# 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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Iron Ox, The Tiger's Killer (1974) Directed by: Tien Han

"Blessed" with the revenge template, this made in Taiwan martial arts production looks, feels and is crummy but possesses some interesting narrative touches and quality fighting nonetheless. Wong Goon-Hung is the student out for revenge (and prior out for control of the province) so in his anti-hero ways he seeks out all men potentially responsible. One confrontation has him betting his blood and life so it's asides like this that makes one raise eyebrows. All is a backdrop for excessive fighting though and despite no true variation being evident (i.e. swingy arms and kicking), the length of each fight is welcome as it's totally ferocious and intense. This is fighting, not ballet and having the action for instance take place on a moving cart, on a collapsing roof and amongst farm animals adds excitement to what shouldn't have been approached as a standout. When all bashing is said and done, Iron Ox, The Tiger's Killer is.

Ironside 426 (1977) Directed by: Lam Kwok-Cheung

Jason Pai goes undercover in the triads, rises through the ranks and initiates romance so the mission becomes too personal. Opening strong with violence and exploitation elements, the urban street level is compelling but story interest is low and standard story developments along the way (gang rivalry, fights etc) makes this an early but not essential undercover story. Man On The Brink and City On Fire took care of that need instead. Lam Kwkok-Cheung also helmed Enter The Game Of Death and Mr. Big (also starring Pai).

The Iron Superman (197?) Directed by: ?

Featuring action- and effects footage from the Japanese TV-series Super Robot Mach Baron, The Iron Superman is a Taiwanese feature re-edit with local actors inserted into the place of the original Japanese talent (including Paul Chun and Jamie Luk). Seemingly using a whole bunch of plot strands from the TV show for the 80 minute running time, it's surprisingly coherent, well edited in terms of matching the original footage and paced in a dizzying manner. Called The Super Weapon in this movie, the Red Baron is operated by Kay who's after revenge for his parents who died at the hand of robots in the Bermuda Triangle. Joining the team the Professor (Jamie Luk) has set up, they do numerous battle with the Coordinator's robot army while also trying to save hostages in his grip and ultimately the life of the Professor. No rules seemed to exist on Japanese TV, just throw anything on there as long it's creative and the miniatures- and suit action is incredible to watch. With a sense of excitement and spectacle, it's dizzying in the most splendid of ways and it's also hard to forget Taiwan tried to make something a little bit of their own when the star is still the original elements. Oh seeing our main, very well dressed hero along with the goofy cop played by Paul Chun battle henchmen in American football gear (who also have exploding footballs at their disposal) makes you appreciate the human effort for a while and the big, always different coloured hair of the Coordinator makes for a nice inclusion as well as the jazz score to accompany the action. It makes you interested from a market perspective to look at The Iron Superman and interested to see Super Robot Mach Baron in its original form.

The Island (1985) Directed by: Leung Po-Chi

image stolen with permission from Weird Asia

D & B produced this tale of island terror with Leung Po-Chi at the helm. John Shum leads an expedition to an supposedly deserted island only to find out that it's inhabited by a group of seriously demented characters, lead by Peter Chan Lung. This is a family that stays together, slays together and when the youngest one is refused in marriage to one of the young girls of the troupe, they turn into axe-wielding maniacs together.

Clearly inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or rather it needs to be since D & B weren't providing a large budget, Po Chih-Lung does sporadically well for himself in capturing the dirty and rundown nature of the island. The cinematography offers up some striking images from time to time but the first hour isn't an easy one to get through. Firstly, it does what Dennis Yu's The Beasts did wrong a few years before. Namely that of portraying the murderous island inhabitants in the most outrageous ways possible. That choice quickly destroys any notion of shock or terror and one wonders if this is comedic relief, in a twisted way. Hong Kong filmmakers often seems desperate to include laughs whenever they can so it's not a far fetched notion. Leung Po-Chi also pads out the various encounters with the freaky family way too long and it's not until the hour mark that the horror truly begins. Po hits a decent stride that includes effective detours into violence where the effect is of importance, not the special effect. Now if those pesky villains actually had been a disturbing bunch, The Island could've emerged out as something more substantial. Today, it stands as a passable diversion for those seeking out straight faced Hong Kong horror.

John Shum anchors the movie surprisingly well, going from suitably geeky to not so much a superhero but a protector of these youths. One of the more believable aspects of Leung Po-Chi's film. Sadly, it is a definite step-down and disappointment considering Po the year before directed the award winning drama Hong Kong 1941, starring Chow Yun-Fat.

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Itchy Fingers (1979) Directed by: Leung Po-Chi

It may have been done for the Lunar New Year season but there's little sparks or holiday entertainment present for a good hour but then Leung Po-Chi (Hong Kong 1941) snaps Itchy Fingers out of its dormant state. Roy Chiao is the police chasing thief and safe-expert Hsien (Richard Ng) but when Hsien is made the scapegoat of a diamond heist orchestrated by the jeweler himself, Mr Liu (Fung Yuen-Chuen), both sides of the law co-operates to set matters straight...

In and out of various clothes such as the Game Of Death tracksuit and depicting them as Indians and oil sheiks, eventually when our leading duo gets to the safe with the diamond of all diamonds, Leung Po-Chi orchestrates some clever devices such as the helium outfits to avoid touching the floor that triggers an alarm and a sense of breezy fun finally enters. Earlier in Hsien's hideout, Chiao also goes through a crash course in thievery in a VERY well equipped, grungy hideout. A trek not quite worth it but the performers make a third worthwhile. Co-starring Cora Miao and featuring John Woo in a cameo as a triad boss on a lorry!

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It's A Drink! It's A Bomb! (1985) Directed by: David Chung

Bicyclist Cat (Maggie Cheung credited here as Margaret Cheung), generally obnoxious taxi driver Lion Head (John Shum) and cool scientist Bobo Lam (George Lam) are brought together and hunted by a duo of Japanese killers (Eddy Ko and Elvis Tsui) who thinks they have a soda can that is in fact a bomb they're the buyers of. Lion Head and Bobo also try and romance Cat. Bicker and chases ensues. David Chung (I Love Maria, Magnificent Warriors) went on to make Hong Kong comedies in a bigger fashion but here is a very sparsely done and cast comedy. Literally just a few chases and a lot of high pitched banter, there's not much script taking up the screentime and being sporadically lively only saves the moments where that occurs. It's easy though to appreciate the light tone that in this case means there's no feeling of danger present at all (it was a Christmas release after all). Digestible isn't such a bad thing but there's only minor meat to chew. Elvis Tsui has a character design not so much molded out of the Japanese killer one but the Michael Jackson/synth pop one. Lau Kong, Liu Kai-Chi and Paul Chun also appear. Minor appearances come from Wu Ma, Dennis Chan, Lowell Lo and Hui Siu-Hung.

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It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World (1987) Directed by: Clifton Ko

Light and breezy Lunar New Year fun headed in exemplary fashion by Clifton Ko whose veteran leads also nail the easy enjoyment factor of this minor morality tale. Bill Tung and wife played by Lydia Shum (whose older children are the stunning duo of Elsie Chan and Loletta Lee) try to maintain their family image by not appearing too poor or not too rich. When a mammoth lottery win comes their way, the recently fired newscaster Uncle Bill tries to make the family spend wisely, his brother and enemy John (David Chiang) comes home and daughter May (Elsie Chan) engages in an on- and off, kind of troublesome romance with Smiley Joe (Eric Tsang). Simple but sincere points and gags, a few creative dream sequences and a brisk pace makes It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World a demonstration example of what the Lunar New Year cinema season should be like. It's not always done on automatic, something Clifton Ko demonstrates here.

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It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World II (1988) Directed by: Clifton Ko

Getting the family (and hence the same cast) together again for another stab at Lunar New Year fun and box office success, the latter was clinched but yet another quality piece of fun was as well by Clifton Ko. Possibly not connected at all to the first and its plot about Bill Tung and Lydia Shum's family becoming wealthy, this time dad gets a promotion as his bosses suspect he knows about their shady financial deals. Getting transferred to Canada, culture clashes and rapid fire pleasantness ensues. Really a key for these movies, Tung and Shum anchor the movie wonderfully, echoing the concerns of the time and the Hong Kong people but hamming it up as well. It's local but not too local and simple beats like family values becomes more meaningful than expected through this family unit. A money chase dominating the last half hour manages to be truly exciting as well. Also with Loletta Lee, Elsie Chan, Lowell Lo, Pauline Kwan and Teddy Yip.

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World III (1989) Directed by: Stephen Shin & Stanley Ko

After two prior, successful Lunar New Year outings, the third go at the adventures of wealth and no wealth for Bill Tung, Lydia Shum and family is expectedly growing a little stale. There's little tangents here making up a bare plot, everything from Loletta Lee coming home to study while her loyal boyfriend (Christopher Chan) does anything to make money for them (including being a punching bag on movie sets), the family losing all their money, Shum's gambling addition, the difficulty of adjusting to work for the father Bill Tung plays and Lowell Lo along with a returning Eric Tsang fighting for the love of the eldest daughter (Elsie Chan). There's still evidence of the strong cast chemistry but the third outing just seem like one too many with little else to say other than wanting to be part of the profitable Lunar New Year season of movies.

I Wanna Be Your Man!!! (1994) Directed by: Cheung Chi-Sing

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Cop Lu Che Mo (Lau Ching-Wan), also dubbed Idiot by colleagues, one day walks in on his superior Madam Wong (Christine Ng) and her girlfriend Ron (Christy Cheung). What follows is Lu starting to interact more with the lesbian couple, his mom being confused by the two women in his lives all of a sudden and someone is murdering criminals. Someone frustrated with the legal system...

Yes indeed, there are very different tangents of light and dark on display and it goes in line with the rather puzzling, otherwise not often used ideas by any Hong Kong filmmaker, put forth by this particular one. Director Cheung Chi-Sing and his Love & Sex Among The Ruins wasn't easy either but cohered a little better thanks to a central act by Ada Choi. Ultimately, I Wanna Be Your Man!!! asks rather than answers and it's not a preferable way to go. Is Lau Chung-Wan's Lu Che Mo going to turn these lesbians around to heterosexuality? Is he going to be part of their lives? Are these really the questions asked? Actor chemistry can't lift this comedy into coherence and for once, some better subtitles would perhaps guide us more easily through the rough of Cheung's. Potential interest lies in his thoughts but I've yet to see it flourish into valid, challenging cinema. Plus, clean up that second, almost completely detached plotline if you're going to dare venture into it in the first place. Co-starring Francis Ng.

I Want To Go On Living (1995) Directed by: Raymond Lee

Pui Yan (Sylvia Chang) goes from being separated from childhood love Man Chi Yeung (Emil Chow) to an arranged marriage with a British based Hong Kong man in order to find a financial solution to her grandmother's sickness. The "marriage" is one of duty, even involving abuse but Pui Yan finds something to save over in England, namely the disabled daughter of her husband, Yip Fan (Anita Yuen). Nursing her back to health, Pui Yan returns to Hong Kong to fight for a place in the distinguished Pui cigarette manufacturing family and marriage with lawyer Ko Chun (Winston Chao) solves this. She climbs the corporate ladder while she also sets up Yip Fan with Man Chi Yeung who is now a doctor. He gets her thoroughly walking again while Pui Yan loses herself in the world of corporations to a deadly degree...

The driving force of I Want To Go On Living, Sylvia Chang co-wrote this beautifully shot (Jingle Ma was the director of photography) and fairly epic character story that rarely seems to stop taking turns in its story. When we think it's a simple, life affirming story, the switch to Hong Kong again provides us with more intelligent material. Even though it's not overly felt, the leads bring their honed screen presences and director Raymond Lee maintains focus on the material, creating another noticeable blimp in his underrated filmography (that also includes A Killer's Blues and Blue Lightning).

I Will Finally Knock You Down, Dad (1984) Directed by: Hsu Hsia

As fun as it is seeing so many wonderful Shaw profiles gathered up (as they often were) in a martial arts comedy, coming at the late stages of production life ON the Shaw stages I Will Finally Knock You Down, Dad is a failed attempt for previously big brother Shaw to battle with the more successful studious like Golden Harvest. With some The Prodigal Son and The Young Master sprinkled throughout but obviously not as good of an end product, the setup is fun. However that can only last roughly half or maybe one hour of movie. Cheung (Chin Siu-Ho), the son of respected martial arts instructor Chen (Chen Kuan-Tai) disgraces the family and father's reputation after a series of missteps where he tries to defend the school. He meets a Shaolin monk (Bill Tung) and learns new kung fu and the final fight between him and his father will determine if he's a suitable heir and fit for marriage...

Hsu Hsia has done a friendly movie if anything where bloodshed isn't on the agenda and the amazing physicality of the star that never was, Chin Siu-Ho, simply explodes on screen from first move to last. Squaring off against Phillip Ko and Chen Kuan-Tai multiple times, these are elements that nicely carry Shaw's attempt trying capture the Golden Harvest formula well. But Chin isn't in breakout mode despite and many other parts of the film drags as it's trying to be funny and broad when chops aren't there to pull that off. Lily Li plays Chung's mother and Lo Lieh also appears in support.

I Will Wait For You (1994) Directed by: Clifton Ko

From a very successful year for Clifton Ko (I Have A Date With Spring was a major hit in 1994) and star Anita Yuen (breakthrough in Derek Yee's C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri) comes a romantic comedy that you rightly expects some great things out of, only to be pleased on a general level which is not a bad thing as it turns out.

Ko's pet themes surrounding nostalgia and the very apparent stage roots of his is on high display in I Will Wait For You. Stars Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Anita Yuen play characters who rents the same abandoned house on Lantau island where they're stranded and share a night of love. They continue to meet once a year on that very day, watching each other grow up, mature and over time and the affection grows stronger despite both being married. All while Hong Kong goes through the best and worst of times.

The historic angle that Ko injects via still montages does not matter much as such outside of the stock market crash affecting the characters. Largely studio bound, more emphasis lies on crazy comedy but Ko has a touch that not only makes it actually amusing but oddly low-key, making the drama smoothly enter just moments later despite Leung having had a turkey stuck on his head previously. Leung and Yuen are an appealing couple and the story is developed with a realistic touch by Ko, leaving us with an open ending actually that does belong in a reality, not a movie reality. I sure prefer it that way. Sandra Ng and Francis Ng appear in brief support.

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