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# 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 Story Of Movie (1996) Directed by: Shut Mei-Yee

Although not featuring the structure of Pulp Fiction to any large degree, director Shut Mei-Yee clearly channels esthetics of Quentin Tarantino's film (and places a poster of it in one scene to make the inspiration ultra-clear). More specifically via the use surf-esque music for the soundtrack accompanying two slightly interconnected stories. Chun (Ken Lo) is a former boxer turned truck driver that happens upon waitress Lorna (Alice Lau). A connection is made through various interactions but it's a love brewing. Brewing to a frustrating degree and coming up are crossroads where choices has to be made. Meanwhile close by, or not, we find Man (Moses Chan), a low-life triad and pimp for Cat (Amanda Lee). Betting on horse races while she does the do as Miss Frenchkiss, these two spend so much time together only a wall apart that it's inevitable that they start to get to know each other.

Taking its sweet time and being rather flimsy, some character reveals and dialogue is quite on the off-beat side and director Shut doesn't seems to want to place crucial events in a reality. Doubtful if any of what we see therefore means anything but the title The Story Of Movie all of a sudden turns accurate. Little by little, his cast begin to gel at key points and slight charm grows out of this very different Hong Kong production. Also with Lee Fung, Peter Chan Lung and Lam Suet. See if you can spot Wu Ma too.

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The Story Of My Son (1990) Directed by: Johnnie To

Future Milkyway founders Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai collaborated for the first time on this melodrama in the wake of To's success working on All About Ah Long (starring Chow Yun-Fat). Running a mere 80 minutes, it's no wonder he thrusts us into the life of Damian Lau's Li whose wife has just died. Not telling his young children Chien (Wong Kwan-Yuen) and Kang (Jeng Paak-Lam), they trio try to cope but broken promises, hospital bills, triad debts and in general a hellish hand continues to be dealt to the family. While the elder son Chien does try to act as a role model, all is crushed the more Li gets pushed around by the triads. It's all cinema distressing to almost the max from beginning to end, giving us no light and more importantly, no distinct belief from the director's chair. Considering To's debut The Enigmatic Case was quite the tour de force of subtle behaviour, it's definitely clear Johnnie was playing the commercial game while trying to find a footing (which he did eventually after forming Milkyway). Occasionally effective in his punishing ways, The Story Of My Son is merely extreme melodrama put out there in the hope that the masses will accept it because they're easily fooled. We aren't. Ng Man-Tat, Sunny Fang and Lau Siu-Ming (in the film's only subtle performance) also appear.

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The Story Of Pei-Li (1993) Directed by: Chou Tan

Threatening to be a big character piece through text cards identifying each new one that pops up, in reality Chou Tan's movie is very contained and simple. But also hard to grasp as it doesn't seem to want to be simple. Wong Yue-Man is the titular Pei Li, a single mother of a mute son who she's planning to send away for education experiments in America. Unless they can crack that surface and feel love as a family unit that hasn't been there due to a possible trauma in the boy. Carrie Ng also appears as an escort girl who's going where the money is and gets Pei-Li into the line of business too. Chou Tan scores through a naturalistic frame and the simple moments of character drama but never truly cracks OUR surface continually. Valiant effort but too much focus it could be argued. Also known as A Modern Love Story, presumably for Hong Kong release of this Taiwanese movie and featuring very misleading poster art. Things are never that cheery in the film.

Story Of Ricky (1991) Directed by: Nam Nai Choi

Probably director Nam Nai Choi's (The Cat, The Seventh Curse) most ambitious project in terms of special effects, the aspect Story Of Ricky is most widely known for (in addition to the fact that it's based on the Manga cartoon Riki-Oh by Tetsuya Saruwatari and Takajo Masuhiko).

No one could ever argue that Nam displayed consistent filmmaking skills. Case in point, Story Of Ricky bears such traits as poor dialogue, poor framing, cheap looking sets, sans logic for most of the running time, obvious continuity errors and performances that even for the genre barely becomes average. That leaves Nam with his special effects and those alone makes the film very much watchable. For a Hong Kong movie of this era, the execution is good even if the different impalings, explosions and gut bustings on display can't hide that distinct rubber look of the setup's. One or two aftermath effects are surprisingly effective and, again, judging this element by Hong Kong movie standards, Nam's team pulled off the high number of effects well.

Providing unique, insane, Hong Kong cinema entertainment is what director Nam does best and he can spellbind the target audience with his frenetic to the on screen spectacle. The problem with Story Of Ricky is that it doesn't opt for that high gear intensity previously and later seen in Nam's work. Also, certain areas of the film are played serious and with that comes a cheesy atmosphere, a bad one unfortunately. Still, it's good fun, Nam Nai Choi rarely provides less. Also with William Ho (not nearly as evil as in his different Cat III movie roles), Fan Mei Sheng (star Fan Siu Wong's real life father) and Yukari Oshima. In a nice touch, the original Hong Kong cinema trailer on the Hong Kong Legends dvd features original artwork from the Manga and how it was realized in the live action movie.

The Story Of The Dragon (1976) Directed by: Chan Wa & William Cheung

Although the title screams yet another bio-pic of Bruce Lee (which already appeared in the same year in the form of Bruce Lee - True Story, also starring Bruce Li) and there's the element of Li's character of Bob (not Bruce) creating Jeet Kune Do, The Story Of The Dragon does away with most elements put on screen to cash in on the late star. The overall story is a basic Western gangsters versus Chinese Kung Fu school-template and not a very engaging one at that. This is at least very basic and bearable genre storytelling with the sellable element of kung fu featured fairly heavily though. But most of the choreography is uninspired and it's not until the finale where Li gets to shine as well as the action team's creativity. He goes head to head with about 20 armed henchmen and subsequently has to avoid another group on horses armed with whips. Add some goofy looking (and dubbed) Westerners plus Hwang Jang-Lee sporting a very bad wig and cape and you have at least a movie that sparkles at points. Boredom rarely sets in. Also with Carter Wong, Wei Ping-Ao and Roy Horan.

The Story Of The Gun (1992) Directed by: Dang Paang-Tang

Hong Kong cop Lau (Gordon Liu) follows the trail of robbers and gun smugglers to the Mainland and back to Hong Kong, eyeing lovers Lon (Mark Cheng) and Hung (Yukari Oshima) as prime suspects. The Story Of The Gun is simple, efficient stuff that may not stick out hugely amidst its kind but combine said effectiveness and technically able action scenes and you've got yourself a brief treat. Doesn't hurt to see Yukari Oshima leaning towards her violent, mean side either while also getting a chance to square off against Sophia Crawford. Lead Liu with hair and moustache is visual treat too! Also with Lo Lieh and Tin Ching.

Strange Bedfellow (1986) Directed by: Lo Gin, Eric Tsang & Alfred Cheung

God only knows what these three stories are supposed to mean but perhaps the intent was to do things you don't expect from Hong Kong cinema. That's why you get a short with Eric Tsang set in a future where men are designated to be house-wives (or house-husbands) as they are now milk-producing machines (not shown in the film though). Story is about him trying his damndest to get a normal child, not a test tube one so in the end he becomes pregnant himself. Next up is Anthony Chan as a doctor who specializes in reconstructing skulls to help the police to identify murder victims. His new assistant might be the ghost of the diseased however. Finally Cecilia Yip kills off her twin sister by shrinking her and boiling her to pieces in the bathtub in order to get the husband played by director Alfred Cheung all to herself. When he wants to leave her, psychotic Cecilia Yip starts owning the screen. Partially successful because it places the unexpected actors in dramatic and darker situations but thank god Strange Bedfellow is a three story-job. Easy to digest and have fun with therefore but ultimately it's in the various, outrageous details and not execution. In the future segment, The Wynners appear as senile old versions of themselves and you can worship any god of your choice (including Jackie Chan) at vending machines placed over the city but that's as broad as the movie gets. Also with Candice Yu, Lam Wai and Billy Lau.

Stranger In Hong Kong (1972) Directed by: Lau Fong-Gong & Kuei Chih-Hung

Vault designer Chang Shan (Chin Feng) stops by Hong Kong temporarily but is kidnapped by thieves who wants to use his knowhow to break into one of his own vaults. Well cast with a suitably dopey and uncomfortable Chin Feng getting swept into gambling, into bed with Betty Ting Pei and gradually the duo of directors build up the actual danger of the piece. By the point we hit the heist it feels like the early train of thoughts of madman Kuei Chih-Hung (The Boxer's Omen, Bamboo House Of Dolls) taking over completely. Tension is excellent and the parade of unexpected bloodshed (limps chopped off, people being pierced to death, crushed by cars etc) brings a logical sense of development to Stranger In Hong Kong where the everyday man is drawn into something confusing and ultimately violent. Also with Tien Feng and Chan Shen.

Street Angels (1996) Directed by: Billy Tang

With the Young And Dangerous-effect spreading its wings over Hong Kong cinema in 1996 thanks to Andrew Lau, it's no wonder it sprung to life outside of the series too. Billy Tang had been tapped to provide some satire and fun of the genre with Sexy And Dangerous the same year and although Street Angels is packed, it's not distinguishable for many reasons, especially not for fans of Hong Kong's king of Category III CINEMA (Red To Kill, Run And Kill). Chingmy Yau is Tung Yen, woman of rising triad mad dog Walkie Pi (Simon Yam) and while he flees to Holland after a kill, she takes a prison sentence for him. Out of jail, Yen starts associating herself with the hostess world and even becomes a great figure. When Pi returns to Hong Kong however, there's no love in the air anymore as the rising triad is now a full blown mad dog...

Straightforward and light for long stretches, Tang doesn't provide a terrific amount of inspired material despite dealing with issues of the 1997 handover but does have some benefits in the acting department to take Street Angels to fun, depraved places (which is all it can and should do). Elvis Tsui is hilarious as the bodyguard Moro who's constantly horny and has no problem swallowing condom if the situation dictates it. The subtitles do wonders for his scenes and even though we're not dealing with a III-rating here, Tsui makes sure to be pushed as far as he can. A little romance and extreme tragedy passes the time but the re-appearance of Simon Yam signals the time for director Tang to have fun. True to form, Yam throws himself 568% into the über-evil persona of Pi and Tang even plays around a LITTLE bit visually to strengthen these extremes. The otherwise straight cast can't compete. They do include a naked and abused Shu Qi, Michael Tao, Valerie Chow, Lee Kin-Yan (nose picking transvestite in Stephen Chow movies), Lee Siu-Kei and Liu Fan.

The Street Car Named Desire (1993) Directed by: William Cheung

Without checking, little to nothing surely resembles the Marlon Brando classic now in the hands of Hong Kong cinema. Even if that was the case, The Street Car Named Desire is one incomprehensible, boring train wreck. Lawrence Ng is Chi-Wah, a triad recently released from prison with plans to go against the mould. That doesn't mean he will stop walking the triad way or let violence walk far behind him this time. No, he justifies his acts by reasoning that the polar opposite of what's expected should be done. Has to do with some "creative" writing concerning some father figure conflict or something. Flat direction and performances walk alongside the flick too, with a world painted in exploitation and decadence never coming to life. We barely know what drives these characters but we do come to know why after all is said and done. They're simply fools and breaking the wall of the so called drama territory is ventures into acrobatic gunplay and fights that screams commercial desperation. A big pass. Also with Bonnie Fu, Tommy Wong, Grace Wong, Karel Wong, Billy Chow and Kwan Hoi-San.

Buy the DVD at:
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