# 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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A Moment Of Romance II (1993) Directed by: Benny Chan

Unrelated sequels followed to the classic Andy Lau vehicle but this first follow-up skipped on his star factor and gave the audiences Aaron Kwok instead. A trade-off that is both good and bad depending on which camps of fans you talk to I guess. Wu Chien-Lien is back and elicits viewer sympathy easily but she's got a blank, pretty face to play against in the form of Kwok. True, Andy was not particularly tested by any director before A Moment Of Romance came along in 1990 but he rose to the challenge. Kwok doesn't and he's not aided by any of the subtle strength that came with the first film either. It's a minor moment of romance, not the chunk we loved so much 3 years earlier and this production clearly was green lit to cash in on a name only. To add further insult to injury, many opportunities are given to let Aaron "shine" with his singing talents on the soundtrack. Which is fine if it wasn't for the overload and when his character defies logic by walking away relatively unharmed from a major car crash, aggravation becomes an issue.

Some attractive Ardy Lam photography comes with the package however and at certain frames, excitement in the racing sequences. But with a camera speed in the lower numbers, the playback of death defying bike stunts register as more cartoony sadly. Good support by Paul Chun in a small role plus Anthony Wong (sporting a shaved head from his stint in The Untold Story), Roger Kwok and Kwan Hoi-San also appear.

A Moment Of Romance III (1996) Directed by: Johnnie To

Utilizing the title of Benny Chan's classic once more, the Johnnie To helmed A Moment Of Romance III is a standalone effort but one that reunites Andy Lau and Wu Chien-Lien though (the sequel starred Aaron Kwok). Set during the second World War, Lau plays a pilot who crashes into the cornfield of a Mainland village. He befriends and falls in love with village beauty Siu-Woo (Wu Chien-Lien) and decides to take her back to his wealthy life in the big city. It all comes down to the classic, clichéd question; can you have love for your woman and your country at the same time or does fate only allow one of the choices?

Told in grand and heavy handed style by director To, it is some sort of valid choice here as he clearly is out to echo the classic Hollywood war romance. That means no complexity, no depth or subtle emotions but combining the high production values and the chemistry between the stars, A Moment Of Romance III goes fairly affecting places and sweeps you away for the moment. It's a shame it's branded as another entry in the series because it's not in the same league as A Moment Of Romance. At least it's a bit more perky. Alex Fong appears in support.

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Money Crazy (1977) Directed by: John Woo

Despite his apprentice under the late Chang Cheh and martial arts movies under his belt such as Hand Of Death and The Dragon Tamers, John Woo's trademark voice on the Hong Kong cinema scene was far off in 1977. Instead for several years, John Woo dabbled in comedy collaborations with Ricky Hui, starting with Money Crazy. Slow pace dominate from the start and the style of comedy, while universal, is often the pratfall accompanied by silly sound effect-kind, leading only to mild amusement. Ricky Hui is strangely distant which can be due to this not being a vehicle together with his brothers Michael and Sam but Richard Ng pretty much is responsible for any laughs in Money Crazy. Still, there's only a chuckle and a half to be found in Woo's film and even the inclusion of crude gunplay doesn't spark much interest. If you want to follow the man who gave us A Better Tomorrow and The Killer from the beginning, by all means do but you won't get much of an experience out of it. Turn to the Hui Brother's if you want the premium comedy of the 70s instead. Sam Hui sings the theme song together with Ricky though, the best aspect of the film. Law Lan, Lee Hoi San, Cheung Ying, Mars, Lam Ching Ying and Billy Chan also appear.

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Money Maker (1991, Wong Jing)

What sounds like the title of Wong Jing's autobiography is actually an energetic exercise in throwing everything commercial at the wall to see what sticks. Quite a lot does and even the failed attempts are somewhat admirable. Wong Jing and Ng Man-Tat are swindlers asked by the ghost of the Gambling Queen (Sandra Ng) to take revenge on a Thai gambling king. Involving her sister (Chingmy Yau) and their Taoist priest uncle (Lam Ching-Ying), stage is set for a little bit of everything in the name of wacky. While not truly hilarious, Wong Jing keeps energy and gags coming at a mile a minute. Often feeling local, overly cartoony and placed in the hands of himself as the lead actor too (Wong and Ng Man-Tat are not a classic comedy team in the making), because we have so many genres merging, there's bound to be something likeable even if sporadically. And indeed by having ghosts, gambling, action, special effects and genre-players making this feel very God of Gamblers and Encounter of The Spooky Kind spiced with a live cartoon feel, Money Maker is very hard to truly dislike. Wong Jing goes for being loud and in your face and in 1991, that trick works. Also with Nat Chan, John Ching, James Tien and Charlie Cho.

Monkey Business (1982) Directed by: Alfred Cheung

Admirable but not a tuned balance between the goofy broad and the goofy dark from Alfred Cheung, Kenny Bee is a cop and Anthony Chan a thief/conman/seller of suspicious goods stuck on a boat and murder suspects. Largely set on the boat, director Cheung doesn't quite cohere with his mix but it's certainly noticeable since he isn't afraid to go completely vicious on us at points. With a weak comedy couple and featuring attempts more admirable than raising the grade of the film, Monkey Business wants the edge amidst comedies of the time but merely showcases a little success in this area.

Monkey Fist (1974) Directed by: Suen Ga-Man

Run of the mill basher about local conflicts with army and influential evil (Sek Kin) struggles for the first hour but unleashes some very intense fighting during the last half hour that re-emphasizes that some genre entries can survive on the genre's most famous inclusion. Especially impressive since several years pass and there's several main subjects as our good guys and not just Chan Sai-Chung's character who passes on the titular monkey fist.

The Monkey Goes West (1966) Directed by: Hoh Mung-Wa

The first of four parts (the others being Princess Iron Fan, Cave Of The Silken Web and The Land Of Many Perfumes) showing Shaw Brothers adapting the classical Chinese novel Journey To The West. For those of us accustomed to let's say the Stephen Chow Chinese Odyssey movies based on the same material, the 1966 sensibilities are a little bit more harder to swallow but it remains a fairly charming start with these endearing characters. Ho Fan (who would go on to acclaim for his erotic movies such as Yu Pui Tsuen) stars as Monk Tang who's asked to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India. Along the way he gathers up a trio of protectors who take on Buddhism in order to be forgiven for prior sins. They are Monkey King (Yueh Hua), The Pig (Pang Pang) and eventually Sandy (in addition to a dragon prince turned into the horse for Monk Tang). The movie takes a long time establishing the quartet, perhaps way too long as the feeling of NEEDED tightness do rear its head. Impressing with its charming use of indoor sets and outdoor beauty, director Hoh Mung-Wa also entertains with a special effects spectacle that includes a transformation of a normal-sized into big Monkey King and a giant sea monster. Meeting The Pig reveals more of a stage play approach that includes lots and lots of singing in the Chinese opera tradition, which is a tool not foreign to a local audience but it slows down matters somewhat for at least this Westerner. The continuing banter between Monkey King and The Pig is a center piece that does continue to entertain and the trio's temptation that almost has them losing an important jade is a decent adventure for this outing. It paves the way for possible similar entries in the saga but enough big budget, Shaw Brothers charm helps The Monkey Goes West to invite even the critical ones back for more.

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The Monkey King 2 (2016, Soi Cheang)

Played by Donnie Yen in Soi Cheang's 2014 'Journey To The West' adaptation or episode, he is now out and Aaron Kwok instead plays the Monkey King (despite playing a different character in the first movie). Released from his confines, he is now tasked by The Goddess Of Mercy to protect and escort Monk Xuanzaang (William Feng) as he goes on the journey to retrieve scriptures from the Thunder monastery. Monkey King is defiant, has a violent streak in him and in the battle versus the White Bone Spirit (Gong Li), his protection is going to be mistaken for reckless and this tests the relationship with the Monk and the traveling party of Pigsy (Xian Shen-Yang) and Sandy (Him Lo). A basic familiarity with the source material prevents any incoherency to enter but at the same time Soi Cheang shows skill setting up this particular adventure within the bigger one the novel covers. This is a visual spectacle with reliance on special effects but there is both a sense of an unpredictable, supernatural as well as the physical world. Which is the clever balance and even though Cheang is pushing the 3D and effects hard, he tips the scale towards the better critical notice concerning imagination. Plus by humanizing some of the conflicts at hand and having a dedicated Aaron Kwok and William Feng on board, this snapshot of a bigger whole is quite engaging even as dramatic spectacle. Gong Li is fully invested as well, playing up the devious, bloodthirsty and snakelike Madame White Bone and if you make an impact even surrounded by tons of special effects mostly, there's something to be said for an actress wanting to be there and how that travels to viewers. Ultimately an easily digested balance between computer generated sights, magical powers, vistas that manages to be somewhat fresh because Soi Cheang shows a keen eye for needed direction of actors within this scenario. It saves The Monkey King 2 from simply being commercial noise.

Monkey Kung Fu (1979) Directed by: Joe Law

aka Monkey Fist, Floating Snake (English dub title) and furthermore, this indie should not be confused with the Shaw Brother's movie of the same name and production year.

Monkey Kung Fu expectedly comes off as a pale imitation of successful efforts in similar vein (most notably the Jackie Chan vehicles Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master) but due to that profitable concept, all that indie producers bothered with was making a quick buck on the movie title and content (whether good or bad). Shooting it on the cheap (with the outdoor locations being a dead giveaway) may just have been the concept and as you all know, it's the money that makes the world go round...

Bad filmmaking is still not an excuse however and despite veteran appearances (Eddy Ko, Yueh Hua, Chen Sing), the film gains nothing and when the monkey kung fu in itself receives a lackluster showcase, the movie quickly fades away from memory.

The Monk's Fight (1979) Directed by: Yu Kong

ALMOST way too stuffed and unacceptable Taiwanese Wuxia pian, this Pearl Cheung vehicle (she really shares the spotlight with Lee Wing) goes from seemingly spiritual to an escalating revenge affair. Both good and bad people lose close ones in this battle but there's no tension or fine lead up to a great battle. It's packed and often disorienting as a whole but scenes and concepts on an individual basis shows a higher strength. The Monk's Fight has plenty of cinematic cool on a budget, some fine action and gore (an assassination of several characters during temple prayer is well done) but extracting bits that work don't add up to a fine whole. Also with Casanova Wong.

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