With Hong Kong cinema's new wave, high flying, martial arts action of the 1980's, came a new wave of actors; teeny-bopper, canto-pop singer/stars with little or no martial arts background. However, when a film like LITTLE DRAGON MAIDEN intelligently mixes the old with the new, the results are pure golden magic. This costume-action, drama, love story features relative newcomer Leslie Cheung, who falls in love with the Dragon Maiden while learning the art of swordplay. The recipe is complete when veteran kung-fu stars Chen Kuan-tai and Lo Lieh add just enough weapon-wielding spice to make this film really cook. Cheung garnered international recognition in John Woo's A BETTER TOMORROW and Ronny Yu's THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR.
Leslie Cheung, Weng Tsing-tsing, Chen Kuan-tai, Liu Hsueh-yua
Stephen Fung stars in this Japanese horror piece. Tamotsu (Fung) dies in a skiing accident and his room mate Yoshio marries his wife, as well as "inherits" his entire fortune. At Tamotsu's funeral, Yoshio sees a badly disfigured old man and that is only the beginning of an evil downfall for him. Face To Face has a finale that ends unexpectedly...
Stephen Fung, Misaki Ito , Shosuke Tanihara , Natsuo Ishidou
In this pun-intended title of Rolls, Rolls, I Love You, a hardworking young man Ah Tan (Robert Mak Tak-lo), is minding his own business while cycling down a busy Hong Kong intersection when he gets into a heated argument with a man cruising along in a sleek Rolls Royce. When the argument gets out of hand, a furious Ah Tan attempts to sabotage the offender's luxurious ride, but is instead thrust into the middle of a high stakes wager! The wealthy businessman Tsui Tung-cheng (Chen Kuan-tai), lays out simple conditions: if Ah Tan and his buddies can successfully steal his Rolls Royce, they can keep it. If they fail, they will have to pay Mr. Tsui a grand total of fifty thousand dollars! Will the underdogs win the bet?
In 1975, Ho Meng-hua, master of the "esoteric weapon" kung-fu thriller, started an international sensation with The Flying Guillotine. But while he went on to direct such further "crazy cutlery" hits as The Dragon Missile, popular demand insisted upon a sequel to the original decapitator-on-a-chain. So, first, they got a script by a trio of writers, featuring a new, improved "Ring-Chain Flying Guillotine" and the only weapon that can stop it, the "Toothed Wheel". Next they matched Cheng Kang, the director of their popular true crime thriller The Criminals, with Hua Shan, the director of their superheroes Super Inframan, to double-team the project. Then they cast some of the best martial arts actors in their repertory - all ably choreographed by the often unsung, but universally respected Tang Chia. Finally they filmed Ti Lung as a fugitive from the emperor’s cruelty, against the whole F.G. gang in a blade-on-blade battle to the headless death!
Here he directs a top-notch cast in this tale about a master of disguise, Ko Liang (Chiang, Have Sword, Will Travel, New One Armed Swordsman) who uses the tricks of his trade to come to the aid of two young army corps (Lee and Wang) who have been framed for murder by their despotic, mad-cap captain (Chen). The real fun in this film is in watching the dashing Chiang having a ball with his role multiple rolls and charming his way in and out of a number of tricky situations... what a charmer!
In Lady With A Sword, Kao Pao-shu showed that women could successfully direct a "heroic swordsman" film using a swordswoman bent on revenge. Kao cast Shaw's darling Lily Ho as the embittered swordswoman searching for the man who murdered her sister. The man turns out to be her fiance' but her nihilistic fate stays true to lone swordswoman form, as to paraphrase Gary Cooper in High Noon, "A woman's got to do what a woman's got to do."
Stephen Chow's special brand of very modern, very Hong Kong screwball comedy entered a new phase with JUSTICE, MY FOOT!, a costume farce set in imperial China. Chow is a shyster with an equally eccentric kung-fu ace of a wife, hilariously played by Anita Mui Yim-fong. Accompanied by Chow's number one screen sidekick, Ng Man-tat, he manages to bring justice to the court and laughter to the viewer. A resounding success, JUSTICE, MY FOOT! broke box office records to become the number hit of 1992. And it's no wonder, what with skillful direction by Johnnie To and a visual sheen provided by Peter Pao, who a few years later would become the first Chinese to win a Best Cinematography Oscar for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
Stephen Chow, Anita Mui, Zhu MiMi, Ng Man-tat, Carrie Ng
This heroic tale of the Sung Dynasty patriots was one of top three films of 1970, and winner of "Outstanding Drama" at the 9th Golden Horse Awards. The evil minister uses the twelve golden medallions, the highest imperial decree, to summon war hero Yueh Fei back from the frontline and execute him. A group of wandering warriors, led by Yueh Hua and Chin Ping, try everything they can to stop the medallion couriers.
Chin Ping, Chiao Chiao, Yueh Hua, Wang Hsieh, Yang Chih-ching
Acknowledged as one of the greatest Hong Kong musicals, this lavish movie starring Linda Lin, who won Best Actress for her performance, infuses its wispy plot with style and wit, and the results are pure pleasure.
A year before Lo Wei directed Bruce Lee in Fist Of Fury, he wrote and co-starred in this tale of a treacherous devil who wants nothing less than supreme power...and doesn't care if he has to murder the Emperor and use his own daughter as a deadly dupe to get it.
Chiao Chiao, Pai Yin, Tsung Hua, Wang Hsieh, Lo Wei
This romantic comedy set against the posh environment of an upper-class Hong Kong elite is about the love that blossoms between a bumbling young man (Leslie Chung) and an attractive woman he meets on the subway (Maggie Cheung). Both would-be lovers are pursued by others; an heiress chases after the likeable klutz, and his subway lady-love has an ex-boyfriend who wants her back again.
Legendary director Chang Cheh was in a transitional period. The men he had made stars (Jimmy Wang Yu, Ti Lung, and David Chiang among them), had moved on to their own projects. Soon his new star, international idol Alexander Fu Sheng, would also look for other productions. So Chang used this opportunity to test the star power of some new talent, namely a Taiwanese Opera artist (Kuo Chue) and a powerful Chinese muscleman (Lo Meng) — who were soon to become the foundation for his internationally popular "Venom" series. Teaming the trio with the top supporting actors (Ku Feng and Wang Lung-wei) and the prettiest starlets (Lin Chen-chi, Shirley Yu, and Hui Ying-hung), he told an entertaining and exciting tale of a kung-fu blacksmith taking on four famous robbers while a villainous gambling boss plots to destroy them. The resulting thriller was another winner for the vaunted filmmaker.