# 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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L - O - V - E ..... LOVE (1997) Directed by: Matt Chow

Horny dogs want women in a beauty pageant or as the literal translation for Matt Chow's comedy goes "Super Invincible Pursues the Girl", which sums up matters quite nicely but Matt Chow's feature debut is an intolerable mess of over the top wacky antics and unfunny ones at that. The boss and workers at a sushi bar (Nat Chan, Eric Kot and Jerry Lamb) are joined by real estate tycoon Super Ma (Michael Tiu - False Lady) on a trip to Thailand after already pursuing/stalking the contestants of a beauty pageant in Hong Kong. No wonder, some of them are played by Shu Qi and Vivian Hsu. If a satire or parody of some sort was attempted or if Chow wanted to do a cheap throwback to 80s comedies in the vein of My Lucky Stars (again the horny dogs aspect), it all fails gloriously despite the eye candy automatically being good. With no restraint placed on the likes of Eric Kot, Chow lights the fuse and hope that his direction will explode into fireworks of hilarity. The sole laugh comes from the girls discarding their various surgical enhancements in one scene but a laugh like that is followed by the lame inclusion of Lee Kin-Yan (nosepicking transvestite of many Stephen Chow movies) as the transvestite participating and it's indeed all pretty lame. Pretty to look at and intolerable... die hard Shu Qi and Vivian Hsu fans don't even need to bother.

Love & Sex Among The Ruins (1996) Directed by: Cheung Chi-Sing

While it's easy to proclaim there's something not quite satisfactory about Cheung Chi-Sing's (I Wanna Be Your Man!) comedy-drama, the story of impotent cab driver Man Cheung's (usually annoying Dayo Wong) adventures within a triangle of lust/love and art goes quite the creative bit in terms of portraying facets of sex. After being part of a Farrelly Brother's movie during the first few reels, Man Cheung's vacation to Lamma Island means further acquaintances with his trusted customer Man (Liz Kong), lesbian bar owner Billie (Ada Choi) and just plain out there husband of Man's, Tung (Cheung Tat-Ming). Acting as a righteous, nice guy, the triangle he finds himself in is encouraged to be by wacky Tung who sees it as his dream to have a free for all lust and love relationship even though Billie was Man's lover at one time. Enter an island cop (Pauline Suen) on the busy stage, who sets out to cure good guy Man Cheung...

Major tangents of life contemplating, musings on sex and how longing will disrupt a desired structure to love, it's sex vs. heart and soul in quite the bizarre package as presented by Cheung Chi-Ming. He goes deep in his exploration no doubt but these characters aren't particularly mapped out to cohere all the way through. Especially Cheung Tat-Ming's Tung who is a peculiar number that is hard to pin down. It doesn't seem particularly illogical to cast comedy actor Cheung Tat-Ming then and Dayo Wong handles himself adequately too. Ada Choi dominates the show though, oozing sex, desire and remains the sole, clear cut character material director Cheung squeezes out of Love & Sex Among The Ruins. Vincent Kok and Lee Lik-Chi appear in cameo roles.

Love And Sword (1979, Yu Kan-Ping)

A nice break from the usual intrigue between clans and just like Patrick Tam's The Sword, Yu Kan-Ping's debut movie goes for human traits despite depicting swordplay heroes out of a fantasy realm. Not a great showcase for story all the way through (the melodrama being the main reason why), Yu is still on a mission to vary up encounters and scenes. The stylistic intent comes through via staging of action scenes and more of a gloomy depiction of the martial world. For a debut director, the eye is strong as is the theme of the emptiness in these heroes pursuing fame as they pursue each other. Said Patrick Tam movie is a sharper embodiment of it but there's an unusual amount of fodder for the mind still present in Love And Sword, Yu went on to helm comedies and dramas such as Can't Stop The War and Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing?

Love And The City (1994) Directed by: Jeff Lau

Jeff Lau has proven he can score with wacky comedy but turning his attention to romance equals complete disaster. Love And The City sees small time hoodlum Wu (Leon Lai) being let out of prison only to get entangled with the law again and meet the women of his dreams. Fate plays Jo Jo (Wu Chien-Lien) in his hands but also unluck in the form of a corrupt police force looking to pin a murder on Wu...

Lau asks cinematographer Arthur Wong to bathe certain sections in blue for some reason and doesn't make a convincing case of the true love present between his leads. Leon Lai and Wu Chien-Lien on top of it all doesn't even strike up minor chemistry while narrative choices such as rampant voice over, melodramatic high gear amplified by a constant weepie score and a subplot involving a pager call center becomes absurdities with Lau at the helm. The film does resemble a fantasy for all the wrong reasons with primarily Lau living his, thinking this is how you make passable drama. Ng Man-Tat in a dramatic act is a welcome choice but neither he or an automatically radiant Wu Chien-Lien can't outshine the inept material at hand.

Love Chaser (1993) Directed by: Woo Ga-Kan

Silly soap opera and Category III softcore porn tactics interspersed with Wayne The Sorcerer having wild sex in his sorcerer like, smokey bedroom. Yes, it's a gloriously cheap time for lovers of crap cinema but expecting little is the correct tuning for Love Chaser so there's plenty of unintentional fun to be had. Mrs. Leung (Siu Yam-Yam) has and is prostituting her daughters Shun Shun (Ruby Wong but not the PTU supporting actress) and Jo Jo (the luscious Amy Wong, often shot very well) and in this convoluted mess there is also movie star (but in Category III films) Yung (Foo Wai-Kei) in love with Shun Shun but also drawn to Jo Jo. The vicious mom does her best to favour only herself financially, something that proves to be tough in a slumping stock market and then there's Wayne The Sorcerer appearing every now and again. It's fairly fast movie crap with a capital C but it has a plethora of funny scenes including involuntary groping during the in the film movie shoot (a notion the director is the main cheerleader for), perverted glass-eyed customers with a penchant for wearing Mickey Mouse-ears during sex and a tedious triangle of love chasing that is often amusing in its poor ways. Also watch out for snot during the melodramatic finale, porno score galore and some supernatural shenanigans pretty much out of nowhere.

The Love Eterne (1963, Li Han-Hsiang)

Based on the classic Chinese folktale 'Butterfly Lovers', Li Han-Hsiang continued to strike commercial gold with his vision for Huangmei opera on film. Although compared to the likes of The Kingdom And The Beauty (1959), The Love Eterne is more grand in every sense of the word. Featuring what feels like 20+ songs as the tragic romance is told through both off-screen choirs and his performers Betty Loh Tih and Ivy Ling Po (playing the male character in this version), the feel is that of a big stage performance. From the obvious aspect to expressive acting and latter melodrama. But commitment to the classical makes the film very enjoyable, even if its huge impact (especially in Taiwan with both the public and during awards-season with Ivy Ling Po having an award specially created for her) isn't thoroughly easy to feel as a Westerner. Li Han-Hsiang and production crew at Shaw Brothers also merges all of this with extremely detailed indoor- and outdoor-settings (all shot on stage) that makes The Love Eterne one of the more grand and reference examples of what directorial vision and production facilities can achieve. It's probably one of the best looking Shaw Brothers movies to this day. Tsui Hark made his own version of the story in 1994 as The Lovers, starring Charlie Yeung and Nicky Wu.

Love, Guns & Glass (1995) Directed by: Ivan Lai & Lai Gai Keung

Triad boss Siu (Simon Yam) gets out of prison only to find out that his wealth and power has been diminished. While a group of loyal followers is still around, Siu in the end decides to start a from scratch and does so by helping and eventually marrying the debt ridden Ching (Cecilia Yip). Escaping the triad world where he's left permanent scars proves to be difficult though...

Ivan Lai and Lai Gai Keung takes on the redemption theme, one certainly worth examining but in the end only goes slightly humane and affecting places. Initial fresh chemistry between the stars help keep the drama buoyant but Love, Guns & Glass more or less becomes traditional genre fodder for the majority of the time. The Lai's take their story to such over the top levels that the romance angle actually turns awfully bizarre at points. Basically, the filmmakers know how to pound but not how to stroke gently and emotions therefore runs so high that it kills off any such investment from the viewer.

What Love Guns & Glass therefore is, is watchable, violent action cinema and it for sure delivers the goods. The action, directed by Phillip Kwok, is very intense and well-staged with the gore landing on quite extreme levels. Elements of sadism also rears its head, which is no surprise considering Ivan Lai was coming off Category III nastiness such as Daughter Of Darkness. Roy Cheung, Farini Cheung, Chin Ho (sporting quite bad prosthetic scar makeup) and Mark Houghton also appear.

Love In The River (1998) Directed by: Barry Jue

Two stories, first about a widow (Emily Kwan) who's put to rest yet ANOTHER husband. A journalist (Mark Cheng) is curious and gets involved in a relationship with the woman. Enter paranoia and the eventual truth about her back story. Fairly ambitious cinematography and a sexy Emily Kwan performance works in its favour but the story also involving quirky humour and in the end a very inconclusive end makes it go nowhere.

Number 2 or Affair 2 involves a model (Marianne Choi) who manages via her friends to look after her boss' house. So the focus on a pajamas commercial goes to her enjoying the luxurious surroundings in a long shower scene that is then interrupted by a pointless romance with Patrick Tam's character who may hurt her BAD emotionally by the end. Hard to come to any conclusion when neither story does or is in any way interesting so we have no affairs to remember in Love In The River.

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Love In Sampan (1992) Directed by: Dik On

Things doesn't bode well when the main credits of Love In Sampan are scored to a low-grade Love Boat-esque-theme and not so surprisingly, things quickly derail from here in this Cat III rated erotic drama.

The problem is that director On has set out to do drama and while the themes of love and the unfair despair that comes with it is well-meaning on paper, On isn't armed with paper, budget or acting, resulting in an effort that reeks. Love In Sampan did of course come out during the heyday of Cat III exploitation filmmaking and many efforts certainly were close to the low quality of this one. Most of the time, others resorted to being uniquely Hong Kong though, which did at least produce some form of charm and fun. Love In Sampan intended to be respectable however. A respectable choice, not a respectable final result.

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Love In The Time Of Twilight (1995) Directed by: Tsui Hark

Yan Yan (Charlie Yeung) and Kong (Nicky Wu) develop a rivalry during a matchmaking festival and obviously have zero chance of ever falling in love. However, Kong falls victim to a scam, planned by a gang of robbers, and ends up murdered. Cut to 2 weeks later and as a ghost, he turns to Yan Yan for help in stopping his untimely demise, in the past...

The reunion of Charlie Yeung and Nicky Wu from Tsui Hark's visually gorgeous but flawed The Lovers is an unexpected treat of a movie. The expected romance take on a better meaning by the end compared to the former film in which Charlie and Nicky starred but it's the sheer insanity on display that will win certain viewers over, depending on how receptive you are of all this.

Tsui throws buckets of weirdness at us including fairly extensive but rough use of CG (and this is set in 1920s Shanghai just so you know), situation comedy, situation comedy involving lots of projectile vomit, Eric Kot being annoying like only Eric Kot can, frankly creepy after life-esque imagery, time travel and an insanely funny or maybe serious comment on the development of technology during this era. It all adds up to a wild time and only a movie that can come from the imaginative mind of Tsui Hark. Also starring Lau Shun and William Ho.

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