Posts tagged "Stanley Fung Sui-Fan"

Shy Spirit (Review)

Shy Spirit

aka 九月初九之重見天日 aka Shyly Spirit aka Pa xiu gui
Shy Spirit
1991
Written by Jeng Man-Wa
Directed by Chong Yan-Gin

Shy Spirit
Shy Spirit is about one thing, which is a nude ghost girl. The film then sets up a nice and ridiculous scenario to get the nude ghost girl, who is nude far less than you would expect for this being a movie about a nude ghost girl. Despite the nude ghost girl being the draw, Shy Spirit is not one of those smutty Cat III ghost films. Though it’s a spooky comedy, like many Hong Kong films the tone will jump around, daring to become suddenly serious or becoming a well-choreographed action film before jerking right back to the comedy.

Shy Spirit also isn’t very good. It takes too long to set up the complicated plot, which then rambles around a while. Large portions of the film focus on Long-Life like he’s supposed to be the hero, even though he does all sorts of bad things like inadvertently kill Hsio, turning her into the “shy spirit” of the title. Sing ends up becoming the hero, though he
Shy Spirit
Shy Spirit features rival families and innocent people who are caught in the crossfire. The Wang family and the Ko family are rivals, dating back to when both patriarchs were chasing after the same girl as youth, Mrs. Hu. She ended up choosing neither of those idiots, instead picking a sickly guy. All three families have kids at the same time, Mr. Wang celebrates the birth of his son Sing, Mr. Ko celebrates the birth of his son Long-Life, and Mrs. Hu celebrates the birth of her daughter, Hsio. This means another generation of the rivalry. Not only that, but it’s time to tell the fortunes of the three babies, thanks to a traveling priest and his hopping assistant. The priest is Lam Ching-Ying essentially playing his one-eyebrow priest character from the Mr. Vampire movies, and the fortune for Long-Life is more of a misfortune – he’ll age rapidly and probably die at age 23. But if he doesn’t, he’ll live a long life. Also he’ll be weak during the full moon. Does that make him a were-weakling? Strangely, he gets the bad fortune, even though other bad stuff happens.
Shy Spirit
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 23, 2015 at 7:58 am

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Tai Chi Zero

Tai Chi Zero

aka 太極1從零開始 aka Tai Chi 0

2012
Written by Chang Chia-Lu and Cheng Hsiao-Tse
Directed by Stephen Fung Tak-Lun

Tai Chi Zero
Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne are back, but darker and edgier!

A festive feast of visual excess that leaves you unsatisfied and full of regret, Tai Chi Zero is that mirage in the desert that looks good, but is nothing but sand when you get up close. The fun graphics and video game inspired editing are polish over a generic and predictable plot that doesn’t even do us the favor of trying to be creative. All the enthusiasm and cool effects are wasted, and that just makes me mad!

Now, I love cool looking visuals and razzmatazz editing. But you need something beneath that that’s just as creative. When the story is essentially something that has been done to death a thousand times, often more creatively, it’s just not exciting. The cast, the look, the effects, the wasted potential.

Tai Chi Zero
Chef Emeril Lagasse?

The main hero’s arc tale is set against a conflict that is essentially the modern West vs. the traditional East. Of course, tradition and kung fu wins out over technology and guns. One of the ways to get your film easily approved by Chinese censors is to make it about how awesome China is, so a lot like this is an easy pass. Creative films use that “China rules!” setting to say other things that censors are too dull to pick up on. Instead, Tai Chi Zero has characters saying how technology is bad in scenes with video game graphics and editing. It’s almost as if there is something else being said, but there isn’t. This expectation and disappointment exposes Tai Chi Zero as nothing more than a mannequin that can’t talk or move, but sure is wearing a pretty dress in the store display window. But it has encouraged me to go find some real people in real clothes, aka good movies. The East vs. West thing is even more hilarious because I can literally walk to the high school producer Daniel Wu went to school at here in America.

Tai Chi Zero
It’s the cover of one of those cheap shot on video horror films!

The action scenes I have little complaint with. The diagrams and arrows while the characters go through their stances were neat touches, and Sammo Hung and Andy Cheng Kai-Chung know what they’re doing to make things looks cool. The video game stylizing is incorporated into the choreography, which makes many scenes look like they are straight from a fighting arcade game. When each cast member first shows up, there are character cards for each of them as well as a brief one sentence bio. Besides looking cool, the biographies are good for beginners to Hong Kong/Chinese cinema, and good for those of us who don’t keep up with wushu stars who are making their first appearance in film.

Tai Chi Zero
SURRENDER HUMANS! TODAY THE MACHINES RISE!

Tai Chi Zero‘s tale is your normal hero’s arc story. Yang Lu Chan is The Freak, born with a super rare skin tag on his forehead which means he has super kung fu powers. Which is good, because he doesn’t have super brain powers. Discovered at a young age by a master, Yang Lu Chan is trained as a warrior and becomes his greatest fighter in the battles that come. But a chance encounter with Master Dong clues Yang Lu Chan in that his kung fu skills will prematurely kill him unless he learns negative kung fu, which is only taught in Chen Village, and then not to outsiders.

Yang Lu Chan/The Freak (Jayden Yuan Xiao-Chao) – A fictionalized version of real a tai chi master and teacher, Yuan Xiao-Chao is depicted as a martial arts prodigy with a growth on his forehead – the three crown blossoms – that gives him supernatural powers when smacked. It also will kill him if he doesn’t learn the style of kung fu taught in Chen Village. So he goes to learn. Is not very bright.
Chen Yu Niang (AngelaBaby) – Daughter of Master Chen, leader of the Chen School. She and her boyfriend Fang Zijing are trying to persuade Chen Village to accept the rail station that is planned to be built there. Until Fang Zijing goes bad and rejects her, then she tries to save her home from his plans.
The Old Labourer/Chen Chang Xing (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) – Gee, could this mysterious Yoda character secretly be Master Chen Chang Xing? Duh Doy! Of course, he’s just using Yang Lu Chan to save his village, but eventually is less manipulatively evil about it when the crap hits the fan. Is also a fictionalized version of a real person.
Fang Zijing (Eddie Peng Yu-Yan) – Chinese citizen educated overseas in England, who tries to bring modern technology back to the scoffing villagers. Is never accepted in Chen village and eventually rejects it in favor of not looking like a failure in front of the Emperor. Brings the giant steam machine to forcibly build the rails and reconnects with his overseas lover Claire Heathrow.
Claire Heathrow (Mandy Lieu) – Fang Zijing’s sweetheart from England who has come over as part of the East India company to lay tracks, and also to come with Fang.
Tai Chi Zero
I hate it when my steam-powered superweapon is infested with lady ninjas!t

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm

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

I Love Hong Kong

I Love Hong Kong

aka Ngo oi Heung Gong: Hoi sum man seoi aka 我愛香港

2011
Directed by Chung Shu-Kai and Eric Tsang Chi-Wai
I Love Hong Kong
I Love Hong Kong is another Shaw/TVB backed Lunar New Year comedy coming on the heals of 2010’s 72 Tenants of Prosperity. It is also deeply tied to Hong Kong nostalgia, and growing up in Hong Kong. Thus, a lot of the charm of the film does not translate well to overseas markets. And while parts of the film are funny and interesting, it feels like you are at your roommate’s family reunion. This isn’t to say that I Love Hong Kong is a bad film, but if you didn’t spend time living in Hong Kong, it is probably impossible to fully appreciate it. And I say that as someone who’s never lived in Hong Kong.
I Love Hong Kong
During the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, it has become tradition for the studios to release comedy films. And that tradition dates back to 1937’s Bloom and Prosper, a film that doesn’t exist any more. Lunar New Year’s films generally have huge casts bursting to the brims with everyone famous they can cram in, wacky plots, romance, and lampooning cultural targets. And while the modern age may have lessened the impact of the box office, the tradition is alive and well. Besides starring a whole host of people, I Love Hong Kong has two directors, three script writers (Chung Shu-Kai, Heiward Mak Hei-Yan, Wong Yeung-Tat), and is based on an original story by 8 people (Eric Tsang, Chung Shu Kai, Heiward Mak, Wong Yeung Tat, Manho Mok, Chan Cheuk Wah, Ming Wong, and Louis Ng)! That’s almost as many people as who write the average terrible Hollywood blockbuster. Some of the cameos include Tenky Tin Kai-Man, Michelle Lo Mik-Suet, and even Maggie Cheung!

The theme song repeats the “I Love Hong Kong” phrase a lot, and by the end of the song you are reassured that everyone on the planet loves Hong Kong. So get with the program! There are several other songs in the films, usually during flashback sequences, and they are classic songs well enough known that my wife was singing along.
I Love Hong Kong

Ng Shun (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) – The former owner of a toy factory out of work when the factory is forced to close. Moves his whole family (illegally) into his father’s apartment, where he grew up, and reconnects with the residents he left behind. played by Bosco Wong in flashbacks.
Shun So (Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu) – Forced to take an old job at a beautician’s office, but is treated like crap by her former coworker and friend. In another hilarious scene, she acts as a stunt double for a tv series. Her youngest daughter is Ng King (Chan Wing Lam). Sandra Ng is also in Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, The Eight Hilarious Gods, and Beauty on Duty.
Ng Tung (Stanley Fung Sui-Fan) – Shun’s dad and grandfather to the three kids. Lives in the Hong Kong apartment complex all his life, and now has to deal with his grown son returning with his whole family. Is fully integrated in the complex and never wants to leave. Also his birthday is July 14th, and that’s the day I finished writing this review. Coincidence?? I think not!!!! Stanley Fung has been in over 100 films, so odds are you’ve seen him in something.
Ng Ming (Aarif Lee Chi-Ting) – The son of the Ng family. Is FEHD (Food and Environmental Hygiene Department), but his job is going after street vendors, which is bad because where he just moved into is filled with the people he’ll be busting! Aarif Lee is one of the new Hong Kong heartthrob guys you will probably hear a lot of soon. They even reference one of his earlier roles as Bruce Lee in this film.
Ng Chee (Mag Lam Yan-Tung) – The Ng’s older daughter, who works as a promotions model while going to college. Is shy and not wanting to bare her body like the famous E Cup Baby. Mag Lam won the reality show The Voice 2 and was quickly snatched up to a four year deal by EEG. This is her first film.
Tok Shui Lung (Eric Tsang Chi-Wai) – After some rough goings when he first comes back, Tok Shui Ling and Ng Shun return to being best of buds. Tok knows a lot about everything and is good at getting Shun to go along with his schemes to get into trouble. But there is more to Tok Shui Lung than we, and Ng Shun, know. Tok is played by Wong Cho-lam in flashbacks, where we watch as his girlfriend becomes Miss Hong Kong and dumps him. Eric Tsang is also on TarsTarkas.NET in Kung Fu Cyborg and Task Force.

I Love Hong Kong
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

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

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