Friday, August 3, 2012

Favourite Hong Kong Movies. Tim Chmielewski

Favorite Hong Kong Movies continues with a top ten list from Tim Chmielewski, Tim runs the website Tim's Hong Kong Movie Reviews. I came across Tim's cool review site via a link on LoveHKfilm and have read pretty much everything on there since, it's well worth a look!

In reverse order from 10 to 1.

10. One-Armed Boxer vs. Flying Guillotine (1975)

Taking the One-armed boxer from the previous movie and putting him up against all manner of opponents in a classic tournament movie with added weirdness. Yes, this does resemble Street Fighter II even down to the Indian rubber man and tournament arenas. Some opponents even have their own theme music. I also enjoyed the way the main character works out how to beat the flying guillotine and sets a trap for one of the more annoying foes.

9. Project A (1983)

Starring the famous 'three brothers' Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao in a classic period piece of "Police vs. Pirates vs. Navy". One of the biggest fights is the police  fighting the navy in a bar. Excellent fight scenes, settings, costumes and a very memorable villain makes for a fun time watching.

8. Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

Jet Li's signature role and an influence on many other movies. Probably best to ignore everything past the sequel. Even the music plays a part with its instantly recognisable theme really setting the scene for the movie. I would like to see a movie set in Australia using the same characters as there is an interesting story to be told still.

7. Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

A movie so big it invented its own genre of "Venoms" films. Also responsible for many of the sound effects from Kill Bill part 1. Chang Cheh may be renowned for movies with bare-chested sweaty men pounding on each other, but he also makes a good kung fu movie. Although we are introduced to the main characters Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard and Toad in the opening scene, you don't know what they look like making the whole movie a mystery which you have to solve along with the student Yan Tieh. I am still surprised by the outcome even though I have watched it many times.

6. Heroic Trio (1993)

A sentimental favourite of mine due to it starring Maggie Cheung (I have this movie on VHS singed by her), Michelle Yeoh and Anita Mui (RIP). They originally start off fighting each other, but then realise they have a bigger enemy to face. A lesson on what super hero movies and team-up films should be like. There is a sequel, but I have not seen it.

5. Police Story (1985)

Made when Jackie Chan still had a lot of spark and was a rising star, there are other Police Story movies, but this is one that made the biggest impact. A roller coaster ride from start to finish with some of the best stunts I have seen right from the opening scene smashing up the village, to the bus chase scene and the final scene smashing up the shopping mall. When you find out they actually use real glass for a lot of the scenes it makes it even more amazing to watch.

4. Drunken Master II (1994)

The last serious action movie Jackie Chan made before going off to make buddy-action movies in Hollywood. I know he had a good success with Rush Hour and the Shanghai Noon/Knights movies, but they are made with a different sensibility and frankly are not as good. The fight against the axe gang in the restaurant and the final fight in the steel mill have a power and dynamism that has not been matched in any of Jackie Chan's movies since. The brutality of it can also be a shock to people who have only seen his Hollywood movies, but it is a good reminder of how he used to be.

3. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Stephen Chow has always idolised Bruce Lee and so far this has been his ultimate tribute to him, but done in his own style with comedic flair. Sammo Hung makes a great contribution as the fight choreographer as can be seen in the fight between the three Kung Fu masters and the Axe gang in Pigsty Manor. Another big thing this movie succeeds in is recreating an era and sense of place much like Project A. It was great that Chow was able to step back for a while in this movie and let the secondary characters take over for a while in the Pigsty manor with the Landlady stealing the show.

2. Enter the Dragon (1973)

Truly a movie OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. The ultimate tournament movie with characters you can identify from either their names or just the lines they spout Lee - "Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory", Roper - "I guess no one's more loyal than daddy's little girl", Williams - "BULL-SHIT MR HAN MAN!". The villains also stack up with Han - "Very few people can be totally ruthless, it isn't easy!", Bolo Yeung and O'Hara. Truly a lightning in a bottle experience where everything came together at the same time to produce a truly memorable experience for the ages. If you can see it on the big screen with a bunch of friends it is even better, cheer at Jim Kelly's lines, jeer at O'Hara's treachery, see how many times Jackie Chan turns up as an extra and the always funny "it's only funny when it's a small helicopter". It is a tragedy Bruce Lee died when he did as if he had control of it, Game of Death would have been even better and not the debacle it was. Watch "A Warriors Journey" to see the restored fight scenes from the movie.

1. God of Cookery (1996)

I can't abide celebrity chefs and cooking show contests apart from Iron Chef. This movie was way ahead of its time skewering celebrity chefs who can't actually cook and are all marketing bluster. For once the celebrity chef in this story gets his comeuppance from someone he had put down before and one of his business partners. The "fighting back from the streets" angle might be a bit hokey, but the Sister Turkey character is one of the most memorable from any Stephen Chow movie and I have a lot of respect for the actress for playing a role where she was physically scarred so bad, but with a lot of spirit. The final part of the movie is centred around the "God of Cookery" contest, but how they get there is the best part. I do not remember laughing so much in a movie apart from "Love on Delivery" and a double bill with that would probably end up leaving me hospitalised due to rolling into something on the floor from laughing. My favourite minor characters from any movie are in this movie, the "Eighteen Bronzemen of Shaolin" especially the one who just goes up the front and spins his arms around for no reason while they are beating Stephen to a pulp.


Kingwho? said...

Wow. #1 caught me off guard! Fun, fun movie!

I'm a bit dismayed, however, that Brian and Tim have been able to nicely put together a few comments for their chosen films. I am struggling mightily with cobbling together a sentence for each of mine! =P

2 great lists so far. Eager to see what's next!

A hero never dies said...

Yeah, re. God Of Cookery me too Kingwho? Very funny film.

Glad you're enjoying the lists!

YTSL said...

Hi "A Hero Never Dies" --

So far, both the bloggers whose top ten you've featured are ones whose blogs I previously didn't know exist. You really have been trawling the internet! And you've now got me very curious to see how many top tens you've got lined up!!

To Tim if you're reading this: Nice list! In view of your number one choice, I'm wondering whether you've also seen "The Chinese Feast" (probably my favorite Hong Kong cooking related movie) and "Forbidden City Cop" (my favorite Stephen Chow movie)?

Tim Chuma said...

I have seen A Chinese Feast, but have not reviewed it.

Forbidden City Cop review here

Carina Lau is his best on-screen wife in this movie.

I did get a box set of Stephen Chow's "Fantasy" movies, there are two more of his other movies. He was once in 16 movies in one year.

A hero never dies said...


I trawl so you don't have to!

If everyone completes their list there should be around 30 lists, give or take a few. It should be a pretty comprehensive round up.

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