# 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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Thou Shall Not Kill...But Once (1975) Directed by: Au Yeung-Jun

Title gives it all away really. Chen Sing joins the Shaolin temple looking for revenge but gains spiritual enlightenment. His fellow brother (played by Michael Chan) doesn't and falls victim to the temptations of wealth and flesh. Fights ensue.

Ok, it's not thoroughly fair to label Thou Shall Not Kill...But Once as just another kung-fu movie as director Au Yeung-Jun does display fairly good storytelling competence and ambition to stand out in a very crowded room. First half definitely benefits more from this as the atmosphere ever so slightly feels fresh for the genre and it's a vehicle suitable for Chen Sing's range as an actor. Not that I would expect it but fact of the matter is, there existed an opportunity here to leave out much of the martial arts without consequence and it's also a fact that Au don't distinguish himself in any way when concentrating on the fighting. For the moments where it does try, albeit in a crude way, Thou Shall Not Kill ... But Once is worthy of respect.

Thou Shalt Not Swear (1993) Directed by: Wellson Chin

By definition, Wellson Chin found a voice via the horror genre and went for it during the 90s, more distinctly starting with Thou Shalt Not Swear. Affectionately proclaimed as the start of the "Date" or "Day Of Horror" series that also included among others July 13th and The Day That Doesn't Exist, the various films refers to dates in the lunar calendar.

Otherwise known as the helmer of another series but an unremarkable one (Inspectors Wears Skirts), Chin's first dose of, albeit rightly mild, acclaim centers around his 1993 horror-comedy here and while not THE director to dissect, it's a nice feeling to see someone find a way to express a cinematic vision their way finally. Dividing his time with the buddy-cop formula and low-budget spookiness, Chin gets decent chemistry and banter out of the Michael Chow/Lau Ching Wan match-up. Chow is doning his underrated comedy persona at points (him trying to learn basic English is remarkably well-sold) but he's the straight man to Lau's slightly loopy sidekick. The two bond, even share some good serious interaction and Chin also squeezes eerie atmosphere out of the low-budget tools at his disposal. A little winner therefore. Also with Jennifer Chan, Ronald Wong, Helena Law, Kingdom Yuen, Cheung Kwok-Keung, Tats Lau and John Wakefield. A sequel entitled The Third Full Moon followed in 1994, re-teaming Michael Chow and Lau Ching Wan.

Three (2016, Johnnie To)

The leader of a gang of robbers (played by Wallace Chung) is shot by police during a heist and admitted to the emergency room to have a bullet removed from his head. The cunning thief refuses and starts a manipulative game with both doctors, nurses and the police. Vicky Zhao is Dr. Tong Qian whose internal pressure is building anyway and Louis Koo’s Inspector is verging on breaking the law in order to bring down the man handcuffed to a hospital bed. While crafted with a glossy touch, Johnnie To's Three is a small affair with essentially one setting as its storytelling playground. Displaying fine confidence crafting this scenario that turn into more and more of a pressure cooker, through static imagery, sparse movement and looks, he keeps us guessing and in awe of how he’s connecting developments and events. Even during moments where simultaneous events are unfolding, whether related to the plot or not. Wallace Chung isn’t entirely convincing since the script dictates he’s a philosopher, knows the doctor’s code in English but To’s focus on Chung's confidence during the simultaneous build up towards explosions and violence remains effective and elite despite. Aspects that leads us towards bombings and a shootout inside the hospital and this is where To technically goes off the rails. Staging an expansive shootout via extended takes, a camera that floats across the room, under and over places and characters, this is also mostly done in slow motion and is so excessive you realize someone was clearly building towards Three being a tech demo. No doubt the staging is ambitious and impressive but by this point Johnnie To takes us out of the scenario rather than escalating tension. Violence had an aura of dread in movies such as Expect The Unexpected and even in Drug War but Three gets too playful technically for the same impact to come through. This then affect the wrap up that is both muddled and inconsequential to us because we lose track of how characters are affected. Also starring Lo Hoi-Pang and Lam Suet.

Three Against The World (1988) Directed by: Brandy Yuen

Undemanding and fluffy when Andy Lau, Norman Tsui and Teddy Robin Kwan play out their wits against another, with the Koran scroll caught in between...

Brandy Yuen (The Champions) infuses the production with elegance and with such a lineup of profiles, Three Against The World has in it half the fun of simply spotting stars. For at least two thirds, that's as good as it gets though as the fun turns awfully stale after a while. Thankfully action director Yuen Wah is let more consistently onto the set by the end, delivering nifty fights and stunts. If Three Against The World wanted to be a slam-dunk, Brandy Yuen needed to find more excuses to utilize Yuen Wah's eye. Among those also appearing are Rosamund Kwan, Sandy Lam, Chin Kar-Lok, Teddy Yip, Chung Fat, Yuen Woo-Ping, Wu Ma, Shing Fui-On and Corey Yuen.

Three Stooges Go Undercover (1984) Directed by: Nam Nai-Choi

Nam Nai-Choi's last Shaw Brothers movie before venturing into genre he was clearly more apt at such as gory horror, sci-fi and rape/revenge, Three Stooges Go Undercover (self explanatory plot and the trio consists of Nat Chan, Kara Hui and Stanley Fung) proves Nam working with comedy wasn't a comfortable area for him. At best amusing through some well-timed gags and scenarios initially (and Sek Kin as the counterfeit gangster they are after is wonderfully colourful), much of the movie fades into indistinct territory and that makes even a short running time quite a trek. Also with Michael Chan, Ken Boyle. Weakly written by Wong Jing.

Thunderbolt (1973) Directed by: Law Chi

The Dragon Fort is infiltrated by Hung Wei (Pai Ying) of the Black Tiger Gang and after being destroyed from within, his is the most powerful fort on the block. Chu (Angela Mao) and Chen Ying Chieh (James Tien) survive the violent takeover and try and fight their way back to power. Chen in particular Hung Wei wants as he has a crucial tattoo on his back all the heads of the Dragon Fort also share. It's sometimes jarring seeing Angela Mao and the regular Golden Harvest crew in a Wuxia pian but director Law Chi (The Crippled Master) shows off the world nicely, with violence, bloodshed and otherworldly techniques (such as Pai Ying's whirlwind kick). Chen Kuan-Tai's action does strike a good balance between grounded and high flying though, with the end being a particular good showcase for Angela Mao hacking and slashing through a continuous flow of opponents.

Thunderbolt (1995, Gordon Chan)

A messy and conflicted Jackie Chan film and while being heavy on content is nothing drastic for a Hong Kong film, Thunderbolt doesn't make a good case for itself that being stuffed is part of the charm. As individual pieces of content however, they are competent and even well executed funnily enough. It fills its hefty running time with a plot concerning Jackie as a mechanic witnessing a blonde and baaaaaaad race driver (Thorsten Nickel) running over a policeman, his family being threatened and Jackie forced to return to the track in order to get his sisters back alive. Looking professional like you'd expect, going for an international flavour with sync sound in multiple languages, the nighttime Hong Kong car scenes look great and are done technically well enough to get the pulse of the movie going. It's not a stretch to incorporate fight action into all of this either (Jackie was doubled more than usual though due to an injury sustained while making Rumble In The Bronx) but director Gordon Chan doesn't make the fun of it all sit nicely next to the violent and distressing. With Jackie's family terrorized by having their shipping container-homes flung about a scrapyard by Nickel operating a crane, this is effective (even if ludicrous) but to then connect it to a massively violence police station shootout, a finale at the race track set in Japan and a cringeworthy romance with Anita Yuen, it almost comes off as Jackie ticking off several movie-ideas in one go. Lots to admire and no one should be ashamed of how sequences were pulled off (although the undercranking in the finale race scenes is distracting). But all of them shouldn't have been stitched together. Also with Michael Wong, Chor Yuen, Dayo Wong and Ken Lo.

The Thunderbolt Fist (1972) Directed by: Chang Il-Ho

Perfectly acceptable response to or echo of The Chinese Boxer, the versus Japanese and revenge storyline is present but with a loud, brutal edge to it that doesn't make it seem as that much of a copy. Especially not since Korean director Chang Il-Ho presents the Japanese as gleeful killers and the gritty and messy basher action enhances the cruel aura. All acting as a springboard for the obvious lift from the Jimmy Wang Yu classic as our hero gets crippled, learns the titular technique and in such a powerful way he'll be able to burst through walls and torsos. Loud and bloody, Shaw Brothers do well copying their own established formula. Starring Chuen Yuen and Shih Szu who lets loose effectively in one of the latter brawls.

Thunderclap (1984) Directed by: Tony Leung

Wild and frenetic are traits of Tony Leung Siu-Hung's debut movie at Shaw Brothers. It's your regular sect war with two of the common men (Robert Mak and Max Mok) caught in the middle but mixing dizzying events, animated effects and an almost full on 100 miles per hour pace, Tony makes us watch even if we don't understand any intricacies there might be. Mak and Mok's double act (launched since Mak catches and eats a bird containing the Fire Elixir Lord Tianmo played by Chen Kuan-Tai need to restore his Yin-Yang balance in order to go out and rule again) works neatly as contrast to the mostly stoic power struggles elsewhere. Add the fact that Mok's Siu Chun is an inventor having an hot air balloon, a telescope and essentially a shotgun at his disposal, Thunderclap makes a lot of bearable noise throughout its short running time. Tony Leung himself appear as our divine narrator that is questioned by the main characters at the end of the film, further showing no one was really being very stoic about what was going on here.

Thunder Cops II (1989) Directed by: Jeff Lau

This one gets complicated already at the title stage. A sequel in name only to Jeff Lau's horror-comedy Thunder Cops (an effort that in itself was a sequel to Lau's Operation Pink Squad), supposedly it was made to cash in on title and its lead Sandra Ng. Throwing out almost all comedy and horror to instead bring us a downbeat vigilante actioner, Lau's handling is rough and routinely plotted in several ways. However, despite being more or less the queen of comedy at this time, Sandra Ng goes down admirable dramatic roads as an actress for this one, something that would develop into something greater during the latter half of the 90s. Yuen Chueng Yan's action directing is also gritty and brutal (the stair shoot-out is a stylish piece of work in the 80s Hong Kong cinema tradition) and possibly employed due to the impact Tiger Cage made. Finally, the movie features a slight comedic supporting turn by Stephen Chow, before his stardom, as Ng's informant. Also with Shing Fui-On. Sunny Fang, Ann Bridgewater, Woo Fung, Eddy Ko and Jeff Lau.

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