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Top 50 Hong Kong Films of the Decade - Numbers 50-41, plus 2 bonus films!

We asked and you answered. LoveHKFilm.com’s readers voted to decide this list of the Top 50 Hong Kong Films of the Decade, and response was far better than expected. My original hope was that 100 readers would vote, but we ended up with over 150 responses! This represents the first time that this site has done such a large vote, and we had so much fun that we may choose to do it again.

Originally I was going to start this countdown on Monday, December 28th, but I’ll need at least six days to countdown the whole list, and on Saturday, January 2nd I’ll be on a plane. So I jumped the gun and started today, with a countdown of numbers 50-41 on our Top 50 list. We’ll announce 10 more each day until we hit #10, after which we’ll split the Top 10 into two posts. Once this whole thing is done, I’ll put up a list of all the films that were voted on. Then we can sleep.

Also, there’s a Bonus #51 and 52 listed here, because one reader sent in a late vote that would have altered the last couple of slots. The two films that could have crashed the list are actually (in my opinion) two key films of the Aughts, so I wanted to include them anyway. Webmaster’s prerogative.

Thanks again to everyone who voted! Let’s get started:

52 (BONUS). LOVE UNDERCOVER (2002), directed by Joe Ma - approximately 30-37 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Love Undercover

Silly, commercial and super crowd pleasing, LOVE UNDERCOVER should be noted for a variety of reasons: it made Miriam Yeung a superstar, established Daniel Wu as a viable comic performer, and turned Hui Siu-Hung’s catch phrase “Go! Go! Go!” into a part of everyday Hong Kong lingo. Regardless of what it truly accomplishes - which isn’t much, mind you - there may not be a funnier, more genuinely enjoyable Hong Kong film on this list.

51 (BONUS). THE EYE (2002), directed by The Pang Brothers - approximately 29-38 points - LoveHKFilm Review

The Eye

In the wake of the Pang Brothers’ prolific and maddeningly inconsistent output from the remainder of the decade, it’s easy to drop 2002’s THE EYE from consideration, but it would be a shame to do so. THE EYE is basically Hong Kong’s RING, a game-changing horror film that brilliantly folded suspense, emotion and common, everyday scares into its narrative. Also key is the casting of Angelica Lee, who’s turned in better performances in horror-thriller genre films than any actress this decade.

50. TIME AND TIDE (2000), directed by Tsui Hark - 36 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Time and Tide

Tsui Hark returned to Hong Kong after years as Jean-Claude Van Damme’s enabler with this exciting and sometimes bewildering action film, which blended over-the-top action with surprising existentialism and some unexpected and even lyrical moments. The special cast - Nic Tse, Taiwan rocker Wu Bai, musician Jun Kung, Taiwan actor Jack Kao, and Candy Lo in a delightful debut - adds to the fun. A highlight: the housing estate-set gun battle that blows away anything Tsui Hark has attempted since.

49. HOOKED ON YOU (2007), directed by Law Wing-Cheong - 36 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Hooked on You

In 2007, Hong Kong cinemas received three films commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Handover, but HOOKED ON YOU was easily the cream of the crop. Solid acting, surprising emotions, and a dose of local love made this not only the best Handover film, but one of the best of 2007 period. Runner-up for Best Picture at that year’s LoveHKFilm Awards, HOOKED ON YOU sadly got no love from the big boys like the Hong Kong Film Awards. Bonus points: HOOKED ON YOU also stars Huang Bo.

48. JIANG HU - THE TRIAD ZONE (2000), directed by Dante Lam Chiu-Yin - 37 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Jiang Hu - The Triad Zone

Dante Lam’s 2000 triad comedy is an entertaining and very surprising work, going for satire rather than suspense in this gangland tale of a triad boss (a super Tony Leung Ka-Fai) facing his possible death. Says Grady Hendrix, “This is the ultimate triad movie, and you can’t have an ultimate triad movie without Tony Leung Ka-Fai in a tacky jacket chewing the scenery. Smarter than it should be, it’s not only a viking funeral for twenty years of low budget triad films, but it’s one of the most romantic odes to married life ever put on film.”

47. FLASH POINT (2007), directed by Wilson Yip - 37 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Flash Point

If SPL was a punch in the face, then FLASH POINT is a kick to the nuts. FLASH POINT stars Donnie Yen, Donnie Yen, and some guys who aren’t as great as Donnie Yen. Sure, Louis Koo and even Fan Bing-Bing appear in the film, but who cares? FLASH POINT is all Donnie, all the time. Just ask Collin Chou, who won the 2008 LoveHKFilm Team Player Award for his role as Donnie’s punching bag. Donnie Yen isn’t just awesome in FLASH POINT, he’s SUPER AWESOME. Some guy directed this film, but he wasn’t Donnie so it’s probably not important.

46. CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER (2006), directed by Zhang Yimou - 39 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Curse of the Golden Flower

Sometimes excess is good, and CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER is one of those times. Zhang Yimou’s return to costume film opulence is a grand melodrama about a family rotting from within, and a mainland release that managed to earn megabucks while also tweaking the country ever so-slightly. The film has CGI armies, flying ninjas, incest, betrayal, Chow Yun-Fat with flowing hair, and some eye-popping Gong Li cleavage, but it’s also a dramatically sound, gripping commercial film that’s big, loud and very entertaining. For crass visuals, this is Zhang Yimou’s masterpiece - that is, if you don’t count the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.

45. PERHAPS LOVE (2005), directed by Peter Chan Ho-Sun - 41 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Perhaps Love

Peter Chan’s PERHAPS LOVE is probably one of the saddest and also most beautiful Hong Kong films of the decade. Chan got an assist from Christopher Doyle for his visuals, and the set designs, costumes and acting are all top notch. The killer, however, is the emotions. Who hasn’t thought of enacting a little romantic revenge before, and seeing the usually sympathetic Takeshi Kaneshiro as the perpetrator adds an extra twist to the knife. The sublime Zhou Xun won numerous acting awards for her role, but Jacky Cheung quite possible steals the picture.

44. LOVE BATTLEFIELD (2004), directed by Soi Cheang - 44 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Love Battlefield

A full-on miracle of a Hong Kong movie, LOVE BATTLEFIELD is thrilling, emotional, suspenseful and very, very good. The story of a couple (Niki Chow and Eason Chan) who break up one morning and proceed to find their love tested in unexpected and violent ways, LOVE BATTLEFIELD is way underrated as a Hong Kong movie even today. With LOVE BATTLEFIELD, director Soi Cheang showed mass audiences that he had more to offer than the horror tropes of the HORROR HOTLINE movies, and he’s not looked back since.

43. FUNERAL MARCH (2001), directed by Joe Ma - 44 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Funeral March

Charlene Choi, meet the movies. The taller Twin got her first big break with FUNERAL MARCH, and showed charm and surprising talent in the genre-typical role of a young girl suffering from a terminal illness. She’s not the only story here, though, as this was director Joe Ma’s first foray into real drama, and he managed to impress while avoiding the pitfalls of a done-to-death genre. Sadly, Ma’s only other drama, EMBRACE YOUR SHADOW, was roundly disappointing. At least we’ll always have FUNERAL MARCH.

42. ISABELLA (2006), directed by Pang Ho-Cheung - 46 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Isabella

It’s the name of the dog, not the girl, and the film never bothers to explain it. Then again, not explaining his private jokes is par for Pang Ho-Cheung, who took his filmmaking game to a whole new level with the gorgeous, funny and beautifully cinematic ISABELLA. As good-looking as any Wong Kar-Wai film and a whole lot wittier, ISABELLA also earns points for its leading lady Isabella Leong, who once upon a time was Hong Kong Cinema’s bright young hope. She’s since appeared in MUMMY 3 and a whole lot of tabloids.

41. YOU SHOOT I SHOOT (2001), directed by Pang Ho-Cheung - 47 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

You Shoot I Shoot

Pang Ho-Cheung made his first splash with this hilarious black comedy that satirized hitmen, triads, the Hong Kong film industry, the financial crisis, and much more, while also introducing us to Jim Chim Sui-Man, who would go on to corner the Hong Kong market on egregious overacting. Most of all, YOU SHOOT I SHOOT showed us that Pang was a young filmmaker to be reckoned with, and in the years since he’s more than lived up to that promise.

NEXT TIME: Numbers 40-31.

21 Responses to “Top 50 Hong Kong Films of the Decade - Numbers 50-41, plus 2 bonus films!”

  1. QQ Says:

    Kozo, you are going to tell me that My Wife is 18 did better than Hooked on You, aren’t you?

  2. lumpdechunk Says:

    ..And My Wife is 18 did better than all of these movies?? I am fainting and never waking up again.

  3. laicheukpan Says:

    I’m looking forward to see the rest of the list. And btw the link to your review of TIME AND TIDE needs to be fixed.

  4. Marc Says:

    The link to Love Battlefield is broken too.

    Great list, a few of these movies I didn’t know, but that will change soon!

  5. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi laicheukpan and Marc, thanks for catching the links! I’ve fixed both.

    Hi QQ, if that late vote had been on time, then HOOKED ON YOU would have been eliminated from the TOP 50 and I’m glad that it wasn’t. But yeah, MY WIFE IS 18 hasn’t appeared yet. Funny how that is.

  6. TheGoldenRock Says:

    Hard to believe Funeral March got a 1st place vote. Someone check if that vote comes from EEG headquarters!

  7. Foxlore Says:

    I actually liked Funeral March quite a bit, but it was not in my top 10 vote. I am definitely surprised by My Wife is 18 though…

  8. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    This was intended to be a fun vote so having films like these appear is good. FUNERAL MARCH is actually quite good, and MY WIFE IS 18, while questionable in many ways, does have its fans. It appeared as a lower choice on many ballots, actually.

    However, there was a period of time on Thursday the 25th where I got 4-5 entries that suspiciously contained 70-80% Charlene Choi in their votes. As there was no rule against that sort of ballot box stuffing, I counted them all.

    Anyway, it could be worse. SUPER FANS could be on this list.

  9. Leemoy Says:

    I am very surprised Hong Kong made more than 50 films worthy to be remembered in this decade.

  10. ToJo Says:

    Perhaps Love is only 45!? That’s just sick….

  11. Juan Says:

    None of the films I’ve voted for have been mentioned so far, so either a lot of other people agree with my favorites, or I voted for films that are not popular enough and my taste sucks.

    Btw, glad to see Time and Tide squeek in at #50. It hurt me not to include it on my own list, seeing as it’s one of the films that got me into HK cinema, but this strange fusion of kinetic HK choreography, HK pop stars, and Hollywood-esque filmmaking has its place.

  12. Samson Says:

    Hi Kozo,
    Great list! From memory, Love Battlefield (no. 44) is called 愛作戰 in Chinese, but it has a different name on the poster. Is that an alternative title to the film?

  13. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Juan, some of your films will definitely show. I don’t think there was a single voter whose choices got completely shut out.

    Samson, about LOVE BATTLEFIELD, I’d guess that the film had a different title prior to release that made it to initial posters. I’m not really sure though. Maybe someone else out there knows?

    UPDATE: I have your answer, Samson. Someone wrote in to let me know that the poster seems to be in Simplified Chinese, so it would qualify as an alternate title for the film’s mainland release. You really can get all the information you need from the Internet.

  14. Samson Says:

    I see.. Thank you. What are you going to get us to vote for next? Could we do the best HK films ever?

  15. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Samson, that would be a very cool vote, but I probably won’t attempt that until later in 2010 — maybe summer? I might want to try some more decade-related ones first.

    Before that, though, I should try reviewing movies again.

  16. QQ Says:

    I am excited to see how rankings will correlate to budget, production company, and target demographic audience.

  17. Twitted by filination Says:

    […] This post was Twitted by filination […]

  18. Josiah Says:

    My wife is 18 probably got more votes since Kozo mentioned it in the post he kicked this vote of with, so it would have reminded alot of people of it.

    I shoot you shoot is only 41? Damn I should have put it higher in my list. Great debut film, although the finale was a tad overlong.

  19. Sydneyguy Says:

    Wow some of these movies just brng back memories,
    you shoot i shoot was something different but entertaining,
    jiang hu was great,
    love battlefield was under rated

  20. Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This: Top 10 Hong Kong Movies of the Decade « beyondasiaphilia Says:

    […] Top 50 Hong Kong films of the decade. Webmaster Kozo, Hong Kong film aficionado extraordinaire, has been revealing ten films as day on his blog, Damn You, Kozo, with much commentary from the fanperson peanut gallery. Although Hong Kong films […]

  21. beyondasiaphilia Says:

    […] Top 50 Hong Kong films of the decade. Webmaster Kozo, Hong Kong film aficionado extraordinaire, has been revealing ten films a day on his blog, Damn You, Kozo, with much commentary from the fanperson peanut gallery. Although Hong Kong films […]

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