# 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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Thou Shalt Not Swear (1993) Directed by: Wellson Chin

By definition, Wellson Chin found a voice via the horror genre and went for it during the 90s, more distinctly starting with Thou Shalt Not Swear. Affectionately proclaimed as the start of the "Date" or "Day Of Horror" series that also included among others July 13th and The Day That Doesn't Exist, the various films refers to dates in the lunar calendar.

Otherwise known as the helmer of another series but an unremarkable one (Inspectors Wears Skirts), Chin's first dose of, albeit rightly mild, acclaim centers around his 1993 horror-comedy here and while not THE director to dissect, it's a nice feeling to see someone find a way to express a cinematic vision their way finally. Dividing his time with the buddy-cop formula and low-budget spookiness, Chin gets decent chemistry and banter out of the Michael Chow/Lau Ching Wan match-up. Chow is doning his underrated comedy persona at points (him trying to learn basic English is remarkably well-sold) but he's the straight man to Lau's slightly loopy sidekick. The two bond, even share some good serious interaction and Chin also squeezes eerie atmosphere out of the low-budget tools at his disposal. A little winner therefore. Also with Jennifer Chan, Ronald Wong, Helena Law, Kingdom Yuen, Cheung Kwok-Keung, Tats Lau and John Wakefield. A sequel entitled The Third Full Moon followed in 1994, re-teaming Michael Chow and Lau Ching Wan.

Three Against The World (1988) Directed by: Brandy Yuen

Undemanding and fluffy when Andy Lau, Norman Tsui and Teddy Robin Kwan play out their wits against another, with the Koran scroll caught in between...

Brandy Yuen (The Champions) infuses the production with elegance and with such a lineup of profiles, Three Against The World has in it half the fun of simply spotting stars. For at least two thirds, that's as good as it gets though as the fun turns awfully stale after a while. Thankfully action director Yuen Wah is let more consistently onto the set by the end, delivering nifty fights and stunts. If Three Against The World wanted to be a slam-dunk, Brandy Yuen needed to find more excuses to utilize Yuen Wah's eye. Among those also appearing are Rosamund Kwan, Sandy Lam, Chin Kar-Lok, Teddy Yip, Chung Fat, Yuen Woo-Ping, Wu Ma, Shing Fui-On and Corey Yuen.

Three Stooges Go Undercover (1984) Directed by: Nam Nai-Choi

Nam Nai-Choi's last Shaw Brothers movie before venturing into genre he was clearly more apt at such as gory horror, sci-fi and rape/revenge, Three Stooges Go Undercover (self explanatory plot and the trio consists of Nat Chan, Kara Hui and Stanley Fung) proves Nam working with comedy wasn't a comfortable area for him. At best amusing through some well-timed gags and scenarios initially (and Sek Kin as the counterfeit gangster they are after is wonderfully colourful), much of the movie fades into indistinct territory and that makes even a short running time quite a trek. Also with Michael Chan, Ken Boyle. Weakly written by Wong Jing.

Thunderbolt (1973) Directed by: Law Chi

The Dragon Fort is infiltrated by Hung Wei (Pai Ying) of the Black Tiger Gang and after being destroyed from within, his is the most powerful fort on the block. Chu (Angela Mao) and Chen Ying Chieh (James Tien) survive the violent takeover and try and fight their way back to power. Chen in particular Hung Wei wants as he has a crucial tattoo on his back all the heads of the Dragon Fort also share. It's sometimes jarring seeing Angela Mao and the regular Golden Harvest crew in a Wuxia pian but director Law Chi (The Crippled Master) shows off the world nicely, with violence, bloodshed and otherworldly techniques (such as Pai Ying's whirlwind kick). Chen Kuan-Tai's action does strike a good balance between grounded and high flying though, with the end being a particular good showcase for Angela Mao hacking and slashing through a continuous flow of opponents.

The Thunderbolt Fist (1972) Directed by: Chang Il-Ho

Perfectly acceptable response to or echo of The Chinese Boxer, the versus Japanese and revenge storyline is present but with a loud, brutal edge to it that doesn't make it seem as that much of a copy. Especially not since Korean director Chang Il-Ho presents the Japanese as gleeful killers and the gritty and messy basher action enhances the cruel aura. All acting as a springboard for the obvious lift from the Jimmy Wang Yu classic as our hero gets crippled, learns the titular technique and in such a powerful way he'll be able to burst through walls and torsos. Loud and bloody, Shaw Brothers do well copying their own established formula. Starring Chuen Yuen and Shih Szu who lets loose effectively in one of the latter brawls.

Thunderclap (1984) Directed by: Tony Leung

Wild and frenetic are traits of Tony Leung Siu-Hung's debut movie at Shaw Brothers. It's your regular sect war with two of the common men (Robert Mak and Max Mok) caught in the middle but mixing dizzying events, animated effects and an almost full on 100 miles per hour pace, Tony makes us watch even if we don't understand any intricacies there might be. Mak and Mok's double act (launched since Mak catches and eats a bird containing the Fire Elixir Lord Tianmo played by Chen Kuan-Tai need to restore his Yin-Yang balance in order to go out and rule again) works neatly as contrast to the mostly stoic power struggles elsewhere. Add the fact that Mok's Siu Chun is an inventor having an hot air balloon, a telescope and essentially a shotgun at his disposal, Thunderclap makes a lot of bearable noise throughout its short running time. Tony Leung himself appear as our divine narrator that is questioned by the main characters at the end of the film, further showing no one was really being very stoic about what was going on here.

Thunder Cops II (1989) Directed by: Jeff Lau

This one gets complicated already at the title stage. A sequel in name only to Jeff Lau's horror-comedy Thunder Cops (an effort that in itself was a sequel to Lau's Operation Pink Squad), supposedly it was made to cash in on title and its lead Sandra Ng. Throwing out almost all comedy and horror to instead bring us a downbeat vigilante actioner, Lau's handling is rough and routinely plotted in several ways. However, despite being more or less the queen of comedy at this time, Sandra Ng goes down admirable dramatic roads as an actress for this one, something that would develop into something greater during the latter half of the 90s. Yuen Chueng Yan's action directing is also gritty and brutal (the stair shoot-out is a stylish piece of work in the 80s Hong Kong cinema tradition) and possibly employed due to the impact Tiger Cage made. Finally, the movie features a slight comedic supporting turn by Stephen Chow, before his stardom, as Ng's informant. Also with Shing Fui-On. Sunny Fang, Ann Bridgewater, Woo Fung, Eddy Ko and Jeff Lau.

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The Thundering Mantis (1980, Teddy Yip)

Another production doesn't realize casting ferocious badass Leung Kar-Yan in a kung fu comedy (as per the template of the genre, in the Jackie Chan-role therefore) is a fatal mistake. The man is not an ill fit for a lead role but rather for the happy go lucky kung-fu hero. And much of The Thundering Mantis is just a tired imitation of what came before it, where it hinges a lot on grating comedy (involving undercranking, a drunken master-character, bowel-humour and music cues as punchlines). Its sellable element, martial arts action, is largely affected by this when it too is a comedic scenario but when shedding that in favour of some seriousness, it's easy to appreciate the intricacy and talent the performers share. Eddy Ko looks great as the villain and the movie probably is remembered for the end fight where Leung Kar-Yan's goes insane. It's the sole standout because the movie is doing something different but for the majority of the time, it's trying to be another movie. Also with Chin Yuet-Sang.

Thunder Prince (1987) Directed by: Lenny Washington

An unusual animated title from Joseph Lai's library because the source from Korea (1982's 'Heukryong wanggwa biho dongja') is not a science fiction anime rip off but instead it's riding on the kung-fu movie template. Which isn't as transparent of a choice. With the young child witnessing his father murdered by a martial arts master and growing up desiring revenge, coherency is almost automatically ensured because of this familiarity and the production does look fairly honed technically. Featuring animals helping out our young hero, a character modeled after the type Dean Shek often played, training sequences and a drunken master, the actual animation does seem rather still mostly. Even when it comes to action it doesn't quite have the chops to spring to life and animated martial arts does look expectedly crude here. Only highlight really being a rather gory fight between a monkey and a snake that features another kung-fu movie genre delight: eye gouging.

Thunder Run (1991) Directed by: Hsu Hsia

Hong Kong cops Ju (Ray Lui) and Leong (Alex Fong) succeed but break protocol during a mission at home (being part of the Flying Tiger Team) so they're sent on leave. Vietnam is the choice but soon thereafter Leong is caught on a false drug smuggling charge and sent to a brutal prison camp out in the forests. The lawlessness of the land means authorities won't be able to help out so Ju consciously goes in after Leong as a prisoner himself. Seeing his friend break down psychologically through torture and gangsters bullying him, their friendship makes them both focus on an escape plan, together with an even more bullied dwarf in the prison camp...

Hsu Hsia probably rips off half a dozen flicks (and scores) for his prison actioner but being less of a seasoned viewer myself (and even if not), Thunder Run is a fun exercise in concrete, unpretentious intentions. Director Hsu knows to push buttons, meaning first of all a larger than life cinematic tapestry where nothing really feels like a life circumstance snapshot. It's all an excuse to go excessive on us. Prison warden played gleefully over the top by William Ho makes sure for instance troublesome inmates will get a bath together with hungry rats. Other sights include Alex Fong experiencing a cavity search, Ray Lui biting the head of a snake in defiance and the actor actually comes off quite well as a tough, action hero throughout the film. Add a seemingly worthless but in the end sympathetic part for the actor playing the dwarf and good enough doses of pretty general gunplay/fisticuffs mayhem and Thunder Run will mean easily digested, genre stuff to you. And that's fun when done even somewhat right. Ha Chi-Jan, Jason Pai and Fung Hak-On also appear.

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