# 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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Mean Streets Of Kung Fu (1973) Directed by: Yang Tao

Aka The Invincible Hero, Mean Streets Of Kung Fu won't turn heads through its low budget or leading man Barry Chan but at least with the early 70s you could depend on comedy not interrupting matters. So the standard story has gloom and darkness, leading to sporadic bursts of powerful and gritty martial arts action. Worth sticking around for even though the passages in between are familiar in a rather bad way.

Mega Force From Highland (1992) Directed by: Yu Chik-Lim

Ambitious in the way it places Leung Ching-Lung's monk in two different eras, mirroring similar events in both (including a child looking for its mother), Mega Force From Highland can't use those train of thoughts to deliver a product. Quite impenetrable plot-wise, slow and very weak in the action department, melodrama is also cranked to very unaffecting levels so it is admiration for a template that stops quickly. Also with Kara Hui, Dick Wei and Bolo Yeung.

Although I can't confirm it, info suggests Mega Force From Highland was re-edited from the 1990 movie Magic Force, essentially creating its historical era vs the present by shooting modern day footage. Can't say I see strengths in the original, shortened production within the framework of Mega Force... here.

The Melody Of Love (1969) Directed by: Lee Hang

Part of a rich family, Colin Wu (Tien Peng) loses his father and naturally the family business is something he's expected to take responsibility for. But the former playboy wants to leave everything behind for love and together with singer Jenny (Chang Mei-Yao) he moves into a small apartment while starting from the bottom at his father's company. Temptations sees Colin heading back into the life of a player and disapproval of his choice of girl, either from his own family or Jenny's, further derail the picture perfect couple. All while someone consciously is manipulating these very events...

Using the scope frame in quite the elegant way, director Lee Hang stands out in this regard as The Melody Of Love is technically sound. With a busy template emotionally for the characters, there's an intelligence present that isn't very expanded on as above elegance leads to more often than not slow pace. We're asked to take in the plight of two lovers but the effect is more ordinary than well utilized. Someone was a bit preoccupied...

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Melody Of Love (1977) Directed by: Mou Tun-Fei

Mou Tun-Fei's (Men Behind The Sun) debut at Shaw Brothers after making movies in Taiwan, Melody Of Love is obviously far removed from later train of thoughts when Mou depicted war atrocities and lacking any kind of directorial stamp. But via the story of three doctors (Danny Lee, Lau Seung-Him & Lau Luk-Wa) asked the woo three unknowing girls (but they catch on to this game soon enough) in a matchmaking premise Mou gets some decent, light hearted entertainment for half a movie at least. Production looks expectedly slick and the performers got engaging energy as the pranks and comedic vignettes take center stage. Even at 90 minute, Melody Of Love doesn't provide even quality although a troubled car ride towards the end contains some unexpected and welcome gags.

Memory Of The Youth (2001) Directed by: John Chan

John Chan returns to directing after no one's really missed him but fans of writing would know he penned such films as Eighteen Springs, Fong Sai Yuk and Mother Of A Different Kind. Produced by Johnnie To and shot with a Mainland Chinese talent pool, Memory Of The Youth is simple in its approach. Chan has a few quirky visuals to go along with the growing love between Lin (Ma Xiao Qian) and Nuo (Zhai Tian Lin) but his greatest tool here is sincerity. With it you get far but as simple-minded the story is, with the elements of nostalgia and a once in a lifetime experienced love, Chan includes quite a few brave character choices. Lin is depicted, whether she knows it or not, as a small bird dying to break free into individuality as that's the only life choice now. It generates elements found in Derek Yee's 2 Young but all these choices would verge on dangerous for any character. However director Chan has decided to let naive characters have that as a building block for their particular fate and this rather uncompromising approach makes Memory of The Youth stand out. There's no cultural boundaries, that's why Chan deserves a larger audience and Johnnie To should lend his producing talents to more projects like this.

ALTHOUGH, one can't help to think John Chan needs to polish some of his storytelling skills as one particular plotpoint concerning Lin running away from home is hard to swallow in the way the adults don't seem to be in a rush to get her back. No prior developments suggests a logic to this and Chan's directing of the younger supporting players is not convincing at times.

Mermaid Got Married (1994) Directed by: Norman Law

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Ekin Cheng is Chi, a boy who never learned to swim and is now brought in as an adult to substitute at a school, as a PE-teacher. Just like once in his youth, he is once again saved by a mermaid (Christy Chung) but this time she loses a vital pearl so she has to go on land in order to retrieve it. Falling in love with Chi doesn't help matters as of course she wants to stay... and marry? Yes, the English title jumps way ahead of matters and this literally fish out of water story is predictably easy enough sap to sit through. Not sweet sap though as intended by Norman Law (Gun Is Law, A Hearty Response). The various shenanigans around our leads are about feeble teen romance and a tangent about the adult world trying to cash in on the mermaid-find is unbearably dumb. Efforts wasted by Kent Cheng, Yuen King-Tan and Dennis Chan while Takeshi Kaneshiro and Teresa Mak also appear.

Merry Christmas (1984) Directed by: Clifton Ko

Whenever he isn't the victim of pranks at work or trying to prevent his young daughter (Rachel Lee) from becoming a model, Baldy Mak (Karl Maka) tries to win the love of Paula (Paula Tsui). But when a rival (a typically overacting, in the best of ways, Yuen Woo-Ping) threatens to take the woman the entire family has approved of away to America, drastic measures are needed. So let a very elaborate and mean-spirited game of jealousy begin...

Very much a product of its time from the minds of the Karl Maka co-founded Cinema City, Merry Christmas runs along the lines you expect it to. Especially due to the fairly big all star cast so skit-structure simply MUST be employed by director Clifton Ko (it's all set rules... believe me). Doing so very dependently, an energetic Leslie Cheung enters trying to romance Rachel Lee's character all the way into the bedroom but Baldy Mak intercepts only to get viciously drunk with him later. The movie certainly isn't aspiring for INSPIRED gags then and the christmas atmos that is taken to the background a little of course gets an upswing come ending time when director Ko has employed a few fun, likeable reels of the battle between Karl Maka and Yuen Woo-Ping's characters. The constant misunderstandings and the shameless, cheap and quick moviemaking-ways pays off because this is from a way more likeable era in Hong Kong cinema. It simply would have trouble making any kind of mark today. Also with Danny Chan and Cyrus Wong as Junior Baldy.

Merry-Go-Round (2001) Directed by: Thomas Chow

Director Thomas Chow pushes familiar buttons in this coming of age drama but the end result is surprisingly sweet. Set to one of those simple piano scores that Hong Kong composers are so good at, and with capable acting from the younger leads, Chow certainly knows he's not being a revolutionary but sometimes you don't need that belief to create pleasing results.

It's only when he tries to jazz up the film with style diverting from reality in the process, that his weaknesses are apparent. That is a choice that can be made to work but it's a fine line between success and disaster for those choices. Sadly, Chow's attempts leans towards the latter although his final shot is where he finally nails his wish for abstract style to walk alongside the reality of the film. Very much worthwhile and completely harmless, Merry Go-Round has enough positives to make you smile for the moment.

Co-starring Eric Tsang (who looks a bit battered due to an assault on him during production) and Helena Law Lan, both adding the suitable weight that's called for. Ann Hui, Kelly Chen and Vincent Kok also logs cameos. GC Boo Bi's screenplay (based on her own series of radio plays) was honored at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

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The Midnight After (2014, Fruit Chan)

On a minibus after midnight, any random group of Hong Kong people could gather in a space and this group of passengers find out after passing through the Lion Rock Tunnel, that Hong Kong looks mightily deserted. Individually the characters try and locate friends and family, only to realize they are seemingly the only ones left and they need to stick together to find out whether Hong Kong has been struck with a virus, explosion, the apocalypse, if they're dead or whatever idea Fruit Chan can come up with for his 2 hour circus. Possibly (and a lot of the movie is a big possibly) Chan has embedded a human, heartfelt message or a satirical one but one thing that is clear, no one is telling him how to make the movie. Going with the no restraint-approach and the challenge of whether he can take loose, quirky, off-beat, dramatic, gruesome, creepy ideas into wildly entertaining territory, The Midnight After is a multi-mood exercise that possibly and probably should be dismissed as random nonsense border lining on experimental art. But with an energetic group (consisting of veterans such as Simon Yam Lam Suet, Kara Hui as well as the young ones represented by the likes of Wong You-Nam, Janice Man, Sam Lee and Tsui Tin-Yau) embracing every mood Chan throws at them, it's rather impossible to dislike the audio-visual playtime of Chan's. Yes, there's intrigue because the changed world holds peril, supernatural imagery, examples of a society broken and broken down to the point of anarchy but at the end of the day, regardless if Fruit Chan means any of this, it is technically skilled and not random laziness. He works for it and makes everyone understand that it's ok to work towards the open purpose of The Midnight After. Indecisiveness in tone has rarely been this entertaining. Based on the web novel 'Lost On A Red Mini Bus to Taipo', written by the pseudonym Pizza.

Midnight Angel (1990) Directed by: Jonathan Chik

If you want your Hong Kong cinema smorgasbord full, then it's wise to turn away from Midnight Angel (also known as The Legend Of Heroism) as this is too stuffed with content for its own good. Yet for sadists like myself, it's enjoyable because it IS. A mish mash of brutal violence, action, martial arts and comedy, at heart we see story strands merge having to do with the masked vigilante Cotton Flower (coming from a family of masked avengers) dishing out justice where the police can't and a brutal criminal called Bull (Melvin Wong). Simple enough but director Chik rams so many comedic threads into the picture that it overtakes its better commercial element. Midnight Angel is a wacky headscratcher that thankfully clarifies its purpose the more action Alan Chui choreographs. A little shaky in the beginning, soon the likes of Yukari Oshima gets to engage in hugely powerful fights that may be placed in a low budget frame but are nonetheless effective and powerful. Sufficiently directed gunplay and an increase in brutal violence helps cement this true definition of a Hong Kong movie. Arguably it's too much of a Hong Kong movie and would've been a better one stripped of a good chunk of its comedic streak. Also with May Lo, Mark Cheng, Miu Kiu-Wai and Sek Kin.

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