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Statistics :
11630 Movies
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12 DVD Reviews
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3722 Videos
Capsule Reviews

Casino Raiders 2    (1991)
 Chicken Feet (Andy Lau) assists in running an honorable gambling den owned by the crippled Uncle Fan (Lau Siu Ming) and his son Kit (Wong Kit). Having previously tried to shut down the gambling den and take over by paralysing Fan and framing Kit for another man's murder, ruthless local Triad boss, James (Kelvin Wong) goes a step further by murdering Fan. Driven only by money and the pursuit of two valuable 'Jade stones', James kidnaps Kit's daughter so he will surrender gambling in order for James to win the upcoming Championship. Despite Kit's wish to live a life of peace, Chicken Feet finds the Jade Stones and along with his partner, Lin (Jacqueline Wu Chien Lien) plots his own revenge against James.

The sequel to the 1989 Hong Kong Modern Classic Casino Raiders was never going to be as well received as it's predecessor, yet, despite the criticism that this merely cashed in on Lau's fast on-screen success, this is nevertheless an interesting film to look at.

Foremost, director Johnnie To takes a somewhat more 'poetic' perspective than Wong Jing did on the original, focusing more on drawn out character emotions which can, however, sometimes fall backwards on style. There are some exceptional scenes though, such as the lynching on the cruise boat, the fight on the docks at nighttime, and, of course, the final showdown between Lau and Wong. These emphasise To's ability to maintain consistency of plot without relying on visual spectacle, but still including subdued rich imagery.

The always impressive Andy Lau is brilliant yet again, and the entire support cast, particularly Wong Kit and Wu Chien-Lien give strong performances. Kelvin Wong, it must be said, is also thoroughly convincing as the cold-blooded James and gives, quite possibly, one of his best-ever performances.

In terms of fallbacks, the film does, at times, rely slightly too heavily on assumed prior knowledge, particularly on playing cards. Therefore, while an uninformed HK film fan might wait it out and try and keep up, the half-interested modest might give up completely.

Nevertheless, although often overshadowed by the success of the original, I feel this film covers some interesting ground and, if made easier for audiences, should perhaps be viewed as a film by itself... as opposed to an unrelated sequel to Casino Raiders. The melodramatic nature of the film may, at times, seem far fetched, but nonetheless combines with the strong performances and rich casino-noir visuals to create an enjoyable and entertaining film which certainly deserves more than one viewing.
Michael Murphy 4/4/2005 - top

Date In Portland Street    (1995)
 It is my pleasure to be able to review A Date in Portland Street. It could be described as romantic, funny, dark, depressing; all these things would certainly be true. The main point to note, particularly from the perspective of a Western viewer, is that HK Romantic films in no way resemble the dire, and painfully cheerful monotony of typical British and American cinematic Romance. This film has a soft, romantic side, but it is soon challenged by themes of loneliness, failure and pessimism, making the entire movie both absorbing and much more interesting.

Moving onto casting, Kelvin Wong is exceptional in this film, moving far away from his "villain" typecasting, with which he has been labelled, within HK cinema. His performance is complex, and he successfully highlights his characters' immaturity, but at the same time a sense of bawdy flirtations, and deeply witheld dissatisfaction with his life. Lee Fung Sui provides a strong female lead and sustains the independant woman character who could effectively lead a life without Zhang Wei, yet they remain together despite growing differences.

Director Cheung Chak Ming creates a dark and ultimately bittersweet Romantic drama which comes across as refreshing and interesting especially compared to some of the genre's disposable garbage, courtesy of Hollywood and Britain's films (eg- with Hugh Grant). The film is, at times, challenging, but well worth a look. The editing back-and-forth between Zhang Wei in London and Hong Kong creates occasional confusion about where exactly he is at any one point. Yet the overall "feel" of the film is one which certainly deserves wider recognition and praise. Well worth taking a look.
Michael Murphy 4/4/2005 - top

Yellow River Fighter    (1988)
 Around one thousand years ago, competing warlords around the great Yellow River afflicts the common people with much strife. Having tragically lost his daughte, Master Swordsman Ma (Yu Cheng Hui) decides to dedicated his life to defend the helpless populace but he will have to go through many hardship and set backs in the pursuit of his idealistic goal.

 Yellow River Fighter is a Mainland China made martial art epic filmed by Cheung Yam Yim director of both Shaolin Temple and Kids From Shaolin. It stars Yu Cheng Hui who was the lead villain in both Shaolin Temple and Martial Arts Of Shaolin.

Yellow River Fighter has the same sets of qualities and defects of most Mainland made martial art production; gorgeous sceneries and superb Wushu performers on one hand but rather routine plotting and fights scenes lacking the edge and intensity of Hong-Kong martial art movies. Still despite it’s shortcoming the movie remains a quite genial effort thanks to Yu Cheng Hui’s energic performance and gives great pathos and dignity to his beleaguered hero. Mainland wushu movies illumines Yu Hai, Hu Jian Qiang, Kai Chun Wah and Sun Jian Kui have all small parts in the movie as does Hung Yan Yan as well in a early role playing a cross-eyed warrior. The action of the movie is set around the Yellow River one of China two most important rivers (the other one being the Yangtze). It owes it’s name to the yellowish deposits it carries which are left on it’s riverbanks
Yves Gendron 1/14/2005 - top

So Close    (2002)
 A beautiful pair of female assassins whose emotional burden is a family vendetta... an equally beautiful female cop who may be just brilliant enough to catch them... and a powerful computer mogul who thinks he can manipulate all three to further his corporate ends..

 Much less disgraceful than Naked Weapon, So Close reunites three beauties from the HK movie industry: Shu Qi, Vikki Zhao Wei and Karen Mok. In this cop and robbers flick, director Corey Yuen isn't inspired at all, apart from using and abusing of the slow-motion buttons and of the wind effects on Shu Qi's hair. High Tech, babes and camera work don't make a film. A meaningful script, a minimum of acting skills and a decent filmmaking do. This example along with Ching Siu-tung's Naked Weapon, proves that an excellent martial-art instructor and action choreographer doesn't necessarily equal to a good film director.
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

Killing Skill    (2002)
 Simply bad because it has this cheap-take-your-camcorder-with-you-on-holidays look and feeling. The photography is sloppy. The lead lady (Lily Chung, the mistreated teen from Daughter Of Darkness) wonders around with a guitar case full of guns, like in Rodriguez's Desperado. But she never takes them out, and she keeps looking at the sea. Very few things happen and when they do, you can't even bother to care. (direct-to-video)
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

Wall    (2002)
 It's a low-budget movie with ridiculous action scenes. They obviously don't represent the film assets. On the other hand, Jordan Chan actor skills and charisma, Cherrie Ying freshness and some well-written scenes are the main attractions. Director Billy Tang, used to this type of b-movies (e.g. Devil Touch and Interactive Murders), chose to deal with Triads and to condemn them. Apart from that the rest of the plot is non-original and the outcome is predictable. So if you don't fancy the two lead actors, don't even try.
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

Going Home    (2002)
 Director Peter Chan is in charge of this last episode of the horror triptych movie Three. He decided to make a huis clos between Eric Tsang, Leon Lai and Eugenia Yuen in old and grotty buildings constituting almost a remote area from the HK depicted in most local movies. This apparent time and space discrepancy gives the illusion that the movie is actually far from the present HK preoccupations. This medium-length film is a part of a Pan-Asia project obviously designed for Asian markets. It is supposed to have a HK flavour. The other episodes are Thai and Korean. In Going Home there is a constant ambiguity between the fantasy of ghost stories and reality. So can it be considered as a typically Chinese ghost movie? The beautiful photography by Christopher Doyle and the overall simplistic story make Going Home a nice looking and stylish effort, which finally couldn't have last much longer than 52 minutes.
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

No Problem 2    (2002)
 It's a co-production between HK and Japan, with HK actors (Yuen Biao, Candy Lo, Sam Lee) and director (Ching Kar-lok) and with Japanese actors (Takashi Okamura and Wakana Sakai). The overall story is a loose modern kung fu comedy with a dispensable love story in the middle. The best assets to the film are the parodies of HK greatest successes and stars: The Killer, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Bruce Lee's Way Of The Dragon
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

New Blood    (2002)
 A young couple attempts to commit suicide, but only the girl dies. Her boyfriend is saved by a transfusion from the only three people with his rare blood type. Subsequently, each of the donors is haunted by the vengeful spirit of the dead girl...

 It's a second attempt from Soi Cheang to direct a serious horror movie after Horror Hotline... Big Head Monster. It is however much more accomplished here. Soi Cheang doesn't spare the characters, hence anything can happen to them. Once one get that, one realises that the film is overall thrilling because unpredictable. Leading roles are especially good (Niki Chow and Bernard Chow).
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

My Life As McDull    (2001)
 This cartoon is inspired by the famous character of a pig, Mc Dull, created by Alice Mak.

 This is the only animation feature released in HK in 2002. McDull is a little and cute pig who tells, from a childish and funny point of view, his story and his life in the big city of HK. Various sketches more or less funny constitute the movie. There are so much references to local culture that if you are not from HK, it's very hard to get all the jokes. Sandra Ng and Anthony Wong are amongst the stars dubbing the characters.
Thomas Podvin 1/15/2003 - top

Page Index
 Casino Raiders 2
 Date In Portland Str...
 Yellow River Fighter
 So Close
 Killing Skill
 Going Home
 No Problem 2
 New Blood
 My Life As McDull

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