# 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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Hired Guns (1981) Directed by: Chung Gwok-Yan

Simple cops and robbers stuff to the point where matters are even unclear. There seems to be a controlled plan from within the prison walls and the group of men from Holland (among others Phillip Ko) arrive to kill off to us random characters and perform a robbery. Police led by hot headed Goony (Addy Sung) tries to stop them. As a viewer personally weak for the tough edge, grit and gore this era of cop actioners in Hong Kong cinema could offer up, Hired Guns got some show stopping moments of viciousness, in particular when family members of Goony's are targeted. Short, efficient, flawed, kind of classic.

His Name Is Nobody (1979) Directed by: Karl Maka

Orphaned conman Peking Dog (Lau Kar-Wing) starts studying thievery under Sting (Dean Shek) but when hired as assassins, the failed attempt sees the two go on separate paths. Peking Dog finds a new master though, the elderly Koo (Leung Kar-Yan) and now the kung fu skills are heightened...

An expected mish-mash of martial arts and goofy comedy as it's a 1979 production headed by baldy himself, Karl Maka. That Dean Shek "fit nicely" into an over the top, cartoon role is no secret but Lau Kar-Wing is not leading man material. A fantastic martial artist best showcased in supporting roles or when directed by his brother Lau Kar-Leung, the reason why the whole package doesn't work is due to the genre-stance it takes. With Dean Shek roaming free and the parade of weird looking faces out of Hong Kong cinema being given a chance to use that to their advantage (Dai Sai-An, To Siu-Ming, Ho Pak-Kwong and Yue Tau-Wan therefore make appearances), you'd wish that was a concept that would take flight. But the movie simply isn't funny and you find yourself turning away from the screen more often than not as you're not missing anything anyway. The action directing talents of Lau Kar-Wing shine on more than occasion though, especially when it's only him and Leung Kar-Yan during the abusive training sequences. Here Karl Maka achieve performer chemistry as well and although Dean Shek hams it up for the finale again, he's noticeably (and even impressively) physical. But it's a wait and trek, uphill, to get to these favourable pieces of film. Finale villain is Chung Faat while Lam Ching-Ying, Billy Chan and Karl Maka himself also appear.

Hitman In The Hand Of Buddha (1981) Directed by: Hwang Jang-Lee

Korean superkicker of Drunken Master and Snake In The Eagle's Shadow fame, Hwang Jang-Lee knew he wasn't going to be able to escape his villainous screen persona working for others so with his own production company and himself in the directing chair, Hitman In The Hand Of Buddha became one of the rare ventures where he was the hero of the piece. Still a fairly tough sell in actuality but Hwang still knew a thing or two about the selling points of martial arts cinema of the time. Personal vendetta, comedy (with the main inclusion being a Beggar So-esque character essayed by Fan Mei-Sheng from The Magnificent Butcher. A role he inherited from the iconic Simon Yuen who passed away during the production of that film), uneventful middle section and some good ol' Shaolin Temple training makes for a typical template. Hwang Jang-Lee also knew why he was a selling point so the repertoire is firmly on display, starting with the trademark kicking showcase. But the package is a detailed combo of everything from props fighting involving benches and chopsticks to pole work and eagle's claw, all well supervised by action directors Corey Yuen and Mang Hoi. Co-starring Eddy Ko, Tino Wong and To Siu-Ming.

Worth mentioning is the Eastern Heroes dvd presentation that includes a rare Korean edit of the film, reportedly assembled by director Hwang Jang-Lee himself. While both this and the English version are still missing footage, the Korean language edit contains exclusive training scenes and extended fight scenes among other things. At times, in particular the beginning, the editing feels almost too rapid and obviously still in need of a spit polish but it's a very welcome inclusion after all.

Hit Team (2001) Directed by: Dante Lam

Stilized action picture from Dante Lam turns out to be better written than most actioners nowadays. In a story of cops vs. cops and the meaning of loyalty, screenwriters Lee Hau Shek & Ng Wai Lun manages to inject depth to most of the characters we encounter. No one is truly evil but the real bad guys and the script is aided by a level headed direction by Dante. Conciously, it seems like a few characters are not very developed, one of them being Jane, played by Jo Kuk. That's a shame when it comes to this talented actress, she doesn't deserve that in my opinion. Leading the acting pack is Daniel Wu who is more supported by the writing rather than vice vera and the strongest turns instead comes from Alex To and Chin Kar Lok. Action is well-staged (choreographed by Lam and Wong Wai-Fai) and the otherwise flashy director is only at times guilty of turning his visuals into a quick cut MTV video. For every Jiang Hu - "The Triad Zone" and Hit Team, Dante also has given us Runaway and The Twins Effect, making him an interesting but inconsistant director so far.

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Holy Flame Of The Martial World (1983) Directed by: Liu Jun Guk

The constant fight for supremacy within the martial arts world gets a wild and colourful treatment by Liu Jun Guk (Bastard Swordsman), a director not caring much about the fact that Shaw Brother's was on its downhill slide. It's obviously the response to Tsui Hark's Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain but with the polished Shaw Brother's touch to the spectacle. Ejecting King Hu-esque grace from this type of Wuxia, martial arts fans may have little to rejoice about as the majority of the film takes the undercranked, high flying, special effects route for its fights but boy what a fun time action directors Phillip Kwok and Yuen Tak delivers. There is some excursions into good caliber swordplay but elements such as Kwok's character being an expert at the Ghostly Laughter technique and Donald Kong keeping an English speaking demon at his lair overpowers the grounded elements if you will. But it's no trouble keeping up with Liu Jun Guk's manic direction as it's straightforward, small and witty (the use of what seems to be computer game style music is an oddly appropriate choice). Phillip Kwok also gives a wonderfully balanced performance, handling stoicism and the needed sense of fun perfectly. Also starring an adorable Mary Jean Reimer, Max Mok, Yeung Jing Jing, Lau Siu Kwan, Lau Suet Wah and Jason Pai.

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Holy Robe Of The Shaolin Temple (1985) Directed by: Tsui Siu-Ming

The Royal Court sends one of their Royal Guards (Yu Rong-Guang) into Shaolin Temple as Lian Kong in order to destroy it within. Making a vicious and violent impact by injuring and watching the high priest sacrifice himself himself by stepping into fire, several of the monks manages to flee onto different paths while protecting the coveted holy robe. One of the monks, Hui Neng (Chui Heung-Wing) finds refuge with a group of Mongolians who are terrorized by the Royal Guard. Here he finds infatuation with a girl. Infatuation under grave circumstances...

Tsui Siu-Ming (director of the recent Champions) adds another big vehicle to his resume, with Mirage and Bury Me High belonging to that group as well. Capturing impressive scenery and extensive amounts of players in his frame, in a way it's a effort wasted because Holy Robe Of The Shaolin Temple doesn't impress equally story-wise. There's no lack of attempt and certainly not a waste of time but untested talent called upon to provide the heart of the film is a risky venture that doesn't pan out that well. But the framework of the story is sufficient and gives way to the real meat, the insanely talented Mainland players. Impressing greatly under Tsui's action directing, these guys and gals literally bounce, display acrobatics of the highest order and are put to use in fight choreography that certainly isn't about only showcasing said traits. A demonstration would've been the wrong way to go.

The Holy Virgin Vs. The Evil Dead (1991) Directed by: Wong Chun-Yeung

So...yea...that pretty much sucked, considering the terrific title. You would also expect a more high energy supernatural extravaganza but director Wong Chun-Yeung (Dreaming The Reality) opts mainly for martial arts and gunplay instead, something that could've proven to be worthwhile if it wasn't for the hideous undercranking (no doubt courtesy of Donnie Yen).

This Cat III rated effort will definitely only be sought out by the crowd liking and expecting a b-movie anyway so are there any positives in it for them? Albeit in sporadic bursts, the answer would be yes and on top of a good amount of gratuitous nudity (highlight being a dolly shot shot during the finale), the supernatural hijinxs and bloodletting that is on the display will please for the moment. Although in all honesty, that's reaching very deep in terms of pro's. Starring Donnie Yen, Ken Lo, Ben Lam, Pauline Yeung, Sibelle Hu and in an early role, the lovely Kathy Chow (Beast Cops).

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Holy Weapon (1993, Wong Jing)

It's the Ming Dynasty and Super Sword (Simon Yam) of the Japanese martial arts school Ling Sang gears up for the ultimate fight with China's Mo Kake (Damian Lau) who's mastered the Yuen Tin Sword technique. But since this is the beginning of the film, this won't be the last time they meet and the setup dictates that the two square off in 3 years time again. Neither are in full health and Mo Kake mostly stays in a vegetative state as the assembly of seven female virgins takes place throughout the movie to conquer Super Sword's techniques. Within this stretch of footage you'll witness Ching Siu-Tung and his action team hand over reins to director Wong Jing who promptly goes about making everything silly. For better or worse, he is awfully good at making you submit to cheap, audience friendly gags and banter starring a killer cast of ladies and the poor man's Stephen Chow in the form of Dicky Cheung.

It is a rather fetching combo of a deadly, gory martial world where techniques are on display that means beheadings, bodies being torn to pieces, vampires are run through and this allows for Ching Siu-Tung and crew to be creative with design and editing. For martial arts fans there's probably precious little to admire here as concept and pace come first rather than complex technique. But it's hard to complain when we get Sharla Cheung emerging as literally a black widow spider, Simon Yam can actually transform into a sword and within the comedy you'll find acceptable levels of broad, hammy actors and situations. Thankfully Wong Jing isn't solely shining the spotlight on the annoying Dicky Cheung (in scenes with Ng Man-Tat there's nothing remotely on the level of the dynamic Cheung's co-star had with Stephen Chow). No, the likes of Carol Cheng and Sandra Ng are here to play and seem to understand that Wong Jing will stick with the martial world wackiness (that includes multiple failed attempts at using a love potion in the form of a lipstick) and he'll get to you a surprising amount of times. Largely it helps that the wacka wacka moments are combined with a violent, sometimes stylish martial world so there's extended sequences of for instance battling the undead that isn't just about populating the proceedings in slapstick. Wong Jing might not be the one who deserves the most credit here but he does make sure we have a wild time. That'll very much do. Also starring Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh playing it straight despite the craziness around her.

A Home Too Far (1990) Directed by: Chu Yen-Ping

Around 1990, Taiwanese thrash meister Chu Yen-Ping (Fantasy Mission Force) had a rare outburst of actual creativity when he delivered Island Of Fire and the war drama A Home Too Far (quoted as a favourite of his). Although this was not so much evident in the Hong Kong versions of said flicks as they were substantially shortened in that territory, Chu's full length 2 hour cuts reveals fine intentions and instincts, some very much applicable to the presence of actor Tok Chung-Wa (largely cut from the shorter edit of Island Of Fire).

It's the horrors of war through the eyes of the desperate little man. Horrors concerning losing your buddies, futile fighting against a larger enemy, the toll it all takes on family and how you define national pride in the face of all this. Not as much of a propaganda movie as you would think, A Home Too Far involves through intense battles and a sense of humanity. The latter examination being portions of the film that do run a bit too wild with sentimentality which is a bit of a shame as the fairly involving drama can't reach any great poignancy therefore. It's still welcome, especially at 2 hours, to see Chu Yen-Ping showcase some actual strength and skill as a director. O Chun Hung and Andy Lau do solid, reserved work and Ku Feng also appear in a supporting role.

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HK Flix.com

Honeymoon In Jakarta (1993) Directed by: Miu Kin Tak

A constantly arguing husband (a coward) and wife (spoiled and whiny) travels to Jakarta, continues to bicker, stumbles upon some diamonds and ends up being chased by a henchman with a cold. Oh, and the couple are in the jewelry business too and knowing what they now possess, greed sets in and threatens to destroy the marriage. What drama, eh?

A dopey, predictable comedy shot on video, while a snicker or two can be found in the sitcom situations that occur, this is otherwise, as expected, a poor production that thinks throwing a repetitive, computer game score at us will equal fun when the on screen gags are not.. No, it's annoyance and not even hilarious subtitles help. Oh well, they got to see Indonesia at any rate. Cheung Kwok-Keung stars.

Hong Kong Adam's Family (1994, Bosco Lam)

The largely criminal Kan-family (headed by Sek Kin) will have a chance to get their hands on a large amount of money. Problem is, this competition requires them all to do good deeds so the gang of sons (Michael Chan, Shing Fui-On, Lee Siu-Kei and Karel Wong) do their utmost to shed their gangster and immoral way of life. The theme song to the classic TV show is featured twice but this has otherwise no connection to 'The Addams Family'. What it consists of is the threadbare concept and otherwise supporting actors in gangster roles acting like loons but as lead performers for once. Lam (A Chinese Torture Chamber Story) cranks up the broad nature of it all so high that it becomes both hard to penetrate (the explanation is probably that it isn't funny) but also exhaustive. The energy put forth by the performers is admirable but it's wasted on a silly comedy not registering more than a bunch of sound. Volume doesn't get you accepted. Also with Lung Fong, Maria Cordero and Wu Fung.

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