Tag Archives: Elaine Lui Siu-Ling

The Bride with White Hair

The Bride with White Hair

The Bride with White Hair

aka 白髮魔女傳 aka Bai fa mo nu zhuan
The Bride with White Hair
Written by Elsa Tang Bik-Yin, Lam Kee-To, David Wu Dai-Wai, and Ronny Yu Yan-Tai
Directed by Ronny Yu Yan-Tai

The Bride with White Hair
The Bride With White Hair films are classic wuxia tales from an era when Hong Kong cinema was undergoing its latest periodic resurgence. They’re one of a pack of films that helped hook people like me into becoming Hong Kong cinema fans for life, and Part 1 is one of the best films from 90s Hong Kong period. The frenetic pace, heartfelt romance, and sorrowful endings propel it to the top. The sequel picks up a lot of the story threads but goes in its own direction (and will be discussed in its own review), but is necessary to see the conclusion of the tale begun in The Bride With White Hair.

Lien Ni Chang and the rest of the characters originated in the serialized wuxia novel 白髮魔女傳 (Baifa Monü Zhuan) by Liang Yusheng (published between 1957-58). Each filmed version of the tale borrows different elements from the source, using it to tell their own tale. While Pearl Cheung Ling’s Wolf Devil Woman goes in the direction of energetic insanity to create a tale of revenge, The Bride With White Hair films go with a love story with an ultimately tragic ending (though still romantic.) I have not seen the 1950s Cantonese version (the three parts of which may or may not still even exist!) The character surfaced again in The Forbidden Kingdom, has been the subject of several television serials, and will be getting a new big budget film version in 2014 (which will hopefully break the trend of big budget Chinese cinema being boring and empty despite the effects!)
The Bride with White Hair
The story of the Bride with White Hair is famous enough that images of a man-hating white haired woman, with her prehensile hair used as a weapon, has become an iconic imagery in wuxia. The original stories contain all sorts of clan intrigue, palace conspiracies, regicides, and bandits with a mix of historical and jianghu characters. The simplification of the tale to turn it into a passable movie is understandable, though I’m sure there are purists upset that yet another adaptation isn’t true enough to the original tale. Every version of the tale I have seen has strayed drastically from the source, using it as a springboard to tell their own interpretation based on what elements stood out to them. Ronny Yu Yan-Tai saw is as a tragic romance, and the two films are united by their shared love dynamic.

The Bride With White Hair is packed with great action sequences, with plenty of wirework and sword battles. The set design in particular is well done, the madness of the Supreme Cult displayed by the decoration of the headquarters and the writhing and dancing pandemonium that mirrors the extremeness of the twin Chi Wu Shuang. Chi Wu Shuang are presented at times in extreme angles and odd closeups, while their makeup and costumes enhance their feeling of wrongness. It is no mistake the villains are so beyond evil, without their influence, Lien Ni Chang would lose sympathy upon her transformation and eventual turn as villain in the sequel.
The Bride with White Hair
The love tale begins after it ends (or at least as it ends at the end of this film), with Cho Yi Hang guarding the magic flower as he waits a decade for it to bloom, in the midst of a never-ending blizzard atop a mountain. A group of soldiers working for the Emperor arrive, demanding the flower to save the Emperor himself. Cho kills them all, and the leader’s dying breath asks who could be more important than the emperor.

Cho narrates that he has a woman in his heart, and the film drifts into a the flashback…

Cho Yi Hang (Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing) – The proud chosen successor to the leadership of Wu Tang Clan, Cho Yi Hang is almost too righteous, causing trouble with his acts to protect the weak. He grows disillusioned with the politics of governments and martial clans, and meeting Lien gives him the excuse he needs to run off. But fate does not have that future in store for him.
Lien Ni Chang (Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia) – An orphan raised by wolves, and then adopted into an evil cult where Lien was trained as their best killer. She was never given a name until Cho Yi Hang. His betrayal of her trust causes her to completely flip out.
Chi Wu Shuang (Francis Ng Chun-Yu) – Lord of the Supreme Cult. Part of a conjoined twin pair with his sister, who mocks everything he does in her fits of hysteria. The male Chi Wu Shuang enjoys slaughter, and aspires to be a grand mastermind. But none of his plans and schemes have won him the heart of the wolf girl, who he adopted as a child and raised to be a killer.
Chi Wu Shuang (Elaine Lui Siu-Ling) – Sister pair of the Lord of the Supreme Cult. While her brother takes on more of a leadership aura, the female Chi Wu Shuang is more mad, finding everything darkly amusing and not hesitating to cut anyone down with insults, even her favorite target, her brother. The manic insanity is an outstanding performance. Elaine Lui Siu-Ling starred in several of the girls with guns films, including the breakthrough that launched the imitators, Angels

The Bride with White Hair
Continue reading


Angels (Review)


aka Tian shi xing dong aka Fighting Madam aka Iron Angels aka Midnight Angels

Directed by Raymond Leung Pun-Hei, Tony Leung Siu-Hung, and Ivan Lai Gai-Ming
Written by Teresa Woo

Angels has quite a laundry list of names. It is known in the UK as Iron Angels (as are the sequels), and the UK suffers from having a cut version of the film. Other names it has been released as include Fighting Madam, Midnight Angels, and the singular Angel.

Angels stands out from many of it’s imitators in several ways. One of the most noticeable is the fun montages set to music, complete with a bunch of quick cuts, that instantly introduce us to characters and tones. Moon Lee’s first appearance in the office is spectacular, showing her attempts to have fun and fit in with the office and work, but she still has to deal with an awful boss and is so eager to run off to shoot people she can’t wait. But those sequences aren’t as common as they should be, and with three directors running around, the film can’t become as good as it should be. That doesn’t mean it is bad or boring, just that there are brief moments of brilliance that are stifled by above averageness. If I could harness the power of wasted potential in the movies I watch, the world would never want for energy.

We know Yukari Oshima’s Madam Sue is evil because she’ll kill her coworkers to prove her point, and even kills her boss after he keeps her from getting her vision of revenge against the police force. Madam Sue laughs hysterically as cops are tortured in front of her, stopping only to lick off some blood that splatters on her. She’s having fun being the top dog of the underworld, switching cars, mocking the police who are chasing after her, even being sexually aggressive towards the DEA Agent Bill. Yukari is rarely presented as sexual in her films, and here she’s in a bathing suit, is sexually aggressive, and even has some body double nudity. Oshima embraces this role fully, and it’s among her best roles. It is a rare villain indeed that can keep up with just how evil and amoral she is.

So this version of Angels is a composite widescreen made from two different versions of the films, one edited for violence and one edited for nudity. So our copy is edited for nothing! The only drawback is it is still dubbed into English. But when a composite copy of Angels mysteriously ends up in your hands due to magic grouch fairies, you don’t look them in the mouth.

Kenji (Saijo Hideki) – Angel #1. Kenji lives in Japan and teaches martial arts when he isn’t working for the Iron Angels. Alex is his name in subtitle land.
Mona (Moon Lee Choi-Fung) – Angel #2. Mona is a bored office worker who would rather be taking down bad guys. Luckily, she works for the Iron Angels so she gets her wish! Moon is her name in subtitle land. Moon Lee can also be seen in Fatal Termination and Tomb Raiders/Avenging Quartet
Helen (Elaine Lui Siu-Ling) – Angel #3. Helen is very man hungry and must flirt with anything with a Y-chromosome near her. She works best being the center of attention and distracting the enemy, but isn’t afraid to go in with guns blazing. Helen’s dubby is a voice you probably will recognize in many Kung Fu films and from Pod People Elaine is her name in subtitle land. Elaine Lui also shows up in Red Wolf as a terrorist, but she was not very comfortable with all the action roles she kept getting as a result of this film.
John King (David Chiang Da-Wei) – Head of the Iron Angels, so I guess he’s like Charlie. Not afraid to join in on some of the smaller action like meeting with gang leaders, but usually is back at the base controlling things. Additional Iron Angels team members include driver Ha-Cheng and secretary Kitty. John Keung is his name in subtitle land.
Bill Fong DEA (Alex Fong Chung-Sun) – DEA agent who hires the Iron Angels to help the Hong Kong police and also help keep down the drug trade. Has an adversarial relationship with Helen despite both of them secretly having feelings for each other. Likes to hide weapons and gadgets in his shoes.
Madam Sue (Yukari Oshima) – Evil evil evil evil evil. Yukari Oshima gives the performance of her career in an awesome, over the top and then some evil gang leader who laughs her way through revenge, torture, murder, and theft of anyone and anything that gets in her way. Eventually her gang is brought down by the Iron Angels, because, why not? Madame Yeung is her name in subtitle land. Yukari Oshima is also on TarsTarkas.NET in Tomb Raiders/Avenging Quartet, Angel’s Mission, Deadly Target, Godfather’s Daughter, and Midnight Angel.

Continue reading

Red Wolf

The Red Wolf (Review)

The Red Wolf

aka Hu meng wei long

Christy Chung (!!) as Lai
Kenny Ho as Alan
Elaine Lui as Elaine
Directed by Yuen Woo Ping !!

Die Hard on a boat done Hong Kong style. Done better with Under Siege, but at least this film has Yuen Woo Ping directing, one of the best action choreographers to ever live. So the fight scenes are well-choreographed crap. And it’s got some nice eye candy with Christy Chung playing a waitress/pickpocket. That more than makes up for the rest of this mess. Yes, it’s a mess. If you’re gonna go Die Hard on a boat, you gotta have the Segal. The plot is pretty straightforward, terrorists, hijackings, we’ve all seen it a thousand times before.

Continue reading