# 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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Truant Hero (1992, Wong Jing)

Mashing together random ideas, skits and broad humour around a plot no doubt inspired by the success of the Stephen Chow vehicle Fight Back To School, Wong Jing puts dorky policeman Hou (Alfred Cheung) into the role of a teacher trying to educate a class of ill-behaved kids (played by actors in their 20s, including Aaron Kwok). There will be wackiness. There is a fun, free for all tone present that Wong controls well initially. Ranging from the darker, bloodier aspects of violent triads to funny writing concerning Michael Chan applying his triad persona to education. There's plentiful threads and ideas here. In fact that volume and random tangents tend to slow down Wong's momentum. No doubt there's laughs and a comforting, 90s Hong Kong cinema tone but he is a little bit too infatuated with stalling for gags and tiny scenarios. When eventually bringing it home with a more violent, martial arts tinted comedy-conclusion, Truant Hero becomes a fairly successful, live cartoon via jokes already setup such as the frequent russian roulette-game and Yen Shi-Kwan as essentially a martial arts villain. Also starring Chingmy Yau, Sharla Cheung, Ng Man-Tat and Gabriel Wong.

The True Hero (1994) Directed by: Joe Cheung

Joe Cheung (Return Engagement) takes the story of a former triad turned teacher (Simon Yam) that inspires his rascal students (one in particular who's headed on the same path, played by John Tang) in a way you easily can predict. Neither bad, neither very good, director Cheung ends up in the middle ground, even though Yam or Anita Yuen don't put in the greatest of efforts. The finale also sports some fine gunplay courtesy of Tung Wai, Benz Kong and Tony Poon. Also with Lawrence Cheng (as the stereotypical flamboyant gay character of the piece) and Derek Yee.

The Truth About Jane & Sam (1999) Directed by: Derek Yee

Derek Yee writes and directs this winning 1999 romance revolving naturally around Jane (Fann Wong - Shanghai Knights) and Sam (Peter Ho) engaging in a turbulent relationship that has to go through heaven hell in order for the truth about themselves to become clear.

With a very welcome mature touch that involves everything between sugar sweetness to depression, Yee crafts a drama with your good ol' heavy handed sentiments and lessons. However Yee usually can rise above tried formulas and clichés. No different here and the tale proves constantly involving and laid back on a directorial level. True to form, another star is born in the hands of Yee, namely Fann Wong who is a true discovery and up to performing the critical journey of Jane. Peter Ho is suitably dorky as the nice guy who doesn't finish last while Chin Ka-lok logs a fine supporting act as Jane's triad brother. Cheng Pei-Pei and Simon Lui also appear.

Expected sentiments and genre conventions aside, The Truth About Jane & Sam hits all the right notes in a much more classy way than these vehicles usually come with.

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The Turning Point (1983) Directed by: Lam Yee-Hung

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Muddled and episodic mostly, with focus on a stern garage boss (Ray Lui), his relationship with his working class brother and rather people-friendly cop Elephant (Kent Cheng). A little love rivalry is haphazardly inserted and brutality from Wong Ching who doesn't smile once (otherwise a trademark). Lam Yee-Hung stages better cinema when turning his points towards a revenge plot and a fair few of the gritty violence excursions are effective. The score seems to emulate Das Boot but it's seemingly not lifted. Also known as The Cop.

Twelve Deadly Coins (1969) Directed by: Hsu Tseng-Hung

An escort containing a large sum of soldier's funds is stolen by the Yuan Cheng Lieh's (Fang Mian) gang from the Security Bureau headed by Chief Yu Jian Ping (Tien Feng). Suspicions about a possible traitor is mainly directed towards Qiao Mao (Lo Lieh) who seemed to aid the bandits. He is in fact trailing them to try and right wrongs and on the way he develops a relationship with Yuan's adopted daughter Rung Er (Ching Li)...

Hsu Tseng-Hung (Temple Of The Red Lotus) brings clarity, elegance and efficiency to Twelve Deadly Coins. Its setup is a little flimsy and it's not thoroughly emotionally engaging but the fact that it aims for the latter mostly (there is plenty of action and violence choreographed by Lau Kar-Leung and Tong Gai) is admireable. When humanity has room in the fantasies of the martial world, I sit up and take notice. Especially since the final reel goes for atmosphere by setting the drama in rain and makes some decent points about the dark cycle of violence in need to be broken.

Twenty Something (1994) Directed by: Teddy Chen

No huge revelations, undeserved darkness but a refreshing sexual frankness and sincerity about the twentysomething subjects, Teddy Chen's drama made at the dependable, professionals at UFO is by no means ONLY a passable glimpse into the shallow, destructive lives of twentysomethings. It attempts to mean more but falls short in a few areas, especially towards the end where tragedy and darkness manages to play out ironically funny instead. Chen's choice of putting Canto-pop and a manipulative score on top of drama sinks any attempt at reaching our hearts too. But the observations and performances help Twenty Something to gain a status as a recognizable, real tale. The core gang party together, strike up casual relationships, fall in love way too quickly and of course inside pretty much each of Chen's subjects lies insecurities, depression and dark secrets. At times interviewing the characters against a red background, it's a non-pretentious tool to elevate the insides of in particular Jordan Chan's Bo who must accomplish getting a woman every night. Farini Cheung as Jennifer whose extreme sex drive is medical in nature is another standout in the cast that also includes a large character gallery (that Chen keeps nicely track of) played by Moses Chan, Valerie Chow, Yau Chau-Yet, Cheung Hong-On and Bak Ka-Sin. Shot in synch sound.

The Twilight Of The Forbidden City (1992) Directed by: Manfred Wong

Set in the 1920s, former court official and eunuch Loi Hei (Max Mok) is making his living selling food in the streets and doing his best not to be involved in the tumultuous times of pending war. Living a pseudo marriage with Chiu Ti (Irene Wan) and her son, soon Loi Hei IS drawn into the notion of revolution as he befriends a married rebels Chiu Fung (Carrie Ng) and Hu Zeng Zhong (Felix Wong). Jealousy ensues in the trio but also Loi Hei is caught in the eye line of the current palace eunuch (played by singer Roman Tam). This sets the stage for possible revolution but also a dark spiral downwards for Loi Hei...

Expensive and well shot by veteran Mark Lee, director Manfred Wong does not have the chops to make something meaningful out of this story. Max Mok tries admirably but ultimately isn't affecting in the shoes of this doomed character. Initially merely the basic beats are used as setup for this character and no growth is achieved along the way or afterwards. Roman Tam is at times suitably evil but it brings up the point that The Twilight Of The Forbidden City is only watchable during those short streaks of grim violence and sadism often directed towards our main character. Kent Cheng's general actually MARRIES Lo Hei just so he can have sex with the eunuch that he is. This doesn't represent an affecting, tragic part of the arc. It's merely watchable, shameless exploitation for a few minutes. Have a feeling Manfred Wong wanted more. Also with Manfred Wong himself and Shing Fui-On.

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The Twilight Siren (1991) Directed by: Ma Siu-Wai

Sold on vcd as Devil And Master, on-screen title for this Taiwanese cheap-o-rama is The Twilight Siren. Concerning a ghost that breaks with her master The Devil King when given a chance to re-incarnate, she uses the human world to help her achieve her goal. Humans have a tendency to fall in love with pretty ghosts too...

Not as annoying as the camp, young Taoist Priest character would have you believe, hands on director Ma Siu-Wai (also writer and co-action director) will try and convince you that a lot of movement equals energy that in turn equals creativity. His spirit battles do move but are rendered practically incoherent not only due to the dark nature of the vcd print. Amusing flubtitles doesn't help this unbearable mess either. The Mandarin and Cantonese language tracks utilizes quite strikingly different choices of score (both probably stolen elsewhere) but they are still showcases of someone not possessing the skill to conjure up any excitement via choices of sound and music. Out of all movies that offers up behind the scenes footage, The Twilight Siren all of a sudden breaks into that during its end crawl. Alex Fong, Ku Feng and Wu Ma appear.

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The Twin Dragons (1992, Tsui Hark & Ringo Lam)

A production made as a benefit film to help fund the Hong Kong Directors Guild, Jackie Chan plays twins separated at birth that goes on to live very different lives. One is a famous orchestra conductor and pianist. One becomes a street racer that gets in trouble with triads, their lives merge, mismatched identities type of comedy, stunts, fights and a cameo-parade for the ages follow. Reportedly co-director Ringo Lam handled more action scenes rather than narrative ones and his style is pretty evident in certain sequences (when Kirk Wong's triad-boss is set free, the street-chaos evokes gritty thrills that Ringo had put on screen before). But more importantly, the actors and filmmakers who made this realized there's a purpose here beyond entertainment... which seems to act as fuel FOR entertainment because The Twin Dragons is a fine action-comedy from start to finish. Also featuring a plethora of action-directors, this is beneficial for the movie as we get a lovely mix of the creativity involving props and settings Jackie can bring and execute but also martial arts clearly visualized by other sections of the team (whether Yuen Woo-Ping, Stephen Tung, Tsui Siu-Ming etc). And it's a treat to see Jackie and team perform and execute that versatility in the various fights, in the hairy stunts during the boat chase and in finale at the vehicle testing center. Present is an energetic, silly tone with Jackie playing both a womanizer and gentleman, the cameos that surround him are actually squeezed in very well and there is enough story-focus to prevent the movie from stalling. Audiences responded as this was a hit and the filmmakers and actors deserved the funds they were aiming for.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (1983) Directed by: Alex Cheung

A short lived career at Shaw Brothers (mainly probably because they closed production at the studio in 1985) for praised Cops And Robbers and Law On The Brink director Alex Cheung resulted in the Leung Kar-Yan actioner Danger Has Two Faces but more importantly the sci-fi madness Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. With a plate of seemingly random silliness that manages to cohere and connect via its own internal logic, it's a pure joy watching a filmmaker managing to show skill in maintaining energy. In a very colourful, full Shaw Scope, Cheung throws at us the mystery of a UFO, Cherie Chung as an extremely unlucky woman, goofy PI's (among others James Yi), a doctor drinking his own concoction and turning into a monster in the process, key imagery from Star Wars, Encounters Of The Third Kind and believe it or not, there's barely a slow patch in the proceedings. Fast paced banter, musical numbers, crazy fathers, ambitious special effects, it's all capped with a biblical reel featuring James Yi abducted, almost probed but more importantly, facing off against the Darth Vader of the film. It'll be a lightsaber duel the George Lucas and Hong Kong way combined.

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