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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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Sun Valley (1995) Directed by: He Ping

To Sun Valley comes a lone swordsman (Zhang Fengyi - Farewell My Concubine), one the villagers name the Avenger as that seems to be his agenda. He stays at an inn run by Hong Liu (Yuan Kuei-Mei) whose husband Hei Niu (Wang Xueqi) only occasionally comes home from his extended trips as a horse merchant. The Avenger carries with him hidden secrets though, being haunted by the sight of slaughter courtesy of a red hooded swordsman and a fear of blood, resulting in him taking the lives of several villagers in his confused state. His prolonged stay at the inn with Hong Liu creates an unexpected bond between the two subsequently but she carries with her secrets and agendas of her own...

He Ping's (The Swordsman In Double-Flag Town, Warriors Of Heaven And Earth) movie is slow but a rewarding drama that couldn't be farther removed from what Hong Kong cinema fans perceive as a swordsman movie. He Ping may break out from the mundane and held back into stylish bloodshed but it's violence, not action and even though Sun Valley may have a distant cousin in Tsui Hark's The Blade, the portrayal of a world with less and less swordsmen is a welcome perspective as it's from a Mainland filmmaker. The narrative is of course a large puzzle which may frustrate but in the end He Ping has hit a stride and given us a compelling character journey, one with a humanistic outlook, without ever condescending his audience. It's not particularly complex but the film does require your attention and perhaps, depending on the viewer, a good chunk of your patience. Rewarding is the key word though. Shaw Brother's veteran Ku Feng appears in support.

Super Citizen (1986) Directed by: Wan Jen

Produced by John Woo for Cinema City, this Taiwan set drama sets out to feel rather uneventful but slips badly into it so no memorable cinema here. Lee Shi-Xiang is looking for his sister in Taipei and he befriends various what you might call eccentric characters, ranging from regular kids, petty criminals and aimless street girls. Lee is the face of innocence and possibly the super citizen of the rather poor English title but he finds out along with others that life is filled with loneliness (and some grave darkness). Pinch me, I'm sleeping and while director Wan Jen employs cinematic language that can work, he is in fact novice at walking that tightrope.

Supercop.com (2000) Directed by: Phillip Ko

Phillip Ko was still directing cheap action films into the new millennium and long after a golden of era of that particular genre, it's no surprise there's no creative juice left. Doubt there ever was any substantial amount in Ko to be honest.

Shot in Korea and Hong Kong, Ko wastes no time, launching us right into an ultra-serious narrative consisting of SDU training, the step into crime fighting uniform and supposed personal drama resides in the film as well. Ko seems to want to have a fast pace to his narrative yet displays awful skill at it. This then continues throughout as the story and characters are unimaginative, to put it nicely. All that's left is to let the girls kick some butt then, something he refuses to do until the final reel. There any potential skills left in Cynthia Khan and company is obscured by more lack of imagination in the choreography and editing. Anthony Wong phones in a heartless performance where he literally is yawning and sleeping through scenes. I won't knock Anthony or Cynthia for that matter as their given direction really seems nonexistent. Also with Johnny Wang, Ken Lo and Angela Tong.

Buy the VCD at:
Yesasia.com

Super Cops (1997, Mao Chiang-Pang)

Mix of cooking comedy (Gordon Liu as the cook) and cops and robbers movie, initially Super Cops comes with a lively tone at least promising a swift time. Not afraid of broad humour vs gangster genre tactics, no real element does stand out in the end. Super Cops verges on action breakout but with rather poorly shot and edited action, the effect expectedly does not come through. Billy Chow vs Yukari Oshima and Cynthia Khan during the extended action climax shows some sharper technical aspects but the movie comes and goes very quickly without impact. The absolutely harrowing, full body fire stunt that caps the film does leave a mental mark however.

The Super Gang (1982) Directed by: Wong Siu-Jun

As simple as it is (gang wars, deceit, betrayal, death, fights), The Super Gang is oddly impenetrable. Understanding the basics in this basically made actioner is enough however and the mad, violent action beats are sporadically very jaw dropping. As Bruce Le, Kwan Yung-Moon and Bolo Yeung among others duke it out, we get a head crushing (although a deliberate cut away to a melon represents the impact), characters beating themselves into a violent rage and a masked assassin also equipped with a giant hand. It's usually fast paced action nonsense with few lulls in pace.

Super Lady Cop (1992) Directed by: Wellson Chin

Back for more of the same routines, only outside of The Inspectors Wears Skirts series for Wellson Chin. With a female terminator-esque character (Cynthia Khan) and a bumbling idiot of a cop (Alex Man furthering his lack of talent as a comedian), Chin basically has the outline to make up a script as he goes along. It's a seriously unfunny one created with the only redeeming feature being the concept of the amnesia gun and Athena Chu is easily forgiven just because she's Athena Chu.

With the casting of Khan and Yuen Wah, some type of action workout obviously will be injected and echoing style of the Street Fighter video games creates an at times mildly spectacular ride. The finale even takes a few detours into graphic violence so viewer attention is easily maintained. Speaking of Street Fighter, there's clearly a sequence during the climax lifted from the Hong Kong edit of the film where Khan turns into the character of Chuan Li and reports seems to suggest this transformation was in other versions such as the one in Taiwan. As it stands now, the Hong Kong edit may not be cut as such but I'll tell you, you don't need to lose sleep over finding any version of Super Lady Cop. Really.

Supermen Against The Orient (1974) Directed by: Bitto Albertini

A co-production between Shaw Brothers and Italy, Supermen Against The Orient brings back the crime fighting Superman from Gianfranco Parolini's 1967 comedy The Three Fantastic Supermen. Adding Lo Lieh, Shih Szu (both appearing in other co-productions such as Blood Money and Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires during their career) and Jackie Chan choreographed action from the Hong Kong side, Robert Malcolm stars as a US agent sent to Asia to ultimately free six agents from the grip of a drug dealer...or something. Meeting up with friends Max (Antonio Cantafora) and Jerry (Sal Borgese), they've learnt kung fu from master Tang (Lo Lieh) but are also planning to rob the consulate. Excellent location shots in Thailand and working on the Shaw Brothers lot means production values but neither action- or comedy comes off as anything but pedestrian and even boring. Robert Malcolm is verbally setup as a clumsy agent who still gets the job done but that angle isn't echoed from this point, showing a sloppiness in even the most basic of character-treatment. There's novelty value in seeing how the local flavour meet but Jackie Chan's action rarely comes to life (other than the end fight with all the supermen, showing Sal Borgese in particular impressing in the action department) and Jacques Dufhilo as the American Counsil hams it up to greatly annoying degree throughout. Possibly playing well for the Italian market, mostly it exists as curiousity value and the value is enough to soak in reading about this co-production, not watching it.

Super Models (2015, Law Wai-Man & Yan Kit)

A barely plotted examination of the perils of getting into the modelling-world, this clearly exists for being adult and rated Category III. Which it oddly isn't despite its cheap and exploitative nature. Shot on video with very awkward acting and cinematography, the adult elements proves to be its sole elements of joy. Not thanks to the pointless casting of a blonde haired Nat Chan or a reserved Law Kar-Ying but Charlie Cho is back and he's still Charlie. Running the agency Charlie's Angel, he has no desire to create the next model that will change the world but it's as always his penis talking in the decision-department. Shot in synch sound, the still game actor has no problem channeling his lecherous screen-past and it's this veteran dependency that makes his supporting presence more than tolerable. The rest is a poor excuse for filmmaking (it took two directors to craft this lack of filmmaking) and the elevated rating might not have helped as these two seem to have no vision for erotica on screen anyway working the IIb-level.

The Supernormal (1992) Directed by: Lo Ting-Git

What looks to be a fairly successful documentary at the box office that year based on the 11 million Hong Kong dollars take, The Supernormal is hosted (and produced) by Edward Lee who takes the viewer through stories of fox goblins, tree manifestations of fox goblins, fortune telling, stories of scam artists, feng shui, exorcism, haunted mansions and the famous hell tour. Joined on occasion by actress Joyce Ngai (who relates some stories of the problematic shooting of Ringo Lam's Esprit D'amour), much of all this is delivered in quite the rapid fire way so it's difficult, at least as a Western viewer or one lacking the knowledge, to thoroughly follow the loose structure of The Supernormal. At core it's about belief and the Asian audiences don't take matters presented lightly so neither should we. Despite some sections looking staged, some are even uncomfortably staged such as the exorcism of a little boy that really is borderline child abuse. Western viewers will definitely sit up and take note as one section talks of Amy Yip's breast operation and how it probably brought her good luck. We even get the seemingly first shot of Yip's breasts on camera, this time not obscured by something but in a weird turn, we subsequently see various spiritualists discuss whether her assets were real or fake.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

The Supernormal II (1993) Directed by: Lo Ting-Git

More of the same in the sequel to the notably successful 1992 documentary, Edward Lee quickly guides us through various tangents on possession across Asia. Amping the grisly sights this time around via footage of ceremonies surrounding possession and participants striking themselves bloody but not feeling pain, photographs of decayed corpses said to be vampires and a healing ceremony towards the very end where the leader of the congregation performs surgery then and there to remove ailments (fake or not, it looks nasty). Also brining back Joyce Ngai as his co-host but also actress Lily Chung for company and re-enactments of the darker aspects of possession, some of what can be picked up in The Supernormal II IS interesting and is not to be looked down upon but for a second time in a row there seems to be a flimsiness inherited in the production. Cutting down on content and pace could've produced a smoother, sometimes eerie insight into superstition and supernatural encounters.

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