# 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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Life Show (2002) Directed by: Huo Jianqi

Lai Shuang Yang (Tao Hong) runs a small restaurant stand in Jiqin street each night as well as being dedicated towards her own family matters. Outspoken to some that her heart is not at ease with this pattern, meeting frequent Jiqin street visitor Zhuo Xiong Zhou (Tao Zeru) seems to mark an upwards turns but all around Lai Shuang Yang, society changes are about to crumble the life of the little, strong-willed woman...

Directed by Huo Jianqi (Postmen In The Mountains), he wisely chooses a female portrayal of less clichéd proportions and carries her into the realm of strong instead. The problem is that Life Show for longer periods of time feels fragmented in its portrayal of characters around Lai. Skipping even basic setups for some, it's definitely hard to attach emotionally to conflicts and Huo's low-key style actually makes the film even more distant. It's encouraging then that Huo has Tao Hong's character to lead the film because it's in the latter focus on her emotional state where the film finally triumphs. Subtle, open and hidden depth is all over Hou's frame and he proves Life Show can be minimal just like Postmen In The Mountains was. By the end you even appreciate some of the annoyances pointed out earlier so structurally, maybe his choices in fact are spot on throughout. Co-starring Pan Yueming from the Huo Jianqi's previous film A Love Of Blueness.

The Shanghai International Film Festival awarded Life Show with Best Film, Best Actress and Best Cinematography statuettes.

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The Lion Roars (2002, Joe Ma)

Poet Seasonal Chan (Louis Koo) struggles to both achieve acceptance in that field and to find a wife while Moth Liu's (Cecilia Cheung) matchmaking isn't going well either. Being paired up and eventually married, Moth is dedicated to her man but also has a dominating and violent streak the poet has to deal with. Attractive stars occasionally effectively used by Joe Ma (especially Cecilia) the goofy, playful nature rarely sticks however. Ma throws a lot on the screen, which sometimes amuses when it comes to Moth's character but a lot is simply forced nonsense. Also with Hui Siu-Hung and Fan Bing-Bing.

The Lion's Heart (1972) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

The very definition of a Jimmy Wang Yu movies that comes and goes out of your consciousness but puts forth the sellable effect while it last in a pleasurable way. Not totally disinterested in plot and certainly featuring a fairly dark one, what one sit down for is Wang Yu plowing through opponents and there's powerful bashing on display here. Combined with a sinister tone as a movie partly and an extended finale involving jousting and a final fight in muddy water, The Lion's Heart is hard to quote because not a lot is memorable but the star provides the goods. Also with Suen Yuet and Sally Chen.

The Little Drunken Masters (1995) Directed by: Siu Wing

The kids of the Shaolin monastery flee from King Fifth (Hung Yan-Yan) who's after one of them known as Little Buddha. Settling in a town under the supervision of Carman Lee's character, cue comedic shenanigans. Far too violent as a kids movie and too unfunny for both adults AND kids, The Little Drunken Masters shows promise, isn't the most shoddy looking kung-fu movie of the 90s but the elements it attempts to feature, fall mostly flat. I say mostly because the wire choreography, creativity and energy gets a boost come ending time. Still, the movie doesn't know what audience to aim for here either. evident as we see Hung Yan-Yan exit in a manner Lucio Fulci fans will recognize. Willie Chi from Burning Paradise co-stars.

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Little Godfather From Hong Kong (1974) Directed by: Ng See-Yuen

After actor Wang Liu (Bruce Leung) witnesses an assassination attempt on a drug enforcement agent, the cult behind it sets up a movie shoot for him in Rome where they plan to take him out and anyone connected to him. Ng See-Yuen sets the stage for a rather basic martial arts actioner but Little Godfather From Hong Kong (aka The Godfather Squad) feels really packed in a welcome way. Diverse even. For one the fight action is largely terrific for a small production of the time, with Leung showcasing great kicking skills. Even the various Westerners keep up with Leung even though some scenes clearly show him keeping a distance from their faces and body. But the welcome treat is that the movie turns into a revenge one where Leung is equally kickass and violent. He'll drop people from towers or shoot them ten thousand times with a machine gun if wronged. All culminating in an intense showdown with Yasukai Kurata who gets one of his best kicking showcases on film. Leung, supporting actor Mang Hoi and Ng See-Yuen teamed up again on the same location for 1976's Kidnap In Rome.

Little Hero (1978) Directed by: Chan Hung-Man

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Taiwan reefer madness if you will, orchestrated with the pitch perfect knowledge of how to create energetic, laughable thrash. Laughable being the highest compliment to this thoroughly fun Polly Kuan vehicle directed by the editor of her breakthrough movie, Dragon Inn. A basic period plot at heart arises little interest but instead, Chan Hung-Man know where to push for success. To boot, they manage to maintain pace and energy as they wade through the many highlight creations. Watch the men of the Devil's Gang try and take on Polly's male character, whether it's the midget brothers in their rolling boulders, tiger assassins, elephant assassins, lion assassins and even octopuses working in the same capacity! It's a wonderful smorgasbord where added sounds in post to the various animal attackers are as dumb as they are entertaining. When capping it off with Polly and fellow cast members (including her annoying students) looking extremely embarrassed when fighting the octopus prop that could've come directly from Ed Wood's Bride of The Monster, the filmmakers may have their poorest looking effect but their best ideas, especially when they start shooting baby octopuses at Polly! Men behind masks and Lo Lieh in the cast list signals a surprise towards the end but as with the other actual kung-fu action, Little Hero does less well when being ordinary.

Little Heroes Lost In China (1995) Directed by: Allan Lan

Shot 90% outdoors and focusing on kung-fu fighting kids, usually it's a recipe for (grating) disaster. Surprisingly Allan Lan's low budget quickie doesn't implode onto itself but instead provides a tight experience for at least an hour. Featuring clashes between of forest tribes, evil Westerners after a treasure and a family working for the Mountain Forest Bureau, the film is notable for its Western supporting cast (including Louis Roth) being allowed more than their fair share of screentime (notable despite villain roles for some). Moon Lee appears in support and brings the skill expected in undercranked action scenes but the real revelation is some the highly gifted kids coming off as hard fighters in the fight scenes. For a movie for kids and with kids, Allan Lan puts in admirable time to make the fights seem somewhat plausible. Bodily functions humour, attempt at heart that is just flimsy storytelling follows but Little Heores Lost In China is harmless while at the same time not annoying. It just doesn't maintain the unexpected interest it drummed up initially.

The Little Hero Of Shaolin Temple (19??) Directed by: Tong Sing Tai

An uneasy mix of straining comedy, annoying character dubbing and often times cruel, Chang Cheh-esque violence populates this largely youth cast kung fu comedy. These kids can definitely move and some even adapt well to on-screen fighting. Attributes that add up to only rare glimpses into good choreography and despite director Tong filling the short running time with lots of action, many participants look awkward in probably their first and only major film role. The Little Hero of Shaolin Temple is easy to get through for sure but when during the climax the monks turn into suicide bombers, you can't help by feeling a little disturbed afterwards.

Little Hero On The Run (1995) Directed by: Lee Chiu & Tenky Tin

A group of acrobatic and kung fu gifted kids, led by a select few adults, are on the run from forces hell bent on seeing them brought... to their death presumably. Probably. Key. Enter Fok (Chin Kar-Lok) who is on his way to collect a debt and meet his designated wife but he gets entangled in this unintelligible mess. In fact, Chin Kar-Lok and the whole production in terms of its fight action-aspect surprises early on with some extended, energetic brawls and as Chin shows off his quick self, something might just turn out to be underrated in this rather medium sized production. But epic brawls turns out to be a recipe Little Hero On The Run can't build upon and instead the little yet still unintelligible plot gives way to heavy-duty comedic shenanigans with even more puzzling results. When predictably going big on us with the fighting finale, high concept from the action director can't be translated into viewable flow. Much is too quick-cut and despite the more than sporadic flashes of Chin Kar-Lok's and also Ben Lam's brilliance, it's unfortunately easy to forget their contribution. Very easy. Co-directed by Tenky Tin who played Iron Shirt in Shaolin Soccer.

A Little-Life Opera (1997) Directed by: Allen Fong

Under the producing- and writing skills of Ann Hui and John Chan, Allen Fong returned after a 7 year absence, shooting A Little-Life Opera in China. And much feels familiar as Fong's static camera tells a whole lot but it gets him into a little into trouble this time around as it takes a while for even the low-key storytelling to ignite. When it does, we're treated to quite a compelling view on the aspects of opera within a poor performing troupe. Childhood love blossoms again between characters of now different financial status and Fong confidently captures how the decline of traditional Peking opera makes the older generation hesitant to pass the talent onto the young. If you've appreciated what Allen stylistically put into his prior movies, A Little-Life Opera won't disappoint. It's not as perfect, that's its problem. With Winston Chao and Yeung Kwai Mi.

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