# 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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Young And Dangerous 2 (1996) Directed by: Andrew Lau

Released while the successful first part was still enjoying its cinema run, the direct sequel sees Andrew Lau bring in Taiwanese triads as enemies of the Hung Hing. Spending considerable time on the events during Jordan Chan's exile to said country, he joins the San Luen triad headed by Mr Lui (Lui Chen) and develops feelings for his woman (Chingmy Yau). Meanwhile Chan Ho-Nam (Ekin Cheng) duels nose picking Tai Fei (Anthony Wong) for position in the Hung Hing Society but when Chicken returns to Hong Kong, his newly found loyalty puts past brotherhood in jeopardy. Shot with a bit more elegance, professionalism (most of the movie is synch sound) and humour (primarily through Anthony's hilarious performance as the scruffy looking Tai Fei), the script also talks of politics merging with the triads. But when all is said and done, nothing is really clever, original or gripping. The veterans bring that comforting presence (Spencer Lam again as the priest hovering around the gang) but you sometimes wonder why this saga played SO well with audiences when even the stars don't really bring immense star power. Ekin and company show chemistry at points but they're present because they're hired to be essentially and effort ends there. When Andrew Lau also re-stages a variation of the A Better Tomorrow restaurant shootout, matters become really embarrassing too. Tolerable to watch but very stale and quiet compared to the first that offered up some compelling darkness and primal violence at points at least. Michael Tse, Gigi Lai, Jerry Lam and Simon Yam return while Blacky Ko and Moses Chan also appear.

Young And Dangerous 3 (1997) Directed by: Andrew Lau

Precious little is tense, pulse pounding or emotionally rich (despite several emotional tugs) as Andrew Lau takes us for a third go with the boys and men of the Hung Hing triad society, this time versus a ruthless Roy Cheung on the side of the Tung Sing. In the ongoing soap opera, Chan Ho-Nam's (Ekin Cheng) girlfriend Smartie (Gigi Lai) is recovering from the attempt on her life and Spencer Lam's priest tries to be a good father for his daughter (series debut for Karen Mok). Add a Holland location shoot, unimpressive violence and some of us are continually scratching our heads why audiences came out in droves for this entry and the series in general. Spencer Lam remains an excellent veteran presence however and gradually adds layers of character movie by movie but as buff and intimidating partially Roy Cheung is, being playful in his evil ways reduces any gasp-factor the filmmakers wanted out of the character. Also with Jerry Lamb, Jordan Chan, Michael Tse, Frankie Ng (playing a new character), Anthony Wong, Simon Yam, Blackie Ko and Michael Chan.

Young And Dangerous 4 (1997, Andrew Lau)

Although writer Manfred Wong and director Andrew Lau waited until 1997 for their fourth installment of the popular triad-series (first three parts all came out in 1996), the time off doesn't signal fresh ideas are being brought to the table. The cast of characters are all back but Wong and Lau are having a hard time expanding story, characters or genre-tropes. It feels like forced cool once more, with snappily dressed characters walking along to cool Canto-pop music in scenes. Although that style is an early deception-tactic to show that the Hung Hing boys and their fellows and loved ones are a family but nevertheless, these bits, acting as drama outside of conflicts are serviceable at best but in reality quite unengaging. The tragedy that Chan Ho-Nam carries with him is expectedly mentioned but the already dull character is getting no room to move, flex, develop and the ultimate, violent conflict orchestrated by Roy Cheung's character (re-cast after his demise in part 3) is standard fodder for a triad picture that doesn't get our pulse going with bloodshed nor makes us fearful of the psychotic villain that is threatening to tear the Hung Hing boys apart. It's a bland package that generates SOME interest though as it introduces new characters such as Sandra Ng's lesbian boss Sister 13 but it's a barebonus guest role that was instead handled with far greater skill in her spin off movie Portland Street Blues (directed by Raymond Yip).

The movie is in the position to talk of the impact the 1997 handover will have on the gangster world but the script beats are pretty shallow and mentioning an issue isn't a sign of intelligence. Also the perils of being a branch leader versus ambition is a welcome thread but when Lau can't even weave subtext and depth out of this or the core relationship between Ekin Cheng's Chan Ho Nam and Jordan Chan's Chicken, no wonder the movie struggles. Subplots about Karen Mok now being a teacher and having to deal with rowdy students affiliated with rivals plus a new love interest for Chan Ho Nam in the form of Michelle Reis is also poorly injected real life stuff outside of the chopping and killing. Which is sad because there was evidence in part 3 of this world expansion being good for the Y & D-universe. Anthony Wong (with a fresh haircut, meaning Tai Fei doesn't even look like Tai Fei anymore), Spencer Lam, Jerry Lamb, Jason Chu also appear while Alex Man is a new addition to the series in a pedestrian role.

Young And Dangerous V (1998, Andrew Lau)

The Young And Dangerous series finds itself on the brink of change. Characters are growing up, moving up and some are not even here at all. Either because they've died or living the life of a busy Hong Kong actor. It means for the 5th installment of the Hung Hing boys saga that they are split up since Jordan Chan is not present (nor co-star of the past two movies Karen Mok) and the burden to carry now falls on middling performer Ekin Cheng. As Chan Ho-Nam is now overseeing his businesses and being offered more influence, the boy has become a man and the evolving nature of the triad lifestyle leans more towards respectability than constant conflict. There of course will be though as another Ho Nam (Mark Cheng's Szeto Ho Nam) turns up on the scene and is eyeing the branch leader Chan Ho Nam is. There's also on the surface legit but in actuality shady business dealings with Paul Chun, Danny Lee is keeping a lookout on things from the perspective of the law, Shu Qi is a ball of energy as the new love interest and a disillusioned brother (Chin Ka-Lok bringing a nobility and underplayed acting to the table) is released from jail and wants nothing to do with the previous lifestyle and his Hung Hing brothers.

Partially writer Manfred Wong and director Andrew Lau navigate Young And Dangerous V in a mature manner, taking us away from the streets and up the ranks a little. One of the best looking of the films, through its maintained usage of sync sound and an increasing cast of veterans Lau lets his mixture simmer instead of dipping into conflicts and violence continually for 2 hours. That means we get a more firm, fixed view of the life of Chan Ho Nam, what's it like during off hours and for a good stretch, there's fair enjoyment watching the young and old performers banter and interact. It's only when Manfred and Andrew need to tie a bow on the brewing conflict that matters tend to fall apart. We get a few triad brawls set to rock music with no particular lasting effect, one of the Hung Hing boys die in a quick and utterly ineffective manner and to conclude it all with a private boxing match (while a public one is going on a few doors down) seems strangely dull and corny. There's performer goodwill and a comfort-factor sneaks into proceedings watching this universe and characters again but when the stakes get higher, personal and things need to be dealt with hard, Andrew Lau's skills at making that felt and tense is pretty woeful. In supporting and small appearances we get Sandra Ng as Sister 13, Vincent Wan, Anthony Wong, Jerry Lamb, Karel Wong and Jason Chu.

Young And Dangerous: The Prequel (1998, Andrew Lau)

In between making Young And Dangerous 5 and the concluding part Born To Be King, Andrew Lau and writer Manfred Wong assembled a team of youngsters for the prequel saga of the Hung Hing boys, set in 1989. A group of actors that would break through commercially once Gen-X Cops was released the year after but this trip to the past didn’t perform well at all. It did however score a Hong Kong Film Award for best Artist going to Nicholas Tse playing the young Chan Ho-Nam (Ekin Cheng in the original series) and it’s not undeserved. While the film is in part more effective dramatically than most stretches in the main series cast and the character of Ho-Nam is now a bit more interesting than what Ekin Cheng was given and brought, the formula now dictates that we care for him in 1989 but then not so much in 1996 and onwards as no real interesting factors were subsequently provided for the leader of the group. Lau acts on the good instinct to let actors be though and that results in decently poignant moments between Tse and veteran Helena Law Lan in particular. There are also more subtle touches about the frustration directed against the authorities in school but equally towards the police who think these boys are up to no good and hence are designated triads. We all know the boys make the transition but the prequel places Chan Ho-Nam and his friends briefly in a hopeless middle state.

Using the Category III rating for some darker violence but in all likelihood the film was slapped with it due to drug use, Andrew Lau’s depiction of escalating addiction is rushed and laughable however. For all its classier touches, cracks also quickly manifest themselves in the very obvious details. Ranging from the year of 1989 looking very much like 1998 in the costumes, hair styles, music and Lau trying to mirror the boys first doses of violence, murder and loss with that of the Tiannamen Square massacre is not territory he looks comfortable in. A returning cast (meaning no younger actors are playing them) of Frankie Ng and Francis Ng as Ugly Kwan is welcome but the makers seem to have shed an inherent vocal- and costume design that made Ugly Kwan such a standout. Also returning in new roles are Shu Qi, Karel Wong and the rest of the Hung Hing boys are filled out by Sam Lee, Yu Ka-Ho, Benjamin Yuen and Daniel Wu as Big Head (the role Chin Ka-Lok played from part 5 and onwards).

The Young Avenger (1980, Wilson Tong)

A goofy, grave-robbing gambler (Wong Yue) gets a ghost on his hands and is asked to track down men that did the ghost wrong. Specifically involving a gold-escort that was robbed, the supernatural angle at least makes the kung-fu comedy template somewhat different for 90 minutes. But Wilson Tong mostly lets the broad nature and banter lazily occupy the frame. Meaning this is yet another poor showcase comedically for Wong Yue who is inhabiting a character-type popularized and performed in a better way by Jackie Chan. However the last third of almost constant kung-fu is nigh on terrific, with our lead getting into multiple and hugely intricate fights with Norman Tsui, Wilson Tong etc. It's possibly the best kung-fu showcase for Wong Yue and it works because at that point he's detached from his comedic persona. The score is largely lifted from Sergio Leone's Duck, You Sucker!

The Young Avengeress (1969) Directed by: Wong Cheung-Hon

In need of rescuing her sisters who's been kidnapped by evil General Chi (Ma Kei), the 13th sister Yu Feng (Ting Ying) is eventually successful in that regard. Crossing paths with scholar An Chi (An Ping) who's carrying a large amount of money meant for the General as bail for his wrongly accused father Yu Feng, An Chi and the rest of the sisters now team up to firmly take down the general as he's committed more heinous acts towards the large family than just kidnapping...

Grating extensively with unfunny comedy and poor hand to hand combat at first, The Young Avengeress does keep it simple plot-wise and eventually delivers some above average excitement. Shooting exciting swordplay scenes (and weapons is a key for the action to work in this one) coupled with a few gory deaths, it's watchable standards. Playing an evil swordsman in white make-up, Su Chen-Ping stands out amongst the cast.

Young Cops (1985) Directed by: Yau Ga-Hung

Future megastars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Anita Mui are the most memorable thing about the instant forgettable comedy that Young Cops is. And yet they're not even photogenic or particularly funny, just better looking and charismatic automatically based on who they were to become. A police comedy focusing little on being the police so perhaps there's a hidden message in the perhaps appropriately chosen English title? Not really as it turns out because we get unscripted 80s nonsense, comedic vignettes if you will with the only thread being that the shenanigans are performed by the young police. When the main characters all fall in love, an action concept that puts love slightly on the line is crudely inserted at the end to make matters totally unbearable. Writers Tsang Kan-Cheung and Wai Ka-Fai went on to better things working with Stephen Chow and Milkyway respectively. Dicky Cheung co-stars and is bearable compared to the antics in Future Cops and many other sins in cinema. Future ace director Samson Chiu plays a raving maniac.

Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon (2013, Tsui Hark)

Turning the clock back on the Detective Dee character (played by Andy Lau in 2010's Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame), Mark Chao takes over the role as younger Dee is transferred to the Da Lisi (Justice Department) and promptly gets involved in a case involving a mighty sea dragon, a man turned monster and a plot to overthrow the Tang Dynasty. With Tsui Hark increasing the scale of the story, leaving the smaller, personal murder mystery for the character's future adventures, comes the issue of if it's going to connect at all as spectacle? Despite a noisy 2 hours, it largely does but only for that time. Let's face it, Mark Chao was never going to outdo Andy Lau in the superstar charisma department but he portrays a fun, sometimes likable, sometimes smug Dee with an already abnormal good sense of intuition (which feels like a character beat Tsui Hark forgot to setup and develop). All of which is illustrated through creative use of 3D as Tsui highlights Dee's strong sense of perception in environments. Crafting better action in close quarter combat than the floaty wireshots outdoors and in bigger arenas (the humans become too light as computer generated imagery), the wire assisted imagination is both fairly high but there's also a snap to the choreography that is exciting. Nothing for martial arts purists but it works unexpectedly well on the primal level within you that just wants to be dazzled by the fantasy of this unpredictable world. And that's one of the joys of Young Detective Dee, it's not the same old martial world of swordsmen but as setup in 2010 as well, it contains big and small creatures for characters to deal with. While not as tight as the original film, Tsui Hark makes his case successfully that Detective Dee has staying power just as long as you crank proceedings well. Also starring AngelaBaby as the Courtesan Yin Ruiji who's slated for sacrifice to the sea monster and William Feng as a justice department rival of Dee's. Carina Lau also reprises her role as Empress Wu.

The Young Dragons (1975) Directed by: John Woo

Reportedly made independently in 1973 as well as suffering censor cuts, The Young Dragons collected dust until Golden Harvest stepped in in 1975 to release it and therefore John Woo's feature debut eventually got to say that here's a director with ideas. Ideas about style and themes he picked up by working with master Chang Cheh but he's not able to put inspiration to full use. It was to come but the very non-distinctive plot with Henry Yung as a robber of ammunition belonging to the rich feels very sketchy. A fact made even more apparent because it clearly doesn't want to be. Truth be told there are mature passages that approaches semi-decent considering the genre output not trying on that wardrobe always but the character-comrade between Yung and Lau Kong that very much is an integral part comes to fruition only to the point where we can say to ourselves that it was to become very much better. Soon even as Last Hurrah For Chivalry came to be Woo's finest martial arts movie. The co-directed Jackie Chan action stands out very little aside from an energetic end that is helped along by Fung Hark-On's vicious presence. Woo cameos towards the end while Dean Shek, Chin Yuet-Sang, Tanny Tien, Hu Chin and Mars can be spotted in various capacities.

Young Lovers On Flying Wheels (1974) Directed by: Ti Lung

The directorial debut of Ti Lung, he stars as Song Da who's willing to cast aside his skill in martial arts for the thrill of the bike. Striving for biker cool and trying to find love without a disapproving father in the way, along the way we also see Song get intro troubles with loan sharks, lose his bike and sanity etc. Going through a lot of beats and certainly being charismatic enough in the role, nothing in Ti Lung's frame is particularly noteworthy. There's a certain joy watching the naive adult go through depression, joy and at one point the movie goes unexpectedly dark when the loan shark takes blood from Song Da but ultimately Young Lovers On Flying Wheels is a rather mundane, standard story with no directing nor star flair. Also with Dean Shek and Ching Ho-Wai.

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