# 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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Sex For Sale (1993) Directed by: Patrick Kong

As part of the gunplay ending is shown during the opening credits, it's clear Patrick Kong (A Man From Holland) is desperate to make the audiences stay. Fine...if you offered up quality during the very short running time and although the choice to throw us at breakneck speed into the plot about a prostitution ring, it's not only almost totally incoherent but devoid of entertainment that would make one want to sit through this Category III effort. Recognizable faces such as Ben Ng and William Ho only turn up to "act" and even Pauline Chan keeps her clothes on. Instead giving Chan the chance to come off as an action heroine, the stunt doubling is horrendous and Chan totally unappealing in that role. Multiple sex scenes lacking steam but not stock porn score register little and the moments that manage to do doesn't make the whole package worth it. Of note is a torture scene where a prostitute have maggots poured over her and cut material involves even more animals. Not nice but noticeable. One sex scene with Sharon Kwok has her under the influence of aphrodisiac presumably, basically raping men and women, making the film turn wacky all of a sudden! As quickly as it all starts, Sex For Sale also abruptly closes without us caring if that huge explosion at the end at all made sense.

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Sex Medusa (2001) Directed by: Tommy Law

Choi (Elvis Tsui) finds what he thinks is an illegal immigrant on the steps of his bar. In fact the girl Fong (referred to as Shit Fong in the subtitles and played by Nomoto Miho) is half human, half snake and has been hunted out of her underground lair after her laid eggs were destroyed. Shacking up with Choi who killed his wife in a drunk driving accident cements a connection but Fong primarily needs to be impregnated so the indecisive Choi isn't a good candidate. She turns to his cousin Marco (Vincent Wan) instead who along with scientist Grace (Carrie Ng) is looking for funding for a revolutionary insecticide after experimenting on snakes and spiders. Grace detects something is odd with Fong while Marco has debts with the triads to take care of...

From the usually empty wallets at My Way Film Company, Sex Medusa doesn't change any of that and the rough video image transferred to film on dvd borderline detracts. But the mish mash of storylines and moods reveals amusing charm at points. It takes a while before director Law realizes he needs to get the film (running a way too long 90+ minutes) out of talky territory and into a teasing supernatural one instead. Cue cheap CGI sights related to the snake Fong is including a view from behind a screen of her pregnancy in motion, snakes crawling in her hair and her particular way of devouring chickens. Oddly enough, timid Choi (who is also deadly afraid of cats... a notion called back later in the flick) makes little fuss over this as it's all about new female company in his life. A thread that scores unexpectedly high because at its core, the film is a little tragedy as well where ultimately the most evil out of human and snake may be the former. Oh it's not depth that is actually good but credit director Law for the 20 minutes of momentum he has when combining wild cheese and the sensitive. Anyone would and should recommend Phantom Of Snake for a more kooky, low budget look at the snakes in human form but Sex Medusa deserves space. Beware of images of real animal cruelty towards snakes and spiders.

Sexy Story (1997) Directed by: Danny Deng, He Ping & Chu Yen-Ping

Far from any sexy storytelling or actual storytelling for that matter, our three directors (including Sun Valley's He Ping) take us on wacky, short story adventures of the useless and crap kind. An utterly incomprehensible opening tale involving spying on a husband's cheating wife, musings on sex, the re-creation of said cheating and a voice over onslaught, it's comedic arthouse and really annoying. Not surprisingly Chu Yen-Ping directs the somewhat amusing middle segment ripping off Weekend At Bernie's but at least comedy is straight and simple. Finally, Sexy Story turns self aware as an interviewee in a news report in the film suggests the short story structure is lazy and lacking in quality. Leading to a short story that is lazy and lacking in quality as two women terrorize a timid salesman and seems to be after his sperm. Even if made as an intentional joke, it's still an annoying cap to a dumb piece of crap.

Shadow (2001) Directed by: Lo Kim-Wah

A Chinese teenage ghost story with as much complexity and depth that you would expect from the age group it features and for what crowd it's aimed for (again, teenagers). Despite, Lo Kim-Wah (Sunshine Cops) and producer Wong Jing seems persistent to make a dramatic mark here as attempts are made to inject pathos and somber moods into the fluffy romance. An admirable choice but one that can not escape the limited character drama that an effort like this works with. The instincts are correct however but should've been put to use in a story of more mature nature. Then perhaps the adult crowd would've reacted as well.

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The Shadow Boxer (1974) Directed by: Pao Hsieh-Li

One starring vehicle was all Chen Wo-Fu logged before his suicide at 24 and while The Shadow Boxer makes it clear we weren't dealing with a fully grown star, there was charisma in the real life Tai Chi champion. As part of the very proper martial arts values and morals of the film, there is occasional dramatic strength Chen is part of (dealing with tolerance within the Tai Chi style taught to him) but director Pau Hsieh-Li (co-director of Boxer From Shantung) merely churns out Shaw Brother's standards here. Attentive viewers may even draw parallels to the similar structure between this film and The Big Boss (Chen even had a passing resemblance to Bruce Lee). Yuen Woo-Ping co-directed the largely unspectacular action.

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The Shadow Boxing (1979) Directed by: Lau Kar Leung

a.k.a. The Spiritual Boxer Part II, a sequel in name only to Lau Kar Leung's groundbreaking directorial debut. It set the stage for the kung-fu comedy while also blending in elements of spirit boxing but ultimately in itself was an uneven effort. By 1979, when The Shadow Boxing came out, Snake In The Eagle's Shadow had firmly ignited the combination of comedy and martial arts and Lau Kar Leung's answer to all that definitely resonates better in movies like Mad Monkey Kung Fu and My Young Auntie. However, the hopping vampires makes their big entrance in Hong Kong cinema here in this a middle effort from Lau. It still means decently entertaining and Lau brings in familiar faces and elements from The Spiritual Boxer to an ever so slightly better comedic effect (such as the female sidekick, this time played by Wong Hang-Sau, who serves up the film's best comedy sequence when she's first familiarizing herself in the role as a corpse herder). As the drunken master, Lau Kar Wing's more substantial presence, compared to Chiang Yang's similar and disappointingly minor role in the The Spiritual Boxer, is welcome. Gordon Lau is also fun as the human masquerading as a vampire and most of Lau's regular players such as Lee Hoi Sang and Wilson Tong appear as well.

Lau's action directing, while accomplished obviously, never truly ignites and Wang Yu's Vampire Fist technique is more of a neat idea on paper rather than an exciting on screen fighting style. The Shadow Boxing and The Spiritual Boxer should be among your low priorities while exploring Lau Kar Leung's tremendous filmography as director and even he is allowed low-points.

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Shadow Cop (1993) Directed by: Albert Lai

Undercover cop Hsiong (Waise Lee) has a tendency to often have his cover blown and ultimately it catches up to him as he dies in a high pursuit car chase, leaving colleagues behind and newly befriended hostess Witty (Carina Lau) behind. Then there's the problem of a case of 10 million dollars gone missing before his death too and as a ghost, Hsiong tries to put together the puzzle while also learning how to contact the human world...

Very low budget (not even special effects are used when Waise Lee walks around as a ghost or trying to interact with stuff) but a well-stuffed package nonetheless, matters are actually close to light-hearted and darkness doesn't come as much out of left field as you think. Albert Lai (A Serious Shock! Yes Madam!) directs a bit on the sloppy side though, showing little logical progress in the growing affection between Hsiong and Witty and any other plot development just gets dumped on us quite sloppily. But nonetheless, by bringing in literally the angle from Ghost (and tons of other flicks) and with engaging leads, Shadow Cop is easy stuff to like for the moment. Also with Ben Lam and Kenneth Tsang.

Shanghai Blues (1984) Directed by: Tsui Hark

There's no denying the visual masterstrokes director Tsui Hark puts into many of his films. Peking Opera Blues (1986) was lighthearted but mixed in political intrigue and action into its plot while Shanghai Blues is 'only' a romantic comedy set in the 1940s. What a wonderful ride it is though! Only a slightly dull middle section disrupts an almost perfect blend of splendid production values, a handful of subtle visual effects and situation comedy (Tsui seems to have stuided 40s and 50s movies, looking for humour that would be fitting for Hong Kong Cinema). In between all that, Tsui carefully injects a serious message about this era of Shanghai but never tries to depress the viewer with it.

Casting Sylvia Chang and Sally Yeh as the leading ladies is so much a key to the success of Shanghai Blues. The characters aren't terrifically written as such but are enhanced in the hands of these ladies who make them loveable characters. Especially Sally Yeh is a comic revelation even when she's repeating some of the humour over and over again. She has a wonderfully spunky energy but is never is directed till the point where her presence becomes annoying. Kenny Bee handles the comedy routines well but sadly isn't much of a leading man. Still that weak link doesn't ruin, what turns out to be, a very endearing romance and Tsui's ending will have the viewers divided, in a very positive way. An overlooked gem that currently does not have an English subtitled dvd release.

Shanghai Grand (1996, Poon Man-Kit)

A big screen adaptation of the Chow Yun-Fat/Ray Lui TV series 'The Bund', a charismatic pairing in Andy Lau and Leslie Cheung plus excellent production values can't save a spectacle that lacks an emotional- and character-punch. God knows Poon Man-Kit and producer Tsui Hark try as they employ very fast moving and hyperstylized visuals. A modern tactic if you will that still manages to showcase the grand nature the period Shanghai setting requires. Couple that with bloody and entertaining gunplay choreographed by Stephen Tung and this seems like a winner. It would've been had Poon Man-Kit managed to make something out of the bloody friendship/brotherhood/love triangle type of drama but the attempts fall flat. Basic as conveyed, part impenetrable but ultimately not engaging, Shanghai Grand was aiming for a dramatic heroic bloodshed impact but that key component of drama is absent. It's all very pronounced and loud but that's not enough. Also with Ning Jing, Wu Hsing-Guo, Amanda Lee and Almen Wong.

Shanghai Heroic Story (1992) Directed by: Chris Lee

Chris Lee opens with some fairly elegant images to accompany his gangster story but soon it develops in that very thing, just another gangster story. This time set against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong with rebels trying to reclaim their land. Divided loyalties becomes the biggest plot point eventually. Lee tries to overcome his own shortcomings as a director through action but it barely registers as passable since dark cinematography, quick-cuts and close-ups are elements that dominate the fights. Things improve during the finale as the mayhem includes guns as well and our villain Damian Lau is a lot of fun to watch during these moments. Also with Roy Cheung and Vincent Wan.

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