# 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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Shaolin Wooden Men (1976) Directed by: Lo Wei

From Jackie Chan's unhappy times working for Lo Wei (and Lo trying to get a new Bruce Lee to emerge in the young Chan), Shaolin Wooden Men sees Chan as a mute training at the Shaolin temple but obviously is in preparation for revenge...

Shaolin Wooden Men is a title that covers roughly 2/3 of the film and it's the most intriguing parts compared to what we get for the remainder. Credited director Lo Wei (Chen Chi-Hwa is named Executive director and surely had a firm seat in that chair as well) has set up automatic sympathy for Chan by having him be a mute but what sets apart the film from others is quite an unusually strong sense for visuals, for once not appearing forced. For sure several training concepts doesn't result in smooth technical execution filmmaking-wise but as hokey as the titular wooden men are, there is something insanely cool about this method devised by the ever so creative Shaolin monks. But there exists narrative after Chan's character clears the hall of wooden men so from this point story and action goes on routine. The so called windmill action of the 70s dominates but it is definitely fun to spot the few times where young Chan is allowed to flash his genius in development. Co-starring Kam Kong with supporting appearances by Doris Lung and Chiang Kam. See how many times you can spot Yuen Biao too.

Versions missing roughly 10 minutes consisting of fighting and narrative from the opening (original running time being 102 minutes) have circulated on releases such as the one from Columbia. The Fortune Star High Definition master clocks in at the correct length.

Shatter (1974) Directed by: Michael Carreras

A famously troubled production between Britain's Hammer Films and Shaw Brothers (their two picture deal also included The Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires), original director Monte Hellman (Beast From Haunted Cave, Cockfighter) was fired 3 weeks into production due to slow production speed. According to Hellman, the Shaw Brothers crew couldn't commit more than half a day daily to his production though so co-producer Michael Carerras stepped in to finish this rather stale modern day action/kung-fu spectacle. Released 2 years later (but not until 1980 in Hong Kong), the film is also known as Call Him Mr. Shatter. Stuart Whitman plays Shatter, a for hire assassin whose latest job on an African leader leads to international attention from a large drug syndicate. Supposed to claim his money in Hong Kong, Shatter becomes the hunted and takes refuge with two locals: kung-fu expert Tai Pah (Ti Lung) and his friend Mai Mee (Lily Li)...

This far into their history, Hammer tried out different routes, hence this second collaboration with Shaw's not being their second collaboration with Shaw's on the vampire/kung-fu theme. Admirable but the stale pace to the chase scenario is further harmed by ridiculous scripting and performing (the romance between Whitman and Li being the prime sinner). While the martial arts is tacked on and not shot at quite the standard you'd expect from a Shaw's vehicle, Ti Lung is impressively physical despite the production clearly wanting a Bruce Lee aura to surround him. The way Ti Lung escapes this is notable. Also with Anton Diffing, Peter Cushing, Lee Hoi-Sang, Lau Kar-Wing and Fung Hak-On. Censor cuts were required at the time in America so for a completely uncut version of Shatter, look no further than the German dvd release under its local title of Ti-Lung - Der tödliche Schatten des Mr. Shatter. You can pick it up at German Amazon.

She'd Hate Rather Love (1971, Hua Hui-Ying)

One of many signs that there were only precious few directors leading the way in Taiwan when it came to fantasy tinged swordplay. Hua Hui-Ying's film at hand here boasts decent production values and even quite an extended comedic side as David Tang plays mind games on the bandits he's asked to help fight. But Hua has difficulty breaking through as the story, conflict and beneath surface-motivations become clear. Resulting in a dull frame and the primitive, clunky action choreography fails to generate excitement.

She Starts The Fire (1992) Directed by: Lawrence Cheng

Famed for its poster art featuring Chingmy Yau in Marilyn Monroe mode, her iconic scene also mirrored to lame effect in the film. It also is co-written by Wong Jing which means no one should be surprised by the content that includes a character with breasts so firm they make deep imprints in doors, Michael Lai filming pornos, Deannie Yip drinking urine and Chingmy Yau in hot pants! Director Lawrence Cheng does nothing to stop this but despite this being run of the mill, early 90s crap, She Starts The Fire is also cheap, unashamed entertainment in a good way. The Firestarter connection does not make room for any horror and it's all another shameless, continuous display of Yau's beauty. Am not complaining but the real fire is provided by comediennes Deannie Yip and Carol Cheng, both, especially Yip, going out of their way to please the local comedy demand. It travels and it works. Also starring Lawrence Cheng, Chu Kong, Peter Lai, Kingdom Yuen, Damian Lau and Lee Siu-Kei.

Shock Wave (2017, Herman Yau)

In a way routine with no real flourishes and a 2 hour running time that seems daunting, Herman Yau still executes with an assured hand, has his movie star Andy Lau there to add presence, authority, effects work is surprisingly physical and well executed and there's escalation that leads to an impressively big ending. Getting its undercover angle and the revenge plot (courtesy of Jiang Wu's character) going quickly, Yau and crew showcase a fairly snappy pace and physical nature to the action spectacle through pyrotechnics with limited CGI and an Andy Lau that leads like few movie stars do. Canned romance and brotherly bonding between the cops acts as a basic but unspectacular springboard into the tunnel hostage situation where Yau provides both teeth but also that he's dependable for commercialism such as this. He doesn't feel intrusive, lets negotiation and tragedy work towards a final, crucial section towards the end that has us predicting yet doubting the outcome. None of it is revolutionary or truly means or anything but dependable people in front of and behind the camera makes it distinctive enough. Also starring Phillip Keung.

Shogun And Little Kitchen (1992) Directed by: Ronny Yu

Ronny Yu's cooking comedy should be sorted under standard but under a sub-section concerning even execution as well. Yuen Biao plays a Mainlander who achieves success at his relative Bo's (Ng Man-Tat) restaurant and eventually hits the big time with his acrobatic cooking. Meanwhile Bo lets runaway Feng (Leon Lai) stay with him and his daughter Maggie (Maggie Shaw). Feng is breaking away from his family but seeing as he is the son of the boss (Jimmy Wang Yu) who wants to buy the land of the restaurant, conflicts will arise...

Integrating Yuen Biao's wonderful acrobatics and kung-fu skills into a select few highlight reel cooking scenes, director Yu's puts equal focus into making him and Ng Man-Tat a credible comedy team, with fairly well-honed results. Flowing into serious territory isn't a drawback for the film as Ng leads the pack in a series of felt dramatic moments but do note that it's still within a framework of a commercial comedy. While dramatically exciting to a decent degree, the fire climax tends to forget to structure itself as character closure so the end product may be even but it slips a bit at the finish line despite. Also with Leung Kar-Yan.

The Shootout (1991) Directed by: Michael Mak

Produced by Jackie Chan, The Shootout by all accounts isn't quality but coming from an era where Hong Kong filmmakers still had it in them to deliver, it's a silly diversion. For the cop unit, played by Aaron Kwok, Leung Kar Yan and Lau Ching Wan, you've got Aaron as the lovesick puppy (target being Fennie Yuen) and a fun double act between Leung and Lau. Basically they all act like idiots up until the point when it's time to battle the ultra bad guys (who other to lead them but Elvis Tsui?). Action director Leung Ga-Hung here gives us cool glimpses into Hong Kong cinema acrobatic gunplay and stunts at its coolest while it's director Michael Mak that slows down the film significantly with the comedy routines. The elements still add up to a light and violent product. I like that, from an era such as this that is. As part of Elvis Tsui's gang, we see otherwise comedienne Kingdom Yuen not hamming it up for once.

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Shoot To Kill (1993) Directed by: Wong Gam-Din

Made directly for video by Danny Lee's production company Magnum, as with many of these movies no English subtitles were ever created but Shoot To Kill is such basic entertainment anyway that it's relatively easily followed. Lo Sect On (Nick Cheung in a role he probably wouldn't accept today but he should be grateful to Danny who landed him several roles early on) is a triad gangster who is let out of prison but he hasn't realized it's bad to be bad. On the contrary, he continues to mess up his family, corrupt his younger relatives and go on a violence bender with his gang. All this is up to Danny Lee's usual crew of characters to handle then...

Rated Category III, director Wong Gam-Din plays with the video format but swiping cues from The Terminator movies and featuring a lame, stock score otherwise, his chops as a supervisor for destruction and suspense gets paid off in slight ways only. Making sure to add extra outrageousness to Cheung's psycho character via bloodshed, the violence moves the picture ahead at a brisk pace but even with subtitles, nothing grand character- or narrative-wise would probably have been revealed in Shoot To Kill. Just sit back for a mere 80 minutes and take the punishment and slight rewards. Also starring Parkman Wong, Eric Kei, Lam King-Kong and Danny Lee appear sporadically.

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Showdown At The Cotton Mill (1978) Directed by: Wu Ma

The first film from Chang Cheh's newly formed Chang Ho Film Company in Taiwan, directing reigns were handed to understudy Wu Ma and there's certainly love for Chang Cheh evident. More in terms of film style as Wu Ma chooses to echo the dramatic director Chang Cheh was earlier in his career. A direct sequel to the Shaw Brothers movie The Shaolin Avengers, Chi Kuan-Chun reprises his role as Ming rebel Hu Hei-Chien who is after revenge for his father's death. Clinching that goal early, this starts a seemingly endless cycle of violence as he's now a wanted man. Back at Shaolin Temple, his teacher San Te (the character Gordon Liu played as a young man in The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin) dispenses the advice of not being rash but Hu's actions are already affecting the world. Especially his family where the son is clearly looking up to the violent nature of his father...

Aside from the fact that the titular cotton mill is absent from the film, Wu Ma makes sure to hook even those not familiar with The Shaolin Avengers. Creating the basic plot structure and injecting bearable drama having to do with consequences of violence, no one would turn their head in general but it's a welcome stance for an independent kung-fu film. Growing a little talky during some sections though, Wu Ma erases that critique as he conjures up magic via the introduction of Dorian Tan as a very cunning and manipulative end fight opponent. Tan sells this very well and the expected showdown with him using his awesome kicking skill versus hand expert Chi Kuan-Chun is worth the wait through a fairly sparse fight-fest. The crisp, clean and clear nature to the intricacy is commendable and Showdown At The Cotton Mill is really two of the best genre-presences in one package. Three if you count the drama.

Shy Spirit (1991) Directed by: Chong Yan-Gin

Predicted at birth to not last more than 24 years of life, although he will mature on the outside quite quickly, Long-Life (Eric Tsang) has his family deviously arrange a wedding with the local but poor beauty Siao. But peeping at her taking a bath one night causes the ceiling to collapse, killing Siao but not her spirit as Long-Life literally takes her breath away containing it. It's now up to the good family of the town, Mr. Ko (Chung Fat) and his son (Ngai Sing) to get Siao reincarnated but Long-Life isn't giving up without a fight...

Lam Ching-Ying appears at the very beginning only and the remainder of Shy Spirit turns out to be rather insignificant. While the martial arts is a big component of the film, whenever it seems to go cool and creative, shoddy wirework takes over. It doesn't help that the finale contains obvious breakaway props to the max and while there's the odd fun after-life scenario, Shy Spirit never goes off. Only remains stale. Peter Chan Lung plays Eric Tsang's father (!) while Dick Wei and Stanley Fung also appear.

Silent Love (1986) Directed by: David Chiang

Despite the English directing credit saying John Chiang, Silent Love is actually Shaw Brother's star David Chiang's 7th feature as director. A social drama, Chiang plants the seed of darkness early as deaf Heung (Season Ma - The Lunatics) is imprisoned for manslaughter. What follows is the story of her and her pickpocket deaf/mute friends meeting ex-con Kelly (Lau Ching Wan in a very relaxed movie debut) and perhaps finally being encouraged to give up the lives as outlaws...

But director Chiang's story is about hopeless outcasts and as the violent act draws near, it's easy to spot that there's no true salvation in the film. The study is very much worthwhile and featuring characters relying on sign language to such a great extent is a directorial challenge Chiang does well in. The social commentary and its examination is a bit on the slight side though and Silent Love never really goes beyond interesting territory. The directing gene in brother Derek Yee was and is more prominent but Chiang proved to be a worthy behind the camera talent, none more so than in his last feature Mother of A Different Kind. Also with Fan Siu Wong, Roy Cheung and Lam Chung.

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