When Fortune Smiles: The Life and Times of Raymond Chow and Golden Harvest

Raymond Chow in 2013

Raymond Chow, a major figure in world cinema, died on 2 November 2018. He was the co-founder and public face of the Hong Kong based Golden Harvest Film Company. From 1970-2003, Golden Harvest produced approximately 600 feature films, and through its theatrical arm distributed nearly as many titles again. From the mid-1980s, Golden Harvest became the most prosperous and prolific movie business in South East Asia, supplanting the once all-powerful Shaw Brothers Studio.

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Buybust (2018)

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As much as it is a product of its time and place, Buybust is also another film indebted to The Raid. Gareth Evans’s hard-hitting cult classic is not even ten years old, but its influence is wide and continuing to spread. It popularised both the premise of a police squad finding their backs to the wall in a confined location and the tightly choreographed dance of fighters and camera operator with its action. The 2012 film Dredd was practically … (read more)

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Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979)

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Mad Monkey Kung Fu is another of director Lau Kar Leung’s classics from his Shaw Brothers heyday. 1979 also saw the release of his top notch hoe-down Dirty Ho, but this time we get to see him act in his own film as well. Having put mantis style to celluloid the year before with Shaolin Mantis, Lau brings another animal to the party here and it’s barrels of fun all round.

The film opens with a prologue of … (read more)

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Ip Man 4 (2019)

Donnie Yen returns for a victory lap as Wing Chun master Ip Man, once more directed by Wilson Yip and ever-ready to humbly stand up to injustice and demonstrate to a fresh batch of bullying foreigners the value of Chinese kung fu. Sometimes bearing the subtitle The Finale and not to be confused with Ip Man: The Final Fight — a different take on the master’s later life featuring Anthony Wong — Ip Man 4 delivers a satisfying conclusion to … (read more)

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Man of Tai Chi (2013)

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The history between this film’s two main actors goes back a fair way. Star Tiger Chen met Keanu Reeves while doing stunt work on The Matrix films and the two remain buddies, with Tiger briefly showing up in John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum to get a cringeworthy knife in the eyeball. The script for Man of Tai Chi apparently kicked around for years until eventually being made and we should be glad it did. 2013 was the beginning of … (read more)

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Parasite (2019)

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A receding hairline is not inherently creepy. I see one in the mirror daily without much thought beyond a vague wistfulness for those follicles whose usefulness is consigned to the past. But like so many little everyday details in Parasite — a packet of hot sauce, a walkie-talkie — it will be hard to look at that slowly expanding bald patch the same way again. Parasite is everyday life reflected back in one’s face with the veneer of the everyday … (read more)

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Triple Threat (2019)

I’ve been waiting to see Triple Threat for over two years. Seemingly caught up with distribution difficulties and generating little buzz, it nevertheless carries the potential to be an all-time action classic. Check that cast list. It’s absolutely stacked with talented action practitioners. Real ones, who know how to make fights look good. Even if not all the names are widely known, the sheer amount of experience there is mouth-watering for a dedicated action fan. Game on!

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Armour of God II: Operation Condor (1991)

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Asian Hawk is back! Now renamed Condor for some reason! It’s definitely the same chewing-gum-chomping character, tasked with tracking down some treasure by the same gentleman who put him up to it in Armour of God, except the daughter played by Lola Forner from that movie is never mentioned, so Jackie (as he’s still sometimes called) is lumped with a few other, less useful female characters instead. Continuity was not a priority in this cinematic universe.

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