The Adventurers (2017)

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First of all, let’s clear up any possible confusion. The Adventurers (2017) is a light and breezy affair starring Andy Lau. The Adventurers (1995) is definitely not a light and breezy affair, although it still stars Andy Lau. Hey, it was directed by Ringo Lam in the middle of the 90s Hong Kong crime film boom. What ya gonna do? This most recent film to bear the name is directed by Stephen Fung and much more befitting of the adventure … (read more)

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Extraction (2020)

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Reviewing this film here on HC is stretching the rules a bit, but it’s been done before. The excuse this time is that Extraction falls at the intersection of several points of interest for this site. Although it’s an American film, the setting is Bangladesh and India, the action is descended from the style popularised in various Asian film markets and that burly white guy on the poster is an Australian.

Stunt performers directing action films has become a … (read more)

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Wira (2019)

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If I had to choose one word to describe Wira, it would be endearing. That may seem strange, given how the movie begins — a hard-hitting bout between two women in a ring. However, after this excellent screen fight and a blockbuster-style opening credits sequence, the screen fades in to a slow-paced village location and an interior monologue about returning home and the importance of family. There’s an earnestness to the film that gives it emotional clarity. It’s not … (read more)

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Furie (2019)

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The last time I soaked up the projected humid climes of Vietnamese cinema was with the sumptuous The Rebel in 2007. That film’s female lead, Veronica Ngo (Ngô Thanh Vân) is the sole lead for Furie — wearing a very similar outfit — and it’s great to see her in action stride again. Vietnam kept producing films in the intervening years, but they were not widely distributed. Once Upon a Time in Vietnam — also featuring Ngo — is the … (read more)

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Once Upon a Time in China 3 (1993)

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The first two chapters in this telling of the legend of Wong Fei Hung are bona fide classics, so the third has to aim its no-shadow kicks high. While it may not reach those heights, Once Upon in China 3 does a great job of carrying on the story and themes of international influence in China and the interplay between tradition and modernisation. It just goes about this in a different way, which while a little disappointing should still be … (read more)

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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.

Raymond Chow and … (read more)

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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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