# 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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The Story Of The Gun (1992) Directed by: Dang Paang-Tang

Hong Kong cop Lau (Gordon Liu) follows the trail of robbers and gun smugglers to the Mainland and back to Hong Kong, eyeing lovers Lon (Mark Cheng) and Hung (Yukari Oshima) as prime suspects. The Story Of The Gun is simple, efficient stuff that may not stick out hugely amidst its kind but combine said effectiveness and technically able action scenes and you've got yourself a brief treat. Doesn't hurt to see Yukari Oshima leaning towards her violent, mean side either while also getting a chance to square off against Sophia Crawford. Lead Liu with hair and moustache is visual treat too! Also with Lo Lieh and Tin Ching.

The Story Of Wong Fei Hung (Part 1) (1949, Wu Pang)

Featuring the story of legendary martial artist Wong Fei-Hung and starring Kwan Tak-Hing, the man would go on to becoming synonymous with the role across 70+ films. The initial entry is more introduction than backstory despite the title and the short feature even ends on a cliffhanger so plans were already in motion to give Wong Fei-Hung multiple chances cinematically. Being a 1940s production, it's expected that filming techniques are primitive (it is shot in sync sound seemingly though) but despite there is fair interest for fans of the kung fu genre. Storytelling style and tropes exist here, with Wong clashing with villains that have abducted store owners and in the second half with a rival kung fu master. We meet his student Leung Foon (Walter Tso) who is more rash and prone to violence, the fight scenes have their moments of speed but the action scenarios are more admirable due to some nifty falls by the stuntmen. Being a short movie, it also has plot-thrust and no real filler (although director Wu Pang shoots some extensive lion dancing and singing). It started here, the iconic nature of the character would extend to the 80s, it would be reinvented in the 90s so Hong Kong cinema showed Wong Fei-Hung would never truly go out of style.

Strange Bedfellow (1986) Directed by: Lo Gin, Eric Tsang & Alfred Cheung

God only knows what these three stories are supposed to mean but perhaps the intent was to do things you don't expect from Hong Kong cinema. That's why you get a short with Eric Tsang set in a future where men are designated to be house-wives (or house-husbands) as they are now milk-producing machines (not shown in the film though). Story is about him trying his damndest to get a normal child, not a test tube one so in the end he becomes pregnant himself. Next up is Anthony Chan as a doctor who specializes in reconstructing skulls to help the police to identify murder victims. His new assistant might be the ghost of the diseased however. Finally Cecilia Yip kills off her twin sister by shrinking her and boiling her to pieces in the bathtub in order to get the husband played by director Alfred Cheung all to herself. When he wants to leave her, psychotic Cecilia Yip starts owning the screen. Partially successful because it places the unexpected actors in dramatic and darker situations but thank god Strange Bedfellow is a three story-job. Easy to digest and have fun with therefore but ultimately it's in the various, outrageous details and not execution. In the future segment, The Wynners appear as senile old versions of themselves and you can worship any god of your choice (including Jackie Chan) at vending machines placed over the city but that's as broad as the movie gets. Also with Candice Yu, Lam Wai and Billy Lau.

Stranger In Hong Kong (1972) Directed by: Lau Fong-Gong & Kuei Chih-Hung

Vault designer Chang Shan (Chin Feng) stops by Hong Kong temporarily but is kidnapped by thieves who wants to use his knowhow to break into one of his own vaults. Well cast with a suitably dopey and uncomfortable Chin Feng getting swept into gambling, into bed with Betty Ting Pei and gradually the duo of directors build up the actual danger of the piece. By the point we hit the heist it feels like the early train of thoughts of madman Kuei Chih-Hung (The Boxer's Omen, Bamboo House Of Dolls) taking over completely. Tension is excellent and the parade of unexpected bloodshed (limps chopped off, people being pierced to death, crushed by cars etc) brings a logical sense of development to Stranger In Hong Kong where the everyday man is drawn into something confusing and ultimately violent. Also with Tien Feng and Chan Shen.

Street Angels (1996) Directed by: Billy Tang

With the Young And Dangerous-effect spreading its wings over Hong Kong cinema in 1996 thanks to Andrew Lau, it's no wonder it sprung to life outside of the series too. Billy Tang had been tapped to provide some satire and fun of the genre with Sexy And Dangerous the same year and although Street Angels is packed, it's not distinguishable for many reasons, especially not for fans of Hong Kong's king of Category III CINEMA (Red To Kill, Run And Kill). Chingmy Yau is Tung Yen, woman of rising triad mad dog Walkie Pi (Simon Yam) and while he flees to Holland after a kill, she takes a prison sentence for him. Out of jail, Yen starts associating herself with the hostess world and even becomes a great figure. When Pi returns to Hong Kong however, there's no love in the air anymore as the rising triad is now a full blown mad dog...

Straightforward and light for long stretches, Tang doesn't provide a terrific amount of inspired material despite dealing with issues of the 1997 handover but does have some benefits in the acting department to take Street Angels to fun, depraved places (which is all it can and should do). Elvis Tsui is hilarious as the bodyguard Moro who's constantly horny and has no problem swallowing condom if the situation dictates it. The subtitles do wonders for his scenes and even though we're not dealing with a III-rating here, Tsui makes sure to be pushed as far as he can. A little romance and extreme tragedy passes the time but the re-appearance of Simon Yam signals the time for director Tang to have fun. True to form, Yam throws himself 568% into the über-evil persona of Pi and Tang even plays around a LITTLE bit visually to strengthen these extremes. The otherwise straight cast can't compete. They do include a naked and abused Shu Qi, Michael Tao, Valerie Chow, Lee Kin-Yan (nose picking transvestite in Stephen Chow movies), Lee Siu-Kei and Liu Fan.

The Street Car Named Desire (1993) Directed by: William Cheung

Without checking, little to nothing surely resembles the Marlon Brando classic now in the hands of Hong Kong cinema. Even if that was the case, The Street Car Named Desire is one incomprehensible, boring train wreck. Lawrence Ng is Chi-Wah, a triad recently released from prison with plans to go against the mould. That doesn't mean he will stop walking the triad way or let violence walk far behind him this time. No, he justifies his acts by reasoning that the polar opposite of what's expected should be done. Has to do with some "creative" writing concerning some father figure conflict or something. Flat direction and performances walk alongside the flick too, with a world painted in exploitation and decadence never coming to life. We barely know what drives these characters but we do come to know why after all is said and done. They're simply fools and breaking the wall of the so called drama territory is ventures into acrobatic gunplay and fights that screams commercial desperation. A big pass. Also with Bonnie Fu, Tommy Wong, Grace Wong, Karel Wong, Billy Chow and Kwan Hoi-San.

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The Stud And The Nympho (1980) Directed by: Lu Chi

For one hour a silly sexy comedy about adultery and manipulation by men, women and delivered with a very non-amusing high pitch, Lu Chi (Mini-Skirt Gang) has trouble leading us through these episodes with admittedly a gorgeous female cast (Ai Ti and Ling Doi). Dropping hints of a peeping stalker (Lung Cheuk) with a lair of chains, cut out pictures of Ai Ti's character and a blow up doll, this is the spark of The Stud And The Nympho. Thankfully, despite not earning it, the last half hour is almost solely devoted to this thriller plot that features some fairly heavy violence with a hammer and glorious overacting by Lung Cheuk. A conflicted product that doesn't amount to much of anything, pushing darker exploitation-elements eventually makes us stay on at least. Also with Wai Wang and Siu Yam-Yam.

Suburb Murder (1992) Directed by: Jeng Kin-Ping

With a resume that also includes and stops at the horrific exploits Hong Kong Eva and Body Lover, Jeng Kin-Ping's directorial debut holds effective imagery. Based on the 1985 Braemar Hill murders, the movie depicts Kang (Lam King-Kong) who's never had warmth in his life. A cheating mother, a violent father (later in life he's disowned by his father who is played by Ku Feng and his mother is a prostitute)... no wonder Kang gets mixed up with small time hoodlums. Youths that are since long lost and with no moral values, the rapists within them are never far off but Kang finds support and warmth finally when childhood friend Chi (Ng Shui-Ting) returns. Coupled with the fact that Kang is also falling in love with a girl, a couple of drunk Westerners is going to change the course of his life...

Playing out mostly in flashback after Kang is arrested, most of Suburb Murder is cut right out of the standard Category III mold dealing with true crimes. Plus points goes to director Jeng Kin-Ping as he manages to make the seedy locations the youth gang often are in quite effectively looking on film. The life they're living, it translates. Furthermore when he lets Kang's psychotic behaviour go into overdrive for the final reel of the film, we're quite a bit on board with this tragic fate and the harsh violence that goes along with it. It's not an unexpected portrait of the psyche of a killer but a lot better than expected.

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Suicide (1995) Directed by: Alan Lo

Director Alan Lo continued to vent and cash in by being socially relevant/exploitive regarding the disillusioned youths-story. With Girls In The Hood released a few months prior, Suicide doesn't dress itself very differently but manages to register slightly better on a poignancy level. Relentlessly unsympathetic and generally ill behaved, the script calls for passages where the adult world turn on these kids, leading to the poor characteristics of the girls gang. It rings more true to the character traits for some moments and they all in the end want to feel love in some shape or form. Of course the title Suicide corresponds to plot elements so it's not a happy ride. Sad it may be but largely Alan Lo's document of the real Hong Kong is still yet another one trying to come off as socially relevant. A presentation of Cash Quick Inc. that happens to say something good every once in a while.

Summer Snow (1995) Directed by: Ann Hui

The Best Picture, Best Director (Ann Hui), Best Screenplay (Chan Man Keung), Best Actor (Roy Chiao), Best Actress (Josephine Siao) and Best Supporting Actor (Law Kar-Ying) winner at the 1996 Hong Kong Film Awards and a well deserved sweep by all involved. Ann Hui celebrates the strength of women but also family in her drama about the Sun family's struggle with keeping their Alzheimer diagnosed father (Roy Chiao) in check.

Thankfully not overbearing with her jabs at social problems such as elderly care and economical struggles, Hui rightfully takes the low-key approach for her detailed snapshot of reality and while the MTV crowd, or those in need of a quick entertainment fix, should stay away, Hui still crafts highly compelling drama that goes equally touching and funny routes. Funny in the way Chiao's disease stricken Lin takes some odd detours in the city but it's equally tragic to see the struggling family go through breakdowns, both inner and outspoken ones. The slight disinterest that crops up is via the son's sub story and Law Koon Lan's character is a few notches too broad for my liking. Still, Summer Snow couldn't come more highly recommended and with a trio of terrific performances, most notably the late Roy Chiao who finally received some overdue recognition, Ann Hui crafts perhaps one of her more uplifting movies in the end. A young Stephen Fung, in his debut, appears briefly as well as Ha Ping.

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