# 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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Ultimate Revenge (1995, Ridley Tsui)

Reportedly incorporating select action footage from 1993's Category III rated Hong Kong Eva, both movies star Lau Siu-Gwan anyway so there's a fairly tight illusion going on here. But the effect is the inability to connect to quickly introduced and disposed of characters while the dull cops and robbers plot set in the Philippines and Hong Kong unfolds. The likes of Ronnie Ricketts and Cynthia Khan appear in the new footage and with Ridley Tsui directing (and action directing) you would hope to see some snappy rhythm and painful nature to the action. Aside from some fine (and brief) bursts of said rhythm (and some over the top acting), much of the action is slow and off... which makes it an oddly suitable fit with Hong Kong Eva as that wasn't an action-gem to begin with. At 100 minutes and no drama to care for, Ultimate Revenge is a trip through footage from separate productions but it's a trip to avoid as merged. At least you had sex scenes in the older movie originally combined with the gunplay. All removed when semi-resurrected again in 1995.

The Ultimate Vampire (1991) Directed by: Andrew Lau

Lam Ching Ying once again playing the Taoist priest and once again making sure that we're fairly entertained by the spectacle on screen. The Ultimate Vampire has more the feel of a series of vignettes strung together and also, the students of Lam are huge annoyances in the way they're portrayed, even fan favourite Chin Siu Ho! On the plus side, the action, when it hits, is entertaining and the finale takes on a cool zombie movie feel unexpectedly. Also starring Carrie Ng and Lau Shun.

The Umbrella Story (1995) Directed by: Clifton Ko

From Clifton Ko and Raymond To's more distinct stage to screen adaptation era, The Umbrella Story (originally starring Tse Kwan-Ho who has a small part here in a different role) has the Leung So Yee umbrella factory and its inhabitants at center. Leading us through the foundation and historical changes over roughly 80 years, Clifton Ko uses Forrest Gump techniques to merge the actors into old films and stock footage as part of his fictional storytelling. This means a whole lot to Hong Kong people and probably precious little to Westerners (although recognizable Bruce Lee footage from his teenage years is incorporated). The gimmick doesn't take center stage (and the effects aren't really state of the art) but the feeling of nostalgia and family values in the confines of these historical eras does make it hard for an outside viewer to connect. The overabundance of characters merely being present also comes with the backlash of you not knowing where to put your focus. A valuable history and family lesson perhaps and it is indeed hard to slam the film when it's not really for you...or rather me. The other streak of films including I Will Wait For You and I Have A Date With Spring (easily the most popular of their films) are more easily digested. Chow Chi-Fai, May Law, Alice Lau, So Yuk Wa, Chui Jun-Fung, Ko Hon Man and Poon Chan Leung stars. I.e. most of the stock group of actors with the team of Clifton Ko and Raymond To.

Underground Express (1990) Directed by: Michael Mak

Also known as the Long Arm Of The Law IV, in fact it's yet another unrelated entry in the Johnny Mak/Michael Mak enterprise but does focus on Mainland criminals again. However setting it all during the political turmoil of 1989 in China and Hong Kong has the robbers questioning whether they should work for money or democracy. This effect on them comes via the task of escorting student leader Siu Wai (Ng Suet-Man) to safety and the leader of the robbers Bing (Elvis Tsui, who leads well in the acting department) even gets his heart stirred by Siu Wai. For me personally, this scenario is out of range, knowledge-wise and geographically but in intention Underground Express was meant as a production for its close to home audiences anyway so there's no true reason to complain that it doesn't travel. However interest clearly isn't rammed up to elite levels but Michael Mak has the skills to create a very slick frame. Very well shot and orchestrated in the action-stakes, it's something to appreciate when themes of brotherhood and loyalty flashes before only to be followed by acrobatic action so fans internationally Underground Express can gain. It probably wanted something more though. Also with Chan Ging (Long Arm Of The Law).

Underground Warfare (1989) Directed by: Ma Siu-Wai

A disjointed and muddled mess that can't even afford squibs or to put proper gun sounds on the audio track, what they do have the ability to do is to set the camera speed to low in order to make the fight scenes move fast...like a pinball machine on acid. Yes, Underground Warfare is an embarrassing low-budget melodrama and gangster picture with its share of inadequacies to laugh at but those only amounts to a few minutes. Rest is stale and even veterans like Ku Feng, Chen Sing and Dick Wei look incredibly embarrassed that this amounts to work during that particular time in 1989.

Under The Rose (1992) Directed by: Otto Chan

Hosted by James Wong and Veronica Choi, this furiously paced documentary sets out to give viewers a portrait of all sexual activity you can engage in in Hong Kong, current or throughout the ages. Occasionally catching glimpses of this with hidden camera, the filmmakers takes us through looks at early pornography, how to find specialized video shops, how to put the condom to use in every day life and various amount of both cheap and expensive ways to buy sex. All through a mostly lighthearted and non-judgmental eye. Even though the darker sides of prostitution is touched upon, director Otto Chan focuses more on what is common knowledge about being horny and perverted in Hong Kong and maybe some not so common knowledge. While clearly featuring staged footage, giving this documentary also the mockumentary-tag, some street footage is probably real and the filmmakers do put on a convincing show as hidden cameras puts us in motel rooms, grungy video shops, bars and love-vans. Chan and James Wong also worked together on Stooges In Hong, Key To Fortune while Chan also explored darker themes subsequently with Gates Of Hell and Diary Of A Serial Killer.

Unforgettable Fantasy (1985) Directed by: Frankie Chan

Wong Kar-Wai wrote this unwatchable, irresponsible mess that stars producer/director Frankie Chan as Robert, an apprentice of his Taoist Priest uncle (Stanley Fung). But enough is enough and Robert applies for a job at a company producing commercials. Getting into conflict with the manager Cho (Charlie Cho) early when he acts AS the manager but mainly later as they both fight for the love of Cleo (Joyce Ngai), Robert manages to let loose a fox spirit taking the form of Cleo. So let shenanigans begin and some lessons between human and fox about love, how not to be judgmental etc...

Irresponsible because Chan commits the sin of creating himself an unlikeable, unfunny character. Disrespecting his elders and authority, the main problem with Frankie is that he thinks he's suitable for any kind of mood Hong kong cinema can provide. A romantic lead and part of wacky supernatural hijinxs, it's in fact an embarrassingly bad fit in Unforgettable Fantasy (and most other flicks of his not involving action). Attempting a big frame too as Robert and the Fox Spirit duke it out during their first nightly encounter, no energy is provided as Chan escalates the number of obstacles thrown at Robert. When dealing with the moral of the story and life lessons in the later half, it's further (and definite) proof of the lack of control and skill Chan has over the material. Also with Wong Wan-Si.

Ungrateful Tink (1999) Directed by: Francis Nam

An entry fitting in against the group of many embarrassingly low-budget, late 90s gangster dramas and it fits in the huge group that are huge stinkers as well. Black Hair and White Hair grow up together as brothers, are torn apart as adults when Black (Anthony Wong) trains to be a cop and White (Michael Tiu) aspires to rise within the ranks in the triads. Black is by no means a perfect cop as he has gambling debts, buys prostitutes and convinces himself this is the way to control the world. A new cop (Edward Mok) attempts to clean up matters efficiently and by the book though...

Serious in intent but Francis Nam doesn't provide any dramatic punch with the back story vs. the present day segments. Shot on location (and with actors surely bringing their own wardrobe), it's the sole positive aspect of Ungrateful Tink that its shady surroundings come off as that on film. But any well developed thoughts a la Beast Cops (which this shares similarities with) we don't ever get and we knew beforehand that would be the case when the English title barely makes sense. Also with Nelson Cheung and Simon Loui.

United We Stand (1986) Directed by: Kent Cheng

KENNETH'S REVIEW: The sports movie is fairly uncommon in Hong Kong cinema but who needs formulaic genre vehicles without any basic or personal flair. Kent Cheng did one and it's indeed a forgettable one from the directorial part of his filmography. The team of athlete girls who are ignorant, annoying and not so united goes through a hard training reign under Olivia Cheng's character and over time da Chinese spirit is raised. A unification takes place, several slow-motion montages of progress and a little personal sap is thrown into the mix. Also lacking any real sport-drama finale punch. Director Cheng appears in a small, comedic role. Lisa Chiao and Billy Lau also appear.

The Unmatchable Match (1990) Directed by: Parkman Wong

From 1990, Stephen Chow's breakthrough year, comes this action-comedy where we see little evidence of the new King of Hong Kong comedy as All For The Winner hadn't come out yet. Admittedly a few select gags and mannerisms sees Chow doing what would become his trademark deadpan humour but this production primarily employed Stephen Chow the actor. One of Danny Lee's core group of actors, Parkman Wong (Law With Two Phases, Organized Crime & Triad Bureau) directs this story of cop Lon (Chow) going undercover, once again, to nail a triad boss (Michael Chan) suspected to have performed a diamond heist.

Frankly reeking of ordinary and unremarkable (and "borrowing" more than just a few storyelements from City On Fire), Parkman Wong's ambitions doesn't seem to go beyond point and shoot. The pairing of Michael Chan and Stephen Chow works reasonably well but when attempting high drama, The Unmatchable Match registers zero. A few shoot-outs and staple actor of the genre Shing Fui On livens up but the film today is a mere curiosity to see Chow during these early stages. Danny Lee briefly appears and he was one to use Chow in various actioners during this time so we should be thankful to Hong Kong cinema's most frequent movie cop. Also with Vivian Chow and Kwan Hoi-San.

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