Posts tagged "Wang Hsieh"

Big Bad Sis

Big Bad Sis

aka 沙膽英 aka Sa daam ying

1976
Written by Sze-To On
Directed by Sun Chung

Big Bad Sis
Shaw Brothers gives us a tale of bad girl factory workers! It is an interesting spin on the delinquent schoolgirl approach, having the girls just out of school and holding down jobs, but still being delinquent. Big Bad Sis is an interesting hybrid, because it’s an action film with clear influences from the Japanese Sukeban/Pinky violence flicks, but it’s also a Hong Kong Triad film and manages to throw in some left wing pro-labor and pro-women’s rights issues. With just enough exploitation to satisfy those who need that as well. Big Bad Sis may be a stew made from many random ingredients, but they work together to give an entertaining flick.
Big Bad Sis
Big Bad Sis shows that sometimes you gotta fight. Whether it is for your job or to protect innocent people in the bathroom or because of crazy triad gambling den drama or because your boss is a piece of garbage or all of those reasons combined into a gigantic reason. A bid bad reason, which is why you need your sisters!

Fung Ying (Chen Ping) – Ah Ying is the tough as nails former gangster turned factory worker who defends the innocent and becomes friends with her fellow oppressed factory workers, even forming her own sort of gang. But her past begins to catch up with her.
Sai Chu (Siu Yam-Yam) – An orphan raised in the system, and then released where she starts biking around nude and stabbing people. Becomes Ah Ying’s biggest fan and a tough chick in her own right.
Chan Fong (Chong Lee) – A young girl with naughty stepfather who runs away from home to get away from his wandering hands. Her looks make her a target of everyone with awing hands, but her new gang affiliation allows her to be able to stand up and fight back.
Big Brother Dai Gi-Luk (Wang Hsieh) – Gang leader who used to employ/date Ah Ying, and is bitter about her leaving. Sends his goons to harass her.
Brother Shing (Chen Kuan-Tai) – Old friend of Ah Ying who defends her from Big Brother’s men.
Wai (Wong Chung) – One of Big Brother’s gang, but a friend of Ah Ying. He won’t renounce his boss despite his feelings for her.

Big Bad Sis
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 24, 2013 at 6:12 am

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Miraculous Flower (Review)

Miraculous Flower

aka Phoenix The Ninja aka 蓋世奇花 aka Wolf Devil Woman 3 aka Gai shi ji hua

1981
Script by Godfrey Ho Jeung-Keung
Story by Pearl Cheung Ling
Directed by Fong Ho


It’s Pearl Cheung Ling Time! Another classic Pearl Cheung Ling martial arts cinema masterpiece gets its due. Miraculous Flower (possibly better known as Phoenix The Ninja, as that’s the name I knew it as for years!) is a great piece of cinema that stands on the edge of Pearl-insanity and classic wuxia revenge. Filled with kooky characters, varied and elaborate environments, and plenty of gory action, Miraculous Flower pulls out all the stops and succeeds in being entertaining and fun.

This is her first film where Pearl is actively involved in the narrative construction beyond just a producer role. And while she did come up with the story, it’s obvious that they needed to follow a more traditional kung fu revenge narrative. While it still walks the edge of the volcano, there are moments where things go a bit wild. It is probably safe to say some of the smaller quirks are also Pearl’s doing, and things were added to tailor to her interests. When Pearl is dressed in the all black revenge costume and swooping around like an angel of death, that’s pretty much pure Pearl Cheung Ling. Her transformation sequence in Matching Escort involves her donning a full white costume, while in Wolf Devil Woman the entire character changes constantly through the film. Dark Lady of Kung Fu deals with this by having Pearl’s character having two separate identities. By the time of her final film General Invincible, the Pearl character is torn between two worlds and duty and honor from those worlds, and the consequences thereof.

For more Pearl Cheung Ling background, be sure to check out the Infernal Brains Podcasts on her (Part 1 is here, Part 2 is upcoming!) and check out the other Pearl reviews up – Matching Escort and Dark Lady of Kung Fu.

As we noted before, Matching Escort was retitled during a released as Wolf Devil Woman 2, and Miraculous Flower was retitled Wolf Devil Woman 3, despite being made before either of the other two films! I have two versions of Miraculous Flower, the Hong Kong release that features all the gore but is missing some scenes in the beginning featuring the Happy Fairy, and the international IFD retitle Phoenix the Ninja that has the gore trimmed but doesn’t feature any full cut scenes. I do not know why the early scenes were cut, maybe to make room on a vcd or something? Both versions feature different credit sequences. A good breakdown of the two versions can be found here.

Ao-shuang Leng (Pearl Cheung Ling) – Just your average woman whose mother died and sends her on a quest that turns out to be far bigger than she imagined. She’s totally not the last of the May family hidden away so well even she doesn’t know it! And that certainly wouldn’t send her out seeking revenge!
Lord No-dust (Tsung Hua) – Lord No-dust hates dirt! Yet somehow he decided to wear white outfits all of the time in a land filled with women named Ao-shuang who constantly get him dirty. Okay, only one woman named Ao-shuang does that, but as she’s the main character and his lover interest, it’s a pretty important Ao-shuang. Lord No-dust secretly learned martial arts after his father forbid it.
Sheue Huai-jen (Wang Hsieh) – Lord No-dust’s father and the head of Snow Shadow in Plume Woods. He was involved in martial arts intrigue long ago and faces continual fallout, including lots of people who want to see him dead. ANd he may have been involved in Ao-shaung’s family’s murder.
Happy Fairy (Gua Ah-Leh) – Sometimes called My Lady, Happy Fairy is a martial arts master who motivates Ao-shuang to continue her quests and teaches her skills she needs to defeat the bad guys who killed her family.
The Monk Syma Chin-cherng (???) – A simple regretful monk is more than he seems, as not only is he Ao-shuang’s father’s brother, but he totally is behind the whole slaughter of her family thing!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 18, 2012 at 1:09 am

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Matching Escort/Fury of the Silver Fox (Review)

Matching Escort

aka Fury of the Silver Fox aka 金粉遊龍 aka Wolf Devil Woman 2

1982
Written by Pearl Cheung Ling and Peng Wei-Wei
Directed by Si Ma-Peng
Planning Director Pearl Cheung Ling

Dances with Wolf Devil Women

If you are a fan of wolrd cult cinema, especial cult fantasy martial arts flicks, and are not familiar with the directorial works of Pearl Cheung Ling (aka Chang Ling), then you need to get educated! Luckily, TarsTarkas.NET is there for you! Not only are we working through Pearl’s films that she had her hand in creating, but there are also Infernal Brains podcasts featuring awesome background information about Pearl Cheung Ling and further discussion of her work (featuring fabulous Guest Brain duriandave of SoftFilm!) But if you don’t like hearing people talk, don’t worry, there are plenty of text reviews going around! Beyond the previously covered Dark Lady of Kung Fu, the other major Pearl films are each getting their well-deserved reviews on TarsTarkas.NET.

We’re putting half the budget into things that go in my hair!

Matching Escort is considered the second of Pearl Cheung Ling’s auteur films. Pearl Cheung Ling is best known in the west for Wolf Devil Woman, and to capitalize on that fact, one of the many release retitles of Matching Escort was Wolf Devil Woman 2, despite this film being made first! (Even worse, the film Miraculous Flower was made before both films yet also released as Wolf Devil Woman 3!) The hallmarks of Pearl’s style are all present, and she has more creative control for weird side plots that start to blur the traditional wuxia narrative, though it is still more cohesive of a film than Wolf Devil Woman, Dark Lady of Kung Fu, or General Invincible. This is probably due more towards the credited director, Sima Peng (if he’s an actual person!) Pearl is credited at the planning director, but based on her other films she probably was calling most of the shots for Matching Escort.

My Basement, the Motion Picture

Besides Matching Escort and Wolf Devil Woman 2, another common retitle is Fury of the Silver Fox. This title makes about as much sense as the others, which is not much. The dubbing, however, is ridiculous, as all of the dub jobs on Pearl’s films are. And I can verify that there are missing song queues in the dubbed version. Most notably, the film’s theme song sung by Pearl is gone. They lyrics were written by Sun Yi, legendary songwriter of classics like The Moon Represents My Heart. Venus the Ninja and Venus the Ninja Wolf are also listed as reissue titles, both seeming to be cashing in on a craze (ninjas or the Wolf Devil Woman film.) I don’t think this was reissued as Wolfen Ninja, though, as I know that is a retitle of Wolf Devil Woman (but I could be wrong, because there is a dearth of information on the reissues!)

People selling magazine subscriptions are getting pretty aggressive!

Pearl themes featured here include this being a revenge film featuring her father being murdered (to be fair, that is a fairly common plot devise in martial arts cinema), random bursts of goofy comedy, scenes featuring beggars, scenes featuring crazy old man martial arts masters, Pearl spending some of her scenes wearing fur, a handsome prince with a comic relief sidekick, Pearl “transforming” into a martial arts master, Pearl donning solid color outfits when it’s time to get down to business and slaughter the bad guys, lots of blood and gore, scenes that look suspiciously inspired by recent Western cinema blockbusters, and overly dramatic scenes of Pearl either flying into places or riding with purpose. One thing this thankfully doesn’t have is animal deaths, a sadly too common Pearl theme. In fact, there is a monkey and a parrot who both have minor roles and aren’t killed!

When Little Boy Blue became a man

Sadly most versions of Matching Escort are dubbed versions, and I am not aware of a widescreen version at all. Like most of Pearl’s films, it has falled into a state of neglect and forgotten history. Thanks to the awful dubbing, many of the character names are just decriptions as the dubbing decided that giving major characters names was too big of a hassle.

This spa sucks

Chu (Pearl Cheung Ling) – Just a girl born into a martial arts world. Her father is killed along with the rest of her family and she’s forced to flee for her life, to seek revenge at a later date. This is the story of that revenge.
Prince Cao Tien (Mang Fei) – A wandering Prince on a mission agains Wan Ching’s martial gang. His true reason for undertaking the mission is not revealed until the end of the film. Often called Young Master by Peanut.
Peanut (???) – Cao Tien’s sidekick and loyal servant. And famed comic relief player. He’s not a woozle, thank goodness, because Jeff Dunham is awful awful awful.
Wan Ching (Peng Kong) – The man who ordered the killing of Pearl’s father while looking for the Jade Amulet of the Emperor, which he wanted to gain control of the army. I guess the army listens to anyone wearing a jade amulet. Maybe they should look into better army chain of command practices. Wan Ching has a magic power glove that he throws that rips off heads like flying guillotine, and a parrot that condemns people to death!
Shiny Guy (Chan Gwan-Biu) – The man who killed Pearl’s father thanks to his shiny ring blinding him during the swrodfight. Because he wears a jeweled ring, he has red streaked hair and another jewel embedded in his forehead. It’s the law. The law of giant jeweled rings.
Old Man (Sek Ying) – Pearl’s crippled master who lived in a hole for 20 years while making a potion to get revenge doesn’t get a name, though his evil twin brother gets a mouthful of a name – Tse Ma Bai Yuen. Teaches Pearl more martial arts techniques in exchange for her killing his brother.
Yu Mei (???) – The female member of evil gang, she uses her feminine charms to invite people to dinner where she poisons them. This never works for the entirity of the film, though it’s interesting to see a female suductress character not using seduction for murder during sex but during a nice sit down dinner.
Anyone for handball?

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm

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Dark Lady of Kung Fu (Review)

Dark Lady of Kung Fu

aka 蝶無影 aka Di wu ying aka Butterfly Pearl aka Dark Lady of Butterfly

1983
Written and directed by Pearl Cheung Ling

What happens when you buy cheap drugstore makeup!

When evil dudes with bad ‘tudes are up to no goods, the Dark Lady of Kung Fu will fly in and rob the crap out of them, and then go all Robin Hood with their money! Yes, Pearl Cheung Ling has the director’s chair and the writing chair, and the world will never be the same! Dark Lady of Kung Fu is a remake of the Shaw Brothers’ film The Black Butterfly, which is a sort of remake of Black Rose and other female noble thief flicks. It’s all about the connections, man!

Goth Zorro vs the Spray Paint Kid!

This is one of several films written and directed by Pearl Cheung Ling, one of the few female directors out of Taiwan, who became an auteur force directing and writing three films and being heavily involved in the production of a few more, as well as television series and music. She has a very distinct fantasy style that has garnered her many loyal fans and many shared clips on YouTube. Because this is a Pearl Cheung Ling flick, you can expect lots of goofy things going on. Morons in positions of authority will be humiliated by Pearl Cheung Ling’s character’s brilliance. Pearl will wear crazy elaborate pre-gothic lolita costumes. There will be wirework.

Someone gave those hands from Labyrinth their own show!

The worst part of Dark Lady of Kung Fu is I own two versions of it, and they both are either fullscreen or fake widescreen where it’s obvious there is things going on just off camera. Both copies also suffer from the same awful English dubbing. How many of the puns are native to the script vs. made up by the dubbers is a mystery that won’t be solved until we get a proper subtitled verison. So we’ll not know if henchmen Laurel and Hardy are really named those names. Not to mention the guy named Cool Han Look. Come to think of it, there is no way those names are native to the script.

More Batman than Batman

Butterfly Bandit (Pearl Cheung Ling) – She’s a mystery and robbin’ from the rich to give to the neighborhood! Look out, evil rich dudes, you’re about to join the 99%!
Monkey G (Pearl Cheung Ling) – The leader of the beggar group known as the Monkeys, and master thief. She used to be a lower case g, but now she’s full capital Monkey G. She’s totally not Butterfly Bandit, why would you ever think of such a thing? Just because she’s never in the same place at the same time is just a coincidence! Have YOU ever been at the same place as Hitler? I rest my case….HITLER!!!!!
Shadow (Tien Peng) – A mysterious fighter searching for his missing mad father and he gets very angry when people disrespect his shadow. Way to take that Me and My Shadow song waaaaaaay too seriously, dude! He is the handsome love interest for Monkey G.
Madam Kim Simon (???) – A crossdressing lady who owns the fighting club. Her father is evil and planning a rebellion, but Madam Kim doesn’t stand for his evil ways.
Sheriff Feng (???) – A goofy guy with a fake mustache is ordered to track him down (at this point they think Butterfly is a dude) and recover all the stolen gold – or he’ll be killed and deducted the amount of missing gold.
Houdini (???) – I knew that Magician was a jerk! Now he’s stopped his humbug quest and is trying to fund rebellions in China! Luckily for China, the Butterfly Bandit is on the case!
How dare you say this movie is hard to follow! Only I may say that!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

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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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Jade Dagger Ninja (Review)

Jade Dagger Ninja

aka Han shan fei hu

1982
Directed by Li Chao-Yung

There are no ninjas here. Jade Dagger Ninja suffers from being brought over to America in the middle of the ninja craze. The dubbing is comedic, with cartoon effects as characters go flying or go to the bathroom (yes that happens.) Some of the lines are laugh out loud hilarious, but I am certain some of them aren’t the actual lines unless Taiwanese cinema has taken to including English puns in their Chinese dialogue.

Jade Dagger Ninja is known by many names: Han shan fei hu, Jade Dagger, Forest Duel, Shaolin Fox Conspiracy, and the Wu-Tang Clan “Liquid Sword Collection” VHS Title Celestial Souljas.

The plot is pretty ludicrous, and most of it isn’t explained until the end (and then only if you were paying attention) so most of the time you will have no idea what is going on. The basic story is everyone wants the Purple Jade Badger, because it has an elixir that will make your kung fu super powerful. There is also a battle brewing between Sunset Villa and the Heartbreak Red gang. Throw into all that an upcoming wedding and Liu Hsiao-Feng arriving hoping the events will draw out the killer of his wife and you have a film with plots so deep you need a flowchart. Everyone has multiple names, which only makes it even more confusing. So you get our best guess from watching the film twice.

Liu Hsiao-Feng (Tien Peng) – The Flying Fox has been searching for his wife’s killer for three years. This leads him to get involved in the marriage of Aurora Liu and a battle between Sunset Villa and the Heartbreak Red gang. A pun master.
Aurora Liu (Doris Lung Chun-Erh) – Aurora is called the Sunset Fairy. Aurora Liu spends the entire film getting attacked by all sorts of evil people and getting rescued from every one of these evil people by Liu Hsiao-Feng, who she isn’t even engaged to.
Hao Yu Long (Tin Hok) – engaged to Aurora Liu and a big jerk. Spends most of the film fighting with Liu Hsiao-Feng even though Liu Hsiao-Feng has saved his fiancée like 2000 times. Then he turns out to be evil.
Sai Chu-Chu (Chin Meng) – A woman with an enormous libido and very extreme sexuality. Directly asks men she just met if they want to have sex. For some reason everyone calls her ugly, despite the fact she is the best looking cast member. Was raised by Madam Sheng after her parents were killed.
Governor Liu Tin Chi (Wang Hsieh) – Father of Aurora Liu, was engaged to Madam Sheng but left her to marry the dying daughter of a medic who saved his life. Keeper of the Purple Jade Badger. Is the Governor of Sunset Villa, which is the traditional enemy of the Heartbreak Red Gang.
Madam Sheng (Gua Ah-Leh) – The bitter ex-lover of Liu Tin Chi is now the evil head of the Heartbreak Red gang. Yes, it is an outlaw gang of people whose hearts have been broken. This is what happened in a world before LiveJournal and MySpace let you write bad poetry online.
Shen Liu Hen (Shut Chung-Tin) – Killer of Liu Hsiao-Feng’s wife three years ago, and has been pursued by Liu Hsiao-Feng ever sense. Was injured and lost his kung fu powers, but the Purple Jade Badger would restore him to a kung fu master. He is also known as Shining Death.
Heartbreak Warrior (Yun Zhong-Yue) – Also known as the Whirlwind Warrior and as Wai Yu-lin. This guy has too many names. A big fan of rape.
Master Cold Heart (Chung Wa) – Flute Guy! Flute Guy kills people with his flute. He also leaves a flower pin behind as his trademark in some sort of plot device that never got dealt with in the film as he dies halfway through. Where is Master Cold Stone Creamery?
The Incredible Hulk (Shut Chung-Tin) – HULK SMASH!! Shen Liu Hen drinks of the purple jade badger and transformers into the great green menace. Now we know what was in the purple jade badger – gamma radiation!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm

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