# 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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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.

Moon Night Cutter (1980) Directed by: Hsu Yu-Lung

High on style and spectacle but not coherency, Hsu Yu-Lung does adhere to Wuxia pian tradition by packing his frame with characters, twists and developments, something that in the case of this viewer often becomes an impenetrable mess and Moon Night Cutter doesn't get any easier as it goes along. But setting aside that, the stern and even bleak atmosphere coupled with a ton of bursts into high flying swordplay and cool style makes the exercise alluring to follow despite critically it deserving a huge slam. Starring Ling Yun, Wong Goon-Hung and Violet Pan.

Moon River (1974) Directed by: Steven Lau

The daughter of a famous chairman goes missing during an important visit to Taiwan. She is found drunk the street by a journalist (Gu Ming-Lun). Treating her hostile at first but warming up to her soon enough, he is also aided by his sister (Brigitte Lin) who starts off by supplying the girl clothes and may be the angelic character that brings them together. Thankfully short because Moon River is a corny entry in the vast Taiwan romance and melodrama cannon of films, Steven Lau reveals all too clearly his limited set of tricks by shooting well furnished interiors (often with a guitar or two mounted on the wall) and the antagonism turned aching romance won't fool anyone into sharing the feelings of the characters. Throw in some wacky cops looking for the girl and the clichéd techniques of employing romantic songs, slow-mo montages and issues of longing represented by a walk on a beach and Moon River manages to go down in history as one of the lesser Brigitte Lin flicks.

Moon, Stars & Sun (1988) Directed by: Michael Mak

The punishing life of a hostess gets another examination through the eyes of Michael Mak (Long Arm Of The Law II, Sex And Zen), with very unimaginative end results. Despite the fantastic lineup of Cherie Chung, Carol Cheng and Maggie Cheung, the Stephen Shiu/Johnny Mak script offers up nothing new whatsoever and Michael can't exactly bring a fine tuned touch to the various harsh treatment the ladies goes through either. Sure some excessive moments gets your attention, including Maggie Cheung being forced to lose her virginity to an obese gwailo and the rape of Cherie Chung amongst strobe lights is eerie. But it's never enhancing any previous developments in the characters. That's because Mak does nothing with the script outline and even though the very final shot reaches some form of downbeat poignancy, it really doesn't count as meaningful based on the jerking around we've experienced prior. Hu Chin, Shing Fui-On and a very intimidating Wong Chi-Keung also appear.

Moon Warriors (1992) Directed by: Sammo Hung

Moon Warriors credits Sammo Hung as director although in reality, there resides a known truth behind the making of this worthwhile 90s Wuxia piece. That's not to discredit Sammo as the film really employs the correct talent for the correct jobs, most notably Alex Law and Mabel Cheung as directors of drama (Law also penned the script), Ching Siu-Tung and Corey Yuen (action directors), Arthur Wong (cinematographer) and Sammo as chief supervisor of it all. The end result benefits unexpectedly greatly from Law's involvement as he gives a decent weight to the story of different social classes uniting in the face of danger and the divided loyalties that play a crucial role in the framework.

The fact that his script is also allowed to dominate for a long period of time without any action is a credit to the belief of all involved in their respective departments. Star-power is also a benefiting factor and Andy Lau, Anita Mui and Kenny Bee all give fine performances, doing justice to the material that, as I should mention, isn't great by character-drama standards but unexpectedly involving for the genre. Maggie Cheung, AS expected however, leads the pack with a spot on performance and Hsien's divided loyalties plays out perfectly with Cheung behind the wheel. Can you believe she only logged 2 days on the set?! The sign of a true pro...

The action has its drawbacks as the undercranking sometimes creates more of a comic feel than that of extravagant and thrilling but most of Ching and Yuen's work come off well despite. The wirework remains fairly well-edited as are the swordfights, mainly performed by the stunt doubles but the actors do shine in bursts when participating.

The Hong Kong Legends dvd does not feature the alternate end credits sequence (added to home video after the theatrical run) featuring footage of Andy Lau with the whale at Ocean Park (accompanied by an Andy Lau song now as opposed to the Sally Yeh song playing over the end credits of the theatrical cut).

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