films seen
average score
Hong Kong - 72 years old
Alive and kicking
more info

The man who brought (Chinese) vampires to Hong Kong and made it his primary shtick. If you're up for a fun mix of horror, comedy and martial arts, then Ricky Lau is the man to go for. The quality of his work varies, but there are few true misfires.

Solid pieces

Taoist Priest

2021 / 78m - China
Fantasy, Action
Taoist Priest poster

It seems Ricky Lau is back. Rather than copy other Hong Kong directors and go for the big bucks, he stayed true to his old self and has found a new home in China's explosive genre cinema niche. It's a perfect fit for him, and they can use a seasoned director like Lau to give them some pointers.

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Lau on the other hand is allowed to do what he's good at. Taoist Priest brings his typical mix of Jiang Shi (the Chinese hopping vampires), comedy, fantasy and martial arts. It's a pleasant genre mix that goes for full-on entertainment. The plot is very basic, instead time and money was invested in making this film as fun as possible.

Props for Lau to not fall into the trap of easy CG. Most of the action appears to be oldskool, which is a big plus. The sets and styling are extremely lush, the action is great and the characters are a cool bunch (the bad guys in particular stand out). It's a simple genre film, but executed with a lot of flair and gusto. I'm ready for more.

Mr. Vampire IV

Jiang Shi Shu Shu
1988 / 96m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action, Horror
Mr. Vampire IV poster

Mr. Vampire III

Ling Huan Xian Sheng
1987 / 88m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Horror
Mr. Vampire III poster

The inoffensive

Mr. Vampire 1992

1992 / 88m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Horror
Mr. Vampire 1992 poster

A goofy, funny but utterly nonsensical fifth part in the Mr. Vampire franchise. If you liked the earlier entries you will have no trouble at all getting something out of this one, if you're looking for a film with a bit more meat to it, it's probably best to skip this. Mr. Vampire 1992 is pure entertainment filler, and should really be appreciated as such.

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Ying is up to his usual antics. He is summoned together with his trusted disciples by a general to cure him of a strange affliction. They need vampire teeth powder to finish the job, but that's not so easy to find. Meanwhile, the general's wife is pregnant. Her midwife is trying to take over the baby, so Ying has his work cut out for him.

The various plot lines feel very much like filler and make very little sense together, but that's what you get five films into a popular franchise. There are hopping vampires, haunted babies, lion dances, cheesy comedy, and some well-choreographed action scenes. It all may feel quite disjointed, but I sure had a good time watching it.

Mr. Vampire

Geung Si Sin Sang
1985 / 96m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Fantasy, Action, Horror
Mr. Vampire poster

Worthy but flawed

Ghost Punting

Wu Fu Xing Chuang Gui
1991 / 94m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action
Ghost Punting poster

The Nocturnal Demon

Yeh Moh Sin Sang
1990 / 93m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action
The Nocturnal Demon poster

Silly but fast-paced and amusing Hong Kong comedy. No vampires this time for Ricky Lau, just some daft gags and wild overacting, but the result is pretty decent. Some affinity with 80s HK comedies is probably needed to get any enjoyment out of this film and high art this is not, but if you're looking for comedy filler that are worse options out there.

Dubious filler

Mr. Vampire II

Jiang Shi Jia Zu: Jiang Shi Xian Sheng Xu Ji
1986 / 89m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Horror
Mr. Vampire II poster

Where's Officer Tuba?

Pi Li Da La Ba
1986 / 88m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Fantasy, Action
Where's Officer Tuba? poster

Mediocre Hong Kong genre bender. Ricky Lau and Philip Chan directed this Sammo Hung vehicle that combines comedy, action, fantasy and horror and tries to fit everything into a typical cop buddy format. I'd by lying if I said the film was boring, but the quality is limited and none of the genres stands out.

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Tuba's partner Chow is gunned down when the both of them are trying to apprehend a gang of criminal. Right before he dies Tuba promises Chow to avenge his death. Tuba is assigned a new partner and get romantically entangled, prompting him to forget his promise. Chow then returns from the dead to remind Tuba of the promise he made.

The horror elements are cheap, the acting is pretty hysterical and the comedy is very limited. With a star-studded cast and a seasoned director at the helm, expectations were a lot higher. At least the action scenes are pretty decent, but they're few and far between. This should've been a lot better.

Plain forgettable

The Temptation of Office Ladies

2000 / 87m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance
The Temptation of Office Ladies poster

A pretty awkward genre blender. Ricky Lau is famed for his vampire-themed martial arts comedies, so when he tried his hand at romance with some drama and thriller elements it was a bit of a gamble. Too much of a gamble I guess, as the result is a muddled mess that comes off rather tone-deaf.

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Three 20-something women are sharing a flat, looking to get their lives on the rails. That translates to finding a good job and a (wealthy) husband. Easier said than done though, as the men they date invariably turn out to be lechers. Throw in some random drama (a child dies) and a surprisingly jolly rape scene and you'll begin to understand what we're dealing with here.

Lau seems to have no control whatsoever. The film is quite light, the first part is a basic romantic comedy even, but then he throws in some pretty heavy drama without even trying to change the tone. The drama has no impact, performances are mediocre and the atmosphere is terribly inconsistent. Not exactly Lau's best work.

The Romance of the Vampires

Xi Wo Yi Ge Wen
1994 / 93m - Hong Kong
Romance, Horror
The Romance of the Vampires poster

Ricky Lau likes to stick with his vampire theme, but when drops the martial arts and comedy elements and substitutes them with some sleazy romance it only highlights his limitations as a director. The perks of genre cinema keep it from becoming a total disaster, but unless you're a tremendous Lau film there's not much here.