Royals Maggie Cheung and Kenny Bee (Shanghai Blues) are in trouble, pursued through the bamboo forest by enemies sent by throne-stealer The 14th Prince, until whale(!) warrior Andy Lau helps them out. They visit the Lord of Lanling for advice and pick up his daughter Anita “Moony” Mui. But the wicked prince (Kelvin Wong of Supercop the same year) has a spy in Maggie Cheung, who attacks our heroes in a black disguise. Things settle down, Andy goes home and the 13th Prince is set to marry Moony, when baddies attack Andy’s village and murder babies, and Maggie double-crosses 14th and he kills her in front of the others. This is all too much violence to stand, so Andy’s orca Sea-Wayne whups 14th’s fuckin’ face, then the tomb of the ancestors smooshes his head in. Almost everyone dies, but Andy and his whale are okay, so there really should’ve been a sequel.
Imprisoned bad guy Mak Kwan (Francis Ng of The Mission) gets sprung by his gang, so the Mad Detective (Lau Ching-wan) follows the baddie’s girl (Amanda Lee of Human Pork Chop), correctly thinking they’ll connect, while the escapee plots a big heist of a racetrack vault.
The gang watching their bomb trap go boom:
Pretty good cops-n-robbers movie, in which almost everybody involved gets killed horribly. People love Ringo Lam, but I dunno. Sean Gilman’s letterboxd at least gives you something to think about, calling this movie The End of Hong Kong:
Sure the genre, and Hong Kong, goes on. But everything that follows, your Johnnie Tos and Andrew Laus and so on, is different. Less immediate, less solid. A level removed from what was. Films about films or ideas or ideas of films.
Mak Kwan’s great success, with a few minutes to live:
Romancing in Thin Air / Blind Detective star Sammi Cheng was married to a rich guy for only a week when he died suddenly. Now she’s living in his giant house, to the chagrin of his surviving family and his loyal ex. Sammi can also see ghosts, specifically Mad Detective Ken, who keeps hanging around. Sammi’s sister-in-law (Tina the Throw Down girl) tries hooking her up with Lok from Election, and Sammi’s dad Lam Suet tries buying the ghost a wife to make him go away. A bit of zaniness, also the most emotional movie I’ve seen this year.
Some of the most daredevil action ever filmed, with the all-time flimsiest setup (the cops say drug smuggling is out of hand, requiring some kind of “super cop,” so Jackie Chan is called in). Maggie is left behind to be annoying alone, while Jackie springs a criminal from prison to gain his trust, then Michelle Yeoh pretends to be Jackie’s sister and saves their asses when they get busted while undercover. It’s a 1992 action movie, which means there are bazookas, and really too many things get blown up. But damn, Yeoh jumps a motorcycle onto a moving train.
My first Plazadrome movie! Very sorry that it’s taken so long, but this was fun. Apparently a teen-energy youth-in-revolt movie where striking-looking high-energy kids take the city by storm, but it’s got more serious problems on its mind and finally everyone ends up dead or missing. I only knew Fruit Chan from Dumplings, though we considered a screening of Three Husbands while we were visiting HK.
So many Chinese traditions I didn’t know, like virgin boob-sweat tea.
Blunt ghost movie, no tiptoeing around – very good, sharp and funny with some wicked dialogue.
Good movie, from the shockingly great opening synth theme song on.
Works fine as a hangout film of Johnnie regulars, and there are plenty of shots like this:
Assassination attempts go badly, double-crosses and twists, but it never feels plotty. The guys I didn’t recognize were Francis Ng (Exiled) and Jackie Lui Chung-Yin (horrors Snake Charmer and Wife From Hell).
I just sat back and took this one in. Took no notes, no screenshots.
Good movie, can’t remember much except that Sammo Hung plays one of the rival soldiers at the beginning, then reappears later as the powerful wizard LONG BROWS.
Rough going for the first half hour. Opens in a church, already a bad sign. White-haired Anke has just retired, calls her kids, a crappy phone call in a lovely town. Her pink-haired daughter spends time with her, going through photographs, reminiscing about when dad was alive, but her depressed son is stuck in Hong Kong because of the protests. The movie seems to be avoiding sync sound, feels remote. Just when I was ready to pull the plug, Anke flies to HK to visit him, and everything picks up – a German woman leaving her hostel and wandering into the umbrella protests is inherently more interesting than being sad at home.
So it’s one of those movies where a troubled person goes on a trip to someplace new, meets a bunch of friendly people who each reflect some part of the lead’s own life/journey. She never locates her son (her actual son is the director), but she does tai chi in the park with his doorman, the camera following their hands. Wow, a Brian Eno score, and last night’s movie was Jim O’Rourke, I’m hitting the modern composer/rocker jackpot. A couple nights later we watched Taming the Garden, which also could’ve been called Wood and Water.