Tag Archives: hong kong movies

Action, HK Style – My Young Auntie (1981)

Director: Lau Kar-leung
Starring: Kara Hui Ying-Hung, Lau Kar-leung, Hsiao Ho, Johnny Wang Lung-Wei, Yuen Tak, Gordon Liu Chia-Hui

After doing a favour for his dying master by marrying him to keep his property out the hands of his evil brother (Wang Lung-Wei), Jing Dai-Nan (Kara Hui) has to flee to the house of one of his brothers Yu Jing-Chuen (Lau Kar-leung) who she is now the “auntie” of despite being many years younger. His son Charlie (Hsiao Ho) is meant to be in Hong Kong studying, but arrives back early and ends up fighting with Dai-Nan and trashing the joint.

Cue many understandings and temper tantrums from both Charlie and Dai-Nan. When they both settle down Charlie takes her into town, where she gets made fun of for being a “country bumpkin” and ends up in a much too fancy dress, leading to another fight where they have to run from the cops.

Even though Dai-Nan seems to hate fun, Charlie is determined to show her a good time and after a quick musical interlude invites her to a dance. Unfortunately the dance is interrupted by the cronies of the evil brother “don’t worry Charlie, in Hong Kong we always fight at parties” and Charlie and Dai-Nan end up getting arrested. It was all a ruse to get the old man’s will and deeds back so Dai-Nan has to sign them over.

Assessing the situation and asking for the help of the other uncles, Dai-Nan decides to act on her own with Charlie tagging along to find the traps. Unfortunately they fail and Dai-Nan gets kidnapped. Will they get out of this bind or not? I’ll let you find out.

Phew! The synopsis does not tell you how crazy this movie is, with some fourth wall breaking shenanigans, many crazy cross culture exchanges, the dance sequence in western costumes, Gordon Lui in ridiculous hair, the dude with the sunglasses who never loses them no matter how many times he gets beat up and many other silly things.

You have to be in the right mood to see this as if you are expecting a serious kung fu movie you will dismiss it out of hand. I saw it on a double bill with Dirty Ho and on the tail end of seeing eight Hong Kong movies in a weekend at a special screening so I was ready for it. I almost cheered when Wang Lung-Wei pointed and there is even an almost a POV point at one point.

Not sure why they could not let the Young Auntie have the final fight scene to herself, she does not look like she needs rescuing the other times. Despite that, it is a funny movie and while not an essential watch worth having a look for if you want to see a movie similar to Lady is the Boss.

Action, HK Style – God of Gamblers (1989)

Director: Wong Jing
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Joey Wong Cho-Yin, Sharla Cheung Man, Ng Man-Tat

The God of Gamblers, Ko Chun (Chow Yun-Fat) goes missing after gambling at a private game and ends up losing his memory. Feeling guilty for setting the trap that he blundered into, Knife (Andy Lau) and his friends decide to look after him and find out that he is a gambling genius, coming to call him “King of Gamblers” and hitting up all the shady places they can find.

Trouble brews when Knife mistreats Ko and is also a terrible gambler himself, leading to him owing a big debt to a loanshark (Ng Man-Tat) and also the bad guys who the God of Gamblers is meant to have a big card game coming up with their boss are looking for him to get rid of him.

Miraculously, Ko’s bodyguard appears to save the day and they only just get out alive. While running away from the police in shock from all the killings, Ko falls and hits his head again. Later in the hospital with his old memories, he doesn’t know Knife and his former friend who set him up is sucking up to him.

Unknown to Ko in his absence, his former friend has colluded with the gang boss he is meant to gamble with and wants him to lose. This sets the scene for a tense scene on a ship that is meant to be sailing into international waters. Who will win?

For some reason I had seen the sequel to this movie and not the original. I do not recall seeing Stephen Chow’s parody of the movie that was so good it landed him a place in one of the sequels.

In terms of iconic characters Chow Yun Fat’s portrayal is up there with Mark Gor in a Better Tomorrow and I can’t even fathom how Wong Jing can make something like this in the 1980s and then go on to make such rubbish.

While the gambling scenes are the heart of the movie there are quite good gunplay scenes and some light relief on offer when things get too dark from Chow Yun Fat playing up the head injury aspect.

Andy Lau is a mere slip of a boy here and is quite mean to Chow Yun Fat’s character, but comes through in the end.

If you have never seen this movie I would recommend it and just ignore Wong Jing’s later work unless you are a huge fan with an ability to tolerate bad trash. It’s not even funny trash, it’s just bad and has nasty stuff in it for so reason. Better stop here or I will go on and on.

Action, HK Style – Aces Go Places (1982)

Director: Eric Tsang
Starring: Samuel Hui Koon-Kit, Karl Maka, Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia, Dean Shek Tin, Chan Sing, Tsui Hark

A daring high-wire diamond heist by master thief King Kong (Sam Hui) and his sidekick Gigolo Joe (Dean Shek) gets the attention of the authorities as neither of the parties that were robbed reported it to the police. The Governor of Hong Kong and top government officials decide to get Sargeant Kodojack (Karl Maka) in to catch King Kong as he is on the case of the international thief White Glove (Robert Houston).

Tough Superintendent Nancy Ho (Sylvia Chang) likes all her police to treat her as one of the guys and ends up arresting Kodojack after he unwittingly becomes the getaway driver for a separate robbery, leading to much amusement.

Not so good for King Kong is when Mad Max (Chan Sing) turns up vengeance on his mind and Gigolo Joe ends up being killed before he can tell him where the diamonds are hidden. Kodojack decides to trap King Kong into helping the police and even the White Glove helps behind the scenes as he also wants the diamonds for himself. Lots of wacky tomfoolery ensues including the strange scene of RC cars taking on full grown cars and winning with the help of explosives.

This reminds me very much of a live action cartoon similar to the Lupin series and this movie was the first in a series of six. It is very fun and pacey and full of interesting characters including a cameo by Tsui Hark as a ballet director. The scenes with the gang boss Mad Max are strange as he appears in riding gear and has his own synthesiser sting.

The bad hair and fashions are just a joy to watch as this movie couldn’t be more 80s if it tried. Special mention must go to Mad Max’s leather cat suit and also Kodojack ending up on stage dressed like Ming the Merciless in one scene.

Even with the killings and violence it does not seem to change tone and is more of a romp and James Bond spoof than a serious action movie. I liked that it had its own version of the hang gliding scene from the Man From Hong Kong although this one is part of a longer scene.

The characters are drawn very broadly as you would expect with this type of movie with the Lady Superintendent either being really tough or very girly after Kodojack at first pretends to like her to get her onside.

I understand this movie was released as Mad Mission in western markets. If you can, try to get the Hong Kong release as it is uncut.

Well worth your time if you are looking for something light and breezy, I am going to try and see the rest of the series.

Action, HK Style – Pedicab Driver (1989)

Director: Sammo Hung
Starring: Sammo Hung, Nina Li Chi, Max Mok Siu Chung, Suen Yuet, Fennie Yuen Kit Ying, Lowell Lo Koon Ting, Meng Hoi, John Sham Kein, Billy Chow Bei Lei, Lau Kar Leung, Lam Ching Ying

Sammo Hung stars as the head of a group of sworn brothers who happen to work as pedicab drivers and help each other out when it is needed including fighting with the cargo haulers in the very first scene or helping out one of their friends who is down on their luck.

Sammo lives with his aunt who is renting out their property to a bakery. He falls for a young lady working there, only trouble is so has her boss which causes some conflict between them. Real trouble occurs when a seedy brothel owner tries to kidnap the young lady and Sammo has to pedal like hell away on the pedicab while being chased down in a car. One thing leads to another and they end up crashing through the window of a gaming house, leading to Sammo being beaten in a hard fight by the gambling house owner, Kau Kar Leung, but he earns the respect of him and is let go.

One of Sammo’s buddies has fallen in love also, but unfortunately she turns out to be ye olde “hooker with a hear of gold’, which causes a big bust up in the groups ties. Sammo’s love interest slaps them around for being so judgemental and they make up. Everything looks peachy with Sammo’s friend marrying the girl, but the evil brothel owner from before doesn’t like his women to leave, sending around goons to bust up the wedding night and leading to the final throwdown with Sammo vs. the entire gang.

This film was personally recommended to me so I was looking forward to it. Also it is not available on DVD and hard to get on VHS. I am not sure if it has even screened on SBS TV in Australia as I would have remembered it otherwise.

The fight scenes are a lot different from ordinary kung fu films as they seem a lot more harsh and brutal and you see Sammo getting more and more beaten up during the course of the scene. This is especially the case with the fight with Lau Kar Leung in the gambling house and the fight with the gangsters at the end.

I did enjoy the opening scene fight as it starts with a misunderstanding and does have the more playful elements such as the two combatants using fluorescent tubes as light sabres and being electrocuted by them with visible electricity like a cartoon. I did not think the movie was like “the Gods Must be Crazy” but it does have some funny parts to balance out the more serious drama that comes later.

In a lot of ways it does remind me of Kung Fu Hustle and certainly some of the cast from this movie appeared in that film with Sammo Hung doing fight choreography on the fight with the three masters in Pig Sty Alley.

It is a shame that this film is not as widely available as some of the other films from the 1980s as it easily stands alongside movies like Mr Canton and Lady Rose or the Project A movies if you like period drama mixed with kung fu.

While it is a kung fu story it does have things in the film that make it different like showing the result of getting into fights and even not having a normal ending as the main character says he has killed too many people in his quest for revenge and has to now try and dodge the police.

The fight with Lau Kar Leung in the gambling house including a stick battle is easily a stand out and can be watched by its own as it is very satisfying. You do end up understanding why the character who is fighting Sammo ends up respecting him as he does take quite a lot of punishment.

If you can manage to get a copy of this I would definitely recommend it as it is something special.

Action, HK Style – Drunken Master (1978)

Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Starring: Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen Siu Tien, Hwang Jang-Lee, Lam Kau, Linda Lin Ying

Jackie Chan returns as the young and reckless Wong Fei-Hong whose antics upset his dad (Lam Kau) and also his auntie (Linda Lin) who he ends up fighting by accident not knowing who she is.

When Fei Hung gets into one too many fights, his dad decides to send him off for harsh training with Beggar So (Yuen Siu Tien), but the youngster says “bugger this” and runs away trying to avoid it, only to run in him any way when he tries to scam a free meal at a restaurant and ends being beaten up for his trouble. Beggar So pretty much kidnaps him back to his shack and puts him through harsh training. The one time he tries to escape he ends up being beaten up and humiliated by Thunderleg (Hwang Jang-Lee) who doesn’t think he is even worth killing.

After trying to trick his master into not drinking during a fight, Wong Fei Hong finally learns the secret of Drunken Kung Fu and just in time as a rival of his dad’s wants to put out a hit on him and has called in a contract killer.

I understand that this was made not long after Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and it makes sense that they would use the same actors and director. Some people complain about there being too many sequels in Hollywood, they have not seen anything when it comes to Hong Kong. The original Wong Fei-Hong movies made in the 1940s and 1950s numbered in the hundreds even including Wong Fei Hong’s Battle with the Gorilla and Wong Fei-Hong’s Seven Battles with the Fiery Unicorn. They were also dead serious and all played by the same actor. Kids in Hong Kong would have grown up with them so it would have been like someone doing a funny movie about Dr Who or a beloved 80s kid’s show these days.

With the majority of the movie being taken up with the training sequences, they would want to be good training techniques and they do their job quite well. Once we finally get to see the drunken boxing it does not disappoint with the young impulsive Fei-Hong deciding not to practice one stance as it was “for girls” leaving him in a bind when he had to use it.

Lam Kau as Wong Fei-Hong’s dad does look very fearsome and like he could beat up Jackie Chan in real life. Linda Lin as his aunty also puts in a great performance and I wish she had more than just the one fight scene in the movie.

Simon Yuen retains his ability as Beggar So to steal every scene in he is in by just being in the shot. He does not seem to do as much fighting in this one, preferring to leave Jackie’s character to do most of the work.

The movie seems to end rather abruptly, but at least you do get to see the big fight scene at the end where the evil dude gets his comeuppance. Jackie Chan supposedly almost lost an eye filming the final fight scene, not having learnt to stay clear of Hwang Jang-Lee’s kicks after getting his teeth bashed out in the previous film.

Comparing this film to Drunken Master II would be unfair as there is sixteen years between them. While it is recommended you watch this with Snake in Eagle’s Shadow, it stands up just as well on its own and is well worth tracking down if you want to see the early work of Jackie Chan.

Action, HK Style – Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978)

Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Starring: Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen Siu Tien, Hwang Jang Lee, Dean Shek, Hsu Hsia, Roy Horan

This movie is almost as old as me so I am not sure if I really need to explain that much about the plot. Jackie Chan plays the dogsbody at a Kung Fu school who keeps being used as a “human punching bag” by Dean Shek while the master is away. One day he sees an old man being beaten up and invites him back for a meal, unknown to him the “beggar” (Simon Yuen Siu Tien) is actually a kung fu master in disguise who is hiding from the psycho master from the Eagle school (Hwang Jang Lee) who is trying to wipe out the other kung fu styles.

I do not know how I managed to miss this one for so long unless I have seen it and forgotten about it before. It was great to be able to see it on the big screen and I did not mind having to watch the dubbed print as it was in 35mm.

Simon Yuen was famous for playing Beggar So and he is just funny to look at and manages to steal a lot of the scenes from Jackie at the start by just being in the scene. He does get some good fight scenes himself though.

This was one of Jackie Chan’s first big hits so he does look very bright and fresh here. People who complain about the current output of this Jackie should go back and see how he got there, I could not imagine working in an industry for almost ten years before you start to get any major recognition. At the start of the 1970s Jackie Chan was doing stunt work and by the end of the decade was a star in his own right.

The fights are well done and seem to have a raw quality to them as well as an almost Australian “she’ll be right” attitude as seen in the visible sticking plaster on Jackie’s arm after he got slashed by the sword in one fight and not even bothering to wipe the blood off when he accidentally got one of his teeth kicked out.

Well worth your time and a good place to start if you are looking into Jackie Chan’s earlier work.

Action, HK Style – All the trailers*

(*) All the trailers I could find in the original language where possible. In some cases there was a clip I liked better than the trailer.

While my personal preference is for the original Shaw Brothers trailers over than the new Celestial Pictures re-release ones, it is a different marketplace so they have a particular style of their own.

A Better Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow 2

A Hero Never Dies

Aces Go Places

Ashes of Time Redux

Breaking News

Bullet in the Head

Challenge of the Masters

City on Fire

Cold War

Come Drink With Me

Dangerous Encounters – 1st Kind

Dirty Ho

Drunken Master

Drunken Master 2

Election

Election 2

Enter the Dragon

Fist of Fury

Full Alert

Full Contact

Whoops, I mean…

God of Gamblers

Golden Swallow

Hard Boiled

Infernal Affairs

Infernal Affairs 2

Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan

Ip Man

Ip Man 2

King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace

Kung Fu Hustle

Last Hurrah for Chivalry

Legendary Weapons of China

Long Arm of the Law

Martial Club

My Young Auntie

Once Upon a Time in China

Once Upon a Time in China II

Once Upon a Time in China III

One Nite in Mongkok

One-Armed Swordsman

Pedicab Driver

Police Story

Police Story 3: Supercop

Portland Street Blues

Reign of Assassins

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow

The 14 Amazons

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

The Big Boss

The Blade

The Boxer from Shantung

The Chinese Boxer

The Five Venoms

The Killer

The Magic Blade

The Man from Hong Kong

The Mission

The Prodigal Son

The Sword

The Way of the Dragon

Throw Down

True Story of Wong Fei-hung, Part One

Vengeance!

Wong Fei-hung, King of Lion Dance

Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla

Wu Xia

Young and Dangerous

Thanks to the following people for the the trailers
http://www.youtube.com/user/1980Alain
http://www.youtube.com/user/AussieRoadshow
http://www.youtube.com/user/BestMAFights
http://www.youtube.com/user/bobbybulletbobson
http://www.youtube.com/user/Chinesemovietrailer
http://www.youtube.com/user/chinesemovietrailers
http://www.youtube.com/user/ChopSockyCinema
http://www.youtube.com/user/EarlKlingi
http://www.youtube.com/user/econdor7
http://www.youtube.com/user/elguaxo
http://www.youtube.com/user/fortunestarmedia
http://www.youtube.com/user/FrankBolte
http://www.youtube.com/user/GoodKineStuff
http://www.youtube.com/user/Heroicbloodshedfan
http://www.youtube.com/user/indebioscoop
http://www.youtube.com/user/karlmaka1
http://www.youtube.com/user/kungfumovietrailers
http://www.youtube.com/user/KungFuTrailers
http://www.youtube.com/user/kungtriadsociety
http://www.youtube.com/user/MadmanOnline
http://www.youtube.com/user/metalduro88
http://www.youtube.com/user/MovieTrailerGrave
http://www.youtube.com/user/MrKungFuFlix
http://www.youtube.com/user/myasianheroes
http://www.youtube.com/user/n1mr0d85
http://www.youtube.com/user/ObscureTrailers
http://www.youtube.com/user/Ogizzie
http://www.youtube.com/user/ryy79
http://www.youtube.com/user/shiftinTV
http://www.youtube.com/user/spannick
http://www.youtube.com/user/VarianceFilms
http://www.youtube.com/user/VintageFilmTrailers
http://www.youtube.com/user/whanginsik
http://www.youtube.com/user/WorleyClarence
http://www.youtube.com/user/yabbbaaa
http://www.youtube.com/user/yusochau
http://www.youtube.com/user/zhukaiww

Hong Kong cinema season at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) 2013

Action, Hong Kong Style
6 September – 8 November 2013
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
http://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/cinematheque/current/action_hong_kong_style

While the website does have all the films listed, they are not listed by date, which is important to those wanting to come up for a weekend and who need to pick between all the movies.

I have done my best to sort through the movies and list them by date, best to check with the official site before making any plans based on these dates.

Friday 6th September 2013
Once Upon a Time in China
Once Upon a Time in China 2

Saturday 7th September 2013 (election night!)
True Story of Wong Fei-hung, Part One
Wong Fei-hung, King of Lion Dance
Drunken Master
Drunken Master 2

Sunday 8th September 2013
Challenge of the Masters
Martial Club

Wednesday 11th September 2013
Once Upon a Time in China III

Friday 13th September 2013
Come Drink With Me
Golden Swallow

Saturday 14th September 2013
One-Armed Swordsman
Vengeance!
The Boxer from Shantung
The Five Venoms

Wednesday 18th September 2013
The 14 Amazons

Friday 20th September 2013
The Big Boss
Fist of Fury

Saturday 21st September 2013
Once Upon a Time in China
Once Upon a Time in China 2
The Way of the Dragon
Enter the Dragon

Sunday 22nd September 2013
One-Armed Swordsman
Legendary Weapons of China

Friday 27th September 2013
The Five Venoms
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

Saturday 28th September 2013 (AFL Grand Final Day)
The Chinese Boxer
The Man from Hong Kong (screening during the AFL Grand Final, might be a bit empty)
Last Hurrah for Chivalry
Ashes of Time Redux

Sunday 29th September 2013
The Blade
The Sword

Wednesday 2nd October 2013
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan
The Magic Blade

Friday 4th October 2013
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow 2

Saturday 5th October 2013
The Big Boss
Fist of Fury
Bullet in the Head
Hard Boiled

Sunday 6th October 2013 (NRL Grand Final Day)
Vengeance!
The Killer

Wednesday 9th October 2013
A Better Tomorrow
The Killer

Friday 11th October 2013
A Hero Never Dies
The Mission

Saturday 12th October 2013
Bullet in the Head
Hard Boiled
Election
Election 2

Sunday 13th October 2013
Throw Down
Breaking News

Wednesday 16th October 2013
The Way of the Dragon
Enter the Dragon

Friday 18th October 2013
Drunken Master
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow

Saturday 19th October 2013
Aces Go Places
Pedicab Driver
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle

Sunday 20th October 2013
Dirty Ho
My Young Auntie

Wednesday 23rd October 2013
Election
Election 2

Friday 25th October 2013
City on Fire
Full Contact

Saturday 26th October 2013
Police Story
Police Story 3: Supercop
Dangerous Encounters – 1st Kind
Long Arm of the Law

Sunday 27th October 2013
Full Alert
Cold War

Wednesday 30th October
Young and Dangerous
Portland Street Blues

Friday 1st November 2013
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs 2

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Prodigal Son
One Nite in Mongkok
Ip Man
Ip Man 2

Sunday 3rd November 2013
King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace
Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla

Wednesday 6th November 2013
Infernal Affairs
One Nite in Mongkok

Friday 8th November 2013
Reign of Assassins
Wu Xia

What does this mean to me? September already a wash-out unless I go up for the weekend of the Federal Election.

October a better option with the weekend of the 4 – 6th, 18 – 20th and 25th – 27th available. I already have a ticket to the Handsome Family on the 12th in Melbourne. Watching the four movies listed on 12th October is highly recommended. Be aware that if you recently have had an ear infection, Election 2 can cause physical pain to your body.

November looks good for the Melbourne Cup Weekend, but a lot of people are already going away that weekend.

I am well aware of how much it will cost to fly up to Brisbane for the weekend, but these movies are not going to screen again in this format in Australia.