# 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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Last Hero In China (1993) Directed by: Wong Jing

It's at times quite amusing to watch Jet Li (who at the time had walked away from the Once Upon A Time In China series after a falling out with Tsui Hark) as the stoic Wong Fei-Hung trying to deal with his goofy environment. Mostly however, it's tireless Wong Jing-esque comedy (that expression he won't get into an official dictionary anytime soon) on display, in combination with Yuen Woo-Ping's action-directing talents.

With its fun and extensive action, including a mad climax where Wong Fei Hung in a rooster suit takes on a group of fighters in centipede armour, Yuen secures the entertainment value of Last Hero In China. No doubt, the action choices will and should turn off viewers but if director Wong Jing wanted a sense of fun to this kind of new wave martial arts movie, with the help of Yuen Woo-Ping he succeeds. Gordon Lau takes on the villainous role in popular monk mode while Leung Kar Yan, Anita Yuen, Chong Fat, Dicky Cheung, Sharla Cheung and Nat Chan (as Mass Tar Wong, proprietor of the nearby brothel Wong Fei Hung's clinic Po Chi Lam happen to end up living beside) also appear.

Also known as Claws Of Steel and released in various versions of varying length (edit entitled Deadly China Hero is cut), of note is the UK dvd with an anamorphic transfer. Sadly the newly done subtitles are straight copies of the error riddled English cinema subs prepared for the Hong Kong print.

The Last Judgement (1979) Directed by: Wang Feng

A no show on vcd and dvd (it's only available in the ZiiEagle box from Singapore), veteran Wang Feng (had several Wong Fei Hung movies starring Kwan Tak-Hing under his belt) directs this crude, basic but effective tale of corruption. Most of the Liang family are murdered by Ling Guixing and the surviving son Liang Tianlai (Ng Wai-Kwok) wows to bring him to justice. Fighting against corruption in several courts, his only main witness is beggar Afeng (a strong turn by Lam Fai-Wong - Clan Of The White Lotus) but as Ling has people around him willing to bribe and murder, soon Liang is left alone. All up until he meets what seems like the last upstanding official...

No focus on action here but darkness and unfairness spiraling out of control, Wang Feng keeps control of most of his dramatic beats and makes us feel the helplessness Liang feels around every corner. Sure it's directed with overacting and melodrama at some points but combining grim torture in the courts and a honed sense of basic storytelling, The Last Judgement feels very professional on the very professional Shaw Brothers sets. Raising eye brows with select stylish moments and an unexpected supernatural inclusion rightly not fully explained, even compassion makes its way into the ending which raises the effect from more than crude and basic. Chan Shen, Jamie Luk and Kara Hui also appear.

Last Romance (1988) Directed by: Yonfan

Yonfan's Rose was also known as Lost Romance, which would be more applicable to his 1988 drama in actuality. A tumultuous, splendid looking Jingle Ma photographed story of friendship, love, status and much in between, compared to the largely empty Rose, Last Romance scores competence points at least. Although told way too fragmented (by choice) at points, the all throughout beautifully photographed leads Cherie Chung and Maggie Cheung gives Yonfan's otherwise emotionally empty direction (his attempt at subtlety nails that verdict) some more resonance. Starting out with the quick meeting and quickly established friendship between So So (Chung) and Nancy (Cheung), their giddy crush on Japanese-Chinese Sung (Tsurumi Shingo) becomes a centerpoint brought up often in the epic narrative. Neither girl gets romantically engaged at their tender age but fairly immersing passages follow, concerning each character path. So So seems to be spiraling out of control as she's at one point a prostitute but gains marriage status before her best friend does. Nancy goes into fashion design and seems left out of any bliss so it's a classic thing of how you define your status. It's interesting therefore that both characters suffer, So So from being addicted to wealth and Nancy from being addicted to a friendship that needs to be there, regardless of how old the characters become. When focusing on the two, Yonfan gets the most of his story- and visual combo, although his ways rarely affects us truly. The asides, our subplots registers little however, including that of Sung's obsession with his girlFRIENDS So So and Nancy. Drawing comparisons to the spiral life development represents, issues of declining finance for Nancy's parents (father played by Lau Siu-Ming) merely takes up time rather than involves. Last Romance is definitely close to being pretentious drivel, driven only by an image thinker but the images are wonderful and compared to Rose, Yonfan manages to reach out a little anyway. Also with Stuart Ong, Michael Lai, and Kenneth Tsang.

Last Song In Paris (1986) Directed by: Chor Yuen

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Unashamedly designed around half a dozen or so songs by Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui combined, the former plays successful singer Louie that cares little for consequence or responsibility. Although giving one of his dancers Anita (Mui) a chance at stardom, Louie's world does begin to break when his flirt Julia (Joey Wong) turns out to be his father's (Paul Chu) girlfriend. Louise takes refuge to Paris and at his most definite low, Vietnamese refugee Yu-Shieh (Cecilia Yip) picks him up...

Chor Yuen displays little fire that was evident in his glorious days at Shaw Brothers and this overwrought melodrama/commercial exercise is a pretty banal affair. Basically a musing on appreciating life, Chor Yuen rushes (and I mean sprints like a motherf*cker) through so many stages of it that he probably could've done an afterlife and reincarnation segment too if 5 minutes more was added. This means affection is nowhere near the flick, just basic filmmaking that turns the most embarrassing during a lengthy montage of loooovvvveee set to one of the songs. The late great Leslie and Anita have catchy tunes to share but are not coming off as genuine cinema icons just yet at this point. A little flick called Rouge took care of that. Charlie Cho and Hui Siu-Hung also appear.

Last Strike (1977) Directed by: Wa Yat-Wang

Also released as Soul Brothers Of Kung Fu internationally, the Bruce Li headed tale of immigrants fighting their way through poverty via gambling, karate tournaments etc that then leads into "drama" involving romance and brothers torn apart isn't embarrassingly portrayed but it's merely thin string there for Hsu Hsia's and Yuen Cheung-Yan's sharp action directing. Bruce Li was always in my mind the Bruce Lee clone worthy of a spotlight when not doning the Bruce Lee image and while they do try and separate the two here (it's said he fights like Bruce Lee though by surrounding characters), no doubt the sight of some yellow and nunchucks do echo that this would be filed under Bruceploitation. It's worth more than that though as intricate and clearly shot action direction takes over featuring the likes of Lo Meng, Lee Hoi-Sang and Ku Feng. Western cast member Carl Scott also gets his chance to shine and even more in the alternate ending to the film where he gets to square off against Ku Feng.

Laughing Time (1981) Directed by: John Woo

Notable for being the first Cinema City production and founders Dean Shek, Karl Maka and Raymond Wong didn't waste any time acknowledging one profile that many Hong Kong cinema profiles have been inspired by; the one and only Charlie Chaplin. Unfortunately here essayed by the one and only Dean Shek.

Directed by John Woo, it features the better gimmick of his comedies and for some stretches of film isn't the biggest insult disguised as an homage. Woo goes for the under cranked motion, classic silent comedy routines and even obnoxious Dean Shek keeps somewhat in character. Whether or not the entire film has routines "stolen" from Charlie Chaplin I don't know but there's really only novelty value for a few minutes in this Woo film. Barely amusing, not much of a laughing time and more than a little overlong becomes the verdict ultimately. Somewhat fun to spot typical Woo inclusions though, this time involving religious imagery and an early Hong Kong screen image of one of Woo's idols, Alain Delon. Wu Ma, Wong Wai and Karl Maka co-stars.

Laughters Of "Water Margins" (1993) Directed by: Clifton Ko

Partly a musical, largely a loud Hong Kong period farce generating NO laughter, Mo Chun (Sam Hui) returns to re-connect with his brother Mo Tai Long (Ng Man-Tat). Intruding greatly and having a bit of a drinking problem, Tai Long and wife Poon Gam Lin (Teresa Mo) do their best to get rid of their talkative guest. Otherwise also being con artists, their next con involves playboy Simon Hing (Ricky Hui). Trying to fool him into seducing Tai Long and then blackmailing him, the con goes beyond that and then some, even involving healer Ms. Wong (Lydia Shum) who with the power of Christ rips sick body parts out of ill folks...

A setup with enough craziness to entertain, in front of the camera Clifton Ko instead gathers up folks to appeal to the common man and woman rather than creating something genuinely witty or funny. So shout, act all waaaaacky, sing, reference modern aspects such as English language, triads, cigarettes and the deal is done apparently. For those of us actually after basic entertainment, not even the elaborate parody of the novel Jin Ping Mei (with Ricky Hui as Ximen Qing and this novel was the subject for The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks movies by Cash Chin as well) amuses. Teresa Mo is incredibly cute and the synch sound is a plus though. Also with James Wong, Raymond Wong, Tommy Wong and Frankie Ng.

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Law Don (1979) Directed by: Stanley Siu & Alan Tang

Although opening promises bloodshed and gangster traditions being akin to adhering to ancient ritual, this Alan Tang (also co-director) vehicle quickly fizzles out and becomes very anonymous. Talky, staged in a stiff manner and featuring far too many characters, no conflict is understood and the expected violence seems like a desperate cry for attention amidst thoroughly uninteresting drama. It may be a realistic snap shot but a boring one for cinema nonetheless. Watch Don't Kill Me, Brother for a better Tang and Stanley Siu collaboration.

The Law Enforcer (1986) Directed by: Danny Lee

There's differences in the way Danny Lee approaches the portrayal of justice. You'll get something like Twist that advocates all kinds of torture and you get The Law Enforcer from this period that is way more tuned and balanced. Although not particularly memorable, Lee's take on the vigilante tale is handled straight at least. Lung Ming-Yan (A Better Tomorrow II) plays Kent, a former cop diagnosed with epilepsy but is looking to make it back into the only profession he knows. He can't stop his urges to stop justice in front of him though and the police has to face pressure from superiors and public about the person out there "interfering". In the eyes of Anna (Betty Mak) he is a saviour though...

The concerns are largely Public Service Announcement-like in nature, designed to favour the Royal Hong Kong Police Force and while this is valid, director Lee has a problem creating well-paced cinema from it. Possessing good opportunities to be elite material, the story of Kent is handled well and only after half an hour Lee's character knows who he is but stands by him as a loyal brother, hoping he'll get his reinstatement. Structurally he's got to prove himself though and the robbery plot headed by Ricky Yi and Shing Fui-On's brutal characters does play into the uncertain hands of the film. Compared to the vague subplot of Kent and Anna, to have the character go these expected ways is more favourable. While possessing edge, tension and bloodshed during it's fairly long climax, The Law Enforcer is effective as an idea but won't ever enlighten truly. See Law With Two Phases or No Compromise instead for the elite material. Parkman Wong, Ken Lo and Ben Lam also appears.

Law On The Brink (1994) Directed by: Chan Dung-Chuen

Barrister Shen Hwa-Min's (Ray Lui) client commits manslaughter in China but due to lack of evidence is being hunted for murder instead. Shen tries to track him down to do a thorough investigation. While the father of the victim has sent out multiple assassins (including one played by Elvis Tsui), Shen is trying to shake off Mainland cop Tieh Pin (Veronica Yip) and he butts head with the Mainland law system (his equal in terms of profession is played by Lam Wai)...

Director Chan Dung-Chuen treats the story with a lighter touch but it's mostly NOT a wild Hong Kong comedy. Lives are at stake and there's violence but characters also found time for laughter and friendly/antagonistic banter (mainly evident in Ray Lui's and Veronica Yip's scenes). Some out there silliness such as Ray Lui imitating Bruce Lee and Elvis Tsui at times performing Wuxia style moves but ultimately not being an effective assassin is charming stuff but I wouldn't argue against a negative opinion of Law On The Brink. Logically it's off but there's no denying the charm and Veronica Yip especially brings fine, at times dopey presence.

Law Or Justice? (1988) Directed by: Taylor Wong

There's a moral and ethic dilemma hidden in the title of this Taylor Wong helmed Shaw Brother's production. See if you can spot it. A stab at the courtroom drama, centering around rapist Tien (Wilson Lam), someone the law has difficulty nailing down despite violating a model (Joey Wong) and her sister (Lau Mei-Gwan). As defense counsel he gets Wing-Man (Carol Cheng), the girlfriend of a cop (Alex Man) who offers up a opinion not matching her professional ethics...

Effective when it is exploitative (the rape of the sister has Tien throwing buckets of paint at her, taking place amongst strobe lights to boot), Taylor Wong stages a fairly competent but standard drama. Questions brought up are valid concerns but you do start to get pissed off when victims, while under distress, can't seem to say the right thing in court. But then the movie wouldn't be feature length anyway so characters acting foolish is something Wong embraces seemingly. Performances are spotty, with Joey Wong largely disappearing by the half way point but Carol Cheng proves to have a commanding presence when her character is in her element. The romantic pairing between her and Alex Man seems a little far-fetched but their relationship does come to an effective closure when Taylor Wong stages his final moments in the courtroom. Moments that unfortunately includes an over the top melodramatic speech but also a quick outburst of rather shocking bloodshed. Law Or Justice? seems to leave a mark on you therefore but one imprint doesn't save it. Paul Chun and Ti Lung also appears.

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HK Flix.com

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