# 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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I'm Your Birthday Cake (1995) Directed by: Raymond Yip

Uptight office lady Cher (Chingmy Yau) is dumped by her boyfriend in the most harsh of ways, with him describing every detail he likes about other women but Cher IS desired by someone else. Mainly Mountain Lam (Kong Wa) who's been temporarily paralyzed and his other crucial working part of course lies dormant, until he spots Cher unwillingly reenacting a famous Marilyn Monroe moment. In an effort to help Mountain, his brother Water (Ekin Cheng) proposes to Cher to sleep with his brother for 30 million dollars. Training Cher to be a true seductress is Water's gay friend Honey (Michael Wong) and Water of course falls for Cher in the process...

An indecent present would be a softer title but what producer Wong Jing has offered up to the cinema world is another excuse and this time it's about him wanting to see Chingmy Yau do a seductive dance for 10 minutes. By throwing in gags about fat people, homosexuals, Andy Lau and other in general facepalm-inducing moments, I'm Your Birthday Cake runs out of gas quickly but isn't without amusement thanks to Michael Wong out of all people. Oh there's some nonsense about Chingmy Yau's Cher having way too romantic dreams but those details aren't important as they're never mentioned again. No, when he's done with showcasing the silly English names of his characters (including Amanda Lee as Sorry who bickers with Michael Wong all throughout the film), the little gas that is still left in the Wong Jing-tank makes us laugh out loud. Cue Michael Wong as the stereotypically flamboyant homosexual of the film and by camping it up to extreme levels, Wong is thoroughly likeable when going this extremely low. Immortal line (in English) from him cements this: "There is no woman who can make me hard".

In Between (1994) Directed by: Samson Chiu, Yonfan & Sylvia Chang

Intersecting stories of roommates Eddie (Jan Lam), Steven (Nicky Wu) and Co Co (Maggie Cheung) handled respectively by at least 2 fine drama directors (Yonfan hasn't shown inspiration in front of me...yet). A new age is represented by the fact that men and women share their happiness and woes together, with these stories aiming for both those moods and a little something in between.

Under Samson Chiu's (When I Fall In Love... With Both) direction, Eddie befriends distraught woman Icy (Wu Chien-Lien) and their friendship turns physical too. But is the shampoo boy just a shoulder to cry on? A question especially warranted since Icy is planning to get married. There's a challenge in all of these stories to define each and every moment because you have so much less running time to do so. In that regard, Chiu turns out standard, fairly likeable work but it seems the short format doesn't allow for him to be as playful and heartfelt, which is true for much of his work otherwise. Lam and Wu work generally fine together and there is something to be said for Wu's splendid presence that glues you to the screen whatever it is she's doing.

Stockbroker Steven and flat out unseasoned kid in terms of where he is in his life makes in a moment of loneliness (and possibly sexual frustration) plans to date a phone service woman but the one he befriends instead is classy, middle aged lady Anna (Sylvia Chang), the unhappily married wife of Stevens boss (Melvin Wong). Yonfan's (Rose) eye for perfectly composed beauty gets manifested in Chang's presence and there certainly is some emotional payoff concerning people's fear of being lonely. His contribution is very solid thanks to Sylvia Chang's ageless beauty, contrasted well to the dopey nature of Nicky Wu's character but again, the premise halts at likeable but empty.

Sylvia Chang thankfully saves In Between with a splendid, entertaining time. Maggie Cheung gets impregnated by either a Russian who heads for home the day after or ex-boyfriend Fai (Winston Chao) but she seeks support in colleague and an all out gay friend (called Gay Lo) played by Eric Kot instead. Evidence of the premise of He & She resides here but director Chang injects a great deal of funny, clever dialogue, flirts with darkness concerning Co Co's wish to terminate the pregnancy and hugely fitting performances, none more so than Eric Kot's. Despite playing up his annoying screen persona, his character is hugely funny, warm and thoughtful. The film is also known as The New Age Of Living Together and Conjugal Affairs.

In Between Loves (1989) Directed by: Allan Fung

The English title does accurately yet not describe the journey Alfred Cheung's character goes through but with a slightly sneaky dark edge, director Allan Fung (Freedom Run Q) throws expectations to the wayside. Interest is therefore always sustained in the story about Chang (Alfred Cheung), a cab driver with a big crush on TV reporter Jennie (Maggie Cheung) and in an attempt to get close to her, he feeds her news stories...

The excessive and broad comedy route is embodied by Chang's cabbie chums (most notably Sandra Ng) but the core of the film is performed to a workable degree by Alfred Cheung and Maggie, even when the film turns really surprisingly dark and graphic. Nothing noteworthy truly happens but In Between Loves has a, believe it or not, charming element of surprise that surpasses other Hong Kong productions that also concocted a brew of contrasting elements. Also with Lawrence Cheng, Wu Fung, Michael Chow, Lam Chung, Fruit Chan and Lawrence Ng.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

The Incorruptible (1993) Directed by: Barry Lee

Yet another enactment of real life events (here covering the formation of the Anti-Triad division within the Hong Kong police) starring the person you always chose for your enactment of real events, Ray Lui (To Be Number One, Lord Of East China Sea being examples of his roles akin to this in the early 90s), The Incorruptible takes a daring stance early. Being short, obviously there's no room for a detailed look at history or characters. Then the whole package, despite looking above average, doesn't smell of interest one bit so Barry Lee (The Girls From China) wisely gives us something basic. Characters such as Simon Yam's alcoholic cop and Tommy Wong's loyal buddy are taken right out the cliché-gallery and the clash with a once lowly drug dealer turned powerful drug dealer played by Waise Lee has all the expected beats. Won't take long before it turns personal of course. Director Lee has nothing new or interesting to say but gives us a quick fix that includes some grim, bloody violence for our enjoyment. Despite using Carrie Ng (and lips) and Anita Yuen as decoration merely. That IS a bit of a crime. Recommended viewing over The Incorruptible would have to be David Lai's Tian Di starring Andy Lau because there you have something basic but more enjoyably noisier.

Incredible Kung Fu Mission (1979, Chang Hsin-Yi)

John Liu trains a group of men to free a rebel leader. One half has us watching them goof off (in several scenes set at a brothel) and the other sees the newly formed brotherhood perish one by one. With such schizophrenia, no wonder you don't care. To be fair, Chang Hsin-Yi (The Thrilling Sword) is not making an epic but rather he's adhering to the genre blend that could create market traction (i.e. the kung fu comedy). It results in a tedious affair for two thirds. When you lack comedic flair that then should bleed into physical flair to enhance the light mood, you're in serious trouble. When ditching and focusing on being a bloody kung-fu affair, Incredible Kung Fu Mission fares better. There's no doubting the physical skills of the performers gathered up here (including Alexander Lo Rei and Robert Tai as the white haired villain) but at points action is strangely sluggish and slow too. The bursts of it makes the second half somewhat worthwhile though. As does the dips into primal violence. But the two distinct moods contained within the whole is a mismatch.

Incredible Shaolin Thunderkick (1982, Godfrey Ho)

Acquired by Asso Asia from South Korea (with rights possibly being passed to Filmark later) and credited to Godfrey Ho, Kim Seon-Hyeong's original could've originated from Hong Kong or Taiwan as there's nothing here that sets it apart from the copycat efforts of the kung fu comedy-genre. Outside of the action that is. Weak comedy, a bullied waterboy (Benny Tsui), a drunken master, local thugs, training and a showdown, thankfully the action choreography is overall stellar. Incredibly quick exchanges and loaded with power, try and pursue a short version of the movie because the tighter experience will leave a better impression. Not everything that was standard genre-fare needed to be 90 minutes.

Infatuation (1995) Directed by: Sin Chi-Wai

A sexy but over the top/poorly act by Francoise Yip in this Fatal Attraction copy still makes it valid/guilty pleasure thanks to some well honed instincts by director Sin Chi-Wai... even though they only last for a few minutes. Yip is Maggie, a secretary who goes after Ken (Wong Chung-Kwan) with all the love she can. But when he decides to re-unite with his wife May (May Lo - Red To Kill), Maggie's psychotic senses jump into overdrive...

Although acknowledging its source by having that particular Michael Douglas/Glenn Close vehicle feature in the film, Infatuation has no originality to flash anyway. The sex scenes are shot with a slick sense of style for sure but reeks more of softcore shenanigans from Playboy TV. But the slick sense moves into a more positive light when it comes to the narrative as director Sin emotionally grips during a few scenes where we witness the family of Ken dissolving due to all that's going on around them. As a valid story of a psychotic, matters are too over the top though and the end product mixed together racks up a below average tally. Simon Loui and Hugo Ng also appear. Sin Chi-Wai's only other directed movie Banana Club followed in 1996 and was an endearing, wacky time.

Infernal Affairs III (2003) Directed by: Andrew Lau & Alan Mak

Worthy but not fully essential conclusion to the trilogy that kickstarted the belief in Hong Kong cinema again and spurred an Academy Award winning remake in The Departed, after the prequel dealing with the characters in the 90s, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak takes us back and forth in the timeline. Detailing events before undercover cop Yan's (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) death and the aftermath with the surviving triad mole in the police department Ming (Andy Lau), Yan's relationship with psychiatrist Lee (Kelly Chen) is deepened as well as Ming derailing mentally when trying to forget his shady past and be a good cop. But because the very affecting and poignant theme of continuous hell runs through Infernal Affairs III as well, no wonder it's all continually downwards for Ming. Especially in the light of the fact that more moles may be present, his cover might be blown and his focus is on shady head of the Security Wing, Yeung (Leon Lai). Seeing him in both the past and present segments, the introduction of Mainlander Shen (Chen Dao-Ming - Zhang Yimou's Hero) also makes up the main core of the film while Eric Tsang's gangster boss Sam and Anthony Wong's SP Wong are more background characters here. Said to have confused audiences during the theatrical run, reportedly the longer director's cut of the film fills in some blanks and it's good because clearly writers Alan Mak and Felix Chong went into convoluted territory a little bit too hard. It doesn't make the movie not essential but the first hour is quite underwhelming. Tension and in particular Andy Lau's performance impresses from the hour point though and the conclusion we do get is affecting. But somehow deep inside, blanks in the full story was quite ok at only two movies.

Infernal Street (1973) Directed by: San Kong

Although clearly resembling Bruce Lee, lead Yiu Tien-Lung is not heading any kind of Bruceploitation movie here. The plot recycles traits of the often used Chinese vs the Japanese but slowly but surely adding a gritty intensity to fights reveals the strengths of Infernal Street. With fair fury in Yiu and aiming for a violent and brutal nature (one scene involves multiple ears cut off in graphic fashion) to the action, Yiu also heading the action directing department is largely putting forth excitement here. Much thanks to the low budget and therefore stripped down look of the movie.

The Informer (1980) Directed by: Wong Chung

Wong Chung's directorial debut, this stale cops chasing gangsters with the help of a new informer (Danny Lee) after the old one turns up murdered rarely springs to life. Attempting to depict police work and the world they're in as a gritty, realistic one, all that is fine if the effect had come through. But it never does and this Shaw Brothers production comes off as one wanting to play cops and robbers on film but is simply hugely incapable of doing it. Alex Cheung's Cops And Robbers and Man On The Brink are more accomplished ventures using this content and themes. Wong Chung stars and Kent Cheng, Kam Hing-Yin, Addy Sung and Ray Lui also appear.

The Innocent Interloper (1986) Directed by: Johnny Wang

A couple of violent and bleak movies into his directorial career, Johnny Wang takes his style outside of Shaw Brothers and delivers more accessible mainstream entertainment across the board but with a punch. Concerning Hwang Jang-Lee's Paleface stealing a couple of money printing plates that then ends up in the hands of social rehabilitation teacher Shee (Lawrence Ng), the hunt is now on but with the help of Paleface and the tough Hung (Elaine Lui), they now have a team that can hold off whatever the triads throw at them. Showcasing early he insists on the stunts making noise, Wang ejects the brutal, distressing violence from prior movies in favour of hard hitting fights and stunts coupled with a comedic aura that actually does not make the movie as much of a multi mood exercise as you might think. It may not be for all ages but the wider appeal is here through a light comedic tone that isn't hilarity personified but there's a fun, relaxed vibe here that works rather well combined with the assault of action. Featuring a lot of cameos to keep us occupied along the way (Wong Jing, Charlie Cho, Danny Lee, Bill Tung, Michael Chan as a robber walking into an apartment with mouse traps and Lily Li among others), Wang's greatest gift to us is Elaine Lui. Being incredibly game and skilled (coupled with excellent doubling at points), she gets into this mix of fights and painful stunts like a seasoned pro and director Wang keeps up momentum for her and the movie all throughout its finale. Hard and light moods rarely combine this well in Hong Kong cinema.

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