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Top 100 Hong Kong Films of the Nineties - Numbers 41-60

It’s the third in our 23-part series of the Top 100 Hong Kong Films of the Nineties, as decided upon by actual LoveHKFilm Readers. This time, we’re revealing numbers 60-41 of our Top 100. Most likely, you won’t find THE FRUIT IS SWELLING here.

If you’ve just joined us, we highly suggest that you check out previous updates first:
Numbers 100-81
Numbers 80-61

For those keeping score: thus far Tsui Hark had something to do with 5 films, Leslie Cheung has appeared in 6, and Stephen Chow has starred in 7. Johnnie To clocks in at only 4 films. Wong Jing? He’s involved in a whopping 9 out of a possible 40 films. We sense domination.

Wong and Alice
“I’ve got aces in my pants, too!”

Hit the jump to see what shows up!

60. 92 LA LEGENDARY ROSE NOIRE (1992), directed by Jeff Lau - 36 points - LoveHKFilm Review

92 La Legendary Rose Noire

Sublime, smart nonsense from director Jeff Lau that references the classic “Black Rose” serials of Hong Kong yesteryear. Both Fung Bo-Bo and Tony Leung Ka-Fai won acting awards, and both deserved them.

59. SEX AND ZEN (1991), directed by Michael Mak - 37 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Sex and Zen

Man gets horse penis transplant and learns a life lesson — that’s SEX AND ZEN in a nutshell. The opulent art direction, ridiculous sex scenes and Amy Yip’s sizable assets also factor in somewhere. This movie makes SEX AND CHOPSTICKS completely unwatchable. See it with the entire family!

58. ROYAL TRAMP (1992), directed by Wong Jing - 37.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Royal Tramp

Stephen Chow and Wong Jing’s DUKE OF MT. DEER adaptation pissed off more than a few Jin Yong purists back in the day, but it’s earned a loyal following, probably because it’s so damn funny. Another great teaming of Stephen Chow and Ng Man-Tat, not to mention Chingmy Yau and Cheung Man.

57. YOUNG AND DANGEROUS: THE PREQUEL (1998), directed by Andrew Lau - 38.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Young and Dangerous: The Prequel

That was quick. Within two years of starting the YOUNG AND DANGEROUS franchise, Andrew Lau and Manfred Wong attempted a prequel and possible reboot. It was a good one, though, with a surprising serious edge to the expected youth gang shenanigans. Nicholas Tse and Daniel Wu showed early acting promise.

56. SUMMER SNOW (1995), directed by Ann Hui - 38.5 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Summer Snow

The big winner at the 15th Hong Kong Film Awards, SUMMER SNOW is one of Ann Hui’s most celebrated works. Grace Chow says, “Ann Hui has a way of weaving tales about simple lives into great movies. SUMMER SNOW is the finest example; it’s never less or more than what it is, and she received help from the finest actors, Josephine Siao and Roy Chiao, to keep that balance. I don’t think any other actress could carry Josephine Siao’s role as well as she did.”

55. GOD OF GAMBLERS II (1990), directed by Wong Jing - 40.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

God of Gamblers II

Wannabe meets inspiration in GOD OF GAMBLERS II, with Stephen Chow’s ALL FOR THE WINNER character paying a visit to Chow Yun-Fat’s GOD OF GAMBLER’s universe. Andy Lau reprises his role as the distractingly hip “Knight of Gamblers.” Wong Jing: he’s taking over this list.

54. THE LONGEST SUMMER (1998), directed by Fruit Chan - 42.5 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

The Longest Summer

About former soldiers in the British Army fired in the lead up to the 1997 Handover, THE LONGEST SUMMER is strikingly political but also personal, using its larger subject matter to tell a story about complete, recognizable and compelling characters. Fruit Chan’s powerful, darkly funny follow-up to his stunning MADE IN HONG KONG is considered by some to be even better. Awesome fact: this was Jo Koo’s debut film.

53. GEN-X COPS (1999), directed by Benny Chan - 46.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Gen-X Cops

GEN-X COPS is about 12 pounds of cheese, but it’s enjoyable, hip cheese with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Hong Kong’s version of MOD SQUAD has hotter stars (Nic Tse, Stephen Fung, Daniel Wu, Jaymee Ong) and better action, and also features great supporting turns from Francis Ng, Eric Tsang and even Jackie Chan in a cameo. In light of GEN-Y COPS, liking GEN-X COPS gets a whole lot easier.

52. YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 3 (1996), directed by Andrew Lau - 49 points, 2 first place votes - LoveHKFilm Review

Young and Dangerous 3

Ekin Cheng goes to Holland and fights Roy Cheung. Karen Mok shows up and charms Jordan Chan. Blackie Ko and Anthony Wong steal scenes. Some previous cast members return, some characters die, and everyone gets together for a blisteringly cool rumble at a funeral. With YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 3, the Y&D filmmaking team hit their Hung Hing stride.

51. BULLETS OVER SUMMER (1999), directed by Wilson Yip - 53 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Bullets Over Summer

Once upon a time, Wilson Yip made movies that weren’t considered good because of Donnie Yen. BULLETS OVER SUMMER was one of Yip’s best, a cop soap opera with fine characters, complex emotions, and some incredible performances. According to Valerie Soe, BULLETS OVER SUMMER is “part art film, part shoot ‘em up, part quirky character study, and all Francis Ng.” Law Lan and Louis Koo are also pretty good here.

50. THE LOVERS (1994), directed by Tsui Hark - 53 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Lovers

Overwrought, but with so much naked emotion and feeling that it succeeds. Tsui Hark’s take on the classic tale of Cheuk Ying-Toi and Leung Shan-Pak wouldn’t work without the fresh-scrubbed charm of Charlie Young and Nicky Wu. The gorgeous cinematography and sublime music play no small part in making LOVERS a nineties audience fave. Finding an English subtitled DVD now is like winning the lottery.

49. LOST AND FOUND (1996), directed by Lee Chi-Ngai - 55 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Lost and Found

Takeshi Kaneshiro turns in one of his most winning and effortless performances as a young dude who makes it his business to find lost things, among them Kelly Chen’s heart. Much of its charm has since become cliché, but Lee Chi-Ngai’s touching, lyrical drama still gets us in all the right places. LOST AND FOUND is so endearing that it even makes Michael Wong into a decent actor.

48. ALL FOR THE WINNER (1990), directed by Jeff Lau - 56 points - LoveHKFilm Review

All For the Winner

Jeff Lau took the gambling genre to new heights — or lows, depending on how you look at it — with ALL FOR THE WINNER, about a psychic mainlander who arrives in Hong Kong and proceeds to bamboozle the locals with his dopey but unbeatable card sharking ways. A funny film no matter how you slice it, but since they cast some TV actor named Stephen Chow, this silly wackfest went on to become Hong Kong’s highest-grossing film ever. That Stephen Chow guy never went back to TV.

47. THE HEROIC TRIO (1993), directed by Johnnie To and Ching Siu-Tung - 59.5 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

The Heroic Trio

Johnnie To and Ching Siu-Tung successfully teamed up for HEROIC TRIO, the first of two fighting female flicks featuring the best actresses Hong Kong had to offer: Anita Mui, Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung. Site reader KL says, “The absurd cheesiness of this “cult classic” is forgiven because how could anyone reject Yeoh, Cheung, and Mui? Forget that CHARLIE’S ANGELS flick, this is way cooler.” Agreed.

46. ONCE A THIEF (1991), directed by John Woo - 62.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Once a Thief

Chow Yun-Fat, Leslie Cheung and Cherie Chung give ONCE A THIEF star power to spare, with elegant action, fine international settings and wacky laughs doing the rest. Light for John Woo, but is it better than PAYCHECK? You bet. Please try to forget that they ever made that TV series.

45. THE UNTOLD STORY (1993), directed by Herman Yau - 65 points - LoveHKFilm Review

The Untold Story

Dim sum is yummy, but not in Herman Yau’s based-on-a-true-story THE UNTOLD STORY. Anthony Wong won a Hong Kong Film Award as the twisted restaurateur who fills meat buns with people parts, while Herman Yau adds smart satire amidst the Category III carnage. Valerie Soe calls it “a horrible story told in riveting style, with an indescribable performance by Anthony Wong. Herman Yau makes it all watchable.”

44. FULL CONTACT (1992), directed by Ringo Lam - 65.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Full Contact

There’s plenty that makes Ringo Lam’s FULL CONTACT a B-movie classic. It’s got a vicious Chow Yun-Fat, a dopey Anthony Wong, a flamboyant Simon Yam, plus the bullet-cam and the infamous kiss-off line, “Masturbate in Hell!” Reader WillJayRod calls it “One of the most kinetic action films ever made.” We call it a good time at the grindhouse.

43. CENTRE STAGE (1992), directed by Stanley Kwan - 69.5 points, 2 first place votes - LoveHKFilm Review

Centre Stage

Silent film actress Ruan Ling-Yu and her tragic story are the basis for Stanley Kwan’s docu-drama CENTER STAGE. Also known as THE ACTRESS, the film is justly acclaimed for its period detail, experimental craft, and most of all its lead actress, the luminous Maggie Cheung, who won her second Best Actress Hong Kong Film Award for her performance.

42. FORBIDDEN CITY COP (1996), directed by Vincent Kok - 70.5 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review

Forbidden City Cop

Notch up another one for Stephen Chow. The period spy comedy FORBIDDEN CITY COP is one of his best films, and Chow’s turn as a loving husband and inventor of kickass devices counts among his most winning. Terrific set pieces, great comedy, and a superb supporting cast (especially Carina Lau and Carman Lee as the female leads) add to the fun.

41. LOVE ON DELIVERY (1994), directed by Lee Lik-Chee - 73.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review

Love on Delivery

Yes, a silly comedy about a delivery boy who apes Ultraman is considered better than a Stanley Kwan film about the tragic life of a beloved silent film star. That’s Hong Kong Cinema for you. Oh, by the way, LOVE ON DELIVERY rocks. Says Grady Hendrix about the film, “Maybe because it’s the first Chow movie I ever saw, maybe it’s because it’s the best pairing he ever had with Ng Man-Tat, but I like to think that I love it so much because in the end he doesn’t achieve his victory by training, or by being good at anything. He wins because he cheats.”

Finally, a couple of YOUNG AND DANGEROUS movies! And even more Stephen Chow and Wong Jing. Next time: hopefully less from both.

3/17/10 UPDATE: After realizing that we had forgotten to count a single ballot, this entry had to do a little rejiggering. Honestly, it didn’t make that much difference. LOST AND FOUND and ALL FOR THE WINNER switched places, FORBIDDEN CITY COP moved up four places from #46 to #42, and the original #42-45 all moved down a slot. That’s what happens when we juggle a job, a review site and a part-time job as an amateur statistician.

32 Responses to “Top 100 Hong Kong Films of the Nineties - Numbers 41-60”

  1. Mat Thompson Says:

    Wow… maybe my knowledge of 90’s Hong Kong movies is a little weak, but I really expected Once a Thief to be in the Top Ten at the least. Of course I haven’t even heard of more than half the films on this list (I’m still working my way though the 50 from the 2000’s).

    I think I need to watch more Stephen Chow… they are hard to find in Taiwan with English subs though…

  2. QQ Says:

    Wow - I can’t believe how much Stephen Chow is dominating the lower the 50 of the list - wonder how it goes up the chain? Not surprised by Wong Jing due the sheer number of productions he was involved in during the 90s. I shouldn’t knock it because I never saw it, but Gen X cops higher than Sex & Zen - wow?! Right now I’m just guessing which of the 10 Young and Dangerous didn’t make it to the top 100.

  3. QQ Says:

    Running count - I have seen 36/60.

  4. r Says:

    Kozo can I just check if you got my vote? I ask because I’m sure I had Forbidden City Cop as my first place vote. I sent it to the webmaster@lovehkfilm.com adr you said was an alternative to using the contact form

  5. Kelly Says:

    The Garfield scene from Love on Delivery is one of the most hilarious sequences ever set to film.

  6. b3n1 Says:

    I guess Wong Jing won’t have any more movie came out after number 41. His best movies are out: Royal Tramp & God of Gamblers 2. Unless, his God of Gamblers 3 make into the list but I doubt so.

    From number 60-41, I have seen 15 movies (I haven’t seen those award drama movies). Hey, compared to number 100-61 I have seen all the movie except RED TO KILL.

    Wondering, why there is no JET LEE movies since number 80-41? I thought he was popular at 90’s.

  7. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    @QQ, if we’re talking running count, so far I’ve seen 59/60.

    @r, you are totally correct here. I lost your vote and only found it hidden in my mailbox today. After retallying, I factored your vote in and it caused a few order changes, namely FORBIDDEN CITY COP moving up from #46 to #42.

    However, it didn’t drop anything from the list and virtually nothing before this is affected. Nothing much after this has been affected either. But you did vote on time and it was my mistake that it wasn’t counted, so I’ve now factored it in. Thanks for catching my mistake.

    By the way, there were 2-4 late votes that were never counted. I’m not adding them in now.

    @b3n1, Jet Li still has a little time.

  8. valerie soe Says:

    Hooray! Three from my list show up, plus I’m honored to be quoted twice! Stephen Chow is gonna PWN this countdown, mark my words. I predict twenty-plus from Sing Jai.

  9. r Says:

    thanks a bunch for checking for me Kozo; I know it must be a pain with everything else you have to do
    and yay for my #1 vote placing at the high high position of 42 lol

  10. isjelly Says:

    Every time I hear Funky Town, I can only think of Love on Delivery.

  11. Leemoy Says:

    I will accept your recomendation and watch Sex and Zen with all my family.

    Executioners is much better than Heroic Trio in my opinion, hope the sequel will be in the list.

    It is really a surprising Top50 will have only God of Cookery and King of Comedy (at least I hope it will be there). I thought Love on Delivery would get Top30.

  12. Populasian Says:

    @Kozo - 59/60? Wow, I bow down.

    So far the list has been amazing, such reminders of the awesome-ness of HK cinema in its heyday. I now have doubts that a list of 100 can due justice to HK films of the 90s. Maybe the list should have been early/late 90s instead.

  13. QQ Says:

    @Kozo - which film didn’t you see?

  14. CeeFu Says:

    Still loving the list, and wishing I had put Once a Thief on MY list. I’m glad to see Heroic Trio, as well as Y&D 3, if for nothing else the Roy Cheung beatdown. He had it comin’!

  15. WillJayRod Says:

    Seen 9 of 20, voted for 3. That’s a running count of 7voted/26seen/60.

    And I’m responsible for that measly 0.5 point for Gen-X Cops, bah! I had assumed it would fail miserably at the vote, so I actually bumped The Longest Summer, Made In Hong Kong, and You Shoot, I Shoot in it’s favor. Or maybe I’m just making excuses… I am ashamed!

    Ooh, and quoted again! I should’ve said something about the hawtness that is Ann Bridgewater in Full Contact.

  16. Jimaur Says:

    All for the winner, Heroic Trio, and Full Contact made the list! Woot! Still no Sammo flicks??

  17. Ray Says:

    Maybe it’s the huge Stephen Chow fan in me, but I would have expected All For the Winner to be top 10. It basically launcedh Stephen Chow to superstardom.

  18. ed Says:

    I’m guessing that kozo hasn’t seen LITTLE CHEUNG… my running stats is 3/20 voted and 32/60 seen… next up on my watch list is ANNA MAGDALENA (and viva erotica…)

  19. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    @Leemoy, if your family has an issue with SEX AND ZEN, I claim no responsibility.

    @Populasian, a list of only 100 nineties films is rather sad, because lots of great movies did get left off. I may choose to spotlight some of them sometime later.

    @Jimaur, I’d hold out hopes for Sammo for an eighties list. Really, what Sammo films from the nineties could appear this high on the list?

    @ed, it was talked about in an earlier thread, but the film I haven’t seen is CASINO TYCOON. Actually, I believe I’ve seen 99/100 in total.

  20. b3n1 Says:

    I’m sure Kozo hasn’t got time to watch CASINO TYCOON as he mentioned before at the previuos comment.

  21. Mike Mai Says:

    what would the 90s be without stephen chow and andy lau?

  22. Juan Says:

    Still damn good.

    Young and Dangerous 3 ahead of Little Cheung and Summer Snow? Forget what I said in the last part… I’m angry all over again.

  23. Tristan Says:

    @Kelly. Agreed. I had to watch that seen about 5 times when I first saw “Love on Delivery” because I was laughing so hard I missed big chunks of it.

    Actually, the film didn’t make my list because I didn’t think it was as complete a film as some others, but I almost included it by virtue of that one scene and the “training” scene.

    @Kozo. I was thinking that a “funniest scenes in HK film history” vote would be fun, but then I realized that Mr. Chow would make it a laugher. However, a “funniest scenes from the Chow oevure” might be fun.

  24. Leemoy Says:

    @Juan

    It is after Running Out of Time that Andy Lau become a good actor, it is incridible how he improved. In this film he shaped his acting abilities and left behind some irritant and overacting mannerism such like his ultra-mega-cool-manlike smile. Before it all his film, except God of Gamblers in a less degree (maybe some more films that I didnt watched), he gives his usual unconvincing and overacting charisma. Past decade was his decade since he delivered many top acting. Casino Tycoon is so so as well his performace in Rock Lee. The good plot, character development and supporting actor compensate Andy Lau limited acting in Rock Lee.

  25. Kyra Says:

    where’s Wong Kar Wai? top 10? top 20?

    I wanted to vote for The Blade by Tsui Hark but I missed my chance to watched it completely some years ago. So I think it won’t be a valid vote. ..wonder where it will be shown in this list.

    I believe many good movies can’t make it to this list only because the voters haven’t seen it, maybe somehow it’s less accessible or other reasons. So it will be great if Kozo can “spotlight some of them sometime later” .

  26. glenn Says:

    I am still disappointed in the voters! Okay, in retrospect Heroic Trio might not hold up as a masterpiece but when I dove into HK cinema almost 10 years ago it *seemed* like one of those films I had to see early on. And I can see how The Lovers ranked so low even though it’s a good film. But Centre Stage should be higher shouldn’t it? But I am happy that there are enough people out there who also liked Lost and Found despite the sometimes deserved reputation for wooden acting of two of the leads.

  27. b3n1 Says:

    @Leemoy. It’s true that Andy Lau was overacting in most of his movies in the 90’s, especially when he played Comedy movie.

    However, when he played drama he is good, his solid drama in the past are UNWRITTEN LAW, THE TRUTH, AS TEARS GO BY, MOMMENT OF ROMANCE and FULL THROTLE.

    What I like about CASINO TYCOON because of its story, it has adventure, drama, action & little laugh (not an overdose one). Others, because of the supporting cast like Alex Man, Chingmy Yau & Paul Chun that made the movie worth to watch.

  28. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    I’m in agreement that Andy Lau didn’t really improve his acting until the late nineties. There were always hints, but I think he needed to mature both as an actor and a person to reach his potential.

    Opinions seem to diverge quite a bit in these comments, but it’s great to see people talking about Hong Kong movies from the nineties. Just seeing some reaction and conversation about the range of Hong Kong films — and not just the current favorites or hot topics — is really rewarding for this fan.

  29. Leemoy Says:

    b3n1

    Casino Tycoon is the same case of Lee Rock (now I noted I wrote Rock Lee). Good premise, good pace, good supporting cast, but Andy Lau annoying acting almost make both films unwatchables. I was very disappointed with Lee Rock since many people talked good about this one.

  30. ed Says:

    @kozo, my guess was between CASINO TYCOON and LITTLE CHEUNG, because there was no review for either movie, but in the blurb you wrote for CASINO TYCOON:

    [Andy Lau plays Josie Ho’s father in this melodramatic, action packed biopic that’s probably more than a little divergent from reality.]

    it made it seemed like you actually watched the movie, while on LITTLE CHEUNG, the whole blurb was basically a quote from Grady. (that and the fact, I missed the earlier conversation about this subject)

  31. b3n1 Says:

    @Lemmoy. Yes, Casino Tycoon & Lee Rock has simmilarity. I still prefer Casino Tycoon over Lee Rock because gambling HK movie are always very popular in my country in the 90’s.

  32. Kyra Says:

    Oh I want to win the lottery of finding an English subtitled DVD of The Lovers. It’s a beautiful film and not only Nicky Wu & Charlie Young, the other cast also have great performance especially Ying Toi Mother by Carrie Ng.

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