Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong’

chinese-torture-chamber-dvd

When Little Cabbage and her father fall behind on their rent, the young landlord Yang, who immediately takes a shine to Little Cabbage, offers the father a monthly wage if he’ll allow her to live in his household and work off the money owed. He agrees and she quickly makes new friends in the household as well as an enemy. One night Little Cabbage happens upon the young master’s wife having an affair while he’s away on business. In order to silence the girl the mistress arranges a marriage between for her with a villager with an infamous reputation for having the biggest dick around!! After her new husband dies from an aphrodisiac overdose thanks to his penis exploding, she and Yang are put under arrest and accused of conspiring together to murder Little Cabbage’s husband! Both are tortured within inches of their lives and forced to confess but the truth has yet to be revealed!

This is one of the most famous Cat III horror/sex comedies to emerge from Hong Kong which was a big hit there when it was released in 1994. It’s a bizarre mix of sex, comedy, and OTT scenes which unless you’re in the right frame of mind to enjoy will most likely guarantee to offend a lot of people!! When I first heard about this movie I imagined it would be all about torture but how wrong I was going to be. As I’ve seen a lot of violent and odd movies I didn’t feel shocked at all by what I saw. The plot without spoiling too much involves 2 people who are the victims of being framed and ending up in court trying to protest their innocence with a lot of the story being told in flashback of how they came about to being imprisoned. The torture scenes make you wince but aren’t too graphic. Even the penis exploding scene isn’t that bad. The opening scenes does show a naked man tied up in prison having his penis cut off though it never shows the deed being done close-up. It’s the sex scenes though that stand out in the movie because some of them are incredibly funny. Take this scene for example which is basically a parody of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It starts out quite innocently as we witness a martial arts couple flying about and fighting amongst the treetops with swords. Then the woman challenges the man to see if he can satisfy her and if he can’t he will leave her. They proceed to have hyper gravity-defying sex in mid-air with the man using such moves as “Oral Attack”, “Invincible Wheel” and “Wonder Screw”. It is made all the more funnier with the addition of some video-game sound effects as he is banging her (sorry to be so coarse here!). It had me laughing a lot and it’s something that has to be seen to be believed. There’s also a parody from the Patrick Swayze movie ‘Ghost’ specifically the potters wheel scene which includes a Chinese instrument rendition of Unchained Melody. I won’t reveal what the woman does to the man and what eventually happens at the end of the scene but you’ll never be able to see that scene again in the original movie without laughing! The two scenes described above sums up how crazy this movie is. OK, so the humour is a little low brow but you’ll never be bored watching this movie. It is so entertaining, funny and whilst it is a Cat III movie it doesn’t contain the extreme nastiness associated with a lot of them. Be aware that there is a lot of female nudity in this movie which will no doubt please some male viewers!

A Chinese Torture Chamber Story screenshot

The acting is surprisingly very good with several great performances from some of the cast. Yvonne Yung Hung is so beautiful and innocent as Little Cabbage and viewers will sympathise with her situation though I failed to have the same feelings for Lawrence Ng’s character who plays the young master Yang that falls for her. Although he is innocent in the murder of Little Cabbage’s husband, I disliked how he tried to rape Little Cabbage by becoming invisible thanks to piece of paper blessed by a holy man which he pins to his chest. Just because he likes Little Cabbage doesn’t give him the right to attack a woman in her home. It is only thanks to her husband that he fails to achieve what he wanted to do. The fact that Little Cabbage never finds out who attacked her because Yang escapes after knocking the husband out and she finally ends up with this despicable man at the end of the movie made me feel uneasy. I’m sure some viewers will find the rape scene perhaps humorous but I thought it was done in bad taste. Maybe that’s just my opinion mind you. The only other actor who I thought was fantastic was Elvis Tsui who provides the movie’s most memorable moment as one half of the martial arts superhero sex couple!

A Chinese Torture Chamber Story is one of the best Cat III movies I’ve seen as it pretty much doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s twisted, weird and is very much tongue-in-cheek which makes the raunchy stuff easier to watch. It certainly won’t be to everybody’s taste so those easily offended should stay away from this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Enter The Fat Dragon

Ah Lung is a country bumpkin who works on a farm feeding the pigs. An opportunity arises for him to go to the big city (Hong Kong) and help out in his uncle’s noodle shop. Just as he is settling down to working there, a gang of thugs who is making a nuisance of themselves in the area starts some trouble. Being a devoted Bruce Lee fan who can fight like his idol and imitate the great man, Ah Lung sends them all packing. However whilst Ah Lung is out on an errand the gang return and demolish his uncle’s restaurant. As a result he is out of work but with the help of two friends he gets a job cleaning dishes. It’s not long however that Ah Lung is embroiled in a plot by a gang who kidnap a woman he likes and wants to sell her to a billionaire named Pai. Ah Lung sets out to rescue his girl but first he must defeat 3 of Pai’s deadly bodyguards…..

After the death of Bruce Lee in 1973, a slew of Bruceploitation movies were released in Hong Kong that tried to cash in on his name and featured many actors trying to copy his style. Sammo Hung who was a very good friend of Bruce and worked with with him on Enter The Dragon wasn’t very impressed with these johnny come lately’s shamelessly cashing in on his friend’s name so he made this comedy tribute movie to him. Sammo might not look like Bruce Lee but my word he can imitate him superbly. Probably the best person to do it. He even strokes his nose exactly the same way that Bruce did, delivers his noises and is pretty much a master of nunchuks like his friend. Sammo even uses Jeet Kune Do with some kung-fu in the fights. The storyline is mostly episodic in nature and is about how Ah Lung’s fighting keeps getting him into trouble. The fight scenes on display is exciting, fun and fast and get better as the movie wears on. You’ll never see a more agile fat guy than Sammo Hung. It’s hard to believe how good a martial artist he really is. I’m not sure if the climatic showdown in which Ah Lung faces 3 foreign fighters was Sammo’s homage to Game of Death but it features a funny scene of a Chinese man who is blacked up with an afro wig (obviously a parody of Jim Kelly) going one on one with Ah Lung. You can’t help but laugh at the scene. There’s a telling scene in the movie in which Sammo delivers a scathing criticism of the copycat Bruce Lee movies produced at the time when he visits a film set and gets into a fight with a second rate Bruce Lee impersonator and promptly beats his ass and the film crew as well! His put-down comment of “amateurs” after the fight is brilliant. The slapstick comedy is a little bit hit and miss but when it works well it makes you smile. Sammo even has time to poke fun at Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master! His character of Ah Lung comes across as lovable and charming and you can’t help but like him.

Enter the fat dragon clip

Animal lovers might get a little offended in the opening scene as Sammo’s character practices his kung fu on some pigs. It’s hard to say whether the pigs were hurt by Sammo’s kicks. From a lot of HK movies I’ve seen from the 70’s and 80’s, animal welfare wasn’t a high priority on any film set!

All in all, a fantastic early Sammo Hung production considering it was done on a very low budget and a must see for fans of martial arts.

No trailer but here’s a clip where Sammo fights a Bruce Lee impersonator

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

A traffic accident changes several people’s lives forever. In capturing wanted criminal Cheung Yat-Tung, Sergeant Tang Fei is involved in a shootout and car accident that puts the criminal in a coma. But in the process he also cripples a fellow officer, and accidentally kills the elder daughter of public prosecutor and single mother Ann. The car in which the girl was travelling is hijacked by the criminals and she is shoved into the boot. Unable to handle the guilt, Tang Fei succumbs to a fog of pain. Ann, meanwhile, pours all her love and attention to her younger daughter Ling. Three months later, the criminal Cheung Yat-Tung awakens from his coma. Ann, who had been working hard on bringing him to justice, insists he stand trial immediately. Then Ling is kidnapped by one of Cheung Yat-Tung’s thugs Hung and Tang Fei is determined to redeem himself and set things right after past mistakes. Will he able to rescue the little girl before she is harmed?

This movie starts with a bang and for the most part delivers throughout with its mix of human drama and tragedy with excellent taut action sequences. Hong Kong police movies have always been popular in the territory and whilst the majority look slick and have enough entertainment to satisfy the average cinema fan, there’s usually no real depth to the stories. Beast Stalker though is different as it has some emotion in the plot. It doesn’t win any prizes on originality and some will even see it as being perhaps a little bit predictable but as a tense thriller there is much to like here. It’s a movie which shows that actions has consequences and this movie shows it very well indeed. The car crash near the beginning of the movie is handled impressively. The scene is shot so well and the slow motion images of the passengers inside one vehicle as it tumbles around is effective and is easily one of highlights of the movie. The structure of the story with it’s twists and turns is intelligent and compelling.

The two main male characters are fantastic in their roles. Nicholas Tse does a great job as the tortured cop who ruins not just Ann’s life with the death of her daughter but several others as well. It’s harrowing to see Tang Fei’s realisation that he’s killed a child as he opens the boot of the criminal’s car and finds her body inside. Ultimately it’s not Tse thats the stand out actor in the movie but Nick Cheung as the one-eyed kindapper Hung. He doesn’t play the role as an OTT villain but comes across as a real person. The reason why he’s kidnapped the little girl Ling is revealed as the plot unfolds and again it links to the car crash. He comes across as quite a menacing person even though some viewers will have some sympathy for his plight. Suet-Yin Wong is absolutely adorable as Ling who proves to be a bit of a smart kid even when in danger.

Director Dante Lam excels with this movie and provides plenty of excitement alongside the drama to keep the viewer interested. There’s a car crash, some fist fights, gunplay and foot chases so action fans should be satisfied with what they see. The way that Lam manages to combine the emotional turmoil of the plot with the action has to be commended.

Overall, The Beast Stalker is a well written and hard-hitting tale about a man seeking redemption and whilst it isn’t perfect and has some flaws it’s certainly worth your time and effort.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

The Queen’s brother Pan Bao is killed in a tournament by one of Yang Ye’s sons. Furious at this, she orders her father Pan Mei to destroy the Yang clan at the battle of Jinsha. All goes according to plan but for the fact that the 5th and 6th sons manage to escape from the trap that had been laid for them. Pan Mei must track down the remaining sons or he won’t be able to continue with his bigger scheme which is to overthrow the Emperor. The 5th son returns home but the stress of what has happened has turned him insane. Meanwhile the 6th son vows to become a monk at a temple but has a lot of anger inside of him. The temple refuses to take him in but he insists on being a monk. He takes a razor and shaves his hair off. Reluctantly the lead buddhist monk takes him in but he does not train with any of the other trainee monks. Back at the Yang clan residence, the mother hears that the 6th son is alive and sends her 9th daughter off to seek him out but Pan Mei’s spies are everywhere and follows her. She is captured at an inn below the temple that the 6th son is training. When the 6th son hears that his sister is a prisoner of Pan Mei, he vows revenge on Pan Mei once and for all.

This is a classic HK Shaw Brothers movie starring Gordon Liu. It’s a period piece set during the Sung Dynasty packed full of action and incredible swordplay fights. I would say this is probably the finest showcase for pole fighting you’ll ever see. It was a troubled production at the time of filming and it took 2 years to complete the movie as one of it’s stars Alexander Fu-Sheng had a serious injury which resulted in both his legs being broken. When filming resumed, Fu-Sheng was involved in a terrible high-speed car accident which claimed his life. It was Fu-Sheng’s character that was supposed to be the main focus in this movie but due to the tragic circumstances that happened, the plot shifted onto Gordon Liu’s character. The compelling storyline has no humour at all which considering that a lot of 70’s HK martial arts movies had at the time may be more to the fact that it would have been inappropriate due to Fu-Sheng’s death. If it’s action you’ve come to watch in this movie then you’ll have plenty to enjoy here. Each fight that follows just gets better and better and the final melee involving Gordon Liu’s character taking on Pan Mei’s forces at the temple with his pole is impressive. A visual spectacle in athleticism containing fantastic choreography with swords and poles. Just watch as the 6th son has his sister strapped to his back whilst fighting off the hordes of Pan Mei’s army. There’s some gore involved as Pan Mei’s army is decimated and a lot of the blood comes from seeing them lose their teeth!! This is to do with the training at the buddhist temple which rather than kill their enemies outright, their beliefs is to defang them instead. The weaponry on show is great and I loved the poles that Pan Mei’s army have which have a twisty grappling device on the end which is supposed to counter the threat of the Yang family’s poles.

It’s sad to see Fu-Sheng in this movie knowing it would be his final role. It is said he had a bright future ahead of him as a movie martial artist. A hell of a shame his career was cut short like it did. His character for the majority of the movie acts like a man whose mind has been irreparably damaged by witnessing his brothers and father being killed. He shouts a lot and even attacks his own mother and sisters thinking they’re Pan Mei’s troops. What can I say about Gordon Liu in this movie that hasn’t been said about him elsehwhere. He is just amazing. It’s painful to watch as he shaves his hair off with a sharp razor which results in his head being bloodied and then uses several temple candles to burn 6 dots on his head signifying how serious he is about being a buddhist monk.

This isn’t called one of the best martial arts movies for nothing. Everything you’ve ever wanted in a classic Shaw Brothers movie is in this movie. Do not miss out on watching this if you’re a serious martial arts fan. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Big John and Little John are a couple of swindlers who are on a streak of bad luck. When one of their intended victims The Silver Fox beats them up badly, the duo realise they need to sharpen up their kung fu so Little John asks The Silver Fox if he’ll be their Master. Turning down their offer at first, he eventually relents and starts teaching them a new style of kung fu. Things are going well for the duo under their new Master until Little John discovers his tutor killing a man. It seems The Silver Fox is a wanted criminal and has been using the pair for his dirty deeds. The pair try and fight him but he uses a deadly style of Snake kung fu which ends with Big John paying for his life and Little John barely escaping. He winds up staying at the home of a wily beggar who is also skilled in the art of kung fu. Little John asks the beggar to train him up so that he can take on The Silver Fox and avenge his friend’s death.

Knockabout is a classic martial arts comedy movie which has been rated highly by Hong Kong movie fans. It brings together 3 of the biggest names in the late 70’s of HK movie makers in Sammo Hung (who directs and acts in this movie), Ka-Yan Leung and Yuen Biao. Even though Yuen Biao would never get the acclaim that his brothers in the Peking Opera (Sammo and Jackie Chan) obtained, he is still widely appreciated by martial arts fans. This would be his breakout movie role. I actually didn’t think I was going to like this movie as the first 40 or so minutes is just a rather silly story with some routine slapstick comedy which falls flat and so-so martial arts but once The Silver Fox turns on the 2 swindlers and Little John teams up with the beggar the movie improves with the martial arts fights getting better and better. In hindsight this was probably a ploy by Sammo to show that the swindlers had much to learn in their kung fu skills so that is why the earlier fights in the movie are so underwhelming. You just have to see the training scenes that the beggar puts Little John through – Yuen Biao is bloody amazing in these scenes. The guy was a gifted martial artist and was well known for his kicking and acrobatic prowess. Sammo’s beggar character makes him backflip, somersault and do some cartwheeling whilst using a skipping rope and just the training scenes alone makes it worth seeing the movie. It makes you forget the silly comedy that took place earlier on. The training scenes are topped however by the 12 minute final fight that sees Little John and the beggar combining their monkey style kung fu skills and squaring off against The Silver Fox. The moves that Yuen Biao pulls off in the fight are breathtaking. It rounds off what was eventually a very satisfying movie experience.

A big part of why this movie is such a success is down to Sammo Hung and under his direction Yuen Biao is outstanding. The intricate martial arts fight sequences he employs in this movie was a typical trademark of his and they’re a joy to watch.

Fans of old school HK martial arts will love this movie. It’s an entertaining movie you shouldn’t miss out on. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

aka Roboforce

The Hero Gang led by the evil Lam and his lover Maria is a villianous organization that sends it’s giant robot named Van out to rob a bank in HK. With the police helpless against the marauding robot and Lam threatening more chaos if the authorities doesn’t hand over a load of cash to them, a trio of bumbling heroes go into action. They are eccentric inventor Curly, a newspaper reporter and Whiskey, an ex member of the Hero Gang determined to right his past wrongs. The Hero Gang in the meantime have created another decidedly different robot. This one is patterned after female gang member, Maria. This robot is sent after our goofy trio, but in the process it’s nearly destroyed. Curly reprograms Maria to go after it’s creators when they send in the heavy artillery including Van to look for her. Who will come out on top in the robot showdown?

Despite the title which may suggest a romantic story, this is in fact a sci-fi action comedy with some shades of Robocop and a nod to the classic movie Metropolis. It tanked big time when it was initially released in HK but has in fact gained a cult following over the years. Stories about its troubled production is well known amongst HK movie fans with producer Tsui Hark getting rid of director David Chung at some point during filming and taking over the directing duties himself and even reshooting large chunks. The movie starts with a bang as the massive hulk of a robot Van goes on a destructive rampage around Hong Kong and this is only the beginning of the fun you’ll have in watching this. It’s quite an imaginative romp with not only a giant robot appearing but also a flying motorcycle armed with a set of machine guns. The movie is not meant to be taken seriously one bit and Tsui Hark doesn’t let the comedy overshadow the great action sequences which includes a hilarious scene in which one of our heroes tries to escape through trees on swinging vines ala Tarzan only to be pursued in the same manner by the villains with machine guns. The clash between Maria and Van is also very entertaining. It does turn a little bit dark at times with it’s violent content but the majority of the movie is lightweight and harmless. The special effects looks a bit dated though but with only a small budget for the movie the filmmakers did the best they could. The rubber styrofoam walls and rubble on display does look bad! The robots (Van and Maria) are fantastic creations with their jet pack boots, hidden missiles and extending fists. I found it to be such a creative movie with the array of gadgets on display. The wacky and slapstick comedy was fine, I did find it to be a bit repetitive at times especially when two of our heroes regularly get electrocuted for touching the robot Maria. This movie though belongs to the beautiful Sally Yeh who plays the dual role of the evil Hero Gang member Maria and her Metropolis styled robot counterpart. She’s really good at playing the robot role using just a few expressions on her face and even gets to sing a few lines as well. The trio of heroes played by Tsui Hark, John Sham and Tony Leung Chui-Wai are also excellent in keeping the storyline chugging along and there’s great chemistry between them.

I Love Maria is a unique piece of HK cinema which is well worth checking out just for it’s mix of wackiness and action. I had a lot of fun watching it.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Aka Iron Angels and Fighting Madam

The HK Government lays waste to Thailand’s Golden Triangle poppyfields’ production which was worth $30 million dollars. The drug lord and his executives are furious for this disruption by the police and seek immediate reprisals against them. One of the executives Madame Sue, a ruthless killer starts murdering the police personnel involved in the Thai raid as revenge but refuses to listen to orders from her boss to stop. She kills him and takes charge herself. Enter The Angels – a specialist highly skilled team consisting of Moon – a secretary during her offtime, Elaine, Saijo, the new recruit Alex and their boss John Keung. Their job is to take down Madame Sue and her cronies who are looking to expand their empire abroad.

This is a mixed bag of a movie. Whilst it has many incredibly exciting action sequences that you normally associate with this kind of genre from HK in the mid 80’s, it is hampered by the fact that it’s a stop/start affair. If you come into this movie expecting an all out action movie you’re going to get disappointed as the movie is partly a spy thriller too which slows down proceedings. There’s a little bit of comedy as well but mostly this is a straight forward action/spy movie. The action you do see however is probably one of the best in the girls-with-guns genre (it has been called the defining movie in the genre) and features some brutal martial arts action especially the short fight between Moon Lee (in her breakout role) and her usual nemesis Yukari Oshima at the climax. The raid on Madam Sue’s HQ by The Angels is particularly memorable with guns blazing in all directions and explosions going off capped off by two of the main characters leaping off the top of a house through some pine trees which breaks their fall. HK action at it’s very best. The sequence even has Saijo dangling one handed on a helicopter ladder whilst mowing down Madam Sue’s goons with a machine gun.

There’s an excellent cast in this movie. The pick of the bunch has to be Yukari Oshima who is on top form as a cruel sadistic villainess who enjoys torturing her prisoners. She comes across as an icy cold and a not-to-be-messed person, even punishing her own workers if they’ve failed her. We don’t usually see her sexy side but here we see her in a swimming costume and even being sexually aggressive. Fans of Moon Lee will love her kick ass role in this movie. Whilst she had been in several movies previously as a minor character, this would the one that would make people sit up and hail her as one of HK’s newest female action star. She’s her usual cute self in this movie and shows her fantastic nimble and acrobatic fighting skills. It was nice to also see Hwang Jang Lee in this movie who is best known in the West from being in Jackie Chan’s movies Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master. I have to mention that the rest of the cast are no slouches in their roles either.

Whilst this movie isn’t one of the best in the genre thanks to it being bogged down at times by the script, it does have plenty of intense violence to satisfy the action junkie. It’s certainly worth checking out.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »