# 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
Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10
God Of War (2017, Gordon Chan)

Gordon Chan's period war epic, with Chinese versus Japanese pirates doesn't provide a distinctive take on the genre but the veteran director clearly likes pointing the camera towards his veterans. And we like watching them in the spotlight. Scenarios of war are surprisingly small in scale here and even claustrophobic, which makes matters a bit more basic and accessible. With Yasuaki Kurata's commander admiring the skill and tactics of his opponents (in particular young General Qi played by Vincent Zhao), both camps also deal with uncertainty, doubt and it requires strong leaders to channel bravery and effectiveness. With Sammo Hung's character out of the picture for political reasons (not before a rather neat staff fight between him and Zhao), Qi then trains a new army from the ground up. Also dealing with a strained marriage and possibly having to make tough choices where country goes first, it is when Chan focuses on the veteran-core that God of War gains a voice. Comfortable getting assured performances from his older cast, the last battles are a nice combination of bloodshed in tight quarters and said performers going head to head. It's not enough to escape the generic nature and flat drama outside of this core however.

The Gods Must Be Funny In China (1994) Directed by: Dick Tso

The third and last Hong Kong production The Gods Must Be Crazy star N!xau took part in and boy what a quality drop from the first and unique Crazy Safari we get here. Mixing the Hong Kong uniqueness (Lam Ching-Ying, vampires) in Africa for a creative and energetic time, The Gods Must Be Funny In China takes matters to Mainland China for an, in intent, weird and crazy time. Major fail on all accounts as we follow several marathon teams (one of which recruits fast runner and bushman N!xau) through the sights of the Mainland including The Great Wall, talking monkeys and meeting Ginzi (Cynthia Khan) who looks after VERY house trained pandas. To the point where they do housework even, Peter Chan Lung wants to abduct one such panda for his collection and the most unlikely romance takes place between a very unfunny Cheng Pei-Pei and an obnoxious Kent Cheng. There's simply no talent here to make this broad material fly. Director Dick Tso found better flow as a filmmaker when venturing into dark Category III material like A Chinese Torture Chamber Story II.

Buy the DVD at:

The Gold Connection (1979, Kuei Chih-Hung)

Proof that at least one of the Bruce-clones could be used for a different type of genre-cinema. Bruce Li stars as one of a group of men who finds a stash of Vietnamese gold and are as a result the target of vicious hitmen. While kung fu does have a place (including during a terrific opening exchange between Li and Hon Gwok-Choi, with the spear-part ranking as a highlight), this is straight, basic thriller tactics with darkness in mind. Enter Kuei Chih-Hung (The Bamboo House Of Dolls) who injects genuine threat and impactful violence at a steady pace. These guys are hunted and it feels like it through various gritty brawls, moody cinematography, gritty locations and some rectal torture. You never knew that had a place in a Bruce Li-movie. Also known as The Iron Dragon Strikes Back.

The Golden Corps Come From China (1992) Directed by: Lam Chin-Wai

The reason why Hong Kong cinema is beloved by so many is often the pure schizophrenia and desire to please as many as possible in 90 minutes. Also known as Direct Line and Deadly Gold, The Golden Corps From China sets itself up rather straightforward as a small team (Waise Lee & Wu Ma) of the Mainland Golden Corps go to Hong Kong to retrieve stolen gold from a former team leader (Alan Chui, also the film's action director). Bumping into Hong Kong's CID and kidnapping one of their superiors Mok (Yukari Oshima), it's all actually a little flimsy up until the point where director Lam Chin-Wai begins inserting everything possible into the plot to fill out 90 minutes and in turn entertains the hell out of the audience.

Introducing Lee Kwan as the King Of Spies who picks up immigrant Ah Lan that Waise Lee is also after, Wu Ma's character begins interacting with said spy as he possesses supernatural abilities that may benefit the King in betting and gambling. Also possessing X-ray vision (and his eyes turn to Yukari who tries to protect herself with pots and pans), psychic powers and ability to bend guns or make them explode, in comes Chung Faat as a witchmaster able to battle Wu Ma. Yes, you realize we've strayed but it's now part of a coherent, wild time that culminates in a terrific stunt- and gunplay finale where the filmmakers have loaded up the stuntmen with the largest squibs possible... making the movie look like a mix of Story Of Ricky and Requital as stomachs explode and stuntmen fall painfully. Add some silly female Hong Kong cops and an accident with aphrodisiac and you also realize what levels The Golden Corps From China operates at.

The Golden Lion (1975) Directed by: Ho Meng-Hua

Honorable thief Golden Lion (Chiu Hung) is poisoned by Wang Jian Chao's (Wang Hsieh) dangerous claw weapon and seeks help with Dr. Lu (Fang Mian) and his daughter (Li Ching). In need of an ingredient only found at a mountain far away, the journey begins with Lu's son (James Nam) expresses concern about his father's reputation helping a thief and Wang's gang hot on the heels of the fellowship...

At 83 minutes and simple enough content, Ho Meng-Hua (Black Magic) wastes no time (and I mean NO time) getting us into the action and setting up Chiao Hung's morals. It makes sense because the 83 minutes aren't about making any statements but are just there to provide a slick ride broken up with intense action not skipping on the gore, grit or the animalistic nature to it. The Golden Lion is a bit of a poster boy for Shaw Brothers efficiency and an experience audiences can turn to for a quick fix in the best of ways.

Golden Lotus (1974) Directed by: Li Han-Hsiang

EDIT: Pardon me if this review has been up before. Lost part of my records and the restored data didn't have this noted as being uploaded.

One of the genres Li Han-Hsiang got famous for, the adaptation of the erotic novel Jin Ping Mei, translated as The Plum In The Golden Vase (also the basis for his 1991 re-telling and The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks movies recently) falls short of greatness due to the limited running time Li utilizes. Neglecting and quite wrongly so the background of Ximen Qing (Peter Yang Kwan), we meet him at a mischievous stage where he's very fond of sex and uses manipulation to get what he wants. Described as a landlord, an official, leader of gangsters, bully AND sex addict, it's no wonder his romancing of Jinlian (Woo Gam) is only temporary. When his eye catches a new sight, the old ones are long forgotten despite Jinlian going as far as poisoning her dwarf husband Wu Dalong in order to marry Ximen. It brings up one of the central themes of corruption and desire as most of the film continues to be set within Ximen Qing's palace. The likes of Mrs. Hua (Tanny Tien) and Chunmei (Chen Ping) are also desired by Ximen but he's also always close to physical punishment when he acts on impulse. It's not easy to gain advantage and be the first lady. The problem of Golden Lotus becomes very clear as we move along as director Li clearly realizes at one point that he needs to cover a lot of story quickly so very sloppy, quick exposition is inserted and overall the film doesn't become a deep examination akin to what was surely present in the 100 chapter novel. Golden Lotus is reduced to an elegant looking piece of mean, sadistic, gory, steamy exploitation and in that regard we do get bursts of successful elements. Doesn't quite cut it though. Jackie Chan appears prominently during the film's first 40 minutes.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Golden Ninja Invasion (1988) Directed by: Bruce Lambert

TROY'S REVIEW: Not to be confused with IFD's similarly titled Golden Ninja Warrior, this Filmark International production gets off to a cracking start with some poor chap having the crap knocked out of him before his assailants amputate his right hand on a circular saw bench! Ouch! Ok, first thing to note is that the on-screen credits are actually entirely incorrect. Great start eh?! In actual fact this stars everyone's favourite Z-grade actor Stuart Smith (who despite looking painfully skinny insists on spending much of the film in a vest!) in the newer ninja segments and Filipino superstar and regular in these flicks, Sorapong Chatri who was the poor bugger getting his hand abruptly removed in violent style. Anyway, onto the film itself, which details the nefarious Red Sun Ninja Organization, which is run by a shady looking guy called Mr. Warren who likes to wear a panama hat and sunglasses for reasons best known to himself. It transpires that it was this evil fellow who ordered Ritchie (Chatri) to be 'taught a lesson'. And how is our poor Ritchie after his ordeal? Well, strangely enough he's better than ever after his police boss issues him a new 'magic hand' (no, I'm not making this up either) Yes, said bionic appendage is apparently constructed of a flexible Uranium and Titanium alloy and responds to Ritchie's mental commands just like a real hand. Needless to say, our man wastes no time at all in putting his new found toy to good use in destroying the Red Sun organization. Meanwhile Paul (played surprisingly subtly here by our man Smith), the good, sapphire Ninja also gets in on the act to help bring down the evil ninjas. As you can probably well imagine, plenty of chop cocky action ensues, some of it rather pleasantly gory in fact. Check out for instance, the resulting physical damage and rather cool metal 'twang' sound effects that accompanies the blows whenever Ritchie punches an opponent. Best bit of all though is the very daft ending. Just remember folks, only ninjas can use magic ninja beans! You'll really need to watch this to understand the complete absurdity of the scene but suffice to say, it will have you in absolute hysterics for sure.

Golden Swallow (1968) Directed by: Chang Cheh

Golden Swallow (Cheng Pei-Pei) has retreated from the martial world while being nursed back to health by swordsman Han Tao (Lo Lieh). She faces a great emotional challenge when childhood friend Silver Roc (Jimmy Wang Yu) enters her life again, leaving trails of bodies behind him...

Cheng Pei-Pei reprises her character from King Hu's Wuxia classic Come Drink With Me, now being part of the male world of heroism and bloodshed that Chang Cheh famously depicted in his films. This is why she does feel slightly pushed aside in favour of the Jimmy Wang Yu and Lo Lieh's characters but rumour has it that Chang was prepared to push Cheng Pei-Pei even more to the wayside initially. The leading lady fought successfully to be more of an integral part of Golden Swallow and the film does achieve a balance in the long run between its titular character and the trademarks of Chang Cheh's. Initially a slow, even clichéd, love story is painted in extensive amounts of blood by Chang (who also co-wrote) but he manages to turn Golden Swallow into a felt drama where the choice of more quiet emoting from characters gets the film to fairly affecting levels. The trio of actors all respond to this and even Jimmy Wang Yu's anti-hero receives a psychologically complex plight the audience can understand. All culminating in a vivid, gory climax courtesy of Chang Cheh and his usual action directors of choice, Lau Kar Leung and Tong Gaai. 

They craft fight scenes that certainly are products of its time, meaning crude executions of various elements (power and flow in choreography and editing wasn’t quite top notch yet). However some skirmishes involving Wang Yu achieve an admirable fluidity, intensity and the legendary action duo's work connects well to the storytelling. Making it easy to quickly forget about any slow, choppy aspects.

Golden Swallow (1987) Directed by: O Sing-Pui

So much like A Chinese Ghost Story it becomes redundant, it's a shame as O Sing-Pui's (An Eye For An Eye) fantasy romance is gorgeously made and technically well staged. Cherie Chung in the Joey Wong role can do little wrong but the duet with Anthony Wong Yiu-Ming only becomes half-iconic as he is a bland xerox of Leslie Cheung and throughout there's awfully identical story beats and shot composition right out of Ching Siu-Tang's classic. Also with Eric Tsang, Richard Ng, Nat Chan, Ivy Ling Po and Norman Tsui.

Page 01 | Page 02 | Page 03 | Page 04 | Page 05 | Page 06 | Page 07 | Page 08 | Page 09 | Page 10