Large William's list continues, this time with his list of non Shaw Brothers titles. See that first list here.
Firstly, I want to thank our main man here, the head hancho himself for asking me to take part in this. I love lists, and to be in such esteemed company is an honor. Hong Kong Cinema has been an integral part of my life, for quite some time. In fact, if it wasn't for seeing Enter the Dragon at 5years old, and convincing my parents to buy me one of those black satin posters of Bruce, I don't know where I'd be cinematically. Enter the Dragon was the first genre film I ever saw, start to finish, and Bruce was my hero (still is one of them). I mention this as I opted not to include it on my list. It's too hard to separate my feelings for it, all these years later. I do still adore it, and the blu looks sublime as an aside. Without further adieu, I decided to kick it Oily Maniac stylee, and do a Shaw and non Shaw list as it was far too hard otherwise. I actually lost a list I had been working on for a few weeks, and I know I'm probably forgetting a few.
Here's the non Shaw list (again, in no particular order)
1. Wheels on Meals.
Some prefer Project A, but this is my favorite Sammo/Jackie/Yuen Biao joint. The move to Spain, is really a breath of fresh air. Plus Benny "The Jet"!
2. Election 1&2.
Maybe I'm cheating, but c'est la vie (mon cherie), it's my list. Up until the Election films, I was down with To, but thought he was a good, not great filmmaker, and then, these happened. Floored me. I worshipped at the Milkyway shrine from that point forward. Besides, has Louis Koo ever been half as good?
3. Don't play with fire.
I could put more Tsui Hark films on my list, but I've kept it to 2. This film is absolutely bleak, and is a technical masterwork. The finale at the graveyard rivals Leone's cemetary in scope.
4. Chungking Express.
Again, I could have had 4 or 5 Wong Kar-Wai films on here, as he's my favorite HK director, but I've kept it to a few. I adore this film, and everything it is, from the moment we hear Michael Galasso's opening. Top 10 favorite film all time.
5. Ashes of Time (redux).
I had the pleasure of seeing this on the big screen at tiff a few years back and it floored me. I had seen the original several times, and yet, I was dumbfounded. It moved me in a way that very few films do. I miss Leslie Cheung.
6. Police Story.
The greatest action film ever made. Anywhere.
7. Infernal Affairs.
This film reignited my love of HK film, and Asian film in general as I'd dropped out for a while, and Little Tony and Andy brought me right back. This film may be oversaturated, but it is a tremendous piece of film that hits all the right notes.
8. Drunken Master 2.
The first film that ever astounded me with what I was seeing physically. Just an incredible piece of film.
9. Peking Opera Blues.
It encapsulates HK film and culture as I know it, better than anything. It has it all, and does it all, and somehow, never slips. It shows how, despite whiplash tonal shifts, a film can be a masterpiece. Have 3 female leads ever captured the screen so well at the same time?
10. A Better Tomorrow.
I wrestled with this, Bullet, or Hardboiled, and, the more I think it over, it's gotta be this. SO iconic. In fact, the shot of Mark lighting up with the $100 bill, is the single shot I'd use to summarize HK film. I love it.