# 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 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.

The Setting Sun (1992) Directed by: Rou Tomono

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Japan's Nikkatsu Studio, a production house with credits going back to the 1950s, attempted a big, commercial comeback in 1992, injecting money to the max and serving up an international cast (Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland and Hong Kong's own Yuen Biao) in the big screen adaptation of Rou Tomono's novel. Gaining directing reigns himself, this story of mixed alliances, love and opium in the war times of the 30s and 40s is to say the least something that didn't blew up. It bombed and deservedly so as Rou Tomono bringing to screen his cherished images from text form first and foremost really looks incredibly bad, production-wise. No sense of grand scale or big budget can be found and even if it was there, the direction is seriously hindered by lack of background to characters, basic coherence and viewer engagement. Thinking depth can be achieved via historical facts injected at points, Masayo Kayo's and Diane Lane's central romance amidst this war for the gold of the time is embarrassingly acted while Yuen Biao appears totally miscast as a Shanghai gangster. Why Donald Sutherland even had a part in the film remains a mystery too as he's in and out quickly but even if the longer Japanese version would explain his part of the intricate structure no one cares for anyway, it couldn't possibly save The Setting Sun. It sinks and sunk Nikkatsu.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

The Seven Angels (1985) Directed by: Michael Mak

KENNETH'S REVIEW: The clumsy or silly seven angels of our piece are in fact police women consciously fired in order to be selected for an undercover mission at a hostess club where a murderer is running loose. The training is on, lead by their Sergeant played by Deannie Yip. It's intolerable, loud crap from the Michael Mak/Johnny Mak factory that has the odd, shocking oddball behaviour worth writing about. Most having to do with the way Deannie Yip raises her son as she pinches him in a torture-like way repeatedly at one point while we later are supposed to dedicate our heart towards this relationship. Yipes. The fighting over customers between the fake and real club girls is enough to cause Tinnitus and even though tolerance level is heightened during some darker passages towards the end, The Seven Angels hurts 99% of the time.

The Seven Coffins (1975) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

Ding Sin-Saai's (The Ghost Hill, Knight Errant) crack at horror at Golden Harvest isn't a far fetched prospect at all as his trilogy of horror Blood Reincarnation offered up a nice mix of terror and drama. The Seven Coffins is way too slow-paced, involved and complex for its own good however, wasting any worthwhile dips into ghostly atmosphere. A girl travels to a town to transfer her parents remains back. Buried in coffins sealed in an inn said to be haunted, the other coffins each tell a story of death, conflict and riches. Hence local thugs wanting loot hidden in one of the coffins. Many twists and fake-outs later, you've also lost interest to see if there was anything supernatural going on by the end. The roster of Golden Harvest players such as Tony Liu, Dean Shek, Carter Wong and James Tien appear.

Buy the VCD at:
Yesasia.com

Seven Men Of Kung-Fu (1978) Directed by: Cheung Hang

Chien (Cheung Fook-Gin) travels around the land to round up enough Ming heroes to tackle the Ching threat number one, premier constable Tso (Chang Yi). The likes of Chen Sing's and Phillip Ko's characters also join the fight. There's also creepy flashbacks to a wandering woman and a corpse or alive papier mache doll prepared for funeral. The deeper facets of this story doesn't come through so concentrate on the basics and you'll get the joyous, basic experience of a neat cast gathered up, a badass, red haired Chang Yi (with a killer bird) and a worthwhile gloomy experience. It's an experiment in something slightly different for a kung-fu movie but it also should be stripped down to its basics because it doesn't mean more than that. Also known as 7 Knights, 8 Banners.

The Seventh Curse (1986) Directed by: Nam Nai Choi

Buckle up for an insane ride with Chin Siu Ho, Maggie Cheung, Dick Wei, Elvis Tsui, Chow Yun-Fat and director Nam Nai Choi at the control panel! I love Hong Kong cinema for its class but equally much for its silliness and the movies of this director are prime examples of this. Nam takes an Indiana Jones storyline and mixes it with gore, pipes, fighting skeletons, bazookas and boy what a delightful mess this is. Yes, it is a bad movie but the willingness of the makers to put this on screen is so admirable and lovable. It doesn't reach the level of insanity seen in The Cat but should be experienced once at least to hear Chin Siu Ho threaten Maggie Cheung with a spanking....without pants!

Chow Yun-Fat plays Wisely, the brainchild of novelist Ngai Kong (who also appears in the sync sound prologue - Thanks to John Charles for pointing that out) and the popular Wisely character has also been portrayed by Waise Lee, Chin Kar-Lok and Andy Lau in movies over the years.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Seven Warriors (1989) Directed by: Terry Tong

A vicious group of robbers are terrorizing a defenseless village so they try to recruit defenders of their land. A disbanded army unit plus some outside influences, in total seven of them, are assembled to along with the villagers fight back...yes, it does sound familiar doesn't it?

A remake and homage to a little film called Seven Samurai, the Hong Kong crew does use it as an excuse to fire, fight and blow stuff up but as much as it is an excuse, director Terry Tong (Coolie Killer) makes sure respect is somewhere baked into the mix. Not that he can offer up heavy duty dramatic weight and he more than willingly does everything Hong Kong style, including doses of comedy and melodrama. Seven Warriors does however distinguish itself with its parade of recognizable faces and stars in addition to the mayhem that dominates the latter parts of the flick.

Getting more mileage out of Adam Cheng and Mak Mok's characters, also along for the ride comes Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Phillip Kwok, Ben Lam, Lo Lieh, Shing Fui On, Wu Ma, Chia Chiao, Fung Hark On, Shum Wai, Elaine Kam, Teresa Mo, Chen Jing and Sammo Hung (in an excellent fighting cameo). Quite a load of talent at action directors Benz Kong and Tony Poon's disposal and violent gunplay with bursts of well-choreographed swordplay makes Seven Warriors memorable as a Hong Kong flick of that golden era. Not so much as the distinguished remake it wants to be. But that's ok.

Seven Years Itch (1987) Directed by: Johnnie To

KENNETH'S REVIEW: From the director of The Mission and Election, we get gratuitous shots of bums and cleavage? Yes, before Johnnie To was Johnnie To, there was among other things a stint at Cinema City in a flick that feels entirely like Raymond Wong's baby than anything else. Playing husband Willie who is in his 7th year of unregistered marriage with Sylvia (Sylvia Chang) and feeling the titular itch, men around him advocate fooling around. Women around her somehow knows it's a fact men fool around when they've forgotten anniversary's. Well, Willie does after a Singapore set almost adultery adventure with Siu Hung (Nina Li) who is in fact just using Willie for diamond smuggling. The usual complications, grating presence from Eric Tsang as the brother in-law and little charm from anyone involved, Seven Years Itch is business as usual without any positives coming out from the charming-chute. Typical story moral is imbedded in all this including some fairly offensive views on women and the solid presence from Sylvia Chang doesn't even help matters either. Also with Wu Fung and Maggie Cheung literally runs through the frame at one point.

Sex And The Emperor (1994) Directed by: Sherman Wong

Wong Jing in his goofy, vicious, period Cat III comedy, melodrama, tragedy phase in the 90s produced some rather marvelously outrageous works headed by other directors. A Chinese Torture Chamber Story, this, Sex & Zen II and to a lesser extent the ambitious Lover of The Last Empress being that track record. In Sherman Wong's hands, in Sex And The Emperor we get a look at a filmmaker who at least on two occasions (the other being the trashy Queen Of Under World, starring Amy Yip) has put on a rather gruesome, nasty show. It would've been a much tastier cake overall had it not been so ambitious storytelling wise. Essentially it's palace power struggle and forbidden romance, done from the view of the young emperor Tongzhi (Sung Boon-Chung) who falls in love with his chambermaid Guilian (Yvonne Yung). The wrong choice and one of the evil eunuchs in the palace, long tongued On Dahai (Stuart Ong) has his way with Guilian via chains, whips, honey and worms before sending her off to the brothel. Not cool. Tongzhi's servant Li Liyang (Leung Si-Ho) is not actually a true eunuch and works on making his family line live on as well...

When less striking and focused in this busy storytelling department, Sherman Wong gets the audiences to react and while he's doing it for pure attention and exploitation, there's no denying there's a gift technically to provide this gruesome package. Ranging from palace characters having their limps chopped off and placed in a barrel, we subsequently getting a look at this vomit-inducing sight, the effect of venereal disease, horrible Stuart Ong torture to a character cutting her face off, Sex And The Emperor probably aimed a bit higher but will have no problem etching itself into audiences memories. It's notable in a lot of areas, not all though. More comedic highlights includes Julie Lee and Kingdom Yuen demonstrating the Eight Semi Devils sex techniques. Creativity felt in the Wong Jing produced A Chinese Torture Chamber Story as well, a flick Yvonne Yung and Julie Lee also had roles in.

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