# 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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The Six Directions Boxing (1980) Directed by: Tyrone Hsu

Basic yet overly busy martial arts from Taiwan, The Six Directions Boxing presents a splendid cast (a great looking David Chiang, Paul Chun, Simon Yuen, Yueh Hua etc) but yet it comes off as a product of its time. Meaning it's yet another kung fu picture that was part of the production flow. Leaving your consciousness quickly therefore, within we do get a fairly logical balance between dark and light and part of the Yuen family (Simon Yuen's sons Yuen Yat-Choh, Yuen Cheung-Yan and Brandy Yuen) choreographs some very noteworthy fight scenes. Tyrone Hsu (The Red Phoenix) intends to tell a story clearly rather than shoot a quickie set mainly outside but with such a huge character gallery, even basic matters get muddled. At least there's a monkey to look at.

Sketch (1983) Directed by: Wong Ching

Despite that one too many implausibilities crop up during the final reel and the fact that this really is more of a pedestrian slasher-thriller, curious ones of this new wave of filmmaking and directors should give Stretch a go. Director Wong Ching's proves himself to be very adept at creating atmosphere of dread and set against the village backdrop, the low budget definitely helps to enhance a sense of reality.

Strangely enough, he leaves his main social commentary outside of the main narrative and characters. His target are the youths and the anarchy nature to them directed towards a society based so much on respect for your elders. True to form for these new wave of directors back then, there is a pessimistic tone to this. Today, the commentary doesn't seem very polished and rather over the top, but back then, these were new voices of Hong Kong cinema and it's interesting to examine this era. Some directors never really managed to adapt themselves to the changing Hong Kong cinema and subsequently faded away.

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Skiptrace (2016, Renny Harlin)

A co-/production hit for Renny Harlin who re-invents nothing within the buddy action-comedy. Then he has to rely on cast and chemistry for this highly familiar ride and in part he gets the tone right. Seemingly not concerned when lining up tropes and familiar plot devices whose developments can be spotted a mile away, Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville then take center stage for their action-filled trip from Russia, through Mongolia and China to final destination Hong Kong. One drawback is that Jackie Chan is still performing action he really shouldn't at his age and inspiring creativity is clearly not present (the man has shown us enough ingenious stretches of celluloid by this point). That being said, there are bursts of inspiration such as a gag involving Russian nesting dolls and the younger cast (such as Eve Torres who has a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and WWE) come through with snappy, impactful and well timed action. Chan and Knoxville don't connect well as such but the movie does pass the time adequately since the latter in particular is in fine form. Considering it's merely the age old wisecracking sidekick character he's asked to inhabit, his wit is surprisingly effective. There's nothing that breaks open the genre here but a few laughs, good action from supporting cast, a random Adele singalong in an unlikely place geographically gets Harlin enough acceptance. Said acceptance will be forgotten quickly and Jackie Chan should probably think about stepping aside even more in the action department. Co-starring Fan Bingbing. Eric Tsang, Michael Wong, Winston Chao, Kira Shi Shi and Richard Ng appears in a cameo. Film is dedicated to cinematographer Chan Kwok-Hung who drowned in a boat accident during filming.

The Skyhawk (1974) Directed by: Chan Cheng Ho

Kwan Tak-Hing's return to the Wong Fei Hung role, 4 years after the last of long running series had ended with Wong Fei Hung: Bravely Crushing the Fire Formation. Kwan would go on to reprise the role yet again in movies such as The Magnificent Butcher and Dreadnaught.

As an anticipated comeback vehicle, The Skyhawk is far from remarkable, containing standard plotting and simple but well-meaning philosophies. It rises to solid thanks to Sammo Hung's action (Hung also co-stars) that partly recalls the style of the era but contains enough of Hung's powerful traits as a choreographer. Whang In-Sik obviously gets a good kicking showcase, Kwan Tak-Hing performs an admirable amount of his own fighting but it's Carter Wong that Hung has blessed with several moments of smoothly executed action. Also with Nora Miao, Lee Kwan and amongst the stunt players Lam Ching Ying and Wilson Tong can be spotted.

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Sky Risk Commandos (1983, Harold Wayne)

The Asso Asia, internationally distributed version of Shin Sang-Ok's war movie 'The Last Flight To Pyongyang' (1971) but re-edited from 130 minutes to 85, as shortened and English dubbed there is still respect for the dramatic material. It might not have lasting impact as a BIG movie but the smaller in scale character drama has a few very valid aspects. The strict, new commander (possibly actor Cho Jin-Hyeong) trains and molds a small group of the very best fighter pilots. Cue some family melodrama, crisis, potential tragedy and a showdown with opposing forces. The aerial footage and battlefield scenes look nice but Shin (credited as Harold Wayne on the Asso Asia print) does better with the human drama. The remnants of it in the shorter movie shows restraint rather than cranking melodrama the expected way and there's even some mild poignancy.

Slaughter In Xian (1987) Directed by: Chang Cheh

Chang Cheh completists need only apply for this modern day blend of traditional martial arts and gunplay. The opening demo showcases what clearly is a budget constraint on the film although the martial arts is of a good caliber. Gunplay isn't however, nor is this standard story about police corruption. Some decent trademark Chang Cheh gore and mayhem does sporadically rear its head but when all parts are added up, Slaughter In Xian is only marginally better than the crap Joseph Lai and IFD churned out...sadly. Dung Chi-Wai was Chang Cheh's leading man of choice during this period and he's recently been employed by Stephen Chow, playing the character of Donut in Kung Fu Hustle.

Oh, and if you had your doubts about the homo-eroticism in Chang Cheh's movies, I think Slaughter In Xian will firmly seal your opinion. Not subtle. I'll leave it at that.

Sleazy Dizzy (1990) Directed by: Chor Yuen

In general all 1990 efforts during Stephen Chow's breakout years that showed him not quite being Stephen Chow yet but also trying on the hat of dramatic- and action actor all have pleasures on display. Even if it's only to see a sign or two of a comedic genius being born and while Sleazy Dizzy has that thing or two, it's also a thorough failure on all fronts. Essentially a great setup with a great cast involves Chen Kuan-Tai's memory loss, his previous knowledge of 50 million dollars stashed away so the hunt is on with Chow and Sibelle Hu by his side and Alex Fong and Kenneth Tsang leading the hunt in the bad guy camp.

One of Shaw Brothers legend Chor Yuen's last movies, this certainly has a 90s charm with many pieces on its plate normally not fit for movies such as gunplay, drama and comedy but it's all mind numbingly flat. No comic chemistry exists in the main trio and although Chow's rapid mouth gets a few comedic scenarios off their limp legs, it all grows increasingly dull as the movies goes by. A deadly and quirky crime-comedy in intent is a fine choice but executing in this flat way is not excusable in 90s Hong Kong free for all cinema either.

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The Sleepless Town (1998) Directed by: Lee Chi-Ngai

Kenichi (Takeshi Kaneshiro) finds himself in the middle of a gang war between the Chinese, 3 days prior to the New Year. He's on a reluctant mission for Shanghai crime boss Yuan (Eric Tsang) to find an old partner Yuan needs to exact revenge on. In comes the mysterious Natsumi (Mirai Yamamoto) who's offering Kenichi his target...a little too easily perhaps.

Lee Chi-Ngai (Lost And Found) once again utilizes Takeshi Kaneshiro to excellent effect in this Hong Kong/Japanese co-production. Largely set in Japan, it's the award winning technical merits to shines the most in this rather ordinary and overly complicated noir piece. Cinematographer Arthur Wong gives the perfect polished surface for the gritty gangster world while Lee makes Takeshi Kaneshiro and Mirai Yamamoto an effective couple. All up till the end, we're never sure of their loyalty towards each other and with that achieved chemistry, Lee Chi-Ngai gets some grade A remarks sporadically throughout. Although the standard he set for himself with Lost And Found is obviously lacking though. However, The Sleepless Town contains genre standards in a slick package which is a ride worth taking. Also with Kathy Chow (Beast Cops) and Ang Lee regular Lang Xiong.

Slickers Vs Killers (1991) Directed by: Sammo Hung

Dark and off-beat comedy from Sammo Hung that juggles all kinds of elements that only Hong Kong cinema can for 90 minutes. Dealing with relationships, there's first Hung himself as a phone salesman trying to outdo his fiercest rival Ling (Carol Cheng). Being witness to a brutal murder by the whack job Bat (Jacky Cheung) and his calmer sidekick Owl (Lam Ching Ying), he manages to flee to report the case to the police. Difficulties arise because one, his wife (Yu Li) is a cop and the object of desire of another cop (Ngai Sing) and Hung's testimony doesn't get taken seriously. Then there's the shrink (Joyce Godenzi) who has Hung as her patient and gets involved as the killers go after him...

Slickers Vs Killers is involving but a little bit lacking in focus, mainly in regards to Carol Cheng's Ling who doesn't seem to have a proper spot in the narrative in the latter half. A few characters too many really occupies the film although Hung and backup leading lady Cheng's feisty interactions are probably the funniest throughout. Joyce Godenzi also gets ample time to shine as she tries to manipulate the underlying tension in the Hung/Yu Li relationship and Sammo hard hitting action, with a few stunts thrown in, has a decent showcase in what in the end, despite darkness, really is light, entertainment "only". Richard Ng and Tommy Wong also appear.

The Smart Cavalier (1978) Directed by: Joseph Kuo

When the action directing isn't particularly distinctive, Taiwanese martial arts filmmaker Joseph Kuo easily gets into trouble and The Smart Cavalier (The Cavalier in Mei Ah's newly generated credits) is further proof why. While the likes of leading man Sze Ma Lung comes off well during the fights and various acrobatics are noteworthy, Kuo's film rather represents a haunting memory of poorly paced and grating comedy bits that perhaps may have worked in the local market but are a cruel tester for anyone else. Lo Lieh's end fight cameo adds some colour to the film but by then it's way too late.

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