December 20th, 2012
Hi, and welcome to Day Two of our countdown of THE BEST 200 HONG KONG FILMS EVER. In the first installment, which covered numbers 200-171, the Twins actually had two films show up. They must be feeling pretty good right now.
“Hey Hong Kong Cinema, who’s your daddy?”
Actually, knowing the rest of this countdown, Hong Kong Cinema’s daddy is most definitely not them.
If this is the first whiff you’re getting of this countdown, we suggest you head back and check out the first entry. It gives you an idea of where this is going, plus prevents you from asking where that damn SEX AND ZEN movie ranks.
Enough talk, hit the jump to see if MIGHTY PEKING MAN shows up!
169 (TIE). SUMMER SNOW (1995), directed by Ann Hui - 16 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Ann Hui makes her first appearance on this list with this lauded and accomplished drama starring award-winners Josephine Siao and Roy Chiao. Now out of print on DVD, which sucks. Ranked #56 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
169 (TIE). A BETTER TOMORROW 2 (1987), directed by John Woo - 16 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Two things make A BETTER TOMORROW 2: Chow Yun-Fat eating fried rice and also John Woo’s crazy action climax. Says Jeff Goodhartz, “If ever a finale made a movie, it’s this one. Still the most watched final 15 minutes in my collection.” Ranked #13 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s, behind the original A BETTER TOMORROW. Obviously.
168 THE STOOL PIGEON (2010), directed by Dante Lam - 16 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Dante Lam’s follow-up to THE BEAST STALKER cemented his reputation as one of Hong Kong’s best action filmmakers while again showcasing Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung as first-rate actors and leading men. Also: Gooey!
168. AIR HOSTESS (1959), directed by Evan Yang - 16 points, 1 first place vote - HKMDB Page
Cathay Studios vehicle for the radiant Grace Chang, who plays a neophyte flight attendant determined to make it on her own. So Feng and Julie Yeh are the flight attendant pals and Roy Chiao is the pilot love interest. A romantic, colorful and irresistible commercial film.
166 (TIE). YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 3 (1996), directed by Andrew Lau - 17 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Ben Soh calls YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 3 “the best representation of mid-nineties Hong Kong flashy youth triad films,” and notes that “the climax funeral gang brawl is the most badass of HK triad films yet.” Agreed on both counts, though the film still ranks lower on this list than the original YOUNG AND DANGEROUS. Whoops, spoiler! Ranked #52 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
166 (TIE). THE TAI-CHI MASTER (1993), directed by Yuen Woo-Ping - 17 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh’s earliest team-up is a classic Hong Kong Cinema film — and it’s so great, that we should forgive them for making THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR together later in their careers. Several light years better than those recent films with TAI CHI in the title. You know, the ones with Angelababy. Ranked #39 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
164. MCDULL, PRINCE DE LA BUN (2004), directed by Toe Yuen - 17.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Toe Yuen’s MCDULL, PRINCE DE LA BUN didn’t even rank on our previous TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS, but here it manages to surpass the original MCDULL. Actually, it should because it’s more complex, more emotional and a whole lot more accomplished. This is a kids movie that only adults can truly appreciate.
163. SCHOOL ON FIRE (1988), directed by Ringo Lam - 17.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Seminal triads-in-high-school drama from the warm-and-cuddly Ringo Lam still shocks thanks to its harrowing situations and gritty realism. Also, unlike CITY ON FIRE, PRISON ON FIRE, etc., they actually set the school on fire in SCHOOL ON FIRE. Extra points for truth in advertising, guys! Ranked #36 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
162. BOXER FROM SHANTUNG (1972), directed by Chang Cheh and Pao Hsueh-Li - 17.5 points, 1 first place vote - HKMDB Page
Chen Kuan-Tai is Ma Wing-Jing in this classic Shaw Brothers actioner. Eldridge116 says, “Everything clicked in this Chang Cheh masterpiece: the acting, the story, the fighting (the teahouse fight that concluded the film was simply amazing). A childhood favorite that remains my pick for best Hong Kong film ever.” Hope number 162 on this list is good enough for you, eldridge116.
161. FULLTIME KILLER (2001), directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai - 18 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Super postmodern even by Milkyway Image standards, FULLTIME KILLER gets props for its unusual teaming of Andy Lau and the Great Teacher Onizuka himself, Takashi Sorimachi. Based on a novel by Pang Ho-Cheung, who actually isn’t very fond of the film. Ranked #30 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
160. INTIMATE CONFESSIONS OF A CHINESE COURTESAN (1972), Chor Yuen - 18.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Erotic revenge tale from Chor Yuen stars Lily Ho as Ainu, a girl sold into prostitution and broken by her brothel’s cunning madam (Betty Pei). Naturally, revenge is Ainu’s next step. Filipe calls INTIMATE CONFESSIONS OF A CHINESE COURTESAN “one of weirdest and most cruel films to come from Hong Kong in 70s.” Noted as an inspiration for NAKED KILLER.
159. MAMBO GIRL (1957), Evan Yang - 19 points - HKMDB Page
The quintessential Grace Chang vehicle, MAMBO GIRL stars the charismatic Chang as a young woman nicknamed “Mambo Girl” who goes in search of her birth mother. Evan Yang’s beloved classic trumps its melodramatic plot thanks to infectious musical numbers featuring Chang’s dazzling singing and dancing talents. One of the most popular films from the Cathay Film Library.
158. WINNERS AND SINNERS (1983), directed by Sammo Hung - 19 points - LoveHKFilm Review
The first and best LUCKY STARS movie clocks in at number 159. While dated today (Old, unattractive guys team up to fight crime? Uh…yay?), WINNERS AND SINNERS ably demonstrates the infectiously entertaining anything-goes-and-it-probably-will spirit of eighties Hong Kong Cinema. Ranked number 41 on our list of the TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
157. BIG BULLET (1996), directed by Benny Chan - 19 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Action filmmaker extraordinaire Benny Chan arguably peaked with this vastly entertaining and enjoyable cop actioner starring Lau Ching-Wan and some excellent supporting actors, including Anthony Wong, Jordan Chan, Yu Rong-Guang, Theresa Lee and Francis Ng. At the time this was a new style of Hong Kong action filmmaking. It would be great to have that new style back. Ranked #69 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
156. FUTURE COPS (1993), directed by Wong Jing - 19 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review
Look, it’s a sign of the Apocalypse! Wong Jing’s STREET FIGHTER homage/ripoff is undeniably a very Hong Kong movie so its inclusion on this list is actually justifiable. Not so justifiable: that FUTURE COPS somehow ranked higher than TAI-CHI MASTER or SCHOOL ON FIRE. Or SUMMER SNOW. Ranked #1 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s — but we were just kidding. If you click through the link to the review at LoveHKFilm.com, you’ll find that it’s extremely negative. Whoops.
154 (TIE). NOMAD (1982), directed by Patrick Tam - 19.5 points - HKMDB Page
Filipe calls the film “the New Wave’s greatest achievement and the finest film from Hong Kong’s most underated filmmaker.” That’s a tall order, but NOMAD fits the bill. Patrick Tam’s melodrama about aimless, free-spirited youth retains its power even today. It helps that the star is some young kid named Leslie Cheung. Ranked #42 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
154 (TIE). MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE (1989), directed by Patrick Tam - 19.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Martin can handle this one: “Patrick Tam’s artful eye oversees this unconventional entry in the heroic bloodshed cycle. A superb “Little” Tony performance, Joey Wong, some brutal action and Chris Doyle’s stunning photography elevate MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE into the upper echelons of the genre.” Also: evil Ng Man-Tat. Ranked #58 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
153. GOD OF GAMBLERS 2 (1991), directed by Wong Jing - 19.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
The first good Wong Jing movie to make this list, GOD OF GAMBLERS 2 shrewdly folded Stephen Chow’s ALL FOR THE WINNER character into the GOD OF GAMBLERS franchise by teaming him up with the returning Andy Lau. Hilarity predictably ensues. Ranked #55 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s, ahead of the “other” GOD OF GAMBLERS 2 — you know, the one with Chow Yun-Fat.
152. JUSTICE, MY FOOT! (1992), directed by Johnnie To - 20 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Chalk up another winner for Stephen Chow. This classic pairing with Anita Mui features Chow as a lawyer who uses quick thinking and copious wordplay to turn the tables on the opposition. Johnnie To directed but almost nobody calls this a Johnnie To movie. It’s a Stephen Chow movie and don’t you forget it. Ranked #87 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
151. ALL FOR THE WINNER (1990), directed by Jeff Lau - 20 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Hey, another Stephen Chow movie on this list! Yawn. The genesis for the Chow character mentioned two slots back, ALL FOR THE WINNER was briefly the highest grossing film in Hong Kong Cinema history. That is, until it was dethroned by yet another film starring Stephen Chow. Ranked #48 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
150. ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1967), directed by Chang Cheh - 20 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Super-classic Shaw Brothers film that spawned a number of sequels plus an equally excellent Tsui Hark remake. Jimmy Wang Yu stars as a swordsman who is maimed, but thanks to some serious training he returns to take on all comers — sans arm, that is. A must-see of the swordplay genre.
149. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED (1998), directed by Patrick Yau - 20.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
A textbook example of how to screw with your audience, Patrick Yau’s (actually Johnnie To’s) EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED helped to define and deepen the Milkway Image style before anyone even realized that there was one. They should make a sequel just because nobody expects them to. Ranked #34 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
148. THE MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER (1979), directed by Yuen Woo-Ping - 20.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
One of Sammo Hung’s finest films — and there are a lot of them — features the venerable large one as a student of Wong Fei-Hong (played by classic Wong Fei-Hong actor Kwan Tak-Hing) who must take on wave after wave of bad guys in his master’s absence. An action-comedy-martial arts flick in a class of its own.
147. METADE FUMACA (1999), directed by Riley Yip - 20.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Once upon a time it looked like Riley Yip would carve out his own personal corner in Hong Kong Cinema history, and METADE FUMACA was a big reason why. An eclectic cast, abundant postmodernism and just the right dash of self-aware humor make this a turn-of-the-century Hong Kong Cinema gem. Ranked #66 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
146. THE BIG HEAT (1987), directed by Johnnie To and Andrew Kam - 20.5 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review
For insane over-the-top action and gunplay, there are few better films than THE BIG HEAT. This early actioner co-directed by Johnnie To may lack bullet ballet and intricate choreography but it has flying limbs, severed heads and perforated bad guys. Still awesome over twenty years later. Ranked #61 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
145. THE EAGLE SHOOTING HEROES (1993), directed by Jeff Lau - 20.5 points, 1 first place vote - LoveHKFilm Review
Super all-star wackiness from Jeff Lau and Wong Kar-Wai that exhausts and entertains in likely equal portions. Wan says that EAGLE SHOOTING HEROES is “a movie that never fails to tickle my funny bone, no matter how many times I watch it.” The highlight, as always: Tony “Sausage Lips” Leung. Ranked #83 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
144. THE DEAF AND MUTE HEROINE (1971), directed by Wu Ma - 21 points - HKMDB Page
Chang Cheh-influenced swordplay film puts a female spin on the genre with its titular heroine. Helen Ma stars as the “can’t hear, can’t talk” swordswoman who makes off with some pearls and bloodily dispatches the many comers who futilely attempt to retrieve them from her. According to Jeff Goodhartz, THE DEAF AND MUTE HEROINE “trumps anything that King Hu or Chang Cheh were unleashing at the time.”
143. AH YING (1983), directed by Allen Fong - 21 points - HKMDB Page
Acclaimed docudrama from Hong Kong New Wave director Allen Fong, who frustatingly made very few films. AH YING chronicles the growth of a young woman (Hui So-Ying) as she dabbles in Hong Kong’s independent film scene, and is based in part on Hui’s real-life experiences. A rare Hong Kong film that’s actually about Hong Kong. Ranked #47 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
142. THE BEAST STALKER (2008), directed by Dante Lam - 21 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Nicholas Tse gets top billing but Nick Cheung steals the attention, the movie and probably also your car from the parking lot. Cheung is a relatively small man but in THE BEAST STALKER he seems huge. Part of that is Dante Lam’s ace direction, but most of the credit is Nick Cheung’s. Oh, Nic Tse being shorter may have something to do with it too. Ranked #29 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
141. C’EST LA VIE, MON CHERI (1993), directed by Derek Yee - 21.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Derek Yee’s C’EST LA VIE, MON CHERI offers three-dimensional characters and charming local color, and nimbly avoids the movie-of-the-week traps it should naturally fall into. Smart storytelling and better acting help to make this a tearjerker that stands the test of time. Anita Yuen won two consecutive Best Actress Hong Kong Film Awards starting with this film, and was briefly the biggest female star in Hong Kong. Ranked #14 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
That’s another entry down, woohoo! Next time we’ll look at numbers 140-111 of THE BEST 200 HONG KONG MOVIES EVER. However, since FUTURE COPS already appeared we should probably quit while we’re ahead.