# 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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Rebel From China (1990) Directed by: Raymond Lee

Brothers Ming (Vincent Wan) and Kwong (John Woo) flees political turmoil in China in order to find a "new place" for the family to live safely in. That place is Hong Kong. In the mind of the rash Ming, this new life means taking chances and pursuing a criminal path. A choice largely condemned by loyal brother Kwong...

It's almost always easy to see that a drama template comes with potential but where Raymond Lee (Dragon Inn) goes wrong with Rebel From China lies in factors such as unsympathetic main character and dull proceedings. The desperation in Ming gets explained and there's certainly emotions to be felt concerning that but exploring deeper is not what Lee opts for or can do. Instead various gangster scenarios occupy our time and while action director Tony Leung brings his fine, hard hitting talents to a few action scenes, the film is still in dire need of air. John Woo, in his only large acting performance not directed by himself emotes...quite a lot. Yet he walks away with dignity, registering neither good or bad. Cecilia Yip is terribly wasted in a throwaway role however. Also with Tommy Wong, Patrick Tse, Ouyang Shafei and Lau Siu-Ming.

Rebellion (2009) Directed by: Herman Yau

Herman Yau and familiar crew take to the Hong Kong streets for a piece of familiar triad conflict but despite no spins on the genre, Rebellion delivers solid material with the odd, inclusion feeling fresh for 2009 at least (meaning we didn't see it in 09). Set during one night, the bodyguard of triad Tai called Po (Shawn Yue) is called in from a drunken birthday evening. Big boss Jimmy has been shot and without the presence of Wah (Ada Choi), Po is chosen as head, much to the disappointment of hot head Blackie (Chapman To). Thus begins the hunt for the one or ones responsible for the attempted assassination...

Starting almost as an infomercial describing the stability of the local triad world, it's a fun opening not explored enough by Yau. Instead lots of exposition and a large character gallery are warning signs for a convoluted plot but Yau manages to reel it all in pretty decently. The street vibe is well captured, the clichés of the genre in the hands of the actors doesn't feel very tired (and some characters are unusually colourful, including Brother Coffee who's constantly in a sex-haze let's say). Less complicated than promised, the final tally may not be mindblowing (and it becomes very over explained) but hard working Yau has nothing to be ashamed of with Rebellion. It ain't premium output but part of an often solid but more importantly, constant output. Also with Fung Hak-On, Convoy Chan and Parkman Wong.

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Rebel Of Shaolin (1977) Directed by: David Lin

Nothing unusual happened at Shaolin today but a sense of standard indie with tinge of vision and effort runs does through Rebel Of Shaolin. Carter Wong is accused of multiple murders and the theft of a jade treasure at the Shaolin Temple, has several assassins after him and in the end there's a twist or five. Following template but mixing up the fight action with a rapid fire sharpness and slow motion bursts, the widescreen frame is also well utilized, featuring more thought out compositions than most of the mostly shot outside Taiwan indies. The ending is also a big treat as it pours on the gadgetry that includes projectile cepters, house of traps and a horse carriage rigged with projectiles and fire. Also with Polly Kuan, Doris Lung and Chiang Yi.

Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (1994) Directed by: He Ping

The young female head (Ning Jing - Set To Kill, Divergence) of the Cai's fireworks factory falls in love with appointed painter Niu Bao (Wu Gang). Despite her top position, she is not allowed to break traditional values and these feelings equal one such "crime"...

He Ping (Swordsmen In Double Flag Town) brings out the thematic of innocence/individuality suffocated under authoritarian rule and values, an intriguing and noble concept. The film is consistently beautifully mounted and He Ping sticks with the reserved Mainland Chinese cinematic language throughout, punching only at select times when the narrative verges on threatening. The way the film is low-key, simmering in a way, does suggest an outburst later into poignant, masterful territory. Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker never quite gets to that point despite weight and substance being in its favour. Low-key could be gold for these films. He Ping's manages to be a bit of a yawner, meaning it's good but not reference material for those seeking a cinematic kick from other directors than Zhang Yimou.

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Red Lips (1991, Fan Dan)

Three or four stories or little movies in one, thankfully some of your favourite action performers deliver in bursts. Trying to merge illegal immigrants turning to prostitution with traitors and the need for revenge in the triad society-stories ultimately becomes a very unfocused attempt by director Fan Dan. Because it lures us in thinking the thread we're following is going to be developed but promptly and crudely we're into side-stories with Kara Hui, Dick Wei, Philip Ko and then even more crudely we're in the midst of prostitute-drama again. Never breaking out of its low budget either to deliver the ugliness this cinematic world requires, at least the action-guys and girls provide quite watchable power. Feeling much like different a different crew with actual skill in providing effect, fights between Ko Fei and Mark Houghton as well as effectively staged ending gunplay (on a budget) lingers. Lack of focus doesn't.

The Red Panther (1983) Directed by: Kong Lung

A grating comedy act by James Yi greatly contradicts the often chilling and violent slasher-nature to Kong Lung's The Red Panther. But as hard as it is to admit it, it's Hong Kong cinema after all so one either get with the flow or patiently wait until Kong Lung lets it rip with his violence. Much of it being competently staged even though the director tends the overemphasize the psychology of characters with the use of sound. The film has enough of the goodies, if it's horror you want. If constant toilet- and sex humour also floats your boat, you're in luck. Co-starring Margaret Lee, Chang Kuo Chu, Phillip Chan and Lawrence Cheng.

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The Red Phoenix (1978) Directed by: Tyrone Hsu

KENNETH'S REVIEW: A red dressed man with a mask of two faces murders patriotic youths and the ones left ponder what tactics to use because it seems the killer can predict everything, even the weapon they call The Red Phoenix. Fine cast in a generic package, the movie doesn't engage as a kung-fu mystery but combine the cast (David Chiang, Polly Kuan, Yueh Hua, Lo Lieh and Wang Hsieh), the quite fun sight of our villain, a decent array of, albeit slow, fight scenes and Tyrone Hsu's movie passes the time very adequately.

Red Sorghum (1987, Zhang Yimou)

As part of the fifth generation of Chinese directors, Zhang Yimou (and people such as Chen Kaige and Tian Zhuangzhuang) veered away from traditional stories to explore a less traveled sense of style. Not as much for propaganda and the heroism of the military but instead shifting focus towards people within the ordinary (and remote), political edge was not uncommon however as these filmmakers cultivated not only a local but also an international reputation. Zhang Yimou's debut feature and dreamy look back at a village tale of the narrator's grandparents went on to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and was also the first movie of his to star Gong Li (they were also a couple during this stretch).

Clearly conceptualized as an exercise in style and atmosphere with Zhang and cinematographer Gu Changwei going for the width of the scope frame and lush colors (red being utilized in various natural, intense and over stylized ways for instance). He's also performing a well done balancing act between abstract, non-verbal and very clear narrative with Gong Li's character going from arranged marriage to heading the wine distillery of the movie and her tumultuous, charged relationship with one of the men (Jiang Wen) who escorted her in the wedding sedan. Her rejection to a pre-determined life and embrace of the animalistic Jiang Wen's character brings adds quite a tremendous audio- and visually heavy atmosphere but Red Sorghum also depicts struggling village life with clarity. The animalistic gets shed eventually, the wine distillery goes through an economic upswing and the movie depicts it very naturally, straightforward and loose too. But it earns shifting back and forth between this, the dreamy, hypnotic and the cut to quite harrowing violence and an apocalyptic looking ending represents a filmmaker in control. He feeds audiences who wishes to absorb the artistic and also those who wants a glimpse into lives and a lifestyle they didn't know of. Courtesy of a new voice in cinema. Also with Ji Chun-Hua and Teng Re-Jun.

The Red-Wolf (1995) Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping

Take Kenny Ho as a not so magnificent leading man, a fair to distractingly annoying, ditsy leading lady in the form Christy Chung, copy Die Hard, Under Siege, have Yuen Woo-Ping direct and it makes sense it eventually kicks a lot of ass. While the aim for shooting on a big luxury boat was thought of as equal to a big movie, The Red-Wolf does look cheap and direction of the narrative is basic at its best. Thankfully Woo-Ping can bring a whole lot of very compelling tricks in his bag. First of all the casting that absolutely works is Elaine Lui (The Bride With White Hair, Martial Law) who's deliciously über-evil. Killing off innocents left and right, she represents quite the mean streak the movie has as it not only lets bullets fly into anyone but the brutality and gruesome nature of some latter reel violence (including a graphic sight of a burn victim) is noticeable. But it drawing attention to itself is not a bad but instead a compelling thing. Gunplay may not be Woo-Ping's forte but his co-action directors Yuen Cheung-Yan and Cho Wing do orchestrate an entertaining mix of painful stunts and hard hitting fights, in particular the one between Kenny Ho and Australian kickboxer Habby Heske. Speaking of that Westerner casting, the likes of Bobby Samuels and Mike Miller also participate as part of the G7 (Gwailo , referring to the rather derogatory term, translating to among other things "white devil" such cast members or stuntmen were often called) stuntteam Samuels formed at the time. Ngai Sing (as the main villain), Mandy Chan and Wu Fung also appear.

Red Zone (1995) Directed by: Edward Tang

The sole directorial effort from frequent Jackie Chan screenwriter Edward Tang is ridiculously unfocused and you're almost thankful all sense of featuring a logical plot is ejected in favour of some actual nifty action during the latter parts of the film. With imprisoned big boss Hung (Waise Lee) and his lackeys (Valerie Chow and Lester Chan) trying to affect the justice system, we eventually get extremely far from this plot to the point where Waise Lee's character is totally forgotten. Kenny Ho and Yu Rong-Guang makes sure that there's some momentum eventually, much of it without director Tang's influence. Action highlights therefore include an entertaining chase sequence involving Ho on a bike pursuing and being pursued by a jeep and the warehouse finale flashes some good ol' acrobatic gunplay to make us happy for a select few minutes. Still, one of the most off-beat scenes has to be the solution to a ticking bomb problem. Just put it in a radio controlled helicopter. Also with Ken Lo.

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