One of Hong Kong's top action directors of all time, Liu Chia-liang makes a mind-numbing directorial debut in The Spiritual Boxer, which not only quickly established Liu as a genius director but also encouraged other martial art choreographers to take up the directing reigns. It was also the debut film of kung-fu comedienne Wang Yu as the main character, who in reality was part of Liu’s clan of stars that he personally trained for a film career. Its Ghostbusters meets George C. Scott’s The Flim-Flam Man as Wang plays a fake ghost catcher who catches more than he bargained for. With this film, Liu is also credited with introducing comedy in to the kung-fu genre; the pre-cursor for Jackie Chan's kung-fu comedies.
The ship of pirate Chang Pao-Chai (Ti Lung) springs a leak after an otherwise successful raid on a foreign ship. He goes ashore to get materials to patch his ship up, where he encounters corrupt Qing officials and poor, oppressed peasants. Being a good man at heart, he decides to help out and becomes an even bigger outlaw in the process.
Kuei Chih-hung was famous for his modern day crime thrillers, his horror flicks, and even his comedies. But if the only kung-fu film he ever made was this one, he’d still be spoken of with respect by even the most ardent martial arts movie fan. Many consider this real life martial arts champion Chen Kuan-tai’s best performance. As a deeply, even obsessively, dedicated Chief Court Constable, he illuminates the screen with fighting skill and emotional passion. Award winning actor Ku Feng is his equal, playing an especially homicidal robber-chief who thinks nothing of throwing all his men at their relentless pursuer. Lu Tsun and Huang Pei-chi choreograph the many battles featuring such action stalwarts as Pai Piao and Ai Fei.
Yueh Hua, co-star of Clan Of Amazons and Clans Of Intrigue, tears up the screen as a corrupt magistrate, so obsessed with finding a hidden treasure that he not only jails and tortures his daughter's lover, but buries his daughter alive as well! Ironically, it is in her coffin that the secret to the hidden treasure is revealed, setting off a frenzy of destruction. Kung-fu choreographers Chen Ti-ke and Hsu Hsia have their hands full with this tale of martial arts masochism.
In one of their last films, Wang Ping helped veteran Yueh Feng to finish this saga of a murdered brother, a determined sister, and the suspects and swordsmen who both hinder and help in a search for a killer. Shu Pei-pei lends her exceptional talent to the production alongside hero Yueh Hua, who is her stalwart companion in a pitched battle to rid the town of all killers, gangsters, and thieves.
A heroic tale set in the Japanese-occupied Taiwan, Flight Man centered on Yang A-pao (Wang Jung), a patriotic youngster dedicated to repel the invading Japanese troops. But when a Chinese traitor Pan Ta-chih was lecherous towards A-pao's fiancé Teng Feng (Ling Yin), A-pao murdered him in a rage and wounded the Japanese police chief. He fled to the Ma Lan Forest and fell in love with the native Yu San-mei (Ivy Ling Po), but the Japanese police was soon hot on his trails...Written and directed by Ting Shan-hsi, the film was shot on location at the exotic Taiwanese forest, and featuring screen goddess Ivy Ling Po in a breakthrough performance as an untamed aborigine.
Wei Fu is an unremarkable woodcutter. However, when psychotic marauders killed his family and abducted his sister, he goes through vigorous martial arts training with an expert swordsman in order to exact revenge on the evildoers.
Applauded director Li Han-Hsiang was one of few directors that made soft porn acceptable by mainstream audiences; using the thematic device of "sex on a mission" cynicism, suggesting that sex was the ultimate power. In the sex comedy The Scandalous Warlord, the true power that drove the country's many warlords were the prostitutes that these men would routinely visit. Therefore, the power in this film lies in the hands of the sassy Shirley Yu and the titillating Shaw Yin-Yin.
Whenever director Chang Cheh teamed up with Five Venoms, film plots were probably decided by flipping a coin - which of the fab five will play the good or bad guys, who lives or dies and which ones will do the fight. The Daredevils was just another example of Shaw Brothers’ sure fire formula to success: Venoms + Chang Cheh = maniacal frenzy x infinity. Of note, the only venom to make it in Hollywood was Kuo Chue, who choreographed the French film Brotherhood Of The Wolf and Michelle Yeoh's The Touch.
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
Besides his pioneering films based on authentic martial artistry and kung-fu comedies during the 1970's, acclaimed director Liu Chia-liang also embraced the master/pupil relationship to form the cornerstone of many of his other works where his characters exhibited physical and moral failure as a means to either "make them or break them". Besides directing MAD MONKEY KING FU, it's also Liu's debut as a lead actor playing down and out, monkey kung-fu master Chen, crippled by the ruthless villain Tuen (Shaw's penultimate bad guy Lo Lieh). Street boy Hsiao Hou (which means "little monkey" and played by popular martial arts aerialist Hsiao Hao) convinces Chen to teach him monkey kung-fu to avenge Chen's shame. The wacky training sequences and outlandish finale fight leave you stupefied.
The Emperor Qianlong is not the legitimate successor to the throne at birth, but he only learns the truth when two senior members of a subversive anti-government secret organisation contact him years later. As it happens, the chef of this organisation is Qianlong’s younger brother and they must now confront each other in opposing roles…