# 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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Crazy Nuts (1981) Directed by: Lam Kuen

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Melvin Wong and Liu Wai-Hung open the flick in period wear and by squaring off but what seems like odd fits for an olden age tale rings very true as proceedings switch to modern day expectedly. Here they are Golden Dragon and Black Lama, two rival private detectives and in the middle of a valuable pearl hunt that more people are after than just these two. Initially, some fun gadgets and gags appear but soon it degenerates into unintelligible wackiness that has no clever highlights. However for those that are interested, we do get jokes straight out of Airplane, a deceptive parrot, a dance fight set to the Wong Fei-Hung theme, boner jokes and a recurring bit where Liu Wai-Hung hammers his dopey assistant To Siu-Ming into the ground.

Crazy Partner (1979) Directed by: Wong Yuen-San

Initially we see some of the "funny" and goofy looking supporting men out of Hong Kong cinema (To Siu-Ming and Yue Tau-Wan) camp it up to lethal levels but we're also seeing signs of unusual creativity within the grating kung-fu comedy. The various booby traps said players try to set results in a snicker or two and when later focusing on the largely worst enemy-duo played by Wong Yuen-San and Alan Chan, the unplotted shenanigans does get a positive response. Not so much due to comedic banter or chemistry but impressive physicality within such scenarios. Fight choreographer was Lam Ching-Ying and the constant quality of serious and comedic fight action makes Crazy Partner bearable. Finding out what all the random madness means, what it's for or what it is is a challenge but at least Wong Yuen-San settles on a plot involving hidden gold so it's a minor driving force for the film eventually and thankfully. Also with Chung Faat, Karl Maka, Mars and Liu Wai-Hung.

Crazy Romance (1985) Directed by: Tommy Leung

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Pairing up Nat Chan and Sylvia Chang romantically is a pretty crazy idea indeed and although the results are so minor it doesn't actually end up as anything, you've got an easy going vehicle ahead of you despite. Chan is a small time criminal thrown in jail by correction officer Ka Ka (Sylvia Chang) and through various chance meetings, the two in indeed an unlikely way start to bond. He's changing and she can change him. Cinema has a way of matching opposite types alright. Also experience the shenanigans of Chang's womanizing brother (Leslie Cheung), the usual offensive jokes directed towards homosexuals, a desperate prison break involving cross dressing, a kung-fu prison guard (Lee Hoi-Sang) and an insane traffic cop. With a Nat Chan never quite as annoying as he should be, here's furthermore reason why Crazy Romance has a tiny, tiny place....somewhere. Not quite sure where. Also with David Wu and Charlie Cho (also pining for Sylvia's love and is later assaulted by Nat Chan and gang in an fairly elaborate sequence of wackiness).

Crazy Safari (1991) Directed by: Billy Chan

Lam Ching Ying's Taoist priest goes to Africa, or rather crash-lands in Africa, along with a hopping vampire that ends up in the hands of a tribe, led by The God Must Be Crazy star N!xau.

One of three Hong Kong productions N!xau starred in, the promising pairing with Lam Ching Ying isn't the film's strongest aspect, nor is the film thoroughly politically correct. It does provide us with plenty of absurd and fun hijinxs though with the finale in particular living up the crazy in Crazy Safari. Watching N!xau being possessed by the spirit of Bruce Lee is impossible to dislike, I'll tell you! The African setting is also a welcome change of vibe to the genre. Peter Chan co-stars as the vampire and Peter Pau has a cameo as an auctioneer. Stephen Chow and Ng Man Tat provide the narration but their dialogue does not come with English subtitles strangely enough.

Cream, Soda & Milk (1981) Directed by: Daan Wai-Chu

The simple story of teacher Ting Ling (Lee Yin-Yin) searching for her brother Ting Dong played by Yim Chau-Wa (they were separated when parents divorced) and finally finding him crippled and selling porn in Temple Street is rendered ineffective thanks to director Daan Wai-Chu providing a lifeless, extensive character gallery. Ting Ling walks the seedy streets and locales with boyfriend and social worker played by Eddie Chan (Man On The Brink) and the extra, largely useless (in terms of their place in the story) characters (prostitutes, suicidal, troubled school kids etc) are the main problem. Not only are they vague, the connection to others rather unclear but the movie verges on preachy and deals in harrowing events just for the sake of it also. In the midst is a small family story wasted. Father is played by Wu Fung. The title refers to a drink meaning a lot to the family.

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The Criminal Hunter (1988) Directed by: Frankie Chan

Somewhat of a true definition of how Hong Kong cinema strings together their movies on the spot. What Frankie Chan highlights early is a quick walk through of emotions for Danny Lee's character, culminating in the murder of his wife and baby. You should but probably won't realize this is very much an indication of what's to come. What becomes a not so distinctive buddy comedy with Danny Lee's cop getting aided by a prison informant (Eric Tsang), soon turns into an experience that is all over the map. A really destructive combo of not only comedy, so-so banter between the leads (Tsang is at his annoying worst), fairly brutal action but also extreme emotions of almost the disturbed kind (we're not that far from necrophilia in one of the dramatic "highlights") in a way is unashamedly entertaining. Never tugs at any heartstrings or possesses any care-factor, it's Hong Kong cinema of the era doing its "best" and Frankie Chan is hardly interested in any statements as a narrative director. If so, mission failed. The Criminal Hunter has its actual colours though despite disjointed content, most notably in quite an electrifying villainous performance by Dick Wei who is the epitome of callous in the film. Also with Nina Li, Kwan Hoi-San and Shing Fui-On.

The Criminals (1976) Directed by: Ching Kong, Hua Shan & Ho Meng-Hua

Long before the era of the early 90s where filmmakers were scouring the newspapers for grim, real life crimes to depicts and spicing it up tenfold due to the freedom of the Category III rating, Shaw Brother's started a long running series called The Criminals, containing 3 short stories in 1 feature. Reportedly shooting in and around the same locations of the actual crimes (might as well been a promotional gimmick), first out of the gate is "Hidden Torsos", directed by Ching Gong (also the helmer of another based on a true life crime feature at Shaw's called Kidnap). Shih Szu plays a woman on the run from an abusive relationship but is trapped in her apartment by that abuser, played by Antonio Ho (Ghost Eyes). Ching Gong's experimental and in your face cinematography is reminiscent of Kidnap but he still achieves tension and an engrossing, grim tone. A silly voice over conclusion leaning towards the supernatural could've been left out however.

But the narrator continues guiding us through dark facets of society, continuing with adultery in "Valley Of The Hanged". Hong (Chiang Yang - The Spiritual Boxer) is a lowly, mining worker whose wife (Lau Wai-Yue - The Bamboo House Of Dolls) finds what she needs in De (Tin Ching). Marriage bitterness turns to hatred and to murder. Cinematography continue to do well but Hua Shan's (The Super Inframan) narrative lacks flair and possesses predictability instead. Certainly the most risque of the pieces as Lau sheds her clothes on several occasions.

The final piece "The Stuntmen" chooses the setting of the Shaw Brother's studious, partly but in reality is a standard gangster tale crammed into 38 minutes. Director Ho Meng-Hua (The Mighty Peking Man) seems to feel this pressure as he quickly takes Lo Lieh's Zhong from down on his luck, through the gig as a stuntman, being a pimp for a Tanny Tien look alike (naturally played by the sexy Tanny Tien herself) and ending up as a higher ranked triad boss. Triangles is a recurring symbol throughout these short stories and therefore no element of surprise really exists anymore when we arrive at this story. The Shaw's connection within the narrative doesn't even matter either. Summing up The Criminals, Ching Gong wins this round. Appearing in the various stories are also Wong Yue, Chan Shen, Ku Feng, Yueh Hua and Ha Ping.

The Criminals 2 - Homicides (1976, Kuei Chih-Hung, Hua Shan & Sun Chung)

Amping its supposedly true life crime series of shorts within a feature to four (with two being directed by Kuei Chih-Hung), the quartet is easily absorbed but uneven in quality. Kuei provides the strongest entry in the opener 'The Deaf Mute Killer'. Shot in black and white and feeling initially like a forced, stylistic statement, the story of a bulled deaf and mute (Hon Gwok-Choi) takes a turn for the brutal that amps the gritty quality always attempted within the series. Yes, people are extremely judgmental and evil in a way that doesn't equal a subtle, social commentary but as our lead gets pushed to the brink and violence is the only way out, the impact of death is quite tremendous and loud in black and white. It's an ugly world and an ugly scenario that works fine for the 30 minute format. There's less efficiency in Kuei's 'The Informer', Hua Shan's 'Mama-San' at the very least has the strongest action-directing and Sun Chung's 'Nude In The Box' brings us a courtcase and flashbacks to the crime. Mild interest in this last segment is present as we're curious whether the accused really is that depraved. Post-mortem torture adds a welcome edge but Sun Chung concludes rather abruptly with no pay-off to built up tension.

The Criminals 3 - Arson (1976, Hua Shan & Kuei Chih-Hung)

Shaw Brothers extends their 'Criminals' template featuring short crime tales within each feature. This time merely producing two, 'Gun Snatchers' about a pair of cop killers (Fan Mei-Sheng and Johnny Wang) opens and the feeling of it being quickie makes itself felt immediately. The location shooting and realistic style is supposed to add grit and power to even the short scenario but Hua Shan's direction feels very basic and has no lasting impact. One sequence involving a stakeout contains some effective fake outs but not only does 'Gun Snatchers' run way too long, it doesn't stay with you either. Same for the titular story of the second half by Kuei Chih-Hung about a fire to a nightclub in the name of petty revenge that takes the lives of several tenants in the same building. The fire sequence is very well executed but the procedural that kicks in contains nothing of note. Especially not since Kuei takes us from a crime to punishment-journey, leaving us with a very boring reel of courtroom drama. Had there been three stories, perhaps a snap to these two would've manifested itself but as it stands now, these are two scenarios that should've been 10-15 minutes shorter to stand any chance.

The Criminals 4 - Assault (1977, Kuei Chih-Hung & Sun Chung)

A duo of tales dealing with sadistic crime, character- and social injustices (and being very preachy in the process), series main-stay Kuei Chih-Hung helms the opener 'Kidnap'. Amping visuals and overacting (San Kuai being the main offender), Kuei still crafts some punishing sections. Ranging from the opening murder and kidnapping, there's even quality action choreography during a car-park fight and the violence is effectively direct. Sun Chung's 'Queen Of Temple Street' features voice over as a device and is really nothing more than a basic melodrama where a fishing village wife (Lau Wai-Ling) is sold off to be a prostitute by her deadbeat husband. The instincts are not necessarily wrong dramatically but Sun Chung can't bring it on a story-level. Eventually punching through with a violent beating and struggle for the finale (he could've reeled in the use of slow motion though), The Criminals 4 neither elevate or to sink the series. Watch the whole line-up if you're a fan of Kuei Chuh-Hung (The Killer Snakes, Bamboo House Of Dolls).

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