# 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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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.

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.

Full Contact (1992) Directed by: Ringo Lam

Full Contact is not an effort neither Ringo Lam or Chow Yun-Fat will quote as their proudest moment at the end of their days, even though it's a fan favourite overseas. Lam stated that it was a money vehicle for him and not a personal one akin to Wild Search or School On Fire while Chow recognized that his character was way too evil for both his and the Hong Kong audiences tastes. Perhaps they're right but it's a guilty pleasure ride despite!

A revenge and redemption story set amongst the baddest of the bad, Full Contact is clearly placed within the characteristics of the heroic bloodshed genre but even the best of those efforts had characters with some form of true nobility as gangsters. Lam and writer Nam Yin instead opts to gravely pull the rug underneath our feet to give us repulsive and highly unsympathetic characters outside of the slight journey Chow Yun-Fat's Jeff goes through. By doing this, they also kick all aspects into high, over the top gear, meaning gory violence, seedy environments, an atmospheric Teddy Robin Kwan guitar score and it's definitely very much close to an anti-heroic bloodshed film. Yet, it's literally bloody, harmless adult entertainment despite all the nastiness on display and Lam does shows off great style to boot (most famously through the use of the "bullet-cam"). Chow Yun-Fat is, despite his character ways, still the coolest cat in Hong Kong cinema and Simon Yam uses his flamboyance to delivery a colourful, gay villain. The final confrontation between the two comes with one of the most quoted subtitles of the film. Anthony Wong, Ann Bridgewater, Frankie Ng and Bonnie Fu co-stars.

The original cinema version played with a Category II rating but later Cat III rated video versions reinstated several moments of gore (the Mei Ah dvd incorrectly states that it's still Cat II). There's also evidence in the film of at least one deleted scene that involves Anthony Wong's Sam forced by Yam's Judge to bring the eyes of Jeff as evidence that he's killed him. Wong reportedly instead cuts out the eyes of one of the killed family members in the house where this all takes place. Him then exiting the house shows him grasping on something in his hands (a shot that's in the film) and what would've followed was Judge placing the eye balls in his mouth. It's not quite The Big Boss status on this lost scene but still...

In later years, an alternate soundtrack has turned up on Columbia Tri-Star's release and the UK Hong Kong Legends dvd. Most notably, much of Teddy Robin's score is gone in favour of even more tracks culled from Extreme's Pornograffitti album (outside of "Get The Funk Out" that plays over the opening credits on every version). Mei Ah presents the soundtrack many have listened to over the years but the debate goes on about the validity of the newly surfaced track. It's your choice.

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Full Strike (2015, Derek Kwok & Henri Wong)

After having fallen from grace, former badminton ace Ng Kau Chun (Josie Ho) thinks she sees an asteroid in the form of a shuttlecock, is chased by an alien but then stumbles onto a badminton club inhabited by a group of misfits. Well, former robbers actually (consisting of Ekin Cheng, Wilfred Lau, Edmond Leung and their drunken master played by Andrew Lam) who wants to do good. There is an upcoming tournament and these rookies are in need of getting in shape, physically and mentally. Directors Kwok and Wong are a bit too love with their perceived cleverness initially as dark and moody cinematography and style merges with the sports-movie scenario. Which leads to some of the droll comedy being obscured. But they do find a groove, even through broad characters like Ronald Cheng's, tons of cursing, puking and even arguing that this is a redemption story to care for. After shedding some quirks, it turns out Kwok and Wong are in tune and even in love with the sports-movie and its themes. So initially distant leads to a rather alive, loud, consciously overwrought and entertaining take on the material. And come on, who expected a Hong Kong badminton movie in this day and age? That alone merits a watch.

Funeral March (2001) Directed by: Joe Ma

Going into this with Dummy Mummy, Without A Baby fresh in my mind, I wasn't expecting anything anymore from something DIRECTED by Joe Ma. How wonderful it is to be wrong sometimes though. Funeral March is not a triumph that will stand next to similar works like Juliet In Love or C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri but it's a very solid romantic drama nonetheless. Charlene Choi plays a young woman diagnosed with cancer and she enlists funeral director Duan (Eason Chan). Along the way he gives her meaning and strength back to consider a possible life saving operation. Beautifully shot and scored (Ma sure likes to fill his films with wall to wall music), this is a work with unexpected subtlety. Eason and Charlene are good together in roles that requires more from them than just playing versions of themselves, like some pop stars do. If you've seen way too many movies, some of you will spot the plot twist before your normal moviegoer but it doesn't detract from what is a touching little drama.

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Funny Business (1995) Directed by: Clifton Ko

A big flop upon release in 1995, which is perhaps why comedy legend Michael Hui didn't appear in a Hong Kong production again until 2004 (although he did have a supporting role against Gong Li and Jeremy Irons in Wayne Wang's The Chinese Box). Hui plays business efficient Mainlander Fuk-Ching who goes into the hotel business, prompted by a shady Western businessman (Gregory Charles River - Her Fatal Ways IV). However giving each and everyone he knows something to do at the hotel proves to be his quick downfall. Fuk-Ching takes a second trip to Hong Kong in order to really learn how to run his business. He does so by working amongst the low-end workers of a hotel managed by Vivi (Alice Lau).

Quite wildly local and over the top with its satire, the intentions seems to stagger with Clifton Ko at the helm but when basically going physical on us, the exaggerated gags of Fuk-Ching's hotel falling apart and his way of acquiring knowledge when working for Vivi plays more favourably and Hui scores a gem or two here. It's merely amusing and a far cry from his best work but Funny Business eventually pays off decently thanks to likeable turns by Hui and Lau. James Wong, Lo Jun-Ho, Law Kar-Ying, Cheung Tat-Ming (who also wrote the script), Teddy Yip and Rachel Lee (as herself) also appear.

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Funny Ghost (1989) Directed by: Yuen Cheung-Yan

Energetic fun courtesy of Yuen Cheung-Yan who rarely lets his grasp slip off this one. Sandra Ng quickly goes from hostess girl, being the killing target of her quickly impoverished best friend Ngor (Alvina Kong) to assisting on her suicide only to fall to her death myself. Saved by the bamboo made construction site at a building, into her lap falls an urn with a ghost originally made to obey the command of boss Hung (Wu Fung). Every command means controlling people and the gambling table among other things. Now chased by the triads, into the chase enters two bumbling representatives of the Scotland Yard (Charlie Cho and Nat Chan) and a triad assassin (Billy Lau) constantly failing at his tasks...

Although being quite darkly comical with Ngor's multiple suicide attempts usually meaning pain for Sandra Ng, Yuen Cheung-Yan lightens the mood and while broad, there's a sense of a director translating his vision of fun (even if dark fun) into the minds of the actors. Broad scenarios like Charlie Cho and Nat Chan trying to ward off what they think are ghosts with red underwear and shortly thereafter a group of hostess girls trying to do the same are totally enjoyable thanks to this skill-level. Sandra Ng also gets to play dress up as she tries to evade the forces out to get her by being old, a man and an kid. An unusual Hong Kong product. Unusual because it's funny. Also with Walter Tso.

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Funny Vampire (1986) Directed by: Ng Kwok-Hao

One year after Mr. Vampire and the copies appeared that pretty much was tailored after the exact content of that classic and its lead, Lam Ching-Ying. So here from Taiwan we'll have to suffice with a crappier Taoist priest, although equipped with wicked eyebrows and among others Tai Po as one of the naughty assistants. No real surprises therefore from director Ng Kwok-Hao so autopilot and sleepwalking are words applicable to the final tally but fans will have a fairly fun time when pace is increased. Because here the expected pace and creativity within the genre gets approval. Then the odd elements in scenes here and there will be imprinted in your memory even! See for instance a potential victim beat the crap out of a hopping vampire in a public lavatory, on-screen urinating, Pauline Wong engaging in a sort of dopey dance of the dead and very agile vampires not bound by that silly notion of rigamortis. Chin Yuet-Sang and Huang Ha also appear.

Furious Slaughter (1972) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

Jimmy Wang Yu arrives with cool and confidence and starts cleaning up gambling and prostitution. No horde or multiple waves of opponents stands in the way of him either. Standardized Wang Yu vehicle but within a short running time and Wang Yu dependently disposing of tons of enemies, Furious Slaughter does its job without impressing that much. That is before the finale hits that responds very well to the English title of the film and we get nigh on distressing violence here in a welcome turn.

Fury (1988) Directed by: Johnny Wang

A bit distant and routine, this Johnny Wang directed heroic bloodshed entry ends up favourably thanks to its intensity. With a weapons deal gone wrong, betrayal and bottled up emotions on display, Wang sets his sights of the themes running very much rampant during this time (post-A Better Tomorrow). It's mostly standard but performers Waise Lee and Phillip Chan do mean what they project, especially Lee who handles the conflicted state of his character well. Michael Wong (dubbed by someone else not sounding AT ALL like him but it's thankfully a full on Cantonese language performance because of the trade-off) looks good in a beard but don't carry himself better than that and you'll also have to endure a breakdancing scene from him. An unconvincing, unsympathetic character looking for redemption comes out via Ellen Chan's role but that opportunity director Wang doesn't utilize so Fury receives yet another mark of mediocrity.

But to a fine degree, his action (done together with Tony Tam who also worked on City Warriors) goes a suitable gritty and excessive route, giving us mayhem worthy of the era, in good amount of bursts. As always especially during the finale. Co-starring are Ku Feng, Kirk Wong and Carrie Ng.

Fury Of A Tiger (1989, Cheung Lap-Kan)

Fairly strong and above average buddy cop comedy, armed with a little bit more teeth and thought. Mind you it's not a breakthrough in refined comedy or storytelling but one time director Cheung Lap-Kan at least tries rather than rely on tired, loud banter and comedy. The pairing of Gordon Liu and Bruce Mang becomes solid because of this and combined with earned dips into grim, violent territory, Fury Of A Tiger earns the status of surprising. Elevated further through at times incredible action choreography (with contributions by our leads behind the scenes), the power and speed in some of the exchanges coupled with effective falls by the stunt-team lingers. Even does its thing confidently enough to earn an apartment-set swordfight at the end! Also with Felix Wong and Maria Tung.

Fury Of King Boxer (1972) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Ding Sin-Saai dipped in a worse way into history for Everlasting Glory in 1975, employing major historical facts and creating utter boredom in the process. Fury Of King Boxer takes an important template, about the rebels that eventually managed to create the Chinese Republic, but thankfully decides to mix it up with that pesky notion of creating bearable action cinema too. Gwok Siu-Chung is Chow Ken, the female revolutionary that left behind wealth and family to pursue her dream of not being one of them oppressed Chinese. Jimmy Wang Yu is one of her closest, able men and while patriotic dialogue comes off as really awkward (as well as other cinema choices when in this mode), the film is well anchored by mayhem. Featuring a handful of superbly epic action scenes, in particular the ones featuring Wang Yu where he uses knifes, guns, bayonets and his resolve that makes him beat about a million opponents. It all might play out as somebody's treasured history but to most others, it's quite a superb ride for large amounts of the running time.

Future Cops (1993) Directed by: Wong Jing

So Wong Jing either forgot to or didn't get rights to use the characters from Capcom's Street Fighter games but predictably, that didn't stop him. Changing names and design to apparently stay within the legal framework, there's no doubt what Future Cops is referencing but even if Capcom had bothered to look, they and the rest of the universe would've left Future Cops alone. Why? Because it's Wong Jing at his most unbearably worst.

Structuring a very minimal plot around a therefore very long 90 minutes, Wong's at the time audience friendly cast (that includes Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Chingmy Yau and Simon Yam) and humour goes all the way to appear stupid, annoying and completely unfunny. Insipid is another word and one can definitely imagine Wong Jing having a blast himself coming up with the so called gags of this one. Best just to play along was probably the actor's perspective. Are we also supposed to be impressed when Wong references modern pop culture icons such as Super Mario Bros? It's more a case of pure Hong Kong cinema embarrassment from a profile that nowadays barely has any stars or audience anymore, as evident by the failure of Kung Fu Mahjong and its sequel. This big kick in the balls hopefully will trigger Wong Jing to actually put in effort and perhaps concentrate on serious stories on a more regular basis. We all know he can, on occasion (see Colour Of The Truth).

Future Cops action directing team, consisting of Ching Siu-Tung, Deon Lam and Ma Yuk Sing does spice up the picture with minute charming action that echoes the Street Fighter spirit to the fairly good degree that the sequence in City Hunter also did.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

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