MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

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RetroRobot
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MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Yeah, so this is a revision of an earlier list, but now with blurps :) Taiwanese films and Co-production will appear. Obviously I haven't seen every HK movie ever made, so this is subject to change. Also, not all years were packed with awesome classics (especially once we get to the 90's) so some picks are for lack of better. But still what I liked best from that year. Feel free to comment, berate, whatever.

Part 1: 1970's (in no particular order within the year)



1970

CHINESE BOXER

Jimmy Wang Yu decides that weapons are out, hand-to-hand is in, thus ushering in the new era of unarmed fighting flicks. Groundbreaking basher action of the Chinese VS Japanese variety.


THE HEROIC ONES

Chang Cheh trots out his powerhouse ensemble of Shaw stars, dresses them up as Mongol warriors, and lets them kill each other in every bloody way imaginable. Plus, he gives the world the gift of Bolo.What’s not to like?


THE WANDERING SWORDSMAN

David Chiang smirks and trampolines his way through this enjoyable Robin Hood-esque Chang Cheh outing, smiting foes along the way. Not exactly a classic, but it gets the job done.

SECRET OF THE DIRK

Fun and furious Wuxia action with a brisk pace, stylish weaponry, death traps, an awesome fight finale and something about a secret and a treasure. Vintage Shaw swordplay goodness.


VALLEY OF FANGS

Director Cheng Chang Ho is not operating on King Boxer level just yet, but this is still a compelling Wuxia flick, with all the usual skullduggery, sprawling vistas, cool sets and action by Lau Kar Wing. Not a huge blip on the radar, but a fine film.


THE WINGED TIGER

If you can’t at the very least laugh at Chen Hung Lieh flying around in his bright orange wingsuit, like some discount Wuxia superhero, then shame on you. This is a really fun film, with lots of action, sword clanging, generous blood spilling and all the usual Shaw traits.


TWELVE GOLD MEDALLIONS

A great old swordplay classic with a strong lead in Yueh Hua, good action by Sammo and Simon Hsu, some lovely ladies, old masters, an exciting plot and pretty much everything else you would expect from a genre effort like this.


A TASTE OF COLD STEEL

A bunch of men obsess over a magnificent purple sword… no, it’s not gay porn, but a fun and fast paced Wuxia Pian with tons of action, which in all honesty could have been a little sharper. But with cool characters, frisky camera work and the usual Shaw atmos, it all comes together just fine.


VENGEANCE

Chang Cheh paints the screen red with blood, as a hell-bent David Chiang leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, that would make a serial killer envious. Fantastic atmosphere, blood soaked blade fu and strong performances, a classic revenge flick.


BROTHERS FIVE

Excellent sword swinger flick from a pre-lazy-hack Lo Wei, and with solid action by a young Sammo Hung. If you like fights, there is plenty here. Dare I say, perhaps too many. But with a fun premise, and a good cast to back it up, one shouldn’t complain.



1971

A TOUCH OF ZEN

Somewhat longwinded but highly influential and visually stunning genre must-see from King Hu, that still dazzles and excites to this day. So much iconography from this film can be found in wuxia films of the last forty years.


BIG BOSS

Bruce Lee returns to his native soil, now as an action star, and turns what would have been another forgettable basher into a benchmark movie of HK cinema.


THE DUEL

A coughing David Chiang and a tattoo sporting Ti Lung join up again, in this flurry of beatings, stabbings, tragic romance and male bonding. Really moody and melodramatic, but also bloody, fight filled and finely tuned. In other words, vintage Chang Cheh.


THE BLADE SPARES NONE

Yeah, Nora Miao is no Angela in the fight department, but she holds her own just fine here. And as the title says, the blade truly does spare none in this GH swordplay yarn. Thankfully Sammo is on action detail here, but so is Han Ying Chieh, which always garners a mixed result. But on the whole, this is well worth your time.


INVINCIBLE EIGHT

Solid sword swinging ensemble piece from Golden Harvest that brings out the stars, brings on the action and delivers where it counts. Also, you get both Angie Mao and Nora Miao here… a rare treat. Sammo and Han Ying Chieh shares credit for the action, though the latter also plays the villain… which is where he belongs.


LADY HERMIT

Cheng Pei Pei caps off her action heroine stint at Shaws with what is probably her best movie of that run. Director Ho Meng Hua weaves an intriguing tale, complimented by some bloody and competent action from Leung Siu Chung, father of Bruce and Tony. A solid gold flick.

DEADLY DUO

With a bit of structural streamlining, fewer side characters and more focus on the actual ‘men on a mission’ aspect, this could have been an all-time classic. As it stands, it’s another ‘iron triangle’ romp with everything that entails, and that’s fine too.


NEW ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN

David Chiang takes up the mantle from Jimmyboy with a fresh story and new protagonist in this awesomely entertaining Chang Cheh effort. Return of the One Armed Swordsman is hard to beat, but they actually managed it here. A stone cold classic.


THE ANGRY RIVER

A wild and exhaustive ride for the lovely Angie Mao and the viewer. Director Huang Feng crafts a truly exciting adventure with plenty of action and more than a few surprises in store. GH certainly had more going for them than just Bruce Lee in their early years, and this is solid proff of that.


THE COMET STRIKES

Lo Wei dabbles in the supernatural, creating a positively gothic atmosphere worthy of a Hammer horror flick, mixed with wuxia swordplay. Now that’s a winning formula, and a really fun experiment in genre blending from the early days of Golden Harvest.



1972

FIST OF FURY

Bruce shows us the literal meaning of Japan bashing, as he plows through hordes of hapless henchmen like a Tasmanian devil in his second Golden Harvest classic. This never gets old.


KING BOXER

Fantastic basher classic from great director Cheng Chang Ho, that really stands out from the herd. One of Lo Lieh’s best roles, great story, nice atmosphere and brutal pummelings, orchestrated by Lau Kar Wing. One of the all-time greats.


DELIGHTFUL FOREST

Ti Lung puts his stoic and chivalrous screen persona on hold to go on a veritable asskicking spree, with a cocky attitude and the skills to match. A very underrated and enjoyable Chang Cheh effort.


THE KILLER

Very underappreciated basher from Chor Yuen, that deserves more respect and a cleaned up release. Why this was overlooked in the Celestial release schedule is beyond me.


THUNDERBOLT FIST

Semi King Boxer Knock-off, but still a decent flick, with evil Japanese dudes, a secret technique needed to save the day, and some real bloody fight action.


LADY WHIRLWIND

Angie Mao is angry, Chang Yi learns Tai Chi from old master, Pai Ying is despicable, Sammo is a goon and so on, you know the drill. Being one of the earliest hand-to-hand action films from Golden Harvest, some stuff could have been tighter. But this is still a classic GH basher in my book.


ONE ARMED BOXER

The original trailer says “a movie with documentary realism”. Perhaps the most ridiculous statement ever made, but that doesn’t change the fact that watching One Armed Boxer is some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Jimmy Wang Yu is in top form, and the ridiculous roster of villains truly makes the movie.


WAY OF THE DRAGON

Bruce’s directorial debut, and his best film, with a fresh Roman setting, plenty of action and one of the most iconic fight finales in movie history.

BOXER FROM SHANGTUNG

Classic rise-and-fall gangster tale from Chang Cheh, starring Chen Kuan Tai. A dramatic, moving and bloody ride with one helluva finale, that every genre fan should see.

HAPKIDO

Golden Harvest starts their exploration of various martial arts with this ode to the titular Korean style, also serving as a classic ‘rival schools’ yarn with non-stop action of the highest quality, performed by the likes of Sammo Hung, Angie Mao, Carter Wong and Whang In Sik.



1973

BLOOD BROTHERS

Loyalty, betrayal, brotherhood and all the usual themes gets another work-over in this great old Chang Cheh classic. Solid drama and decent action, performed by Ti Lung, David Chiang, Chen Kuan Tai and others.


ENTER THE DRAGON

Bruce Lee’s swansong, heavily marred by the Hollywood influence, but not without merit. Martial arts masterpiece? No, entertaining 70’s cheese? Yes. Honestly, I would rather have seen a fully realized Game of Death, but this is fun too.


FATE OF LEE KHAN

King Hu was working on a more esoteric level than his contemporaries, but this non-pandering approach and attention to detail is also what made his films stand out. He creates some tangible tension and claustrophobic atmosphere here, yet still delivers the action when needed. Not for everyone, but a fine flick if you have the patience.


MASTER OF KUNG FU, THE

A Shaw interpretation of the Wong Fei Hung mythos, starring Ku Feng as the man himself. A bit slow, but has its moments, some good performances, decent fights and is a solid piece overall.


WHEN TAEKWONDO STRIKES

Golden Harvest once again pays homage to Korean martial arts, and with a cast including but not limited to the likes of Angie Mao, Carter Wong, Whang In Sik, Sammo Hung, plus lots of super crisp action, Jhoon Ree himself and so much more, this is another must-see classic.


THUNDERBOLT

More Angie Mao goodness, here teaming up with James Tien, battling the evils of Pai Ying, Jason Pai Piao and others. A compelling and competent romp full of swordplay, kung fu, torture, dungeons and acid disfigurement…. Oh yes.


THE BASTARD

More drama than action in this Chor Yuen effort. But there’s still enough fu to satisfy, backed by a sweet story and a great performance By Lily Li. Chung Wa’s character can be nerve gratingly naïve, but there’s a point to it all, which helps offset his clueless nature. Not a classic, but enjoyable stuff in its own right.


BEACH OF THE WAR GODS

More literal Japan bashing from Jimmy Wong Yu, here training the hapless villagers to stand up to the red sun menace. Lots of fighting, a basic premise and Jimmy scowling under his pointy straw hat. A decent effort from his Golden Harvest years.


IRON BODYGUARD

This film might be lacking in some areas, but with a strong performance by Chen Kuan Tai, a intriguing story and some competent action by Lau Kar Leung and Tong Gaai, it still comes out on top. Chen Kuan Tai’s big ass sword is pretty sweet, and so is Lily Li.


THE OPIUM TRAIL

Yeah, not the best of the Angie Mao/Carter Wong double act adventures. And Sammo is sorely missed on action duty. But the vintage GH vibe is still there, some cool characters and plenty of skull bashing going on. Not a high flyer, but a noble effort.



1974

FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS

One of many takes on the escape from Shaolin Temple. A formula that would proliferate throughout the decade. These “Shaolin cycle” films shot for cheap in Taiwan were sometimes rather bland looking and fairly simplistic. But the Shaw players and competent action by Lau Kar Leung somewhat makes up for that.


HEROES TWO

Chang Cheh kicks off his “Shaolin cycle” with the timeless tales of Fong Sai Yuk and Hung Hsi Kuan in the incarnations of Fu Sheng and Chen Kuan Tai. A game changing and overall very solid Shaw flick, that perhaps lacks the usual visual opulence, but its heart is in the right place.


SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS

One of the most solid entries in Chang Cheh’s “Shaolin Cycle”. Simple, but effective stuff, with good fights, enjoyable training scenes and the young troop of Shaw stars doing their thing and making their mark alongside veteran players. Oh, and they actually have girlfriends here… what the hell, Chang Cheh?


SKYHAWK, THE

The Wong Fei Hung series gets the Golden Harvest treatment, now in color, set in Thailand and with the added star power of Sammo Hung, Carter Wong and resident villain, Whang In Sik. A well made update of the longest running feature film series in history.


TOURNAMENT, THE

A slightly schizophrenic and empty effort from Golden Harvest, this time exploring the style of Muay Thai, but some solid action and the star power of Angie Mao and Carter Wong saves it in the end.


LITTLE GODFATHER FROM HONG KONG

Cheesy, funky, unintentionally hilarious and just an overall treat. The Roman setting is refreshing, Bruce Leung’s kicking skills never gets old, Meng Hoi is barely out of diapers here, and Yasuaki Kurata nails another badguy role… how could you go wrong with that?


MEN FROM THE MONASTERY

Probably the weakest entry in the Chang Cheh Shaolin cycle, but it was also the first shot, though it was released after Heroes Two, and deals with the same material. It’s structurally challenged and a little underwhelming, but still full of classic Shaw tropes.


SHADOW BOXER

If you got a little antsy with Bruce Lee’s no-fighting philosophy in Big Boss, your patience will no doubt be tested even further here. But it’s still a fine Shaw flick, especially if you like to see the hero get his ass handed to him for most of the running time.


MANCHU BOXER

Korean set starring vehicle for Lau Wing, directed by Wu Ma, that packs in pretty much every cliché in the book. Righteous hero, big boss villain, Japanese henchmen, fight tournament, a cute girl and so on. This is however not a bad thing. It’s more of the same, but with some nice locations, action by Sammo and the usual GH suspects dispersed in minor roles, it gets the job done.


SAVAGE FIVE

Chang Cheh does Leone, with his usual roster of Shaw stars, protecting a village from unsavory characters. A nice change of pace from the master director’s usual output. But with that, also a slightly less enjoyable effort. There’s something to be said for familiarity I guess.



1975

ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS

Superior sequel to The Water Margin, and a fine period epic from Chang Cheh, that sports an expansive cast, great production values, impressive scope, and lots of solid action. A bit of a crowded affair, but a rewarding grand spectacle for sure.


DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN

Thoughtful, moving and finely tuned drama meets martial arts action in this great old Chang Cheh effort. Probably his best movie on a purely dramatic level, and one of Fu Sheng’s best performances ever. Chi Kuan Chun could and should have had more to do, but that’s nitpicking.


LITTLE SUPERMAN

WWII yarn that is far from a masterpiece, but Bruce Leung’s formidable skills and his absolutely relentless final fight against James Nam makes it one to see. Rarely has pure anger and hatred been portrayed in a more raw and visceral form than in the final reel of this film.


MARCO POLO

The whole Marco Polo angle, with the IFD ninja himself, Richard Harrison, is fairly superficial. Beneath that is another solid fu flick with all the usual suspect, and lo and behold… Carter Wong in a Shaw production.


THE MAN FROM HONG KONG

Jimmy Wang Yu goes down under in this funky contempo flick, to kick ass and bang gwailo chicks. George Lazenby clocks in his final GH performance, and Sammo shows up in another goon role. Thick 70’s cheese, bad fashion, nice Aussie locations and a cool theme tune.


BLOODY ESCAPE

Republic era rock em-sock em basher bonanza from Shaws, co-directed by Chang Cheh and Sun Chung. And while the their respective styles might clash on occasion, watching Chen Kuan Tai lay the smack down and Shih Szu trying to retain her carnal honor is still a lot of fun. No classic, but an entertaining effort.


FLYING GUILLOTINE

Not a kung fu movie as such, more like an all-out decap-athon featuring the titular weapon in all it’s gory glory. Some more actual ass-kicking would have been nice, and if you’re expecting a wild ride like Master of the Flying Guillotine, then you’ll be disappointed.


DRAGON TAMERS

Carter Wong and a bunch of asskicking Asian babes lets loose in a contempo setting, helmed by John Woo, in this largely forgotten Golden Harvest effort. Another ode to foreign fighting styles from the good folks at GH, and a fairly entertaining one at that.


VALIANT ONES

Probably the most action heavy of the old King Hu classics, but still with his artistic touch and eye for the finer points present. Beautiful locations, intriguing drama and fight choreo by Sammo who also shows up as the white faced samurai bad guy, throwing ninja stars at everything that moves. Do you really need to know more than that?


SPIRITUAL BOXER

Lau Kar Leung’s directorial debut, dabbling in the supernatural and an obvious template for the kung fu comedy craze to follow. In all honesty, this is a somewhat inauspicious beginning to an otherwise illustrious directorial career, and Wong Yue was never the strongest lead around. But there’s still a lot to recommend here, even if it never reaches classic status.



1976

CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS

Lau Kar Leung’s take on the tales of young Wong Fei Hung, starring Gordon Liu and Chen Kuan Tai among others. This film never really gets its full props, which is strange, because it delivers on all fronts. Good story, tight action, nice training scenes.

HIMALAYAN, THE

Highly underrated Golden Harvest venture with a great story, novel locations, nice action and a really interesting villain turn by Chen Sing, battling Angie Mao and Tan Tao Liang…. one to watch.


THE HOT, THE COOL AND THE VICIOUS

Unofficial sequel to The Secret Rivals, serving up some crisp kung fu and cool characters, most notably; Tommy Lee as a villainous albino hunchback… can’t go wrong with that.

NEW SHAOLIN BOXERS

Simple but effective Shaw romp, featuring Fu Sheng, his real life love, Jenny Tseng and the evil Wang Lung Wei… fighting with iron claws. The title is misleading, but is also known as The Choy Lee Fat Kid, which makes more sense.


SHAOLIN TEMPLE

Chang Cheh caps off his Shaolin cycle of films with a grand spectacle of kung fu action, and boasting more star power than temple walls can contain. Everyone who’s anyone is here, furious fights, training scenes and one of the most effective renditions of the Shaolin temple burning. A must see Shaw classic.


BOXER REBELLION

Somewhat ludicrous take on the boxer rebellion, but with heavy star power, bloody action, decent dramatic beats and the usual Chang Cheh touch, it ends up another solid Shaw flick.


MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE

Wild and wacky as the day is long but shamelessly entertaining follow up to the equally enjoyable One Armed Boxer. At this point, Jimmy Wang Yu could care less about any kind of realism, as we are treated to stuff like him walking on the ceiling, the Yoga master’s stretchy arms and other hilarious stuff. Add to that, the action from the Lau bros. a colorful tournament roster and a kickass soundtrack, and we have ourselves a classic.


18 BRONZEMEN

Director Joseph Kuo inherits Carter Wong from Golden Harvest, and pits him against a horde of stuntmen in gold paint, with some political intrigue and Polly Kuan in supposed man drag, thrown in for good measure. A really fun and entertaining flick, oozing with low budget, old school charm.


TIGER OF NORTHLAND

A somewhat forgotten gem from the Golden Harvest catalogue, and a Korean co-production also set in Korea. The story is old as time and Tong Yuen Hon is not exactly oozing with charisma. But with some hard edged action by Sammo and Tony Leung Siu Hung, who also both appear, some nice vistas and assured direction by Peng Chang Kwei, the movie still prevails.


SECRET RIVALS

Ng See Yuen takes the show to Korea and shifts the focus to more kicking based fighting with Tae Kwon Do talents Don Wang Tao, John Liu and Hwang Jang Lee. Definitely a benchmark in the progression of HK action choreo, and a solid flick all around.



1977

BROKEN OATH

Insanely entertaining Golden Harvest remake of Lady Snowblood that might not be as artsy as its source, but ten times more entertaining and action packed. Angie Mao throwing scorpions, Bruce Leung kicking ass, Hang Ying Chieh spitting fire, Chan Wai Man with a troll doll haircut and so on. This is a must-have.


CHINATOWN KID

The American dream turns dark for Fu Sheng in this classic Chang Cheh rise-and-fall crime yarn. A competent immigrant tale, with solid action, hilarious Shaw depiction of 70’s Frisco and the Venom boys as funky fu fighting gangsters… groovy, man.


EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN

Lau Kar Leung plays fast and loose with Kung Fu lore, as he takes us on a journey from the Shaolin temple escape, down the river on the ‘red boats’, through some multi generational backyard training sessions and into Pai Mei’s evil lair. This is a structurally flawed but ultimately rewarding kung fu classic.


IRONFISTED MONK

Sammo’s directorial debut, chock full of superb action, colorful characters, funny gags, awkward rape comedy and much, much more. By no means a flawless, but still solid, first try by the would-be master director. Oh, and did I mention the action was superb?


SHAOLIN PLOT

Another great Golden Harvest effort that never gets the respect it deserves. A fun premise with a stellar cast counting Chen Sing, James Tien, Kam Kong, Casanova Wong, Kwan Yung Moon, Sammo Hung and many more. Superb action, nice locations and intricate sets. Why this awesome old schooler is given short thrift is a mystery to me.


DEATH DUEL

Dark and somber swordplay yarn from Chor Yuen, who foregoes his usual vibrant style for a more bleak and despairing look at the price of fame in the martial world. Great film.


INVINCIBLE ARMOR

Another solid Seasonal Fu flick with a great cast counting John Liu, Tino Wong Phillip Ko Fei and the great Hwang Jang Lee, all throwing down the best they know how. A competent narrative, colorful characters, training scenes and tons of action secures this one a place on the list.


SECRET RIVALS 2

The true sequel to the benchmark classic, this time without Don Wang Tao. But Tino Wong steps in alongside John Liu, and of course with a return stint for Hwang Jang Lee, as the villainous Golden Fox. A ridiculous amount of fight action and a great cast.


JUDGEMENT OF AN ASSASSIN

Who doesn’t like a good mystery? And with Sun Chung at the helm, great action, good characterizations and an intriguing plot is guaranteed. Sure, David Chiang looks like Dave Hill from Slade in his stupid wig, and Ti Lung would perhaps have been a better fit for the role, but as a whole this film kicks ass.


JADE TIGER

A moody, yet slightly lighter, companion piece to Death Duel, with Ti Lung headlining. Chor Yuen gets the utmost out of the beautiful Shaw sets, and if you ever wanted to see someone plug out their eyeballs and throw them like bombs, then look no further.



1978


THE 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN
Arguably one of the finest old school Kung Fu movies ever made, a true masterpiece of the genre, and some might say the ultimate Shaolin movie. A spiritual sojourn with a side of ass kicking from the mighty Shaw Brothers and director Lau Kar Leung, that every fan of the genre should own.


CRIPPLED AVENGERS

Another classic venom flick, with a great premise, great characters, innovative gags and plenty of action.Watching the boys overcome their respective handicaps and deliver some serious payback to their offenders is pure joy.


FIVE VENOMS

All-time classic masterpiece from Chang Cheh, and first starring vehicle for the venom boys. Positively thick with atmosphere, colorful characters, cool fighting styles, unnerving musical stings, horrific torture devices and scary masked mystery and intrigue.


HEROES OF THE EAST

Lau Kar Leung’s benevolent and respectful ode to Japanese-Sino relations and martial arts philosophy, which may be 80% fights, but leave it to pops to keep a tight, engaging narrative running alongside the asskickings. One of the best of the genre, bar non.


WARRIORS TWO

Sammo’s excellent exploration of Wing Chun, and starring vehicle for Casanova Wong is another first class effort from him, though not without its flaws. The action is spectacular, the cast is first rate and story is a well balanced mix of fights, fun and drama. But the inclusion of Dean Shek is always a problem for me. And this time he even shows up for the otherwise fantastic fight finale. This was a poor choice, and brings the whole thing down anotch. But not enough to rob the film of its classic status.


SEVEN GRANDMASTERS

Classic kung fu road movie, that couldn’t be more simple in premise, but very well executed, with a good cast of characters, and more solid fu fighting that you could possibly ever ask for. Jack Long and Lee Yi Min truly shines here. Full marks all around.


AVENGING EAGLE

Sun Chung helms his most notable Shaw classic, Packed with studio regulars in flashy garbs, slicing and dicing each other to the tune of an involving story. Ti Lung, Fu Sheng and Ku Feng gives all they have, securing this fantastic flick its place in the hall of fame.


ENTER THE FAT DRAGON

Sammo’s loving homage to the little Dragon is both genuinely funny and action packed, as he pays great respect to the legend’s legacy, pokes fun at Bruceploitation and just generally entertains from start to finish.


INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN

If you like cool training scenes, and who doesn’t? then this awesome Venoms classic is for you. Plenty of fighting too, and a basic but effective plot, pitting north and south Shaolin against each other by way of the devious Wang Lung Wei. All the boys get to shine here, and this is one of their most enjoyable outings.


SHAOLIN HANDLOCK

Funky, contempo fu flick, with David Chiang on a vengeance trip to Thailand. Throw in Lo Lieh, Chan Wai Man, lush locations and the cool titular technique complete with its own slide whistle sound effect, and it is on. Not any sort of epic, but a fun film.



1979
DUEL OF THE SEVEN TIGERS

Excellent kung fu road movie with Cliff Lok and co. going up against a ferocious Ko Fei with a myriad of different fighting styles. Great cast, great scenery, plenty of training scenes, fights and just good stuff all around.


FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS

One of Shaws very best attempts at the kung fu comedy genre, full of fresh faced stars, fantastic fu fighting, great training scenes and one of the best villains of the genre. The joy of performing pops off the screen here making this a delight to watch from start to stop. A highly underrated Shaw effort.


MAGNIFICENT RUFFIANS

An involving tale of men left behind by time, starring the Venoms crew, duking it out in a multitude of armed and unarmed throwdowns, all spectacular. Chang Cheh touches on some real poignant subjects here, but sadly never follows through with it. And the awkward bath scene and silly ghost gag should have been left on the cutting room floor. But hey, the action is great.


MAD MONKEY KUNG FU

Lau Kar Leung takes on monkey boxing in this classic Shaw flick which is serious, silly, moving and uplifting in equal measure. Hsiao Hou really gets to shine here, and the action and training scenes are all above and beyond. Would perhaps have benefitted from less goofiness, but still a great film.


MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER

Sammo and Yuen Woo Ping’s collaborative take on the exploits of Butcher Wing is home to some of the tightest fight choreo of all-time, a great cast, funny gags and colorful characters. Sammo revels in the role he was born to play, and it’s always nice to see Kwan Tak Hing as Wong Fei Hung. A masterpiece of the genre that all fans must see.


THE CHALLENGER

Eric Tsang dons the directors cap and weaves a fun and different kung fu comedy with Tsui Siu Keung and David Chiang at the fore. The action is top level stuff, culminating in a fight finale that is the stuff of legends. Don’t miss it.


MONKEY KUNG FU

Director John Lo Mar may not reach the heights of his Five Super Fighters here, but he sure gives it the ole’ college try. Ching Siu Tung and Hau Chiu Sing breaking out the Gibbon Fist is pure pleasure to behold. And while it could use a little help in the plot department, you’re still left satisfied by the awesome action.


SEVEN STEPS OF KUNG FU

Thoroughly entertaining Taiwanese indie effort, starring Ricky Cheng, Chia Kai and Chan Shen. The choreo by Tommy Lee is the best he has ever done, especially the relentless, hard-as-nails fight finale that is a true hall of famer. You should watch this film if you haven’t already.


MYSTERY OF CHESSBOXING

Joseph Kuo’s cult classic fight fest is in essence just another Drunken Master clone. But with Lee Yi Min, Jack Long and a career-best performance by Mark Long as the iconic Ghostface Killer positively on fire in the film’s many throwdowns, it raises itself above its hackneyed premise and earns its status.


HELL’S WIND STAFF

Based on a popular comic book, this playful kung fu comedy helmed by ace director Tony Liu and the comic’s creator Tony Wong is pure delight. Meng Yuen Man and Meng Hoi are a fun double act, and in conjunction with the mighty Hwang Jang Lee, as the villain du jour, they provide some fantastic action, nice training scenes and good gags.

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Markgway
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Markgway »

RetroRobot wrote:Taiwanese films and Co-production will appear.
That's safer than trying to guess which ones are merely filmed in Taiwan and which ones are purely Taiwanese productions (also many Taiwanese companies based themselves in Hong Kong for tax reasons). I usually differentiate (where possible) in my notes but, like yourself, wouldn't bother for lists. FTR, I think only A Touch of Zen isn't a HK co-production.

Lots of excellent choices...

These would make my shortlists:

1970
SECRET OF THE DIRK
TWELVE GOLD MEDALLIONS
A TASTE OF COLD STEEL

1971
BIG BOSS
INVINCIBLE EIGHT
NEW ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN

1972
FIST OF FURY
KING BOXER

1973
BLOOD BROTHERS
ENTER THE DRAGON
FATE OF LEE KHAN
MASTER OF KUNG FU, THE
WHEN TAEKWONDO STRIKES
IRON BODYGUARD

1974
FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS
HEROES TWO
MEN FROM THE MONASTERY
SAVAGE FIVE

1975
DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN
BLOODY ESCAPE
SPIRITUAL BOXER

1976
THE HOT, THE COOL AND THE VICIOUS
NEW SHAOLIN BOXERS
SHAOLIN TEMPLE
BOXER REBELLION
18 BRONZEMEN

1977
EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN
IRONFISTED MONK
DEATH DUEL
JADE TIGER

1978
THE 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN
CRIPPLED AVENGERS
FIVE VENOMS
HEROES OF THE EAST
WARRIORS TWO
SEVEN GRANDMASTERS
INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN
SHAOLIN HANDLOCK

1979
MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER
THE CHALLENGER
HELL’S WIND STAFF
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RetroRobot
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Only A Touch of Zen, really? Oh hell, I can never figure it out. Especially with the kung fu indies. But hey, I thought it wise to cover my ass with that disclaimer :)

Man, writing semi interesting blurbs for 300 movies without repeating yourself TOO much is a harder task than I thought. Oh well, I hope it adds a little something extra than just listing titles.

Next.... THE GLORIOUS 80's :rock:

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RetroRobot
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Part 2: 1980's (in no particular oder within the year)


1980

CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS


Lo Lieh directed riff on Executioners from Shaolin, with action by Lau Kar Leung, starring Gordon Liu and the director himself in another great turn as Pai Mei. A stellar cast, lots of cool ideas and fun, furious fights. Classic kung fu action from the Shaw factory.


LOOT, THE

Underrated kung fu mystery flick, packed with fun gags, great characters and some truly exquisite fight choreo. Guys like Ko Fei and Tsui Siu Keung always bring the heat, but I don’t think David Chiang and Lily Li ever looked better in action than they do here. For a cool double bill, watch this with The Challenger.


SPOOKY ENCOUNTERS

Sammo’s groundbreaking horror kung fu comedy classic is a cornucopia of entertainment, chills, thrills and spills, and some insanely inventive action set pieces. The cast, the characters, the story all clicks and the hoakey 80’s effects are still pretty impressive to this day. If you are not pleased by this film, then you’re beyond help.


THE VICTIM

The best of Sammo’s indie flicks, serving up some of the best kung fu action ever put on film, a great role for Beardy, a fun part for fatty himself and a great villain in Chang Yi. Might lack the sheen of a big studio production, but has everything else in spades.


THE YOUNG MASTER

Jackie’s Directorial debut that, despite its flawed structure and confused characterizations, prevails as a classic of the genre, with tons of fun gags and one of the most exhaustive fight finales ever.


SNAKE DEADLY ACT

Wilson Tong directed snake style flick, boasting a great cast, counting Ko Fei, Wilson himself, Angie Mao, Fung Hak On, Chan Wai Man, Bolo and others, plus crisp kung fu, including the lobster claw style, which is a must see.


DAGGERS 8

Fun, upbeat kung fu road movie from Goldig, featuring opera school alum, Meng Yuen Man, Wilson Tong, Lily Li and many others. Lots of acrobatic action and tight fight choreo from Wilson himself.


BUDDHIST FIST

Solid Yuen clan yarn, mixing comedy with a real dark streak, plus some wacky characters, an intriguing storyline and some super tight kung fu action. As the majority of the Yuen’s output from this era seemed to be on acid, this one stands out.


REBEL INTRUDERS

A great old venom flick, that almost plays like a kung fu version of Walter Hills’ The Warriors, and that’s not a bad thing. Cool characters and plenty of tight action as always.


TIGER OVER WALL

A veritable battle of the badasses as Philip Ko Fei goes up against Hwang Jang Lee in this golden oldie from Goldig films. And with those names mentioned, you really don’t need to know anymore.



1981


THE CLUB

Kirk Wong’s dark triad thriller, that paved the way for many to come, may seem less fresh today. But with Chan Wai Man adding his real life stink-of-the-streets authenticity, a semi docu visual style and great use of Tangerine Dreams Thief soundtrack, this is still a really cool flick.


DREADNAUGHT

Kwan Tak Hing’s final turn as Wong Fei Hung, Yuen Biao as the lead, Yuen Woo Ping at the helm and Yuen Shun Yee as a deranged, face painting killer, in what is essentially a kung fu slasher flick. Different, but in a good way.


MAN ON THE BRINK

Every subsequent film with the undercover-cop-in-the-triads scenario owes a debt of gratitude to this Alex Cheung effort. An equally stirring follow-up to his great debut Cops and Robbers.


MARTIAL CLUB

With Gordon Liu back as Wong Fei Hung, Lau Kar Leung in the director’s chair and Wang Lung Wei on the villain roster, one could wish for a more engaging narrative. But at least the action is on point and the finale sports some of the tightest close quarters handwork ever, so we’ll let that slide.


PRODIGAL SON

One of the finest kung fu movies of all time, one of Sammo’s very best directorial efforts, and sporting some of the most crisp choreo ever captured on film, plus powerhouse performances by Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying and Frankie Chan… nuff’ said.


TOWER OF DEATH

If you only watch one Bruceploitation flick in your life, then make it this one. Certainly not exempt from the thick crust of cheese surrounding that particular subgenre, but so entertaining, with solid Yuen clan action, a fake lion, boobs and Hwang Jang Lee kicking ass.


MASKED AVENGERS

The venom boys dons golden demon masks and break out some of their most sizzling weapons work ever, while engaging in cultish debauchery, gory fights and whodunit mystery. A clear Venoms classic.


HITMAN IN THE HAND OF BUDDHA

Hwang Jang Lee as a good guy? That’s right, and it works. Competent and fight filled starring and self directed vehicle for the Korean boot master, that doesn’t skimp on anything. Well worth your time.


SWORD STAINED WITH ROYAL BLOOD

Convoluted clan fiction mixed with the venom boys’ dazzling weapons work and some electrifying hand to hand choreo. The script may have needed some help, but the action is out of this world. Sadly, the Venoms had somewhat disbanded by this time, but we still get the three opera boys and they do not let us down.


MY YOUNG AUNTIE

Part bizarre musical, part fancy dress-up party, part generational drama, but with a lot of energy, fun performances and one of the best fight finales ever, it still perseveres and packs a memorable punch. Not Lau Kar Leung’s best effort, but a little something for everyone.



1982


THE COOLIE KILLER

Cold, bleak hitman drama with dark themes, great characters, bloody violence, and a moody visual style, showing Hong Kong at its most gritty and dirty. Charlie Chin’s best performance ever, and just an all-around fantastic film from Terry Tong.


FIVE ELEMENTS NINJA

Chang Cheh manages to hit one last classic out of the park before going on to more mediocre fare. Possibly one of the most entertaining films from the Shaw factory, and also one of the campiest. Just a wacked out ninja cheese fest that truly delivers everything you’d want from a flick like this.


LEGEND OF A FIGHTER

The Huo Yuan Jia legend gets the Yuen clan treatment in this kung fu classic. Superb stints from Beardy, Ko Fei and Yasuaki Kurata. A truly moving and engaging film, with one of the most emotional fight finales in the genre.


NINJA IN THE DRAGON’S DEN

Pure ninja cheese of the most entertaining kind. Full props to Conan Lee, who may have pissed his shot at stardom away with his ego, but you can’t knock his breakthrough performance here. Sanada is straight up on fire, the action is super tight and the whole thing is just tons of fun to watch.


CARRY ON PICKPOCKET

Sammo and Frankie Chan lets loose in a contempo setting, fighting, pickpocketing and bumbling their way through 95 minutes of pure enjoyment. Some of Sammo’s funniest comedy ever, and some really brutal violence too…. Only in HK.


ACES GO PLACES

Cinema City’s game changing action comedy makes an iconic pair out of Sam Hui and Karl Maka, while also delivering laughs, crazy gadgets and hi-wire antics that set the template for many films to come.


DRAGON LORD

Jackie takes the road less travelled, and while not his most memorable movie, it still pays off to great effect. Tons of energy and ingenuity at work, and with an absolutely relentless finale to cap things off. I think he deserves more credit for this flick, than what has been given.


MY REBELLIOUS SON

A fun and lighthearted tale, with Fu Sheng as his usual lovable goof, Ku Feng as the stern patriarch and guys like Wang Lung Wei and Chan Wei Man on the bad guy roster. Not exactly challenging conventions here, but lots of fun and fu is guaranteed.


LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA

Lau Kar Leung explores the boxer cults, black magic and mysticism of Chinese history, while dishing out some spectacular action, sprinkled with goofy gags, subterfuge and wizardry. The Lau brothers going at it in an all-out weapons duel for the finale just never gets old.


HUMAN LANTERNS

A real spooker courtesy of Sun Chung, with Lo Lieh in one of his most memorable and creepy roles. Chen Kuan Tai and Lau Wing also chime in with some moody performances and the intricate Shaw sets frame the chilling tale beautifully. Not as gory as some of the studios other attempts at the horror genre, but with some solid swordplay and more than a few disturbing visuals, it still has quite an impact.



1983


BASTARD SWORDSMAN

Ridiculously entertaining Shaw flick, full of crazy styles, flashy effects and wacky characters worthy of a comic book. Great role for Tsui Siu Keung, and just so much outrageous stuff to marvel at, that multiple re-watches are required.


DUEL TO THE DEATH

Somber and thoughtful as well as completely crazy swordplay flick, pitting Shaolin against Bushido once again. Throw in a crap load of ninjas, over the top effects, and Ching Siu Tung testing the limits of wire fu, and you have a cracking flick on your hands.


MERCENARIES FROM HONG KONG

Wong Jing goes nuts with a Shaw Bros. budget and an all-star cast in this enjoyable and cheesy men-on-a-mission flick. Ti Lung with porn star moustache, matching 80’s track suits, jungle action, tranny jokes etc. Yeah, it’s a Wong Jing joint, all right.


THE LADY ASSASSIN
Completely wacked out and insanely entertaining Shaw romp, with over the top action, fighting babes, flying ninjas and giant shurikens. Tony Liu once again proves himself as one of the best Shaw directors of the 80’s.


WINNERS AND SINNERS

Sammo and Golden Harvest’s response to Cinema City’s Aces Go Places, packs so much fun, energy and entertainment into one precious package, plus a ridiculously star studded cast and excellent action. This one’s a winner, not a sinner.


SHAOLIN INTRUDERS

Thoroughly enjoyable kung fu-whodunit, with energetic performances from Derek Yee and Jason Pai Piao, crazy Shaolin formations, over-the-top comic book villains and much much more. Another great example of the wacko 80’s Shaw style.


ACES GO PLACES II

Superior sequel that cranks everything up to eleven, with more gags, more gadgets, more action and the most epic RC robot battle ever filmed. A rocking good time from pillar to post.


LADY IS THE BOSS

Lau Kar Leung updates to a contempo setting, trotting out his protégés in flashy 80’s wear, fighting on BMX bikes, disco brawls and one helluva gym rumble to tie things up. Not up there with his classic efforts, but a fun flick, for sure.


MEN FROM THE GUTTER

Led by a great off-beat performance from Jason Pai Piao as the returning avenger, plus Miu Kiu Wai and Lo Meng as hardnosed cops, this gritty crime thriller by maverick director Nam Nai Choi is a truly underrated gem. And a stellar example of Shaw Bros in the 80’s still being a force. Dirty street feel, haunting synth score and a pulse pounding action climax that literally brings down the house.


SHAOLIN VS LAMA

Yeah, it’s a Taiwanese cheapo from Lee Tso Nam, and a formula that had perhaps overstayed its welcome by this time, but with Alexander Lo Rei at the top of his game, Chan Shen in ferocious villain mode and some truly insane fight choreo, how can you not love it. Classic old school kung fu action all the way.



1984


ACES GO PLACES III

The wackiness gets turned up even further in this Tsui Hark directed entry in the popular series, which takes the Bond spoofing to new heights and delivers gags, gadgets and goofiness aplenty. It almost gets too silly at times, but that’s to be expected when each new entry has to top the last one.


EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER

Another Lau Kar Leung classic, here with a dark and angry style, no doubt fueled by the untimely death of Fu Sheng. One of Gordon Liu’s finest performances, and just one frenzied fight flick that you can’t ignore…. And why would you want to?


PROJECT A

Groundbreaking pirate classic from the three brothers, that is positively bursting at the seams with energy, ingenuity and enthusiasm from all involved. Add to that, some top notch action, jaw dropping stunts, a truly impressive cast and fantastic production values. A definite must see.


SECRET SERVICE OF THE IMPERIAL COURT

Truly excellent and sadly underrated Shaw flick, starring Beardy and Lau Wing, and featuring some measured performances, a somber tone and some frenzied fight action. It’s a bloody and serious affair, showing that Shaws were still going strong well into the 80’s.


WHEELS ON MEALS

The three brothers take Barcelona in the best of the Chan, Hung, Biao triple act flicks. Great, breezy feel-good vibe, Lola Forner, Skateboards, disco dancing, fast food, bad 80’s fashion, Sammo with a perm, a badguy that lives in a castle and one of the best end fights ever. What more could you want, really?


BANANA COP

If thriller comedy is a genre, then this is it. Fun pairing of the suave George Lam and the dimunitive Teddy Robin Kwan, on the trail of a killer in London, aided by a blind Cherie Chung. The film strikes a nice balance between tension and levity and generally hits what it’s aiming for.


LONG ARM OF THE LAW

Johnny Mak’s gritty depiction of mainland criminals crossing the border to the promised land of Hong Kong looking for the big score, can hit you with a gut punch. But it can also perplex you, and turn you off, by its somewhat awkward dark comedy bits. It’s an uneven effort, that still comes out on top, due to some solid acting, brutal violence and an absolutely relentless finale.

NEW TALES OF THE FLYING FOX

The usual Shaw Wuxia aesthetics gets kicked into high 80’s gear, as Felix Wong, Alex Man, Beardy, Kara Hui and others dons the period garb and let swords, fists and feet do the talking. You do get the feeling that a wealth of source material was crammed into 90 minutes here. But it’s still a fun, frenzied flick that gives you everything you want from a genre piece like this.


RETURN OF THE BASTARD SWORDSMAN

A somewhat inferior sequel, hampered a bit by its need to be funny at times. But still with furious fight scenes, insane magic duels, hoakey effects and the usual Shaw sheen, style and star power. Tsui Siu Keung is awesome as always, and Chen Kuan Tai as the Japanese bad guy also delivers the goods, and then some.


OPIUM AND THE KUNG FU MASTER

Kung Fu movie with a great turn by Ti Lung, and a strong anti drug message. And while the film tries to keep a serious tone going, it often spills over into wacky territory when some of the more flamboyant characters make their entrance. The action is tight and the story is involving, but the whole Shaw Bros. look and feel was starting to lose its lustre at this time.



1985


MR. VAMPIRE

Lam Ching Ying finds his niche as the uni-browed daoist ghost buster in this fantastic flick full of fun, frights and fu. Vampires, ghosts and zombies gets their ass handed to them in some of the most elaborate ways possible, while Chin Siu Ho, Ricky Lau, Pauline Wong and others go for broke in one entertaining scene after another. This is just a whole lotta awesome to watch, and rightly deserves its classic status.


MY LUCKY STARS

The Lucky Stars go to Japan to bumble around and get into trouble. Yes, the comedy can be grating at times, but Sammo still reins it in when need be. And with some stellar action and extended cameos by Jackie and Yuen Biao, the film still manages to end up a highly enjoyable effort.


POLICE STORY

Jackie’s grand action opus puts him and his stunt team through the wringer for one pulse pounding, pavement planting, punch fest the likes of which we will never see again. Definitely one of, if not the high point of the impressive JC filmography. The energy level and dedication put into this flick is astounding, and a true testament to Jackie’s love of his craft.


TWINKLE, TWINKLE LUCKY STARS

The Lucky Stars take Thailand in another goofy but action packed entry in the series. This time with more fights, cooler villains, brighter colors and… well, more juvenile antics. But even so, it still proves a thoroughly enjoyable ride that amps up everything from the previous entry, in its pursuit of no holds barred entertainment.


YES, MADAM

Cory Yuen kicks off the ‘girls with guns’ genre, aided by Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock, who both go above and beyond the call of duty here. Their dedication and physical performance in the bone breaking fight scenes is truly admirable. And yes, maybe the comedic bits with John Shum, Meng Hoi and Tsui Hark should have been trimmed a tad. But once you get to the phenomenal fight finale, you’ll forgive and forget for sure.


DISCIPLES OF THE 36th CHAMBER

The third and final entry in the 36 Chambers series and sort of a last hurrah for a dying genre. Hsiao Hou’s incarnation of Fong Sai Yuk can be a bit grating, but with Gordon back as San Te and pop’s amazing action, this still proves a fitting farewell to arms for the grand old Shaw studio’s long run of period Kung Fu flicks.


HONG KONG GODFATHER

A somewhat futile attempt by Shaws to keep up with the times, but in its own right, a great Triad yarn with a solid cast, brutal action, tons of 80’s awesomeness and a serious bloodbath for a finale. Solid stuff from director Wang Lung Wei.


MISMATCHED COUPLES

Not entirely sure if this is a movie or an actual commercial for the 80’s. BMX bikes, break dancing, body building, pink polo shirts and kamikaze headbands… it’s all there. Plus Yuen Woo Ping doing on-screen comedy, Donnie Yen in usual cocksure form and Dick Wei as the big baddie. If you hadn’t already guessed, this is tons of fun and highly entertaining.


NINJA TERMINATOR

Quite possibly one of the best films ever made… well, certainly the best IFD film ever made. Richard Harrison, the Garfield phone, the toy robots, Jaguar Wong, the water melons, Hwang Jang Lee in a blonde girlie wig, the golden statue, chick with pit hair….. all in all, a masterpiece of cut n’ paste schlock.


HEART OF THE DRAGON

Heavy on the drama, but still delivering quality action, and some really fine performances from Jackie and in particular Sammo. Usually the HK cinematic take on the mentally challenged seems almost determined to offend, but Sammo’s portrayal here, is one of the sweetest and most moving I have ever seen. Throw in some gunplay, car chases and Jackie VS Dick Wei in one of their angriest duels ever, and we have a winner on our hands.



1986


A BETTER TOMORROW

John Woo transfers the Jiang Hu of the old swordplay films to modern gun wielding Hong Kong, and in the process, breaks new ground with a fresh aesthetic of action filmmaking that can be felt in cinema from around the world to this day. The birth of heroic bloodshed, full of iconic characters, high emotion and bloody gunplay. One of the best HK films ever made.


MAGIC CRYSTAL

Wong Jing throws awesome action, cheap special effects, weird sci-fi elements, and crazy comedy into a seemingly pointless plot, all while ripping off every Spielberg movie of the day, to reach whatever cinematic goal he’s shooting for here. But goddamn is it ever entertaining.


NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER

The Seasonal re-tread of The Karate Kid is sort of the opposite of the film it’s aping. Ridiculous story, extremely poor acting, but great action. The cheese is thick with this one, but that just adds to the enjoyment, as does a young Van Damme, in what is probably his best film fight ever.


RIGHTING WRONGS

Yuen Biao as a vigilante lawyer teams up with gwailo cop Cynthia Rothrock to right some wrongs, in this good old Golden Harvest effort. The fact that this movie can be considered standard stuff of the era, speaks to the level of quality that HK cinema was working at in the 80’s. Lots of cool action and awesome stunts, plus the usual fixings.


ROYAL WARRIORS


Furious follow-up to Yes, Madam, with Michelle Yeoh, once again, kicking ass and taking names. This time alongside an anger fueled Hiroyuki Sanada, a smarmy Michael Wong and truly menacing villain triumvirate made up of Chan Wei Man, Lam Wai and an uber evil Pai Ying. Relentless action and brutal stunt work of the highest order. This is must-see stuff right here, people.


ACES GO PLACES IV

Ringo Lam helmed fourth installment of the frantic franchise takes us from HK to New Zealand, for more wacky adventures. No, this is not your typical Ringo Lam flick by any stretch. But so what? If you can’t enjoy stuff like Sam Hui in Rambo mode, super bionic Baldy, a toddler hanging from a skyscraper and Kwan Tak Hing and Shek Kien as rival hockey coaches, I feel bad for you.


LAW ENFORCER

The Danny Lee cop movie conveyor belt cranks out another solid flick with this vigilante themed action drama. Definitely in the upper ranks of Dannyboy’s filmography, with some fine performances by the man himself and Lung Ming Yan, plus Shing Fui On and Ricky Yi doing their usual crazed villain schtick. A tight narrative with tense action and a serious tone.


SEVENTH CURSE

Wong Jing and Nam Nai Choi holds absolutely nothing back with this insane genre hybrid that throws absolutely everything in the mix. So just by way of sheer statistics, it’s bound to get at least some of it right, and it does. Who doesn’t wanna see the fighting skeleton, the demon baby versus the reptile monster in the worm people’s lair, Ken Boyle’s face melting or Chow Yun Fat in a suit with a rocket launcher. Yeah ok, this flick is a train wreck, but a damn fun one at that.


WHERE’S OFFICER TUBA

Hilarious supernatural cop buddy comedy with Sammo as the timid hero, David Chiang as a playful ghost and Chang Yi plus Hwang Jang Lee as the bad guys. This is just a really fun flick with tons of laugh-out-loud gags and some great action beats. Also Jacky Cheung’s big screen debut, and the lovely Joey Wong provides the cute factor. Highly recommended.


INNOCENT INTERLOPER

A fun and fight filled action comedy from Wang Lung Wei that I suspect flies under the radar of most fans, and that’s a shame. A great cast with most of them playing against type, such as Hwang Jang Lee as good hearted triad with a perm, Shum Wai as a lovable scam artist with a hooker and gambling addiction, and Chan Wei Man as a buffoonish cat burglar. In the leads we find Lawrence Ng and Elaine Lui who are also very good. The action is super tight and the comedy is often hilarious. Give it a whirl, if you haven’t already.



1987


A BETTER TOMORROW II

More of a spoofy companion piece than an actual sequel, and while it is apparent that John woo really didn’t wanna make this movie, the returning cast and the amazing action still assures a good time with some classic 80’s HK action here.


ARMOUR OF GOD

Rip-roaring Jackie adventure that almost killed him, but thankfully didn’t. He tries different things here, dream sequences, spoof comedy, Alan Tam concert footage etc. And while not all of it pans out, the movie as a whole is still another classic notch in the belt of the Chanster.


EASTERN CONDORS

Sammo slims down and goes to ‘Nam to kick some ass, with all his favorite players in tow. Classic 80’s jungle warfare action with a HK twist. Superb fights and gunplay, great cast, crazy stunts. A super solid classic from the chubby maestro.


MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS

Michelle Yeoh in her final action flick for D&B, here kicking serious ass as an adventurous aviatrix up against the Japanese war machine. Richard Ng provides the laughs, Derek Yee provides the cool, and the villain roster counts Hwang Jang Lee, Fung Hak On, Ricky Cheng, Lo Mang, Tetsuya Matsui and others. A fantastic and action packed adventure romp that brings down the house.


PROJECT A II

Jackie follows up his groundbreaking 1983 pirate yarn with this excellent sequel, sadly without his two opera school brothers onboard, but still with great gusto and ingenuity as always. Superb action and break-neck stunts aplenty, plus an impressive ensemble cast. Another classic from JC.


ANGEL

An awesome, ass-kicking "girls with guns" classic, if ever there was one. Battling babes, cool dudes, fast fights, bloody gunplay. What more do you need? Basically a hyped up HK version of Charlie's Angels. And while the jiggly exploits of Farrah and co. were enjoyable in their own right, those girls sure didn't get down like this.


CITY ON FIRE

Tense and hard hitting undercover flick from Ringo Lam, with Chow Yun Fat and Danny Lee delivering the goods. The cold solemn look and dark themes sets the mood for what is quite a downbeat movie, with only fleeting bright spots of hope and human warmth. The characterizations carries the movie, and the abrupt bursts of violence creates an uneasy feel that Lam excels at. Not his best film in my opinion, but a fine film for sure.


LEGEND OF WISELY

The best of the Wisely movies, blending adventure, sci-fi, action and comedy to great effect. Sam Hui, Joey Wong, Ti Lung, Teddy Robin Kwan and others all pull their weight, and the exotic locations frame everything beautifully. It probably won’t blow you away or anything, but it will no doubt entertain, and that’s good enough.


PRISON ON FIRE

Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung Ka Fai gets locked up, in this Ringo Lam classic, which is part jailsploitation, part social commentary and a hard hitting look at the power struggles of prison life. Lam’s exploration of the HK penal system is an unflattering one, and how much of it is authentic is up for debate. But it is riveting, and both the humanity and inhumanity depicted here, stays with you after the closing credits.


SWORN BROTHERS

Another triad tale with brothers on opposite sides of the law, complete with gritty violence, a romantic subplot and its fair share of a shirtless Andy Lau. Yes folks, we’ve seen it all before. But that doesn’t necessarily make for a bad movie. Actually, Sworn Brothers is a solid 80’s triad flick, that delivers everything you’d expect from such an effort.



1988


THE BIG HEAT

Considering the numerous directors who was hired and fired, the constant re-writes and patchwork editing, this should have been a total disaster. But it’s not, it is actually a very effective heroic bloodshed effort with a serious mean streak a pulse pounding pace and some very bloody action, bordering on gore. If you’re squeamish, this is not for you. A minor classic if you ask me.


DRAGONS FOREVER

The last outing with the three brothers, starring side by side, kicking ass and taking names, making us laugh and gasp in awe, for one last team effort, and what a way to go out. Superb action and fun gags aplenty. Dragons Forever is a great send-off for the most talented triple act in action movie history and just an all around HK classic.


POLICE STORY II

Jackie crafts another classic with this equally awesome sequel, that retains the same energy and pretty much carries over everything that made the original so great, without it ever feeling like a rehash. There is an abundance of cool stuff to marvel at here, and once again, JC and his devoted stunt team gives it a 100% in their pursuit to entertain us.


TIGER CAGE

The Yuen clan proves hip to the new style of flashy, urban action, mixing gunplay, stunts and martial arts into one big, tasty, ass kicking stew. Old genre veterans meets fresh faces on the cast list, and it all comes together in a thoroughly satisfying film.


TIGER ON BEAT

Lau Kar Leung leaves the period piece Kung Fu genre behind and proves that he is just as adept in a contempo setting with this classic cop buddy action comedy. Chow Yun Fat and Conan Lee is a good pairing, and with a fifty-fifty split of funny comedy and great action, this film is a joy to watch from beginning to end.


DRAGON FAMILY

Excellent triad actioner courtesy of the Lau brothers, that goes hard and dark with some truly vile villainy and brutal violence, sprinkled with some top notch fight choreo and gun fu. Add to that a great cast and an engaging narrative and you have a really underrated flick on your hands.


ANGEL II

Excellent follow up with even more crazy action, jungle warfare style with brutal gunplay, big explosions and hard edged kickboxing choreo. Most of the original cast is back, and this one actually trumps the first one. Moon Lee vs Yuen Tak is pure 80’s goodnes in its rawest form.


NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER II RAGING THUNDER

The inevitable sequel to the 1986 Karate Kid rip-off, but a sequel in name only. There are no dojos, break dancers or Bruce Lee ghosts, this time around. But plenty of hyped up kickboxing action, jungle warfare, evil Russians, killer monks, Cambodian death camps with crocodile pits, heavy firepower, and guys in headbands.


IN THE LINE OF DUTY III- FORCE OF THE DRAGON

Cynthia Khan takes over from Michelle Yeoh as the new queen of D&B action flicks, and while perhaps not on par with the two previous installments, it is still a great entry in the series, featuring the trademark gritty violence, crisp choreo, crazy stunts, and all those things that makes HK action cinema so damn delightful.


HERO OF TOMORROW

Lesser known triad flick, with good performances from Miu Kiu Wai, Max Mok, William Ho and others, bloody action, tragic characters and some heartfelt and at times heartbreaking drama. Not as widely respected as director Poon Man Kit’s other gangster classic To Be Number One, and that’s a shame. Don’t sleep on this one.



1989


GOD OF GAMBLERS

Wong Jing’s all-time gambling-action-comedy classic, with great performances and cast chemistry by Chow Yun Fat, Andy Lau, Joey Wong and the all the others. Wong often drops the ball and goes overboard, but here he nails it perfectly. Every HK film fan should have this on the shelf.


IN THE LINE OF DUTY IV- WITNESS

Shamelessly entertaining and action packed entry in the series, with so much energy and bang for your buck, that you easily look past all flaws. Donnie is a nice addition, and Cynthia is really coming in to her own here. Best of the bunch in my opinion.


PEDICAB DRIVER

For the Sammo VS Lau Kar Leung fight alone, this movie makes the list. The fact that there is a solid and engaging framework around that, is just gravy. Arguably the last great directorial effort from the chubby maestro.


THE KILLER

John Woo’s hitman classic still stands tall as one of the best, despite its style and iconography having been copied in countless movies since. None of those ever came close to the real thing though. This is where it’s at…. nothing short of a genre masterpiece.


MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE

Patrick Tam’s superb gangster-hitman flick, mixes tragedy, tension, romance, violence, a great cast, good performances and heroic bloodshed action into one really solid and moving film. Kenny Bee was never cooler than this, Joey Wong never more fetching, and Chan Wai Man Man never more evil. Don’t miss it.

ANGEL III

The last of the original Angel trilogy might be the weakest of the three, but still packed with great action, exotic locales, and everything else that makes the series so entertaining. Plus, Moon Lee wielding Nunchakus, and Alex Fong on a jetpack with mounted uzis…. Who can pass that up?


CASINO RAIDERS

Dark and tragic, but engaging and competent gambling-action flick from Wong Jing. Great interplay between Andy Lau and Alan Tam, good supporting cast, tense gambling scenes and solid action. When Wong Jing restrains himself, he can really turn out some good stuff.


FINAL RUN

Ko Fei can actually direct a decent movie when he wants to, and Final Run is proof of this. A solid revenge tale with high energy, great cast and excellent action. The big finale in the jungle camp, full of first class fight choreo and gunplay, is truly one for the ages.


JUST HEROES

Often overlooked and underappreciated John Woo heroic bloodshed flick, and benefit film for mentor, Chang Cheh. And while it may not live up to his other classics, it is still a solid genre entry, with a bunch of old Shaw stars blasting guns at each other… who wouldn’t wanna see that?


LONG ARM OF THE LAW III

The third entry in the series, this time with Andy Lau as the lowly mainlander forced into crime by sleazy gangsters. It may lack the punch of the first one, but is still a better effort, and vastly superior to the second one. Elizabeth Lee is lovely here, and Kirk Wong is just downright nasty.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Markgway »

RetroRobot wrote:Only A Touch of Zen, really? Oh hell, I can never figure it out. Especially with the kung fu indies.
Yeah, the later Joseph Kuo films are technically Hong Kong films, even though they were made in Taiwan. Same for titles like Hot/Cool/Vicious and Seven Steps, etc.
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Markgway »

RetroRobot wrote:Part 2: 1980's (in no particular oder within the year)
More great choices.... (and Ninja Terminator!) :icon_suspect:

These would be on my shortlists:

1980
SPOOKY ENCOUNTERS
THE VICTIM
THE YOUNG MASTER
REBEL INTRUDERS

1981
DREADNAUGHT
MAN ON THE BRINK
PRODIGAL SON
MY YOUNG AUNTIE

1982
FIVE ELEMENTS NINJA
DRAGON LORD
LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA

1983
DUEL TO THE DEATH
WINNERS AND SINNERS
SHAOLIN INTRUDERS
SHAOLIN VS LAMA

1984
EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER
PROJECT A
WHEELS ON MEALS
NEW TALES OF THE FLYING FOX

1985
MR. VAMPIRE
POLICE STORY
HEART OF THE DRAGON

1986
A BETTER TOMORROW
MAGIC CRYSTAL
RIGHTING WRONGS
ROYAL WARRIORS
LAW ENFORCER

1987
A BETTER TOMORROW II
ARMOUR OF GOD
EASTERN CONDORS
MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS
PROJECT A II
ANGEL
CITY ON FIRE
LEGEND OF WISELY
PRISON ON FIRE

1988
DRAGONS FOREVER
POLICE STORY II
TIGER CAGE
NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER II RAGING THUNDER
IN THE LINE OF DUTY III- FORCE OF THE DRAGON

1989
IN THE LINE OF DUTY IV- WITNESS
PEDICAB DRIVER
THE KILLER
MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE
JUST HEROES
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

I love Ninja Terminator. I know it's trash, but I can watch it ad infinitum and never get tired of it. So it definitely deserves a place on the list.

Well, we have the 90's coming up (oh, dear :( ) And this is where it got really hard for me. I've seen plenty of 90's stuff to pick from. But to find ten flicks I actually liked from each year was not easy, as opposed to the two previous decades where a lot of great films didn't make the cut.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Masterofoneinchpunch »

These are always fun to read and give me an idea of possible future watches. If you use any checklist sites these things are great to put up on (as well as makes it easier to keep track of progress, as I've mentioned before I use a few different ones.)

So many of the films you picked I love like Mr. Vampire, Delightful Forest, both Bastard Swordsman, Police Story, Legendary Weapons of China, Prodigal Son etc.... Heck so many titles I liked that you pick. However, I do need to see many.

However, I'm probably not the biggest Shaolin Handlock (aka Rear naked choke without hooks) fan or WHERE’S OFFICER TUBA (though I understand this one.) Aces Go Places II is actually my favorite of that series.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

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Good list. I thought Comet Strikes was pretty awful though!!
2010 - The return of the HK movie industry :)
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

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When I have time I'll try to do the same with Japan (or if someone else wants to start it before me, be my guest)

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

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HungFist wrote:When I have time I'll try to do the same with Japan (or if someone else wants to start it before me, be my guest)
Any interest in favorite top 10 Japanese films by decade? I've seen more 1930s Japanese films that I have seen from the past decade. I don't think other than the 50s and 60s I could do a year-by-year.

I'll have to think about my top HK films by year. I have a top 50 list which I need to expand to a top 100.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by HungFist »

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:
HungFist wrote:When I have time I'll try to do the same with Japan (or if someone else wants to start it before me, be my guest)
Any interest in favorite top 10 Japanese films by decade? I've seen more 1930s Japanese films that I have seen from the past decade. I don't think other than the 50s and 60s I could do a year-by-year.
Yeah, no problem at all with that. We can have multiple listings, and we can have members listing different amounts of films or even skipping some years depending on what best suits them. I was gonna go with a yearly Top 5 starting from 1966, but there's a couple years along the way where can't really make a top 5 if I only want to include very good films.

And then there's 1973! Even top 20 doesn't seem sufficient for listing all the greatness that came out in 73 :lol:

But yeah, top 10 by decade might be a good starting point anyway, as I won't have enough time for writing comments for the yearly list anytime soon...

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

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Part 3. The 1990's (in no particular order within the year)


1990


BULLET IN THE HEAD

John Woo's grand war epic that, despite the scathing reviews and poor box office return it garnered upon its initial release, became a true classic of the heroic bloodshed genre and a well respected film around the world. Solid performances, high drama and bloody violence.


A MOMENT OF ROMANCE

Classic triad romance melodrama with a brooding Andy Lau and an adorable Wu Chien Lin. Here, fighting for their forbidden love in a cruel world of evil gangsters, snobby parents and nosy cops. A clichéd but effective and rather moving film.


OUTLAW BROTHERS

Frankie Chan, flanked by Max Mok and Yukari Oshima steal cars and kick ass all over Hong Kong in this underrated gem from Frankie himself. Tons of great martial arts action, gunplay and stunts, plus every gwailo actor of the day as badguys. A fun flick that needs more props.


CURRY AND PEPPER

Excellent cop buddy comedy action headlined by Stephen Chow and Jacky Cheung. Director Blacky Ko shows great restrain, a sense of balance and a keen eye for action, all resulting in a thoroughly entertaining film, that deserves more respect.


SKINNY TIGER, FATTY DRAGON

Sammo, Karl Maka, and Lau Kar Wing team up for this enjoyable cop-buddy-action-comedy from the tail end of the Cinema City days. And while not a flawless effort, it is still a fun, fight-filled ride that should not be overlooked, and truly one of the last solid Sammo Hung vehicles of the golden era.


SHE SHOOTS STRAIGHT

Cory Yuen mixes heavy family drama with awesome action, brutal stunts, girls with guns, evil Vietnamese villains and so on, and it all goes down smooth. Mrs. Sammo, Joyce Godenzi is once again put through the wringer, and ends the film on a high note with a hard hitting duel against the buff Agnes Aurelio.


NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER III BLOOD BROTHERS

Final installment in the No Retreat, No Surrender series and what a way to go out. To call this cheesy, would be an understatement. It is a fine piece of Stilton, served with a slice of hammy acting, a side of corny dialogue and a tall glass of juicy fights… mmmmm, tasty.


TIGER CAGE II

Yuen Woo Ping and Donnie Yen ventures back into the Tiger Cage with this sequel in name only, that serves up new characters, more action and less story. Everything but the awesome ass kickings is thoroughly underwhelming, but when Donnie and the guys cuts loose… it is glorious.


FATAL TERMINATION

Probably best known for the insane stunt, involving Mike Abbott holding little four year old Chan Cheuk Yan out the window of a speeding car. But beyond that, there is a decent hard edged and very cynical crime thriller with some great action.


RETURN ENGAGEMENT

Im rarely impressed by either Alan Tang or director Joe Cheung, but they got it right with this one. Mixing emotional family drama with the time tested triad tropes and some hard hitting heroic bloodshed gunplay hits the spot for me. And the fact that Andy Lau pops by for the absolute bonkers, bullet ridden finale is another plus.



1991


THE HOLY VIRGIN VS THE EVIL DEAD

Donnie Yen, or anyone else involved with this film, may not regard this as their finest hour, but dammit if it’s not highly entertaining. Ass kickings, gunplay, moon monsters, flaming whips, sex cults and a bit of nudity… great fun.


HONG KONG GODFATHER

Traditional triad fare, starring the king of such, Andy Lau, and borrowing the character dynamics from The Godfather. Gang elections, chopper fights, sleazy villains… all that god stuff.


LAST BLOOD, THE

Ridiculously entertaining and action packed heroic bloodshed comedy from Wong Jing, starring Andy Lau and Alan Tam. Crazy gunplay, bazookas, chain guns, knives, axes, scalpels, martial arts, explosions, cars, motorcycles, cable cars, Japanese terrorists, Tibetan lamas, killer stewardesses, infanticide, AIDS jokes and so much more. Oh Wong Jing, you’ve come dangerously close to making my favorite HK movie of all time, with this one… yeah, I said it.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA

Tsui Hark and Jet Li resurrects the timeless tales of Wong Fei Hung, the period kung fu genre and in the process, creates a masterpiece. A beautiful film on all fronts.


OPERATION CONDOR

The most expensive HK movie at the time, and it shows. Fantastic locations, great adventure, and packed with Jackie’s special brand of action. The final reel alone, has more bang for your buck than most comparable flicks do in their entire running time.


ANGRY RANGER

Triad fight fest, starring Ben Lam, with action from the JC stunt team, and Sun Chien of Venoms fame as the badguy. Packed with fast fights, hard edged violence and gangster shenanigans… good stuff.


KING OF THE KICKBOXERS

Probably the best of the Seasonal crossover flicks. Avedon, Cooke and Blanks are on fire under the choreographical guidance of Leung Siu Hung. The rest is cheese, but oh what sweet cheese it is.


TIGER CAGE III

No Donnie this time around, but nonetheless a thoroughly satisfying entry in the series. A more somber and tragic approach, but still full of awesome Yuen clan action… which is always a treat.


PHANTOM WAR

UK set heroic bloodshed effort, that manages to stand out from the norm, while still delivering what the genre calls for. Gang war, Nam flashbacks, torture scenes and great gunplay.


RED SHIELD

Another Danny Lee cop boiler, but one of the best. This time teaming up with Beardy, to bring down the badguys. Cop buddy banter, vile villains, marital problems and tense action. If you wanna dip your toe in the vast ocean of Danny Lee cop flicks, this is a good one to try.



1992


FULL CONTACT

Ringo Lam’s crazy, raunchy, and bloody classic of the heroic bloodshed genre. Chow Yun Fat is cooler than a polar bear’s nut sack and Simon Yam as a fashionable gay gangster full of magic tricks… need I say more?


HARD BOILED
The undisputed king of action, and John Woo’s last hurrah for heroic bloodshed. If you don’t like this film… you’re not a man, end of story.


MOON WARRIORS

The best of the new wave wuxia flicks of the 90’s, if you ask me. Great action, great production value, and a great cast that includes Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Kenny Bee, Maggie Cheung and many more. It also boasts more talent behind the camera than one could hope for. A definite must see.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA II

A more than worthy follow-up, subverting the themes of the first film, while maintaining the same quality of action and storytelling. Throw in Donnie Yen as the main villain, and another classic is born.


POLICE STORY III- SUPERCOP

Somewhat of a departure from previous entries, but certainly not without merit. Fantastic stunts, plenty of action, Michelle Yeoh’s triumphant return to the action scene, and a highly energetic Jackie doing his thing. Not without flaws, but still a classic.


BLACK CAT II

Structurally flawed, wildly uneven, way over the top… but so much fun. No more Nikita pilfering or attempts at profound drama or deep emotions, just straight up, wacked out HK action of the cheesy but delicious kind.


TWIN DRAGONS

Yeah, it’s a benefit film, low on action, and the concept is ripped from Double Impact. But it’s fun, star studded, energetic and JC pulls off the twins gag better than Van Damme with a lesser budget. Certainly one of his more forgettable efforts of this era, but it has its charm.


KICKBOXER’S TEARS

Moon Lee + Yukari Oshima + kickboxing action = ass kicking entertainment. Always good to see these girls get together. Throw in Billy Chow, Ken Lo and the likes, and we got ourselves a film. It is admittedly a bit cheap looking and somewhat meandering at times. But if you focus on the fights and the two genre queens, you’ll come away happy.


NEW DRAGON GATE INN

90’s wire fu update of a classic, and a very effective one at that. Maggie Cheung is brimming with spunky energy, Brigitte Lin is cool as a cucumber and Donnie Yen is a scary eunuch. That, plus a bunch of other players, all flying around cutting each other to bits… a solid remake for sure.


OPERATION SCORPIO

A somewhat underrated starring vehicle for Chin Kar Lok, also featuring Lau Kar Leung in a great role and the insane scorpion style of Korean kicker, Kim Won Jin. A bit gloomy and uneven, but worth it for the action.



1993


CRIME STORY

Despite its un-Jackie Chan like nature, probably one of his best movies ever. Gritty, hard edged stuff, with his usual mugging screen persona checked at the door. I wish he would have made more serious films like this. A refreshing change, and good showcase for his underrated acting skills.


FONG SAI YUK

The first in a long line of collaborative efforts from Cory Yuen and Jet Li, and a fine effort for sure. Heavy on the wire fu, but competent and engaging in all aspects, with some great characterizations to match the action. Josephine Siao is truly hilarious and nearly steals the film.


FONG SAI YUK II

Not quite matching the original, but close enough. Jet in top form with more high flying wire fu, more Josephine Siao hilarity and bigger, badder villains. Lacks some of the humanity found in the first one, but still delivering the action and energy, making it a very worthy sequel.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA III

The third entry in the series moves to the mainland, allowing for broader vistas and majestic locations, but perhaps a tighter structure and less lion dancing would have been preferred. Still a solid chapter with poignant emotional beats, impressive action and nice production value.


TAI CHI MASTER

Jet Li and Yuen Woo Ping teams up for a rousing wire fest, with Michelle Yeoh, Chin Siu Ho and others, filling out the roster. The story is involving, the cast is on point, and while the action gets a bit too gravity defying at times, it is done with such gusto and finesse that it is easily forgivable.


LAST HERO IN CHINA

Wong Jing, never shy about jumping on whatever bandwagon is rolling by, trots out Jet Li in a more comedic take on the Wong Fei Hung mythos here. And it works… to a point. If you don’t take this too serious, it is admittedly a lot of fun. But certainly not up to the standards of the OUATIC series.


BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR

New Wave wuxia fantasy flick from Ronnie Yu, heavy on the wirework and stylish visuals, crazy characters and 90’s vibe. It’s an entertaining film, but quite why it is held in such high regard over many similar and better efforts from this era is a bit puzzling to me.


IRON MONKEY

Donnie Yen and Yu Rong Guang make a great team in this Yuen clan wire fu classic. A fine film with a great eye for detail and atmosphere. But honestly, the ridiculous undercranking comes dangerously close to ruining the action on several occasions.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA IV

Chiu Man Cheuk is no Jet Li, and Yuen Bun is an action guy without Tsui Hark’s artistic touch and keen eye for detail. But despite this, part 4 of the franchise is still a better than average kung fu adventure with lots to recommend.


A MOMENT OF ROMANCE II

A noble effort and decent sequel, but nowhere near the original in overall quality. A nice twist in character dynamics, a moody visual style and thick melodrama all works in the film’s favor, but Aaron Kwok is no Andy Lau… even if Wu Chien Lin is still Wu Chien Lin.



1994


DRUNKEN MASTER II

Jackie’s triumphant return to the Wong Fei Hung character that made his name. Somewhat rehashing the story from Dragon Lord, but with action this good, Im ready to forgive just about anything. An absolute classic and one of Jackie’s best.


FIST OF LEGEND

Gordon Chan’s excellent reimagining of Fist of Fury turns out to be Jet Li’s best movie, thanks to a strong cast, tight production and simply superb grounded action choreo from Yuen Woo Ping in a time when wire fu was all the rage.


BODYGUARD FROM BEIJING

The HK take on The Bodyguard starring Jet Li and Christy Chung. Not a spectacular film by any means, but it has its moments, and some cool and imaginative action scenes that makes it worthwhile.


ORGANIZED CRIME AND TRIAD BUREAU

Tense cops ‘n’crime flick from Kirk Wong, with Danny Lee in yet another cop role, and Anthony Wong once again the bad guy. The action and drama blends together nicely, and the manhunt unfolding is exciting and involving to watch. The climax is especially memorable. It’s no Crime Story, but a good effort.


WING CHUN

The slightly misleading title aside, this is still a fun, fight filled wire fu romp, with Michelle Yeoh dishing out the asskickings alongside players like Donnie Yen and Tsui Siu Keung. Yeah, some of the buffoonery could have been scaled back and the undercranking does go over the top at times. But the abundance of action thrills and carefree 90’s vibe goes a long way.


FINAL TARGET

No classic by any means, but a solid showcase for the awesome talents of Ridley Tsui, who also directed. Yeah, this one makes the list for the action and the 90’s nostalgia.


ONCE UPON ATIME IN CHINA V

With Tsui Hark back as director, and most of the original cast returning, sans Jet Li of course, this proves another fun and furious entry in the series. Chiu Man Cheuk seems a bit more comfortable in the role, and there’s pirates, treasure, high flying kung fu and all that good stuff. I like it.


FINAL OPTION

The first in the series, serving up plenty of SDU training montages, shootouts, Michael Wong trying to act and just general SWAT team hero porn that feels a bit superficial, but entertains nonetheless.


MARKED FOR MURDER

Bit of a hidden gem, starring Lam Wai, Ben Lam and others, with plenty of super tight fight choreo, crazy gunplay and even ninjas. A cerebral effort this is not, but as a serious action fix, it works wonders.


RETURN TO A BETTER TOMORROW


Very much not a return to anything close to the quality of A Better Tomorrow, but still a decent triad flick from Wong Jing, serving up some brutal violence, tragic characters and a good performance from a young Lau Ching Wan.



1995


HIGH RISK

Wong Jing’s big “middle finger” to Jackie Chan, lampooning him and those around him in a less than flattering manner. But beyond that, a competent Die Hard rip-off starring Jet Li with tons of action, can be found.


FULL THROTTLE

Melodramatic motorcycle flick with a brooding Andy Lau, some really tight racing footage and an engaging narrative. Not for action buffs, but a good flick nonetheless.


MY FATHER IS A HERO

Solid father-and-son story with some decent action, though heavily outshun by the drama. Jet Li and Tse Miu have great chemistry, Anita Mui is excellent and the villain triumvirate of Yu Rong Guang, Collin Chou and Ken Lo is extra gravy.


RED WOLF

Yuen Woo Ping does his own Under Siege, starring JC stunt team alum Kenny Ho and the fetching Christy Chung, that, despite its shortcomings, ends up a very entertaining flick with tons of great action and stunts.


THUNDERBOLT

Jackie proves his allegiance to Mitsubishi, but not much else. Sammo’s choreo is mangled in the editing room, some of the racing footage is way too undercranked and there is no end fight in sight. Yet, the movie squeaks by on Jackie’s screen presence, but just by a hair.


THE BLADE

Tsui Hark’s dark and underappreciated riff on One Armed Swordsman is not exactly a pleasurable experience as such, but it does pack a punch. And just as he started the new wave martial arts film boom of the 90’s by giving us something different in the form of OUATIC, he sort of closes the book on that genre in much the same way here…. with something different.


THE ADVENTURERS

Somewhat uneven but entertaining Ringo Lam revenge tale, offering up some good performances from Rosamund Kwan, Wu Chien Lin and Andy Lau, plus plenty of nice big scale action. Lam sort of lost his way in the 90’s, and would, from my perspective, really only make one more good film after this.


RUMBLE IN THE BRONX

Jackie switches gears, and goes for more family friendly fare, amping up the goofiness, and cutting down on the fight action. A fun film in its own right, but how this became JC’s big break into Hollywood, is beyond me.


MAN WANTED

Undercover cop-triad drama with a nice dose of heroic bloodshed style gunplay, some sporadic tension and a bit of forbidden romance. Simon Yam and Yu Rong Guang are both delightfully hammy and Christy Chung is… well… pretty.


TOUGH BEAUTY AND THE SLOPPY SLOP

The fact that Yuen Biao was relegated to cheapo Fillipino flicks at this time is a damn crime. But the added fact that he could make them thoroughly watchable just by his mere presence speaks to his talents. Throw in Cynthia Khan, Yuen Wah, Billy Chow and other familiar faces, plus some decent action and some displaced late 80’s vibe, and this just makes the list for a lean year like ’95.



1996


BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA

Moody Milkyway mix of melodrama and excellent heroic bloodshed action, with Wu Chien Lin as a frosty hitgirl and Lau Ching Wan as a warm hearted noodle cook. One wishes that Johnnie To had directed, but an engaging effort nonetheless.


BIG BULLET

Benny Chan helmed cops ‘n’ crime actioner with some gritty gunplay and a stellar cast, counting Lau Ching Wan, Francis Ng and Jordan Chan. Not a super memorable or game changing flick in any sense, but for the mid 90’s, this is about as good as it gets within the genre.


FIRST STRIKE

Police Story 4… I don’t think so. Fun, fast paced showcase for JC and his stunt team, full of innovative action, stunts and gags… yeah, I’ll give it that. Not bad at all, but not fit to be any kind of serious entry in the Police Story saga.


TAI CHI BOXER

The Yuen clan squeezes one last flick out of the 90’s new wave Kung Fu genre which was more or less dead by this point. And while the lack of budget and star power is apparent, it still proves a fun and action packed effort with a nice debut from Wu Jing, Christy Chung looking all kinds of cute and guys like Billy Chow and Darren Shalavi supplying some villainy.


BLACK MASK

With its flashy visual style and comic book feel, this is pure popcorn action, and little more. The fights could have been a lot tighter and better edited, and the story doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. But if you switch off the intellect and just go with it, it does entertain. Not Jet Li’s finest hour, but a fun ride.


YOUNG AND DANGEROUS

Triad glamorization and countless spin offs and copycats aside, the comic book based tales of the Goo Wat Jai from Hung Hing society, still packs a punch and shows some heart, as it reinvigorates the triad genre for a new generation.


YOUNG AND DANGEROUS II

Those crafty boys from Hung Hing are back with more triad shenanigans in this worthy follow-up. Yes, it’s more of the same, and yes, those 90’s fashion choices still burns your retina. But with some clever shifts in character focus, some new friends and foes and a change of scenery, this proves a welcomed sequel.


YOUNG AND DANGEROUS III

More prettyboy gangster fluff of the 90’s kind, which again saves itself from becoming stale, by bringing in new colorful characters, novel locations and vile villains to spice things up. As far as youthful triad melodrama goes, this is not bad at all.


SHANGHAI GRAND

A big screen adaption of the popular tv series, which in terms of scale and overall production value is quite impressive. Plenty of period gangster authenticity, some nice action and a good pairing in Andy Lau and Leslie Cheung. With some tweaks here and there, this could have been a classic, but it’s not. It is a good film, though.

FIRST OPTION

The sequel to Final Option brings more SDU machismo, guns, gadgets, gwailo badguys and of course, Michael Wong. Any kind of masterpiece, this is not. But with servicable action and a mildly interesting narrative, it still makes the list for a drought year like ’96.



1997


DOWNTOWN TORPEDOES

Yes, it wants to be a Hollywood movie, yes a crew member was killed by flying shrapnel, and yes the English title makes it sound like an 80’s porn flick. But with slick, hi-tech action, cool heists, good actors and nice locations, the final result is still as entertaining and satisfying as the late 90’s HK movie biz could muster.


FULL ALERT

Dark and grim action film-come-heist flick, dealing with the emotional impacts of violence, while also serving up some stellar performances from Lau Ching Wan and Francis Ng. Sadly this was also Ringo Lam’s last great film to date. Definitely one to watch.


THE ODD ONE DIES

Patrick Yau’s off-beat and strangely captivating hitman yarn offers the usual quirky Milkyway touch, but is perhaps more Wong Kar Wai-ish than Johnnie To-ish in its artistic expression. And while that is not really a plus for yours truly, the film is still funny, artsy, weird, moving and exciting in a way that is rarely seen. Definitely worth a watch.


MR. NICEGUY

More Jackie lite, this time with cooking, bad Aussie actors and a thoroughly disappointing finale. But there’s still enough physical comedy, stunts, and decent action set pieces to keep the movie afloat. Certainly not JC’s finest hour, but touches of the old magic are present here and there.


TASK FORCE

Enjoyable cop soap opera, and one of those slice of life flicks that HK cinema can do really well when it wants to. We’re operating with well known and time tested character types here, but the handling of these is what makes it work. Throw in some competent action beats, a good cast and some genuine street vibe and you’re left with a great little unassuming flick that both moves and entertains.


ISLAND OF GREED

Andy Lau and Tony Leung Ka Fai takes us into to the murky world of Taiwanese politics and its triad connections in this big budget thriller. The script could’ve used some work, that’s for sure. But the performances and some effective action from Yuen Bun makes it one to check out.


YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 4

This where the formula starts to wear a little thin. But with some nice Thai locations, solid performances and further solidifying the sense of family between the characters, it’s still a worthy entry in the series. Sandra Ng as a butch lesbo triad, is a welcomed addition to the mix.


CHINESE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS

Director Billy Tang is more at home in CATIII sleaze territory, but this is still a decent prison drama with a good performance by Tony Leung Chiu Wai, some stock genre characters and a 60’s setting… back when everything was nice and corrupt.


HERO

Another 90’s Shaw Bros. remake of one of their old classics and a pretty good one at that. Takeshi Kaneshiro is no Chen Kuan Tai in the martial arts department, but with Cory Yuen at the helm, and guys like Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah and Yuen Tak on board, everything shapes up nicely. Wire fu, guns and blades is the order of the day, and the mainland locations adds some scale as well.


OPTION ZERO

The third and final entry of the original 90’s trilogy, where Dante Lam takes over the reins from Gordon Chan. It’s basically just more of the same, only a little worse. More emphasis on character than action, which for this series, is not a good idea. This is on the list for lack of better.



1998


A TRUE MOB STORY

Solid and serious triad drama from the hands of Wong Jing, starring Andy Lau, Suki Kwan, Gigi Lai and a truly menacing Mark Cheng. No doubt one of Wong Jing’s best triad films. Great performances, gritty violence, heavy drama… highly recommended.


YOUNG AND DANGEROUS- THE PREQUEL

Milking the series even further, Wong Jing and his BOB partners bring in a fresh crop of hot, young actors to portray the adolescent incarnations of our favorite triad boys. This prequel actually proves better than some of the regular entries in the series, and gave us future luminaries such as Nic Tse, Daniel Wu and Sam Lee. A well made and worthy addition to the franchise.


PORTLAND STREET BLUES

One of many Y&D spin-offs, this time focusing on Sandra Ng as the lesbian Sister 13, first introduced in Y&D 4, who delivers a fantastic performance, easily holding her own among the triad boys of the Y&D universe.


LONGEST NITE, THE

Dark, hard edged triad drama with powerful turns from headliners Lau Ching Wan and Tony Leung Chiu Wai, ghost directed by Johnnie To. An excellent film with thick tension, brutal violence and tons of gritty street real atmosphere.


WHO AM I?

The last “real” Jackie Chan film in the classical sense, and a big step up from prior 90’s outings. Nice locations, great action and a fantastic final fight, that would sadly be the last of its kind in the JC filmography. A fine film and the end of an era… thanks for the memories, Jackie.


BEAST COPS

Gritty cops n’ crime stuff from Gordon Chan and Dante Lam, with a powerhouse performance from Anthony Wong, some competent acting from Michael Wong and a seriously brutal finale. The film would probably have been better off, shedding its semi artsy vibe and going for straight grit, but hey… it was the late 90’s.


ENTER THE EAGLES

A bit of a mess, but with Cory Yuen at the reins, fresh locations, solid action, Shannon Lee treading the footsteps of her father and Benny The Jet on the villain roster, still definitely worth a look.


A HERO NEVER DIES

A bit of an artsy Milkyway take on the heroic bloodshed genre, with Leon Lai and Lau Ching Wan front and center, blasting guns and waxing poetically. A highly stylized throwback to the melodramatic HK gangster flicks of yore with flashy gunplay and a laid back vibe.


HOT WAR

Another HK attempt at Hollywood scale action, that, despite its shortcomings, still manages to thrill and entertain now and again. VR training, gun battles, Paraglider chase, nice production value and lots of brooding… not great, but serviceable.


HITMAN

A bit of a messy affair, but the action is solid, Jet is in fine form and… well, that’s about it. Had it not been for the HK cinematic dry spell of the late 90’s, this would probably not have made the list. But for the action, and a few good performances, it just makes the cut.



1999


CENTURY OF THE DRAGON

Effective undercover cop-triad drama with some fine performances from Andy Lau, Louis Koo, Suki Kwan and an unusually nasty Patrick Tam. Not a classic, but a decent genre effort with a good cast that should not be dismissed.


GEN-X COPS

This flick can rightly be accused of ushering in the age of the prettyboys to HK action cinema, but most of those prettyboys actually turned out to be fine actors with time, and the film is a fun, fast paced actioner with a fresh and youthful vibe that is hard to resist.


PURPLE STORM

Slickly produced action thriller, tackling themes of amnesia, ideology, loyalty and regret, in an exciting and competent manner. Big action, big emotions and good performances… especially from Daniel Wu.


RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Superb heist thriller from Johnnie To, that grips you from the first frame and never lets go. The interplay and cat n’ mouse dynamic between Andy Lau and Lau Ching Wan is just priceless. The score is fantastic, which for a HK movie is pretty damn rare. And you just never know where this movie is going to take you. A modest masterpiece that is a delight to watch.


SUNSHINE COPS

Fun and breezy feel-good flick with cops, crooks, kung fu and cutesy canto comedy. Stephen Fung and Ken Cheung make a good team and the positive vibe and overall sunny disposition of the film is downright infectious and will no doubt put a smile on your face, whether you’ll like it or not.


GORGEOUS

Jackie tries his hand at a rom com, which is saved by his charm and presence, the cuteness of Shu Qi and a few spots of nice action. If it hadn’t been for these graces, this would have been utterly forgettable.


BULLETS OVER SUMMER

Endearing cop soap opera with good performances, fun characters and a few action beats. Special mention should go to Francis Ng and Helena Law Lan, who are really good here.


METADE FUMACA

A moving portrayal of Alzheimers, with themes of friendship, triad life and the value of memories. Eric Tsang is fantastic here, and Nic Tse really proved his acting chops on this one.


THE MISSION

Quirky, laid back gangster tale from Johnnie To, featuring all the usual Milkyway traits, regular players and the slowest gun battle ever filmed. Leisurely paced and strangely captivating.


THE H.K. TRIAD

This film could probably use a little help in pretty much every department. But with some brutal violence, a nice period setting and two solid performances from Lau Ching Wan and Francis Ng, this twisted triad tale still prevails. Oh, and Diana Pang Dan gets her tits out… sort of.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Markgway »

RetroRobot wrote:Part 3. The 1990's (in no particular order within the year)
1990
BULLET IN THE HEAD
A MOMENT OF ROMANCE
SKINNY TIGER, FATTY DRAGON
SHE SHOOTS STRAIGHT
TIGER CAGE II
RETURN ENGAGEMENT

1991
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA
OPERATION CONDOR

1992
FULL CONTACT
HARD BOILED
MOON WARRIORS
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA II
POLICE STORY III- SUPERCOP

1993
CRIME STORY
FONG SAI YUK
FONG SAI YUK II
TAI CHI MASTER
BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR
IRON MONKEY
A MOMENT OF ROMANCE II

1994
DRUNKEN MASTER II
FIST OF LEGEND
BODYGUARD FROM BEIJING
ORGANIZED CRIME AND TRIAD BUREAU
WING CHUN
RETURN TO A BETTER TOMORROW

1995
FULL THROTTLE
THE ADVENTURERS

1996
BIG BULLET
FIRST STRIKE
BLACK MASK

1997
DOWNTOWN TORPEDOES
FULL ALERT
TASK FORCE
ISLAND OF GREED

1998
PORTLAND STREET BLUES
WHO AM I?
HITMAN

1999
CENTURY OF THE DRAGON
PURPLE STORM
GORGEOUS
METADE FUMACA
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Shingster »

No love for On the Run? For shame! Truly baffled by the love for any of the No Retreat/No Surrender films! Do you love part.2 ironically or something? It's got some of the worst acting ever commited to celluloid (and is probably the only time in Cynthia Rothrock's career that she hasn't been the worst actor on set!). Isn't it technically a 1987 release as well?

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

On the Run is a good film, but didn't make the cut. And yes, I genuinly love NRNS 2 for various reasons. Regarding it's release, it had an early release in Phillipines and Thailand in '87, no HK release as far as I know, but I could be wrong. It had its US release in '89, but its mass release for most of its intended markets was in '88. Therefor I put it in '88. But yeah, I could've put in '87 I guess.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

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Raging Thunder is the best of the NRNS series. Good B-movie martial fun. The acting in the original is much worse.
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Yeah, it's my fave as well. And it probably has the best acting of all three, which sounds bad for the other two, I know. But hey, if I cared about high thespian standards in flicks like these, I wouldn't be able to enjoy them at all.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Coming soon..... MY 50 FAVORITE HK MOVIES FROM THE 2000's

I couldn't do 10 for every year here as it was a seriously disappointing decade for HK cinema and for that very reason, I simply haven't seen enough to fill out a full list.... hence the 50 faves.

Better get started on those blurbs....

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Masterofoneinchpunch »

RetroRobot wrote:Coming soon..... MY 50 FAVORITE HK MOVIES FROM THE 2000's
I couldn't do 10 for every year here as it was a seriously disappointing decade for HK cinema and for that very reason, I simply haven't seen enough to fill out a full list.... hence the 50 faves.
Better get started on those blurbs....
Have you still been working on this? Have you done 1969 yet? :D I've been viewing this thread for potential future watches.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Yeah, it's coming along.

Not doing the 60's, as I haven't seen enough to make a list.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Ivan Drago »

If I did a top 3 for the 70s...

1970
Vengeance
The Chinese Boxer
My Son

1971
New One Armed Swordsman
Touch of Zen
The Big Boss

1972
Lady Whirlwind
One Armed Boxer
Way of the Dragon

1973
Enter the Dragon
When Taekwondo Strikes
Knight Errant

1974
Heroes Two
Five Shaolin Masters
The Tournament

1975
The Man from Hong Kong
Disciples of Shaolin
New Game of Death

1976
Shaolin Wooden Men
Fist of Fury II
Master of the Flying Guillotine

1977
Invincible Armour
Iron Fisted Monk
Secret Rivals 2

1978
Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin
Crippled Avengers
Heroes of the East

1979
Dragon Fist
The Magnificent Butcher
Mystery of Chess Boxing
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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote: I've been viewing this thread for potential future watches.
Be sure to post your thoughts. Especially if you check out some of the lesser known stuff.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by Masterofoneinchpunch »

RetroRobot wrote:
Masterofoneinchpunch wrote: I've been viewing this thread for potential future watches.
Be sure to post your thoughts. Especially if you check out some of the lesser known stuff.
I did a mini-review of Hapkido in the Review section. I just happened to notice it was in your top 10 of that year :). So is Lady Whirlwind so I will have to see that soon as well.

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Re: MY TOP 10 HK MOVIES OF EVERY YEAR 1970-1999

Post by RetroRobot »

MY TOP 50 FAVORITE HK MOVIES OF THE NAUGHTS

PART 1


2000 AD

Tight, ambitious and at times pulse pounding hi-tech action thriller from Gordon Chan, with stylish visuals and fleshed out characters. Yeah, the whole Y2K scenario feels a bit dated, but everything else is solid and quite entertaining.



A WAR NAMED DESIRE

Hard edged gangster flick courtesy of Alan Mak, packing a real emotional punch, plenty of stylized gunplay and another powerhouse performance from the great Francis Ng. An often overlooked gem that should not be missed.



JULIET IN LOVE

Director Wilson Yip tackles complex storytelling through minimal dialogue and finely tuned, subtle acting by Francis and Sandra Ng. We’re dealing in heavy themes here, but there’s no melodrama in sight, just moods, looks and unspoken feelings. A strangely captivating film.



TOKYO RAIDERS

Fast and flashy fluff piece of the action kind from director Jingle Ma. No one seems to be extending themselves more than they have to here. But with likable leads, solid action and a tongue-in-cheek vibe to it all, the end result still ends up an entertaining one.



SKYLINE CRUISERS

Widely panned semi sequel to Downtown Torpedoes, directed by Wilson Yip. Yeah it’s stylish pop fluff without much to say, but as far as slick and colorful techno heist flicks go, this is pretty entertaining. Fun cast, nice visuals, decent action beats, x-treme sports gags… and a monkey. I dig it.



DOUBLE TAP

Engaging action thriller, pitting Leslie Cheung against Alex Fong in a competent mix of gun porn and melodrama. This is by no means a classic, but still an underrated effort that serves up a thrilling narrative and stylish shootouts that easily entertains.



2002

A dynamic and youthful spin on the ghostbusting genre with likable leads, evil spirits, hoakey romance and flashy effects. It deals in some interesting supernatural concepts and is fairly entertaining throughout, but perhaps not that memorable once you’re done with it.



ACCIDENTAL SPY

Jackie gives the old formula one last go, before venturing off into more experimental and, shall we say, uneven territory. So, for one last formulaic romp it’s not that bad… it’s not that great either though. The energy level is significantly lower than previous JC efforts, the stunts lack the well known wow factor and what fights and action there is, is not exactly mind blowing either. It’s passable entertainment that coasts by on charm and familiarity.



FULLTIME KILLER

Sure, this may be an über flashy and mildly contrived case of style over substance, but come on… this is a shamelessly entertaining movie. Who doesn’t like dueling hitmen? especially if one is a leather wearing, grandstanding, epileptic Andy Lau. The last third needed some work, and it lacks the depth of other Milkyway efforts, but I dare you to be bored for a second here.



MY SCHOOLMATE THE BARBARIAN

Wong Jing trots out the prettyboys in a mix of high school punch-ups, teen angst, canto comedy and frantic anime-like vibe, with hyper stylized action by Ching Siu Tung. No kind of masterpiece but fun and entertaining all the way.



RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2

The first film is a hard act to follow, and while they don’t even come close to touching the greatness of that original, there are still things to recommend here. Lau Ching Wan is still pulling his weight, Ekin Cheng as a mysterious magician is a fun idea and pitting them against each other in another engaging cat ‘n’ mouse scenario ultimately gets the job done.



GOODBYE MR. COOL

Street level triad drama, with an unusually measured performance by Ekin Chengn as the ex-gangster trying to leave “the life” after a prison stint. Jingle Ma’s flashy directorial style kinda clash with the material on occasion, but all in all, an effective genre piece with a good cast and some gritty action to boot.



INFERNAL AFFAIRS

The film that put HK back on the map in what was dire times. One powerhouse performance after another, nail biting suspense and deep characterizations that makes you feel and care. Nothing short of a genre masterpiece and just a really well written, well directed and well acted film that delivers in every department.



JUST ONE LOOK

Sweet and charming coming of age tale, set in 70’s Cheung Chau Island, celebrating life, love, martial arts and paying homage to classic kung fu cinema. Director, Riley Ip crafts a truly fine film here, backed by good performances from Shawn Yu, Anthony Wong and those darn adorable Twins. Don’t let this one pass you by.



NAKED WEAPON

B-movie schlock with a big budget sheen, foxy chicks, dastardly villains, wire fu, uncomfortable rape, cool posing and slo-mo montages. Yeah, both Ching Siu Tung and Wong Jing put their stamp firmly on this one. Mindless but entertaining.



SO CLOSE

Flashy female killer yarn from the hand of Cory Yuen, playing up the babe factor and wire action galore. There’s nothing of substance here, but with slick visuals, lots of Shu Qi in slo-mo and Yasuaki Kurata as the main villain, you’re at the very least entertained.



HERO

Zhang Yimou’s color coordinated high wire wuxia classic is a beautiful film in all respects. The gorgeous visuals, haunting score, great performances and fantasy swordplay action all comes together in a nice, neat package that even appeals to non-genre fans.



INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2

To me, the best entry in the trilogy, with superb performances, unnerving tension and heartbreaking revelations. The perfect example of how to do a prequel, and quite simply one of the best gangster films ever… not just for HK, but across the board.



INFERNAL AFFAIRS 3

Obviously the weak link in the chain, but still a worthy and engaging sequel, focusing more on the psychological aspects and the tragic meltdown of Andy Lau’s character. There are flashes of brilliance here, but overall, it doesn’t touch the two previous entries.



COLOUR OF THE TRUTH

Wong Jing tries to ride the coattails of Infernal Affairs and somewhat gets away with it here. Effective drama and suspense is created on occasion, plus some good action and fine performances. Wong struggles a bit to balance light and dark, but manages to entertain and engage in the end.



PTU

Dark and shadowy Johnnie To effort, thick with atmosphere, local flavor and quirky characters, just the way we like it. I don’t think any other film quite captures the essence of HK after dark like this one does. A raw and unflinching cops ‘n crime drama and just an all around fantastic film.



BREAKING NEWS

Another Johnnie To cops n’ robbers flick also serving as a sarcastic send-up of post millennial media awareness and laced with good performances and tense action. The film blows its load early with the 7 minute one take opening shootout, and is perhaps not To’s strongest crime film. But still a solid effort overall.



CRAZY N’ THE CITY

Truly excellent slice-of-life cop drama, positively dripping with local ambience, great characters, heartfelt performances, various moods and even a serial killer. Director, James Yuen’s love letter to the city of HK is funny, thrilling, moving and everything in between.



NEW POLICE STORY

A return to form for Jackie, but with some added emotional weight, a more cynical tone and a fresh young cast to spice things up. The action is great, although more reliant on wires and the stunts are impressive, even if doubles and CGI are more prevalent. But all things combined, this is still an exciting and entertaining effort from Benny Chan and Jackie himself. Arguably his best film of the decade.



MOVING TARGETS

Wong Jing puts prettyboys Nic Tse and Edison Chen front and center for this formulaic cops n’ triads yarn, which doesn’t do much to challenge genre conventions, but never bores either. It’s just familiar material done well. Brooding characters, sleazy villains, slick action, local ambience... all that stuff.



PART 2 COMING SOON

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