# 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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Crimson Street (1982) Directed by: David Lai

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Odd concoction despite a straight narrative, David Lai's second feature manages to hold your attention by not being expected. The story template is easy enough, starting with Kenny Bee being let out of prison but soon on a criminal path again, heading towards a possibly last, big job. He encounters club singer Sally (Sally Yeh) in the process but she is under the watchful eye of club owner Paul King (Michael Chan) and in love with her is cop Pow (Melvin Wong). It comes down to the notion of who is less messed up in the eyes of Sally and it leans towards the criminal...

Much of the interesting aspects of Crimson Street is directed towards Arthur Wong's splendid cinematography that manages to make the flick quite slick as well as employing shot- and lightning solutions that are highly atmospheric. But within a flick that either can't seem to find a grip of its simple story or has decided to not use expected beats, we feel like a pinball watching this mess that feels far from being a mess actually. For instance a rather intense and funny bar room brawl between Kenny and Michael Chan has the latter showing us his weird, surreal AND psychotic side. He even goes to the lengths of channeling buddha's palm in a drunken rage. So when at home, he goes really postal on Sally Yeh in an unpleasant sequence and the effects of respective mood is there. It's just tough to accept the multiple choices of Lai's. Also included, Melvin Wong as the cop with some slight psychosis of his own, montages of bliss between what should logically be the happy couple of the film and a nifty action sequence at a hockey rink sums up the picasso tableau of moods and emotions Crimson Street has. Not art but not totally unworthy strangely enough.

Crippled Avengers (1979) Directed by: Chang Cheh

Chang Cheh reunites his cast from The Five Venoms (minus Wei Pai) but brings us a worthy twist: What if they were all disabled? Although its original trailer claims it's a story with meaning, genre simplicity is a fine and the better tool here in the actual movie. It demonstrates quite a merciless side initially as Chen Kuan-Tai's Black Tiger Dao has his family torn to pieces literally. His wife's legs are cut off, the son has his arms amputated, he survives (played by Lu Feng as an adult) and receives iron arms as replacement. Yihaa! The movie sure has started! But this family was or becomes tyrants in the process and proceeds to blinds Chen Shuen (Phillip Kwok), takes away hearing and speech of Blacksmith Wei (Lo Meng), cuts Hu Ah Kue's (Sun Chien) legs off and through torture turns Wang Yi (Chiang Sheng) into an idiot. Then the quartet train for three years and comes back for revenge. A fun and even clever premise, it's one of Chang Cheh's most appealing late 70s productions due to its scaled down but professional approach. How the respective disabilities will be conquered, how the training scenes are conceived, how the choreography will be structured around all this are aspects that keeps us going. These already proven, acrobatic and physically able performers respond to the task and although Chang Cheh lets matters run a way too generous 100+ minutes, Crippled Avengers is a fun time as well as easy entry point for newcomers. Also starring Johnny Wang. Seemingly inspired a string of similar movies including The Four Invincible and The Crippled Masters (with the latter featuring actual disabled performers). World Northal released Crippled Avengers as Mortal Combat in America but at a later point (for video?) the title Return Of The 5 Deadly Venoms became more commonplace. An earlier title in Hong Kong, Avengers Handicapped, can be seen on poster art for the film.

The Crippled Master (1979) Directed by: Joe Law

On the heels of Chang Cheh's The Crippled Avengers, The Crippled Master changes tac as it uses actual disabled performers for its above average kung fu cinema exploits. But it doesn't exploit or belittle its main two performers Sam Chung-Chuen and Hong Chiu-Ming but rather the filmmakers have sat down to make sure these are used at the best of their abilities. Above standard therefore. Losing their arms and legs in rather grisly fashion and subsequently meeting a yoga master (Ho Chiu), thankfully very little comedy follows and Joe Law's good eye for creating solid looking kung fu cinema makes us think little of standard plotting. The choreography is solid, being very intricate and creative in the way it uses its limited performers and subsequent work for the duo followed in Two Crippled Heroes and Fighting Life. The Crippled Master is also known as The Crippled Heaven. Action director Chan Muk-Chuen co-stars.

Crossings (1994) Directed by: Evans Chan

KENNETH'S REVIEW: A crap time for all, including the audience but this time we're not on board with hellish fate dealt to to good characters. Evans Chan (The Map Of Sex And Love) may deepen things somewhat in his director's cut (once available on VHS in America) but the 90 minute Hong Kong version doesn't reveal that much of an engaging tale. Anita Yuen is Mo-Yung, who's fallen head over heels in love with Benny (Simon Yam) and is asked to deliver a package for him to New York where he's waiting. Very hard to reach, in the meantime Yo-Mung befriends clinic worker Rubie (Lindsay Chan) who uncovers the darker truth to Benny. With Yo-Mung having put everything on the line, including family, the world certainly isn't smiling at her...

Through the various characters being generally unsatisfied with the geographical location they're in and the situation they're in, Evans Chan is venting pessimism that bores rather than involves. The writing is pretty clear cut, only not walking the tightrope of creating actual valid, hellish cinema. When dealing the worst hand to Anita Yuen's Yo-Mung, it doesn't say anything about the world we can't figure out without a movie experience. Certain sections towards the end are heartbreaking and ominous but it's not enough to flash a wee bit of excellence only. A solid cast and performances fail to elevate the material and the wide eyed psycho played by Ted Brunetti ends up being an unintentional funny moment for the film. Watch Farewell, China instead.

Cross The River (1988) Directed by: Chang Cheh

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Shot on the Mainland, Chang Cheh's most prolonged period post-Shaw's, in terms of settling on his troupe of actors (Dung Chi-Wa chief among them) goes from uneven to downright sloppy and also to top it all off, bad. It's operatic to the max as it centers the plot around an opera troupe with select characters about to become heroes of their time as they rise up against oppression in 1930s China. Many sequences of performing are included, many of which are shot with little flair and the trek gets even worse when basic plot isn't conveyed particularly well. Just because you have your characters talking of what to do, doesn't mean it travels to outside the screen. But extended opera leads to extended action for almost the full latter half of the film. Acrobatics and guns makes very much sense and the very tail end of the climax is set at a fireworks storage facility so literally we've got fireworks, that is watchable to boot. With the audience caring little for the heroism of characters, Chang Cheh may end his flick with attempts at poetry and style and it just shows there was life in him still. Life that unfortunately was leaving him for each movie that went by.

The Crucifixion (1994) Directed by: Danny Go

Wellson Chin produced this murder-mystery that appears generally solid but thinks it's smarter than it actually is. Extremely expository but less coherent and barely riveting, The Crucifixion is living proof that sometimes movies appear complex only to make themselves look good on that fashion statement catwalk of the genre. On the plus side, the mood is appropriately dark with equally appropriate lightheartedness coming from Michael Chow and Hilary Tsui's double act. Chow carries the clothes of the intuitive cop with little social skills but he gets the job done. Tsui as the spunky partner sidekick does little damage despite those dangerous traits. Also with Ivy Leung, Liu Kai-Chi, Mike Ng, Teresa Ha, William Ho and Shing Fui-On.

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Crystal Fortune Run (1994) Directed by: Chris Lee

Further proof Chris Lee the director proved more apt at providing the action beats than the narrative ones. Which could be forgiven if a fun aura and drive was present to the basic framework but it isn't in Crystal Fortune Run. Somewhat science fiction in style and tone, the movie gathers an alcoholic cop (Simon Yam), a thief (Anita Yuen) and a possible cyborg (Sharla Cheung) after the theft of a valuable diamond from a company who desperately wants it back. With some high flying action in the urban setting, the influence of The Heroic Trio is felt and Lee attempts to keep the frame lively through an active camera. Problem is Lee is a very capable action director but not good for much else and even with charismatic stars at his disposal there's painful evidence of them left to their own devices. Something that makes compelling actors like Simon Yam and Anita Yuen very boring and annoying. Otherwise director Kirk Wong adds some fun overacting as the company boss and the big industrial setting for the finale adds some color and memorable imagery.

Crystal Hunt (1991) Directed by: Hsu Hsia

Evidently and also painfully low budget adventure/cops and robbers film where lighter, comedic banter from Donnie Yen and Sibelle Hu doesn't play to their strengths. Sticking with Hsu Hia's movie though does reveal a few but decidedly long lasting highlights, in particular in regards to the Western cast. Cast for their martial arts ability and actually able to keep up, Crystal Hunt is a star vehicle for John Salvitti who is more than capable of following Donnie Yen in the acrobatic department and is one intimidating force. Increasingly so as the more brutal (and more interesting as a result) ending comes along. Also starring Carrie Ng, Ken Lo and Michael Woods. Cameos by Leung Kar-Yan and Gordon Liu.

The Cub Tiger From Kwangtung (1973) Directed by: Ngai Hoi Fung

Also known as Master With Cracked Fingers, which was the title given to this early Jackie Chan vehicle when re-edited in 1979. This is the original widescreen, Mandarin language version that differs, story wise, from the re-release version. That re-edit was made after Jackie's breakthrough in the late 70s and clearly took its cues from Drunken Master (with Simon Yuen, in newly shot footage, reprising his famous role) That story element isn't found in the original version and the flashback that opens the film then paves way for the plot where Jackie's character clashes with a group of local thugs. It's still a terribly boring martial arts movie but it has to be said that there's split seconds here and there of that JC creativity on display that would later bloom in the 80s. Despite that, basically every fight is a snooze fest and in particular the long finale is stiff fight choreography at its best. Yuen Biao is visible in this edit of the movie and is possibly doubling Jackie at certain points during the end fight. The Japanese DVD houses the original theatrical print with subtitles that frequently drops below frame and are hard to read even when they ARE in frame. Not that the plot is that hard to follow.

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