# 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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First Love: The Litter On The Breeze (1997) Directed by: Eric Kot

Who would've thought that aggravating comic Eric Kot, who directed arguably the most abnormal episode of 4 Faces Of Eve would go on to log a scattered yet emotionally felt arthouse experiment? I certainly didn't and generally not being a fan of this genre of cinema either, First Love: The Litter On The Breeze genuinely is flawed as well as being some kind of great gem of proportions hard to define.

Kot is an extremely conscious guy, opting to give the film a direction where we're instead watching the making of the arthouse film backed by Wong Kar-Wai (producer) and Christopher Doyle (cinematographer). Kot appears in video segments talking about trying to find a direction for his musings on first love, seemingly making up crap as he goes along (true old school way of creating fine Hong Kong films) and aiding us through it all via visual- and audio commentary at select points.

If it sounds frantic and fragmented, you wouldn't have assumed wrong and Kot's laid back attitude and actually mistreatment of the audience is perhaps the biggest delight of his film. Kot eventually finds two stories he likes, going over unusual, joyous first love and love where destruction has entered. It's the quirky touches on display, ones that Kot in his commentary acknowledges aren't meant for interpretation (a sly dig at viewers wanting to interpret every single frame and one of many examples of the kind of off-beat humour served up) that eventually leads into visual poetry of a rather felt kind. Aided by an equally quirky but perfect score for Kot's surroundings, anti-arthouse camps should give First Love: The Litter On The Breeze a shot. It isn't a chore to find Kot's telling moments. It's instead a lot of fun watching him come to a conclusion that is as meaningful for his characters as it is for him as a director. Our firsts aren't perfect but as delightful as anything we as humans can ever experience. With Takeshi Kaneshiro and Karen Mok.

First Option (1996, Gordon Chan

Logically unable to bring back Michael Wong’s Stone Wong from 1994’s The Final Option, SDU action and cop soap opera combination continues with Michael as DON Wong. Working and clashing with the Customs Department (including with Gigi Leung’s inexperienced Inspector Kwan) as his task force tries to catch drug dealers from Thailand, Gordon Chan wisely turns away from the training regime of The Final Option and instead gives us a tight, professional action film where the dangers of breaching a room and location is not only filmed with clarity and realism but feels dangerous and exciting as well. It helps that Michael Wong is finding further comfort in his now trademark SDU role (he was eventually nominated at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his performance) and Bruce Law's action choreography makes the film consistently thrilling (an extended middle sequence where everything goes wrong and lives are lost is the best example of his work). The characters are pretty tropey though, with Don Wong being somewhat psychologically unstable and dealing with a troubled home life, but mostly Chan keeps us in the field or at home base dealing with the escalating scenario at hand. That makes it a tighter experience and while Gigi Leung’s role as an experienced woman in this never finds a footing (nor does the actress), we can blame this on the script being underwritten and having an eye for Don Wong’s clichéd journey first and foremost. But with a more experienced actor clearly enjoying his role, that is worthy to follow and the script allows for his leadership skills in times of low morale to be inspiring. Via the usage of "the big speech" of films but it’s one of Wong’s most assured moments as an actor. Surrounded by bit players and supporting actors of note, Damian Lau, Lee Fung and Richard Grosse also make up the key cast.

First Shot (1993) Directed by: David Lam

Dealing with the formation The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for a second time in 2 years (prior year saw the release of Powerful Four), David Lam is pretty much using historical and crucial points in Hong Kong history as springboard for the action picture he's crafting. But compared to Powerful Four, this time Lam realizes earlier that he's no history professor but a professor of good looking Hong Kong cinema and action.

Ti Lung plays Wong Yat Chung who's miraculously survived being shot at the hands of rookie cop Sam Mok (Simon Yam) who's one of the many in the police force drawn to the money there is in being corrupted. Solicitor Annie Ma (Maggie Cheung) contacts Wong to head the Internal Revenue as a way of trying to clear out corruption. Recruiting a trigger happy pretty boy (Andy Hui), a Bruce Lee fanatic (Lau Sek-Ming) and Sam Mok as a way of making him pay back, the quartet have their hands full as many of their fellow officers are continually accepting money from powerful gangster Lui Tai Chiu (Waise Lee). The closer they get, the more the bloodshed and violence increases on a personal level.

A movie not overbearing with period detail but nevertheless captures the 1970s well, there's more immediacy in First Shot compared to Powerful Four and Lam gets us far by tapping into the passion for the cause within Ti Lung. A few too broad strokes are present such as when our leads go undercover at a gay nightclub but overall David Lam achieves an entertaining balance of portraying something important and mixing it up with Tony Leung Siu-Hung's intense action directing. In particular Baat Leung-Gaam as the assassin popping up everywhere gets a terrific showcase for the danger needed within such a character. First Shot therefore gets the honorary grade of being good looking, honed Hong Kong action cinema and the BASIC (merely basic) history lesson included isn't at all bad to have taken to heart as well.

First Strike (1996) Directed by: Stanley Tong

First Strike ,or unofficially the 4th installment in the Police Story series, sees Stanley Tong returning as director and co-action choreographer after the excellent Police Story III: Supercop. Featuring a plethora of global locations and plenty of Jackie Chan creativity (the superb ladder fight has outtakes written all over it and right on cue, that appears in the end credits), it's not unexpected that the actual storyelement to the film is weak. Where Police Story III succeeded was in providing even entertainment while First Strike suffers from a dull first half. Second half is sparkling with energy however and most fans should be pleased with this despite it being the worst in the series so far.

First Strike is difficult to own on dvd due to neither version being ideal. It's either cut, dubbed or subtitle less but Mei Ah's original vcd is uncut, has the correct language track (which is a mixture of Cantonese, Mandarin, English and Russian) and English subtitles.

The First Vampire In China (1986) Directed by: Wong Ying

Return Of The Demon director Wong Ying dabbles in vampire territory, with an amusing opening talking of indeed the first vampire in China. Threatening to take over the country along with his hordes of other vampires, luckily there was an earthquake to bury them all. Cut to the early 20th century and the new mayor Alexander Tso (Charlie Cho) arrives with his dopey assistant played by To Siu-Ming to inspect the town, the countryside and to generally wreak havoc with their greed and ignorance. Trying to extract what they think is a jade treasure (but is in fact the jade clothed first vampire), they blow up the burial site where other vampires are laid to rest and it's chaos from there. Master Kent (Sek Kin in the Lam Ching-Ying role) may be able up this mess. By no means a yet to be discovered classic, Wong Ying provides energetic pace throughout, with Charlie Cho and To Siu-Ming being cocks and literally being transformed into ones after being attacked by an re-animated one! Further energy comes via a scene where Shing Fui-On as a hopping vampire is caught in a skipping rope contraption while Hwang Jang-Lee turns up and threatens to marry off the daughter of Kent, in the afterlife. Also with Anthony Tang, Robert Mak, Chor Yuen and Sai Gwa-Paau.

Fist Of Fury 1991 (1991) Directed by: Joh Chung

The Category III rating may have had an impact profit-wise but audience still turned out dependably, making Fist Of Fury 1991 another hit for Stephen Chow. Aside from the very funny reworking's of the classic funeral and "we are not sick men"-scenes from Bruce Lee's Fist Of Fury, this 1991 version bares little resemblance. It's all in the now established nonsense comedy style of Chow's which in this movie still relies on many verbal gags but good doses hilarious universal humour as well. Watch out for a truly disgusting spitting duel between Chow and Kenny Bee, Chow doning the famous Mark gear from A Better Tomorrow and some very funnily staged fight action by Corey Yuen.

Speaking of that, viewers might be quite uncomfortable during the finale as it's almost exclusively dark and turns incredibly Raging Bull-esque violent at times. When it then turns to comedy again, the contrast is tough to accept but it's a minor niggle as Fist Of Fury 1991 is a satisfying Stephen Chow vehicle from the early days. My favourite days of his. Corey Yuen, Cheung Man, Shing Fui On, Woo Fung and Vincent Wan co-stars while Ng Man Tat appears in a cameo that connects the worlds of Fist Of Fury 1991 and All For The Winner.

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Fist Of Fury 1991 II (1992) Directed by: Corey Yuen & Joh Chung

This sequel to the Stephen Chow vehicle Fist Of Fury 1991 came close to the box office success of the first but even considering its rarity, with subtitles and in Cantonese, on home video, this is one for the hardcore fans only. There is enough inspired silliness from Chow and the cast to get us quickly through the 90 minutes but it's not as constant as other movies of his from this period and onwards. The Bruce Lee admiration by Chow obviously turns up in this film as well, most notably in the finale where he's sporting the famous yellow tracksuit. Also starring the very funny Josephine Siao, Kenny Bee, Nat Chan, Yuen Wah and, in dual roles, Sharla Cheung.

Fist Of Unicorn (1973) Directed by: Tong Dik

An interesting footnote in martial arts movie history concerns the making of Fist Of Unicorn (aka The Unicorn Palm). Conceived as a vehicle for Bruce Lee's long time friend, the late Unicorn Chan, reportedly producers had said to Chan that if he could get Bruce Lee into the movie, he would have himself a starring role. Bruce did indeed agree to support the project by coming onto the set to direct the action and to promote the film. However the film crew secretly filmed Bruce on the set and ended up integrating the footage into the storyline in addition to marketing Fist Of Unicorn as a Bruce Lee film. Whether Unicorn knew of this plan or not is unclear but it definitely put a strain on the soon to end friendship with Lee's untimely demise so close. Legal actions were taken but I haven't been able to figure out whether or not a settlement was made since the proceedings were interrupted when Bruce died.

That's about as interesting as it gets aside from the fact that the Mandarin version presented on VideoAsia's dvd doesn't have any of the poorly inserted shots of Bruce Lee or the backstory to Unicorn's character where these reside. It was clearly once part of the print (as evident by a brief shot of the Chinese/English subtitles on the English version during Lee's segment) otherwise we wouldn't have had this ruckus.

Outside of all this, Fist Of Unicorn remains poorly plotted and made with Unicorn Chan being all too wooden to be sold as the great, new martial arts hero. Points of interest turn up through young Mang Hoi's energetic performance and Whang In Sik's glorious kicking skills gets a fine showcase. Finally, Bruce's action directing is felt as selected fights are razor sharp in the to the point-way that he employed.

Fists And Guts (1979) Directed by: Lau Kar-Wing

Newly arrived in town, San (Gordon Liu) is seeking family heirlooms in possession of his former housekeeper, a master of disguise (Lo Lieh). Employing two local men looking to gain a little from helping out, the hunt is on...

Mixing Lau family trademark action, creative scenarios and comedy grinding the movie to a halt, Fists And Guts survives on its selling aspect quite well when all is said and done. Scenarios involving weapons fighting, quiet fighting and a scene at an island inflicted with leprosy, capping it off with a tricky, steel pole entrance into Lo Lieh's chamber gets Fists And Guts its thumbs up where it matters as the Lau's (Lau Kar-Leung co-choreographed the action) let loose in enthralling ways as usual.

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Fists Of Bruce Lee (1979) Directed by: Ho Chung-Tao

Starring and directed by Ho Chung-Tao (otherwise known as Bruce Li), here's yet another poor Bruceploitation that completely misunderstood that by avoiding the obvious Bruce Lee references you automatically was a clever filmmaker. Case in point, Ho directs a dull cops and gangsters story, with himself playing a cocky agent infiltrating one gang while others are out to do something else too. Yes, I stopped caring early and when we don't get any relentless, shameless, attempts at echoing the Little Dragon's legacy, the film stands on its own and feels completely embarrassed. And it should, despite one good fight scene at a playground, the theme from Live And Let Die and the actual James Bond-theme rearing its head as well as a Bond-esque villain weaponry turning up in Lo Lieh's hands. Or rather, his hand is suddenly on a chain while squaring off with Li. Extremely minor tangents of fun, otherwise Fists Of Bruce Lee is a torture consisting of poor dubbing galore that has no chance reaching the all important area (and the only area where these efforts could compete) of fun.

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