setpiece that comes off as anywhere near noteworthy is a break in into Chow's mansion with bear traps etc ready to go. Also with Nic Tse and Hui Siu-Hung.

Front Page (1990) Directed by: Phillip Chan

Unless you count Sam Hui's cameo in Chicken And Duck Talk, Front Page saw the reunion between of Sam, Michael and Ricky Hui for the first time since their comedy classic Security Unlimited. Staying true to their formula by tapping into social satire, Phillip Chan's direction of it all may have gotten the lot box-office success but the flick isn't a TRUE return to form. However there exists worthwhile chemistry between the trio still and neither brother is afraid to run the distance in terms of silliness.

Chan and Michael Hui collaborated on the script that sees the latter playing the editor of the magazine "Truth Weekly" and he realizes no one wants clean, politically correct news in Hong Kong. People want scandals, gossip and smut so the Hui-trio in skit-form sets out to exploit in the name of sales. It gets insane already when we read the translation of Sam's theme song that advocates getting stoned, paging your buddies and watching movies. We are then offered up a rather evident skit structure that sees the trio trying to manufacture celebrity ghost stories, adultery gossip but they also stop a while to cheat on each other at mahjong. The insistence on being as silly as you can is first best served up in the mahjong game where Sam and Ricky are equipped with special contacts lenses in order to gain advantage. They also glow in the dark. Cue ghost joke. When later trying to set up Catherine Hung's Sandy by all acting like a retarded family in order to get a story of her cheating on her husband, actual laughs are soon exchanged for expected conscience and Front Page certainly never earns its satire fully. Lau Siu-Ming singing bad karaoke and Sam Hui desperately trying to achieve martial arts prowess Bruce Lee never had are minor fun tangents as well in a welcome work but not a fully realized one. Mostly shot in synch sound and also appearing are Teddy Yip, Teresa Mo, Paul Chun, Tai Po, Lee Hoi-Sang and Yuen Shun-Yi.

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