Blog Archives

Tiger on Beat (1988)

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Tiger On The Beat is a pretty routine Hong Kong take on the American buddy cop genre. Lau Kar Leung must have been strangely out of sorts when he made this — the bloody action and crude comedy seems more akin to Wong Jing than the director that brought us The 36 Chambers of Shaolin. Perhaps he simply feels more comfortable in the martial arts world of old.

Conan Lee doesn’t make much of an impression in the lead … (read more)

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The Killer (1989)

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I’m a superlative kinda guy. The third most common phrase in my vocabulary is “It’s the greatest film ever made!” and probably a full half of the films I’ve seen in my nineteen and one-half years on this Earth have been referred to in that way. It may be that at the moment of utterance I might actually mean I what I’m saying – or it might not. It doesn’t really matter unless I describe something in this way more … (read more)

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Hard-Boiled (1992)

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There are two types of John Woo fan. There’s the John Woo fan who prefers The Killer, and there’s the John Woo fan who likes Hard-Boiled the best. Now, this is not to say that, in expressing a particular love for one film, the fan is immediately and necessarily prohibited from taking any pleasure from the Other Option – far from it! A fan of The Killer may still groove on Hard-Boiled and vice versa. But as much as … (read more)

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A Better Tomorrow (1986)

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This is where legends were made.

Little known director John Woo was hired to direct a gangster film, but had the idea that it would use the warrior code of a swordplay film, exchanging the swords for guns. In the role of the lead killer he cast television drama star Chow Yun Fat, against the wishes of the studio, but Yun Fat had exactly the right ‘everyman’ qualities that Woo was looking for. He plays Mark Gor, the close buddy … (read more)

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A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987)

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The creative partnership of director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark came unstuck during this sequel to the 1986 smash hit A Better Tomorrow. The result is a somewhat schizophrenic picture which manages to quadruple the body count of the original film, but at some cost to the plot and soul. The first problem Woo faced was the fact that a popular character had been killed off last time – no problem, the old identical twin routine saves the … (read more)

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The Seventh Curse (1986)

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This may be the stupidest film I’ve ever seen; I loved it.

It’s a pulp adventure barely starring Chow Yun-fat as the hero Wisely; 90% of the film follows the exploits of his doctor/explorer/martial artist friend Dr Yuan (Chin Siu Ho), who’s a man with a problem: when he’s about to have sex, he’s smitten with a damn unsatisfying Thai curse which makes bullets burst from his body. That’s gotta cramp anyone’s style.

The only way to solve the matter … (read more)

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City on Fire (1987)

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You might have heard this one before: Chow Yun Fat is an undercover cop who takes one last job infiltrating a gang of jewel thieves. He befriends cool gunster Danny Lee despite himself. The big jewel robbery goes wrong, Yun Fat gets gut-shot, and the gang withdraw to their warehouse hideout to shout and point guns at each other while trying to work out who sold them out.

Sound familiar? That’s because boy wonder Tarrantino used the last half hour … (read more)

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Witch from Nepal (1985)

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One of the best things about Hong Kong filmmakers is that they keep doing the unexpected. And who else, I ask you, would make a film that spends 90 minutes on testicles?

The testicles in this case are an enchanted pair strung on a necklace and kept as a sort of sacred talisman by a Nepali tribe. When evil threatens, and the master is killed, the second in command, fortunately enough a beautiful young woman, takes the testicles to the … (read more)

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