Reviews written by Tanzhang
The Tea House1 people found this review helpful
July 3, 2008 Long Live Dai Gor Cheng!
Best known for his roles in Martial Arts Classics such as Heroes Two and Boxer from Shantung, Chen Guantai turns in a surprisingly fine performance as Big Brother Cheng in Kwei Chi Hung's The Teahouse, one of the most revolutionary HK films of the 70's and the precursor to the Heroic Bloodshed Triad films of the 1980's such as A Better Tomorrow and The Killer.
Chen Guantai plays Cheng, an Immigrant and one of the owners of a Sha Tin Teahouse. Cheng is a young man full of Principle and a sense of Justice (Much like Wong Fei Hung) who cares deeply about the wellbeing of his employees, patrons and friends, and when Underage Thugs threaten their wellbeing and through loopholes in the Law, get off with little or no punishment, Cheng takes the law into his own hands, to the point of which he becomes an Unwilling Triad Boss of his own.
The Teahouse is a Prime Example of Characters rather than story, and throughout the film, old characters are removed and new ones introduced, with only a select few Characters as well as Brother Cheng staying consistent throughout the film. This may be confusing on first viewing, but after a second viewing, the links between the characters are much more apparent, so if it seems confusing the first time, try watching it again a little later; It would be an absolute shame to judge this film so quickly, as it is a unique drama with even more unique characters, many of which will stay with you long after the film has finished.
Highly Recommended for a Young Adult Audience and Fans of Both Drama and Triad films, However Martial Arts fans may be disappointed.
Dirty Ho (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)1 people found this review helpful
June 25, 2008 A Unique Kungfu Masterpiece!
In Many Ways, Dirty Ho is one of the most Unique Kungfu films ever made. Directed by Legendary Choreographer Lau Kar Leung (or Liu Cha Liang if you speak Mandarin) the film stars Lau Kar Fai (Star of 36th Chamber of Shaolin and other Lau Kar Leung Kungfu Films) as one of Fourteen Manchurian Princes in line to the throne. Unlike his thirteen brothers, the Eleventh Prince has no interest in power, only Good Antiques and good wine, and he travels to Guandong Province Incognito in order to sample Guandong Wine and Local Antiques.
While staying at a Floating Brothel in Guandong, he meets an arrogant young jewelery thief He Zhen (or Dirty Ho, the film's title character) and the two of them have a competition of sorts to see who can buy the most girls. The Hot Tempered He Zhen loses however, and a fight breaks out. Although Eleventh Prince is a master of Kung Fu, he can't face his opponent directly, so he feigns ignorance of his opponent, so it looks like he is losing even though he is winning the fight.
The two of them have several similar encounters, and yet at the end of each, Eleventh Prince is confident that He Zhen is a good man. He Zhen however, is still as Brash and Arrogant as ever, so Eleventh Prince concocts a plan to get He Zhen to settle down.
While Eleventh Prince is at the Brothel one night, He Zhen Barges in, and demands to fight him. Claiming that one of the girls (played by Kara Hui) is his bodyguard, he uses her as a weapon to fight He Zhen, In a way that really has to be seen rather than heard! at the end of the fight, He Zhen is wounded by a special weapon that the Prince has. The Weapon is tipped with poison, and after five days it doesn't heal. After consulting many a doctor, He Zhen comes to the conclusion that the only way to get the antidote is to find the Brothel Girl that did this to him.
Of Course the Audience knows that the culprit is really the Prince, and when He Zhen hears that the girl has been freed, he travels to find the Prince, however the prince will only give He the antidote if he travels with him and becomes a good man. Although Reluctant at first, He Zhen agrees, and slowly becomes a good man, even to the point in which Eleventh Prince teaches him Kung Fu. By the End of the film, He Zhen's wound heals up, yet he elects to stay with his master, and becomes a useful ally in the fight against the evil Fourth Prince and his top general, played by Lo Lieh.
Compared to other films of the Genre, Dirty Ho is quite unique, with it's elaborate sets and costumes (which are very good, even by Shaw's excellent standards). But it is the action that sets this film apart, and Lau Kar Leung is very clever in making the characters seem oblivious and yet making the action so profound. Best described as a Genre Masterpiece, Dirty Ho is a Must for Kung Fu Fans, and worth a look for anyone who dares dismiss the Shaw Brothers films as shallow and uninteresting.
Police Story1 people found this review helpful
June 21, 2008 Police Story.
One of the Four Great Classics of Jackie Chan: Greatest Contemporary Jackie Chan Film Not also starring Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.
A Royal Hong Kong police officer assigned to Operation Boar Hunt, Chan Ka Kui (Kevin Chan in some other versions) is assigned to keep watch over a Prominent HK Drug Lord, Chu Tu (Legendary director Chor Yuen) while he makes a drug deal in a shanty town somewhere in Hong Kong's New Territories.
Him and his fellow police officer Kim (Stuntman turned actor, Mars) keep surveillance over his secretary, Salina Fong (Brigitte Lin) however she sees them and tells Chu Tu. The Triads escape out of the town and hijack a Double Decker Bus with Ka Kui not far behind, running after the bus with an Umbrella. He is eventually able to capture the Triads and bring them into police custody, Salina is released, as she would be a vital witness to help prosecute the Triads. Ka Kui is put in charge of protecting her...
First of all I would like to say I love this movie. Rare for this kind of movie, Jackie does turn in a fine dramatic performance at one point in the film, where he is framed for killing a crooked cop, while the other performances are not the greatest ever, they are still good, especially for a HK action film. Special Credit goes to Lau Chi-Wing, who plays Chu Tus Lawyer, horseracing commentator Bill Tung-biu (Uncle Bill) and Kwok-Hung-Lam (Inspector Raymond Chou) for fine Comedic performances.
Enough on the performances, the action is what you would expect from a Jackie Chan film and Action is what Police story Delivers! Each action scene is memorable and a standout, as usual, I won't go into detail here, so go see the movie for yourself!
In short, Highly Recommended for anyone who likes action and a must-see for every Jackie Chan Fan!
Dragons Forever DTS (Korean Version)1 people found this review helpful
June 21, 2008 Dragons Forever
Dragons Forever: One of the Four Great Classics of Jackie Chan: Greatest Contemporary Film starring Jackie with Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.
The owner of a fish farm in the New Territories, in Hong Kong is suing a prominent Hong Kong Textiles company, Wah Chemicals and Dye of pumping toxic waste into the waters of Hong Kong. The boss of the Textiles factory, Mr. Wah (played by, drumroll please, Yuen Wah) is secretly using the factory as a front for illegal drug production, hence the Toxic waste and the reason he doesn't want the HK environmental board to inspect the factory.
Wah hires prominent local lawyer Lung (Jackie Chan), to stop the fish farm from shutting down his business. Lung hires good friend Wong Fei-Hung (Sammo Hung) an arms dealer (not the Martial Arts legend) to spy on the fish farm and its owner Deanie (Deanie Yip) by becoming their neighbour. Lung also hires his Eccentric friend, Tak (Yuen Biao in a Career Best performance) to bug the lady's house.
Lung doesnt tell Fei Hung and Tak that he hired the other and when Tak tries to bug the house (wearing a bright Yellow jumper in the middle of the night!), Fei-Hung mistakes him for a burglar and starts a fight with him inside the poor lady's house! Lung is also finding himself falling for the Plaintiff's Lawyer, Nancy who is also the owners Cousin and must try to impress her without letting her know that he is a friend of their neighbour who is spying on them and the "Burglar" who attacked their house one night, not to mention the rival Triad gangs that think he is one of Wah's new hitmen!
Another of the all-time great Hong Kong action movies, with Dragons Forever having great action, comedy and terrific performances by the entire cast, especially Yuen Biao, who gives the performance of his career as the eccentric friend of Lung, Tak.
I felt that for giving such a wonderful performance, Biao was ripped-off, for not having as much to do in the movies as he perhaps should had, as the focus towards the end of the movie is the romance between Characters Lung and Nancy and Fei-Hung and Deanie, the latter of which doesn't quite work, and is over the top in some parts, like when Fei-Hung pleads with Deanie to go out with him and give him another chance over a Megaphone on a busy Hong Kong street.
Despite all this, the movie has some great action sequences, mainly with Sammo and Yuen, and of course a scene where Jackie takes on a group of Triads on a luxury Yacht, but the real show stopper is the ending, where Jackie, Sammo and Yuen go Head to Head with fellow Beijing Opera Colleague Yuen Wah and Legendary Western Kickboxing Champion Benny "the Jet" Urquidez, who plays a memorable fighting villain. An Underrated Hong Kong Action Masterpiece to Say the Least!!
Flirting Scholar (1993) (DVD) (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)(3)Our Price: US$10.991 people found this review helpful
June 21, 2008 An Excellent Early Chow Movie
One of the Better early Chow Sing Chi works, Flirting Scholar tells of the story of Artist Tong Pak Fu, An artist and Scholar so revered, that many scholars and officials would fight over the contents of his Rubbish Bin!
Despite having Wealth, Success, Fame, Talent and Eight Beautiful Wives, Fu is a very Unhappy man, why? his eight wives are all gambling addicts who have no respect for the cultured and intellectual man that he is, and would rather play Dice or Mahjong than spend time with him.
Whenever Fu has a chance to go on a trip, he has the time of his life, anything is better than staying at home with his wives, so when he has a chance to go on an excursion with the other Three Heavenly Scholars (Think the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop) he relishes it. On his latest trip, he meets a lovely girl Chou Heung (Gong Li) who is a handmaiden for Local Matriarch Madam Wah (Cheng Pei Pei).
Realising he can't win her heart as a Scholar, he goes undercover as a poor labourer, where he soon finds out that while Chou Heung is uninterested in him, she is a great admirer of the Works of Tong Pak Fu, but when he tells her his identity, she refuses to believe him, but this only makes Fu more desperate to win her heart...
For a Stephen Chow Sing Chi movie of this vintage, this film is incredibly funny and boasts quite lavish sets and costumes, and i would recommend it for those wanting to see the pre-Shaolin Soccer CGI Stephen Chow in action.
King Of BeggarsJune 21, 2008 One of Chow's better Comedies
We have had Wong Fei Hung in Drunken Master, Lam Sai Wing in Magnificent Butcher and Leung Foon in most of Kwan Tak Hing's Early Wong Fei Hung Movies. Now it's Beggar So Hai's Turn in one of the better early Stephen Chow Movies, King of Beggars.
Stephen plays the Legendary beggar So in his younger days, as an illiterate rich playboy who's illiterate and lazy father (played by Chow Regular Ng Man Tat) is the General of Guangzhou.
For Stephen's birthday, he decides to host a big party for all his friends at a local Teahouse/Opera House/Brothel, which is also where a Government official entertaining Chiu, a Magician from the north (the principal villain of the piece, played by Tsui Siu Keung) is also celebrating. Chiu is an evil magician who has earned the wrath of the Beggars society, so much so that the society have sent two sisters disguised as prostitutes to kill Chiu.
The Lead sister, Yu-Shang (Sharla Cheung) becomes the object of desire of both men, and a small fight breaks out, with So as the winner. With a little help from his father and tutor, Chiu is forced to leave, much to the dismay of the two sisters/Assassins.
Desperate to win Yu-Shang's heart, So will do anything. Yu Shang however will only agree to marry him if he becomes the winner of the Kung-Fu scholar Competition. So is good at Kung Fu but he is no scholar, so Yu-Shang hopes that this will get him out of hair forever, but thanks to a little help from his father, he is able to pass the scholar part of the tournament with a little bribery. Chiu is also at the tournament, and seeks to rig the competition so that So loses...
So however triumphs, and becomes the Kung Fu scholar, but Chiu, unwilling to admit defeat, claims that So is illiterate. When the emperor finds out this is true, he sentences So and his father to become Beggars for life. The two soon after join the Beggars association, and with a little help from a veteran beggar, So achieves the rank of King of beggars and seeks revenge against Chiu.
Iceman ComethJune 21, 2008 Yuen's best Solo Work
By Solo Work, i mean, this is the best film he has done independently, without Sammo and Jackie, instead relying on Yuen Wah to play this film's villain.
Yuen Biao plays Fong, an Imperial Guard during the Later stages of China's Ming Dynasty. When his former Imperial Guard Friend Fung San (Yuen Wah) betrays the Emperor by raping one of his concubines, it is up to Fong to Chase him down, and a fight in the Cold and Icy Northern China ensures, which at the end of results in Fung San and Fong falling down a cliff, preserved in Ice.
Fast Forward 345 years to 1989, and Mainland Chinese Scientists have unearthed the two bodies of Fong and Fung San. Seeing it as a Chance to defect, they send the frozen bodies to Hong Kong, where they accidentally defrost, setting loose Fung San and Fong into Colonial Hong Kong, Circa 1989.
In his first night in Hong Kong, Fong is already overwhelmed by his surroundings, as he is chased by "Speeding Metal Dragons' (cars) faced with an imposter Emperor and Eunuch (in a Santa Claus and Angel costume respectively) and forced to drink out of an 'Electric Well' (Toilet) by his new friend and owner, a nightclub girl played by Maggie Cheung.
For what it is, Iceman Cometh is an enjoyable film, even if the whole time travel thing has been done before countless times. Yuen Wah gives a good performance as the film's villain and this film has a special place in my heart as it was the first film in which i really respected Maggie Cheung Man Yuk's ability as an actress. It's too bad that you can't find a decent DVD re-release by a company like Mei Ah or Fortune Star, because i really think this is a sleeper classic that's worth sharing with the world.
Heart Of Dragon (Digitally Remastered) (Joy Sales Version) (Hong Kong Version)(1)Our Price: US$10.99June 21, 2008 Jackie's Dramatic Debut
Heart of the Dragon is a very interesting film, a good mix of Action and Drama, and quite a brave statement at the time.
While i have always had respect for Jackie and Sammo as actors, due primarily to their popularity as Comedic Action stars (This film was made after Project A and Wheels on Meals and during the filming for My Lucky Stars and Police Story) They never up until this point had a chance to prove it, and while Sammo would go on to make movies where he would play a more Dramatic role (To Err is Humane, Painted Faces) This is really the only time apart from Miracles that we get to see Jackie act.
While seeing Jackie and Sammo act is a real plus for me, the action is needed i think to give the film more balance. If you are going to have action in a JC or Sammo Film, you can't go half-hearted, you have to go all the way, and the action in this film is actually quite good, but this version is devoid of two excellent fight scenes, which although can be seen in the special features, are not shown in the film itself, which takes away some of the balance from the film and leaves it sort of empty. This does mean it's easier to concentrate on the acting however.
The film itself is about two brothers, The Elder Danny (Sammo) is Mentally Retarded, and acts like a 10 year old even though he is approaching middle age, while his Younger Brother Tat (Jackie) is a dedicated Police Sergeant in the RHKPD who is forced to take care of his older brother when their parents die in a car accident.
Tat is a Hardworking cop, but ever since he was a child he has wanted to be a sailor, yet he is forced to give up his dream to look after his brother Danny. He decides to marry his girlfriend (Emily Chu) so that he will have someone to look after Danny while he is out sailing, but his friends in the RHKPD think he is selfish for not caring for his brother.
Over time, Danny (while playing a harmless game with his friends) accidentally gets involved with a Jewelry Robbery, a case that his brother is assigned to crack. The criminals make this connection before Tat does, and Danny is kidnapped and held to ransom. Showing his true love for his brother, Tat breaks police protocol and rescues his brother with the support of his friends in the RHKPD, which leads into a thrilling finale at a construction site.
Overall this film isn't for everybody, but it should be appreciated for what it is. A lot of people think that People like Jackie can't act, yet this film proves he does, and some of the heartwarming melodrama between him and Sammo is evident in some scenes. The film also has a few Comedic overtones involving Sammo, such as when his friend gets in trouble with the Headmaster and asks Danny to pretend to be his father or when Danny is looking for work and gets a 'Job' at a cafe. The film has some memorable cameos by Lam Ching Ying as the SWAT Team leader, Wu Ma as a selfish shop owner (similar to his role in Mr. Vampire) and Anthony Chan Yau (of Wynners fame) as a cruel and evil tutor who makes Danny cry in one scene.The film also is the origin for Sui Hoh Seung Yi, a song which has been used in countless other movies (Here it's played seriously, but in most other movies it's for comedic effect).
This film is Highly recommended for anyone who thinks Jackie Chan can't act if his life depended on it.
Mr. Vampire (DVD) (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)
Mr. Vampire (DVD) (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All(4)Our Price: US$10.991 people found this review helpful
June 21, 2008 An Unlikely Landmark film!
The Film which would forever Typecast it's star, Mr. Vampire is one of the most Important films in the History of Hong Kong Cinema. Starring a whole bunch of Second Bananas, who as this film shows, if there was any justice in the world they would have been stars much earlier.
This Film seemed like it was doomed from the start, due to the Inexperience of it's Director and as previously explained, a cast of actors who are either unknown, or known for being unknown (ie. Stuntmen and B-actors) . However, the Producer of this Film (None other than Sammo Hung Himself!) rightly stayed the course, resulting in one of the Greatest HK action-Comedies of all time!
The Plot Revolves around a veteran Taoist Priest known as master Gau who runs a Mortuary of sorts (Lam Ching-Ying) and his two assistants, Man Choi (Ricky Hui, Youngest Brother of Michael and Samuel Hui) and Chou (Chin Siu-ho, Stuntman and brother of fellow Stuntman Chin Ga-Lok). Chou and Man Choi like to play jokes on each other, and late one night while Man Choi is inspecting the rounds, Chou disguises himself as a vampire to scare Man Choi, and while he is successful, Chou in the process also lets the live Vampires Free!
While out with a fellow Taoist Priest in charge of these vampires, Master Gau returns to his Mortuary only to find Chou and Man Choi being chased by Vampires (the Gung Xi or Geung shi, who are more or less Hopping Corpses rather than the traditional European vampire in the Opera Costume). Fortunately Master Gau and the other Taoist Priest (Played by Anthony Chan Yau, the Drummer for the Wynners) are able to save the day (or night) and the film begins in earnest.
Mr. Yam (Ha Wong) is a wealthy Businessman who deals with clients both domestically and Internationally, but since the death of his father, has suffered a great deal of bad luck lately. Believing that his father's burial has something to do with his run of bad luck, he contacts Master Gau and arranges a meeting at a Western Restaurant for afternoon tea. Gau has never been to a Western Tea before, so he invites Man Choi along so that he may save face. The resulting scene is a humourous one, as Yam's Daughter Ting-Ting (Moon Lee) tricks both Gau and Man Choi, taking advantage of their ignorance of a Western Tea.
This scene however also advances the plot, and Master Gau agrees to the reburial. When digging up the grave of Yam's Father, many ominous signs appear (such as the black ravens flying south) and Master Gau is suspicious that this Body may not be all that it seems. As it turns out, he is right, and the body has not decomposed in over 20 years of burial, as well as have grown exceptionally long Blue Fingernails, tell-tale signs of a Vampire.
Gau knows all too well that Yam's father will soon turn into a vampire, and suggests a cremation on the spot. Yam however refuses, stating that his father was afraid of fire, a decision that turns out to be fatal when Yam too is killed by his father later that night, thus becoming a Vampire as well.
Before they leave the Cemetery, Master Gau requests that Man Choi and Chou put incense on each grave, Chou spots the grave of a Beautiful young girl named Jade, but is startled when a voice says Thank you and runs off, bumping into Man Choi. Man Choi is holding an unusual stick of Incense which will not burn properly, so they take it to Master Gau. Gau is able to fortell from that stick of incense that Yam will die that night.
Wai (Billy Lau) is a cousin of Ting-Ting and the local Police Chief. He isn't too fond of Master Gau or his associates, and charges Master Gau with the murder of Yam, taking Yam's body with Master Gau to the Interrogation room of the local police station. Knowing that Yam's body will turn into a Vampire soon, Master Gau asks Chou to deliver his Vampire-fighting equipment to the cells that night, and sends Man Choi to guard Ting-Ting lest her Grandfather decides to kill her too.
After two very funny action-comedy scenes (which i won't spoil for you) Man Choi is bitten by the vampire. Master Gau has run out of sticky Rice (which repels the Gung Xi) so he sends Chou to get some from the Next town. After being tricked by a Greedy Rice salesman (Wu Ma) and his Inept son, Chou begins the long ride home. While riding home, he sees what appears to be a molestation of a young girl, and goes to her rescue. what he doesn't know, is that the 'young girl' is actually the Fox Spirit of Jade, the young girl who he 'met' at the cemetery.
After a long night with Jade, Chou returns the next morning with his sack of tainted rice. Master Gau is able to deduce that he has slept with a Ghost, and scolds Chou for being so careless while Man Choi is in danger of becoming a Vampire. Of course Chou doesn't listen, and returns to Jade's house that night, this time though, Gau follows him.
Another Interesting fight ensures, and Gau returns to the mortuary with Chou in tow. This time however he ties him up so that he won't visit Jade. Unfortunately for Chou, his mistake at the Rice Shop is about to bite him back (literally) as Man Choi enters Vampire Mode that night, with Master Gau too busy trying to fight Jade to help save Chou from Man Choi.
During their fight, Jade sees Chou is in Trouble and tries to save him from Man Choi. Grateful for her saving his life, Chou asks his master not to hurt Jade. Gau explains that if they continue their love affair, Chou will die, so the two tearfully part, just before Wai returns to inform Gau that the Vampire which killed his Uncle is still on the loose.
In typical Sammo Hung Style, the Comedic Final Fight between Chou, Master Gau and the Vampire (Who is apparently played by Yuen Wah) is something else, and once again, it would demean the experience if i spoil it for you.
As stated Numerous times before, this is a truly Landmark film, not just for being a great film in all areas, but because of it's adversities that it overcame. By no means should this movie be a classic film, yet it is, which is full credit to the Director, Producer and it's fantastic cast. Highly Recommended for Sammo Hung Fans.
Where's Officer Tuba (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)June 21, 2008 Enjoyable Sammo Hung Actionier
Where's Officer Tuba is a film about a Tuba Player in the RHKPD (Played by Sammo of Course!) who lives with an enthusiastic young cop who is eager to make his mark in the police force (Jacky Cheung in his first acting Role).
Late one night, a veteran police officer is killed in the line of duty, and our reluctant hero Sammo is witness to the murder. Before he dies, the Officer (Shaw Veteran David Chiang) makes Sammo swear to avenge his death and bring the crooks to justice, Sammo agrees, but has no intention of doing so, which greatly displeases both Eager Police cadet Cheung and the ghost of the deceased policeman!
The Ghost decides to force Sammo into action by making his life a living hell. In a series of very funny comic scenes, the Ghost manages to Ruin Sammo's career and his love life before he is pressed into action, which as you can expect from someone like Sammo, means a thrilling end fight sequence, this time taking place in a fruit Market.
While not Sammo's best film, The comedy and Action in this film is very Enjoyable and Highly Recommended for Sammo Fans. Also, look out for a Brief Cameo by Lam Ching Ying in his Vampire-Fighting Outfit from Mr. Vampire.
Hong Kong 1941 (DTS Version) (Digitally Remastered) (Joy Sales Version) (Hong Kong Version)
Hong Kong 1941 (DTS Version) (Digitally Remastered) (Joy Sales Version) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3(1)Our Price: US$14.491 people found this review helpful
June 21, 2008 CYF's Early Drama Classic
Although Chow Yun Fat did win a Best Actor Award at the Golden Horse Awards for this film, it remained forgotten and underappreciated for many years, which considering the film, is a real shame. Now fortunately this Low Budget Epic has been given the treatment it deserves with it's latest DVD Incantation, and is a Must for fans of Chow Yun Fat.
In his best Pre-Mark Gor Role by far, Chow Yun Fat plays Yip Kim Fay, an out of work actor who wants to leave Hong Kong during the years leading up to the Japanese Occupation. Finding himself out of work, Fay decides to take a job at a rice factory, where he befriends local thug Keung (Alex Man) and during a dispute between the workers and the Factory owners, Fay helps Keung escape.
The Dispute was caused by the cruel and unsympathetic business practices of it's owner (The Legendary Sek Kin) who's daughter, Nam (Cecilia Yip) is in love with Keung, but due to the strictness of her father, cannot see him, let alone marry him.
Following the dispute at the factory, and Nam's increasing dissatisfaction with her father, the three of them meet at an ancestral shrine. Fay talks about finding Gold in Australia and America, and he convinces his two new friends to leave Hong Kong Tomorrow Morning.
They Picked the Wrong Day...
The Morning they planned on leaving is the same Day the Japanese forces invade Hong Kong and put it under Martial Law, Fay and Nam rush to the docks, but Keung is unable to make the boat. Rather than abandon his friend, Fay and Nam jump off the boat and decide to stay in Hong Kong with their friend.
The rest of the film is about the three characters and how they interact during Occupied Hong Kong with the Japanese Occupiers and the Changed Attitude of the Hong Kong people around them, much to the dismay and disgust of the three main characters. Their Friendship is tested through Various adversities, but by the very end of the film, it's clear that their bond remains as strong as ever, as one of the three friends gives their life for the other two.
All in all this is a moving and poetic film by director Po Chi Leung, with fine performances by Chow, Alex and Cecilia. This film is not so much Graphic as other films, but features some scenes which describe the Horrors of Chaos and War.
Highly Recommended for a Mature Audience.
Triads The Inside Story (Joy Sales Version) (Hong Kong Version)(1)Our Price: US$10.99June 20, 2008 Disappointing to say the least
Have you ever seen a film that seems more concentrated on trying to be realistic rather than good Plot, Characters or anything else for that matter? Triads is one of those films, and it's quite a bland film with quite uninteresting characters, even someone of the caliber of Chow Yun Fat doesn't even shine.
The Film revolves around the Death of a Triad Boss during a Negotiation between two Rival Triad gangs. The boss's son, Ho (Chow Yun Fat) is a well off Real Estate agent living in the USA with a wife and a son, who return with him for his Father's Funeral.
When Ho and his family returns, the former gang members of his late father's Syndicate try to get him to become the new Boss, but Ho is reluctant to abandon his happy life with his wife and son in America and enter the world of the Triads in Hong Kong. In the end, the choice that he makes affects not just himself and his family, but the lives of those in his father's gang, a lesson he learns all to quickly...
Sounds familiar? As far as Godfather Rip-offs go, this one is probably not the worst. While most performances are a reflection of the bland characters, the supporting cast of the film tries really hard to make this film worth watching, and includes decent perfomances by Triad film regulars Kenneth Tsang, Roy Cheung and Shing Fui On, as well as real-life Triad Chan Wai Man, who also provided much of the background information for the film, such as the Triad rituals and codes and the like.
For it's credit, this film was quite a bold statement at the time, as if features authentic Triad rituals and the like, which is why it's given a Category III rating. The good people at Joy sales have also done a great job with this film in not just restoring and remastering it, but providing a great deal of special features in relation to the triad world, which provide lots of insightful information into the Triad World, that alone i feel is worth an extra half a star.
Overall, the film and characters are quite boring, and the action somewhat haphazard, but it's still quite an important film in the history of HK Cinema. Rather than Entertainment, this film should be viewed as a Museum piece of sorts, and will be of great interest for fans of the genre, especially at such a bargain price. Everyone else should probably stay away from this film.
Flaming Brothers (Universe Version)1 people found this review helpful
June 20, 2008 Greatly Underrated Triad Film!
While Today best known as the film that gave Wong Kar Wai his start as a screenwriter, Flaming Brothers was indeed my First Heroic Bloodshed film, and is greatly underrated.
The Film starts in peaceful 1960's Macau (a Wong Kar Wai Influence if i ever saw one) as poor Beggar boy Ah Tien is forced to steal Rice from a local Convent. He is caught by young Girl Ka Hsi, who scolds him for stealing, but later offers the rice to Ah Tien and his friends. A Friendship forms between Ka Hsi and Ah Tien, but soon she is forced to leave Macau for Hong Kong, leaving poor Ah Tien Heartbroken.
While eating with his best friend Alan at a street restaurant, they are confronted by petty thugs over a case of stolen bread, a brief fight breaks out, but is broken up by a knife wielding Triad, It is here that the two boys realise that in order to survive in Macau, they have to become Tough, and decide to become Triads.
Fast Forward 20 or so years, and Alan (Alan Tang Kwong Wing) and Ah Tien (Chow Yun Fat) are successful Triads/Nightclub Owners in Mid to Late 1980's Macau. At the opening of their latest Nightclub, a Top Triad Member of a Powerful Gang (Tsui Siu Keung) pays them a visit, intending to make a deal with Alan and Ah Tien on behalf of his boss, The Cocaine King of Macau, Kao (Patrick Tse).
Alan and Ah Tien may be Triads, but they are Honourable ones. They only deal with Nightclubs, Whorehouses, Gambling Dens and Arms Smuggling, so when Alan Refuses to accept Kao's Offer of Dealing Crack through his Business Ventures, Kao's Representative is Furious, and later that Night proceeds to kidnap Ah Tien and hold him for Ransom.
Alan However, is able to outclass his rivals, and traps Kao's Representative while rescuing Ah Tien, in the resulting gun battle, Kao's Representative is killed by Alan. During a Heated Meeting between Kao Ah Tien and Alan, Kao proposes a Business deal of a Different Kind, Trading Guns with a 'Contact' In Thailand. Alan accepts this proposal and Heads for Thailand, while Ah Tien stays in Macau to look over their operations while Alan is away.
While making a deal with Kao's 'Contact' in Thailand, a Muay Thai Instructor/Arms dealer known as Uncle Pui, They are ambushed by a group of local thugs hired by Kao. As Alan soon finds out, Kao and his 'Contact' are enemies, and the business deal was a trap instigated by Kao to kill Alan. Alan and Pui escape however, and the two decide to become Business associates, Pui even invites Alan to his Nightclub, where he meets Fellow Macanese Singer Jenny (Jenny Tseng).
While all this is happening in Thailand, Back in Macau Ah Tien has met up with his old Love Ka Hsi, who has returned to Macau as a teacher at the Convent she grew up in. The two become friends again, yet Ah Tien does not let Ka Hsi know that he is the beggar boy from her past, afraid that after she knows he is a triad she will not want to associate with him.
Alan soon returns to Macau with Jenny and his Guns from Thailand. Kao is furious that his plan has failed, and soon outright war is declared between the two gangs. At the same time, Ka Hsi must again return to Hong Kong, and asks Ah Tien to marry her, Ah Tien is now caught between two worlds, to help his Triad Brother Alan deal with Kao, or to give up the Triad business and settle down and move to Hong Kong...
It is a true shame that Fortune star or another company have not picked up this movie and given it the proper DVD release it deserves. Sure, it's no A Better Tomorrow, it's No The Killer, but it's a lot better than many of the other Third-rate Triad movies out there (think Triads: The Inside story). As i said earlier, this was my first Triad movie, and even today so many years later, it's still a quite interesting film, if for no other reason than for bringing three great Asian movie icons together, Patrick Tse, Alan Tang and Chow Yun-Fat.
The Killer (DVD) (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)
The Killer (DVD) (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All(5)Our Price: US$10.991 people found this review helpful
June 20, 2008 Heroic Bloodshed Masterpiece!
Best known to the west as the film that made Chow Yun Fat and John Woo International Stars, the Killer was underrated by Asian Audiences (in the same way A Better Tomorrow was underrated by the West) and quite frankly, this is a shame for such a great movie.
It seems like such an obvious idea today, but The idea of an Assassin with a Conscience was quite revolutionary for 1989 HK Cinema, and Chow Yun Fat plays Jeff to perfection, a Killer for Hire with a Heart, who when hired to kill a local Triad boss at a Nightclub, accidentally blinds Singer Jenny (Sally Yeh) with a Gunshot. Grief-stricken, Jeff tries his best to help the poor girl recover, while at odds with his Mentor and former assassin for Hire, Sidney (Paul Chu-Kong) as well as a Dedicated Police Officer (Danny Lee) and his partner (Kenneth Tsang).
During the assassination of a corrupt Businessman at a Dragon Boat Race, Jeff finds himself Chased not only by the Police and Dedicated Cop Lee, but also his fellow triads, who have lost confidence in Jeff since the last killing.
During the crossfire that ensures, a Little Girl is injured, and Being the Nice Person he is at heart, Jeff rushes her to a nearby Hospital, despite the dangers of being Killed or caught by the Police. Lee Pursues, and they soon find themselves in a standoff at the hospital. Lee's opinion of Jeff is changed a little after seeing how he risked his life for that little girl, and even though Jeff escapes and Lee is still Bent on Arresting him, this leads to a sort of admiration between the two, which builds up into an unlikely friendship between the two by the film's end, one reminiscent of City on Fire.
This film is not just another Heroic Bloodshed film, and John Woo goes to great lengths to show this, with the help of First Class Cinematography by Peter Pao, as well as some great sets, including the thrilling Gun battle finale, which takes place in a Church of all places.
While it could be simply enjoyed as a Thrilling Action Piece, the real joy of this movie is experienced in looking deeper into the story and the characters, which in some ways is like exploring the Philosophy of the Director Himself. The Killer is a True Classic, a Film to be watched again and again, and only Fortune Star could have done this film Justice with this DVD Release. If you Can't Get A Better Tomorrow, this is definitely the one to get while you still can!
Prison on Fire 1 & 2 Collection DTS (Korean Version)
Prison on Fire 1 & 2 Collection DTS (Korean Version) DVD Region 3(1)Our Price: US$36.99List: US$48.99Save: US$12.00 (24%)1 people found this review helpful
June 20, 2008 Leung Ka Fai's Finest Hour!
Since this is a Grand Collection, or Two Movie Set, i will split My Review into Two Parts, one for Prison on Fire and the Other for Prison on Fire II.
Prison on Fire: This is the first film in which i really noticed the talent that Tony Leung Ka Fai had as an actor. His Performance is a masterclass as unfortunate Prison Inmate Ken, a Good Person affected by unfortunate Circumstance. While working at his father's shop late one night, a group of Thugs refuse to pay for a few drinks, and run off. This infuriates the Mild mannered and Polite Ken, and he chases down the thugs, demanding they pay for the items. In the course of this, Ken accidentally throws one of the thugs onto the road, and he is killed by a speeding bus.
Hence Convicted of manslaughter, Ken is sent to prison for three years, and it is here that the movie begins in earnest. Ken is a co-operative and honest inmate, which immediately puts him at odds between the other prisoners, a fact that is taken notice by Veteran Inmate Chun (as usual, a Virtuoso Performance by Chow Yun Fat) and Chun quickly takes a shine to the Innocent Ken, teaching him much about Prison Life.
Ken's Honesty gets him into trouble however, when while working in the Prison Laundry, a prisoner under the orders of Prison Triad Boss Mickey (Ho Ka-Kui) steals a pair of scissors from Chun. Ken sees this and tells Chun, an act that greatly displeases Mickey.
If things couldn't be worse for poor Ken, The prison's security Chief, Hung (played by Roy Cheung) takes an immediate dislike to him. Hung is known as 'killer' due to his unorthodox and Brutal tactics against the prisoners, resulting in many Inmate Injuries, and even a few fatalities. Hung is also a sly man who plays the prisoners against each other, and when he makes a deal with Mickey, Mickey sees this as an opportunity to get back at Ken, and he seeks to Frame Him. This however, is just the start of Ken and Chun's problems...
I was really Touched by Ka Fai's performance here, as i really connected with Ken, an otherwise good citizen forced to adapt to harsh prison life, however Chow Yun Fat gives a Memorable performance as Chun, which i feel is just as memorable as his iconic roles as Mark Gor, Du Shen or Jeff, his character from The Killer. Roy Cheung, an otherwise standard actor, gives his career-best performance as Hung the Evil Prison Guard, a breath of fresh air from the Chan Ka Kui Supercop type characters we usually see in HK films of this vintage, Ho Ka-Kui is also memorable as the Prison Triad Boss mickey, who manages to make poor Ken's life in Prison a living Hell. All in all Prison on Fire is Highly Recommended viewing, and is one of my all-time Favourites. 10/10.
Prison on Fire II: This film start where the first one left off, with Chow Yun Fat reprising his Role as Inmate Chun, who quickly befriends a mainland Chinese Inmate named Lung, played by Chan Chung Yung, who is something of a Leader to the Other mainland Prisoners.
When Chun's mother dies and his son is placed in an orphanage, Chun Requests leave from prison. The new, Uncompromising Security Chief (Tsui Kam-Kong) is aware of what happened to Hung, and is unwilling to grant Chun any favours, which leads him to escape from prison in order to see his troubled son Leung with his new friend, and while running from the police, the bond between Chun and Lung is strengthened.
While not as fresh or powerful as the original masterpiece, Prison on fire II is a worthy follow up to the original, and while it suffers from the absence of Ka Fai, Chan Chung Yung still manages to compensate with his fine performance as Lung. Overall not as good as the first, but it could have been a lot worse. 9/10.
City on Fire (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
June 19, 2008 Chow Yun Fat, Actor On Fire.
City on Fire is the kind of film where, while the basic idea of the film, an undercover cop and a series Bank Heists is nothing new, yet through the performances of the Characters, the direction of the Cinematographer and director, as well as the jazzy score (Something quite new in a HK film of this vintage) manage to create a picture that is not just entertaining, but something that will be played in your head long after the film is finished and the credits have stopped rolling.
Chow is in Fine Form as an Undercover cop on Hard times, while Danny Lee, generally known for playing Police Officers, is cast against type as Sympathetic Triad Fu, who kills a Close Friend of Chows in a Jewelery robbery, resulting in Chow going undercover to Arrest the thieves, which leads into problems with an Intimidating Police Upstart (Roy Cheung) as well as Relationship problems with his wife to be, as well as an unlikely friendship between himself and Fu, neither knowing that they are secretly each other's enemy.
City on Fire is a masterstroke of Gritty 1980's Urban Hong Kong, and one of those few Triad films that really shines and separates itself from the pack. Forget Reservoir Dogs, This is the film to See, the Original and the Best!
Chow Yun Fat On Fire Trilogy (Digitally Remastered)
Chow Yun Fat On Fire Trilogy (Digitally Remastered) DVD Region 3(2)Our Price: US$23.491 people found this review helpful
June 19, 2008 The Apex of Film Restoration
The On Fire films to me represent the Apex of what a Great Director like Ringo Lam can do with the Right cast, create a Unique Drama with equally Unique characters (By HK Standards at least). While School on Fire is not included in this great collection (It does not Star CYF, hence it does not appear in the CYF On Fire boxset) The Three Films that are included are some of the best of not just Ringo and CYF Works, but of Asian filmaking in general, and full commendations go to Fortune star for giving these Three Films (Especially the first two, City and Prison on Fire) the treatment they deserve, with some great Box Art and Bookmarks, but all this is secondary to the great amount of digital restoration these films have gone through in both Audio and visual Quality, watching these films even with a Humble 32CM LCD Screen and stereo speakers offers a truly wondrous experience that's even better than when you first saw these films so many years ago...
All in all, this is a boxset not to be missed, get it while you still can, even if it is a little pricey, it's worth every Penny!
God Of Gambler's Return (DVD) (DTS) (Hong Kong Version)
God Of Gambler's Return (DVD) (DTS) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All(4)Our Price: US$12.99June 19, 2008 Full of Cliches, but still Fun
The Fourth Film In Wong Jing's God of Gamblers series, this film marks the return of Chow Yun Fat as Du Shen. It may be the same character as in the original, but his portrayal by CYF is completely different, and the film loses much (All) the class of the original. Nevertheless it's still a fun movie, and some features entertaining performances, such as from Tony Leung Ka Fai and Chingmy Yau, as well as a somewhat memorable villian played by Taiwanese actor Wu Xingguo, (best known for playing Chiang Kai-Shek in the west).
While the film is quite fun if taken in the right spirit, some of the jokes (Typical of post-Tiananmen HK Comedy Films) are quite offensive to Mainland Chinese, such as the depiction of the Mainland Police as Unsympathetic Human Rights Violators, who in one scene, beat up a group of HK Reporters for no reason, and the Taiwanese Police as Corrupt and Lazy, evident in one scene where Chow masquerades as a KMT Agent.
With that aside, this film is still quite enjoyable if taken in the right spirit, and is still Highly Recommended for those who enjoy Wong Jing's films, but for others expecting a similar film to the Original, you will be disappointed.
The Diary Of A Big Man (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)(2)Our Price: US$13.991 people found this review helpful
June 18, 2008 Very Nice? Oh, Very Nice!
Diary of a Big Man is Screwball and situational comedy at it's funniest! Chow Yun-Fat plays Chow Ting Fat, a Kind Hearted stockbroker who finds himself awash in the Rain one night in his broken Convertible. while searching for a ride home, he meets first Joey (a Boutique owner played by Joey Wong) and a short time later, Sally (a flight Attendant, played by, you guessed it, Sally Yeh) and proceeds to date them both later on, and accidentally inds himself engaged to both of them! Being the nice guy he is, Chow can't break either girl's heart, so he marries both of them, and through enlisting the help of his loyal friend Chi Hung (Waise Lee chi Hung) he proceeds to live a double life as a Bigamist, without letting his wives know his secret, which as you can expect, leads into many comedic situations.
This film is a great laugh fest, with many Hilarious scenes, including one where Chow Yun Fat breaks into song! (His voice isn't anything special, but the MV is an extra on the DVD) as well as some very funny performances, such as Chow acting as Dr. Slump in order to impress a supposedly Drunk Joey, or even Chow trying a few of Cheung Kwok Wing's Mo Sum Sui Min Dance Moves, not to mention a fantastic cameo by Why Me? star Kent Cheng as a police officer intent on exposing Chow's secret.
Diary of a Big Man is a Truly funny film, and a great companion piece to Eighth Happiness, CYF fans should watch the film carefully, and make note on two special lines, one of which where Chow Ting Fat is listening to the Golden needle Awards on the Radio, and another between Chi Hung and Chow when they are climbing out a hotel window.
PS. The English subtitles of this movie may not display on some DVD Players, if this is the case, try watching the movie on a Computer or a Console that plays DVDs, such as a PS2.
Eighth Happiness (Digitally Remastered) (Joy Sales Version) (Hong Kong Version)(1)Our Price: US$14.491 people found this review helpful
June 18, 2008 A CYN Comedy at it's best!
Eighth Happiness is to me, the quintessential CYN Comedy. In addition to a Stellar cast of stars such as Chow Yun Fat, Jacky Cheung, Cherie Chung, Do Do Cheng and Fung Bo Bo (of Fong Sai Yuk fame), we are also treated to a rare performance by longtime Cinema City producer Raymond Wong bak-ming, who plays the eldest of three brothers, and while he is the successful Chef and host of his hit cooking show, Mainly for Women, he is single, and has a lot of trouble with the opposite sex.
His Flamboyant Brother Lang (Chow Yun Fat) However has the opposite problem as an out of work actor who regularly dates various women, or as he calls them, the Girls from the 19 Districts, while the Youngest Brother (Jacky Cheung) is a struggling cartoonist with an innocent heart, quite the contrast from the Roles Jacky is usually noted for playing.
Late one Night due to a road accident, the phone lines near the Brothers' home malfunction, and through three chance phone calls, each of the three brothers meet three very different women, which leads into many Hilarious Romantic Encounters down the track, including Eight Star Cookies, Tai Chi Swords, Smashing both Cars and Diamond Rolexes, Raymond Wong gulping down an almost Pure Chilli Soup, Two Ping Pong Matches (as well as a scene where Chow and Raymond throw poor Cherie from one brother to the other) and a hilarious Peking Opera Finale based on Princess Chan-ping!
In addition to the great Comedic scenes and Performances, this film hosts quite a few cameos, including Michael Chow, John Shum, Karl Maka, Ringo Lam and even Mark Gor!
In Short, this film is a Must, if for no other reason than Chow's Excellent performance as the Overly Camp and Flamboyant Lang, This film is a great Companion Piece to diary of a Big Man, and is perfect for CNY or any time of the Year!
PS> While Yesasia states this film as Region 3 in the Product Summary, when I ordered it, my version was Region 0 (All Regions).