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Rebellion (2009) Directed by: Herman Yau

Herman Yau and familiar crew take to the Hong Kong streets for a piece of familiar triad conflict but despite no spins on the genre, Rebellion delivers solid material with the odd, inclusion feeling fresh for 2009 at least (meaning we didn't see it in 09). Set during one night, the bodyguard of triad Tai called Po (Shawn Yue) is called in from a drunken birthday evening. Big boss Jimmy has been shot and without the presence of Wah (Ada Choi), Po is chosen as head, much to the disappointment of hot head Blackie (Chapman To). Thus begins the hunt for the one or ones responsible for the attempted assassination...

Starting almost as an infomercial describing the stability of the local triad world, it's a fun opening not explored enough by Yau. Instead lots of exposition and a large character gallery are warning signs for a convoluted plot but Yau manages to reel it all in pretty decently. The street vibe is well captured, the clichés of the genre in the hands of the actors doesn't feel very tired (and some characters are unusually colourful, including Brother Coffee who's constantly in a sex-haze let's say). Less complicated than promised, the final tally may not be mindblowing (and it becomes very over explained) but hard working Yau has nothing to be ashamed of with Rebellion. It ain't premium output but part of an often solid but more importantly, constant output. Also with Fung Hak-On, Convoy Chan and Parkman Wong.

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Rebel Of Shaolin (1977) Directed by: David Lin

Nothing unusual happened at Shaolin today but a sense of standard indie with tinge of vision and effort runs does through Rebel Of Shaolin. Carter Wong is accused of multiple murders and the theft of a jade treasure at the Shaolin Temple, has several assassins after him and in the end there's a twist or five. Following template but mixing up the fight action with a rapid fire sharpness and slow motion bursts, the widescreen frame is also well utilized, featuring more thought out compositions than most of the mostly shot outside Taiwan indies. The ending is also a big treat as it pours on the gadgetry that includes projectile cepters, house of traps and a horse carriage rigged with projectiles and fire. Also with Polly Kuan, Doris Lung and Chiang Yi.

Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (1994) Directed by: He Ping

The young female head (Ning Jing - Set To Kill, Divergence) of the Cai's fireworks factory falls in love with appointed painter Niu Bao (Wu Gang). Despite her top position, she is not allowed to break traditional values and these feelings equal one such "crime"...

He Ping (Swordsmen In Double Flag Town) brings out the thematic of innocence/individuality suffocated under authoritarian rule and values, an intriguing and noble concept. The film is consistently beautifully mounted and He Ping sticks with the reserved Mainland Chinese cinematic language throughout, punching only at select times when the narrative verges on threatening. The way the film is low-key, simmering in a way, does suggest an outburst later into poignant, masterful territory. Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker never quite gets to that point despite weight and substance being in its favour. Low-key could be gold for these films. He Ping's manages to be a bit of a yawner, meaning it's good but not reference material for those seeking a cinematic kick from other directors than Zhang Yimou.

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Red Lips (1991, Fan Dan)

Three or four stories or little movies in one, thankfully some of your favourite action performers deliver in bursts. Trying to merge illegal immigrants turning to prostitution with traitors and the need for revenge in the triad society-stories ultimately becomes a very unfocused attempt by director Fan Dan. Because it lures us in thinking the thread we're following is going to be developed but promptly and crudely we're into side-stories with Kara Hui, Dick Wei, Philip Ko and then even more crudely we're in the midst of prostitute-drama again. Never breaking out of its low budget either to deliver the ugliness this cinematic world requires, at least the action-guys and girls provide quite watchable power. Feeling much like different a different crew with actual skill in providing effect, fights between Ko Fei and Mark Houghton as well as effectively staged ending gunplay (on a budget) lingers. Lack of focus doesn't.

The Red Panther (1983) Directed by: Kong Lung

A grating comedy act by James Yi greatly contradicts the often chilling and violent slasher-nature to Kong Lung's The Red Panther. But as hard as it is to admit it, it's Hong Kong cinema after all so one either get with the flow or patiently wait until Kong Lung lets it rip with his violence. Much of it being competently staged even though the director tends the overemphasize the psychology of characters with the use of sound. The film has enough of the goodies, if it's horror you want. If constant toilet- and sex humour also floats your boat, you're in luck. Co-starring Margaret Lee, Chang Kuo Chu, Phillip Chan and Lawrence Cheng.

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The Red Phoenix (1978) Directed by: Tyrone Hsu

KENNETH'S REVIEW: A red dressed man with a mask of two faces murders patriotic youths and the ones left ponder what tactics to use because it seems the killer can predict everything, even the weapon they call The Red Phoenix. Fine cast in a generic package, the movie doesn't engage as a kung-fu mystery but combine the cast (David Chiang, Polly Kuan, Yueh Hua, Lo Lieh and Wang Hsieh), the quite fun sight of our villain, a decent array of, albeit slow, fight scenes and Tyrone Hsu's movie passes the time very adequately.

The Red-Wolf (1995) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

Take Kenny Ho as a not so magnificent leading man, a fair to distractingly annoying, ditsy leading lady in the form Christy Chung, copy Die Hard, Under Siege, have Yuen Woo-Ping direct and it makes sense it eventually kicks a lot of ass. While the aim for shooting on a big luxury boat was thought of as equal to a big movie, The Red-Wolf does look cheap and direction of the narrative is basic at its best. Thankfully Woo-Ping can bring a whole lot of very compelling tricks in his bag. First of all the casting that absolutely works is Elaine Lui (The Bride With White Hair, Martial Law) who's deliciously über-evil. Killing off innocents left and right, she represents quite the mean streak the movie has as it not only lets bullets fly into anyone but the brutality and gruesome nature of some latter reel violence (including a graphic sight of a burn victim) is noticeable. But it drawing attention to itself is not a bad but instead a compelling thing. Gunplay may not be Woo-Ping's forte but his co-action directors Yuen Cheung-Yan and Cho Wing do orchestrate an entertaining mix of painful stunts and hard hitting fights, in particular the one between Kenny Ho and Australian kickboxer Habby Heske. Speaking of that Westerner casting, the likes of Bobby Samuels and Mike Miller also participate as part of the G7 (Gwailo , referring to the rather derogatory term, translating to among other things "white devil" such cast members or stuntmen were often called) stuntteam Samuels formed at the time. Ngai Sing (as the main villain), Mandy Chan and Wu Fung also appear.

Red Zone (1995) Directed by: Edward Tang

The sole directorial effort from frequent Jackie Chan screenwriter Edward Tang is ridiculously unfocused and you're almost thankful all sense of featuring a logical plot is ejected in favour of some actual nifty action during the latter parts of the film. With imprisoned big boss Hung (Waise Lee) and his lackeys (Valerie Chow and Lester Chan) trying to affect the justice system, we eventually get extremely far from this plot to the point where Waise Lee's character is totally forgotten. Kenny Ho and Yu Rong-Guang makes sure that there's some momentum eventually, much of it without director Tang's influence. Action highlights therefore include an entertaining chase sequence involving Ho on a bike pursuing and being pursued by a jeep and the warehouse finale flashes some good ol' acrobatic gunplay to make us happy for a select few minutes. Still, one of the most off-beat scenes has to be the solution to a ticking bomb problem. Just put it in a radio controlled helicopter. Also with Ken Lo.

Reincarnation (1987) Directed by: Jamie Luk

Newly married couple Li Hsi (Kenny Bee) and Liu Ah Yu (Cecilia Yip) die in a car crash but death has come for them too soon due to bureaucratic error (they haven't yet registered for marriage) so they get a chance to reincarnate as a couple if done within 49 days. A couple who killed themselves together is the aim but only Li Hsi is able to reincarnate into rich buy Peter Wu but his girlfriend Julia (Julia Nickson) survives. The alive/dead couple now tries to plot the perfect death of Julia now but they've also stumbled into intrigue involving Julia and David (Stuart Ong) out to kill off Peter...

Enjoyable supernatural mix by Jamie Luk who keeps the exaggerated to a minimum and focuses more on suitable comedic scenarios that are born out of this plot, including the "new" Peter who's acting kinder, is less stupid and talks to imaginary people. Darker comedy and more sinister episodes smoothly make their way into the movie and simply, it all gels very well even down to the supporting actors (in particular Tai Po as the kind friend of the couple).

Remains Of A Woman (1993) Directed by: Clarence Fok

Tackling the same true life crime but released theatrically after Cha Chuen-Yee's Legal Innocence, Clarence Fok's film stars James Pax as Billy Chan, a corrupter and of feeder on the weak. In this case, two desperate women, Judy (Carrie Ng) and Lisa (Jacqueline Law). They collide in his depraved world of sex and drugs, with Lisa ending up dead, hacked up and left to corrode in acid. Sentences are carried out but a retrial is on the horizon and a lawyer (Melvin Wong) re-examines the facts...

With less time spent with the young christian (Rachel Lee and played in Cha's film by Cecilia Yip) that falls in love with the manipulative Billy, Fok's film can be argued to be the least focused of the films. Yet neither Remains Of A Woman or Legal Innocence have perfect track records. Style is Fok's forte though, especially in the flashback sequences set in Billy Chan's decadent world. Of course his colours and sounds are escalated tenfold for the sake of cinema but it's thoroughly captivating in quite the distressing way to be part of Fok's vision of the crime. Much also thanks to Carrie Ng's intense, deep, deep descent as a character, effort that gave her a Taiwan Golden Horse Award. Melvin Wong, Dennis Chan (also co-writer) and Kenneth Tsang also appear.

Remember M Remember E (1995) Directed by: Cheuk Lei

It seems a little too short to be relevant but this Raymond To scripted drama is well-conceived and executed. It's a coming of age story celebrating both with the joys of growing up, newly found friendships and dreams of breaking free to pursue dreams. But director Cheuk Lei also throws in the sadder and darker consequences of wanting to rebel against the adult world and the Remember M Remember E is a rare balanced experience because of that inclusion. Broad comedy finds its way into the film but is usually a hoot, especially Lau Shun's priceless cameo. Lead Chu Kin-Kwan is a little to blank to carry the movie competently but he strikes up well-honed chemistry with Nicky Wu and the adorable Athena Chu. Lee Fung however brings superb dramatic weight as the strict mother of Athena Chu's Ching while O Chun Hung and Bonnie Fu appear in support.

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