# 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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Friendly Shock (1988) Directed by: Cheung Chi-Yung & Mau Wa-Kei

Despite being all over the map as it features an erotic scene, stunts and blood squibs, Taiwan's Friendly Shock is largely aimed at children. A mushroom like, tree trunk creature is awakened after being brought home from an expedition and the son (Siu Ban-Ban) becomes its friend. Presenting no threat and taking on human form partly, it gets a taste of life by tasting alcohol and cigarettes before the adults threats its existence due to its tree sap or transparent blood having healing power. Surprisingly restrained comedy-wise, the dual directing them keep matters very cute. The single line of dialogue by the creature Yia Yia on repeat will make you kill yourself though but Friendly Shock is an actual decent kids movie, for almost all its moments.

From Riches To Rags (1979) Directed by: John Woo

Poor Ricky Hui ends up winning the lottery and goes on a spending rampage. After what turns out to be a false doctor diagnosis telling him he's got cancer, he ditches everything and asks a debt ridden gambler to hire assassins to wipe him out. Oops...

If Follow The Star could on a minor level be considered John Woo's first, early flirtation with guns, From Riches To Rags would represent his descent into the dark. However it's more bizarre, twisted darkness and questionable humour that takes center stage during the wild, chase finale that takes stars Ricky Hui and Johnny Koo into a mental hospital with the patients running amok. Before this surprising turn of events, Woo as expected go up to amusing level on the slapstick measuring stick but as with Money Crazy and Follow The Star, there's a pleasant tone to all this, very much unique for its time as Hong Kong comedy cinema had a momentum that can't be replicated today unless you do a tribute to the old days (i.e. Wai Ka Fai's Fantasia). Sam Hui provides another fine, uplifting ditty and co-star Johnny Koo would go on to receive an award nomination in the capacity of cinematographer for his work on Long Arm Of The Law. Melvin Wong (a hell of a snooker player), Lam Ching Ying (also co-action director) and To Siu Ming (cast for the timely Drunken Master parody) also appear.

From The Highway (1970, Chang Tseng-Chai)

A village is terrorized by bandits, led by Iron Guard but stranger He (Peter Yang) steps in to save the day. Meaning this is a common template as a springboard for violence, some martial arts and bigger battle imagery towards the end. While below 80 minutes, it takes its time and feels very slow and internal. The pending battle seems to be on hold for a good portion but about half way in but director Chang shows there's vision present to provide tension and decent camerawork for some of the stylistic flourishes. It helps some of our leading- and supporting actors look very iconic during these moments as well, making From The Highway a quickie with some impressive facets.

From The Same Family (1995) Directed by: Jonnny Lee

Johnny Lee (A Day Without Policeman) wants the handle the modern day gangster movie aspects with some form of depth and as almost always, it really is there for the taking. You do need to flash some form of skills and creativity though, something very absent from Lee's work on From The Same Family. Centering on the rise and fall of Roy Cheung's character, with a little spirituality thrown in, Lee's at times manic style distracts more than it is a benefactor. He tries to sell as this as efficiency but it creates even more distance from characters we early on guess won't be much to care for anyway. The triad lifestyle is an endless cycle and that's how From The Same Family feels too. Also with Hilary Tsui, Jimmy Wong and Lam Man-Lung.

From Vegas To Macau (2014) Directed by: Wong Jing

Awful from beginning to end, Chow Yun-Fat's return to being under the watchful (or rather ill) eye of Wong Jing was a hit in 2014 and at the time of writing has sparked an incredibly successful 3D sequel and an announced third movie. Largely unrelated to the God of Gamblers universe, Chow is the sole performer showing a broad spark that can be spoken of with any kind of fondness. The energy is at times infectious and even some of Wong Jing's gags linger due to being inspired. But that's some, during a 90 minute running time that tries a lot. Chief offender being over the top antics from Chapman To who is a large reason for the failure at hand here but Wong Jing has no gas in the tank to make the humour click in 2014. He may be working with one of his past performers but the whole affair is a flatline one. Action-wise there's way too much focus on rapid editing and tight framing which nullified any promising choreography and the only setpiece that comes off as anywhere near noteworthy is a break in into Chow's mansion with bear traps etc ready to go. Also with Nic Tse and Hui Siu-Hung.

From Zero To Hero (1994) Directed by: David Wu

A repressed writer of adult comic books (Francis Ng) gets hit by a car and all of a suddenly seems to possess superpowers when provoked. David Wu's film (co-written by Cheung Tat-Ming) neatly walks that line between fantasy and reality as Ng's lead character clearly has a streak of psychologically disturbed behaviour in him. Wu is not trying to convince us that an actual fantasy have come to life, even though the film does take off-beat, out there turns at times. Ng in the lead proves to be amusing and as his mother protesting against these types of comics (enter satire), Cheng Pei-Pei even proves that a touching performance can come out of this. Some very cool bits emerge, especially when we see Ng in his superhero costume, speaking "Japanese" (spouting brand names and other assorted nonsense) and afterwards violating anyone he's saved, including old people and animals. This combo however of social satire and black comedy doesn't come with any true poignancy and is probably a bit too silly for its own good (the inclusion of a guitar player as some form of musical narrator is a puzzling choice). Shot in synch sound, co-stars include Joseph Cheng, Anita Lee, Dayo Wong and Emily Kwan.

Front Page (1990) Directed by: Phillip Chan

Unless you count Sam Hui's cameo in Chicken And Duck Talk, Front Page saw the reunion between of Sam, Michael and Ricky Hui for the first time since their comedy classic Security Unlimited. Staying true to their formula by tapping into social satire, Phillip Chan's direction of it all may have gotten the lot box-office success but the flick isn't a TRUE return to form. However there exists worthwhile chemistry between the trio still and neither brother is afraid to run the distance in terms of silliness.

Chan and Michael Hui collaborated on the script that sees the latter playing the editor of the magazine "Truth Weekly" and he realizes no one wants clean, politically correct news in Hong Kong. People want scandals, gossip and smut so the Hui-trio in skit-form sets out to exploit in the name of sales. It gets insane already when we read the translation of Sam's theme song that advocates getting stoned, paging your buddies and watching movies. We are then offered up a rather evident skit structure that sees the trio trying to manufacture celebrity ghost stories, adultery gossip but they also stop a while to cheat on each other at mahjong. The insistence on being as silly as you can is first best served up in the mahjong game where Sam and Ricky are equipped with special contacts lenses in order to gain advantage. They also glow in the dark. Cue ghost joke. When later trying to set up Catherine Hung's Sandy by all acting like a retarded family in order to get a story of her cheating on her husband, actual laughs are soon exchanged for expected conscience and Front Page certainly never earns its satire fully. Lau Siu-Ming singing bad karaoke and Sam Hui desperately trying to achieve martial arts prowess Bruce Lee never had are minor fun tangents as well in a welcome work but not a fully realized one. Mostly shot in synch sound and also appearing are Teddy Yip, Teresa Mo, Paul Chun, Tai Po, Lee Hoi-Sang and Yuen Shun-Yi.

Full Contact (1992) Directed by: Ringo Lam

Full Contact is not an effort neither Ringo Lam or Chow Yun-Fat will quote as their proudest moment at the end of their days, even though it's a fan favourite overseas. Lam stated that it was a money vehicle for him and not a personal one akin to Wild Search or School On Fire while Chow recognized that his character was way too evil for both his and the Hong Kong audiences tastes. Perhaps they're right but it's a guilty pleasure ride despite!

A revenge and redemption story set amongst the baddest of the bad, Full Contact is clearly placed within the characteristics of the heroic bloodshed genre but even the best of those efforts had characters with some form of true nobility as gangsters. Lam and writer Nam Yin instead opts to gravely pull the rug underneath our feet to give us repulsive and highly unsympathetic characters outside of the slight journey Chow Yun-Fat's Jeff goes through. By doing this, they also kick all aspects into high, over the top gear, meaning gory violence, seedy environments, an atmospheric Teddy Robin Kwan guitar score and it's definitely very much close to an anti-heroic bloodshed film. Yet, it's literally bloody, harmless adult entertainment despite all the nastiness on display and Lam does shows off great style to boot (most famously through the use of the "bullet-cam"). Chow Yun-Fat is, despite his character ways, still the coolest cat in Hong Kong cinema and Simon Yam uses his flamboyance to delivery a colourful, gay villain. The final confrontation between the two comes with one of the most quoted subtitles of the film. Anthony Wong, Ann Bridgewater, Frankie Ng and Bonnie Fu co-stars.

The original cinema version played with a Category II rating but later Cat III rated video versions reinstated several moments of gore (the Mei Ah dvd incorrectly states that it's still Cat II). There's also evidence in the film of at least one deleted scene that involves Anthony Wong's Sam forced by Yam's Judge to bring the eyes of Jeff as evidence that he's killed him. Wong reportedly instead cuts out the eyes of one of the killed family members in the house where this all takes place. Him then exiting the house shows him grasping on something in his hands (a shot that's in the film) and what would've followed was Judge placing the eye balls in his mouth. It's not quite The Big Boss status on this lost scene but still...

In later years, an alternate soundtrack has turned up on Columbia Tri-Star's release and the UK Hong Kong Legends dvd. Most notably, much of Teddy Robin's score is gone in favour of even more tracks culled from Extreme's Pornograffitti album (outside of "Get The Funk Out" that plays over the opening credits on every version). Mei Ah presents the soundtrack many have listened to over the years but the debate goes on about the validity of the newly surfaced track. It's your choice.

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Full Strike (2015, Derek Kwok & Henri Wong)

After having fallen from grace, former badminton ace Ng Kau Chun (Josie Ho) thinks she sees an asteroid in the form of a shuttlecock, is chased by an alien but then stumbles onto a badminton club inhabited by a group of misfits. Well, former robbers actually (consisting of Ekin Cheng, Wilfred Lau, Edmond Leung and their drunken master played by Andrew Lam) who wants to do good. There is an upcoming tournament and these rookies are in need of getting in shape, physically and mentally. Directors Kwok and Wong are a bit too love with their perceived cleverness initially as dark and moody cinematography and style merges with the sports-movie scenario. Which leads to some of the droll comedy being obscured. But they do find a groove, even through broad characters like Ronald Cheng's, tons of cursing, puking and even arguing that this is a redemption story to care for. After shedding some quirks, it turns out Kwok and Wong are in tune and even in love with the sports-movie and its themes. So initially distant leads to a rather alive, loud, consciously overwrought and entertaining take on the material. And come on, who expected a Hong Kong badminton movie in this day and age? That alone merits a watch.

Funeral March (2001) Directed by: Joe Ma

Going into this with Dummy Mummy, Without A Baby fresh in my mind, I wasn't expecting anything anymore from something DIRECTED by Joe Ma. How wonderful it is to be wrong sometimes though. Funeral March is not a triumph that will stand next to similar works like Juliet In Love or C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri but it's a very solid romantic drama nonetheless. Charlene Choi plays a young woman diagnosed with cancer and she enlists funeral director Duan (Eason Chan). Along the way he gives her meaning and strength back to consider a possible life saving operation. Beautifully shot and scored (Ma sure likes to fill his films with wall to wall music), this is a work with unexpected subtlety. Eason and Charlene are good together in roles that requires more from them than just playing versions of themselves, like some pop stars do. If you've seen way too many movies, some of you will spot the plot twist before your normal moviegoer but it doesn't detract from what is a touching little drama.

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