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Posts tagged "Gwan Jing-Leung"

Showdown at the Equator (Review)

Showdown at the Equator

aka 過江龍獨闖虎穴 aka Guo jiang long du chuang hu xue
Showdown at the Equator
1978
Written and directed by Gwan Jing-Leung

Showdown at the Equator

Trashing restaurants is soooooo boring!


It’s a kung fu cop action flick from the late 1970s, so you know it will be full screen and dubbed terribly. The characters will be wearing outfits that make fashion police commit suicide, and the plot will only occasionally make sense. Throw in scenes that are just there for excuses for more fights and characters whose names change depending on who is talking, and you got yourself a movie. Just don’t hurt yourself getting down to the funky theme song. Because it’s the only thing that’s funky.

Showdown at the Equator is about gangs that extort protection money out of small business owners, and the cops that are bringing them down. The film doesn’t bother to tell us certain characters are cops (though it’s easy to deduce), and spends a long time putting together the reason why the plan is so complicated. But Showdown at the Equator does have a more unconventional final battle sequence, the characters that end up fighting aren’t quite the matchups you think they’ll be.

Showdown at the Equator

Peter Tork!


As part of the massive deluge of kung fu films pumped out to feed the overseas demand, Showdown at the Equator packs in a lot of action, even if it doesn’t make any sense. The action it does well, the choreography pretty decent for a film obviously made in a hurry with little money for fancy rigs or setups. It’s got that small budget charm that you get from picking a random martial arts vhs from the video store (if your store was cool enough to have a martial arts section!) I enjoy these films, but I recognize what they are, that they aren’t for everyone, and that Showdown at the Equator has a lot of problems that keeps it from being a film anyone remembers anything about. Good thing I took notes!
Showdown at the Equator

Herbie, NOOOO!!!


Chen Wan Tu-Lei (Nora Miao Ke-Hsiu) – Daughter of a restaurant owner who is targeted by the extortion gangs. She knows enough martial arts thanks to her nunchucks that she can fight back some when the gang trashes their place.
Yu Wang-Yeung (Larry Lee Gam-Kwan) – A drunk that helps the Chen family rebuild their restaurant multiple times thanks to stacks of cash he has with no explanation. He’s really an undercover cop trying to bring down the gang by infiltrating it by being an awesome fighter. Of course Chen Wan falls for him.
Chen Chung (Yiu Ping) – Restaurant owner and father of Chen Wan Tu-Lei. Tries to be friendly with the extortion gang, but they trash his place regardless. Mr. Chen Chung is sometimes called Ching Chung depending on who is speaking.
Li Shung (Bruce Leung Siu-Lung) – An undercover informant for cops who is exposed halfway through the film. He barely crosses paths with Yu Wang-Yeung except during the final fight.
Steven (Lo Lieh) – The head of the gang, the cops don’t even know who he is until most of the way through the film. Despite being in charge of the gang, he overseas almost all of their illegal activities, which lets him discover when the cops are closing in.

Showdown at the Equator

How dare they think this isn’t a real stadium!


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1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gold Button (Review)

Gold Button

aka 金鈕扣

1966
Directed by Cheung Wai-Gwong
Gold Button
As the female-focused action films that later became collectively called Jane Bond films evolved, other studios quickly jumped into the action to capitalize on the Black Rose/Connie Chan mania. Besides the already reviews Dark Heroine Trilogy, another entry is Gold Button. Gold Button features mysterious star So Ching and shows off some of the James Bond spy influences that helped shape a good number of the Jane Bond films. We have such wonderful things as doomsday weapons, an all-powerful secret gang, female agents, gunfights, punching, gangs of girls in swimsuits, dozens of nameless henchmen, a masked boss of the evil gang, spy gadgets, a film named after a flower/characters named after a flower, and stolen theme music (including the James Bond theme!)
Gold Button

Things get a bit more sleazy than the female-audience targeted Connie and Josephine flicks. Fanny Fan is naked in the back, while female characters are forced to disrobe and threatened with rape, and we see undies tossed on the floor. But even the sleaze is held back, the women wear one-piece swimsuits instead of bikinis! I am not sure if Mingxing Film Company is imitating 1966’s Golden Buddha with the extra sexiness, or if these films began production before Golden Buddha and it is ramping up things for another reason. Gwan Jing-Leung did the stunt work, and Wong To produced.
Gold Button

So Ching displays not nearly as much charm as Connie Chan and Josephine Siao in her appearances in front of the camera, probably due to her not growing up while making movies like those two. But she does have that beauty contest winner appeal and serious tone (contrasted by Fanny Fan playing the sexpot here!) After making several Jane Bond type films and a few other pictures, So Ching seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth. So Ching, if you have ever returned to Earth, please let us know!
Gold Button

Fanny Fan Lai started acting in 1957 after winning that often entry point into Hong Kong cinema, a beauty contest. Acting under the name Wan Li-Hong in Shaw’s Cantonese division, she failed to achieve much success until she joined Shaw Brothers’s Mandarin division as Fanny Fan, and became a star with 1959’s The Pink Murder. She became known as a sexpot and bad girl, probably best for her role in The Golden Buddha. Her nickname was the Oriental Brigitte Bardot. She retired from film in 1969.

As you can probably guess from the craptacular images included in this review, Gold Button is not available on in any sort of format you can find acceptable. I scored this from a Hong Kong tv broadcast someone uploaded to a Chinese YouTube site, complete with the station’s squashed picture due to the widescreen not being anamorphic. The uploader took it upon himself to blur out the station logo, so the top right of the screencaps look like someone smeared vasoline all over them. There is also a small segment of the film missing, and the very small compression on YouKu means if I blew the images up any larger than I have, they’ll just look like a bunch of blurry squares. As there is little information on Gold Button out there, it is currently unknown of the three other films So Ching made that feature many of the same cast are also part of this series or their own thing. TarsTarkas.NET will let you know the second someone uploads squashed tv recordings of the film for us to gawk at and write lame jokes.
Gold Button

Miss Peony Pai No. 1 (So Ching) – Her full name mentioned in the subtitles is Miss Peony Pai No. 1. As there are other Pai No.s and other Miss Pais, I guess her real name is Peony? The character is as mysterious as anything else. Her character is engaged to Chief Lin and calls Miss Pai No. 2 her sister, though probably in a sisterhood sense and not blood sisters.
Miss Pai No. 2 (Fanny Fan Lai) – The sexpot member of the Pai crew who is kidnapped and replaced by a prototype from Mistress of 1000 Faces. Because her sexy double was sexy and sinful, Miss Pai No. 2’s character doesn’t live to the end of the film.
Chief Lin Wen-Tsu (Wu Fung) – The Interpol Chief ho just can’t seem to catch those rascally Devils Gang members. Luckily, he’s engaged to one of the hot spy babes his unit outsources, which is totally not a conflict of interest that should be investigated by higherups at Interpol. Actor Bowie Wu Fung was a leading man for decades in Cantonese film, and has popped up in Lady Black Cat and The Red Wolf
Yim Lam (Seung-Goon Yuk) – Interpol doesn’t outsource all their female talent, and officer Yim Lam is competent and confident enough to save the day and catch Interpol traitors.
Assistant Chief (Roy Chiao Hung) – I’m sure this guy is an honest cop and is in no way evil… Roy Chaio Hung also shows up in The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa
Devils Gang Boss (It is a mystery…) – The villainous boss of the Devils Gang, who doesn’t get a cool name. He does get a cool costume, which looks like they stole it from a local high school band, gave him a cape and eyeless ski mask.
No. 2 (Fung Ngai) – Fung Ngai shows up again in a film as a villain’s henchman, like he did in Spy With My Face. He does get to lead for once in Lady in Black Cracks the Gates of Hell

Gold Button
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1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 4, 2012 at 3:08 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Golden Skeleton (Review)

Golden Skeleton

aka Jin ku lou aka 金骷髏

1967
Written and directed by Wong Fung
Golden Skeleton
Josephine Siao Fong-Fong kicks butt in this crazy awesome groovy 60s spy conspiracy Jane Bondish thriller! Despite a slow start and a confusing last minute, Golden Skeleton has become one of my favorite female spy films because the villains are just so weird. The leader Golden Skeleton is a guy in a gold skull mask, his henchmen have space cadet uniforms and masks, and Golden Skeleton is seldom seen without a pair of babes in midriff-baring hot pink catsuits flanking him. Just what evil is Golden Skeleton up to? Does it matter? What matters is cool things happen. Just go with it and enjoy the spectacle. We don’t need no stinking subtitles. Okay, fine, I did a bit of Googlin’ and found some plot points not explained by watching and making up things.
Golden Skeleton
Director and writer Wong Fung helmed 88 films, including How The Ape Girl Stole The Lotus Lamp, Blonde Hair Monster, Midnight Were-wolf, The Lady Killer, Blue Falcon, and a whole host of the Wong Fei Hung films (which he wrote even more installments than he directed!) Born in 1923 in Guangxi, he began writing films in 1950, and directing in 1959. Wong Fung joined Shaw Brothers in 1973, and retired in 1980. He passed on sometime in the 1990s. The cinematography was done by Lee Maan-Git, who also worked on Bruce Li in New Guinea.
Golden Skeleton
The soundtrack is 100% jazzy jazz. It is interesting how the all jazz soundtrack makes everything seem cooler and cooler. I should use jazzy jazz to soundtrack my life, then I’ll live in a constant cool high that will come crashing down around me when my iPod runs out of batteries. Hopefully I won’t be near any tall buildings to hurl myself off of! Just kidding, I’d totally kill myself by feeding myself to lions at the zoo, not tall buildings.
Golden Skeleton

Pink Bomb aka Agent SAA9 (Josephine Siao Fong-Fong) – The secret agent on the case against Golden Skeleton and his goons. She’s relucently forced to accept help from Agent Guy SAA6 under her boss’s orders. Spends as much time fending off his clumsy advances as she does kicking the butts of Golden Skeleton’s goons. Pink Bomb’s real name is Jenny Lin. See more Josephine Siao in How the Ape Girl Stole the Lotus Lamp and The Furious Buddha’s Palm.
Agent Guy aka SAA6 (Cheung Ying-Tsoi) – Agent Guy is our James Bond wannabe. He spends most of the film clumsily trying to seduce everything he meets. Sometimes he almost makes it! He’s also bumbles away from attempt after attempt on his life, having the luck of fools. You cannot stop Agent Guy, because he’ll trip over his own shoelace and find a code to save the world.
Chen Ho aka Agent SAA10 (Gwan Jing-Leung) – Agent SAA10 is also on the case, even though he seems to be more of a third wheel who can’t save the day himself. But he’s good to have along to absorb blows until Pink Bomb gets around to punching out the guy he’s fighting. Gwan Jing-Leung is a former Peking Opera actor (he trained under Yu Jim-yuen, father of Yu So-Chau and trainer of the Seven Fortunes (Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and all them.)) Golden Skeleton was the first film produced by Gwan Jing-Leung, who also did the fight choreography. He produced a few more films before focusing on stunt work.
Agent SAA5 (Go Fung) – It’s yet another agent! This guy is totally not suspicious at all…
Golden Skeleton (It is a mystery!) – Who could the mysterious Golden Skeleton be? He runs a giant criminal conspiracy that does…something. And he has lots of people in high places at secret agencies, because he has people everywhere! Golden Skeleton knows that having his followers dressed in ridiculous outfits is the way to go, along with having hot babes standing beside you. This is real supervillainry, folks!

Golden Skeleton
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2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,