December 21st, 2012
Welcome to Day 3 in our countdown of the BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER. Already the unthinkable has happened: FUTURE COPS has appeared on this list. It’s like Armageddon.
“I told you: you make a deal with the devil
and good things will happen. This explains my career.”
Like we always say, if this is the first time you’re visiting this page, you should head back to the beginning. Then you experience this thing in order and become more and more frustrated as middling films rank above great ones. Like THE TWINS EFFECT over THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER, or FUTURE COPS over everything. Some things just defy explanation.
Hit the jump and let’s keep this thing moving! We may never finish at this rate.
140. JIANG HU: THE TRIAD ZONE (2000), directed by Dante Lam - 22 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Dante Lam’s quirky triad drama impresses even today, and Grady Hendrix tells us why: “Modern day Hong Kong film has made two great love stories, and this is the second. One of the best films made about the exhaustion, compromises, disappointments and stability of a long-term marriage. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a great deconstruction of the triad genre.” A key example of the genre change-ups Hong Kong excelled at during the late nineties and early aughts. Ranked #48 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
At the eleventh hour, we combined the ROYAL TRAMP movies into a single entry on this list, which doesn’t mean anything except that it allowed another film to hopefully claim the spot vacated by one of these ROYAL TRAMPs. Not much to say here: Wong Jing made these films and they’re super funny. Stephen Chow ruled the nineties like nobody’s business. ROYAL TRAMP ranked #58 and ROYAL TRAMP II ranked #95 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
138. A FIGHTER’S BLUES (2000), directed by Daniel Lee - 22.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Before he went exclusively style-over-substance, Daniel Lee directed fighting drama A FIGHTER’S BLUES, about an aging boxer (Andy Lau, in a mature and underrated performance) seeking a shot at redemption. Co-starring Japanese drama queen Takako Tokiwa. Billed as Andy Lau’s 100th film. He would go on to make a whole lot more.
137. PROTÉGÉ (2007), directed by Derek Yee - 22.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Preachy but powerful drug trafficking drama with a killer cast, led by Andy Lau as a drug kingpin and Daniel Wu as the undercover cop drawn into his inner circle. Great acting and one spectacularly violent sequence has earned PROTÉGÉ solid cred among post-2000 Hong Kong films. Ranked #39 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
136. CHINESE ODYSSEY 2002 (2002), directed by Jeff Lau - 22.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Jeff Lau has largely fallen out of favor in the new millennium, which is a shame because he made some of the most literate, creative and heartfelt nonsense comedies that Hong Kong Cinema has to offer. Case in point: CHINESE ODYSSEY 2002, which is not to be confused with those other CHINESE ODYSSEY films also directed by Jeff Lau. Did you know: Faye Wong won a Best Actress Award from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society for this movie. Ranked #27 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
135. WU XIA (2011), directed by Peter Chan - 22.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Peter Chan transports David Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE to early 1900s China, and delivers a stylish, quirky and sharply resonant take on the martial arts drama. Takeshi Kaneshiro and Donnie Yen both impress. Retitled DRAGON in North America for reasons unknown to anyone here.
134. MIRACLES (1989), directed by Jackie Chan - 23 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Jackie Chan delivers an homage to Frank Capra in his own inimitable style for MIRACLES a.k.a. MR. CANTON AND LADY ROSE. Probably Chan’s most accomplished film back-to-front, with a good story, terrific cinematography and art direction, and solid performances accompanying the usual creative Chan action. Ranked #22 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
133. FINAL VICTORY (1986), directed by Patrick Tam - 23.5 points - HKMDB Page
Patrick Tam directed and Wong Kar-Wai wrote the screenplay. Isn’t that reason enough for any international film geek, not to mention a faithful Hong Kong Cinema fan, to see FINAL VICTORY? Eric Tsang, Loletta Lee and Tsui Hark(!) star in this underworld-set Hong Kong concoction filled with all sorts of eighties excesses. Ranked #60 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
131 (TIE). MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK (2003), directed by Pang Ho-Cheung - 23.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Hong Kong’s reigning bad boy of the cinema, VULGARIA director Pang Ho-Cheung, cracks the list with his sharp black comedy MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK. A biting but felt satire on infidelity and marriage politics, the film also boats a standout supporting performance from Tony Leung Ka-Fai. Ranked #22 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
131 (TIE). LOST AND FOUND (1996), directed by Lee Chi-Ngai - 23.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Its quirkiness is dated but Lee Chi-Ngai’s heartfelt LOST AND FOUND is a solid tearjerker raised by Takeshi Kaneshiro, who’s arguably never been more charismatic, righteous and aw-shucks lovable. This movie is so good that it makes Michael Wong tolerable. Ranked #49 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
130. THE CHINESE FEAST (1995), directed by Tsui Hark - 24 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Tsui Hark makes Lunar New Year films too, except his are usually pretty damn good. For example, super-entertaining foodie comedy THE CHINESE FEAST, which matches its intricate dishes and exotic ingredients with charismatic actors and a dash of anything-goes Hong Kong Cinema charm. Ranked #75 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
129. THE YOUNG MASTER (1980), directed by Jackie Chan - 24 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Jackie Chan’s second directorial work introduced his signature style to moviegoers, complete with prop-filled action sequences, self-effacing pratfalls and creatively choreographed fight sequences. Plot and story? Nothing special, but Jackie brought the danger, the impact and the most of all the comic surprise. There may never be another Jackie Chan so these are more than just films - they’re treasures. Ranked #34 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s behind a bunch of other Jackie Chan films.
128. ALL’S WELL END’S WELL (1992), directed by Clifton Ko - 24 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Probably the ultimate Lunar New Year comedy, Clifton Ko’s perennial laffer earns super cred simply for the once-in-a-lifetime teaming of Leslie Cheung and Stephen Chow, with some Maggie Cheung, Teresa Mo and Sandra Ng thrown in for good measure. Raymond Wong also appears but do you really care? Probably not. It’s on Hong Kong TV a million times every January and February. Ranked #62 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
127. DR. MACK (1995), directed by Lee Chi-Ngai - 24 points, 2 first place votes - LoveHKFilm Review
One of the United Filmmakers Organizations most entertaining urban comedies, DR. MACK features Tony Leung Chiu-Wai at his rakish, charismatic best as an irreverent doctor working on the streets of Hong Kong. Director Lee Chi-Ngai: why can’t you make films like this anymore? Ranked #74 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
126. DUEL TO THE DEATH (1983), directed by Ching Siu-Tung - 24.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Popular swordplay fantasy about a centuries-old martial arts war between Japan and China. Tsui Siu-Keung and Damian Lau face-off as, respectively, the Japanese and Chinese representatives, who enter into their DUEL TO THE DEATH while political nastiness, flying ninjas and other weirdness erupts around them. Ching Siu-Tung directed, and you’re welcome. Ranked #37 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
125. POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP (1992), directed by Stanley Tong - 25 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Michelle Yeoh rules the school in POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP. She’s a mainland cop who teams with some Hong Kong cop to take on drug smugglers in China and Malaysia. Yeoh’s awesome stuntwork and ass-kicking prowess made her the action heroine of the nineties. Her co-star, something Chan, was okay too. Ranked #22 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
124. FORBIDDEN CITY COP (1996), directed by Vincent Kok and Stephen Chow - 25.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Chalk up another one for Stephen Chow. The world’s funniest media recluse stars in this side-splitting period comedy alongside Carina Lau and Carmen Lee. Says Wan, “My whole family almost died watching this. I swear our guts almost spilt during the magnet scene. We made it out with minimal injuries.” Ranked #42 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
122 (TIE). MY LEFT EYE SEES GHOSTS (2002), directed by Johnnie To and Wai Kai-Fai - 25.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Surprise, Johnnie To’s non-crime films can rank on popular Hong Kong Cinema lists too! Sammi Cheng and Lau Ching-Wan star in this deceptively silly comedy about a woman who sees ghosts. A genuinely surprising and emotional comedy, and we should thank Wai Ka-Fai just as much as Johnnie To. Ranked #40 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
122 (TIE). CHICKEN AND DUCK TALK (1988), directed by Clifton Ko - 25.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Clifton Ko directed CHICKEN AND DUCK TALK but the straw that stirs this drink is writer-star Michael Hui. This comedy about warring restaurants in Hong Kong is resonant even today thanks to Hui’s scathing and honest look at how greedy, scheming and innately decent Hong Kong people really are. Ranked #27 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s. There’s an HD master of this floating around, so where’s that Blu-ray?
121. CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER (2006), directed by Zhang Yimou - 26 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Knock it for being an over-the-top China costume drama, but Zhang Yimou gives CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER wicked, dark smarts that trump its made-for-the-masses art direction and genre. Jay Chou is a bit out of place, though. Based on Cao Yu’s play THUNDERSTORM, which had nothing to do with curses or golden flowers. Ranked #40 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
120. HEROES OF THE EAST (1978), directed by Lau Kar-Leung - 26 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Snowblood says that HEROES OF THE EAST is “that rare thing: a kung-fu film all about respect for other cultures.” The joined-at-the-hip duo of director Lau Kar-Leung and star Gordon Liu present this China vs. Japan martial arts extravaganza about a Chinese man (Liu) who must take on a variety of Japanese fighting masters. Swords, sectioned staffs, spears, drunken boxing, promotion of positive Japan-China relations — HEROES OF THE EAST has it all.
119. OUR SISTER HEDY (1957), directed by Tao Qin - 26 points, 1 first place vote - HKMDB Page
One of the most beloved films from the Cathay Film Library, OUR SISTER HEDY stars Jeanette Lin Cui, Mu Hong, Julie Yeh Feng and So Fung as four sisters ready to leave the nest — and their father and sole parent Wang Yuan-Long has a hard time dealing with it! A funny, sweet and of course affecting romantic dramedy about love, family and the bond of sisterhood.
118. SONG OF THE EXILE (1990), directed by Ann Hui - 26.5 points - HKMDB Page
Acclaimed but relatively under-appreciated drama from Ann Hui about the troubled relationship between a mother (Luk Siu-Fun) and her daughter (Maggie Cheung). Heavily drawn from the director’s own life, SONG OF THE EXILE explores the history and identity of these uniquely Hong Kong people and manages to affect without overt sentimentality. As Ann Hui’s onscreen stand-in, Maggie Cheung is flawless. Of course.
115 (TIE). WILD SEARCH (1991), directed by Ringo Lam - 26.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Chow Yun-Fat and Cherie Chung team up for the umpteenth time in Ringo Lam’s remake of Peter Weir’s WITNESS. Not as intense or bloody as Lam’s more popular films, WILD SEARCH compensates with gentle romance and yet another unhinged turn from the always awesome Roy Cheung. Ranked #44 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 90s.
115 (TIE). THE FIVE VENOMS (1978), directed by Chang Cheh - 26.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
The Centipede, the Snake, the Lizard, the Toad and the Scorpion unite in Chang Cheh’s cult classic marital arts flick THE FIVE VENOMS, also known as THE FIVE DEADLY VENOMS. Besides its fight sequences and fake-looking blood, FIVE VENOMS offers an inventive storyline and some outlandish animal-based fighting styles. The Wu Tang Clan and Quentin Tarantino love this movie, if that matters to you.
115 (TIE). JULY RHAPSODY (2001), directed by Ann Hui - 26.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Ann Hui’s 2001 drama reaffirmed Hui’s masterclass skills and Jacky Cheung’s acting chops, but it should also be remembered because it introduced us to one of the decade’s best actresses in Karena Lam. Also starring Anita Mui and Eric Kot, JULY RHAPSODY ranked #32 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
114. TIME AND TIDE (2000), directed by Tsui Hark - 27 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Tsui Hark returned from Hollywood and Jean-Claude Van Damme monitor duty with TIME AND TIDE, an awesome actioner that’s got trademark Tsui Hark zaniness to spare. Nicholas Tse stars but Taiwan rocker Wu Bai steals the show. Just made the cut of our TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS countdown, coming in at #50.
113. AS TEARS GO BY (1988), directed by Wong Kar-Wai - 27 points - LoveHKFilm Review
It’s just another triad movie but it also happens to be directed by that Wong Kar-Wai guy. The cult of WKW pretty much started here, and AS TEARS GO BY checks in as the first of Wong’s films to make it to this BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER list. Who wants to bet that every single one of his other features shows up? Well, maybe not THE GRANDMASTER. AS TEARS GO BY ranked #10 on our list of TOP 100 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s.
112. PERHAPS LOVE (2005), directed by Peter Chan - 27.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
The musical as re-imagined by Peter Chan with assists from Yee Chung-Man, Christopher Doyle and Farah Khan, PERHAPS LOVE is regarded by site reader Danny as “perhaps (no pun intended) the most beautiful Hong Kong film to ever grace the big screen.” A tad underrated due to its focus on love’s bitter rather than sweet qualities, the film also boasts stellar performances from Zhou Xun and Jacky Cheung. Ranked #45 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
111. FEARLESS (2006), directed by Ronny Yu - 27.5 points - LoveHKFilm Review
Huo-Huo-Huo-Huo-Huo-Huo! Yeah, that Jay Chou song for FEARLESS about martial artist Huo Yuan-Jia was kind of silly but the movie and the man himself were not. Jet Li stars in one of his later-day signature roles as a revered teacher and real-life hero who fought for the pride of the Chinese people against dastardly foreigners. Ekin Cheng played Huo Yuan-Jia in a TV drama but we’re guessing that Jet Li did a better job of it. FEARLESS ranked #30 on our list of TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS.
Hey, we’re almost half done with this thing! Do show up next time when we cover numbers 110-81 of the BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER. It seems like it’s never ending but we promise that it will.
NOTE: Edited for error correction. Article originally referred to YOUNG MASTER as Jackie Chan’s directorial debut. It was actually his second film, after FEARLESS HYENA.