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No, Sir (1994) Directed by: Chu Yen-Ping

Although Chu Yen-Ping had a penchant for war related stories, be it in trashy manner found in Golden Queen's Commando or the fairly sound dramatic instincts of A Home Too Far, No, Sir seemingly was the third in a string of Taiwanese military movies courtesy of other people before. Although at heart an advertisement for that particular greatest army of in the world, Chu's direction of the story is far, far away from his "highs" as a director. Detailing the transformation of slacker cadets that puts training probably at number 5 on their priority list, with a new drill sergeant (a dignified but basic performance from talented Tok Chung-Wa) entering the frey, the cadets will learn how to work together and see true comrade being born. Since no danger lurks at the end of the tunnel as the film is a training story, warmth and likeable characters would've gotten Chu places. But with a completely talentless Jimmy Lin (feeling a lot like the once talentless Aaron Kwok) taking up space and future stars Takeshi Kaneshiro and Richie Ren appearing totally colourless, No, Sir might not annoy but is seriously boring. I'll hand it to Chu Yen-Ping though as I rarely encounter films of his that make you want to strangle the director. That rage is often reserved for Wong Jing.

Not Scared To Die (1973, Chu Mu)

On latter prints sold on Jackie Chan's supporting role (the film is also known as Fist Of Anger and Eagle Shadow Fist), on its own merits Not Scared To Die is an unremarkable basher that neither furthers that genre-style or devalues it. A common anti Japanese story and featuring no sign of comedy, the tone (and really it is by intent) is quite grim and dark. Oppressing times, times of attempted revolution and revenge, it's also the springboard for violence and action of course. The harder, more gritty basher-style stands out at points, with powerful combinations and characters dying in a bloody fashion. There's not quite enough there to fully distinguish the movie but the few times sparks fly, the sit is worth it. Due mainly to a combination of said action-style and how latter people exploited a supporting actor turned superstar though. Starring (the actual star) Wong Ching.

No U-Turn (1981) Directed by: Clifford Choi

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Wong Keung (Lam Ka-Wah) is the taxi driver that in his quest to get laid (pushed on by his fellow co-workers more than anything else), turns to what he thinks is a hooker. She is Elaine (Annie Liu) and most definitely not a street girl but despite these early bumps, the two hit it off. Rivalry enters though as her family would rather have her setup with rich boy Jimmy...

Boy meets girl without the likeability, Clifford Choi presents Wong Keung as a flawed, young man with deep dips into not so sensitive behaviour and poor decision making. Somewhat likewise with Elaine and eventually abandoning a storyline similar to The 40 Year Old Virgin, Choi's attempts to make the fairly busy proceedings fly never pays off. Demonstrating the differences between the lowly working guy that pees in an alley vs. Jimmy with the cowboy hat is symbolism if you will but not enough to get us worked up. The final car race has some technical aspects to praise however. Produced by Cinema City, also appearing are Raymond Wong and Karl Maka.

No Way Back (1990) Directed by: Lee King-Chue

Undercover story that sprinkles recycled City On Fire and Man On The Brink-esque torment onto Max Mok's character but the package is adequate nonetheless. Mok emotes sufficiently and director Lee King-Chue (Proud And Confident) thankfully keeps a serious tone throughout. No Way Back is just a little bit better than your average triad story though and pouring on the gore onto the non-stylized heroic bloodshed may be a standard recipe but it grows immensely by the end. As it turns out, Lee can even do poignancy when hammering down his final sentiments about honor and loyalty. Co-starring Lam Wai, Lung Ming-Yan, Shum Wai, Danny Lee, Dick Wei (in a short good guy role!) and Lung Fong (who has probably never played a good guy!).

Now You See Love... Now You Don't... (1992) Directed by: Alex Law

Alex Law's second and last movie to date (the other being Painted Faces) but as always is accompanied by Mabel Cheung who co-wrote Now You See Love...Now You Don't. Quite overshadowed by another Chow Yun-Fat vehicle of 1992 (a little movie called Hard Boiled), Law's rom-com is efficient, if not overly accomplished. It sure as hell gets off to a noisy and annoying start, yet logical start character-wise, but when all turns mellow, the charisma of and between stars Chow Yun-Fat and Do Do Cheng gets us to the moderately charming level easily. Even though broad comedy is a staple here, Law's approach to the theme of adapting to new ways and worlds is handled with a welcome mature touch. Also with Carina Lau, Anthony Wong, Teresa Mo and in a wonderful cameo playing an English teacher, Richard Ng. Ok, I'll admit it...anything Richard does makes me laugh. One can stare at that noggin all day and still be amused. It's kind of criminal...

Buy the VCD at:
HK Flix.com

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