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!
Film lovers and critics went out of their way to praise this Liu Chia-liang version of the Shaolin destruction and revenge epic. Many called it the preeminent kung-fu director's best and certainly his greatest on the theme of history, martial arts, and family. Little wonder, since, beyond the Shaolin story, it also shows how Liu's own family style of kung-fu, Hung Fist, was created. There are unforgettable sequences throughout, highlighted by Hung Hsi-kuan (the mighty Chen Kuan-tai) and Fang Yung-chun's (the wonderful Lily Li) wedding night... where the lovers inexorably test their Tiger and Crane kung-fu styles in a symbolic treatment of a couple's power struggles. Almost equally unforgettable are the training sequences and a full three titanic confrontations with the White-Browed Hermit (the impressive Lo Lieh), betrayer of the Temple. The critics were right: Liu has out-done himself...as usual!
Of all the many kinds of films Ho Meng-hua directed for the Shaw Brothers, quite possibly his most internationally popular was THE FLYING GUILLOTINE. While he did not direct its like-titled sequel, he did helm this great flying guillotine follow-up, which critics considered among his best. It was also one of his last for the studio before continuing his filmmaking career in Taiwan. It stars the gorgeous Chen Ping (THE MINISKIRT GANG, LADY EXTERMINATOR) as the sole survivor of a despotic emperor's latest foray into decapitation. Fearlessly she takes on the entire flying guillotine gang, despite the fact that she's pregnant! Lo Lieh, Shaw Brothers' first international superstar, is brilliant as the vindictive gang boss, while revered action choreographer Tang Chia mounts stupendous battles between the soaring beheaders and an astonishing wushu woman warrior with child.
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
There are martial arts epics and "brotherhood hero" films but then there is nothing out there that comes even close to THE WATER MARGIN. Based on the classic novel and true legend, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS about how 108 rebels bravely fought against the Sung Dynasty, just about every big Shaw Brothers’ star around at the time, David Chiang, Ti Lung and Chen Kuan-tai to name a few, were called in to do this film to make it one of the most dynamic films in the history of cinema. The film exhausts you with its wild and wooly, yet heroically primitive battle scenes that ultimately end in sharp and visually effective images of death, defeat and heroism. It won Honorable Mention for Dramatic Feature at the 1972 Golden Horse Awards.
David Chiang, Ti Lung, Lily Ho, Chin Feng, Yueh Hua
Award-winning actress Li Ching teams up with the villain Lo Lieh in The Fugitive, a film heralding the lesser of two evils...at the expense of a tragic love story leaving the audience buried in their handkerchiefs.
The noted actress Li Li-hua, star of more than sixty films since 1947, beautifully portrays the drugged, then disgraced wife of a peddler in the waning days of the Ching Dynasty. To make matters worse, she's soon framed for her husband’s murder by her rapist - the son of the local magistrate! And even that isn’t the end of her woes. It's best to have a box of tissues nearby as two expert directors ratchet up the emotional suspense in this consummate tearjerker.
Li Li-hua, Kao Pao-shu, Ouyang Sha-fei, Kwan Shan, Ku Wen-chung
Hsieh Choun, the Black Dragon, is in trouble with the police since Wang Sien Tien's gang is helping them; he is no longer free to conduct his drugs shipments out of the port freely as he used to. He buys more thugs and killers to dispose of the young upstart, and soon Wang is in dire straits, in the port of Hong Kong.
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?
Shih Hsin-chiao (Ling Yun) is a journalist who trained under mentor Lu Tao-jan (Chin Han). Lu's daughter, Chih-pai (Tien Niu) is infatuated with the good-looking and intelligent Shih, but Shih sees her only as a child. When he returns from a long stay abroad, he finds that things have changed. Chih-pai is now an attractive young woman in a relationship with rich boy (Wang Yu). A miscarriage and Lu's death throw Shih and Chih-pai together...
Fresh from his smashing directorial debut comedy Let's Make Laugh, Alfred Cheung Kin-ting returns to the screen with this seriocomic look at the clash of cultures which result when a Mainland Chinese peasant brings his family to Hong Kong. Family Light Affair, whose Chinese title literally translates as "City Lights", is the director/writer's warm-hearted memoir of street life back in the early 1980s, featuring an eclectic cast of pop music and kung fu stars who shine in their poignant roles.
Derek Yee is a magic solar baby sent Earthbound by a benevolent god, raised by an old carpenter, has martial art superpowers and "green kryptonite" loses them during solar eclipses. That's when the evil baby counterpart shows up. Demon-paced martial arts action by Jackie Chan's kung-fu classmates Yuan Pin and Yuen Hua compliments Toho Studio style special optical effects.
Huangmei Opera movies like The Pearl Phoenix are unique to 1960s Hong Kong culture, a product of the Swinging Sixties but considerably more in touch with their Chinese roots. This one is completed with a gender-bending tale where the male lead is played by a female posing as a man, plus movie queen Li Ching and the singing voices of Ivy Ling Po and Jing Ting. Sit back and enjoy!