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Princess and Seven Kung Fu Masters

Princess & Seven Gongfu Masters
2013 / 92m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action
Princess and Seven Kung Fu Masters poster

Saturation is a word that doesn't appear in Jing Wong's dictionary. The man simply doesn't seem able to stop making films. Princess and Seven Kung Fu Masters is his latest feature, although I suspect Wong acted more as a mentor for Venus Keung Kwok-Man, who received co-direction credits. It wouldn't be the first time Wong launched someone's career like this.

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The film is a throwback to the kung fu comedies of the early 90s. It's a mix of martial arts and outrageous comedy bits (not quite unlike Stephen Chow's Kung Fu), sporting typical Hong Kong (over)acting, simple but functional CG and some genuinely original gags. Add to that the more than competent action sequences (though they can't really compete with the best the martial arts genre has to offer) and you have a fun-filled yet rather basic film.

As always, Wong gathered a legion of familiar faces to fill out his cast. There are the older work horses, including Sammo Hung, Sandra Ng, Eric Tsang and Yuen Wah. Then there are some younger talents, like Jiang Lu-Xia, Dennis To and Philip Ng. On top of that, Wong is also apt at introducing new talent, as is the case with Kimmy Tong Fei, clearly one of Wong's rising stars.

Princess and Seven Kung Fu Masters is entertainment in its purest form. It's a welcome update of the old classics, missing that little extra to turn it into a real gem (for that I'd recommend Tracing Shadows) but making up with sheer vigour, enthusiasm and pacing. Unless you're allergic to Hong Kong comedy or martial arts, it's a warm recommendation that's certain to put a smile on your face.

Bullet and Brain

Shen Qiang Shou Yu Zhi Duo Xing
2007 / 94m - Hong Kong
Action, Crime
Bullet and Brain poster

New Kung Fu Cult Master 2

Yi Tin To Lung Gei 2
2022 / 113m - Hong Kong
Fantasy, Action
New Kung Fu Cult Master 2 poster

A back-to-back sequel, but not quite as good as the first film. The problem is that Jing Wong's film is competing with a slew of similar straight-to-streaming films that are by-and-by on the same level but are shorter, more action-packed, and slightly better stylized. So those extra 30 minutes are little more than dead weight.

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Zhao is looking for the secret of the Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Saber. She doesn't have the Dragon Sabor in her possession, so she seeks out its owner and makes a deal with him. Together they travel to his master, where they'll try to uncover the secret of the two swords together.

The performances aren't that great (Janice Man excluded, she did remarkably well), the CG is subpar for a big production like this and there's way too much padding. The action scenes are decent and the fantasy lore is nice enough, there's just no reason to spend almost 2 hours of your time when you can get better results in 75 minutes. Genre fans will still find plenty to like here, but Jing Wong can do better.

Black Ransom

See Piu Fung Wan
2010 / 93m - Hong Kong
Action, Thriller
Black Ransom poster

Simple but decent police thriller. It's another PTU-clone that doesn't come close to To's work, but has enough genre appeal to keep fans pleased. Fast-paced, some decent action scenes and Simon Yam as lead actor. The plot is pretty basic and there aren't many surprises, but that doesn't stand in the way of this being decent filler.

Queen of Triads 3

2022 / 79m - China
Queen of Triads 3 poster

Jing Wong continues his streamer streak. In a way it's a fitting way for the man to finish his career, he never really was the biggest talent. Even so, it is a little disheartening to see him make no-budget genre films with paltry casts. He has always been one of the most committed Hong Kong directors and he always brought something fresh to blockbuster films. Alas, we now have Queen of Triads 3, a basic Chinese crime filler.

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Rose grew up in the underworld but escaped by joining the ICAC, a division that deals with the biggest criminals. She goes undercover and becomes the right hand of Hao, a smart and charming Triad boss who is wrapped up in a power struggle with Kun. With Rose on his side, Hao has the upper hand, but Kun won't yield that easily.

This film was built around Michael Tse, but he's not the brightest actor and he can only do so much. The story is very plain, like many other of these streamer projects, pacing and runtime save the film. It is short and delivers on its genre promises, just don't expect anything more from it. At least Wong remains in the game, maybe he has one more final comeback in him.

Queen of Triads 2

2021 / 78m - China
Queen of Triads 2 poster

Not sure if I'm surprised to see Jing Wong resurface in the recent boom of Chinese genre cinema. He may be getting a little order, but it's a work ethic that suits his perfectly. Filling shelves with popular genre cinema is Wong's shtick and since he'll probably be making films until he's actually physically uncapable, it's a match made in heaven.

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The story is a simple one. A man solicits at a restaurant known for giving unjustly imprisoned people a second chance. Things go well until an old enemy resurfaces. The people at the restaurant decide to help him out, but the secret deals between the police and the Triads make it hard to get a proper revenge.

Though Wong should be able to make this type of film with his eyes closed, he can't fall back on seasoned actors and cinematographers to elevate his film, which is a bit of a problem. Queen of Triads 2 pales in comparison to most of his other work, there are a few decent action scenes (and of course some gambling action), but it's hardly a film worth pursuing. Filler for the needy.