# 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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Theft Under The Sun (1997) Directed by: Cha Chuen-Yee

After working his creative magic making both Category III exploitation, adult comedy and triad satire, Cha Chuen-Yee (Once Upon A Time In Triad Society) graduates to the big leagues or a bigger league for Theft Under The Sun. Julian Cheung is an undercover cop returning to the force but his loyalty is questioned. While suspended, he sees the man he failed to arrest, master criminal Dan Peterson (Michael Wong) and takes it upon himself to try and clear his name by stopping the man from smuggling missiles into Hong Kong. While certainly opening in an intense manner and displaying a flair for action-drive, once the main plot kicks in Cha Chuen-Yee runs into problems. With signs of a bland lead in Julian Cheung being apparent early, he's not able to carry the film and it all does not make for an exciting double act between him and Wong either as they take their act on the road (movie admirably features a variety of scenery though). It's by the numbers action-entertainment but bland is a word that echoes throughout most choices post the initial reel. Not surprisingly since their collaboration was so critically successful before, Francis Ng is given room to play it quirky as one of the few in the police force who believes Cheung's Leung Ka Ho has not turned into a criminal. Ng has a tendency to make what could be annoying choices dominant, fascinating ones and it's borderlining on the film's comic relief at point. But clearly inspired to be working with Cha again, Ng brings the grade up to passable during his scenes anyway.

They Came To Rob Hong Kong (1989) Directed by: Clarence Fok

Clarence Fok (Naked Killer) opens this Cinema City outing in daring fashion with hints at steamy erotica and viewers will also think he's slapped the end reel onto the beginning as the action by Phillip Kwok is almost too excellent! You're right in thinking that it can't be topped and as soon as Fok begins introducing the various characters that sets out to rob in Hong Kong, he takes away any actual good momentum They Came To Rob Hong Kong possessed.

Content with letting the plot rest and the players act in all manner of stupid ways in stupid situations, it's no surprise that the film is as well pretty stupid. But with the odd gag or two registers (Stanley Fung's fear of blood is sold well by the actor) and coupled with the 80s Hong Kong cinema charm, They Came To Rob Hong Kong becomes bearable thrash. It's funny how that end verdict often happens. Cast also includes Roy Cheung, Dean Shek, Sandra Ng, Eric Tsang, Chingmy Yau, Shing Fui On, Chen Jing, Chin Siu Ho, Charlie Cho and Kara Hui.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

They Don't Care About Us (1996) Directed by: Liu Kim-Wa

The debut from Li Kim-Wa (Sunshine Cops, Shadow) clearly shows he's not afraid to enter a teen state of mind and still make an attempt at sincerity. A rough package no matter how you look at it, They Don't Care About Us could claim rough to be the utmost positive remark for the film. It's Stand And Deliver, Dangerous Minds, School On Fire-lite basically with a very far fetched entry into its story. Brenda (Teresa Lee, whose inexperienced energy I've often fallen for... Big Bullet excluded) has on her horizon the Iron Man competition but when her friend Fong ends up in the hospital thanks to teaching, Brenda enters the school to perform an avenge of sorts. She indeed has to deal with a frisky bunch in the worst of ways, including pop idol worshippers that even has a special bathroom stall devoted to their idol Leo and possible triad rascals in the making. Mainly Lee spots and devotes her time to Kwok (Wong Kwan-Yuen - All About Ah Long) though, a boy madly in love with May. Many of these students will learn what hand life deals them and some needs to get on a path. A proper path the previous adult world already on a path weren't able to provide. It therefore takes Brenda, who is still indecisive about life herself. So it's a few parts adult maturity and basic messages directed at the teen audience but director Liu presses several correct buttons in regards to all this. You can't be too subtle when speaking to this particular audience but the movie neatly avoids being condescending. Some dark detours towards the end even enhances but They Don't Care About Us doesn't necessarily display a cynical vein. Nor should it and it's a sufficiently told, better debut for it. Vincent Kok, Matt Chow, Wong Yat-Fei, Lee Siu-Kei and Jerry Lamb make brief appearances.

The Third Bridge (1988) Directed by: Yu Kang-Ping

The last of Yu Kang-Ping's movies, from a career that took wacky (Can't Stop The War) and somber (Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing) routes. The latter remains true for his complex The Third Bridge. A local and tricky product by design, Yu regular Suen Yuet plays Ho, a Mainlander married to a Taiwanese who now sees his chance to reunite with the family he left behind 40 years ago as the borders are opened up. For undisclosed reasons at first but as we learn more as the movie goes on, the reunion will take on several meanings.

I wouldn't say Yu is unclear in his intentions but again as the fairly naive Westerner that is me, looking in, it takes quite a bit for the story-hooks to attach themselves. When it becomes less about immigrant policy and more about the emotions and scars that the reunion holds, The Third Bridge flashes a deck of cards you'll gladly study carefully. As the past is revealed, Ho's current wife has to decide her place in the equation and other tangents include the granddaughter's fascination with everything American. A little mutual learning from both sides, the final quite subtle end note to this professionally told drama has the term "open memory" quite heavily attached to it. So with patient pace, The Third Bridge studies its history, past and present of its characters with an admirably keen eye for the subtle. And when not, outbursts are well deserved. Also with Tok Chung-Wa.

The Third Full Moon (1994) Directed by: Wellson Chin

Entertaining sequel to Thou Shalt Not Swear, the Wellson Chin helmed horror-comedy with a scenario connected to the lunar calendar. This time cops Chow and Lau (Michael Chow and Lau Ching-Wan re-teaming) have to deal with a killer that matches the description of a solider (Yu Rong-Guang) that should've been dead. In fact, he's out to re-unite with the love of his that happens to look exactly like an unsuspecting woman (Joyce Geung) in the present...

The solid chemistry and banter between the male leads is carried over to amusing effect, in particular various odd detours of insanity that Lau Ching-Wan is responsible for. Nagging Chow about having taken the step into marriage, one annoyance IS Ivy Leung as the wife but director Chin keeps us well occupied with other elements. Gore level is quite considerably stepped up and dependant creepiness sneaks in at points. Chin even produces some minor magic within the story of Yu Rong-Guang and Joyce Geung as this ultimate confrontation becomes fairly affecting, speaking of life and death in sufficiently poignant ways. Jamie Luk, Tats Lau and Helena Law also turn up.

The Thirty Million Rush (1986) Directed by: Karl Maka

By mistake, three bags of Hong Kong bank notes slip through the cremation process. Eric Tsang is the employee that spots this and his plan to involve just a few of his friends soon fails and even a nun (Brigitte Lin) joins the hunt for the 30 million...

Typically wild and wacky comedy hijinxs from Cinema City profile Karl Maka (who also stars). He puts himself greatly at center stage and by acting like a complete moron enough times, he somehow manages to make a joke or two on his behalf amusing. A slight portion of that welcome 80s Hong Kong cinema charm is also generated, helped much by the fun presence of Brigitte Lin and Lau Kar Leung (also action director). Thirty Million Rush is only slight but mixing the faces and tone makes for solid entertainment. Mark Cheng, Wong Ching and John Woo also appear.

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

This Man Is Dangerous (1985) Directed by: Johnny Wang

Before Shaw Brothers halted production in 1985, screen baddie Johnny Wang managed to make two movies for the studio which started and highlighted Wang's desire to portray violence in largely a brutal, animalistic way. This Man Is Dangerous is merely reference material for the man himself playing the Mainland gang leader while Chin Siu-Ho's and Cheung Chin-Pang's duo of newly appointed detectives usually mucking up out of ignorance is a story strand that is a chore to sit through. Never shutting up at the right moments and spending way too much on wine during an undercover operation at a gay disco (featuring Elvis Tsui in make-up playing the Marijuana King), eventually darkness enters the frey and This Man Is Dangerous becomes more engaging. Starting with the theft of police guns that the Mainland gangs use on almost anyone who gets in their way, Johnny Wang heading these is a brutal, sadistic force that reinforces his knowledge of how a baddie should be translated to screen. Ending on several shockers, as usual nothing is fair in Wang's frame. It started here and would continue in movies such as Hong Kong Godfather and Escape From Brothel. Leung Kar-Yan, Phillip Ko and Lam Fai-Wong also appear.

This Thing Called Love (1991) Directed by: Lee Chi-Ngai

The director of the vicious Vengeance Is Mine switches tac to drama and an intelligence we're used to associate him with (Lost And Found being the prime example). The age old template of relationships gets a mature, entirely non-commercial (despite commercial stars) examination as it trades in being cinematic in favour of its examination... thankfully. Yee (Cecilia Yip) and Yan (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) go their separate ways after he reveals he's in love with someone else. Specifically his piano teacher Paula. Has it been the everyday annoyances, failure or fear to communicate that's brought this on? Nothing gets resolved before, only in the aftermath which is the focal point of Lee's film. Although Tony Leung's Yan doesn't feel very sympathetic and the effects on Yee are quite grave, Lee gambles with audiences sympathy by re-uniting these two characters despite, as anchors for each other. The path they're headed and ultimately end up on is welcome in its maturity, realism and subtlety. Something that is well anchored by in particular Cecilia Yip but the entire cast (in support we find Derek Yee and Rosamund Kwan) working in synch sound.

Buy the VCD at:
Yesasia.com

Those Merry Souls (1985) Directed by: Lau Kar-Wing

Lau Kar-Wing channels past genre success (Till Death Do We Scare) by going ghost-comedy on us, pairing up Yuen Biao and Eric Tsang as two stuntmen (yes, even chubby Tsang). Yuen is Lung, whose father (Stanley Fung) sleeps VERY deeply at night. Explanation being that he occasionally goes out of his body to claim souls and lead them to their new shells to inhabit. When he stops the order by refusing a lost soul entering Tak's (Tsang) body, the afterworld awakens. Oh, and there's some skirt chasing too...

While standard 80s fare and the two genres intertwining to neither bad or notable effect, director Lau can't exactly make extraordinary acrobat Yuen Biao walk in the shoes of an ordinary man. Relying little on Yuen's fighting skills, but successfully when doing so, instead makes the often annoying Tsang take center stage with behaviour akin to retardation at times. His high pitched voice in this intense mode will have viewers reach for their aspirin bottles. When eventually venturing into the ghost side of things, Lau Kar-Wing provides decent distraction but aside from the atmos turning macabre in a welcome way during a few select points, it's hard to feel immersed in this package (despite all characters taking turns to be possessed during the finale). Standard atmosphere, lightning and battling techniques ain't a bad recipe for 90 minutes of genre entertainment (and Lam Ching-Ying carries himself well too) but Those Merry Souls shouldn't be expected to mingle with the greats, ever. Lily Li appears in support while Richard Ng, Wu Ma, Moon Lee, Chung Faat, Fruit Chan, Sammo Hung and director Lau appear in minor roles.

Thou Shall Not Kill...But Once (1975) Directed by: Au Yeung-Jun

Title gives it all away really. Chen Sing joins the Shaolin temple looking for revenge but gains spiritual enlightenment. His fellow brother (played by Michael Chan) doesn't and falls victim to the temptations of wealth and flesh. Fights ensue.

Ok, it's not thoroughly fair to label Thou Shall Not Kill...But Once as just another kung-fu movie as director Au Yeung-Jun does display fairly good storytelling competence and ambition to stand out in a very crowded room. First half definitely benefits more from this as the atmosphere ever so slightly feels fresh for the genre and it's a vehicle suitable for Chen Sing's range as an actor. Not that I would expect it but fact of the matter is, there existed an opportunity here to leave out much of the martial arts without consequence and it's also a fact that Au don't distinguish himself in any way when concentrating on the fighting. For the moments where it does try, albeit in a crude way, Thou Shall Not Kill ... But Once is worthy of respect.

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