Directed by Andrew Lau, starring Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng, Sonny Chiba, Kristy Yang, Michael Tse, Roy Cheung and Anthony Wong.
Lord Conquer, power-hungry leader of the Conquerer’s Clan, raises two boys called Wind and Cloud as his sons, after it is foretold they will bring him good fortune. Together with Conquer’s adopted son Frost, youngsters Wind and Cloud grow up to become powerful fighters under their Lord’s tutelage, bonding with each other and Conquer’s daughter Charity. But when the Lord instructs Charity to wed Wind, rather than Cloud, who is the man she actually loves, the stage is set for a confrontation that leads to Charity’s death at the hands of her father. Matters become much more dark and deadly after Wind and Cloud learn that Conquer killed their parents and now wants to murder them too.
THE STORM RIDERS, based on the comic book series by Ma Wing-shing, is a big Hong Kong action-fantasy wuxia movie full of characters with super-powered skills, prophesies, betrayals and legendary weapons with names like Blizzard Blade, Ultimate Sword, Fire Unicorn Sword and Unchallenged Sword.
Aaron Kwok, as Cloud, is good at pop-dramatic posturing, whether he’s moodily sitting on a rooftop with a billowing cape, standing under a waterfall as he angrily shouts at the sky, or screaming in heartbroken anguish as he detonates plumes of water in a lake. Meanwhile, Sonny Chiba, as the single-minded, driven Lord Conquer, is regal, ruthless and looks the consummate badass at all times.
There’s a not-too-convincing CGI cave dragon and a less-than-photorealistic special effects-laden duel on and around a giant, stone Buddha, but these moments are acceptable as they exist within the comic book world of this movie. Far more impressive elements include the splendid Sword Grave set and the many scenes showing the characters creating energy spheres, manipulating water, spinning at super-velocities and generating shock waves. The inclusion of surprising plot ideas, such as Cloud ripping off his arm so that he can use the blood as a weapon, and a doctor realising he must sever his own ‘Fire Beast Arm’ and transplant the limb onto Cloud’s body, help keep the movie exotic and fantastical.
Watch out for a bamboo forest fight, ‘Firey’ the Fire Monkey (which is never on fire, sadly) and a showdown between Lord Conquer and Sword Saint, where we get the chance to see Anthony Wong floating into action like a glowing Moses/Obi-Wan Kenobi, giving off an aquamarine light as he immobilises everyone in his path!
Directed by Benny Chan and written by Kiu-Ying Chan, Kiu-Ying Chan and Bey Logan, this Hong Kong film stars Edison Chen, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Paul Rudd and Maggie Q. It was released in the USA as a Syfy Original Film on the Syfy Channel in 2002, under the misleading title JACKIE CHAN PRESENTS: METAL MAYHEM. (Jackie Chan did have a cameo in GEN-X COPS, which GEN-Y COPS is a sequel to, but he doesn’t appear in this movie).
Undercover cops Match (Fung), Alien (Lee) and Edison (Shen) have to deal with a group of villainous tech guys out to steal the prototype American RS1 attack robot during an international military technology exhibition in Hong Kong, but Edison is injected with a hypnosis drug by former hacker friend Kurt, which compels him to take part in the theft of the American robot. Now the Hong Kong cop trio must attempt to recover the stolen robot whilst avoiding a bunch of trigger-happy FBI agents, led by Agent Curtis (Rudd), who believe Edison is a willing participant in the heist. Fortunately for the Gen-Y Cops, Jane Quigley (Q), another FBI agent dealing with the case, starts to believe Edison is innocent.
This sequel to GEN-X COPS (1999) begins with a demonstration of the RS1’s powers (back in the USA), where it withstands flames and heavy machine gun fire, can hit flying objects with pinpoint accuracy… and can delicately pick up a piece of tofu with its metal fingers (I’m sure that last ability will always come in useful for an attack-bot!) The RS1 does get momentarily hacked, however, though this doesn’t prevent the FBI from concluding it’s still safe to take this lethal killing machine to Hong Kong for the military tech show.
The technology exhibition show itself is wittily handled, introducing such robots as Hong Kong’s D1010, which can predict lottery numbers and is repeatedly mistaken for a trash can, France’s Jerry L robot, which gets its head ripped off in a fight with RS1, and China’s Tung Fung robot, which loses one of its arms during a display and is mockingly referred to as a ‘One-Armed Boxer’.
GEN-Y COPS has its fair share of lowbrow humour, including the moment idiotic cop Alien scrapes his dandruff into the FBI’s coffee cups, and any hope the film has of being taken seriously is severely hampered by the fact the protagonists, especially Alien, come across as borderline buffoons much of the time, with scenes of them accidentally blowing up a car and giggling like schoolboys, all of which prevents them from even remotely resembling professional law enforcement officers.
The script makes an effort to use a lot of English dialogue, written by Bey Logan, though it tends to depend too much on generic terms like “hey, man” and “goddamn it’, but the movie does finally kick into gear, proving to be a pleasing, amusing sci-fi-tinged actioner, with robot rampages, shots of the heroes diving in slow motion from explosions and a full body burn stunt during the finale.
Mainly brought to life via practical effects, the RS1 has a Transformers-like head and looks really rather good onscreen, using a rocket launcher, machine guns, a flamethrower and even an extendable fist to wreak havoc wherever it goes. It’s a shame, then, that a showdown with the Tung Fung robot at the end uses low grade CGI to create the Chinese automaton.
GEN-Y COPS gets an unduly bad rap from many reviewers, but it’s a mindlessly enjoyable, throwaway flick that boasts gunfights, flashbacks involving a man dressed as a lobster, kung fu skirmishes and a decent robot adversary. Plus, there’s the added pleasure of seeing a youthful Paul Rudd go from potential adversary to good guy, taking part in some Hong Kong-style fighting. He even speaks a little Cantonese!
My advice is to put your brain on hold and revel in the colourful nonsense.
The RS1 robot was made by Global Effects (Chris Gilman, Brian Bero, Jeff Jingle and Skip Wilder), who created one puppeteered robot, plus a costume. This suit was then repurposed/ remade for use as Chris Gilman’s ‘Protocop’ costume in KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005).
This Hong Kong horror flick was directed (and written) by Dickson To, stars Gigi Lai, Anthony Wong, Shirley Cheung and Law Lan, and was produced by Wong Jing.
Journalist Gigi (Lai) goes back to her family home in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long District with her cop husband Fai (Wong), to help her mom (Lan) and sister (Cheung) deal with various problems, including hauntings and several attempted acts of sabotage perpetrated by lowlifes working for Mr Chin, a shady businessman.
Starting out promisingly with a dead dog being strung up outside the mom’s home and a guy getting transfixed by a television aerial, the movie unfortunately soon becomes a rather pedestrian, underachieving affair, lacking suspense or any sense of dread. The plot seems content to plod along with scenes of Gigi and Fai’s easy-going, unexceptional marital life, interspersed with the occasional glimpse of a creepy kid or similar underwhelming incident.
Gigi becomes increasingly concerned about what is happening at the family home and is given various snippets of advice and pearls of occult wisdom by one of her work colleagues, Uncle Ming, which includes his theory that the weird phone calls she’s been getting in the middle of the night are from ghosts that are ‘on the same frequency’ as Gigi.
Events become stranger when Fai’s soul is trapped in an endless Mahjong game and the ghostly young girl becomes more of an ongoing presence at the property. Gigi, with the help of Uncle Ming, eventually gets to the bottom of what is happening, after her mute mom’s soul is released from her body (thanks to the application of electricity!) so that she can explain everything. The mother’s soul reminds Gigi that she’d had an abortion several years earlier… and the spectral girl is actually her unborn daughter’s spirit, which is causing Fai and Gigi’s sister Fen to become possessed by other ghosts.
Gigi allows the ghostly girl to stick her hand right through her body, but this doesn’t happen in reality, and Gigi’s willingness to sacrifice herself placates her aborted daughter’s angry spirit. Now Gigi teams-up with her wraith daughter in an attempt to extricate Fai’s soul from the ongoing ghostly Mahjong game…
HAUNTED MANSION does improve towards the end, but it suffers overall from poor plotting choices, including sidelining Anthony Wong’s interesting, slightly loutish & clumsy character for a large chunk of the second half of the movie, and never explaining the reason why Mr Chin, the businessman villain, is so desperate to get hold of the property that he’s willing to kill for it. There’s a jarring shift in tone, too, when the film momentarily veers into Cat III territory, as Mr Chin’s wife gets stripped and assaulted in their office by an unseen entity. Chin is then attacked and strangled by the possessed wife, leaving his whole subplot hanging.
A decent moment involves the blue-lit, long-nailed ghost girl jumping onto the back of one of Mr Chin’s minions when he attempts to burn down the house, plus there are a couple of scenes featuring cut-out figurines from the mansion’s elaborate shrine that seem to move around of their own volition, though this cool concept is soon forgotten, which is a shame, as they added a novel visual aspect to the story.
Devoted to every kind of movie and TV monster, from King Kong to Godzilla, from the Blob to Alien.