# 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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Shy Spirit (1991) Directed by: Chong Yan-Gin

Predicted at birth to not last more than 24 years of life, although he will mature on the outside quite quickly, Long-Life (Eric Tsang) has his family deviously arrange a wedding with the local but poor beauty Siao. But peeping at her taking a bath one night causes the ceiling to collapse, killing Siao but not her spirit as Long-Life literally takes her breath away containing it. It's now up to the good family of the town, Mr. Ko (Chung Fat) and his son (Ngai Sing) to get Siao reincarnated but Long-Life isn't giving up without a fight...

Lam Ching-Ying appears at the very beginning only and the remainder of Shy Spirit turns out to be rather insignificant. While the martial arts is a big component of the film, whenever it seems to go cool and creative, shoddy wirework takes over. It doesn't help that the finale contains obvious breakaway props to the max and while there's the odd fun after-life scenario, Shy Spirit never goes off. Only remains stale. Peter Chan Lung plays Eric Tsang's father (!) while Dick Wei and Stanley Fung also appear.

Silent Love (1986) Directed by: David Chiang

Despite the English directing credit saying John Chiang, Silent Love is actually Shaw Brother's star David Chiang's 7th feature as director. A social drama, Chiang plants the seed of darkness early as deaf Heung (Season Ma - The Lunatics) is imprisoned for manslaughter. What follows is the story of her and her pickpocket deaf/mute friends meeting ex-con Kelly (Lau Ching Wan in a very relaxed movie debut) and perhaps finally being encouraged to give up the lives as outlaws...

But director Chiang's story is about hopeless outcasts and as the violent act draws near, it's easy to spot that there's no true salvation in the film. The study is very much worthwhile and featuring characters relying on sign language to such a great extent is a directorial challenge Chiang does well in. The social commentary and its examination is a bit on the slight side though and Silent Love never really goes beyond interesting territory. The directing gene in brother Derek Yee was and is more prominent but Chiang proved to be a worthy behind the camera talent, none more so than in his last feature Mother of A Different Kind. Also with Fan Siu Wong, Roy Cheung and Lam Chung.

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Silver Maid (1969) Directed by: Fu Nan-Du

Although personally at a disadvantage somewhat due to the cropped print also cutting off most of the subtitles, you can extract the basics out of Silver Maid and certainly how it does as a Taiwanese fantasy spectacle. Because here we're talking a visual ride amidst a rival sect plot (the Red and Black Devils respectively) and one of the biggest draws in Silver Maid is its ideas in infancy. Not shy about throwing big concepts up on screen without extensive special effects knowhow or experience, the enhanced fighting (unless we're talking little Silver Maid herself and her ability to walk on water and fire) takes a backseat to among other things a fight with a snake (puppet) and while slow and clunky, there's admirable energy here. A cinema that's feeling its way through an existing genre. Only this time they want it bigger and more energetic. In 1969 it's not quite there but combined with a a possible viewer-fascination for the development and the colors the genre can offer up, Silver Maid is worth a look.

Silver Hawk (2004) Directed by: Jingle Ma

Silver Hawk is the crime fighter doing things her way, employing her own principles and behind the mask is rich Lulu Wong (Michelle Yeoh, also producer). Annoying police by simply being first on the scene every time, childhood friend Rich Man (Richie Ren) is the cop out to nail her. A kidnapping case but ultimately world domination via phones courtesy of Alexander Wolfe (Luke Goss - Blade II) keeps them busy...

A bright, silver-like (literally) attempt at futuristic comic book action, going into Silver Hawk with the big budget, international dud that was the Michelle Yeoh vehicle The Touch in mind certainly lowers expectations. So as flawed, ridiculous, dumb and ridiculously dumb Silver Hawk is, director Jingle Ma actually does show some skill in maintaining the fun and cool of the premise. With concepts such as Silver Hawk jumping The Great Wall on her bike and featuring Alien Sit choreographed fights of varying quality, the movie is a vehicle that often tries to survive by being loud. The action choreography when clear is all about the one or two kicks in slow motion set to pounding, generic techno while any move by anyone is accompanied by something boring from the library of whoosh-cues. Playing the movie out suitably light still ruins any chances as the largely English language performed dialogue is terrible and terribly performed. It's basically the Alien Sit show for two action scenes that matches the need for over the top behaviour to this universe. One has Silver Hawk taking on fighters on bungy chords and later in the same environment, it's henchmen on rollerblades with steel hockeysticks. Luke Goss has a suitable design as a villain with bionic arms as well and the ending pyro show not only entertains that way but in between has some cool cinematic moments that shows Jingle Ma is a director with it in him. Problem is, lighting up for a second or two doesn't help anyone and Silver Hawk needed a ton of bricks of more cool to clinch its goals. Deservedly so it bombed at the box office but low expectations at least makes you remember the 5 minutes that weren't abysmal. Also with Brandon Chang as the chairman of the Silver Hawk fanclub, Michael Jai White and Li Bing-Bing.

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Silver Knife, Scarlet Blade (1969, Wong Fung)

Petrina Fung and Sek Kin do make an impression, mostly thanks to lifelong, legendary status. But despite a swordplay genre having seen groundbreaking efforts over at Shaw Brothers at the same time, this Kin Shing Film Company production possesses little but good costumes and in reality is too primitive to further the genre. Largely talky and providing no real genre noise until Fung and Sek Kin square off at the end, it's only here Lau Kar-Leung's action becomes a bit more active with creative violence and wire-work. Even at 82 minutes, it's still a long sit.

Simply Actors (2007, Chan Hing-Kar & Patrick Leung)

After bringing his over the top style quite successfully in bit- and supporting roles for Pang Ho-Cheung (You Shoot, I Shoot, Men Suddenly In Black), stage actor Jim Chim gets a lead role here as a policeman who dreams of being an actor and goes to acting school as part of an undercover assignment. Cue overacting and the desire to reach inside the movie begging Jim to take it down one thousand notches or simply just STOP IT! As a devotee to the craft his particular, sometimes misguided, overthinking way, there are shades of the much better King of Comedy and Chim does not get away with adopting an extreme persona. Because his character and the journey (that does include drama) gets on your nerves to the point of unlikeability and any intent of our dual directors goes out the window when Chim is as noisy as he is. Pairing him up with a softcore porn actress (played by Charlene Choi) mostly works because Choi is charming and clearly not too precious about her image (there's nothing sexual embedded in the part as such though). But with a 2 hour running time and a character path obscured by a clown, Chim's antics in theatre may work very well but hogging the screen the way he does here isn't right for the spotlight film provides. A few jokes about rooftop meetings between undercover policemen and their superiors land if you know of some of the most famous Hong Kong movies ever (about two thirds of the Hong Kong entertainment industry provide cameos too) and comedy is effective when for instance Chapman To impersonates Eric Tsang and his role in Infernal Affairs. But Simply Actors feels more like a Lunar New Year comedy and could've been forgiven in some areas if so. But since it isn't and it begs us to engage in a vehicle featuring Jim Chim, it promptly sinks as a result.

The Singing Escort (1969, Inoue Umetsugu)

Fielding offers from a variety of people, Lin Chong and his bandmates agree to go to Japan to look up the daughter of their boss. She turns out to be Susan played by Betty Ting Pei and out of all women looking to land Lin Chong, he ultimately only has eyes for Susan. Inoue Umegetsu goes the musical-route again shooting in Japan, showcasing decent eye for active, vibrant and a colorful frame. Cast is upbeat and acting exaggerated to go along with tone and impromptu singing numbers and for a while technical chops, material that isn't challenging audiences makes for harmless entertainment. Premise is a bit too thin to sustain momentum though and certainly anytime half a dozen women are after Lin Chong it showcases a middling gag that's dragged out. Plus, the core romance isn't even basically engaging and our couple look rather mismatched. Underwater finale adds a little visual life to proceedings that are fairly fast paced regardless.

Sino-Dutch War 1661 (2001) Directed by: Wu Zi-Nu

Depicting the "Siege of Fort Zeelandia" in 1661 and 1662 that when it came to a close meant the Dutch East India Company surrendered rule over Taiwan. The assault in the movie is lead by Ming loyalist Zheng Cheng-Gong (Vincent Zhao) who's witnessed his dynasty fade away to the point where his father is even surrendering to the Ching. This lean epic (clocking in at a mere 100 minutes) mostly strikes chords of entertainment and is more of a quick run through of key events (accurate or not) but nonetheless is a ride worth taking. Director Wu Zi-Nu is no stranger to dealing with history with big images thanks to the likes of Don't Cry, Nanking a few years earlier. By choice (and getting away with it) creating a good chunk of Sino-Dutch War 1661 as a melodrama, it's still passable drama thanks to this brave stance of letting emotions flow. All this refers to the breakdown of the family, what choices are made in the face of a fading rule and where loyalty leads you. Sure it's patriotic but not distracting flag waving and Wu Zi-Nu's battle images are equal to rough, gritty and impressively staged on the grand scale (mostly true of the sea battle that dominates the finale).

Sister Cupid (1987) Directed by: Guy Lai

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Not as lifeless as Guy Lai's The Intellectual Trio but pretty damn close. At least it opens in an original fashion during what appears to be a breaking and entering but Pat Ha's Jenny isn't very good at it. Her plan is to elope with boyfriend Cheung (Jacky Cheung) but trying to stand in the way is his sister Kam (Carol Cheng). And when an old lady wants these people to be involved as she marries of her dead daughter, things take drastic turns. As the ghost of the daughter (embodied by Maggie Cheung) becomes visible, the marriage appears to have been done between her and Cheung. Enter rivalry...

Annoying pretty much until Maggie Cheung arrives in all her cute glory, as the comedic jabs takes place such as Pat Ha and Carol Cheng exchanging bust-jokes and Nat Chan appearing only mildly annoying, Guy Lai manages to trust Maggie Cheung to make matters bearable because nothing is otherwise funny. Criminally simple to direct her in this way.

Sisters In Law (1991) Directed by: Andy Chin

Reasonably entertaining buddy cop cop comedy (the pairing this time is Sandra Ng and Charine Chan) from Andy Chin (Changing Partner) who usually makes reasonably entertaining films. No different here as comedy is kept unusually light (meaning not Wong Jing-esque broad outside of the Michael Chow cop character and his partner, but Michael is a pretty funny guy though) and plays to Sandra Ng's strength as an amusing comic actress. Tony Leung Siu Hung handles the action competently, giving us gritty and bloody gunplay that makes Sisters In Law a fair early 90s package. Shing Fui On and Max Mok are good in supporting roles.

Megastar does their best to ruin the movie with a horrendous 5.1 remix though.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

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