Posts tagged "Moon Lee Choi-Fung"

Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain

Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain

aka 新蜀山劍俠 aka Xin shu shan jian ke
Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
1983
Written by Shui Chung-Yuet and Sze-To Cheuk-Hon
Directed by Tsui Hark

Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
My life having gone through the binge period of renting blurry Hong Kong VHS second generation dubs with hard to read subtitles from locally owned video stores in the 90s, Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain is one of those films that unleashes giant waves of nostalgia. Despite the bad conditions it was being viewed under, the energy and effects magics caused it to rise above the masses. I’ve since seen it on first generation VHS, vcd, and DVD, each time being a fun experience as an idealistic young fighter is caught in the world of wuxia masters, who turn out to have just as many problems as the normal folk (only their problems are a million times more dangerous!) With Tsui Hark’s direction (and choreography work done by Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Biao, Fung Hak-On, and Mang Hoi), Zu is visually distinctive. The choreography and effects jumpstarted the look of modern Hong Kong film from the 1980s, while the color and humorous tone helped distinguish it from the Shaw Brothers films that it often shared rental store space with.

The effects look a bit dated now, flying people on obvious wires, old school makeup effects, and cartoon lasers zapping around. But a lot of the practical effects still look nice, and the pulsating monster seems more dangerous as a jiggling puppet than it would as just a bunch of lifeless CGI. The effects were pushed to show that Hong Kong could produce films on par with Star Wars and other early 80s effects-laden films from Hollywood. While I don’t think they quite match the talent, much is accomplished on what is obviously an insanely smaller budget (and Hong Kong effects would develop much further thanks to experience from producing films like this one!)
Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
Despite the effects, much of the film is character driven. Dik Ming Kei’s endless idealism, Ding Yan’s tough exterior hiding a lonesome and good man, Yat Jan being a royal screw up, and the Ice Queen being the total opposite of her name when it comes to Ding Yan. It’s Moon Lee’s first major role, she would go on to be a major player in the Girls with Guns films of the late 80s/early 90s. Brigitte Lin began her domination as a martial arts queen that would ripen with Swordsman II and The Bride with White Hair.

The energy of Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain is infectious, it covers so much that we’re sprinting from concept to concept. Despite that, the basic story is simple to follow. They even stop to remind everyone that it is just good vs. evil!
Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain

Dik Ming Kei (Yuen Biao) – A former scout turned man fed up with war, who then gets entangled in drama in the martial world. He will become involved on a quest to literally save the planet. Through it all, his optimism and hope for the future becomes almost as powerful a weapon as the martial art skills he learns along the way.
Ding Yan (Adam Cheng Siu-Chow) – Ding Yan of Nam-Hoi, a lone martial fighter who fights against evil and lives a solitary life. Ding Yan is proud and stern, but he’s also loyal to his friends.
Yat Jan (Mang Hoi) – The student of Hiu Yu, a goofy klutz who doesn’t feel he is worthy to carry on the legacy of the Kwan-Leung school. Needs a healthy dose of confidence. Wears a turtle shell on his back.
Hiu Yu (Norman Chu Siu-Keung) – Leader of Kwan-Leun school and trains his student, Yat Jan. Is called Heaven’s Blade. Poisoned early in the film, requiring the help of the Ice Queen.
Ice Queen (Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia) – the Lady lives in her secluded palace and has the power to heal those injured by supernatural means. But it also costs her much energy to heal them, and she usually decides to heal or not to heal based on fate, things ouside her control. Her isolation is argued to cause her to be cold, but she does have humanity in her (as evidenced by her interactions with Ding Yan)
Ice Queen’s Guard (Moon Lee Choi-Fung) – One of the guards of Ice Queen’s palace, she is tricked by Dik Ming Kei and Hiu Yu when they embarass her to try to get past. She gets revenge on them by embarrassing them much more, and is the only member of Ice Queen’s crew to escape her palace. She joins the heroes on their quest as she has nowhere else to go.
Chang Mei (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) – Founder of Ngo-Mei School and fighter against evil. He holds the big villain at bay for 49 days with only a mirror and his eyebrows, surviving only with the hope the dopey goofs he sent on the quest to save the planet actually get their act together.

Zu Warriors From Magic Mountain
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm

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Angel Force

Angel Force

aka 天使特警 aka Tian shi te jing

1991
Written by Johnny Lee Gwing-Gaai
Directed by Hua Shan

Angel Force
Angel Force gives us what we want, tons and tons of action. Sure, there’s a plot in there, a half-baked rescue mission in the jungle that for some reason is done by cops, and some corrupt cops angle, but mostly it is just tons and tons of action. Shooting, kicking, knifing, punching, ridiculous stunts…Hong Kong action at its finest. These are the types of videos guys like me seeked out like crack at rental stores because nothing like this was coming out of US studios. Angel Force just brings back so many memories of renting anything I could from the woefully undersupplied Foreign section of the local video stores, at least until I got to a town with an awesome video store, and then the rise of cheap DVDs.
Angel Force
One thing about Angel Force is the film randomly leaves the Hong Kong cop setting for the middle of the film to do a jungle commando rescue mission, a la the beginning of Predator. This sets Angel Force enough different from the competition without it becoming one of several jungle commando pictures that were also out at the time. I do love all these girls with guns flicks, the danger is with most having similar plots and featuring the same core of actresses, without ridiculous stunts the films will begin to blur. So anything that helps a picture stand out is good in my book.
Angel Force

May (Moon Lee Choi-Fung) – Cop who is sent to the jungle to take down a terorist general and rescue hostages, because you want cops doing that, not the army. Even though she brings army guys. Moon Lee can also be seen in Angels, Fatal Termination, and Tomb Raiders/Avenging Quartet
Peter Lung and Helen Lung (Wilson Lam Jun-Yin and ???) – Peter is a hardworking cop who keeps getting called back to work and thus having no time for vacations, which upsets his wife Helen. Peter gets shot halfway through the movie and misses out on the jungle battle. Their son is Yaya, who gets giant ninja turtle toy and quizzes everyone on what “make love” is.
Benny (Hugo Ng Doi-Yung) – Crazy guy brought in on the commando team because he’s awesome at commando stuff. But he’s also a jerk and likes to rape women, so up yours, Benny!

Angel Force
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

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

Angels (Review)

Angels

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

1987
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.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

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Fatal Termination (Review)

Fatal Termination

aka Chi se da feng bao

1990
Directed by Andrew Kam

This movie has the scene. What scene? If you’ve seen Fatal Termination, you know what scene I am talking about. If you haven’t, just look at the screencaps littering this review, or watch the movie clip. We have a young girl dangled out of a car window at high speeds. No special effects, no blue screens, no CGI, it’s 100% real. That scene. What would normally just be a random Hong Kong action film with a slight Girls with Guns vibe (solely because of Moon Lee, who doesn’t do much fighting until that scene) instead becomes a memorable experience just for the shock of wondering if they could do that. They could, they did, and now we can enjoy! So enjoy! Or I’ll dangle your daughter out a window like I’m Michael Jackson. So read on…

John (Ray Lui Leung-Wai) – Husband of Moon, head of security at the airport, father of Yan Yan and tries to get to the bottom of the weapons smuggling mess.
Moon (Moon Lee Choi-Fung) – Wife of John and one of his security team members. Is a faithful mother to the point of jumping onto a moving car, punching through the windshield, and yanking out passengers to save her daughter. See Moon Lee here also in Tomb Raiders.
Officer Wai Loong (Robin Shou Wan-Bo) – Custom official who is on the take, to the point where he begins playing both sides and getting deeper and deeper into a pit. Goes into mortal combat with the heroes as they uncover his layers of lies.
Jimmy Li (Simon Yam Tat-Wah) – a cop from Political Division, which must be a division of Police Squad considering how much they blow solving the case here and getting lots of people killed. Jimmy Li’s white boss keeps thinking he’s a loose cannon who doesn’t play by the rules, but as people die no matter how much by the rules he plays who really cares? He likes wearing gigantic sunglasses, which must have been in at the time in Hong Kong. Simon Yam is in dozens of Hong Kong action films, and has been seen here in Future Cops.
Ko Mok-Fu (Phillip Ko Fei) – The criminal mastermind setting up a weapons theft and delivery to a rival Muslim faction, but gets double and triple crossed by Officer Wai Loong. Ends up in a final battle with Officer Wai and hero cop John. Phillip Ko was also a producer of this movie, as well as starring in many other cheap action films at the time, like Angel Enforcers and Deadly Target.
Mr. Lau (Lau Dan) – Pipe-smoking partner of Jimmy Li, Political Division. More soft-spoken and diplomatic, worried about eating, and doesn’t pay attention when someone breaks into the hotel room to kill him. Oops!
Officer Miu Chun-Fan (Kiu Wai Miu) – Moon’s brother, framed for stealing the weapons and is dropped off a building by Ko Mok-Fu when Miu gets evidence that Officer Wai was responsible for the weapons theft. Kiu Wai Miu starred in Centipede Horror and several of the Lucky Star films.
Yan Yan (Chan Cheuk-Yan) – Daughter of Moon and John, likes ballet, hanging out car windows, and getting shot.
Billy (Cheung Kwok-Leung) – Protégé of Officer Mui, but joins in Officer Wai’s evil plot. Later regrets it and helps John uncover the truth until he gets blown up by Ko Mok-Fu. Cheung Kwok-Leung stars in a film called The Mystery of the Big Boobs which I need to locate immediately…
Wrestler Goon (Mike Abbott) – Rarh! Bonesaw will smash you scrawny weaklings! Snap into a Slim Jim and dangle your Asian children out windows, because YOU WILL BE DESTROYED!! The Title Belt is mine! Bonesaw!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

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Tomb Raiders (Review)

Tomb Raiders

aka Ba hai hong ying aka Avenging Quartet

1992
Starring
Cynthia Khan (Cynthia Luster) as Lisa
Yukari Oshima as Shoko
Moon Lee as Moon Lee
Michiko Nishiwaki as The Sister-in-law

This is called Tomb Raiders, despite the complete lack of tombs, lack of raiding, and lack of Lara Croft or Angelina Jolie. Any of those things would have helped this movie. In fact, Tomb Raiders is just a title repackage, as this was released under the name Avenging Quartet before, though that name is also misleading, as the women are not on the same side, and only two of them can be counted as avenging anything. At least they didn’t go with another Charlie’s Angels ripoff title, like many other movies some of these girls starred in.



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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 27, 2005 at 4:04 am

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