# 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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Korean Connection (1974, Lee Doo-Yong)

The standard, generic kung-fu movie template could come out of Korea as well but noise and brevity is its strengths. A simple yet often muddled narrative about a document and revenge acts as the catalyst for the fight action as expected and here's where Korea does alright for itself after having chosen a basher-style to the proceedings. The complexity of the choreography can feel a little unrefined (certainly applies to the camera work too) but lead Han Yong-Cheol puts on a decent kicking showcase. Combined with a loudness within the brawls and the short running time for its US release, Korean Connection is the definition of a disposable genre-effort that was molded into a suitably brief package in the West thankfully.

Kung Fu Chefs (2009) Directed by: Ken Yip

With the Shaolin Vs Evil Dead-movies (the second of which Ken Yip co-directed) production company My Way tried and sporadically succeeded to evoke Hong Kong genre cinema of the past. Kung Fu Chefs has today's polish (a first for My Way) but evokes a lot of element of yesteryears and in a sleeper hit way genuinely engages. Sammo Hung is master chef Wong Bing-Yi who is disgraced after his apprentice Leung (Sammo's real life son Timmy Hung) sabotages the banquet he's preparing for a village. Re-emerging as the head chef for the struggling restaurant run by sisters Ching (Cherrie Ying) and Ying (Kago Ai), he also takes under his wing a new apprentice (Vaness Wu) with cutting and fighting talent. The master will have to eventually settle his past and deal with the grudges in such characters as Fan Siu-Wong's and the apprentice will have to prove his skills in the ultimate cooking competition...

With that polish also comes a hungry director who despite laying it on thick on with style during certain cooking sequences knows the select moments to choose in terms of this. The energy is engaging and with Yuen Cheung-Yan and Yuen Shun-Yi on board for the action, it's very thrilling to see such scenes shot with stability and clarity plus Sammo still appearing to move well for his age. Kung Fu Chefs doesn't snap into the age old schizophrenic mood of a Hong Kong action comedy thankfully and the drama present actually makes sense. It's as violent as it should be, as clichéd as it should be (think The Karate Kid with cooking instead) and surprisingly heartwarming. What hasn't changed since the 80s/90s however is certain tacked on elements such as Vaness Wu's and Kago Ai's love story and a lot of the broad comedy comes from this Japanese actress too. It's there to be survived easily and Kung Fu Chefs ultimately deserves to be a stronger blimp even on the Sammo fan radar. Also wiith Ku Feng, Bruce Leung, Lee Hoi-Sang and Lam Tze-Chung.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

The Kung Fu Emperor (1981) Directed by: Pao Hsueh-Li

Ti Lung is the 4th prince, son of an ailing emperor and forces who wants him to be the successor of the throne asks him to play dumb and go out amidst the people to get a sense of the emperor THEY want. Well crafted production technically, populated with genre familiars and fine martial arts choreography director Pao (an understudy of Chang Cheh's) maintains interest initially but the long section of the film with the 4th prince outside the walls stalls the movie. Little clarity or coherency remain and while the kung fu is continually a highlight, before we sensed a movie that could appeal to us on a broad scale but instead it gets lost in disinterest. Also with Dorian Tan, Chen Sing, Shih Szu and Wong Ching.

Kung Fu Executioner (1981) Directed by: Lin Chan-Wai

You don't expect a violent gangster/martial arts picture out of a title like this but that unexpected trait holds unexpected treats. Billy Chong along with excellent martial artist Carl Scott (previously paired up with Chong in Sun Dragon) gets drawn into a gangster war between two families and the bodies start piling up. A clichéd and average plot kept afloat well via a dedication to a dark mood, bloody and primal violence and to make martial arts part of it is a choice that makes sense. Because not only are the likes of Billly Chong and Scott pretty electrifying once they engage in the choreography but the tone of the fast and intricate choreography holds its share of primal darkness too. It genuinely feels dangerous as Chong takes on multiple swordsmen and best of all Kong Do in the next to last fight in the movie. That Bruce Lee-style yells were dubbed into at least the English language version of the film feels rather desperate and unnecessary. Kung fu fans would know they've seen far more boring narrative stretches in between the main selling point. Also with Chen Sing in a dependable villainous turn.

The Kung Fu Fever (1979) Directed by: Kim Si-Hyeon

A hilarious contradiction occurs right up front when the filmmakers claim The Kung Fu Fever is not based on any real persons or events yet it DEPICTS THE DEATH OF BRUCE LEE! Who said Bruceploitation was logical but many rightfully claimed it was a lot of fun. Dragon Lee (here credited as Bruce Rhee) stars as Rickie Chan, one of Bruce Lee's students and after circumstances that leads to his master's death (circumstances that are not very clear which is a sign of respect by the sensationalist filmmakers as they refrain by putting forth a theory thankfully), he and friends are chased by various people in search of the book of finger techniques as developed by Bruce. After some all too familiar footage from Bruce Lee's real funeral (making these sensationalist filmmakers lose all respect they gained a sentence ago), Rickie fights through various dumb henchmen of Shu Mu's (Martin Chui) including an opponent using the Iron Head-Technique but flown in from the US of A, enter Ron (Ron Van Clief - Black Dragon)...

One group of thugs even leads a cabaret troupe. Yep, a lot of amusement comes packaged with The Kung Fu Fever which may not be competently staged, is definitely overlong but has enough goofy details to make it memorable. One starts with the student of Bruce Lee's, Rickie Chan, who apparently feels he has to or has been made to act just like Bruce. He appears in the Game Of Death tracksuit for no reason, he of course owns the glasses and ghastly shirts and when it then comes to mimicking the mannerisms... oh boy. Dragon Lee is possibly the one impersonator taking it TOO seriously. Really looking more mentally handicapped when in fight mode than sincerely paying tribute, somehow there IS sincerity in Dragon Lee, albeit a bit misguided. The dubbing is classic stuff with a variety of wacky voices, accents and lastly, Amy Chum (My Mother Is A Belly Dancer) has a sexy leather suit on all throughout the film. It's likeable stuff as well as shameless but god, it's hard to stay angry at the film. Director Kim Si-Hyeon helmed several Dragon Lee vehicles including the South Korean movie IFD acquired and re-titled Secret Ninja, Roaring Tiger (hence Godfrey Ho getting a directorial credit on that one).

Kung Fu Genius (1979) Directed by: Wilson Tong

Despite gathering up a cast that had performed under master Lau Kar Leung's masterful eye for martial arts action, Wilson Tong's Kung Fu Genius never sparkles. Stock plot aside (rivalry between martial arts schools), Tong fills the running time with wall to wall action (including spirit boxing, monkey style and most bizarre of all, duck style) yet overall never achieves an exciting flow to the choreography, sometimes even leaning towards sluggish. Some of that can be due to Cliff Lok's obvious rough transition from real life martial artist to on-screen fighter and him as a lighthearted hero never is a choice that gels either. One of the fights that does work well however is a weapons one between Lok and Hsiao Hou. Kung Fu Genius also co-stars the alternate Dean Shek of the time, Cheng Hong Yip as well as Lee Hoi San, San Sin and Wilson Tong.

Kung Fu Kid (1994) Directed by: Lee Chiu

If I'm hearing the English dub right, Chin Kar-Lok plays Fong Sai Yuk who gets caught in a rebellion (headed by Lam Ching Ying's character). Fong Sai Yuk or not, it doesn't much matter as this production falls short of humble goals of being poor even! While the martial arts is often grounded, there's no energy, excitement or flow to support that worthwhile stance on choreography and even when outrageous concept like surfing on spirit tablets occurs during the finale, it's still lacking. Poorly added foley effects NOT done by ones with a hard on for a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and unfunny interludes between Fong and his mom (acclaimed actress Siqin Gaowa) makes one want to reach for the Jet Li/Josephine Siao chemistry as found in the Fong Sai Yuk movies instead. Kwan Hoi-San and Wu Ma also appear.

Released on dvd by Tai Seng under the title Shaolin Avengers, Chin Kar-Lok and Lam Ching Ying are credited on this print as Jean Carlo and Mark Lim respectively.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Kung Fu Master Named Drunk Cat (1978, Cheung Sum)

While nowhere near the worst the kung fu comedy-genre has to offer, there's no doubt that the attempts at merging the two fails here. John Cheung is our down on his luck hero (emphasized with him unknowingly walking onto a film set and later getting urinated on accidentally), diamond smugglers hide their stash in a jar of candy he thinks is his and then the chase is on. This is of course harmless entertainment that's not aiming to go the violent or meaningful route. Which is fine but most scenes and concepts play out like one of many genre-imitators. Here it's not broad and grating though. It's just flat. John Cheung is also not a charming or funny hero and while he executes complex choreography, not even the selling point sets off any sparks (it's a bit too slow for that). Sharon Yeung stands out as the best piece of energy the movie has to offer however. As does does the comically large cyst our villain has on his neck. Also with Simon Yuen and Candice Yu.

The Kung Fu Scholar (1994) Directed by: Norman Law

Dicky Cheung and Aaron Kwok are scholars both attending the same college. Then farce happens. Then Leung Kar-Yan enters as a newly appointed teacher. Then people start to fly. When all's said and done, no laughter or marvel at the feats have been uttered from an audience. The local perhaps but The Kung Fu Scholar is not THE vehicle to rival period kung fu comedies in the higher divisions. When you try to be mou lei tau without Stephen Chow and instead place Dicky Cheung in his place, you know it's a recipe for disaster in the making. Playing the wisecracking scholar with a skill for talking his way out of most situations, nothing on display rings of any sincerity or comedic skill. Adding straight man Aaron Kwok and Ng Man-Tat doesn't elevate in the slightest. The latter goes on to prove how tough going of a comedic presence he is without Chow. A quiz and athletic competition between the colleges, lots of comedy with added sound effects and a decent Leung Kar-Yan/Gordon Lau fight later, it's merely later and absolutely nothing gained or saved. Also with Kingdom Yuen, Vivian Chow and Kent Cheng (in a role referencing his Fat Cat character from Why Me? and The Beloved Son Of God).

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Kung Fu Vampire (1993) Directed by: Yuen Cheung-Yan

As the narrated opening tell us, there are various ways to transport dead bodies and vampires across the land and various stories that accompany these rituals. Yuen Cheung-Yan ends up directing the most unbearably crap one out of those. Draining all sense of fun that the vampire movie used to have, the Mainland visuals are at times attractive (in an automatic way obviously) and certain scenes quite gleefully gruesome (including rodents being set on fire and potions being mixed up consisting of snakes blood and maggots). "Fun" ends there and the proceedings where our grating male lead and uncharismatic leading lady gets in various troubles with the locals (and some ghastly, lame romance finds its way into the torture as well) registers irritating because it doesn't go anywhere. No Yuen clan distinction or madness. You're no fun anymore, Yuen Cheung-Yan! Ji Chun-Hua (Red Sorghum, Fong Sai Yuk II) appear as the lead villain Zombie King.

Kung Fu Vs. Acrobatic (1990) Directed by: Taylor Wong

Taylor Wong revisits the magic buddha's palm (previously seen in his 1982 Shaw Brother's movie Buddha's Palm), transferring the spectacle to modern day Hong Kong. Kung Fu Vs. Acrobatic opens with some wonderful clips from the old Tso Tat Wah Buddha's Palm-movies and it's a nice reminder of how Hong Kong really hadn't progressed in terms of its special effects usage (in this case, when employing animation) by the time 1990 came along. Taylor doesn't really make more of a mark from this point in the film and instead Wong Jing's script takes over.

Andy Lau and Nat Chan therefore gets to be thoroughly silly and stupid, with stupid also being the grade of the comedy. Wong Jing's insistence on trying to be clever by taking past dynasty characters into the modern era while poking fun at the popular culture of its day is far from it and falls flat completely. Some low-brows jokes gets to your funny bone but it's really shameful that that even happens. Within these loony Wong Jing shenanigans, co-star/action director Yuen Wah and the animators manage to entertain slightly whenever it's magic powers battle time. It's a long trek though to get the even slightly good stuff though.

Taylor Wong never really was a good director outside of fair promise showed in Sentenced To Hang and Buddha's Palm. Kung Fu Vs. Acrobatic has its title as the most prominent trait, which is obviously not a good final tally. Also with Joey Wong, Lau Shun and Tso Tat Wah.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Kung-Fu Wonder Child (1986) Directed by: Lee Tso-Nam

Before the trippy, eccentric and wild "Child Of Peach" films with female lead Lam Siu-Lau playing a boy, she turned up in a similar role working for Lee Tso-Nam in Kung-Fu Wonder Child (actual print title being KOng-Fu Wonder Child). Mainly aimed at children as evident by a lot of silly shenanigans, upbeat score, literal cartoons on screen etc, hardcore Taiwan fantasy fans may actually get less out of it as matters slow down quite considerably after a strong opening. A simple plot getting quite muddled by the end among other things involves Lam getting in trouble with a martial arts school and she battles alongside her grandpa (Jack Long) an evil sorcerer by the end. Yukari Oshima is here too, being attacked by a vampire, its kids and apparently she's after... something. Sure it's a drawback that the whole piece is confusing but overall Lee Tso-Nam provides energetic escapist entertainment when it's not about silly facial hair, pranks and poo humour (mainly involving the vampire). The energy bolts are used extensively mixed in with pyrotechnics, zombies, automatic weapons, an decidedly 80s soundtrack and a tour de force healing scene involving a bleeding mushroom. Yes, enough sights in need of being seen to be believed are present.

Kung Fu Zombie (1981) Directed by: Hwa I-Hung

A short and highly undercranked time with a mix you can easily gather from the title, Billy Chong stars in a whirlwind of complications starting with a dead thief in need of reincarnating so he can have revenge. He ends up in Chong's father's (Kong Do) recently diseased body and recently diseased character played by Kwan Yung-Moon gets his chance to come back and wreck havoc, now with vampire tendencies. With a rather clumsy Taoist priest (Chan Lau) available too, Kung Fu Zombie delivers a broad and intense fighting mix often played out at overcranked speed. This creates energy, albeit fake energy but this consistency to comedy, action and the supernatural shenanigans in between works in favour of the movie. All often set to the James Bond score.

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