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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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