# 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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Mr. Boo Meets Pom Pom (1985) Directed by: Wu Ma

Injecting a bit of dream team flavour into the Pom Pom series, for the third outing featuring clumsy, too loud mouthed for their own good cops Chow (Richard Ng) and manchild Beethoven (John Shum), Mr. Boo himself aka Michael Hui joins to make up to complete a comedic trio attack on the senses. Well, it isn't quite that and Hui isn't on top form (by the way Mr. Boo was what Michael's movies with brothers Sam and Ricky were known as in Japan) but director Wu Ma gives us the stronger pieces of comedic celluloid from the series at least for the first half. Hui is Expert Man who is the one who saves the day in the opening reel rather than Chow and Beethoven for once. Something the ill-dressed and barely adult Beethoven admires and he even tries to better his image as a police officer in the light of all this. All while Chow sulks a bit in the background, the mystery of an unbreakable jewelry store glass breaking needs to be solved and Man fighting his demons in the form of his wife who's cheating with jewelry head Yeung (Stuart Ong)...

Although relying heavily on skits yet again and barely contributing a plot, the first half has strong interplay between the three comedic leads that means Hui in particular doesn't need to rely on his usual comedic persona actually. It's refreshing to see him on top of his game when being a civil servant but quite a pathetic character privately. The tangents about certain sound waves only breaking mentioned glass is nicely paid off when it's the duo of Chow and Beethoven making a mess out of that situation in a restaurant. However the remainder of the film focuses almost solely on Man's love troubles with the Pom Pom duo helping out and the movie stops dead largely because of this expansive focus (however Hui faking the presence of his wife in front of Ng and Shum is pretty priceless). The stunt heavier ending mostly featuring Hui has bits of brilliance though, with Hui being able to flex his comedic muscles as well as Sammo Hung's stunt team. Deannie Yip returns briefly as Chow's wife.

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Mr. Coconut (1989) Directed by: Clifton Ko

A box-office success but in reality not a product Michael Hui can and should endorse as intensely as his prior classics such as The Private Eyes. Under Clifton Ko's rather lazy direction, Hui is allowed be lazy too but manages to get in a few solid laughs as a village Mainlander traveling to the big Hong Kong city to live with his sister (Olivia Cheng). On home turf, Hui's Ngan is a crafty fella who can jump between coconut trees and put out cigarette butts from a distance with his spit. When changing locale, he's more of a retarded, fish out of water country bumpkin. Shacking up with the sister, her husband (Raymond Wong) and a rather big family that also has the flower vase-role of the piece unashamedly assigned to Joey Wong, Ngan's innocence will generate annoyance but life affirming lessons about appreciating your loved ones. It's witty to no degree whatsoever as Ngan catches sights of the wonders of modern toilet flushing, find creative ways to not exhale cigarette smoke and accidentally travel to Africa where stupid Africans reside (enter rather poor taste from the filmmakers). Hui, in a role Stephen Chow would adopt at many times to great success, sells the silly gags well during quite few times but is not catering to the audience that liked his clever reason for doing comedy bits in the first place. No satire, no commentary, just a far cry off legendary celluloid and simple fun disappears to a dangerous degree as we move along. Ricky Hui and Mario Cordeo also appear while a host of stars make cameos including Simon Yam, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Fennie Yuen, Rachel Lee, Lowell Lo and Teddy Yip.

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Mr. Handsome (1987) Directed by: David Chiang

Bill Tung enlists Richard Ng to marry one of his two wives (Lydia Shum and Wong Wan-Si). Since he cannot move to the United States having both, that's where Ng's Dr. Chow and his US citizenship comes in. Marry, divorce, done deal. Meanwhile Dr. Chow's main nurse (Carol Cheng) has a crush on him and the determined bachelor Chow is trying to keep his younger girlfriend May far away from thoughts of marriage. It is a bit busy but ultimately coherent and calmly made by David Chiang. Misunderstandings and some slapstick, a lot hinges on performers that Chiang prefers letting perform and banter is fairly strong across the board (and reactions, which is why it's great to have Richard Ng present). Pleasurable and enjoyable, even if no breakout for the solid Chiang in the director's chair.

Mr. Mumble (1996) Directed by: Yuen Jun-Man

The second Hong Kong made live action adaptation of Tsukasa Hojo's manga City Hunter (the other being Wong Jing's less than faithful take on it, starring Jackie Chan) sees Michael Chow and Eric Kei team up behind the scenes (also on The Spirit Of The Dragon the following year), handling script- and producing duties while also serving up a fun, MUCH cheaper time than said Lunar New Year film from Golden Harvest. Michael Chow is Maang Boh (the Cantonese name for the lead character Ryo Saeba and the pronunciation created the English title of the film), a womanizer, molester and kickass crime fighter. The subtitles sum him up well as "competent but horny" and his adventure prior to setting up his own detective bureau is about protecting Sheron (Pauline Suen), the daughter of a triad boss...

Michael Chow is a fine fit and sinks his teeth pretty deep into this tasteless character but the movie stumbles when dealing ONLY with his attempts at getting laid (even in drag he fails). However the combo of his over the top skills in avoiding bullets, catching bottles, sniffing out and in general climbing every obstacle he's faced with (sometimes helped along by his oversized partner Monster, played by Alex Ng) shows low budget creativity as director Yuen Jun-Man (Nightlife Hero) goes to work with action director Chin Kar-Lok. Appearing less colourful than Wong Jing's adaptation but suitably bringing the audience into a cartoonish Hong Kong world, the likeability is very large despite many flat escapades. Even Maang Boh's sensitive side gets an examination and it basically will never be able to come out as then the perverted one has to go. Can't have that. Also with Francoise Yip, Eric Kei, Ricky Yi and Herman Yau.

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Mr. Possessed (1987) Directed by: Wong Jing

Li Zhi (Kenny Bee) has been inflicted with a curse since birth that means he becomes possessed whenever a woman's touch comes his way. Having a hard time finding a girlfriend therefore, the curse seems to be taking a step back, if only ever so slightly, when he meets Xiao Yu (Carol Cheng). But a little white lie from her jeopardizes the plan to get rid of the curse once and for all...

An idea, a very silly one even, that opens up the gates for any number of tasteless jokes courtesy of Wong Jing, he has no problem having initial fun (in particular when playing out the premise between his willing leads) but maintaining the pace throughout a 90 minute exercise is another matter. Mixing it up structurally with some darker, spiritual matters, Wong doesn't channel any fast energy (be it fun or dark energy... it just needs to be fast) and runs dangerously on mundane comedy-fumes by the end. Even having a mahjong game between humans and a spirit is a desperate concept that expectedly dies quickly but Wong Jing's basic idea very much does too so nothing can be saved. Wong Jing appears in support along with Nat Chan, Chingmy Yau (in her movie debut), Tang Pik-Wan, Francis Ng and Lau Kar-Wing.

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Mr. Sardine (1994) Directed by: Derek Chiu

Bizarreness and odd plotting couldn't save Derek Chiu's debut Pink Bomb but for his second movie Mr. Sardine, an unusual director (whose to date latest film Brothers was very standard) hits a stride. Dayo Wong is the titular Mr. Sardine whose timid, working at a supermarket and being thrust into his future faster than he likes. I.e. a promotion is looming and his girlfriend Yuen plans their future marriage as well. Only future consideration done by Sardine is bringing home cheap merchandise from the store in order to set up his own warehouse in a way. In no way prone to welcome visitors either and being hassled by local police (bullied mainly by Liu Kai-Chi in an amusing performance), he IS the clichéd image of a psychotic killer in the making. And it does sort of come true as his neighbour Mrs. Pei barges in one day, angry that her celebrity daughter Anna (Irene Wan) is dating the wrong man and after she consumes some higher division dosage of alcohol and painkillers, Sardine has a dead body on his hands...

Moody via its soundtrack and dark with hints at comedy and comedic with hints at darkness, Derek Chiu's intentions are tricky to grab hold of. Throwing us off further by using Dayo Wong's acting abilities in a way that does not annoy after one minute, the bizarro twists and turns in this equally bizarro world Chiu paints becomes entertaining, black stuff. Especially so since Chiu opts to strike a realistic chord in his characters Sardine and Anna. The stranger knows the mother more intensely in this case and it's via this death Anna gets to re-examine her life and behaviour. Just like Sardine and if it's sounds conventional, it is not. In fact, it's even poignant to strike such wild, black notes in combination with the mentioned self-examination. Heck, through Dayo Wong's character, matters are even felt and I never thought Wong would be part of such a response. A true tester in many ways, to see if this odd brew tastes good to you, but also an underrated sleeper hit that dabbles VERY little in the expected. Few Hong Kong movies could be actual movies working that in that way. Produced by Jacob Cheung.

Mr. Smart (1989) Directed by: Kent Cheng

A failed sailor Smart (Kent Cheng) returns home to Hong Kong only to be scolded for not bringing back dough to the household. Threatened to have his family kicked out of their village home, he starts up a fast food business but ultimately, all Smart wants from life is a little bit of extended happiness. The road towards that begins when he meets and falls in love with nurse Mona (Rosamund Kwan)...

Alongside Why Me?, Mr. Smart is one of Kent Cheng's finest hours. Favouring simple minded themes, emotions and beats, we do get contrasting halves which is a little bit of a flaw within this package. Cheng reveals much of his intentions during the first stages of the film, balancing themes and inserting fairly exaggerated comedy from time to time but proceedings feels shy and emotionless. What sets the serious flow in motion is the entrance of the character of Mona and rarely have I seen anyone on screen so genuinely in love with his female co-star. Despite Cheng at the helm, this is not a vanity vehicle for him though as he stays true to a thematic core, talking about life happiness as something necessarily not exclusively reserved for you. Learn to think of your fellow man and family, thus creating perhaps the true form of happiness. This sincerity and realism helps Mr. Smart outgrow its more uneven steps into the story and ends up as a touching winner. Also starring Jaime Chik, Billy Lau (in one of his rare normal roles), Cheung Kwok-Keung, Ann Bridgewater and Chiao Chiao.

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Mr. Sunshine (1989) Directed by: Phillip Chan

Mak Bo (Kent Cheng) is the all round good son and helper in all matters close to home or heart, starting with a daring stunt to save the son of the father in their crumbling apartment block from falling to his death (a bluescreen or matte shot as a matter of fact, uncommon in this type of Hong Kong movie at the time). Trying to keep a job is a different matter though and double bad luck sets in when he seeks jobs together with San (Maria Cordero). When Mak Bo's building eventually become a danger zone, he gets to shack up with San's family (father being played wonderfully by Wu Ma) and he unites the large unit by spreading his particular, very well-honed warmth...

Not necessarily a stars on parade vehicle but A LOT of beloved and familiar faces comes and goes (among others, Chiao Chiao, Richard Ng, John Shum, James Wong, David Chiang, Amy Yip, Alan Tang, Melvin Wong, Johnny Wang, Shum Wai, Michael Chan, Blacky Ko, Lowell Lo, Dennis Chan, Manfred Wong, Lam Chung and director Phillip Chan himself). Mr. Sunshine is primary a standout vehicle for Kent Cheng though who can do no wrong when being a loveable, clumsy fool but primarily here it's a terrific act where he displays his large heart as a character. Scenarios in between are very silly and outlandish (including the hunt for blackmailing gangsters with bombs placed inside of chickens) but it never grows annoying one bit and the delight is added upon thanks to the synch sound recording.

Mr. Vampire (1985) Directed by: Ricky Lau

As Western fans have learned ever since their first exposure to Ricky Lau's Mr. Vampire, Hong Kong filmmakers had been venturing into the combination of supernatural horror, action and comedy a few times before. At Shaw Brother's, it was Lau Kar Leung who brought in spirit boxing and taught us the ways of the hopping Chinese vampire in his seminal efforts The Spiritual Boxer and The Shadow Boxing. Sammo Hung had Ricky Lau as cinematographer in his more widely seen Encounters Of The Spooky Kind at Golden Harvest in 1980 but if any Hong Kong horror effort jolted the international audiences greatly, it was Mr. Vampire, released in 1985. Setting the example, the template and the trademarks firmly in place, the success was immediate and spawned sequels and spin-off's that mostly involved the late Lam Ching Ying reprising his ghost busting taoist priest role or some version of it (see the terrific Magic Cop).

Mr. Vampire certainly tries to provide tension in its horror moments but not only mixing it with broader comedic elements decreases this aspect but the fact of the matter is that Hong Kong cinema wasn't so much the premium special effects cinema of the world (I personally like the animated effects and today's CGI doesn't fare that much better in Hong Kong movies anyway). But Lau uses his cinematography background to infuse the film with a sense of grand style at times, adding some striking camerawork and imagery working onthe Golden Harvest and Taiwan based sets. Despite most subsequent sequels and spin-off's borrowing the same template to actual good degrees of success at times, Lau's effort easily ranks as the most entertaining of all.

Lam Ching Ying had performed, working under Sammo and Wu Ma, within the genre before. Among other things he logged a hugely underrated and funny performance as the not so sturdy taoist priest in The Dead And The Deadly but the famed characteristics Lam brought to the role is firmly cemented here. The character has always been comedic gold with his blend of stoic authority as a master and endearing, child like behavior whenever out of his element. Lam proved over the years that even on autopilot, most bland movies overall hugely benefited from him imitating himself over and over again. The genre simply lived and breathed thanks to Lam Ching Ying and despite fine dramatic roles in between, it's the image of Lam in his Taoist wear that will forever live on. And there's certainly no shame in that. The ever so acrobatic Chin Siu Ho, comedic relief Ricky Hui, Billy Lau, playing his usual thick headed police officer, co-stars. Pauline Wong, Anthony Chan and Moon Lee also appear.

Mr. Vampire II (1986) Directed by: Ricky Lau

It was unevitable that producer Sammo Hung and director Ricky Lau would continue riding on the success wave of Mr. Vampire from the year before. In a surprise move, they constructed a very much different unrelated episode this time around, transferring the vampire busting to modern day but sadly churning out one of the lesser efforts out of all sequels, spin-off's and imitations.

That's not to say that Mr. Vampire II doesn't hold interest because it clearly does. We initially follow an antique dealer (played by Chong Fat) who digs out a vampire family that has been buried in a cave for a century. Of course his dopey assistants (Billy Lau & Fung Lee) makes sure the vampires are awaken and let loose. The kid of the vampire family ends up with a living family where the children thinks they've got an illegal immigrant on their hands while a doctor and all round ghost buster (Lam Ching Ying of course) crosses paths with the parents and soon the mayhem is on. Tagging along is the boyfriend (Yuen Biao) of his daughter (Moon Lee) who now has to prove himself worthy under extreme circumstances...

It's an odd choice to have Lam Ching Ying appear as late as one third into the movie but truth of the matter is that a fair energy is maintained via Chong Fat in the lead who seems like a worthy follower in Lam's character footsteps even though his role is not that of the taoist priest. But a longing for Lam to enter eventually sets in during the annoying segment with the human kids befriending the vampire kid. When all finally sinks into the place, there seems to be an ever so slight lack of creative energy even though action set pieces such as the slow-motion fight in a room filled with sedative smoke is a creative feature. As for good vehicles for Lam, Yuen Biao and Moon Lee, you're better off looking elsewhere as neither is put to trademark use like they should. Hung and Lau should be applauded though for wanting to go different places with the franchise but they realized the experiment wasn't as good as they'd hoped so with Mr. Vampire III, much was back on track thankfully. Woo Fung, James Tien, Wu Ma and Stanley Fung also appear.

Megastar's out of print dvd didn't indicate it but they presented Mr. Vampire II in anamorphic widescreen, Cantonese and an English dub to boot. Deltamac's non-anamorphic disc substitutes the English track for a Mandarin one.

Mr. Vampire III (1987) Directed by: Ricky Lau

An admirable attempt was made to take the sequel to Mr. Vampire new places but ultimately producer Sammo Hung and director Ricky Lau ended up with a misguided product. The series got back on track with Mr. Vampire III though, early on making a smart move by adding the comic genius of Richard Ng as a conman Taoist priest, getting assistance from two friendly ghosts as he "eradicates" ghostly problems (a plot device also found in Peter Jackson's The Frighteners). Lam Ching Ying is soon in the frey as well as the stern Taoist priest who battles demons, ghosts and in the case of this film, black magic. High annoyance Billy Lau is this time one of Lam's constantly naughty students and proves to be as unsympathetic as when he played a police in the original.

Ricky Lau has the Mr. Vampire formula very clear in his head, directing Lam Ching Ying in the best of ways, getting the humour out of his character trait easily and also going low with some of the jokes when dealing with the shenanigans of the students. A high pace to the entire affair also benefits while the action choreography by Sammo, Stephen Tung and Lam Ching Ying being full of entertaining bouts with the black magicians later turned ghosts (in particular an early scene when the whole town joins up against the evil). Mr. Vampire III simply put is the best of the sequels while Magic Cop holds that honor in terms of best unofficial one. Also with Liu Fong, Fung Lee, Baan Yuen Sang, Chow Gam Kong, Wu Ma, Corey Yuen and Sammo Hung.

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