HAPPY FORTUNE
Screening Room

2003

Hopping vampires, romantic comedy, triads, and some bad sequels have been included in the 2003 program series. Please use the links listed below chronologically to jump to a specific title or scroll down to read.



  • Mr. Vampire 2 [1986]
  • Mr. Vampire 3 [1987]
  • Vampire vs. Vampire [1989]
  • One Arm Hero [1994]
  • The Master (1989)
  • The Chinese Feast (1995)
  • A True Mob Story (1998)
  • Undercover Blues [2000]
  • Extreme Challenge [2001]
  • Love Undercover (2001)
  • Visible Secret (2001)
  • Bullets of Love [2001]
  • The Avenging Fist [2001]
  • Born Wild [2001]
  • Her Name is Cat 2: Journey to Death [2001]
  • Black Mask II [2001]
  • La Brassierre [2001]
  • The Replacement Suspect [2001]
  • Beauty and the Breast [2002]
  • The Era of the Vampires [2002]
  • Partners [2002]
  • The Peeping [2002]
  • So Close [2002]




  • Mr. Vampire 2 (1986)
    Directed by Ricky Lau
    Produced by Sammo Hung
    Action Directed by Sammo Hung Stuntmen's Association
    Starring Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying, Moon Lee

    Finally out on DVD, this film brings Taoist vampire hunter Lam Ching Ying into modern times with Yuen Biao as his sidekick. Plot revolves around a family of 19th century vampires on the loose in 1986 Hong Kong. The vampire kid gets separted from its parents. Some Hong Kong kids find him and think he is a Viet Nam refugee. They befriend the vampire and try to hide him from their dad which makes for some good comedy. The rest of the sequel falls flat, not up the standard set in the first film. Still it's worth a look to see Lam in action with Yuen.



    Mr. Vampire 3 (1987)
    Directed by Ricky Lau
    Produced by Sammo Hung
    Action Directors: Stephen Tung Wai, Lam Ching Ying, Sammo Hung Stuntmen's Association
    Starring Lam Ching Ying, Richard Ng, Wu Ma, Sammo Hung Kam Bo [cameo]

    Out on DVD, this installment of the series takes a different tone than the previous films with more emphasis on the horror atmosphere. The stunts are great. There are plenty of laughs. Bolstered by the wonderful Richard Ng, Lam Ching Ying is just suberb as the Taoist priest. I had to check this out to make me forget how bad the recent Vampire Hunters missed the mark in the genre.



    Vampire vs. Vampire (1989)
    Directed by Lam Ching Ying
    Action Directed by Lam Ching Ying, Stephen Tung Wai, Lee Chi Git
    Starring Lam Ching Ying, Chin Siu Ho, Sandra Ng, Maria Cordero

    Once again, the One Eyebrowed Priest and his sidekicks strive to keep the spirit world in order. Joining forces with the cute little hopping vampire from a previous movie, he does battle with a sexy female ghost [Sandra Ng] and uncovers a vicious Dracula-like vampire. His mighty powers work fine against the Chinese spirits, but his spells have no effect on the European monster. This movie has some awesome action in the last 30 minutes with lots of laughs and scary stuff throughout. Highly recommended if you like this sub-genre.



    The Era of the Vampires (2002)
    aka Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters
    Written & Produced by Tsui Hark
    Directed by Wellson Chin
    Starring Lam Suet, Yu Rong Guang, Lee Lik-Chi

    This should be a standard Hong Kong vampire movie we've all come to love so much. This is what happens when a giant Hollywood production company throws a couple of million bucks at a brilliant artist to acquire "product". Hark took the standard genre formulas and produced a film with less than usual humour and dull action scenes. Lam Suet, always a brilliant performer, struggles in an awful role while Yu Rong Guang turns the best performance as the top Taoist.



    One Arm Hero (1994)
    Produced by Stephen Shin
    Action Directors: Phillip Kwok, 2 others
    Starring Do Siu Chun, Chiu Cheung Gwan

    Third part of a trilogy started with White Lotus Cult and Sam the Iron Bridge, this is a very traditional historical drama which has some very good action in the finale. Problem is that the film is plodding and boring getting there. This movie is most notable for the appearance of Chiu Cheung Gwan as the bad guy. Under utilised here, Chiu was one the best martial artists around at the time. See Sammo Hung's Blade of Fury for a better example of Chiu's skills.



    The Peeping (2002)
    Directed by Marco Mak
    Screenplay by Not A Woman
    Starring Daniel Wu, Theresa Mak, Samuel Leung, Grace Lam

    In a word, awesome. This is a prime example of the best trash exploitation movie that Hong Kong filmmakers do so well. Great cast works through excellent screenwriting to present compelling, voyueristic experience. 'Adults only' material presented by a filmmaker who learned his lessons well from his mentor, Wong Jing. Theresa Mak turns in a nice performance in her biggest role yet. Daniel Wu has done another fine job with a completely misguided character.



    So Close (2002)
    Directed by Corey Yuen
    Screenplay by Jeff Lau
    Starring Shu Qi, Vicky Zhao, Karen Mok

    This may be my choice for best Hong Kong action movie of 2002. Corey Yuen has learned his lessons well while working in Hollywood over the last few years. The 3 female leads give outstanding performances, Karen Mok is, as usual, stunning as the policewoman. The script is well writtten, with lots of interesting twists and turns between Shu and Zhao, as sisters who happen to be highly skilled Robin Hood-like assassins, the nasty bad guys and the police. Lots and lots of gunfighting and ass kicking by the ladies who all manage to look like fantastic martial artists thanks to the brilliant use of CGI, camera angles, and the action direction by Director Yuen and Gwok Gin Yung.



    Bullets of Love (2001)
    Directed by Andrew Lau
    Screenplay by Thirteen Chan
    Starring Leon Lai, Asaka Seto, Terence Yin, Ng Chi Hung

    This 'small' movie from cinematographer/director Lau was quite enjoyable. After directing some huge CGI-filled action movies like The Duel, I think Lau had a good time shooting this film. The camera work is great and he got some real fun performances from his cast. The first 30 minutes of the film are fantastic, riveting. The screenplay tries some cool twists with the conventions of the Hong Kong "Hot as Ice" female assassin genre with varying degrees of success. While I understand the importance of the foriegn markets and the box office revenue generated, I think this might have been a better flick if they had cast any one of many Hong Kong actress's who could've done the role. This one has a real nasty, vicious bad guy [Yin], but the best performance comes from the always interesting, unique Ng Chi Hung.



    The Avenging Fist (2001)
    Directed by Andrew Lau, Corey Yuen
    Screenplay by Thirteen Chan
    Action Directed by Corey Yuen
    Starring Kristy Yeung, Roy Cheung, Sammo Hung Kam Bo, Stephen Fung, Yuen Biao, Ekin Cheng

    As I was watching this film, I was thinking the one thing it had going for it was that Kristy Yeung was in a lot of the scenes. Even with the great CGI, the hot new action stars [Fung & Wang] and the major old school Kung-fu superstars [Hung & Yuen] in the cast, the movie wasn't grabbing me. It wasn't until Ekin showed up as the young Sammo that the filmmakers won me over. What sheer genius! It was very good to see Cecelia Yip in her role as Yuen's wife. Roy Cheung is fantastic in his bad guy role. The SFX are better used here than in any recent 'big time' Hong Kong movie that I can think of. After the production history of starts ands stops this film had, it is amazing that it turned out so good.



    Born Wild (2001)
    Directed by Patrick Leung
    Screenplay by Chan Hing Kar, Amy Chin
    Action Directors: Yuen Tak, Mars, Wong Wai Fai
    Starring Louis Koo, Daniel Wu, Patrick Tam

    If this was the first Hong Kong movie you ever saw, it would likely be the last. For a more experienced viewer, this edgy, dark film should satisfy. I love Leung's Beyond Hypothermia [which would likely make my list of the top 25 films of the 90's]. With a strong screenplay and an excellent cast, the director explores many themes found in his earlier films. The highly stylized "boxing" scenes are very cool, considering that the action director's have worked on some of the best MA films ever made. On a humorous note, that goofy Dutch guy who pissed off Jackie Chan during the making of Who Am I? got himself in another movie.



    Black Mask II (2001)
    Produced and Directed by Tsui Hark
    Screenplay by Jeff Black, Charles Cain
    Action Directed by Yuen Wo Ping, Yuen Bun
    Starring Andy On, Traci Lords, Blacky Ko,
    Andy Lau [voice], Louis Koo [voice], Lau Ching Wan [voice], Patrick Tam [voice]

    Although based on a story by Tsui Hark, the screenplay is total crap. Even the fantastic Yuen's can't save this mess. Snapped up in 2001 by a Hollywood company, the film was straight to DVD in the USA. Skip it and pick up the Hong Kong VCD. At least you can have some fun trying to identify the star voices in the Cantonese dubbing. This junk started a down trend in a brilliant career.



    La Brassierre (2001)
    Directed by Patrick Leung, Chan Hing Kar
    Screenplay by Chan Hing Kar, Amy Chin
    Starring Louis Koo, Lau Ching Wan, Gigi Leung

    The film was funny as hell, very different for these directors after Born Wild. Good screenwriting makes this one strong. Cinematography is suberb with beautiful use of color. I join many in praise of this one. Even Gigi Leung, who I don't like, is quite good.



    The Replacement Suspect (2001)
    Directed by Marco Mak
    Screenplay by Simon Loui, Marco Mak, 2 Others
    Starring Julian Cheung, Michael Wong, Kenny Bee, Simon Loui, Roy Cheung, Christine Ng

    Simon Loui has written a couple of very good screenplays [Paramount Motel, Undercover Blues] besides acting in every Hong Kong film made since 1990 [just kidding ;-)]. I guess he ran out of ideas here. Long-time film editor Marco Mak takes the directors credit but probably shouldn't have. One of the worst film's made in Hong Kong since Johnnie To's A Hero Never Dies[1998]. Michael Wong, speaking almost all English in the film, gives his worst performance yet. Awful.



    Beauty and the Breast (2002)
    Directed by Yip Wai Man
    Screenplay by Not A Woman
    Starring Francis Ng, Michelle Reis, Daniel Wu, Sophie Ngan, Angela Tong

    While similiar to the box office hit La Brassiere, this inventive, lighthearted comedy is quite a different film from possibly the best director working in Hong Kong these days. The screenwriting is excellent. Ng is funny as hell in this! It's more about breasts than bra's, hence Sophie Ngan is featured in a small role along side Angela Tong [Last Ghost Standing]. I liked this one quite a bit.



    Partners (2002)
    Directed by Billy Chan
    Starring Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, Michael Wong

    A basic triad vs. police action movie with 2 great stars like Yam and Tsang in the cast, this has the potential to be a pretty good film. Unfortunately, the script is pretty weak and Michael Wong sucks the life out of another film with a wooden, inept performance. I'm amazed and amused that he continues to get film work. I liked the movie though, Yam never disappoints.



    Her Name is Cat 2: Journey to Death (2001)
    Directed by Alan Lo
    Screenplay by Chan Chi Hang
    Starring Almen Wong, Roy Cheung, Blacky Ko, Ben Ng

    Almen Wong is one of the hottest chicks in Hong Kong and the worst actress. Even the always interesting Roy Cheung can't help here. Filmed in Thailand, this low budget movie looks like it was shot in 16MM and may be the worst sequel ever made. Avoid. On a positive note, I don't think the director has made another film since.



    Extreme Challenge (2001)
    Directed by Stephen Tung Wai
    Starring Ken Chon, Jacqueline Li, Stephen Tung Wai

    From the man who maybe gave us Jet Li's last good movie [Hitman] comes a 'classic' martial arts tournament movie all tricked up for the 21st Century. The back story is very corny with it's broad philosophical brush strokes, but don't worry about that. Check out the fight scenes in this one. Awesome.



    Undercover Blues (2000)
    Directed by Billy Chung
    Produced by Ray Lui, Chan Chi Keung
    Written by Simon Loui, Edmond Pang
    Starring Ray Lui, Daniel Wu, Simon Loui, Mark Cheng, Chapman To, Blacky Ko

    Co-written by the seemingly omni-present actor Simon Loui, this low-budget thriller suffers from too much Ray Lui. Director Chung does the best he can with limited resources and a big ego movie star as producer. Daniel Wu gets star billing but is hardly in the film. Loui wrote his own, very beefy role to which he brings his usual energy. Chapman To shines in his supporting role. The film is only about 75 minutes long, so you might feel cheated. Despite Ray Lui's leaden acting, this is above average.



    The Master (1992)
    Produced and Directed by Tsui Hark
    Action Directors: Brandy Yuen, Yuen Wah
    Starring Jet Li, Yuen Wah, Crystal Kwok

    After so many recent bad films from Tsui Hark, I thought maybe I'd check this one out on the new DVD release. I managed to miss this back in '92 and figured it couldn't be as bad as so many people have written. It's a very corny retelling of the Wong Fei Hong story updated to a late '80's setting in urban America, complete with some very poorly written 'stereotypes' into the 'student' roles . It gave them [Hark & Li] a chance to shoot in the US which, I think, was big in both of their careers. Filmed in 1989 and unreleased until '92, I can understand the poor reception of this film considering the standards had been raised so high, set themselves with the first 2 OUATIC films. A decade or more later, it stands as an entertaining artifact of struggling artists at work. This DVD has very nice picture quality and a jacked up Hollywood soundtrack.



    The Chinese Feast (1995)
    Produced and Directed by Tsui Hark
    Action Directors: Yuen Bun
    Starring Leslie Cheung, Anita Yuen, Kenny Bee, Zhao Wen Zhuo

    Missed this one in '95, so I was glad to get the DVD. Tsui Hark is in great form with this film about a top level cooking competition. Visually stunning, the food presentations are awesome! The cast is suberb, the writing is very clever. Leslie Cheung is sorely missed, it was good to see him in action here. He was great in this film.



    A True Mob Story (1998)
    Written, produced, and directed by Wong Jing
    Starring Andy Lau, Suki Kwan, Gigi Leung, Sam Lee, Ng Chi Hung

    Andy Lau and Gigi Leung are re-united for the first time in a film since Derek Yee's 1995 Full Throttle. Both give fine performances here. This movie tells the story of young Cheung Dee as he makes his name as a triad member. Suki Kwan steals another movie with her great performance. Newcomer Sam Lee, in one of his early film appearences, gives a wonderful comedic performance in a supporting role. This is a brilliant film from the Producer King.



    Love Undercover (2001)
    Directed by Joe Ma
    Written by Joe Ma, Chan Wing Sun
    Starring Miriam Yeung, Daniel Wu, Wyman Wong, Claire Yau

    This film is a lighthearted romantic comedy, so very popular in the SAR over the last couple of years. Ms. Yeung is 'Sammi Light', if you get my drift. Daniel Wu is an always colorful performer so I was interested in seeing him in a comedy. This movie is very entertaining, a real screwball comedy. The storyline is totally implausible, and the supporting characters make this movie come to life. If you like this type of Hong Kong movie, I heartily recommend it.



    Visible Secret (2001)
    Directed by Ann Hui
    Produced by Ann Hui, Solon So, 3 Others
    Written by Abe Gwong
    Starring Shu Qi, Sam Lee, Eason Chan, Wayne Lai, Anthony Wong

    Maybe her best role yet, Shu Qi can see ghost's, sort of a 'sixth sense'. Ann Hui gives us a very stylish, high-minded ghost story that wants to be a romantic love story. It's very well produced, but the script has it's flaws. Anthony Wong pulls off another creepy supporting role that he always throws himself into with great gusto. Sam Lee cruises through another role, maybe the luckiest guy in Hong Kong movies.



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