Review Hong Kong

Review of Hong Kong Movies and TV Shows

He’s A Woman, She’s A Man

He’s A Woman, She’s A Man (金枝玉葉) is a Hong Kong movie that was released on 23rd July 1994.

He's A Woman, She's A Man

About

Sam announces a country-wide male-only talent search so they can achieve stardom and international acclaim. Wing, who is desperate to meet her idols, is a female who dresses as a man to enter the contest.

Leslie Cheung

We didn’t really know who Leslie Cheung was prior to watching this movie, I felt quite ashamed that I didn’t. We had this DVD for a long time but failed to watch it until now. It just so happened to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the passing of Leslie Cheung.  He was born Cheung Fat-chung in Kowloon, studied in the UK from the age of 12, returned to Hong Kong and in 1990 became a Canadian citizen living here in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He said that it’s easy for him to have a relationship with both a woman or a man. He had relationships with both but the one prior to his passing was with childhood friend Daffy Tong Hok-tak from 1997 thru 2003. He was diagnosed with clinical depression and sadly committed suicide by jumping off the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  However, his music (Cantopop) and films endure to this day.  There are many articles on the internet to learn about Leslie and his music is everywhere.

One of my gripes is that many Leslie Cheung films are hard to find, of low quality or they are hugely expensive. I would like some of them to be remastered in time for the 25th anniversary of his passing.

Leslie Cheung

Cast

Leslie Cheung (國榮) as Sam Koo Gai Ming

Anita Yuen (袁詠儀) as Lam Chi Wing

Carina Lau (劉嘉玲) as Rose

Review – Spoilers

I really enjoyed this movie. I was taken aback how liberal and open things were in it, I’m actually quite surprised that it got past the censor. Gay relationships? I didn’t think that Hong Kong would be open to that so much.

The main story was about the relationship between Sam, Wing and Rose. We see the struggle that Sam goes through in potentially loving a man, and one that had just wattled into his life making quite an impact.

The last scene was something I didn’t expect. “I don’t care if you are a woman or a man, I love you”.

I’m not sure why this received some poor ratings, but who cares, I loved it. 5/5!

Where Can I See It?

I don’t know where this is available, but we bought the DVD.  The DVD appears to be quite difficult to obtain now.  I can’t even remember where we found it.

Trailer

2023-04-01T23:08:21+00:001 April 2023|Review Hong Kong|

A Fist Within Four Walls

A Fist Within Four Walls (城寨英雄) is a Hong Kong TV drama made by TVB that aired from the 1st to 28 August 2016.

About

Bearing the grief of losing his family, Chor Au-kuen returns to the Kowloon Walled City in hopes of finding his long lost sister, only to find that the very place he grew up in has become a lawless no man’s land.

The show won numerous awards across Asia.

Official Music Video

Cast

This feels like a “Who’s Who” of TVB dramas, including:

Ruco Chan (陳展鵬) as Chiu Yeung/Chor Au Kuen
A very buy actor currently on multiple productions per year. He appears to be a very “newsworthy” actor concerning his personal life and relationship to property investment in Malaysia.
Instagram | My The Righteous Fists Review

Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪) as Duen Ying Fung
He is a winner of the Mr Hong Hong beauty contest in 2007 and a model. He was in the top 3 of a martial arts contest, so I understand. We hadn’t seen him in anything else prior to “Fist”.
Instagram

Nancy Wu (胡定欣) as Tiu Lan
She finished in the top 4 of TVB’s 18th Annual New Talent Singing Awards in 1999. In 2008, filmed in Hunan, she participated in Strictly Come Dancing Season Two. Quite a busy actress appearing in many TVB productions.
Instagram

Philip Ng (伍允龙) as Lung Shing Fu
He has appeared in numerous Hong Kong TVB shows and also numerous shows as Action Director and Martial Arts Choreographer.
Instagram | Ng Family Chinese Martial Arts Association | My The Righteous Fists Review
In this interview Philip mentions A Fist Within Four Walls (it’s in English):

Yuen Qiu (元秋) as Yuk Bo Fung
Appeared in many films since 1972. She trained under the same martial artist master as Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung Kam Bo. She is also has Beijing opera skills. Before she was an actress in films she was a stunt woman and as a student rescuing James Bond in The Man With The Golden Gun movie with Roger Moore.
My The Righteous Fists Review

Grace Wong (王君馨) as Fa Man
Another regular of TVB dramas. She grew up in Brooklyn and Queens then went to Hong Kong on an exchange program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Instagram
She also sings:

Review

It was certainly one of the best TVB dramas we have ever seen.

The story line was good, a little typical of a TVB drama of that caliber, and quite similar to The Righteous Fists in a way. I thought “oh, they are going to knock off that character before the series ends” and they did. There were a lot of story arcs with romances and relationship challenges.

If you like martial arts TV shows then this is one for you. The outtakes at the end of each show provided some insight at how they created them and for a couple of the actors, who are not quite whippersnappers anymore, it must have been quite a challenge for them. Certainly more agile than me.

The set was great, very realistic. Some had been reused from previous dramas, or we had seen them in drama’s to come.

The story arcs challenged the actors abilities as well, not just from a martial arts perspective but also how they got into different emotions. Philip Ng’s character was very different to that of The Righteous Fists playing anything from scary to “kind of” romantic.

The things I didn’t like about the show:

  • Yuen Qiu’s character was nicknamed “Thai Hag”, I don’t think it was necessary to hear that through every single episode. If I was the scriptwriter I would have excluded that or have the character reprimand others for saying it.
  • Even though the character was evil he was put down in a vulgar way for being gay, several times. At that point in the show I questioned whether I should finish it off. In the UK this would have generated quite a few complaints to the TV company, realistic of the times or not.

Summary

Overall, a brilliant “must watch” show but will mark them down for the two issues I had with it. I will give them 4/5.

Where To Watch

I watched this show on TubiTV, they have quite a few Hong Kong drama’s on there.

More Information

View a trailer, other information and stills from the show at the TVB Anywhere website.

2023-02-02T00:30:40+00:002 February 2023|Review Hong Kong|

Table for Six

Table for Six (飯戲攻心) is a Hong Kong movie that was released in 2022. It reached UK cinemas in November 2022.

About

This is the story of three couples, living under the same roof, who are involved in four romances together. There is a new disaster whenever they sit down to dinner.

Cast

Dayo Wong (黃子華) as Chan Hung/”Steve”
He is also a screenwriter and director. He is from Hong Kong but gained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta here in Canada. He is a stand-up comedian performing in Hong Kong, Australia, Canada and the US. He has starred in many TV dramas and films, he won the TV King Award in 2013.

Louis Cheung (張繼聰) as Chan Lai/”Bernard”
He was also the composer of this film. He went to the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, majored in acting, and performed in many stages plays. He is also a Cantopop recording artist and songwriter.
Instagram

Review

The movie was a mixture of drama and humour throughout, more than often over-the-top.

It story rarely took them out of the home and was mainly an interaction between the 6 characters.

I thought this was a very different Hong Kong movie compared to what I’ve seen before, it could have been set on a theatre stage and in fact might have been more interesting in that setting. I didn’t really take to the movie that much, it was kind of slow and didn’t really do anything for me. There was some special effects work. The best humour Louis Cheung seems to have includes the bedroom and toilet scenes, you will know what I mean if you get to see it.

The best part of the movie was the bloopers during the closing credits. I feel really bad saying that.

It doesn’t receive bad reviews online but for me personally, I can only give it 2/5.

I did notice this at the very beginning of the film and wonder if it’s in the Chinese version which is 4 minutes less than the Hong Kong one.

Table for Six

2023-01-31T06:06:06+00:0031 January 2023|Review Hong Kong|

Detective Vs Sleuths Review

Review of Hong Kong movie Detective vs Sleuths (神探大戰) which was released on 8th July 2022.

About

The Hong Kong police create a task force to investigate a series of murders. Li Jun who was once a detective, until he suffered a mental breakdown, starts his own investigation. The murder victims are all suspects of cold cases being rubbed out by a figure known as “The Sleuth”.

The movie is also known as Cold Detective or Shen Tan Da Zhan.

Cast

Lau Ching Wan (刘青云) as Li Jun
The actor has been in quite a few TVB shows but recently his portfolio has been in movies where he is always in the main role. The actor is also known as Sean Lau.

Charlene Choi (蔡卓妍) as Chen Yi
Choi is a Hong Kong-Canadian actress and singer. She was born here in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her family moved to Hong Kong when she was little. She has been on a long list of TV shows and films.
View profile on Instagram

Raymond Lam (林峯) as Fong Lai Shun
He has appeared in mainly TV shows but the only program I’ve seen him is “Step Into The Past”, I only saw one episode though. Part of his studies was at the University of Southern California. He is also a singer:

Review

There was a basic story line but didn’t really have to think to hard during this movie at all.

It wasn’t until 10-15 minutes into the movie that you started to realize the main character had “imaginary friends”. At first I just thought they were real. It was an interesting trick.

It did have some humour in the movie but not a lot. I don’t actually recall any of the characters smiling.

Lau Ching Wan had the best part and he acted it well mainly because he also, at times, played the character of his “friends”.

I recommend this movie for anyone wanting a lot of action and explosions. This is what the movie was mainly about and they did that well. They most likely employed a lot of stunt actors and special effects creatives.

Things moved so fast in the movie I got quite confused what was going on. Maybe they should have just extended the duration from 1 hour 42 min to about 15 minutes longer.

I would give this movie a 3/5.

Trailer

2022-10-24T23:28:03+00:0024 October 2022|Review Hong Kong|

Trivisa Movie Review

Short review of Trivisa (樹大招風), a Hong Kong movie released in April 2016.

About

The handover of Hong Kong from the UK to China upcoming, when the city still has a booming economy, is imminent. Three crooks from China head to Hong Kong to make their fortune.

Cast

The only actor I immediately recognized in this movie was Yueh Hua (岳华) who played Ho Yu Kei. He was in support, not the main role. He was in No Regrets which we are currently watching.

Review

I won’t spend a lot of time reviewing this movie as it was pretty bad. It was only in the last half an hour that I started to understand what was going on. I thought, at first, the movie was very poorly planned out. At one point I couldn’t tell if they were in China, Thailand or Hong Kong.

So, they appeared to spend time focused on planning to rob a Gold shop but are not sure they did in the end.

The movie did show a lot of urban degeneration. Not sure if it was the real Hong Kong or just a set, most likely the latter.

It was kind of interesting to see stock footage of Chris Patton in the movie, he was the 28th and final Governor of Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997. He has appeared in other Hong Kong related documentaries plus a game called “Hong Kong 97” I believe. An interesting yet humorous review of Hong Kong 97:

Reviewers on Internet Movie Database gave it positive reviews, generally. On Asian review sites it was pretty much the same, around 7/10. For myself, I will give it a 2 out of 5.

Where to Watch

The movie is available on Netflix Canada, not sure if it’s there for other countries.

2022-08-23T17:12:01+00:0023 August 2022|Review Hong Kong|

Chasing The Dragon Movie Review

This is my review of Chasing The Dragon (追龍), a Hong Kong movie that was released on 30 September 2017.

About

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.

Cast

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.

Review

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.

Links

Where Can I See It

It’s available on TubiTV, and I understand on Netflix in certain countries.

Trailer

2022-07-12T22:23:55+00:0012 July 2022|Review Hong Kong|

The Righteous Fists TV Show Review

Righteous FistsMy review of the Hong Kong TV Show Righteous Fists (鐵拳英雄) which aired from 10 Jan to 19 Feb 2022 on TVB.

About

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.

Cast

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

Review

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.

Trailer

2022-06-28T16:52:13+00:0028 June 2022|Review Hong Kong|

An Inspector Calls Review

“An Inspector Calls” [浮華宴] is a Hong Kong comedy movie that was released on 19th February 2015.

An Inspector CallsAbout

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.

Cast

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.

Review

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.

Trailer

2022-05-05T22:05:45+00:005 May 2022|Review Hong Kong|

Champions Reivew

Champions FilmChampions (奪標) is a Hong Kong movie that had a release date of 13th November 2008.

About

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”

Cast

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.

Review

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?

2022-03-28T16:15:57+00:0028 March 2022|Review Hong Kong|

Rosy Business Review

Rosy BusinessRosy Business [巾幗梟雄] is a Hong Kong TV show that was broadcast in 2009.

About

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.

Cast

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.

Review

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.

Where to Watch

The first three seasons can be found on TubiTV.

Trailer

2022-02-23T19:04:36+00:0023 February 2022|Review Hong Kong|