# 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

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19

The Secret Shaolin Kung-Fu (1979) Directed by: Ko Pao

When kung-fu comedy broke primarily through Jackie Chan movies like Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, everybody wanted a piece of the pie. But there's a difference critically between those who tried to further established conventions and those who merely copied the exact same formula. It's the category The Secret Shaolin Kung-Fu sorts itself into. Stealing HEAVILY the same plot and scenes from said Jackie Chan classic, everything's just lacking in fun, sincerity and a compelling lead. Lee I-Min is talented physically and lots of that is on display but no action aside from some intricacy towards the end registers as there's no driving force here to make a selling element like action leap off the screen even ever so slightly. Therefore overlong, annoying and in no way wanting to be rescued from being looked at as shamelessly trying to fit in, The Secret Shaolin Kung-Fu ALMOST is fascinating from a market perspective but only for a minute.

The Security (1981) Directed by: Cheuk Ang-Tong

Security guard Wai (Eddie Chan) is the only survivor after a robbery attempt. The case of money from the transport goes missing and now the gangsters are after his knowledge and possibly this was an inside job as well. A gritty and raw thriller that is certainly solid but five star material compared to director Cheuk Ang-Tong next and last film Marianna (the soap/cannibal movie with Sally Yeh). Here we're fairly intrigued about Wai who's a former cop, rash in his decision making and awkward in wooing bank employee Ping (Patricia Chong - The Beasts). As it reveals a dark, downwards spiral, the violence becomes very raw, effective and it's easy to be on board with this experience because Wai is not a victim of circumstance but rather pays the consequences for several decisions made along the way.

Security Unlimited (1981) Directed by: Michael Hui

Michael Hui's The Private Eyes is a comedy masterpiece despite one big flaw; the lack of a real plot, making the movie feel like a series of comedy vignettes rather than fully plotted. Security Unlimited possesses those same exact traits but, unlike The Private Eyes, doesn't manage to maintain its comedic flow for the 90 minute running time. First half is packed with gags that may be looked upon as simple but the comedic timing is wonderful. At the same time, Michael and fellow screenwriter Sam Hui, injects a very sincere message about the struggles of the working man. Subtext that normally gets little attention in the comedy genre. At the halfway point, the comedy takes a dive in quality and remains 'only' amusing as opposed to the hilarious first half. Still, this is another essential effort for both the curious and old fan of the Hui brothers. Ricky gets more screentime here and is very likable as the new security guard on the force. Chen Sing, Lee Hoi Sang (actually very funny despite playing one of the henchmen) and Bill Tung also appear. Chalk up another winning theme song courtesy of Sam Hui as well.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

See-Bar (1980) Directed by: Dennis Yu

An early Chow Yun-Fat vehicle but if you ever were to agree on the fact that the future superstar was box office-poison once, it would apply to See-Bar (re-titled God Father on the vcd). Chow plays happy go lucky mechanic Chieh whose closest ones are drained of all their money via gambling excursions with gangster Kwok (King Hu regular Pai Ying). When even Chieh unjustly ends up in debt with Kwok, he battles back...

Chow presents an annoyingly camp and silly character in the opening reel, only to be taken down a bit to earth by debut director Dennis Yu subsequently. While still creating See-Bar as lighthearted, Yu squeezes no interest, humour or excitement out of any low-budget means at his disposal. Pai Ying has the sole funny scene where his tough guy exterior is penetrated by fear of being caught by HIS boss but the known performers here (that also includes Roy Chiao) had seen and were going to see better days. Same with director Yu who made the effective exploitation nasty The Beasts the same year. Wong Ching, veteran director Ng Wui and Chui Yee-Ha co-stars.

Buy the VCD at:
Yesasia.com

Seeding Of A Ghost (1983) Directed by: Yeung Kuen

Reportedly and not unexpectedly, Seeding Of A Ghost connects with Black Magic 1 & 2, creating a trilogy content-wise but that's not what Shaw Brother's were here to tout. No, Shaw's showed the world that they were a little engine that could when it comes to b-horror special effects extravaganzas with Seeding Of A Ghost. An effort that clearly lives and breathes on this aspect but you'll have to suffer through an incredibly dull first half to get to it. Basically Phillip Ko's wife is raped and murdered by a couple punks after being dropped off in the middle of nowhere by her lover (Norman Tsui). Ko hires a master of witchcraft. Let the games begin...

Softcore sex, poor production values, poor acting and directing mar this first half despite being a Shaw Brother's production but rest assured, the low-budget SFX train that you'll be on for the remainder is something else. At times really wonderfully gross and imaginative coming from an industry that clearly is not an expert on this kind of thing, director Yeung Kuen also gives props (or steals) from various other iconic horror efforts from the West while adding the unique Hong Kong sensibilities to the religious aspect. If anything it's a shame the movie is played completely serious and therefore it doesn't rival one of the great b-pictures of the 80s, Seventh Curse, but god damn, this stuff will appeal to genre enthusiasts! A crowd that knows to expect flaws and that delivery must be made in other areas. Seeding Of A Ghost passes with flying colours therefore.

The September Song (1975) Directed by: Steven Lau

Between the two sisters Yi-Lan and Yi-Lien (Sally Chen), it's the latter who is lambasted more often as she's not found a boyfriend, is undisciplined in school etc. Rather than going with Wang Shr-Chieh, a high ranking employee in her father's company, she goes after her big sister's boyfriend Wang Hsiao-Tung. Them subsequently falling in love triggers events in the family that is causing it to disrupt little by little. It's not easy to forgive betrayal of trust, even by a character ignorant of her actions until they're done...

An often gorgeous production with Steven Lau (Gone With The Cloud) in particular utilizing his studio interior meant as exterior really well, this emotional story rarely juggles those technical merits and dramatic intentions well. When there's no convincing beats leading into Yi-Lien's and Wang's romance, Lau never really rebounds. Not as melodramatic as you would think, still there's insistency from someone to go that route with the score and with many things in The September Song, the notes are false. Shame because the script in its small scale has complexity but someone was way too infatuated with how Taiwan romances and melodramas usually feel.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

A Serious Shock! Yes, Madam! (1992) Directed by: Albert Lai

A rare chance for the girls with guns genre icons Moon Lee, Cynthia Khan and Yukari Oshima to venture into darkness but A Serious Shock! Yes, Madam! (aka Yes Madam '92: A Serious Shock), rated Category III, gives us that and the efforts are worthwhile. Emotions and villainous acting does register on the soap opera scale at times but Moon Lee in particular is eerily effective as she is easily looked upon as a charming and bubbly personality but when she commits cruel, violent acts here, that is the serious shock of the film. Yukari and Cynthia are also given emotional beats to work with that are only bearable but notable for the genre, although it has to be said that despite 4 action directors (Fung Hark On, Danny Chow, Benny Lai & Chu Tau), there's relatively little action due to the film playing out more like a straight thriller. Albert Lai's direction is at times sloppy and certain details are brushed over but he deserves credit for for giving the battling babes an acting challenge and within the confines of the genre they usually appeared in, A Serious Shock! Yes, Madam! ends up being worth your while. Eric Tsang, Ku Feng, Lawrence Ng, Karel Wong, Lee Siu-Kei, Waise Lee, Fung Hark On also appear.

Serpent Warriors (1986) Directed by: John Howard

Although carrying the 1986 copyright, footage on display seems to lean towards the fact that Serpent Warriors was either shot simultaneously as Calamity Of Snakes (1983, William Cheung) or lent actors from that production to create this cut & paste product. Utilizing very little footage of the original Taiwan production aside from its intense climax, instead of snakes getting revenge on a building developer (Kao Yuen) that slaughtered them for his own benefits, the movie opens on an island in the Pacific in 1946 where mentioned building developer (now getting the character name Jason King) as a kid witnesses his sister being sacrificed by a snake cult. Getting a curse inflicted upon him, cut to adulthood and his wife has premonitions of some bad events in the future (a shared plot-strand from the original). It's soon clear the snake cult and their Snake Priestess (Eartha Kitt) are targeting Jason. Mrs. King employs help from a trio of Los Angeles scientists (Clint Walker, Christopher Mitchum and Anne Lockheart) and heads out into the Mexican desert to confirm the existence of the cult. As the slightly ditsy Laura Chase (Lockhart) proclaims: "I wouldn't mind a week out of LA"...

Rather kooky and whimsy, the edit here is quite incoherent when using the Calamity Of Snakes-footage as it's edited super tightly and without rhyme or reason. The animal cruelty that lead the original is almost nowhere to be found and instead the bulk of the film has the desert as its locale. There's some wonderful dopey filmmaking present however, with the Eartha Kitt led scenes, her hippie followers beside her and the following gun battle in the desert ranking as highlights. In a way, the biggest turn in the narrative is the humanization of the Kao Yuen character that isn't 100% evil now but only prone to not listen. He still gets a fair comeuppance obviously as the fight with the giant killer snake is something the re-edit wouldn't miss out on. Thankfully. As an aside, this version is probably the closest we'll get to an original language, subtitled version of the original as almost all scenes from the original are unchanged in that regard.

The Servants (1979) Directed by: Ronny Yu & Phillip Chan

There are no signs of what was to become the Ronny Yu (The Bride With White Hair, Fearless) we know today evident in The Servants and his first directing stint (together with lead Phillip Chan) certainly isn't thoroughly accomplished anyway. A fairly gritty take on the cops and gangsters-formula, characters we don't know much of (conscious choice) plan something big and entering are two lethal forces (played by Michael Chan and the explosive expert by Melvin Wong) that have at some time gotten Inspector Pang (Phillip Chan) over to their shady side. Pang's partner Chow (Paul Chu) is a child in an adult man's body, living at home, being forced to go to church and when time allows, he plays with his model trains. Chow is drawn closer to Pang's corruption and the actions of the latter is threatening to manifest itself as hurt for the innocent...

Effective, quick bursts of violence and a decent knack for tension are benefits within Yu's and Chan's direction but lacking most basic explanation why Pang is in business with the other side and why they bear a grudge towards Pang throws most effective storytelling out of the window. The Servants then merely boils down to handful of sequences working well despite being roughly put together. Future Category III brute William Ho produced.

Set Me Free! (1988) Directed by: Raymond Lee

Alex Man leads a cast of Mainland Chinese characters having survived political turmoil but still gets on the criminal path in Hong Kong in order to make a living. Director Raymond Lee's debut feature enjoys a different template as it brings in slight politics and drama into the mix but never really thoroughly establishes an affecting aura with its character drama. Much seems vague, unconnected and even forced. When Set Me Free! then turns into your old fashioned, brutal bullet ballet, level of watchability increases but not final verdict on the filmmaking. Cecilia Yip, Lau Ching Wan, Lau Kong, James Pax and Elaine Kam also appears.

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19
BACK TO TOP