# 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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Little Hero (1978) Directed by: Chan Hung-Man

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Taiwan reefer madness if you will, orchestrated with the pitch perfect knowledge of how to create energetic, laughable thrash. Laughable being the highest compliment to this thoroughly fun Polly Kuan vehicle directed by the editor of her breakthrough movie, Dragon Inn. A basic period plot at heart arises little interest but instead, Chan Hung-Man know where to push for success. To boot, they manage to maintain pace and energy as they wade through the many highlight creations. Watch the men of the Devil's Gang try and take on Polly's male character, whether it's the midget brothers in their rolling boulders, tiger assassins, elephant assassins, lion assassins and even octopuses working in the same capacity! It's a wonderful smorgasbord where added sounds in post to the various animal attackers are as dumb as they are entertaining. When capping it off with Polly and fellow cast members (including her annoying students) looking extremely embarrassed when fighting the octopus prop that could've come directly from Ed Wood's Bride of The Monster, the filmmakers may have their poorest looking effect but their best ideas, especially when they start shooting baby octopuses at Polly! Men behind masks and Lo Lieh in the cast list signals a surprise towards the end but as with the other actual kung-fu action, Little Hero does less well when being ordinary.

Little Heroes Lost In China (1995) Directed by: Allan Lan

Shot 90% outdoors and focusing on kung-fu fighting kids, usually it's a recipe for (grating) disaster. Surprisingly Allan Lan's low budget quickie doesn't implode onto itself but instead provides a tight experience for at least an hour. Featuring clashes between of forest tribes, evil Westerners after a treasure and a family working for the Mountain Forest Bureau, the film is notable for its Western supporting cast (including Louis Roth) being allowed more than their fair share of screentime (notable despite villain roles for some). Moon Lee appears in support and brings the skill expected in undercranked action scenes but the real revelation is some the highly gifted kids coming off as hard fighters in the fight scenes. For a movie for kids and with kids, Allan Lan puts in admirable time to make the fights seem somewhat plausible. Bodily functions humour, attempt at heart that is just flimsy storytelling follows but Little Heores Lost In China is harmless while at the same time not annoying. It just doesn't maintain the unexpected interest it drummed up initially.

The Little Hero Of Shaolin Temple (19??) Directed by: Tong Sing Tai

An uneasy mix of straining comedy, annoying character dubbing and often times cruel, Chang Cheh-esque violence populates this largely youth cast kung fu comedy. These kids can definitely move and some even adapt well to on-screen fighting. Attributes that add up to only rare glimpses into good choreography and despite director Tong filling the short running time with lots of action, many participants look awkward in probably their first and only major film role. The Little Hero of Shaolin Temple is easy to get through for sure but when during the climax the monks turn into suicide bombers, you can't help by feeling a little disturbed afterwards.

Little Hero On The Run (1995) Directed by: Lee Chiu & Tenky Tin

A group of acrobatic and kung fu gifted kids, led by a select few adults, are on the run from forces hell bent on seeing them brought... to their death presumably. Probably. Key. Enter Fok (Chin Kar-Lok) who is on his way to collect a debt and meet his designated wife but he gets entangled in this unintelligible mess. In fact, Chin Kar-Lok and the whole production in terms of its fight action-aspect surprises early on with some extended, energetic brawls and as Chin shows off his quick self, something might just turn out to be underrated in this rather medium sized production. But epic brawls turns out to be a recipe Little Hero On The Run can't build upon and instead the little yet still unintelligible plot gives way to heavy-duty comedic shenanigans with even more puzzling results. When predictably going big on us with the fighting finale, high concept from the action director can't be translated into viewable flow. Much is too quick-cut and despite the more than sporadic flashes of Chin Kar-Lok's and also Ben Lam's brilliance, it's unfortunately easy to forget their contribution. Very easy. Co-directed by Tenky Tin who played Iron Shirt in Shaolin Soccer.

A Little-Life Opera (1997) Directed by: Allen Fong

Under the producing- and writing skills of Ann Hui and John Chan, Allen Fong returned after a 7 year absence, shooting A Little-Life Opera in China. And much feels familiar as Fong's static camera tells a whole lot but it gets him into a little into trouble this time around as it takes a while for even the low-key storytelling to ignite. When it does, we're treated to quite a compelling view on the aspects of opera within a poor performing troupe. Childhood love blossoms again between characters of now different financial status and Fong confidently captures how the decline of traditional Peking opera makes the older generation hesitant to pass the talent onto the young. If you've appreciated what Allen stylistically put into his prior movies, A Little-Life Opera won't disappoint. It's not as perfect, that's its problem. With Winston Chao and Yeung Kwai Mi.

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Little Red Flowers (2006) Directed by: Zhang Yuan

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Something new, something light, something different, something safe made by Zhang Yuan in the form of Little Red Flowers? In the end, he chooses to keep up appearances by keeping his train of thoughts of thinking for yourself, oppose systems and not become a robot. The theme is represented by a daycare consisting of Government Official children in post-revolution Beijing and its free thinker is new arrival Qiang (a brilliant Bowen Dong) who is immediately at odds with the strict system that has its "rewards" in the form of little red flowers. Zhang Yuan does step back from a loose, documentary style often associated with his works (and he was a documentarian once to boot) to deliver a slick frame but nothing at the expense of losing who he is. No, style is amped to suitable degree instead, mostly through the usage of low angles to represent the world view of the children. Some of them being very well immersed in the well-oiled machine of the daycare where basically robots are bred. It's not even thinking outside of the box that is Zhang's concern, it's the about the option to think period! If you don't, you get the privilege of being totally stressed out, publicly humiliated and sporadically you see total apathy/evil grow in the kids thanks to the system. The kids don't know, the adults barely either. It's a system.

In a very sparsely plotted movie, we do wonder if Zhang is going to have Qiang perform his revolution, bring some with him or is it just a snapshot of a kid not possessing tuned decision-making but at least have one tuned instinct? It IS complex, it is rather dark and uncompromising the Zhang Yuan-way. Only now his subjects open up a more breezy, comedic tone that still has its reason for transforming the way it does come end time.

Little Sister In-Law (1975) Directed by: Yeung Siu

Possibly the worst Brigitte Lin movies from her Taiwan days, this is neither romantic or melodramatic. It's a farce comedy and it clearly shouldn't have been attempted by this cast & crew not skilled at conveying the comedic language of misunderstandings and charades. In short, among others Lin and male lead O Chun-Hung are drawn into lies about characters being pregnant and Lin posing as his wife due to his real life being a mad busy one triggers all sorts of paths where this charade gets longer and more tiresome as the movie goes on.

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Liu Chai Ghost Story (1993) Directed by: Wan Ging-Cheung

Loosely plotted and budgeted ghost/revenge story with a lot of erotica filler, a cheating husband gets told his ill wife Peony is bad luck and orchestrates a sure fire way to kill her. But she shortly thereafter comes back for revenge. Certainly having access to decent sets and costumes for this period outing, it came out during the Category III boom so it isn't trying to hard to be memorable. It knows its commercial elements but at least when the ghost angle hits, the production showcases some excellent special effects make-up design and it's a fun switch into somewhat wire-driven, supernatural action.

Also released as Mind Fuck (production year on Internet Movie Database being 1990) and credited to Tu Mah-Wu, this version of the film adds an unnecessary layer of complexity to the plot, makes the translation at times extremely profane and its main selling point is scenes of hardcore pornography. The majority of the shots are separately shot inserts rather than full view of the actors having sex but at least one scene involving the main cast is hardcore. It's unconfirmed how this came about, whether a deal was struck mid production for one producer to take it to one type of adults only market while another would get it rated Category III for Hong Kong cinema release or if the movie existed as hardcore complete and was bought in 1993 for re-structure. Regardless, the Liu Chai Ghost Story edits down even the softcore scenes to a degree and features new scenes shot with Lee Chung-Ling and Chung Bik-Wing, acting as relatives to the main characters but not interacting with the separate footage to any degree. Mind Fuck on the other hand has exclusive scenes of mostly comedic nature.

Liu Jai (Home For The Intimate Ghosts) (1990) Directed by: Lam Yi-Hung

Liu Jai (Home for the Intimate Ghosts) was one of the Cat III efforts that followed in the wake of the success of Erotic Ghost Story (that based its plot on the same collection of stories as Liu Jai), a production that not so much exuded quality in itself but was understandably commercially viable. While it doesn't have the babe factor of said effort, Liu Jai (Home for the Intimate Ghosts) ends up, quality-wise, alongside it.

It's all dangerously stage play-esque for the longest of time and really lacks a full on narrative all up till the reveal of the ghost angle. Not even that is expanded upon further outside of the quest for humanity through sex for these demons but do you need anything else if you've decided to look up this movie? Answer is clearly no and with large amount of sex, nudity, a little bit of torture, a little bit of graphic violence, dopey comedy and a hokey special effects climax, Liu Jai (Home For The Intimate Ghosts) is a success within the realms of its genre. Starring Lam Man-Yuen, Elsie Chan, Charlie Cho (as a rather mediocre demon hunter) and Chong Fat.

Live Hard (1989, Yuen Cheung-Yan)

Unimaginative title aside, Yuen Cheung-Yan crafts solid and undemanding action entertainment featuring Hwang Jang-Lee, Simon Yam, Lau Ching-Wan and crew on the hunt for terrorists. Crafting both a decent action-thriller narrative and even slick visuals at points, Yuen does seem a little character-happy in volume as certain side-stories add little to the basic framework. It's admirable he wants to add layers but ultimately Live Hard exists for action. The variation becomes memorable with highlights being bloody gunplay, untested fight performers such as Lau Ching-Wan being utilized and a martial arts ending where Hwang Jang-Lee gets a run for his money by Kim Maree Penn. Also with Elaine Lui, Eddy Ko and Stuart Ong.

The international version clocks in at 78 minutes approximately and therefore loses a few scenes and director Godfrey Ho also shot four new action scenes for this edit of the movie. Most of which involves Kim Maree Penn as well as Mark Houghton and Steve Tartalia. Thank you to Jesús Manuel Pérez Molina for this info.

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