# 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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Four Loves (1989) Directed by: Jamie Luk

The Cheng sisters (Pauline Wong, Carina Lau and Crystal Kwok) are united in Hong Kong and are bringing in a newly found friend from Shanghai, sexy bombshell Chien (Nina Li). It's the time in their lives when a husband needs to be found and going through each suitor, it's seems that the presence of Chien is quite diverting...

A remake of the 1957 movie Our Sister Hedy (that starred Jeanette Lin who also has a supporting role here) Jamie Luk (The Case Of The Cold Fish) works little magic out of that basic story and Four Loves is basically just a trip through each suitor to the next (some being played by Simon Yam, Ray Lui and Derek Yee) without much character conflict being part of the equation. When that does enter, Luk has merely a shallow grip on the question of longing so the film never registers. The production becomes a fine looking one thanks to the ladies but I'd rather have a shorter highlight reel of them in this film rather than the tedious 90 minutes I got. Also starring Wu Fung, Charlie Cho and Anthony Chan appears in a surprise cameo.

Four Riders (1972) Directed by: Chang Cheh

As ambitious as it seems, with location work in South Korea and a story taking place at the end of the Korean war, whenever the cast and crew surrounding Chang Cheh (including his ever so watchable cast Ti Lung, David Chiang and Chen Kuan-Tai and the action directing team of Lau Kar-Leung and Tong Kai) went outside of the Wuxia and kung fu box, end results tended to get a little shaky. That’s not to say the involved parties don't make something entertaining with Four Riders. The story of soldiers in post-war times who ends up fighting drug dealers (headed by Hong Kong cinema Japanese mainstay Yasuaki Kurata) is a standard jumping off point for violence and bloodshed but is also downright sloppily executed, especially from a design point of view. With the film set in the 50s but containing groovy people from the future 70s and technical, illogical moments involving a very sophisticated surveillance system, you also have actors making little to no impact because there's not a single worthy beat to work with. 

Some tangents such as the soldiers are searching for their freedom again, being worn and then some quite illustrated nonsense about The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse makes its way into the flick which makes us realize that it can't possibly reach something meaningful in this package. No, we instead look at notions of heroism, loyalty and the slow motion deaths (some of which are quite outrageously gory) that correspond to Chang Cheh’s standard bag of tricks that are hard to dislike. Even the film feels more like a product of the Shaw Brothers movie factory that can’t afford to stop making but rest assured, this dip in quality or inability to achieve impactful quality from the legend isn’t an actual grave one. Four Riders allows him to have a bit of quick fun, making sure there's elements embedded that are expected of him and nothing represents this as absurdly as the gymnasium showdown as it allows his action directors to roam free without much logic. They in turn deliver some of the loudest, fast and gritty fight action they’d been involved with at that point so their game is actually elevated to a distinct degree. Lily Li, Ching Li and Wang Chung also star.

Four Robbers (1987) Directed by: Addy Sung

Mediocre and even boring variation of Long Arm Of The Law, our Mainland robbers of this one get into conflicts, drug deals and stalls the movie in Thailand to enjoy the nightlife and prostitutes (English dub version screened cuts out the nudity). Addy Sung doesn't involve with characters which would've been fine had we gotten an intense feeling out of the gunplay that he was aiming for as co-action director as well. Which we don't but on the bright side, when it's all over, it quickly cuts to credits.

Foxbat (1977) Directed by: Leung Po-Chi

Leung Po-Chi (Hong Kong 1941, The Wisdom Of Crocodiles) co-wrote this action-adventure with Phillip Chan while Dr. No and Thunderball director Terence Young consulted on that very script. Other sources claim Young co-directed and what you can say for certain is that Foxbat has James Bond in mind. Only they take the special, in this case CIA agent more raunchy, dark and violent places. Henry Silva is Michael Saxon, an agent assigned to retrieve data on the Russian aircraft Foxbat that has landed in Japan. Shooting the information via a camera in his glass eyeball, the film is stored in a piece of hard candy and off to Hong Kong possible defector Saxon goes to receive bids from crooks and agents from around the world. Among the interested is American/Chinese Dr. Vod (Roy Chiao) who has been working for the KGB and developed a mind control drug...

You ask yourself if Leung is dishing out the narrative in fragments consciously or if he's just whimsy? I favour the latter because as good as it looks for a Hong Kong production, Foxbat appears annoyingly muddled too. Henry Silva's Saxon hovers between ill performed and suitably edgy/dangerous but there's also no doubt there's tons of cheesy dialogue present. Some of it adds to a charm the film otherwise lacks and when it doesn't, director Leung has thankfully started his chase scenario that seems to go on for days in movie time. It starts when a camp cook (James Yi) swallows the hard candy with the film and into this race comes beauty Toni (Vonetta McGee) who may or not have an agenda too. By pouring on, Leung gets a fair entertainment factor out of the matters and the total tally that continues to be a darker Bond adventure is notable for that. Warriors are built by the end, which is one of the more subtle messages of the film. Melvin Wong, Phillip Chan and Rik Van Nutter (Felix Leiter in Thunderball) also appear.

Fox Hunter (1995) Directed by: Stephen Tung

Solid actioner by Stephen Tung that highlights a slick appearance of his gun and explosions-mayhem while also smoothly integrating basic drama that manages to not be as embarrassing as you might think (especially coming from an action director at heart). In a better than usual performance from Jade Leung, she is Jenny who goes on a revenge mission after being forced by monster, bomber and funnily enough also villain Yam Tung (Ching Fung) to murder her uncle. With her she grabs pimp Chan Kong (Jordan Chan) who assisted on a previous undercover mission and the odd match take to Mainland China to wreak havoc no matter what it takes...

We're not convinced a fairly good verdict will come out of the initial stages of Fox Hunter as it feels blurry in the action-stakes and the choice to intercut police briefings containing hostage tactics with the real thing is one of those choices you don't really notice. But adhering slightly to the 48 Hours-formula, only with more emphasis on action, Tung goes to work with A work possibly leading towards immoral places looking at the character desperation. Bike chases, multiple grenade attacks and automatic firing conveyed in a slick, clear way, Leung and Chan also generates worthwhile chemistry to make us invest a little. Especially Jordan has a likeable energy as the not so pimp pimp with more earthly roots. It's not heavy drama, nor is the style captivating but Tung gets by quite nicely by featuring lots of it in quite the superbly paced package. A seemingly realistic blend of Cantonese and Mandarin is employed. Yu Rong-Guang co-stars.

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Fox Legend (1991) Directed by: Wu Ma

Walking in the path of A Chinese Ghost Story, co-star of the Tsui Hark produced classic co-stars and direct this very evident imitation hindered by limitations such as budget but also imagination. Wu Ma is Hunt King who's after a family of fox demons who are after a family seal that will help a god to reincarnate. Headed by a vicious mother, one of her assistants is Snow (Joey Wong) who falls in love with the son of the family holding the seal. I don't condemn familiarity if done with some finesse and although Wu Ma delivers fun sights of the fox demons true shape and fantasy battles, the pedal to the metal approach isn't coming through like it needs to. It's all fun but a few notches to slow but kudos for bringing back his famous rap from said classic. Smells of wearing your intent on your sleeve but during this brief stretch, the fun AND energy comes through.

Fractured Follies (1988) Directed by: Wong Chung

80s rom/com that possesses the ability to weave in every wacky plot strand conceivable except for the romance between stars Chow Yun-Fat and Joey Wong, until very late. Still, we have learned not to expect much refined storytelling or plotting from this kind of movie and the era it's from either. Some of Chow's other comedy vehicles such as The Diary Of A Big Man comes a lot more highly recommended though but Fractured Follies becomes fairly enjoyable, for the moment anyway. Plus, Chow and co-star Joey Wong look good together and some of the comedy, in particular Nina Li Chi's scene stealing performance, works to a pleasing degree. Also with James Wong, Wong Yat-Fei and Wong Ching.

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Framed (1989) Directed by: Alex Cheung

KENNETH'S REVIEW: A little return to form for Alex Cheung (Cops And Robbers) but one that would come almost at the tail end of his directing career to date. Simon Yam plays Cheung, a former cop that's newly released from prison and out for revenge on the one he thinks framed him. It's no other than department loose cannon Rambo (Alex Man) and through Cheung's trickery, Rambo is charged for a murder he didn't commit. Ray Lui is the sole cop on Rambo's side and starts to uncover a conspiracy having to do with these framed cops...

Yam looks well in the zone as the very prison-worn cop with a love for his diseased mother but showing up in some weird, overly apparent clothing that announces his evilness whether he intended it or not, Framed does goes on some odd tangents not associated with the best of Alex Cheung. However a very watchable and gritty intensity steers the flick too, especially in regards to the Mang Hoi directed action, whether it's Yukari Oshima's martial arts or the gunplay he's called upon to do. The second half looses a little focus and shows why it's the Yam/Man presences that does wonders for Cheung as the comedic asides with the fairly useless cops in the departments doesn't work within the context of it all, however much it tries.

Freedom Run Q (1992) Directed by: Allen Fung

Cops Chang (Alfred Cheung, also writer and producer) and Albert (Lawrence Cheng) both go undercover but end up busting each other trying to rid the world of the drug angel dust. Instead the duo are forced to work together and one of the hottest trails in taking down the angel dust suppliers starts with a slightly kooky martial arts troupe. Within all this a mix up occurs between Tien Chi powder, angel dust, martial arts instruction manuals and an angel dust instruction manual. Wanting to flee to America, troupe member Chou (Yvonne Hung, who performs an admirable amount of her own stuntwork) is the one who ends up with the criminal loot and finds herself hunted...

Allen Fung demonstrated in In Between Loves a slight art in making very contrasting elements gel and certain similar train of thoughts can be found in Freedom Run Q. Priding himself more on the unpredictable, the buddy cop comedy formula is never as interesting as the wild ideas. Casting clownish and geeky presences in each buddy role if you will, that's a major misstep that bores/grates more than anything. But quirky inclusions with definite charm are evident when presenting the odd martial arts troupe and particular their old master (who thinks he's got more powers than he actually has). Even better are Fung's intentions when he cranks up the shootout ending to supernatural levels as one of the villains goes through a transformation after being electrocuted in a tub of liquid. It's of course also a sign of your movie being disjointed but unexpected frames are also signs of wild originality at play. Also with Elizabeth Lee and Bill Tung.

A Friend From Inner Space (1984) Directed by: Ricky Chan

Little Hsiao Chi (Leung Jun-Git) encounters friendly ghost Chien Jen (Sek Kin) and with his help Hsiao Chi might be able to pair up his parents Maggie (Josephine Siao) and Joe (Ti Lung, sporting a black cowboy hat in almost every scene) again. Shaw Brothers comedy of their latter, more mediocre production years so this potentially sweet and pleasant tale registers flat and annoying instead. Considering the talent on display, you can definitely put forth the theory that the filmmakers within the studio had stopped caring. Sek Kin and his kid co-star does show sincerity but it's effort wasted. Also with Nat Chan, Walter Tso (in his trademark inspector-wear), Elaine Kam and Wong Wan-Si.

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