# 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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The Green Hornet (1994) Directed by: Lam Ching Ying

One of few attempts by Hong Kong cinema to exploit, if you will, the character of The Green Hornet (or rather his Chinese partner that Bruce Lee played on American television). Only other film in this regard that springs to mind is the wonderfully hokey Bruce Lee Against Supermen and truth be told, that ain't much better or worse than Lam Ching Ying's interpretation here. Which is a shame as this was Lam's last of two films he directed (the other being Vampire Vs Vampire) and one of his last appearances ever in Hong Kong films before passing away in 1997.

Shot on the cheap and therefore assigning itself to B-movie territory, that would be fine if there was some minute charm in the production as well. As it stands, Lam can't take these low grade sensibilities and spice it up Hong Kong style, which was really the only way The Green Hornet was ever going to work. Lead Chin Ka-Lok undoubtedly flashes his acrobatics well and the fighting tricks by the character can be compelling but it's way too rare and poorly captured on film. With no compelling story behind our hero either, like the best of the super-hero movies have, little is worth caring for and especially so since leading lady Esther Kwan (Run And Kill) is joining the legion of annoying female sidekicks with her performance. Lam himself has some very minute, worthwhile low-key comedy moments but the film is not the high water mark for the immortal legend Lam Ching Ying became. He had such a great selection of screen performances behind him anyway so The Green Hornet will never tarnish that reputation. Turn to Black Mask if you want a better spectacle in the vein of Bruce Lee's Kato character though. Co-starring is Yu Rong Guang and Lam Fai-Wong.

The Green Jade Statuette (1978) Directed by: Lee Tso-Nam

The search for the titular statuette, secrets, twists, turns, changed alliances, kung-fu... yes it does present a rather basic time but Lee Tso-Nam (Shaolin Vs Lama), who usually could, can NOT elevate The Green Jade Statuette out of strictly average. The packed character gallery plus a fairly talky plot aside, the main element never becomes a shining star here. While the choreography (especially the various two on one's) is intense and certainly accomplished, the breakout feeling that could make a middle of the road kung fu-picture stand out is lacking and The Green Jade Statuette passes by without much impact. Starring Mang Fei, Chi Kuan-Chun, Hu Chin, Wong Goon-Hung, Lung Fei and Phillip Ko.

Green Snake (1993) Directed by: Tsui Hark

Tsui Hark's apparently much beloved AND hated Wuxia effort and for someone coming into the experience that is Green Snake so many years after everyone else, I was eager to try and figure out why. Whether it's right or not, one can sense that the very apparent parallels to modern social commentary towards Chinese ruling forces is way too overbearing depending on the viewer. Yet, it's ok to disconnect those train of thoughts because this Seasonal production sweeps you away through its layered portrayal about the definition of humanity.

Based on the Chinese folktale of White and Green Snake (portrayed by Joey Wong and Maggie Cheung respectively), the two are attempting to perfect the human form, especially Cheung's Green, and come to an understanding of what it takes to be one. Closely following their supernatural trail is a powerful monk (Vincent Zhao - The Blade) who sees the human land as monstrous and in presence of evil that can't co-exist with the real world. A scholar (Wu Hsin Kuo - Temptation Of A Monk) is also the subject of White's love but that love threatens to be diminished by the always present monk, trying himself to attain the highest power of enlightenment...

A re-visit to the ways of A Chinese Ghost Story yet not, a single train of thought but a complex one runs through Green Snake. Tsui Hark expertly creates a stunning visual palette that is his Wuxia world. An expected beautiful place with alluring atmosphere but also a horrific one at times, through the eyes of Zhao's monk character, not unlike anything this viewer ever witnessed from this new wave era that Tsui Hark basically headlined. Aiming for an erotic aura via the snakes, it's a choice and behaviour that seems logical in Green and White's quest for answers and through performers Wong and Cheung, Tsui achieves a sexiness that doesn't seem sacrificed for the Cat II rating. More than ever the wild and creative visual mind of Tsui Hark is also showcased, in particular during any shots at the snake house and the majority of special effects enhancements works (the often mentioned reveal of the snakes, the magic crane and ropey CGI detracts but not on the whole). James Wong and Mark Lui's score is also mesmerizing, being highly in tune with the hypnotic effect that runs through the film. Veteran Tien Feng appears briefly.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Green Tea (2003) Directed by: Zhang Yuan

Graduate student Wu Fang (Vicky Zhao) and Chen Mingliang (Jiang Wen) hook up via a blind date and one conversation over green tea and coffee turns into several. Subjects cropping up often is Chen's recent break-up with his fiancee, Wu Fang's disgust with violence against women but mainly a story of Wu Fang's friends parents which started with a lie and spiraled into unheard of darkness. While visiting a piano bar with his friend, Chen makes advances at the beautiful woman playing the piano and it's Wu Fang... only with her hair down and with less of a buttoned up, conservative aura around her. She says she's called Lang Lang however...

Zhang Yuan (Little Red Flowers) doesn't make it easy for anyone and especially not come ending time so this mystery of a possible doppelganger, possibly the same person that for whatever reason takes on an evening persona and a day persona, survives and pays off. At least according to my own interpretation of the film. Captivating us via two characters mostly talking, all this is spiced up with gorgeously composed and dreamy cinematography by Christopher Doyle. The camera loves Vicky and she beautifully represents the mystery and questions surrounding the film. All while the somewhat rough Chen goes through personal therapy with the two characters, dealing with his hatred for prior break-up among other things. It's a thin line Zhang Yuan balances well on and since he barely is clear about what it all IS about, Green Tea will surely be a hit and miss affair across the board of critics. I got something out of it that means something to me.

Guardian Angel (1994) Directed by: Phillip Ko

Phillip Ko echoes the ways of IFD by crafting a new movie consisting of footage with Yukari Oshima and Ricky Davao wrapped around the 1993 action-erotica Sexual Harrasser. The merger is apparent, coherency is not and the cheap, weak action (plus a few sex scenes thrown in to bump the rating) doesn't make you go with it. It's crude, boring, abstract and with a very quick conclusion that doesn't seem to conclude much of anything.

Guests In The House (1988) Directed by: Jamie Luk

KENNETH'S REVIEW: While they await their actual new house, Chung (Derek Yee) and Carmen (Carol Cheng) move into a temporary that is unbeknownst to them haunted by the a spirit (Nina Li) and her servant (Joan Tong). Just casually hanging around the couple in order to explore the advent of new technology and occasionally possessing Carmen for fun or when they don't agree with her views, ultimately Nina Li's spirit is looking for closure of her past. Jamie Luk opens wonderfully odd with a full on dance sequence that does have its connections to Carmen's profession but this higher gear doesn't exactly run throughout Guests In The House. The palette is both flat, visually alluring but merely amusing at best as Yee/Cheng interact with only basic chemistry present. I've seen better farce and sitcom-esque comedy but at least we get some ramming speed-pace for the end when Yee and friends tries to battle the ghosts in the most feeble of ways (including singing "Help" by The Beatles). Lawrence Cheng co-stars while Wu Fung, Liu Wai-Hung and Shing Fui-On also appears.

Gun Is Law (1983) Directed by: Norman Law

Phillip Chan plays a trigger happy cop but one with good instincts that ends up having his rough action on display in the local media. Instead of taking a desk job, he decides to resign instead to spend more time with his son. It soon becomes apparent someone wants revenge on Chan for a past incident however...

Norman Law (A Hearty Response) mixes decent suspense and expected commentary (the hard working cops on the streets vs. the heads behind the desks) with a Phillip Chan performance with a suitable amount of dignity. Quite good suspense is generated through the theft of various music cues from other films, most notably Goblin's famous contribution to Dawn Of The Dead. Score also over dramatizes certain moments and Melvin Wong isn't saddled with the most well-drawn character. Basically just an image for the commentary mentioned. Style is suitably gritty coming from this era and the bleak ending was not a rarity at this time either. It's all worth an investment. Also with John Sham and Roy Horan.

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

Guns Of Dragon (1993) Directed by: Tony Leung

New York and Puerto Rico are the playing fields for Tony Leung Siu-Hung's routine actioner shot in synch sound (and probably elsewhere than mentioned locales). Ray Lui is the overworked Hong Kong cop traveling to the United States to face marriage problems (wife played by Category III starlet Yvonne Yung) and the bad guys from home are now running wild on the streets of New York. Choosing to vacate the premises and go to Canada is not an option as the family gets dragged into the triad war...

A lot of painful dialogue and New York cop stereotypes aside, at least Leung isn't aiming that high with his international flavour and initially there is some fast paced action and teeth included with Guns of Dragon. But when those sharper elements goes missing and we unfortunately have to watch a story unfold, proceedings turns standard in a poor way, also in the action department. Mark Cheng, Alex Fong, Patrik Lung and an amusing John Shum also appear.

Guys In Ghost's Hand (1991) Directed by: Ma Siu-Wai

In all likelihood shot at the same time as The Twilight Siren (aka Devil And Master) as it utilizes largely the same crew & cast (some of which, such as Alex Fong and Wu Ma make very pointless cameos), at least Ma Siu-Wai conjures up a little genre fun within an equally cheap frame. Chang Siu-Yin plays a girl once upon a time executed wrongfully and is now after revenge on the families in modern times that are related to her executors. Kara Hui and Ku Feng are the Taoist masters battling back. With a nauseating repeat of a stolen music cue almost all throughout and at least an hour of fully incoherent storytelling, around that very hour mark some better spirit and energy erupts in Ma Siu-Wai's frame. Shooting his better stuff in darkly lit forests, the setting matters little when the technical skill on display is admirable for a few minutes. Pouring on fairly heavily with the animated special effects and shooting graceful slow motion battles, it's not always the film speeds are properly set but when we get a bazooka out of nowhere during the ending... you could say a little is forgiven. But not nearly enough.

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