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Hong Kong Cinema
Chinese Ghost Story
Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
Hong Kong Cinema DVD Review

One of the most influential films ever made, this popular and beloved film, produced by Tsui Hark and directed by Ching Siu Tung, is a standout in the Hong Kong supernatural-action genre and spawned many sequels and copycats. A Chinese Ghost Story has been widely praised for infusing the genre with humor, action, romance, and inventive special effects. Memorable images include an attacking mile-long tongue and a cloak opening to dozens of ghastly decapitated heads.

Chinese Ghost StoryThe final battle in hell is said to have inspired scenes in Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness. And the film has its share of homage: A group of crusty zombies are reminiscent of the skeletons in special-effects guru Ray Harryhausen's 7th Voyage of Sinbad — and they are eliminated by Tsei-Shen in comedic slapstick fashion, not unlike the style of Charlie Chaplin. A must-see for Hong-Kong action fans, this is *the* film that legitimized HK flicks onto an art form.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, June 2003

Operation Condor
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Jackie Chan: Operation Condor (1990)
Hong Kong Cinema DVD Review

Jackie Chan is currently a big star here in the USA with films like Rush Hour and his currently-in-theaters The Tuxedo, but here's one of his best films ever, and certainly one of his funniest.

Jackie and a lovely co-star...One of the most expensive movies ever made in Hong Kong, Operation Condor is a globe trotting spectacle of a secret agent on the trail of hidden Nazi gold. The action and comedy are kept to pace, no point of the film ever feels dull, and credit for that must also fall to his lovely co-stars. But make no mistake, the action is all-out wild and hysterical culminating in the best kung-fu fight ever done — inside a Nazi wind-tunnel with people flying through the air, and a V-1 on a cart moving back and forth. You must see it to understand, words simply cannot do justice.

Overall the film is lots of fun, keeps the entertainment value high, and, while not as polished as his Hollywood-made vehicles, seems more like what a 'real' Jackie Chan film is all about. And, yes of course, some of the best parts of the film are the out-takes shown during the closing credits.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, November 2002

Hard Boiled
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Hard Boiled (1992)
Hong Kong Cinema DVD Review

Director John Woo has moved into the ranks of the American film world with hits like Face/Off and Broken Arrow, but few Americans know about his Hong Kong history. He made over thirty films in Hong Kong, amongst the best were The Killer and Hard Boiled. Criterion has done a nice job packaging this title as it includes little gems like trailers for 11 of Woo's Hong Kong films and even a student film by John Woo.

Ya gotta love scenes like this!Hard Boiled stars Chow Yun-fat (The Replacement Killers) plays a take-no-prisoners cop on the trail of the triad, the Hong Kong Mafia, when his partner is killed during a gun battle. His guilt propels him into an all-out war against the gang, including an up-and-coming soldier in the mob (Tony Leung) who turns out to be an undercover cop. The two men must come to terms with their allegiance to the force and their loyalty to each other as they try to take down the gangsters. A stunning feast of hyperbolic action sequences (including a climactic sequence in an entire hospital taken hostage), Hard-Boiled is a rare treat for fans of the action genre, with sequences as thrilling and intense as any ever committed to film.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2002

Shaolin Soccer
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
Hong Kong Cinema DVD Review

Holy Frickin' Kermit Jesus! It's Seven Samurai meets Dragonball Z! This is the greatest movie ever! Director/actor Stephen Chow uses comedy and clever digital effects to make the most outstanding soccer-movie, love-story, kung-fu-film of all time! Stop whatever you're doing and see this movie RIGHT NOW. Even if you hate soccer you'll love this flick. From the title theme to the closing credits, this film is so ingenious and well put-together that the moment it ends you'll feel the urge to watch it again.

Shaolin SoccerThis may be the closest we've ever come to wearing-out an indestructible DVD. Prepare to buy another DVD player because you'll burn out the old one watching this over and over. Vastly entertaining and with a hilarious ending, this film is worth every cent spent making it, and every cent buying it!

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2003

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