# 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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Troublesome Night (1997) Directed by: Herman Yau, Steve Cheng & Victor Tam

The start of which would amount to 19 movies bearing the Troublesome Night banner-name, the three story format within one (but in this we get interconnected stories) sees Herman Yau head two of them and occupying itself with slight horror and satire of the movie climate of the time definitely shows it's his baby. Acting as our narrator (and playing multiple roles), Simon Loui plays Peter Butt (and later his own fortune teller twin brother) introduces the first story about a group of friends who's taking Ken (Louis Koo) for his birthday barbecue on a beach. A cheap arrangement as times are tough for these youths who are working in the film industry, they run into a group of girls ripe for wooing (among others Ada Choi) and starts playing a game at the local graveyard that comes with deadly consequences. Very, very cheaply made on location, it's surely part of Yau's point even though here and later on in the film, there's no evidence of high division satire. The ghostly sights (including Helena Law Lan in her by now patented creepy grandma-role) work more from the point of view of Louis Koo but the I see dead people-esque plot never jumps out at you.

The survivors of the first story can be spotted when leading into our second story with Christy Chung trying to contact her unfaithful husband on the phone. There's tangents about feng shui as a scam tactic and the possibility of the dead communicating through the phone bur it's all dealt with quickly and is not particularly scary. Simon Loui takes a more active part as the narrator and a character and his dry, silly delivery elevates the downtime heading into our third story. Frankie Ng has been seen earlier in the film shooting a xerox copy of A Moment Of Romance (with him in the Andy Lau role, that's how low the movie industry has sunken) and he's attending his premiere. However seating himself in a seat reserved for a ghost, the evening at the cinema becomes a night of terror. It's a cheap, mild trilogy of ghost-horror with the odd creepy sight, Yau's parody of the movie business he's struggling within and Simon Loui starts of a long running series in not a reference manner. But a cheapness, by choice or when forced on you, can and will lead to finding means to produce. Hence the ridiculous amount of sequels (most if not all in name only) to Troublesome Night.

Troublesome Night 3 (1998) Directed by: Herman Yau

Venturing into the horror anthology, cheapo franchise Troublesome Night for the third time, Herman Yau (who would direct up till the 6th installment), rather than separate stories he centers his threesome around a group of friends all working at a funeral home. Starting very silly with the boss played by Louis Koo stopped by Vincent Kok cop in a pre-credits skit, things fortunately turn a little bit more fun as Yau explores the cynical side of this particular funeral home business. Death is money. Yau has often had a pretty decent knack for satire and this quite obvious one does provide amusement. Less so when the ghost angle enters that is about a diseased female singer Beauty Chan (Oliveiro Lana) whose biggest fan is one of the employees Shishedo (Allen Ting). So much so that he seems to be consumed physically when preparing for her funeral. The theme of obsession in combination with chills created on the cheap doesn't work particularly well nor does the second story that we flow smoothly into.

Basically an even more cheaper version of The Exorcist but with the Hong Kong horror-comedy angle to it, it's rather embarrassing watching Simon Loui, Emotion Cheung and Frankie Ng ham it up. Desperately trying to scare with no effects added, what was meant as a fun little take on paranoia ends up playing incredibly flat. Helena Law Lan is her trademark, creepy self here as the ghost haunting the trio but can't impact the production despite.

Things improve quite a bit during the last segment that sees the character of Hung (Fennie Yuen) being abandoned by her fiancee due to his disgust of her working with corpses for a living. Herman Yau showcases the warmth a close knit of friends can achieve as Hung celebrates a memorable birthday with her friends but it's ended with her suicide. Emotions come to the surface subsequently. In particular Louis Koo's character Cheng Lik's true feelings for Hung are well played in combination with Fennie Yuen's emotional performance. An avenging ghost angle is inevitable though and shows the moods throughout Troublesome Night 3 have trouble clicking. It is the strongest of the stories though that ends on a good shocker. Also with Chin Kar-Lok and Shing Fui-On.

Troublesome Night 4 (1998) Directed by: Herman Yau

The 4th in the formula of three horror stories in one (interconnected somewhat too) offers up no surprises, original scares or budget so at best Herman Yau can be given the praise of delivering bearable and tolerable 3 half hour ghost/horror stories. Following a group of Hong Kong people landing in the Philippines for fun, honeymoon, whoring and package delivery, the latter piece of business is also the strongest entry. Alan (Timmy Hung) is delivering what turns out to be the ashes of a girl who died in Hong Kong and he's bringing her home with a little help from local delivery company man Mario (Anthony Cortez). Some sights of the girl has Alan spooked though and wants to bail from his mission. Again very standard fare but the subtext of looking at the ghostly sights as harmless and the girl simply desiring to go back home is a noble thought injected with effectiveness by Yau.

A limp second half hour with Louis Koo and Pauline Suen as a married couple receiving word from a witch about their future goes by without as much as an eyebrow raiser. Well, it does continue the rather racy nature to this 'Troublesome Night' entry (in the first story we get a sight of NAKED granny ghosts) and the theme of how men are lured in by the female flesh and sex but still, the main star of these movies, Louis Koo, represents the tedium of this particular collection. Simon Loui, Cheung Tat-Ming and Wayne Lai finishes up with their attempted whoring adventures that is going to come back and bite them hard. Amping the graphic sights and making a small zombie movie in the process, it's noticeable because of these frantic last 10 minutes but more tangents on how men are driven by sex isn't exactly setting the screen on fire. Raymond Wong comes and goes as a tourist scared out of various hotels and Herman Yau appears as a guitar playing beggar.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Troublesome Night 6 (1999) Directed by: Herman Yau

Herman Yau's 6th and last tour of duty as director of the long running horror series, normally we get a trio of stories starring Louis Koo but for Yau's finale, only one is told. Essentially the mystery of a model's (Gigi Lai) suicide, why there's vision of her years later and why tabloid photographers are falling victim to her ghostly revenge, on the case is cop Chak (Louis Koo) who may have, along with the photographers, been involved in the death of the model a few years earlier. Produced cheaply and not trying to re-invent the wheel, Yau's first half isn't interesting and downright muddled but the solid workhorse of a director generates interest in the very common story, has an engaging pace, some decent creepy sights and a surprising amount of engagement in terms of wanting to know how this story turns out. Also with Simon Loui, Helena Law Lan, Frankie Ng, Peter Ngor, Wayne Lai and Amanda Lee.

Truant Hero (1992, Wong Jing)

Mashing together random ideas, skits and broad humour around a plot no doubt inspired by the success of the Stephen Chow vehicle Fight Back To School, Wong Jing puts dorky policeman Hou (Alfred Cheung) into the role of a teacher trying to educate a class of ill-behaved kids (played by actors in their 20s, including Aaron Kwok). There will be wackiness. There is a fun, free for all tone present that Wong controls well initially. Ranging from the darker, bloodier aspects of violent triads to funny writing concerning Michael Chan applying his triad persona to education. There's plentiful threads and ideas here. In fact that volume and random tangents tend to slow down Wong's momentum. No doubt there's laughs and a comforting, 90s Hong Kong cinema tone but he is a little bit too infatuated with stalling for gags and tiny scenarios. When eventually bringing it home with a more violent, martial arts tinted comedy-conclusion, Truant Hero becomes a fairly successful, live cartoon via jokes already setup such as the frequent russian roulette-game and Yen Shi-Kwan as essentially a martial arts villain. Also starring Chingmy Yau, Sharla Cheung, Ng Man-Tat and Gabriel Wong.

The True Hero (1994) Directed by: Joe Cheung

Joe Cheung (Return Engagement) takes the story of a former triad turned teacher (Simon Yam) that inspires his rascal students (one in particular who's headed on the same path, played by John Tang) in a way you easily can predict. Neither bad, neither very good, director Cheung ends up in the middle ground, even though Yam or Anita Yuen don't put in the greatest of efforts. The finale also sports some fine gunplay courtesy of Tung Wai, Benz Kong and Tony Poon. Also with Lawrence Cheng (as the stereotypical flamboyant gay character of the piece) and Derek Yee.

The Truth About Jane & Sam (1999) Directed by: Derek Yee

Derek Yee writes and directs this winning 1999 romance revolving naturally around Jane (Fann Wong - Shanghai Knights) and Sam (Peter Ho) engaging in a turbulent relationship that has to go through heaven hell in order for the truth about themselves to become clear.

With a very welcome mature touch that involves everything between sugar sweetness to depression, Yee crafts a drama with your good ol' heavy handed sentiments and lessons. However Yee usually can rise above tried formulas and clichés. No different here and the tale proves constantly involving and laid back on a directorial level. True to form, another star is born in the hands of Yee, namely Fann Wong who is a true discovery and up to performing the critical journey of Jane. Peter Ho is suitably dorky as the nice guy who doesn't finish last while Chin Ka-lok logs a fine supporting act as Jane's triad brother. Cheng Pei-Pei and Simon Lui also appear.

Expected sentiments and genre conventions aside, The Truth About Jane & Sam hits all the right notes in a much more classy way than these vehicles usually come with.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

The Turning Point (1983) Directed by: Lam Yee-Hung

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Muddled and episodic mostly, with focus on a stern garage boss (Ray Lui), his relationship with his working class brother and rather people-friendly cop Elephant (Kent Cheng). A little love rivalry is haphazardly inserted and brutality from Wong Ching who doesn't smile once (otherwise a trademark). Lam Yee-Hung stages better cinema when turning his points towards a revenge plot and a fair few of the gritty violence excursions are effective. The score seems to emulate Das Boot but it's seemingly not lifted. Also known as The Cop.

Twelve Deadly Coins (1969) Directed by: Hsu Tseng-Hung

An escort containing a large sum of soldier's funds is stolen by the Yuan Cheng Lieh's (Fang Mian) gang from the Security Bureau headed by Chief Yu Jian Ping (Tien Feng). Suspicions about a possible traitor is mainly directed towards Qiao Mao (Lo Lieh) who seemed to aid the bandits. He is in fact trailing them to try and right wrongs and on the way he develops a relationship with Yuan's adopted daughter Rung Er (Ching Li)...

Hsu Tseng-Hung (Temple Of The Red Lotus) brings clarity, elegance and efficiency to Twelve Deadly Coins. Its setup is a little flimsy and it's not thoroughly emotionally engaging but the fact that it aims for the latter mostly (there is plenty of action and violence choreographed by Lau Kar-Leung and Tong Gai) is admireable. When humanity has room in the fantasies of the martial world, I sit up and take notice. Especially since the final reel goes for atmosphere by setting the drama in rain and makes some decent points about the dark cycle of violence in need to be broken.

Twenty Something (1994) Directed by: Teddy Chen

No huge revelations, undeserved darkness but a refreshing sexual frankness and sincerity about the twentysomething subjects, Teddy Chen's drama made at the dependable, professionals at UFO is by no means ONLY a passable glimpse into the shallow, destructive lives of twentysomethings. It attempts to mean more but falls short in a few areas, especially towards the end where tragedy and darkness manages to play out ironically funny instead. Chen's choice of putting Canto-pop and a manipulative score on top of drama sinks any attempt at reaching our hearts too. But the observations and performances help Twenty Something to gain a status as a recognizable, real tale. The core gang party together, strike up casual relationships, fall in love way too quickly and of course inside pretty much each of Chen's subjects lies insecurities, depression and dark secrets. At times interviewing the characters against a red background, it's a non-pretentious tool to elevate the insides of in particular Jordan Chan's Bo who must accomplish getting a woman every night. Farini Cheung as Jennifer whose extreme sex drive is medical in nature is another standout in the cast that also includes a large character gallery (that Chen keeps nicely track of) played by Moses Chan, Valerie Chow, Yau Chau-Yet, Cheung Hong-On and Bak Ka-Sin. Shot in synch sound.

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