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Master's Top 50 Hong Kong Films


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#1 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:40 PM

Masterofoneinchpunch's Top 50 HK Films:

Hong Kong cinema comprises some of the most unique movie experiences one will encounter. Commercial cinema is the norm and the hybrid entertainments that are made for mass consumption can range from the ridiculous to the sublime. While their most popular genres from wuxia, martial arts, and triad movies are familiar to transnational audiences there is much more to this prestigious movie-making culture.

Defining what a Hong Kong film is can be a bit tricky. I will expect that the director be a legal resident of Hong Kong and/or employed by a legally registered film company in Hong Kong (now HKSAR). Here are Hong Kong Film Award's rules of eligibility for 2008: http://www.hkfaa.com...gulation_e.html which has slightly influenced some of my decisions though I am actually going to be stricter with my own personal criteria.

For example, here are some important collaborative films I am not counting for this list though please watch if you have not seen: Hero (2002, China/Hong Kong, Zhang Yimou), Raise the Red Lantern (1991, China/Hong Kong, Zhang Yimou), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Taiwan/Hong Kong, Ang Lee), Farewell my Concubine (1993, China/Hong Kong, Chen Kaige), Enter the Dragon (1973, Hong Kong/USA, Robert Clouse) and Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976, Hong Kong/Taiwan, Jimmy Wang Yu).

As with all canons there is certainly a bias on my part. I enjoy much from the action cinemas of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, John Woo and Chang Cheh. I have come to appreciate much of the directorial work of Johnnie To and acting of Chow Yun-fat. I like much of the art-house direction of Wong Kar-wai. I have started getting into such directors as Michael Hui and Ann Hui. David Borwell wrote his excellent book Planet Hong Kong* after watching about 380 films (he has watched much more several years later). I have seen a few hundred more than that so I feel qualified to make this list biggrin.gif.

There is much that I have not delved into so this list will change from time-to-time so expect to see modifications. There are many films on the cusp of the top 50 that I have only watched recently that another viewing will push them higher on this list. I later might make this into a top 100 list.
 
Someone was nice enough to put this on IMDB. Check here.

FYI: critical or popular films I have not seen: The House of 72 Tenants (1973), Boat People (1982), Comrades - Almost a Love Story (1996).

So away we go:

 

* This is available in an online second edition.  I am mentioned in the end section. :)


Edited by masterofoneinchpunch, 27 May 2019 - 03:48 PM.
I saw Dragon's Forever


#2 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:47 PM

1) Police Story (1985: Jackie Chan): One of the greatest action pictures I have ever seen. Its influence can be seen in many American action pictures from Tango and Cash (1989) to Bad Boys II (2003), but none can quite compare to the ruggedness and the actual danger the stuntmen faced in this film (several were injured quite bad). From the destruction of the shanty town by a runaway car, bad guys thrown off of buses onto the concrete to Jackie risking his life in several fight scenes I have never been as amazed with a film as this movie. This movie is one of the main films that got me into Hong Kong cinema.

2) Hard-Boiled (1992: John Woo): The other film that got me into Hong Kong cinema. While for me it is a toss-up between this and The Killer (which is probably a better made film) I end up choosing this one for its voracious appetite of gun battles as well as the fact that I have seen this many more times. While some of this movie can be read as an allegory of the handover of 1997 and the Chang Cheh influence is quite evident whose going to think about that during the final very long shoot-em-up action scene. Chow Yun-fat spitting out the toothpick is one of my favorite scenes.

3) Drunken Master (1978: Yuen Wo-ping): Most HK film fans and critics usually put the sequel ahead of this movie – I do not. While I like both this film has always had a special place in my martial arts viewing acumen as one the quintessential old-school martial arts films. After years of toiling in somewhat obscurity in HK cinema he had two hits in a row for Seasonal. After this film exploded in popularity, Jackie Chan’s career would never be the same. An irreverent take on Cantonese hero Wong Fei-hung it is a great mixture of comedy and excellent “form” action. Like The Big Boss (1971) and A Better Tomorrow it is a watershed moment in HK cinema.

4) The Killer (1989: John Woo): The literal translation of the Chinese title is “A Pair of Blood Spattering Heroes” which gives you an idea of what you are in for. This film would influence many Hollywood filmmakers with its Heroic Bloodshed tale of an assassin (Chow Yun-fat in another great performance) who accidently blinds an innocent woman, his cop doppelganger in Inspector Li Ying (Danny Lee) who is pursuing him and the assassin’s journey to make-up for the loss-of-sight. This mixture of Chang Cheh male code and Jean Pierre Melville brooding character influences is absolutely brilliant, unique and surprisingly was probably had more influence with American and European audiences than in HK.

5) Chungking Express (1994: Wong Kar-wai): Quickly shot while on break from Ashes of Time, this beautifully directed movie of loneliness and lamenting time because of the upcoming handover to China combines the aesthetics of Wong Kar-wai’s Eastern heart and Western influences such as Godard and Bresson. I find the movie utterly charming with Faye Wong as the most memorable character with her crush on cop 663 (Tony Leung) and her ineffable choices in dealing with his apartment. This movie may change your interest in expiration dates.

6) Infernal Affairs (2002: Andrew Lau Wai-keung, Alan Mak Siu-fai): This movie is mostly known for being the source of the Academy Award winning The Departed (2006; I prefer this over the two, though I do like The Departed) which is unjust considering how strong the performances are and how interesting the story is. It is one of my favorite triad/cop dramas to come out of HK. This movie would spawn two sequels and analogous to The Godfather the second is a great movie which some consider better then the first while the third was just not quite as good as the previous two.

7) Drunken Master 2 (1994: Liu Chia-liang, Jackie Chan): One of the few martial art (no wuxia) films to get positive critical reception. It is in Time Magazine's "All-Time 100 Best Films" list for example. While I am one of the few to like the first better then the second, this is still one of my favorite MA movies with his irreverent portrayal of Wong Fei-hung. The 10 minute plus fight with Ken Lo at the end is awesome in its pace, construction and technique. There is great comedy with the late Anita Mui as his step-mother (though I am not so sure of using Ti Lung as his dad).

8) Days of Being Wild (1990: Wong Kar-wai): Often considered in HK as Wong’s greatest film it is close to being my favorite as well. Leslie Cheung gives a fantastic performance (my second favorite with Farewell my Concubine as his greatest role) as York a rich womanizer who is searching for his real mother (both literally and figuratively). His “one minute” scene with Maggie Cheung has to be one of the all-time great pick-up lines. Christopher Doyle’s first film with Wong and the brilliant cinematography certainly shows. It is a movie not only about "Ah Fei" culture, but longing, loneliness and the memory of time.

9) A Better Tomorrow (1986: John Woo): The influence of this film cannot be denied. It would create an icon in Chow Yun-fat as Mark the quintessential heroic bloodshed hero, create a fashion trend in sunglasses and raincoats (in a very warm environment), and forever stereotype Woo with operatic gunplay. The Jean Pierre Melville and Chang Cheh influences are thick and I being a fan of both certainly helped me appreciate this film (I have seen it several times both before watching analogous Melville and Cheh films and after as well). Its themes of loyalty, brotherhood and stylized violence would not only change HK cinema and ultimately American action cinema it is one of my favorite films.

10) The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978: Liu Chia-liang): The archetypal Shaolin and training movie. Awesome in its depiction of how a pushover can became a master through arduous training and a determined heart. This film would stereotype Lau Kar-fei as San Te and for years he would have to keep his head shaved (if hair was necessary he would wear a wig) to be ready for the next Shaolin monk role. Originally released in the United States as Master Killer (not really a good title for a monk though) it would be one of the most popular Shaw Brothers films released in the US and in Europe. This is a great movie to show to someone new to martial art cinema.

11) The Prodigal Son (1981: Sammo Hung): Sammo Hung is arguably one of the most important figures in all of Hong Kong martial arts. He is not only important as an actor, martial arts choreographer, but a director as well. This is his ode to an important figure in Wing Chun -- Leung Jan (along with Warriors Two). It is a superb example not only the display of Wing Chun but also has some excellent scenes dealing with Peking Opera, has excellent cinematography and has a good blend of martial arts and comedy. This movie has one of Lam Ching-ying’s best performances as Leung Yee-tai the male performing as a female in the opera troupe.

12) Come Drink With Me (1966: King Hu): King Hu did not direct many films, but he always held with high esteem and such critics as David Bordwell and Stephen Teo consider him amongst the finest of Hong Kong’s directors (even though a good chunk of his small oeuvre is from Taiwan). This Peking Opera influenced movie is a sight to behold with sagacious choreography (Sammo Hung and Han Ying-chieh) and cinematography (Ho Lan-shan). This movie features one of the most famous of martial art heroines in Chang Pei Pei’s Golden Swallow.

13) The Mission (1999: Johnnie To): Trying to pick a favorite Johnnie To film is a futile exercise. I like so much of his output. But The Mission is one of those great low-key crime films that it must have come as a big shock in HK. It’s showing of Triad-life malaise is like a warped version of a Michelangelo Antonioni film. Great cast with Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Simon Yam, Roy Cheung and To regular Lam Suet. Fits perfect in To’s “team spirit” theme. This is a great film to watch if the only Triad films you are familiar with are from John Woo.

14) Once Upon a Time in China (1991: Tsui Hark): Another Wong Fei-hung film on my list but this time helmed by intermittently brilliant Tsui Hark and starring one of the most well known of China’s martial artists a wushu trained (this is Northern style compared to the Hung Gar style the real Wong Fei-hung was known for) excellent athlete named Jet Li. The dazzling fight with the ladders is one of the best ever committed to celluloid. This movie has an interesting plot dealing with the turmoil of early 20th Century China, great direction and the movie’s sets and choreography look quite good. Followed by countless sequels, this is still my favorite of the bunch.

15) Encounter of the Spooky Kind (1980: Sammo Hung): I feel that this is the greatest comedic, martial arts Hong Kong with horror film there is. Sammo Hung who stars and directs this is in his prime. He is in the best shape of his life as well as in his creative peak. The dueling Taoist finale is the best scene in the film. Fans of exploding chickens and hopping vampires (kyonsi) will definitely appreciate this. Be warned, the filmmakers were as nice to chickens in this as Sam Peckinpah was in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). This is definitely recommended to those who are interested in seeing many different aspects of Chinese supernatural concepts.

16) Throw Down (2004: Johnnie To): Oh this is such a fun film. Made as a homage to Akira Kurosawa's Sanshiro Sugata (1943) and Kurosawa in general, it still feels like a To film. It is quirky and quite eccentric but for fans of Johnnie To's more personal films like PTU and The Mission they will find this one of his better movies. One of Louis Koo Tin-Lok (Election, Rob-B-Hood) best performances as as Szeto To who is an enigmatic ex-Judo expert who mysteriously quite competition to drink, gamble and stumble his way through life. There are excellent secondary characters (angry mumbling video game playing triad member) and quirky situations that seem to inhabit Johnnie To’s universe.

17) Project A (1983: Jackie Chan): When you combine the talents of Seven Little Fortunes Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao you know something special is going to happen. Add in the dangerous disregard for stuntmen’s life as well as the famous clock stunt that Jackie did as homage to Harold Lloyd, the bicycle chase scene reminiscent of Buster Keaton, the Cantonese comedy, the painful fight scenes, pirates and you have another great Jackie film from the 1980s. This film helped push martial art films out of the Qing era. While some prefer the sequel to this, after watching both several times this is by far my favorite of the two. This is a great looking and fantastic action film.

18) The Private Eyes (1976: Michael Hui): A top HK list should not be complete without a film by Michael Hui. This is a director and actor I really need to see more of though and have been waiting forever for HKFlix to get a box set of his work in to purchase. I found this to be an absolutely hilarious mixture of sight gags (one of the better shoplifting gags I've seen), nonsense humor, martial arts reference (Sammo Hung was the action director so the Bruce Lee humor references worked quite well), midgets, giants, and pretty much everything thrown in. Fans of comedies like Airplane, the Pink Panther series and The Naked Gun series should check this out. Hong Kong aficionados should make this a top priority if they have not already seen this.

19) Infernal Affairs II (2003: Andrew Lau Wai-keung, Alan Mak Siu-fai): Very rarely do sequels even come close to measuring up the original (and the third in this series does not measure up to the first two), but this prequel is well-acted, well paced and by some fans is considered better than the original. While I am not sure of that, I am sure that this is a worthy film in many respects. Francis Ng’s performance (who has had experience with the triads in the past) parallels a Michael Corleone in a cool intensity in his triad leader Ngai Wing Hau. I think it is one of the best performances I have seen in fact. The duo of Eric Tsang and Anthony Wong also work well against each other. This is a great film to show people who think HK movies are too excessive in acting styles.

20) Kung Fu Hustle (2004: Stephen Chow): Stephen Chow is a world unto himself. His hybrid humor of Cantonese language puns, slapstick situations, Warner Bros. cartoon influence, sometimes off-putting violence and then mixed with a fanatical devotion to Bruce Lee and add a plethora of other elements you get Stephen Chow. This is a brilliant mixture of comedy, special effects and martial arts. Chow is in very familiar territory as the underdog and slacker Sing who eventually has to get over his inadequacies and face the number 1 assassin (of course in Chow’s world this is a very middle-aged looking man who is very, very deadly in his prowess of martial arts). Chow is the chosen-one indeed.

21) The One-Armed Swordsman (1967: Chang Cheh): While not my favorite one-armed martial artist film, that would be Master of the Flying Guillotine, it is certainly an exciting, bloody (and another watershed movie on this list) from Chang Cheh. This movie stars Jimmy Wang Yu, a swimming champion and future Taiwanese gangster (who would figure prominently in the lives of several big HK stars) whose martial art skills were never the best nor was he the greatest actor. However, whenever he had just one arm his films were usually better (not sure why). This is a violent, revenge epic full of missing limbs that is one of Cheh’s better movies.

22) Exiled (2006: Johnnie To): A great heroic bloodshed tragedy with a mix of film noir and western elements. Johnnie To shows over and over unique ways to show triad/cop films with his own style of “team spirit.” Francis Ng when motivated, like Anthony Wong in this, is full of panache and is one of the better HK actors. Exiled is a different take then The Mission with many of the same themes, but probably an easier film to get into then The Mission for fans of action cinema. Superb choreography, another good soundtrack in a To film this time from Guy Zerafa and well this movie is just plain worth watching.

23) Knockabout (1979: Sammo Hung): Sammo Hung always had a knack for finding and using talent. This movie features a few underrated HK actors and martial artists. Most notably Leung Kar-yan (known affectionately as beardy to many fans), Lau Kar-wing (always under his much more famous brother’s shadow unfortunately) and Yuen Biao who never really rose in popularity as much as his opera brothers Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan though his athletic talent is better and he has a charm that is not always talked about. This would be Yuen’s first starring role and is an excellent example of old-school kung fu film full of sifus (kung fu masters), excellent martial arts, comedy and even a professional wrestling move that inspired The Rock.

24) Happy Together (1997: Wong Kar-wai): This is probably the most difficult to watch of Wong’s films because of the amount of bickering, anger, depression and longing felt at the end of the relationship between Lai Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Ho Po-wing (Leslie Cheung). The pain can be felt as these two who are destined not to be together, stay together much longer than they should. This film is a cathartic experience with two excellent performances as the leads. If you are sad and depressed individual than this is the film for you to watch so you can state at least I’m not stuck in a foreign country with no money and a withheld passport. Unless, of course, you are stuck in a foreign country with no money and no passport then watch the next movie instead.

25) Shaolin Soccer (2001: Stephen Chow): Stephen Chow is one of the most unique filmmakers in Hong Kong where he works at a snails pace compared to the ludicrous speed of most other directors. His works is silly, but well made silly comedy. Here is takes a concept of soccer throws in his normal mixture of down-and-out character, redemption, Bruce Lee references, mo lei tau (nonsense humor) and outputs a hilarious film about a Shaolin Temple graduate who is trying to spread his doctrine, gets a Shaolin soccer team together and dharmic football is the result, but not with some much needed training and obligatory setbacks before that can happen. Now what’s with Vicky Zhao’s makeup?


Edited by masterofoneinchpunch, 27 May 2019 - 03:50 PM.
Added review link for The Mission.


#3 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:50 PM

26) Iron Monkey (1993: Yuen Wo-ping): Wong Fei-hung rears himself again (though played by a girl in this film) as a very young kid with his dad Wong Kei-ying (Donnie Yen) and a Chinese Robin Hood type named Dr. Yang (Yu Rong-guang). While some of the under-cranking is overdone there are still many impressive fight scenes including a brilliant one choreographed on wooden poles where a conflagration of fire is burning beneath. Some purists dismiss the wire-laden fight scenes but I find aesthetic pleasure in the way these were done (though I never forgive under-cranking). This film also has the deadly Buddha's palm which is another great reason to watch this movie.

27) Sparrow (2008: Johnnie To): I love this French Influenced Johnnie To film which is a mixture of Jean-Pierre Melville, Francis Truffaut, Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Bresson's Pickpocket. This is quite a bit different than most of To's films (though it does have some resemblance to Yesterday Once More (2004)), but it still contains many of his auteur themes such as team work and redemption. The climax duel of the pickpockets is one of the best directed scenes I have seen in quite a long time and the team's bicycle ride is quite unique as well. Sparrow has beautiful use of location as well and was partially made to be a time capsule to show the splendor of older Hong Kong.

28) The Magic Blade (1976: Chor Yuen): One of my favorite wuxia films from Shaw Brothers with the consummate chivalrous hero Fu Hung-hsueh (Ti Lung). Chor Yuen is an underrated director (though his later films can sometimes suffer from trying to put too much plots twists in) but he was very prolific and had a great eye for visuals. His films such as this one put more emphasis on character and situations, but the fights still look good helped by action director Tong Gai. Look out for the "dead" tavern as one of the more unique and haunting visuals. A fun movie and well worth watching with many facets from ingenious weaponry to spotting the influence from chambara and western movies.

29) Fist of Fury (1972: Lo Wei): This is probably higher than it should be because of the stereotyping of Japanese and Lo Wei's direction (though you wonder how much did Bruce Lee direct), but every fan of martial arts and Hong Kong cinema should have seen this because of the magnetism of its most famous martial artist Bruce Lee and its importance in HK cinema. For those who do not know Jackie Chan does stunts in this film including playing the Japanese boss getting kicked very hard (he was actually yanked by a wire to make him fly far). The American release was title The Chinese Connection. This is not Fists of Fury though, that was originally released as HK as The Big Boss.

30) Warriors Two (1978: Sammo Hung): Hung was in top form in the late 1970s and early 1980s, not only as a performer but as a director as well. This is his first in the unofficial Leung Jan (played by Leung Kar-yan in this film) Wing Chun series and while I would put it a little below the second film The Prodigal Son but not by much. Cassanova Wong physical presence and ability is awesome as Cashier Wah who would later teach Yip Man who would later teach Bruce Lee. There is a jump kick over a table that has to be seen to be believed and it certainly is Wong doing that jump. For me this is the ultimate cinematic treatise on Wing Chun

31) Mr. Canton and Lady Rose (1989: Jackie Chan): For me this is Jackie Chan's most underrated film. It is not full of wall-to-wall action and I think that is the main reason why it is not as heralded as his other film. It is a beautiful looking genre mix inspired by Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles (1961) (this being a remake of Capra's own Lady for a Day (1933)) and it is full of vigor, comedy, beautiful sets and costumes since the film takes place in the 1930s, and a multitude of HK actor cameos. This has been released with a variety of titles including Black Dragon and Miracles. Stay away from the dubbed and/or shortened versions.

32) Fist of Legend (1994: Gordon Chan): Another classic martial art film based on Chen Zhen but this one is less racist, has a better plot and is more restrained then the elder Fist of Fury (1972). It also has one of Jet Li's best performances as the almost mythical Chen Zhen and when Li is less reliant on wires he can truly do some awesome fight scenes in front of the camera. Fist of Legend also has some of the best action scenes in 1990s HK cinema including one that is inspired by a similar action scene in Kurosawa's Red Beard (joint dislocating fun) and excellent battles with Yasuaki Kurata and Billy Chow thanks to the choreography from Yuen Wo-ping.

33) In The Mood For Love (2000: Wong Kar-wai): While often fans of artistic cinema will be familiar with Wong Kar-wai and not as familiar with as much else from HK and action fans will not be as familiar with the arthouse cinema of HK most of these two groups are familiar with Wong. I find this to be his most divisive film amongst those two groups. However, I feel it is a brilliant, beautiful and exquisite work on unrequited love. Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung act superbly as two individuals who find that their respective spouses are having an affair with the other in 1960s HK. William Chang's work as costume designer, production designer and editor (and Wong's most values collaborator with respects to Christopher Doyle) helps helm one of my favorite “romances” to come out of HK.

34) Running Out of Time (1999: Johnnie To): I must admit I am a Johnnie To fan. I was not always though. I disliked some of the 1990 films and I did not think much of him until I noticed he was getting more and more press several years back. After watching this and PTU I was hooked on films he directed, co-directed or even associated with (even going back to many of his 1980 films, those will not be on this list). This is a superb cat and mouse chase between a dying crook (Andy Lau) and Lau Ching-wan in the cop role. A mixture of Jean Pierre Melville and John Woo this is a film I am really looking forward to revisiting and could even jump up a few notches on this list.

35) A Better Tomorrow II (1987: John Woo): The flat out best film that ever involves bringing back a dead character from a previous movie by introducing his twin brother. While the movie starts off with that hackneyed plot approach, it soon becomes much more. John Woo was not happy with the interference he got from producer Tsui Hark, he certainly left his stamp on this movie with the heroic bloodshed theme and iconic slow motion. Chow Yun-fat gives a great performance as Ken Gor (the twin brother of the previous character) and for his troubles gets injured on the set and lost part of his hearing (which you can see on the film) when Woo decides to explode things real good too close to Woo.

36) PTU (2003: Johnnie To): Another Johnnie To inspired by Kurosawa (in this case a bit from Stray Dog) and another To on my list. Some of you might find this a bit slow paced, but I was fascinated by the characters and situations of this perpetual night in Hong Kong. Simon Yam's acting performances put him on the top of my favorite HK actors. To's personal projects have often been my favorite films from him. This movie took three years to make with everyone involved doing this as a side project. The cinematography from Cheng Siu-keung is excellent and the score reminds me a bit of Dead Man.

37) The Way of the Dragon (1972: Bruce Lee): Released in the US as Return of the Dragon this would be Bruce Lee's sole completed directorial effort and most personal film. While this is not as accomplished as Laughton's Night of the Hunter in the one-and-only director output, this is a fine release for Bruce Lee. It might not have aged as well as I would have liked but it is one film I have seen too many times not to put in a top list. The most known fight scene from this is between Chuck Norris and Bruce in the coliseum in which they duel to the death. However, as I have learned from The Chuck Norris Facts is that if that they really fought it would be the end of the universe as we know it.

38) Dirty Ho (1979: Liu Chia-liang): One of the greatest English titles in all of the Shaw Brothers films. The directly translated title of "Rotten Head Ho" is not that much better. This was the first martial arts film I remember seeing growing up and for years I could not find it. It is not officially out in a R1 (there is a good R3) and stay away from the many boots (the only copy I currently have is a boot), but it is such a fun martial arts film directed by the stalwart Liu Chia-liang and starring his “brother” Gordon Liu (basically blood brother, not adopted as some sources state and he was not an orphan) in this kung fu comedy. You will have to forgive the all too common abrupt ending though.

39) Shanghai Express (1986: Sammo Hung): aka The Millionaire's Express. This is a HK version of It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) where almost all the popular actors of HK are either starring or have cameos in this wild and crazy film from Sammo Hung though Jackie Chan is missing. I think fans of HK cinema will find it more of interest than novices, but it still is a good combination of action, comedy (broad very broad), stunts, cowboys, ninjas, prostitutes, (I don't remember any ninja prostitutes though or is there) and much more. Check out the awesome jump stunt by Yuen Biao risking his life for our entertainment.

40) Fong Sai Yuk (1993: Corey Yuen): Jet Li stars as Fong Sai-yuk another Cantonese folk hero whom he plays with his normal aplomb but with an added dash of panache that he has not always had a chance to perform. If fact it is one of his favorite roles and we can see why when he gets to show off his humoristic side. However, he is almost overshadowed by an excellent performance from long-time HK actor Josephine Siao Fong-Fong who plays his protective mother who eventually gets caught in the age old cinematic tradition of woman pretending to be man having another woman fall for that woman and causing higgledy-piggledy.

41) Election (2005: Johnnie To): Johnnie To's very candid look at pre-HK handover triad life on the verge of an election for a triad boss (symbolic of both the triad's change of power and HK's). This movie contains another great performance from Simon Yam as the calm and calculated family man Lam Lok who is up for election in the Wo Sing Society running against the brash, somewhat psychotic Big D (Tony Leung Ka-fai). But be careful of what you say when you go fishing with Lam. Followed by a worth sequel that you will enjoy if you liked this one.

42) Heroes of the East (1978: Liu Chia-liang): aka Shaolin Challenges Ninja. Here you have a rare combination of romantic comedy, positive Japanese-Chinese relationships (rare enough itself; though, of course, the Chinese always win in this movie) and martial arts. A brilliant and excellent fusion of not only genres but martial art styles (Japanese versus Chinese) that you find this movie on many martial art aficionados top lists. Gordon Liu as the main hero is this film is excellent as always except for his wig (he kept his head shaved at that point in career since he was doing many Shaolin films) as Ah To who is having problems with his Japanese wife Kung Zi (Mizuno Yuko) who considers herself and her culture better martial artists.

43) July Rhapsody (2002: Ann Hui): My first and currently only Ann Hui film I have seen. I certainly need to improve my knowledge of Cantonese social dramas and she is often considered on the most important. While the film starts slowly dealing with a laborious and languid aspect of relationship malaise it eventually becomes an emotionally fascinating tale of interpersonal problems. This film is a mix of Bresson-influenced acting style (this is one scene at the end of the film which is analogous to the end of Pickpocket) with a camera style that is less austere and more Wong Kar-wai. It would be Anita Mui's last performance before her death from cervical cancer.

44) SPL (2005: Wilson Yip): aka Kill Zone. It is a toss up on whether I prefer this film over Yip's other important collaboration with Donnie Yen (they have done more films together though) Flash Point. While Flash Point has one of the greatest endings I have seen in MA, this has the better story. This is an important film in MA choreography because Yen has started to incorporate MMA elements into his fight plan with spectacular results. This makes a kinesthetic pleasing and quite unique viewing experience. The use of multidimensional characters helps in getting you interested in the story, but it is the action with such highlights as Wu Jing fighting Donnie Yen in one of the best weapon scenes in quite a long time that makes one adore this film.

45) Project A II (1987: Jackie Chan): A quite engaging sequel to one of the most important films in HK history. While this film is not quite as well made as the original it has all the important elements of comedy, martial art action, death defying stunts and chase scenes that made this one of the excellent releases from the golden age of HK cinema. As usual with the higher budgets that Chan had during this era it looks quite good with much money spent on sets, costumes and set-ups for stunts. You can also look at the hidden allegory about the upcoming handover to China, but do not over think it. This was an absolute smash hit in HK and I feel that this is another must watch for fans of HK action films.

46) The Delightful Forest (1972: Pao Hsueh-li, Chang Cheh): Another film like The Magic Blade that I had not heard much on and currently cannot find much on the history of it. When it finally came out on R1 I was not expecting much and got a beautifully brutal ode to chambara from Chang Cheh and Pao Hsueh-li. The ending is so over-the-top you think it must have been influenced by Sword of Doom (1966). Ti Lung reprises his role as Wu Sung he previously played in The Water Margin (1972) about a powerful Kung Fu artist who killed a tiger with a single punch. He is one of HK's better actors from this time and he has a bad-ass panache that tends to be quite believable. This movie has quite a good chance of being higher on this list after another viewing.

47) The Longest Nite (1998: Patrick Yau Tai-chi): While Patrick Yau is credited as director, guess who did most of the direction? Yes, Johnnie To. This was a pattern for awhile with To where he would assign a director to a project and then take over not being satisfied with the work. This is one of the best examples of Hong Kong film noir with a nihilistic and bleak outlook that it is not recommended for feel-good filmgoers. The penultimate ending, which is influenced by Lady From Shanghai (1947) as well as Enter the Dragon (1973), is later redone in To's Mad Detective (2007; Lau Ching-wan also stars in this movie), but I feel it is more effective here.

48) Full Contact (1992: Ringo Lam): Speaking of dark and nihilistic work -- Full Contact is one of those films where you can easily see the faults of, but still commands a good amount of interest and repeated viewings for myself and I actually prefer this over Lam's City on Fire (1987). It is enjoyable to see Chow Yun-fat's somewhat morally ambivalent character (I believe at the time his least good guy role; his emperor character in Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) is a more evil man). An unbelievably flamboyant performance from Simon Yam and that is saying quite a bit. This film is well known for its bullet cam shot (not the first as often misquoted) used to a magnificent affect in this film.

49) From Beijing With Love (1994: Stephen Chow, Lee Lik-chi): Stephen Chow's first co-directorial work is a completely uneven, sometimes even brutal, but quite funny spy spoof film. There is also an undercurrent theme that is a harsh on Mainland police, which is quite brave of Chow at that particular time. This mo lei tau (nonsense) comedy is best when Chow uses gags such as a solar flashlight invention and a gun that shots reverse one time and straight the next. Now why is he talking to the toilet and what does porn have to do with gunshot wounds? To answer these questions you will have to watch this movie.

 

50) Mr. Vampire (1985: Ricky Lau Koon-wai): Not only is this the film that would typecast Lam Ching-ying as a mono-brow Taoist priest (fat-si) master of sticky rice and remover of evil things, it is a film that would spawn more sequels than any other film in the kyonsi (jiangshi aka hopping vampire) horror subgenre -- though none of them really compare to the first one. This movie is one of the high points in the horror/comedy/action genre from Hong Kong alongside Spooky Encounters. Easily recommended to those who are new to Hong Kong horror, that is unless they have a fondness for chickens or snakes. Ricky Hui, who recently passed away, is superb in his supporting role as a bumbling assistant.

 

51) Flash Point (2007: Wilson Yip): One of the greatest action endings and absolutely fabulously entertaining fight scenes of all time. Yes, you have to get through a basic plot in the first half, but once past that the last half is all you remember. Donnie Yen has shown that MMA elements can easily be mixed in with stunt choreography before in SPL, but here he surpasses himself with an all out brawl in the finale with Collin Chou (yes they got hurt during the production of this) and an excellent one earlier with Yu Xing and Donnie with so many different styles thrown in it amazes me every time I see it. Was Louis Koo in this film?


Edited by masterofoneinchpunch, 27 May 2019 - 03:54 PM.
Added link for The Longest Nite review


#4 Izo

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:56 AM

Thank you for this!

#5 Duke Togo

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 12:39 PM

This has got to be one of the most impressive offerings I've seen on these forums. I'm only at 56%, but had at least put most of these on my radar for future watching. I'm a little sad to not see City on Fire on here, but I can't really argue that the films that are on here aren't just as excellent. The Japanese list I'm working on seems years away at the moment, but seeing this has basically kicked me in the ass. Very nice. :D

Why not include a link to your ListofBests list here too?

#6 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:12 PM

This has got to be one of the most impressive offerings I've seen on these forums. I'm only at 56%, but had at least put most of these on my radar for future watching. I'm a little sad to not see City on Fire on here, but I can't really argue that the films that are on here aren't just as excellent. The Japanese list I'm working on seems years away at the moment, but seeing this has basically kicked me in the ass. Very nice. :)

Why not include a link to your ListofBests list here too?


Hee hee, thanks (and thanks Izo above as well). I just modified the top post to include a link to the listsofbests. I spent way too long on this and while there are not too many surprises, so many films I just could not put in my top 50 like many of the Cantonese 1950s social realist dramas, the 70s horror, The Pang Brothers, some of the overly wire use in Wuxia of the 90s etc... I have had this list in my mind for over a year and slowly modified it, added paragraphs per film and moved the films back and forth. It did get me to see (and buy) HK films (and I need many, many more to go ... it never ends ahhhhhhhhh). Ultimately I just wanted to have fun with this and hopefully get a few people to watch some films I like.

I have City on Fire in my top 100 list (currently at 66, wait I just put it past Rouge so it's now at 65), but for some strange reason I seem to prefer Lam's Full Contact. His segment in Triangle (not in my top 100 :D) is quite good as well and his take in Aces Go Places (number 4) was pretty good. I need to see more Lam especially Prison on Fire.

Flash Point might be one to argue since it has problems as a film, but has that awesome ending.

My next ten are:
51. Police Story Part II (1988, Hong Kong, Jackie Chan)
52. Police Story Part III: Supercop (1992: Stanley Tong Gwai-lai)
53. Five Deadly Venoms (1978: Chang Cheh)
54. Duel to the Death (1983, Ching Siu-tung)
55. Story of Ricky (1992, Hong Kong, Lam Nai-Choi)
56. Legendary Weapons of China (1982, Liu Chia-Liang)
57. Fearless (2006, Ronny Yu)
58. Mad Detective (2007: Johnnie To, Wai Kai-fai)
59. Fallen Angels (1995, Wong Kar-wai)
60. Rumble in the Bronx (1995, Hong Kong, Stanley Tong)

All of these at one point (except Mad Detective since I have just seen it recently) were in my top 50. But they are not "official" and they might sneak in the top 50 if I do a proper review.
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#7 Duke Togo

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:29 PM

I hate cutting great films out of lists, but I try as hard as I can to not be too sentimental. It can be an emotional affair. This master (hehe) list would benefit greatly from screen caps, just to give something tangible for newcomers to identify with. Better get crackin'. :D (it would be cool though..)

#8 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 03:18 PM

I hate cutting great films out of lists, but I try as hard as I can to not be too sentimental. It can be an emotional affair. This master (hehe) list would benefit greatly from screen caps, just to give something tangible for newcomers to identify with. Better get crackin'. :wacko: (it would be cool though..)


I actually don't like screen caps that much with online articles. I am usually more interested in the words. But (as you have seen with the picture game) I have lots of screencaps for these films.

Would any other users like to see screencaps? Maybe one out of every five?

Yes, it definitely is an emotional affair when choosing. That is especially why you see certain directors like Johnnie To more than say Ching Siu-tung (yes they have done a movie together and no it is not in my top 100 :D) The films that move me more emotionally tend to get higher on the list. For example Rouge is one of the few HK non-Wong Kar-wai or Johnnie To films that you will see on many critics lists. I just could not get past the ending so it suffered on my list (Anita Mui was quite good in it though). There are also films I enjoy like Aces Go Places 2 that are so insanely silly but I enjoyed a lot. I might consider adding a bottom 10 HK list, but that is a bit painful (I know Journey of the Doomed would be on there).
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#9 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 04:25 PM

Of the Hong Kong films I have seen since this list these are the ones that I put in my top 100 list and will debate on where to put them after additional watches:

2046 (2004: Wong Kar-wai)
Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969: Chang Cheh)
The Kid With The Golden Arm (1979: Chang Cheh)

I've watched many more that were good or mediocre with The Legendary Strike (1978) being the worst of the bunch.

For me (and I think most) the more you watch the harder it is to crack the top 50/100 of any category so even when you see a great film it takes a while to digest it, to ponder it and to debate what is great, good and bad about it. Doing a proper review of it also tends to put the film through a microscope and when I did that for Full Contact it ended up dropping quite a few spots (though overall still liking the film).

No, Shinjuku Incident is not in my top 100.

I think the big empty spots in my HK watching curriculum are now:

Long Arm of the Law (1984) Own
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
God of Gamblers (1989) Own, but copy is not good.
Centre Stage (1992)
Beast Cops (1998) Own
Boat People (1982)
Dragons Forever (1988)
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
Crippled Avengers (1978)
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#10 mikesncc1701

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 06:47 PM

American Jedi actually upgraded to the blu-ray of Kung Fu Hustle the other day and introduced me to it. It's like Monty Python meets, well, kung-fu. I love Chow's sense of humor and the story and action weren't too bad either. Very enjoyable flick.

#11 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:02 AM

American Jedi actually upgraded to the blu-ray of Kung Fu Hustle the other day and introduced me to it. It's like Monty Python meets, well, kung-fu. I love Chow's sense of humor and the story and action weren't too bad either. Very enjoyable flick.


Well it is number 20 in my list :D (hint, hint read more of my list :D). Funny, Spike was showing it last night (dubbed of course) and I enjoy the film quite a bit that I watched the ending again (even though I have both US DVDs of it).

Mike, the logical choice is now to view Shaolin Soccer. I can easily see you enjoying this. It incorporates many of the same techniques and humor stylings (with CGI) that is in Kung Fu Hustle.
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#12 mikesncc1701

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:43 AM

Well it is number 20 in my list :D (hint, hint read more of my list :D). Funny, Spike was showing it last night (dubbed of course) and I enjoy the film quite a bit that I watched the ending again (even though I have both US DVDs of it).

Mike, the logical choice is now to view Shaolin Soccer. I can easily see you enjoying this. It incorporates many of the same techniques and humor stylings (with CGI) that is in Kung Fu Hustle.

I actually wanted to see that when it was first released on DVD because the trailer looked so outrageous. But, it became one of those things that I completely forgot about over the years.

#13 littlefuzzy

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:17 PM

Unfortunately the Blu-Ray of Kung Fu Hustle is the edited version...

The "Axe Kickin' Edition" on DVD had the original version, as well as the edited version.

They digitally removed some blood, and a shot of the guy with baggy pants crapping on a newspaper.

=======

Shaolin Soccer had quite a bit of fan outcry when it first came out, it was MiramAx'ed. I may be mistaken, but I think at one point they wanted to buy it and sit on it, maybe making a remake or something. After that, they decided to release it theatrically, and it was edited and dubbed. The fan outcry came when they announced a DVD of the edited version, with no Cantonese track in sight. Eventually they did release it with both versions on the DVD, although some of the subs are missing during the scenes that were cut.

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#14 Duke Togo

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:25 PM

I have the Axe Kickin' Edition, but I think I accidentally watched the edited version because I remember no crapping.

#15 littlefuzzy

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:34 PM

It's kind of off in the distance, in the edited version you see him squatting over a square of completely clean paper... Not that seeing the guy crap is a deal breaker on watching the movie! :lol:


The blood actually adds to the humor, though (that sounds awful!) When the flower pot lands on the landlord's head, you see a pool of blood trickle out. also, when Sing's head is smashed into the ground by the Beast, there is quite a bit of blood.

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#16 Duke Togo

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:41 PM

Never mind then, I think I saw the original because the flower pot drew blood for sure.

#17 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:08 PM

...I think the big empty spots in my HK watching curriculum are now:

Long Arm of the Law (1984) Own
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
God of Gamblers (1989) Own, but copy is not good.
Centre Stage (1992)
Beast Cops (1998) Own
Boat People (1982)
Dragons Forever (1988)
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
Crippled Avengers (1978)


I have taken care of both Crippled Avengers (1978) and The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984) since that post. I have put both in my top 100 HK films and both are worthy for MA, Shaw Brothers and/or action fans but not quite in my top 50. I'm still a little wary of the label put on 8 Diagram as one of the best Kung Fu films of all time, but it is certainly an excellent dramatic action film. Of course, whenever you are told something is the greatest you become automatically wary of that title. The ending is outstanding though and it is one of the best Shaw films of the 1980s (when much of their quality is on the decline; if they made more films like this then who knows what could have happened, though I do think much of the HK population was getting a bit tired of "old school" MA films with the JC, Cinema City and Golden Harvest films dominating the box office). Alexander Fu Sheng died during the filming of it so his character somewhat disappears during it. Currently I like Crippled Avengers a bit more than it (which has a chance of being in the top 50 when I think of revising that list), but I do think highly of both. I will probably be giving both another viewing in the near future.

I modified some of the critical or popular films I have not seen (and want to see) in the first post.
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

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#18 Izo

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:11 PM

I have to reiterate, Master, that this list has been invaluable at least to me personally. While I may not always agree with your rankings (as with any list), it has yet to steer me towards a film I've not liked or loved. Another huge thank you.

#19 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:39 PM

I have to reiterate, Master, that this list has been invaluable at least to me personally. While I may not always agree with your rankings (as with any list), it has yet to steer me towards a film I've not liked or loved. Another huge thank you.


Always appreciate appreciation :D. I was hoping to get a few more people to do some rankings of films by origin as well :D. Later I might do a mainland list, but there is still quite a few I want to see before I do that (and currently dominated by Zhang Yimou). A Thai list might interesting as well.

It would be boring to always agree with rankings :). But please feel free to argue (please anyone), we need all the postings we can get here and anyways it is fun to get some talk on this topic. Plus I'm always looking for suggestions of HK films I have not seen or did not think as highly of the first time I saw it.

Other HK films and co-productions I have seen since for the first time since that last posting (I did rewatch several Lau Kar-leung and Stephen Chow films):

Beyond Hypothermia (1996) Hong Kong
The Warlords (2007: Peter Chan/Yip Wai-Man) Hong Kong/China
Gen-X Cops (1999: Benny Chan) Hong Kong
Games Gamblers Play (1974: Michael Hui) Hong Kong
Invincible Shaolin (1978: Chang Cheh) Hong Kong (Top 100 material)
Shaolin Prince (1982: Tang Chia) Hong Kong
Eros (2004) Hong Kong/US/Italy (the Wong Kar-wai segment "The Hand" is awesome; I'm thinking I might consider it separate from the whole and add it to my top 100)
The Duel (1971: Chang Cheh) Hong Kong
Black Magic 2 (1976: Ho Meng-hua) Hong Kong
The Contract (1978: Michael Hui) Hong Kong

I do want to watch some more of the HK horror films I have. None have great reputations, but still I've enjoyed a lot of the hopping vampire and ghost films I have seen (not so much with the gore oriented ones). I also want to get some more of the HK dramas (those tend to be harder to find for me) especially the ones directed by Ann Hui.
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#20 Duke Togo

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:54 PM

The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter had a similar effect on me. The hype was overwhelming, so when I saw it I was let down a bit. I've always wondered if Alex Fu Sheng's death during filming had some sort of immortalizing effect on the film in the eyes of fans. That is what I think happened, to some extent, with both The Crow and The Dark Knight, and I do admit that I watch this film with a certain reverence and respect because of that. I was a bit bored with the coffin-balancing scene, which I suppose was intended to be the apex of set-pieces they attempted. I've always been a little underwhelmed with the idea of balancing a dozen or so large objects and fighting on them, a popular setup, and I wish they had filled that time with something different here. Still, the pole-fighting was damn good, and I can never get enough of Gordon Liu doing his thing.

Crippled Avengers on the other hand is an absolute blast, and one of the easiest for me to spring on friends. Some of the fights do get lost in themselves, but otherwise it has that strong balance of plot/fights/entertainment that are present in all my favorite Shaw films.




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