This is my review of Chasing The Dragon (追龍), a Hong Kong movie that was released on 30 September 2017.
An illegal immigrant from China sneaks into the underworld part of Hong Kong, currently under British rule, in 1963. He transforms himself into a ruthless drug lord.
Evidently, this is based on a true story.
This is the second film based on this story, although not a follow-on from the original. The original was called “To Be Number One”, made in 1991. Kent Cheng starred in both the original and this version. More about this trilogy.
There is also a sequel to Chasing The Dragon, called Chasing The Dragon 2, with different cases playing different characters.
This had two of the biggest names in Hong Kong cinema.
Donnie Yen (甄子丹) as Crippled Ho
The actor is of course huge in Hong Kong playing in many action films. He has made more films than I’ve had hot dinners. Instagram
Andy Yau (劉德華) as Lee Rock
He also produced as well as starred in this film. Andy has a huge portfolio of films but is also known for directing, producing and in one movie was even the cinematographer.
The film was better than some I had seen but it wasn’t great. They tried to make it look epic.
The story wasn’t great and this didn’t appear to be central to the film, I would go far as to say it was a bit of a mess. It feels they went for gangster violence shock value. More of an action movie but where Donnie Yen doesn’t really do too much of that, which is unusual for films he’s in. It felt as though a lot of people get hurt badly and die horribly. There was some humour, mainly in Kent Cheng’s character, but it did feel all kind of grim. I don’t think there was anybody in the film that was near likeable.
The “look and feel” of the movie was dark and a lot of urban degeneration, I guess that worked given the subject matter of the film. There were some, what appeared to be, filmed in plusher surroundings, like the small sequence in Thailand.
The film portrayed a dislike of the British in Hong Kong, well, perhaps more than a dislike. Every British person portrayed in the movie was corrupt. Not sure who the alleged British actors were, the ones I did recognize weren’t and had been voiced over and it was so poorly done I cringed every moment of it. They probably could have hired some real British actors just to be more authentic.
My summary would be 1) lots of violence, 2) virtually everyone died horribly, and 3) some other bits in between. Not like the Hong Kong movies of yesteryear. I will give it 2 out of 5.
My review of the Hong Kong TV Show Righteous Fists (鐵拳英雄) which aired from 10 Jan to 19 Feb 2022 on TVB.
This show is set in Bangkok Chinatown in the 1960s where it follows the daily struggles of the locals and their challenges against two rival gangs.
As a result of an event in the 1930s siblings go missing due to a fight and a house fire. Years later, Bou Cing Wang meets local small-time crook Chin Chien-Chien and her mother, shortly after other siblings start turning up, or are they who they say they are? The family become entangled with gang warfare which is when they set up The Society to help locals who are affected by their evil doings.
Pierre Ngo (敖嘉年) as Gum Yiu Lung
He is not the main character but an actor who I recognize the most, he is extremely popular in Hong Kong, we last saw him in the Rosy Business series. He appears to sing as well! Instagram | Review of Rosy Business (Pierre was in that show)
Ruco Chan (陳展鵬) as Bou Cing Wan
He’s been in so many TV shows I’m surprised I haven’t come across him before. His bio doesn’t state that he’s had any martial arts experience before but I was convinced he does from the show. Instagram
Natalie Tong (唐詩詠 ) as Chin Chien Chien
She plays a small-time crook and the potential love interest of Bou Cing Wan. Multi-award-winning actress with a long list of TV shows and films working on a number of different projects for the future.
Joel Chan (陳山蔥) as Lin Gik
Gik is a police officer in the town and it’s not sure if he is good or bad, you’ll have to watch the series to find out. Like the other actors, he has a long portfolio of work, many TV shows but only 1 movie. Seems he started off on the well-known comedy Virtues of Harmony back in 2001. Like Ruco I was convinced Joel has many martial arts skills. Instagram
Philip Ng (伍允龙) as Je Loi Gat
In the show, he played a character that was kind of dumb but in reality, he is a Hong Kong born American actor, martial artist and action choreographer. I wonder if he coordinated the martial arts scenes in Righteous Fists? He doesn’t have a huge list of acting roles which is why I am thinking he is more behind the scenes. Instagram | Ng Family Chinese Martial Arts Association
Julian Gaertner as George Millen
He is a multi-lingual actor who speaks German, Mandarin, Cantonese, English and more. He pops up quite frequently in Hong Kong dramas as the butch bad guy, we last saw him in Flying Tiger Season Two. In Righteous Fists, he appears in a few episodes but I thought I would give him an honourable mention here. Instagram | Internet Movie Database | Website
I suspect the producers of this show tried to capture the essence of Hong Kong shows of the past and they didn’t do too bad a job from that perspective. This includes the dialogue, the theme, incidental music and commercial break graphics.
It was fast-paced, over the top characters, lots of humour and equal amounts of action. It was a good combination.
The set: I swear I’ve seen that set in another drama, but that’s ok, they did dress it up to look like a Chinatown in Thailand, which was mainly some minimal Thai signs. The sets included the main town, the homes (good and evil guys), nightclubs, The Society hall, and so on, quite a few indeed.
The action: I was convinced at least some of the actors had some martial arts skills, this part was very well done. The special sound effects during the fighting scenes were quite funny and reminded me of the 1960s Batman TV show. A lot of the main characters would get hurt quite frequently but it didn’t take them long to recover without scars, must have had great doctors back then.
The acting: The actors in this show delivered an impressive performance. Seems most actors had a good role to play, I hope they had fun with it. Many of them seemed veterans in the industry.
What I didn’t like: Throughout the series, whenever “Hong Kong” was mentioned we were always reminded that it’s part of “China”, it felt ridiculous. It felt the series didn’t have enough Thai culture in it. In the final end, they left it until the last 2 minutes of the last episode, in which they decided to knock someone off, kind of like being hit by a brick wall.
I noticed many people gave the show some really bad reviews, I think it was under-rated and better than the fan scores. I will give it 4 out of 5.
“An Inspector Calls” [浮華宴] is a Hong Kong comedy movie that was released on 19th February 2015.
The official summary of the movie is “Hours before a family’s party being thrown for daughter’s engagement an inspector shows up at the house. He is investigating the cause of a woman’s suicide.”
It is based, very loosely based, on a play written by J. B. Priestley which premiered on 6th July 1945 in Moscow.
These are the cast members I recognized from other TV shows and films.
Louis Koo [古天樂]
Once well known for the TV performances he currently has a ton of films coming up that are in the works. We’ve seen him in films, some have been good, some have been quite bad.
Out of the main cast, that is all I remember, but there were some famous guest performances.
Donnie Yen played all the characters in a band. That part of the movie was totally hilarious, it was just worth watching it for that scene.
Raymond Wong also played a support role but I have no idea which part. I will have to go back and try to find him.
Well, all I can say is the film was total madness. It felt as though the actors just turned up at work one day and they just did anything they want.
It wasn’t like some of the older Hong Kong comedy films, it didn’t grab the essence of those films way back when..! There were some amusing bits here and there but generally, I was getting bored with it.
I agree with some of the reviewers who said “what is the plot of this movie”! It just felt like a bit of a pickle overall.
So, I will rate it 2 out of 5.
Where Can I See It
The movie can be found on Netflix, at least in the region we are in.
Champions (奪標) is a Hong Kong movie that had a release date of 13th November 2008.
This is the official description of the film:
“Inspired by real events. When China announces that it will field its very first Olympic team, which will include a handful of martial artists to demonstrate Wushu to the world for the very first time, millions across the country compete for the honor of representing their national sport. With so many diverse styles and so many skilled, determined fighters, the elimination bouts are grueling. A select few are chosen, amongst them street hawker and scallywag Zhang Feng and earnest patriot Bao, who’s dreamed of going to the Olympic Games. However, the road to the games is fraught with hardship and heartbreak, and in getting there Zhang Feng and Bao embark on a journey that will test their strength, skill and spirit to the limit, and their willingness to sacrifice in ways they could never have imagined”
The only cast member I recognized was Dicky Cheung who played the main character Cheung Fung. I actually didn’t recognize him at first until I saw the cast list after the film then it suddenly dawned on me. Of course, Dicky is very famous in Hong Kong and has appeared in many film and TV productions.
The public reviews on this movie weren’t very good, in the 6/10 region, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of it. However, it was much better than anticipated.
Screenwriter and Director Tsui Siu Ming did a brilliant job with it. I have to mention Lincoln Lo for the music which I found to be equally uplifting as the movie was. The fight scene choreography was amazing with some going on for a very long time, it was very well executed.
There appeared to be some CGI in the movie, in particular movie up ahead around the city. I think parts of the ship were CGI but not all the scene, it was difficult to tell. Parts of the film had fantastic cinematic quality, one part of it reminded me of the film Oliver although much scaled down.
There wasn’t a dull moment in the movie, it was quite fast paced, with something happening all the time. Parts of the storyline got a bit muddled for me here and there but maybe it was because some things got lost in translation.
I will rate this film 5/5. It seems I haven’t given this score in a while.
Where To Watch
The film can be found on TubiTV, they have a lot of interesting Hong Kong movies there. Tubi had it listed as a 2011 release, but I think it was 2008, maybe the later date was when it was released elsewhere?
Rosy Business [巾幗梟雄] is a Hong Kong TV show that was broadcast in 2009.
Without giving the plot away this is a quick summary.
Hong Po Kei was engaged to Wuxi rice baron Tseung Kiu until they broke it after a natural disaster many years ago. They meet again and she becomes his fourth wife. Living with the other wives is very challenging as well as running the rice business.
Sheren Teng (鄧萃雯) as Hong Po Kei
An actress that has been around for a long time who is known for not signing a contract with any particular TV company ie TVB
Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) as Chai Kau
Another very popular Hong Kong actor who started at TVB as a clerk then went to the TV company acting school. Rosy Business was one of the shows he received the most praise for.
Ron Ng (吳卓羲) as Cheung Bit Ching
This dancer, singer and actor played a support role in this drama but later went on to bigger things such as which Flying Tiger show which is now in its 3rd season.
The show also starred Oscar Leung who I totally missed, he must have been too young to recognize.
This was one of the best Hong Kong TV shows we’ve seen to date.
At first, we thought the show was a little slow but soon went on to speed up and become much more exciting. It’s worth sticking with it if you are thinking about dropping it at first.
The script was well done with the typical over the top Hong Kong style performances. There was a cliffhanger in almost every episode keeping the audience on edge to tune in again next time.
There are a number of villains in the show, they are very nasty, but you will have to wait until the last episode to see if justice is served. A couple of the cast members left the show earlier than I had hoped.
From a diversity perspective, it was great to see a woman take charge of a business and overcome many obstacles.
At first, the war between the wives became a little boring, it was the same old arguments and back & forth.
This show is typical Hong Kong which is currently lost in modern shows and it’s worth going back to view them. I give this show a 4.5/5, a must-see drama. The second season is called No Regrets, the third is No Reserve and lucky for us there is a 4th season, called Rosy Business 4, coming later in 2022.
Raging Fire (怒火·重案) is a movie from Hong Kong that was released in July 2021.
Several years ago a police officer and some of his colleagues were sent to prison. While in prison they become bitter and resentful. Upon their release, they set out to destroy anyone who has upset them in the past.
Donnie Yen (甄子丹)
One of Hong Kong’s most famous actors.
He is a very talented actor, martial artist, film director, producer, action choreographer, stuntman, and multiple-time world wushu tournament champion.
Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒)
A Hong Kong singer who has a lengthy TV and movie career.
Benny Chan (陈木胜)
He was the screenwriter and director of the film. He passed away in 2020. At the end of the film, there was a tribute to him.
Actually, I didn’t really enjoy this film very much. I was too violent for me and there wasn’t a single character that I could warm up to. The movie started, they blew stuff up, the movie ended. So, I would say, if you enjoy lots of action then this is the movie for you.
I can appreciate there was a lot of work that went into the film, especially the special effects and set up the stunt scenes.
This was the first Hong Kong production I have seen that was made post-National Security Law came into effect. I noticed there were some Chinese based production companies involved in the production, like Tencent.
I’ve seen some movie sites list this as 1hr 30min in duration when in fact it’s actually 2hr 08min. I would rate it as 2/5.
Where To Watch
The movie is available on BluRay via sites like YesAsia.
White War (战毒) is a TV series from Hong Kong at aired between 9 July to 1 August 2020 and big-name stars Bosco Wong and Ron Ng.
Ching Tin, Wai Chun Hin and Hui Sau Ping grew up together and all joined the Hong Kong Police Force together. One of them stays loyal to the force. While undercover one separates from the police taking up a life of crime. The other is framed by a gang pushing him in the direction of crime to pay for his debt and fathers’ medical expenses.
Meanwhile, the drug war intensifies as they are starting to be sourced from Thailand taking the war onto a different turf.
Bosco Wong (黃宗澤) as Turbo/Wai Chun Hin
Bosco is hugely popular and has appeared in many movies and TV shows. We know him best through a comedy film and TV shows K9 Cop, Flying Tiger seasons one and two. In 2008 he signed a singing contract with East Asia Music, although he is more well known for his acting.
Ron Ng (吳卓羲) as Ching Ting
Another very much in demand actor, he was voted as a Super Idol by TVB. He started off as a dancer which led him into a singing career then acting. He have seen him productions alongside his friend Bosco Wong such as in Flying Tiger seasons one and two. Ron has sung many tracks to TV Themes.
Kenny Kwan (關智斌) as Hui Sau Ping
Kenny Kwan was born in the Philippines but raised in Hong Kong, he is a singer-songwriter. He is signed up to the music label. Emperor Entertainment Group. He is also in much demand as an actor. White War is the first production I’ve seen him in. He is in the same age group as Ron and Bosco.
The start and end of the show were the most exciting, but the middle part was most difficult to get through. It seemed terribly slow and the script repetitive in the middle. At the halfway point I thought I was going to see the pace quicken but alas it didn’t. The last few episodes, especially 29 and 30, were the best and there was a lot packed into the last episode.
The most annoying part of the show was the voice over for Zhang Ya Zhuo (张雅卓). One could tell it was a voice over since all the background noise vanished. Since she is from the Xinjiang region of China I wonder if she couldn’t speak Cantonese. It seemed there was another actor that had a voice over too, a minor role, but he did appear in several episodes.
The plot was ok, like other dramas it made Hong Kong look like the drug capital of the world controlled by rival gangs, some bigger than the other. In between of course we had the back and forth of romantic stuff. There was humour at the beginning and the end but that kind of sidelined in the middle.
The series should have been cut in half to 15 episodes and the story wouldn’t have dragged so much. I do understand they had some difficulties meeting the demands of the censors so I’m not sure if they had to chop and change it.
I would give it a 6/10, most reviews rated it higher, on average 7.9. So, I would say give it a go.
Where To Watch
I understand both Viki and Tencent have it, both with English subtitles.
The Hong Kong movie All’s Well End’s Well was a great find and we really enjoyed it, this is my review.
There is a series of films called All’s Well End’s Well, these are the ones I know about:
All’s Well End’s Well – released in 1992. I believe this is the first one.
All’s Well End’s Well Too – released in 1993
All’s Well End’s Well 1997
All’s Well End’s Well 2009 – this is the one we just saw
All’s Well End’s Well 2010
All’s Well End’s Well 2011
All’s Well End’s Well 2012
All’s Well End’s Well 2020
They remind of the “Carry On” movies in the UK.
The 2009 movie focuses on the crafty Casanova relationship advisor Dick Cho and a stern magazine editor/writer Yu Chu who is determined to spend her life single. Cho is hired by Chu’s brother to try and find her a relationship which leads to many hilarious situations.
The actors in this production were just incredible, from the out takes at the end it appears they were all having such a good time working on this production, it show’s in their performance.
Louis Koo as Dick Cho
We’ve seen this actor in many productions, mainly films, both recent and in the past. His best performance has to be in this film. I’ve been wanting to watch the 2001 TV show “A Step Into The Past” that he starred in, but haven’t had the time, I understand he is reprising this role in a film called “Back To The Past” release date to be announced. He has 6 films he has committed himself to acting in, wow, he must be extremely popular.
Sandra Ng as Yu Chu
We haven’t seen this actress in many productions but recently saw “Enter The Fat Dragon” which was great. Her performance in “All’s Well End’s Well” was just brilliant, so funny. I understand she also appeared in the 2010 and 2012 films. Sandra has directed 1 film called Goldbuster and produced 3 films must recently “Zero to Hero”. I can’t wait to see her other work.
As you might have guessed by now, I really enjoyed this movie, it’s as if it was made for me. It was a typical old school comedy romp that only Hong Kong can produce. It did remind me of a British “Carry On” movie but not so rude.
I can’t think of anything bad to say about this movie. Exceptional story line, character development, most of the main cast had a big part to play, it was well executed, and timing is everything in a comedy. All the actors did a fantastic job.
As soon as I finished the movie I tried to find where I could watch the others, I did manage to find a place that sold the DVD’s so I will probably buy them at some point.
I’m not sure why it’s so badly rated on IMDB with a 4.8/10 rating, but this is the case with many Asian movies. It didn’t bother me but it’s an observation I keep making. I would rate it as a 9.5/10.
The 2009 movie can be found on Netflix. I really recommend it to everyone.
Like many other films, Staycation is another movie I just stumbled across but didn’t know a lot about until we started watching it.
NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD
A couple’s 15th anniversary, Fai and his wife, they go on vacation to the same place he proposed to her 15 years ago. It is also the 70th birthday of Fai’s father as well. The whole family goes along. The vacation is at a holiday camp where they have to compete with other families. This is a Hong Kong movie in Cantonese.
I recognized some of the actors in this movie, not by name but just seeing their face. Evidently they are all well-known comedians from Hong Kong.
Johnson Lee Si-jit played Fai. He acted and directed this movie. I don’t know much about the actor but he was also known for Citizen King, a rip off of Citizen Cane.
Yuk-Wah So played Fai’s wife. It looks as though she has had a long and distinguished career but hasn’t done any acting jobs since this movie.
Well, where do I start, I don’t really know what to say.
The film was zany, wild and weird. Dodo birds. Flying saucers. What next? It was acted very well and I’m sure they did their best with a difficult script. If I was being generous I could say there were some touching moments. The movie is for an adult audience but at times it just got a bit creepy. I’ve not seen any Hong Kong Comedy film like this before. If I was being generous I would give it 1 out of 5. I would recommend giving it a miss unless you really want to find out what a bizarre Hong Kong movie looks like.
Tiger Cubs is a TV series from Hong Kong that was broadcast between June and August of 2012.
The show follows the lives of the Special Duties Unit (SDU) branch of the Hong Kong police department, as known as The Flying Tigers. Although the main focus is on solving high profile crimes the show also covers the love life and other drama around the characters.
Oscar Leung: The reason why we watched this show was because of Oscar as we have followed some other shows he has been in, such as K9 Cop. He was born in Hong Kong on 26 March 1979 and appears to have been in demand since his TV career started in 2004. He seems to be more of a character actor as his personality is quite adaptable to numerous rolls; serious, comical, evil, camp and so on.
Other significant cast members include:
Joe Ma: Joe was a member of the G4 prior to his acting job. The G4 is the Hong Kong VIP protection police. Following a modelling gig, at the suggestion of G4 colleagues, his acting career began in 1994 and seems to have been busy ever since. Joe plays the trainer and leader of the SDU team.
Jessica Hsuan: Like Joe Ma she played a significant role in Tiger Cubs with much of the storyline centred around the troubles of her character. As she a very sought after actress in Hong Kong, and moved on from her contract with TVB, she only appears in one season of Tiger Cubs.
The first season was very well produced with lots of action done in the typical Hong Kong fashion. The production company must have put a lot of effort into the action sequences as they were very exciting and on-the-edge-of-your-seat with a gripping music score to boot. Most of the characters were developed really well and there wasn’t any of them to dislike. Even some of the criminals one felt sorry for. The continuing storyline of Jessica Hsuan’s character, and how it interacted with the sub-plots, was very well outlined from the start to the penultimate episode ending the season on an interesting yet comical note.
This is an absolute must-see Hong Kong drama, especially if you’ve never seen any others before.