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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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Sweet Peach (1993) Directed by: Lau Siu-Gwan

Sex and some plot. I.e. the creative process by Lau Siu-Gwan (Hero Dream) leading Sweet Peach into the booming 90s Category III trend of Hong Kong cinema. Connecting quite a big character gallery to Stuart Ong and Tsui Man-Wah ruining several characters for their financial gain, that minimum thread is the representation of plot here. Rest is a surprisingly entertaining and fast mix of static direction, lifeless and unconvincing sex (where you can even spot the actors laughing in an endeering moment). Adding melodrama, some violence, action and rape for largely unwarranted reasons, Sweet Peach gets by thanks to its insistance to be something it knew beforehand oddly enough. Also with Rena Otomo, Chan Pooi-Kei, Dennis Tang and Charlie Cho in a rare dark role.

Sweet Surrender (1986) Directed by: Frankie Chan

Ko (Frankie Chan) is a barber who was previously married into the family headed by stern father played by Ku Feng. The daughter Youth (Shirley Lui), and therefore Ko's sister in-law, is free spirited and begins taking a liking to Ko. Naturally them hanging out as much as they do leads to romance. A tricky notion considering their relation and status in the family...

Believe it or not, Frankie Chan takes at least two thirds of the movie to make this simple plot coherent! Before that, there's evidence of an unfocused 80s experience, only lacking the CHARMING, unfocused 80s charms. Hanging out with Youth, Youth's extensive circle of very eclectic friends, going go-carting...it all sounds like mindless fun but faced with close to a 100 minute running time (at least 10 minutes too much), thankfully director Chan begins injecting slight bearable cinema towards the end. He has veterans Ku Feng and Sek Kin to thank for that. The themes surrounding family comes to life and the Ku Feng character has his self-realizations, which is wonderfully, albeit in a standard way, handled by the veteran. Melodrama seems naturally unavoidable but at least we understand it and are even entertained by the minor stunt component of the flick as well. Sweet Surrender could've been much more though if Chan had been a charismatic lead and if Shirley Lui had been geared towards being peppy, free and compelling in an actual way throughout. Paul Chun is the dopey, detective brother with a gun, Lee Heung-Kam the mother while Charlie Cho, Wu Fung and Shum Wai also turn up. Someone named Wong Kar-Wai co-wrote the script.

The Sword (1971) Directed by: Poon Lui

Part of Crash Cinema's Unearthed Classic range, Poon Lui (a Shaw Brother's director before and since) creates a stunning piece of independent Wuxia, worthy of all the reputation it has worked up, especially in the light of this 2007 dvd release. Reportedly preparing the film for over a year, The Sword is meticulously created, pushing the limited indie budget well with sets and costumes being of the highest order. At heart also, it's not even about the action solely but an uncommonly (for the genre) complex portrayal of the consequences of obsession, embodied by Jimmy Wang Yu's Hsio Ho Wei. Son of a general, he stands in the way of his family crossing over to join the new empire. All he cares for are his swords however...

Jimmy logs perhaps his finest performance alongside the outcast Fang Kang in One-Armed Swordsman here, being in the shoes of a man rebelling in his own way but utilizing his position as part of the wealthy elite. However it's a tricky character who IS seeing things one-sided and perhaps will do less so via lessons learned along the way, be it philosophical ones or in battle. Perhaps is the key mystery word and Poon Lui neatly captures interest of those of us willing to listen as the piece revolves greatly around dialogue passages. With atmosphere oozing grandeur as we move through every set (the snow covered finale is particularly striking), The Sword truly involves all the way and is a splendid example of a director breaking down the walled boundaries of independent cinema to compete with movie making empire Shaw Brother's. Even though the action is stagy, there's more than enough story driven intensity behind it to forgive the lack of fluidity in the swordplay. Forgiving genre/Wang Yu staples such as a fighting tournament and the appearance of his trademark beard is easy too.

The Sword (1980) Directed by: Patrick Tam

Behind its stock plot about swordsmen on their quest to acquire a legendary sword lies a calm and measured Wuxia from first time director Patrick Tam (Nomad, My Heart Is That Eternal Rose and editor on Ashes Of Time). He invests his images in the needed storytelling yes but it's the highly exquisite atmosphere and camerawork that makes The Sword a terrific standout amongst the Golden Harvest efforts of the era. Ching Siu-Tung's action directing is also given a spotlight to thoroughly shine, combining winning doses of swordplay and Wuxia trickery, something he would expand on even more when directing his own classic Duel To The Death a few years later. With Adam Cheng, Norman Tsui, Eddy Ko, Lee Hoi Sang, Lau Siu-Ming and Tien Feng among others.

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A Sword Named Revenge (1981) Directed by: Lee Ga

Well shot and atmospheric Wuxia that taps into the tradition of a plot containing multiple characters, twists, hidden agendas and you need to be accustomed (and certainly a bit forgiving) to this storytelling in order to give A Sword Named Revenge a felt pat on the back. With a main character disappearing into madness, a dreamy and sometimes bizarre nature resides in the flick, the impotent dwarf chief among the bizarre aspects. All while the usual supremacy of the martial arts world is on top of the agenda of many, many characters. Possessing a technical polish and standard but enjoyable Wuxia techniques (otherwise the action is often quite slow), A Sword Named Revenge is overlong material that can be endured. It's also serious dedication wasted thanks to the usual muddled storytelling.

The Sword Of Justice (1980) Directed by: Hui Sing-Yue

You make an agreement with yourself that terrific atmosphere and way above average swordplay is more than enough even if there's little coherency. Oh sure main character Lung San Lung on his revenge rampage in the martial world has his agenda but mostly the action team stages a parade of inventive and fast fights. Wisely restricting the scope and bringing in character drama concerning the futility of the violent world, there's even COHERENT, affecting train of thoughts put forth during and in between a furious 2 on 1 ending. All within a world where you become desensitized through killing and power.

The Sword Of Many Loves (1993) Directed by: Poon Man-Kit

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Finally something by the Mak Brothers and director Poon Man-Kit that ISN'T a gangster epic taking us through the political changes of Hong Kong as a particular character rises through the ranks. No, The Sword Of Many Loves jumps on the 90s Wuxia wagon and although a bit too long, its above average production values, creativity and star chemistry gets the filmmakers a long way. Structured around the love triangle between swordsman Wu Fei (Leon Lai), kung fu fighter Purple Yuen (Sharla Cheung) and witch Ching (Michalle Reis), in between you also have some personal revenge, dynasty- and clan feuds... probably. The story outside of the trio isn't even half as interesting but the stars do interact rather well while Poon Man-Kit gives us some wicked, mad sights. Ranging from the scorpion eating dwarf to Ching's various, creative ways of poisoning people (faces get fatter, butts get fatter etc via her various tricks), the movie doesn't go particularly broad either (despite mentioned poison effects) when the love triangle goes into the feud territory we expect. The ladies look incredible, Leon Lai is suitably dopey as he tries to decide which one to truly pursue and the high flying action (by Yuen Cheung-Yan and Ma Yuk-Sing) is high on energy and excitement (in particular the sandstorm finale). It's not the second coming of the genre from the time but a lot more ambition translates into engagement by the cast and viewer. Elvis Tsui plays the main villain.

The Swordsman Of All Swordsmen (1968) Directed by: Joseph Kuo

While not 100% certain on this, The Swordsman Of All Swordsmen is at least Joseph Kuo's big breakthrough in the Wuxia genre 10 years into his directorial career. As with subsequent efforts the next year such as King Of Kings, via this film Kuo joins the ranks of King Hu and Chang Cheh as thoughtful, stylish storytellers in combination with conveyers of exciting, creative action. Swordsman Tsai Ying-Chieh (Tin Yau) is on a killing spree in the name of revenge. Having witnessed his family being killed, no one and nothing will stand in his way. Meeting the mysterious Black Dragon, who wants a piece of the notorious swordsman, and swordswoman Swallow (Polly Kuan), it's the latter that tries to talk Tsai out of pursuing violent revenge. Even after being nursed to health by Swallow, Tsai is hellbent on getting the last one on his list...

Without breaking new ground, Joseph Kuo translates Tyrone Hsu's intelligent script well. It's straightforward revenge stuff that is intercepted by common but human questions about the notion of revenge. Is there something valid in bloodthirst and can you re-evalutate along the way in order to possibly achieve growth as a swordsman in a very violent world? With marvellous cinematography and a violent edge to the action, Kuo and crew essentially creates sword-brawls that brings the intensity up a considerable notch. The experimenting with undercranking isn't always successful though but The Swordsman Of All Swordsmen is still a classic piece of Wuxia CINEMA that manages to pack valid depth (minus points for a tad too much melodramatic acting though) in a short package.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Sworn Brothers (1987) Directed by: David Lai

A classic scenario of two childhood friends (Andy Lau & Cheung Kwok Keung) on opposite sides of the law but bound by loyalty to each other becomes a starting point for David Lai (Saviour Of The Soul, Runaway Blues) to excise some really, really dark inner demons that takes form in the shape of extreme brutal violence (supervised by Sammo Hung). Sworn Brothers is no film school example of storytelling but packs not only the punch on a violent level but fairly emotionally as well. Much due to Andy Lau's very competent and relaxed performance, a bit of a rarity at this point in his career. Melodrama goes way too high however and not all viewers may find the unsympathetic nature to characters worthy of their time but Sworn Brothers is exhilarating in its expert execution of violence. In a twisted way, that's enough. Siu Hung Mooi, Chin Ka-Lok, Eddy Ko and Bill Tung also appear.

An alternate ending was shot for the Mainland market and once available on the dvd release from WA.

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