Blog Archives

A Hero Never Dies (1998)

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This is one for the true believers. If you long for the heroic archetypes of late 80s and early 90s Hong Kong cinema, here they are. The makers of Expect the Unexpected (director Johnnie To and producer Wai Ka-Fai) leave gritty crime realism aside for a moment and deliver up a glorious homage to the two-gun-blazing big-heart-pumping Hong Kong gunplay genre.

Jack (Leon Lai) is the big brother in Mr Yam’s gang. Martin (Lau Ching Wan) is the big brother … (read more)

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Full Alert (1997)

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This sensational heist flick comes your way from the fevered brain of director Ringo Lam. In my opinion, he never quite topped his 1987 grand slam of City on Fire, School on Fire and Prison on Fire — that is, until this picture.

Lam leaves aside the more pyrotechnic aspects of the Hong Kong crime genre to weave a claustrophobic account of a policeman’s (Lau Ching Wan) obsession to catch a thief (Francis Ng). Lam brings off not only … (read more)

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Expect the Unexpected (1998)

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This is one of the bleak new wave of post-Handover HK crime films which include Full Alert, Beast Cops and A True Mob Story. Like those films, the characters here are very Hong Kong, but in a Hong Kong the place sense rather than a Hong Kong the movie myth sense. The opening is dynamite. Three inept Mainland robbers botch a jewel store holdup. One of them flees into a nearby apartment building, inadvertently leading the police to … (read more)

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Three of a Kind (2004)

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Three actors, four stories, no continuity.

How could they do this?!?

What were they thinking?!?

It starts well, at least enough to dull suspicion. Devoted aide (Yeung) secretly in love with playboy boss (Lau). Cantankerous, writers-blocked father (Hui) who hasn’t written a book in ten years. Assorted minor characters of a humorous bent. Then it all goes to hell, complete with handbasket. Or, in the case of Hui, complete with sword and straw veiled hat.

About every twenty minutes, the … (read more)

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Fantasia (2004)

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Yeah! Chinese New Year! Fireworks, Lion Dancing, Dragonboating, the colour, the energy, the food… and of course the mandatory CNY films out of Hong Kong to give us a kickstart into the new year of the Monkey.

And yes, Fantasia is one of those films that gives us a kick. Unfortunately not exactly the kind of kick you want to start the new year with (unless of course you LIKE rolling around the floor in pain – but who am … (read more)

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Lost in Time (2003)

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There is nothing quite like watching a performance from somebody you dismiss as just another pretty face. Yes that is right. It seems Cecilia is more of an actor than I ever gave her credit for previously. When I think of what I have seen her in it is really hard to get past the constant ham and overacting that seems so common in films from Hong Kong. Lost in Time is pretty much HER film and her dramatic abilities … (read more)

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Fat Choi Spirit (2002)

It’s a silly [and superstitious] habit but I like going to the movies when Chinese New Year starts. I think it’s good practice and lucky to start off the New Year with lots of laughter. And what better way to put a big grin on the face that than to see a brand new Lunar comedy?

Over the past decade or so, the trend of putting out Lunar comedies has fallen on Jackie Chan and of course, the laff-meister Stephen … (read more)

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La Brassiere (2001)

Lau Ching Wan has returned to films after a one year hiatus, and somehow got himself onto a project which involves him sharing scenes with about a dozen pretty women in their undergarments. Hard work for some.

Johnny (Lau Ching Wan) and Wayne (Louis Koo) are hired as the first male bra designers for Sis, the firm run by Samantha (Carina Lau). Their mission: to design the world’s best bra, much to the mockery of current head designer Lena (Gigi … (read more)

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