# 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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Project S (1994) Directed by: Stanley Tong

Re-titled in the US to Supercop 2, it's not entirely inappropriate as Project S features another adventure with Michelle Yeoh's Mainland police woman Yang Chien Hua. Her colleague and boyfriend Chang Fung (Yu Rong-Guang) decides to leave for Hong Kong to pursuit riches but it's done in the form of robbery and killing. Yang is called in to Hong Kong to assist on the robbery case Inspector Lee Ming (Emil Chow) and Lung (Fan Siu-Wong) are on and naturally comes into contact with Chang Fung...

With its main core being the relationship between Michelle Yeoh's and Yu Rong-Guang's characters, Stanley Tong rather poorly conveys their connection and Chang Fung's quick transition into crime. The usual Mainland vs. Hong Kong ways of policing, prejudice against Yeoh's female cop, some comedic shenanigans as Emil Chow trying to romance Yeoh follows before Project S turns into the action entertainment it should be. It survives silliness and lapse in logic. Tong begins crafting an efficient and fast moving plot, with the main excitement coming in the bank vault finale. It's hard to rise Tong's action up to a high standard as the movie isn't very stunt- or fight heavy but what's here is solid and exciting, with Yeoh's bout with one of the big Westerners being the prime recommendation. Shot in synch sound and also with Athena Chu, Bill Tung, Dick Wei, Bowie Lam and Yukari Oshima. Jackie Chan (playing his Police Story character Chan Ka Kui again) and Eric Tsang (both in drag) appear in a very silly 3 minute scene that may contain action but could've easily been cut out of the film.

Prosperous Of Family (1970) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

Produced at Union Films (that earlier in the 60s gave us King Hu's seminal Dragon Inn), Ding Sin-Saai (The Ghost Hill) takes a break from his overall action oriented rep to take a stab at the period drama. Featuring a minimal amount of action and instead a thematic focus, he sets his plot in motion when the extended house of Master Hsueh gets scattered as he is presumably killed by bandits. Kept alive if ransom money is provided, that money is grabbed by the greedy bunch of servants and wives. One of tem, Chun-Ngo ends up with the young son of Hsueh's, Eago, and has to start from scratch along with a male servant. First goal, get the naughty and distressed kid into school and along the way make any sacrifice needed, like an actual mother would...

A beautiful and deeply detailed frame doesn't detract from the needed intimacy of the themes on display here. Some messages may be a bit on the nose (even when portrayed in a comedic way, it doesn't quite gel) but Ding Sin-Saai has his noble intentions translating despite. Point of all this being that a tragedy that leads to a split of a large "family" will reveal true family values and the revelation of who ultimately is going to take on responsibility rather than sitting comfortably back. Telling performances and a director contributing genuine, dramatic class to Taiwan cinema at the time makes Prosperous Of Family a warm recommendation overall.

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The Protectors (1975) Directed by: Wu Ma

Although Celestial's remastering technique of cutting frames means certain movies were a few minutes shorter, Wu Ma's The Protectors originally must've been very short and therefore an exercise in being short and to the point. Two security guards, Ling (Lo Lieh) and Guan (Cheung Poi-Saan) become enemies when the latter sees the opportunity to make more money if collaborating Jin (Wang Hsish) to steal the next escort containing silver. Almost made with Shaw Brothers having engaged the automatic gear, it's actually very cool to get a quick fix because it's there. Fine costumes, decent action with blood and sneaky weapons and a bit unfortunate, too many twists for 62 minutes.

Protectors Of Universe (198?) Directed by: Larry M. Jackson

More Korean made anime rip off shenanigans presented by Joseph Lai's IFD Films & Arts (but more prominently their Adda Audio Visual gets the main released through-credit). Acquiring the 1983 giant robot feature Super teukgeup Majingga 7, those makers were not shy about what famous manga- and anime design they were copying as clearly Go Nagai's Mazinger Z is being victimized here to a degree (to what extent is hard for me to say as I'm not familiar with it). But the Japanese need not worry about a third rate anime like Protectors Of Universe that launches at us with expected crude results. It's another blue faced alien invasion plot with Lai adding the best (or unbearable depending on the viewer you are) elements needed to sit through such as poor/hilarious dubbing, ridiculous names for our villains (including Alfred) and the original crew mixes quite limp giant robot action with a large dose of wacky comedy courtesy of our invading forces. It doesn't have a particularly strong story-drive despite its brief running time but at least some memorable, nutty elements that is all capped with a fight between Mazinger 6 and a fire breathing dragon.

Proud And Confident (1989) Directed by: Lee King-Chu

screencap courtest of Dragon's Den UK

Not that I remember Top Gun in detail but the story beats of Proud And Confident are, to provide a bit of an understatement, familiar....

Basically substituting pilots with cops, Tom Cruise with Andy Lau and Val Kilmer with Francis Ng, director Lee King-Chu (co-action choreographer on Lau Kar Leung-movies such as My Young Auntie) touches upon most clichés in a bad way and tops it all of with an underdeveloped romance between Lau and Rosamund Kwan.

There's plenty of action though, gunplay-oriented, and at times it's fairly tension filled, with moody cinematography to go with that. The filmmakers shoot themselves in the foot with the finale though. It has a lot of firepower but its ballistic nature does for one not really go hand in hand with the supposed drama and really lacks flair or style to make it less of a struggle to get through. It may be rare but Proud And Confident isn't exactly traits the filmmakers show with this 80s actioner. Also starring Dick Wei and Kirk Miu (Magic Cop)

A Punch To Revenge (1989) Directed by: Lee Chiu

Tsang (Eddy Ko) struggles to make money for his family, that includes a son with Cerebral Pares and since he can't take it when the wife has to go into prostitution, he goes into business with Mainland thieves. Fan (Yukari Oshima) is a social worker that gets caught in the crossfire as the thieves start to argue amongst themselves and cop Lee (Ben Lam) engages in the case that has personal meaning to him...

Low budget but above average (especially compared to the dreck Yukari Oshima has appeared in) that benefits from a gritty look and one mood-storytelling. Nothing extraordinary pops out from the screen as in actuality the action seems hastily staged and edited without much flow. But scenes of Yukari getting peed on, a terrific finale involving hostages covered in petrol that will be set on fire when shot on, screwdrivers, saws and gore heightens Lee Chiu's at times while also providing sharp direction in terms of tension. Also with Chan Ging (Long Arm Of The Law), Joh Chung and Stanley Fung.

Purple Darts (1969) Directed by: Pan Lei

Wang Ling plays a swordswoman carrying out revenge on her parent's death, with her calling card being the titular purple darts. Having to team up with the son of one of her victims in order to take down one of the most invincible forces of the martial world, Purple Darts is a limp, age old story from Shaw Brothers. Wang Ling has sufficient fury in her eyes but her participation in the action leads to some very choppy and stagey swordfights. That the aftermaths are often very gory is a plus but there's no supersharp team working anywhere here.

Pursuit (1972, Cheng Kang)

After brief appearances for Yueh Hua as Lin Chong (formerly an instructor for the imperial troops) in The Water Margin and All Men Are Brothers for Chang Cheh, cramming all outlaws from the novel into a select number of movies wouldn’t have generated true distinction and recognition so a few simplified spin offs were put out in 1972 as well. Including The Delightful Forest for Ti Lung’s Wu Sung and in Pursuit Yueh Hua's character takes center stage. Directed by Chang Kang (The 14 Amazons, released the same summer), he tells the story of Lin Chong being framed by the lecherous son of Commander Kao, how he's exiled to the city of Cang Zhou and a looming prison sentence. There are plans to have him assassinated along the way but even in his battered state, he puts up a fight and has a guardian angel in the form of sworn brother Monk Lu Zhi Shen (Fan Mei-Sheng replacing actor Pang Pang in the role).

Because of its prequel nature, there's no gathering of outlaws but instead we get a small story of power driven behaviour, gleeful sadism, entitlement and brotherhood emphasized by intense action and bloodshed. Simplicity doesn't mean there's precious little to care for however as the trio of actors (including Wong Gam-Fung as the wife of Lin Chong) devote themselves to the template of unjust events, we as an audience feel the injustice as well and root for a tortured character that shows equal amounts of strength, resolve, upright morals and longing. But also at one point Yueh Hua's Lin Chong simply has nothing but violence as an option. Amidst very fast and snappy weapons action on the Shaw Brothers stages and an alluring section set in snow, its visual characteristics and dramatic nuance is welcome and viewers of The Water Margin should find a surprising amount to like in Pursuit since it's stripped of volume and can be connected to. This was the type of Water Margin-making Shaw Brothers excelled at: The paths leading up to the big events. Also with Paul Chun and Kao Ming as the lecherous son has a glare and demeanor that is equal parts infuriating and scary. One of the standout actors of the piece.

Pursuit (1980) Directed by: Wong Tin-Lam

Now this is one for the record books of silver screen turkeys but I rather think it will be kept out since it never have or should make an effect on the general audience. I'm not part of that latter crowd however so naturally Pursuit must be...*insert pun*

From acclaimed director Wong Tin-Lam, now a regular supporting player in the Johnnie To's camp, his last film clearly is evidence of someone doing something they once were good at, now having fallen far, far from grace. His thriller comedy here about a feisty and thoroughly annoying damsel in distress (Dik Boh-Laai) being witness to a murder by a psycho hitman (Chow Yun-Fat) looks to have been largely shot at one hotel (and a few years earlier than 1980), using room and various locales around to create your good ol' epic! Ignorance is bliss and this mess scripted by his equally messy son Wong Jing revels in its personal hard on for stupidity. Yes, Wong Jing sees fit to include people tripping over banana peels, males thinking largely with their libidos, groovy cops seemingly ready to P-A-R-T-Y rather than staying ahead in the investigation (one of them being unconvincingly dressed and played by George Lam), flashing, S&M etc etc. The assault unfortunately does suffer from the Wong Jing syndrome where it's sometimes impossible not to laugh but have no fear, Pursuit represents the lowest of the low, failing in a way not even my feeble words can describe and those Chow Yun-Fat fans wanting to see every piece of footage with the man, you can. You'll however be just as frustrated as every viewer has been every since Pursuit was released.

Pursuit Of A Killer (1985) Directed by: Taylor Wong

Taylor Wong (Buddha's Palm, Sentenced To Hang) directs this Long Arm Of The Law-esque tale that also blends in a whodunit-murder mystery with giallo-like stylistic excursions, all concocted at the by then tired Shaw Brothers studio. Pursuit Of A Killer doesn't waste time though as it steamrolls through the escape of a band of brothers (and sisters) from the Mainland to Hong Kong into their criminal career leading to prison sentences and finally, the systematic murdering of one by one of the brothers once they're out of jail. Lo Meng plays one that the police releases early to lure out the killer and by ending up on the government payroll, he utilizes the system by eating free and having sex for free. But while Taylor never really convinces us he's the right director for this gritty, gory and sleazy story, the script calls for passages that describes Lo Meng's character as heartless and it works for a while as valid subtext. Then again the grittiness and violence are created within surroundings that doesn't scream "we're still trying" but instead Pursuit Of A Killer has an aura that feels too manufactured. There would soon be no more manufacturing at a constant basis at the legendary studio. Jason Pai, Sun Chien and Chan Shen also appear.

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Pursuit of Vengeance (1977, Chor Yuen)

As we were introduced to Ti Lung's character of Fu Hong-Xue and his spinning blade in The Magic Blade (1976), we also got to see director Chor Yuen craft an understandable narrative with inventive design work that made the martial world come to life. Simply cool, engaging and a good entry point for those curious about Chor Yuen's treatment of yet another adaptation by novelist Gu Long. For the second outing featuring the character in Pursuit Of Vengeance, the involved are running more or less on fumes, finding no inspiration working the convoluted story and going through the motions in most areas of design. A Shaw Brothers movie never really looks bad but the memory of how Chor Yuen spiced up the prior movie would rightfully linger going into Pursuit Of Vengeance. It really feels like a perfectly ordinary and non-distinct period setting most of the time, with Fu Hong-Xue observing and joining a party that's invited to Wan Ma Manor and unveiling a complex plot of murder and revenge. Ti Lung shows up dependably and provides the cool, even if the blade of his is strangely not a centerpiece anymore. First half is also pretty understandable but Chor Yuen goes into character overdrive for the remainder which prompts one just to sit back to try and enjoy the storytelling circus and swordplay at hand here. And that's another problem. With little in the way of fantastical design work, Tong Gaai's action choreography (together with Huang Pei-Chih) is often delivered in bursts only. There's awfully similar clashes with swords and acrobatic stuntmen, making it hard to attach to and find a distinctive nature within the set pieces. Late in the movie Chor Yuen makes a case for introducing a lighthearted nature into a twisty turny story like this which is conceptually a lot of fun, verging on the director spoofing himself but it's a late breaking idea and thesis that would have benefited from earlier introduction. Not all Chor Yuen Wuxia stories end on a freeze frame of a butt however so there is that. Also with Lau Wing, Lo Lieh, Paul Chang, Shih Szu and Derek Yee and his glue on beard.

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