# 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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Her Fatal Ways IV (1994) Directed by: Alfred Cheung

The final installment however juuust edges out Her Fatal Ways III in terms of quality as Cheng is taken down a few notches to earth. Now adapting fully to life as a Hongkie (having chosen the English name Senyelgit), she falls in love with her Scottish neighbour (Gregory Charles River, one of the most solid Western actors ever to appear in a Hong Kong film) and is prepared to sacrifice her virginity. It seems however that the gwailo neighbour has a hidden agenda...

Carol Cheng and Alfred Cheung engage in fun banter and attempted English language delivery while then Cheng tries her luck in a variety of jobs, messing up in her always over-examining ways. Carol continues to sell the various sketches that make up the narrative before the plot kicks in and is quite delightful when her girly innocence is revealed in the face of love. Now and again director Alfred Cheung reminds us that Cheng kicks ass too so working with Dion Lam there are a few dependable ventures into this territory. Her Fatal Ways IV is very light though and even though politics are at center, there's expectedly not much impact left to be made after the brilliant first movie. Also starring Sandra Ng.

Her Name Is Cat (1998) Directed by: Clarence Fok

Her Name Is Cat represents some sort of attempt by producer Wong Jing and director Clarence Fok to once again bring to life all the hoo-haa surrounding their cult Cat III effort Naked Killer. Utilizing once again poster art with an alluring leading lady (Almen Wong) in an outfit that never appears in the film and assassin plots with this time only slight lesbian undertones results in something not so difficult to achieve; a better film than Naked Killer.

Her Name is Cat is still terribly hollow and ordinary. Wong Jing can at the best of times inject something akin to fresh coming from him (Colour Of The Truth) but his script here is just a mish-mash of worn clichés. The assassin with a conscience, the cop losing his family because of ruthless dedication to work, themes of redemption, loneliness and then to top it all off, an action finale set in a church. Simply put, Clarence Fok and Wong Jing are not the people who can rise above these clichés and stand out in a crowd. Fok's overbearing style and the overall cinematography quickly becomes bothersome and while effort exist to make a thoroughly serious film, scenes trying to come off as poignant ends up as unintentionally funny instead. Fok can make his style work but it's rare (see Remains Of A Woman). The story holds potential no doubt but you'd better employ better makers and performers to realize that. Almen Wong admittedly is fairly effective as the emotionally cold but lonely assassin but Michael Wong only goes through his motions. Meaning half his dialogue in English and acting being generally wooden. At least he has the best line of the film, which turns out to be incredibly true:

"It'll be like a second class movie for god's sake!"

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Hero (1997) Directed by: Corey Yuen

Corey Yuen's remake of Chang Cheh's Boxer From Shantung has the technical elements firmly in place (high production values and fine cinematography, a Shaw Brother's production after all) but not story and characters for the audience to invest interest in. The plot revolving rival triad gangs in 1920s Shanghai evokes feelings of average filmmaking and director Yuen's attempts at fleshing out characters falls flat most of the time. The often watchable Takeshi Kaneshiro is surprisingly bland but veteran Yuen Biao skillfully weaves in his years of experience to make Master See a more compelling character. Corey also goes off on some wild comedy tangents which makes one wonder if Wong Jing directed when Corey himself was on screen. The action choreography by Corey Yuen and Yuen Tak does the job though, mixing martial arts and gunplay with very little wirework. Corey certainly ain't no John Woo when shooting gunplay but the physical fighting is creative and even very brutally violent at times. Doesn't fully redeem the ultimately uneven Hero. Also starring Yuen Wah, Yuen Tak and Valerie Chow. The Universe Hong Kong dvd is cut for violence while the UK disc is uncut.

The Hero (1972) Directed by: Wong Hung-Cheung

Known under a plethora of titles such as Rage Of The Master and The Destroyer, it's standard Wang Yu fare with Thai boxers killing off most members and heads of a school who then turns to his aid but he's promised his father never to fight. Guess what happens... It's The Chinese Boxer-template echoed but not with a sense of fun throughout. Rather this goes for melodrama that is rather tiring and only the last two fights show a compelling ferocity as matters turn extremely violent as knives are involved in the bashing. Also with Chiao Chiao (Wang Yu's co-star in One-Armed Swordsman and she also gets a couple of fight scenes) and Lung Fei.

Hero - Beyond The Boundary Of Time (1993) Directed by: Blackie Ko

Time travel adventure with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Ching dynasty womanizer Wai Siu-Bo (the character he played on TV and Stephen Chow did as well in the Royal Tramp movies) who's given the mission to travel 300 years ahead in time to find a virgin for the ailing emperor (Ken Tong). He meets a cop played by Dicky Cheung and already there the movie blows...

It's funny though because if you make a list of all craziness within Hero - Beyond The Boundary Of Time (Dicky Cheung with a massive hard on being one item from that list), it looks like it's a gem of "only in Hong Kong" proportions but director Blackie Ko manages to generate the side effect of annoyance instead. The odd bit from Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is amusing and the high flying action towards the end sees us experiencing the only energy the film has. Other than that, it's a long 97 minutes. Also with Ng Suet-Man and Veronica Yip.

Hero Dream (1993) Directed by: Lau Keung-Fu

Another nail in the coffin for Chin Siu-Ho who didn't necessarily make bad choices but despite such fare as Fist Of Legend and The Tai Chi Master, he never really made it into the A-list. Shame and Hero Dream even sees him doing softcore porn!

Also featuring his brother Chin Kar-Lok (who does get worthwhile acting gigs on occasion still), this gangster actioner mostly set in Thailand is clearly a quickie with no real intention, commitment, knowledge or talent to make it work. Instead, director Lau Keung-Fu throws in as many audience pleasing moments as he can, hoping it'll pan out and I guess the vcd sold its share of units as it features a plethora of women on the cover (plus a few transsexuals...don't ask). The Chin's are some of the main reasons why the film mostly sinks as they continuously provide non-existant acting or overacting. The filmmakers also throw in a few sex scenes just because they can while the action is not only laughably bad but so are the Thai extras/stuntmen, leading to a finale that simply reeks. Yet with Hero Dream, you should know what to expect and there is some fair camp value and a bizarre nature to the film that makes it fun. Obviously a sweet deal with Fuji was struck as they are featured prominently in a way not akin to subtle and the inclusion of full frontal nudity of the Thai transsexuals is bound to raise a few eyebrows. Kind of sad and fun at the same time, Hero Dream is there for the taking but don't mistake it for anything but low grade thrash. Also starring Carrie Ng, Sophia Crawford and Michiko Nishiwaki.

Watch out for definitely unlicensed music from Miami Vice that pops up now and again throughout.

Buy the VCD at:
Yesasia.com

Heroes Among Heroes (1993) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping & Chan Chin-Chung

Covering the legend of So Hat Yi, the wealthy boy who gets manipulated by Ching interests, becomes an opium addict, loses his family but is re-born as Beggar So, Donnie Yen takes on the role and as one of the other legendary 10 Tigers Of Canton and Wong Gok is Wong Fei-Hung. In another division than the benchmark movie Once Upon A Time In China or Yuen Woo-Ping's own Drunken Master (with his father Simon Yuen in the So Hat Yi role), Heroes Among Heroes is pale entry in the new wave 90s wire fu cannon. Merely the basic beats are covered and even if Woo-Ping was on his way of achieving a majestic, affecting feeling, it's buried under grating comedy courtesy of Ng Man-Tat and Sheila Chan as So's parents. Not unlike a lot of Hong Kong movies then but the combination isn't entertaining. Add to the fact that Donnie Yen change of character consists of putting on a hat and you get an idea of the lack of passion available. Action is technically efficient but features very few standout moments. The standouts are more often about when the action relies less on the wires but at other times the Yuen Clan is a few frames off in the film speeds department. It detracts and makes the action fade from memory easily. Also with Fennie Yuen and Hung Yan-Yan as the main villain.

Heroes From Shaolin (1977) Directed by: William Cheung

Tu Tashan (Chan Sing) defeats Hsiao Hu's (Ting Wa-Chung) father and subsequently the father commits suicide. Wanting revenge but being offered training by Tu Tashan, Hsiao Hu is allowed to attempt revenge anytime. All while the two are on a mission to defeat traitors that are now siding with the Manchu's...

William Cheung (Calamity Of Snakes) presents expected morals surrounding revenge but in quite solid fashion. Solid chemistry between his old and young lead coupled with quality action choreography throughout makes Heroes From Shaolin very serious but never to an unbearable, arty degree. The film knows it's basic and expectedly has its highlight moments via Yuen Biao's and Corey Yuen's work as action directors. Especially their own scenes featuring weapons are a fluid treat, beating anything co-stars Lo Lieh and Hwang Jang-Lee take part in.

Heroes Of The East (1978) Directed by: Lau Kar Leung

Known internationally as Shaolin Challenges Ninja, this one of many fine Lau Kar Leung efforts comes out way ahead of the pack with its nigh on perfect blend of martial arts action and valid thematic excursions.

Gordon Lau plays Ho To, a kung fu master who chooses a Japanese woman (Yuko Mizuno) as his wife. A feud is soon ablaze between the couple as they can't come to terms and agreement on the philosophies of their individual martial arts. She returns to Japan and after Ho To sends a challenge letter to her, the best of the best of Japanese masters turn up to challenge him. One by one they go at it...

Set amongst the upper classes of Chinese society in the late Ching dynasty, Lau Kar Leung weaves a pretty decent narrative from I Kuang's script that is far from one big excuse to feature martial arts action. Hell, he even takes his time to set the stage for the differences of the characters before unleashing his choreography. Heroes Of The East, in many other filmmakers hands, would've simply derailed and turned into a bloody struggle between the Chinese and the Japanese. Lau is not interested in any revenge motifs but instead puts forth valid arguments from both sides, with the final message being that we have to examine the values of each others cultures instead of naively rejecting them. In between this fairly serious narrative, doses of off-beat humour turns up, most notably through Lau Kar Leung's wonderful cameo as Beggar So, the role Simon Yuen (who also appears) would become the symbol for the very same year in Snake In The Eagle's Shadow.

Eventually, Lau lets it rip with his action choreography and it's a furious multi fighting showcase of Chinese and Japanese weaponry that ranks as some of Lau's best work in the 70s. At the same time, a notion is retained concerning cultures in need of enlightening each other and it's no surprise that Heroes Of The East is almost completely bloodless therefore. It's a rare treat when audiences get to ponder in martial arts cinema but Lau Kar Leung proved on several occasions that the merging worked. Gordon Lau and Yasuaki Kurata shine and the supporting cast includes Cheng Hong Yip, Cheng Miu, Norman Chu and Lee Hoi San.

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

Heroes Of The Eastern Skies (1977) Directed by: Cheung Chang-Chak

Ambitious on every level but skill is not put forth that showcases the combo of war with drama. Cheung Chang-Chak (River Of Fury) certainly got the cast, the effects work that mostly deals with aerial fights, the scope and the design that speaks to the Chinese spirit overcoming (or almost) oppressing forces (in this case the Japanese). Leung Sau-Geun's pilot and leader is a bit more compelling as a character too, being hard on his pilots to the point of accidental deaths happening and suffering on the outside when injured while the war in the skies go on. That war is quite exhilarating as captured on film with fine usage of miniature to re-create mayhem and that's essentially what Heroes Of The Eastern Skies brings. It may have spoken on a more profound level to its local audience but as it stands now, it's a major, truly awesome technical achievement with empty stretches in between.

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