A modern take on oldskool Wong and Chung cinema. It's the kind of film you have to be in the right mood for, but if you feel like something big, loud and simplistic, then these guys have you covered. Because no matter how shabby it gets, they make sure entertainment comes first.
Technically it isn't all that and you shouldn't expect anything refined, but that doesn't stop Wong and Chung from diving head-first into a story that mixes martial arts, fantasy and Chinese folklore. The setup and story have been done to death already, but it's little more than an excuse for 90 minutes of fun.
The pop references are nonsensical but hilarious, the pacing is tight and every scene tries to be bigger and crazier than the one before. It's a hell of a ride and the kind of film I can definitely appreciate from time to time, but some familiarity with the work of both directors is welcomed, otherwise you might be in for a rather unpleasant surprise.
From Vegas to Macau feels like a recap of Jing Wong's career, a best-of that harks back to his gambling cinema roots and stuffs in everything Jing Wong has ever done since then, only better. While fun and entertaining, it will inevitably be more enjoyable if you're familiar with the work of Jing Wong and what he stands for in Hong Kong cinema.
Chow Yun-Fat is clearly enjoying his return to the God of Gamblers universe, though he's hardly the only star of the film. Wong also finds some room to launch fresh talent and a handful of nifty cameos. But it's Wong's sense of humor, the crazy pacing and zany comedy that are the real stars of the film.
If you don't like Wong and his antics, it's best to just stay clear of From Vegas to Macau. There's nothing original here, nothing you haven't seen before. But I'm sure you haven't seen so much of it in 90 minutes time. I stopped expecting anything new from Wong a while ago, but if he keeps recycling his own career like this, I'm all for it.
After a short hiatus, Jing Wong returns to the big screen with partner in crime Siu-Hung Chung to deliver a pretty unique crime flick, at least for something directed by Wong. A schizophrenic Triad killer returns to his old neighborhood after 30 years in prison. Meanwhile, his old gang friends are eagerly awaiting his return, hoping he can restore their former glory.
Nick Cheung does a pretty good job in the lead, Wong himself also makes an appearance, though acting really isn't his strong suit. Luckily Wong and Cheung make sure that the film has plenty of stylistic flair. Lots of filters and a very mobile camera make this a pretty visceral experience.
It wouldn't be a Wong film without several film references. Johnny To gets a tip of the hat and shlock fans are sure to recognize the Story of Ricky poster, but the funniest reference is one for Wong's own On His Majesty's Secret Service, released that very same year. Not the best crime film you'll ever see, but it's slick, modern and it comes with a nice twist. Solid entertainment.
A more serious crime drama from Wong. Not too surprising, Wong was always quite up to date on what was going to be the next hype, and with Johnnie To's crime cinema on the rise, he had to get in on the action. The result is slick, modern and entertaining, though like all of his films, it misses the touch of a true auteur.
At least he made some solid casting choices to elevate this film. Eric Tsang found his calling as Triad boss, Shawn Yue is a personal favorite and brings the madness as an up and coming gangster. There's a bunch of familiar faces in secondary parts (Lam Suet for one), but Tsang and Yue can carry the film just fine.
The story isn't all that original, but the presentation feels modern and polished, Wong keeps it pretty straight-faced and leaves the comedy out of it for a change and makes sure the pacing/runtime is perfect. Not a stand-out Hong Kong crime flick, but more than solid filler that shows Wong is more than just a one-trick pony.
A pretty standard Triad/undercover cop thriller. It's a staple of the Hong Kong film industry, certainly in the decade following the handover. Undercover isn't the most spirited example, it's a film that sticks to conventions and simply aims to deliver some expected genre thrills. And that it does rather well, just don't build it up too much.
Feng is a young police recruit who is immediately assigned an undercover mission. When his mission is finished, Feng finds himself struggling to pick up his old life. He seeks out the company of Fai, his old Triad brother, but when they are found together, one of Feng's fellow officers dies in the scuffle. Fai is blamed for the mishap and suspects Feng might have set him up to climb the ranks.
Sam Lee and Shawn Yue do pretty well, the rest of the cast isn't really on their level. The plot is pretty simple and predictable, the styling is somewhat derivative, but the pacing is solid, and the runtime is short. If you like a decent crime thriller, this film won't disappoint. It's decent enough filler, but not a genre highlight.
Jing Wong helped launch the careers of many famous Hong Kong directors, others never really found their way from underneath his wings. Siu-Hung Chung is such a long-time collaborator (though to be fair, Chung was already quite busy before teaming up with Wong). Set Up is a pretty decent film, with both directors clearly making an effort.
Moon is a writer of horror novels. The day before her wedding she goes in for eye surgery, that night she stays with her sister. The house where they sleep over isn't empty though. There are three criminals who are also hiding inside the house. With Moon's eyes still recovering, staying out of their grasp won't be easy.
The performances aren't too great, and the plot is pretty basic, but Wong and Chung do their best to give the film a little extra visual flair to compensate. And that works pretty well. The short runtime and decent pacing definitely help too. Not the greatest thriller, but pretty good filler nonetheless.
Worthy but flawed
Jing Wong was so desperate to launch a new gambling-themed comedy franchise that he made two Kung Fu Mahjong in the same year. As is often the case with these back to back projects the quality between the different instalments is pretty consistent, meaning this first film is rather amusing, but hardly world-class cinema.
Chi Mo-Sai is a professional gambler who is more used to losing than winning. His luck changes when he meets a seasoned croupier. He convinces the man to follow him around and with him by his side he suddenly wins every gamble he makes. But with fortune comes hardship and it doesn't take long before Mo-Sai's life becomes a lot more complicated.
I've seen quite a few mahjong-themed film, but I'm still completely clueless about its rules. That isn't much of a barrier as Wong is more interested in providing silly entertainment with these films. There are some pretty funny bits, it's just a shame that the technical qualities of this series are pretty limited. Decent fun, but only if you know what you're getting yourself into.
Late 90s Hong Kong horror. Immensely popular at the time (at least, based on the number of films released back then), but not a genre that traveled well. People familiar with these films probably know why: when the whole world was feasting on the Japanese less is more scares, Hong Kong was happily putting out blends of comedy and horror overflowing with cheese.
By most standards, Last Ghost Standing isn't a very good film. It plays like a series of horror vignettes centered around a movie theater, with several demonic creatures hassling the few guests visiting the theater. The only thing holding everything together is a minute romantic plot, not exactly the cornerstone of good horror cinema.
The effects and monster designs are very cheap, but also somewhat amusing. The pacing is decent and the fact that it isn't a continuous story keeps things at least somewhat surprising. Performances are mediocre and the plot is nonsensical at best, though core horror fans will have little trouble looking past that. It's hard to recommend a film like this to people who aren't really familiar with the genre. It's certainly not Chung's finest hour, but if you're looking for some mushy horror filler, it's also not the worst choice.
Together with partner in crime Siu-Hung Chung, Jing Wong adapts a popular manga for the big screen. It's pretty weird to see Hong Kong handle what is a typical Japanese high school brawler, it's no real surprise then that the result isn't really all that great. But that's pretty much what I expect when Hong Kong tries to do Japan.
The plot is pretty basic, especially when you've seen these types of films before. Edward, a brainiac kid, ends up in the wrong school by accident and finds himself amongst a bunch of violent kids who have to fight their way to success. Edward of course has no option but to adapt to his new environment.
The comedy is pretty poor, the romance doesn't work, the actors don't really fit their parts and the entertainment value is pretty low for a film that should be all about fun. The fights are pretty decent though, sadly there aren't quite enough of them to save this film. Just watch the Crows or High & Low franchises instead.
Not a great film. It feels rushed and more than a little cheap, luckily uber sleazeball Anthony Wong is there to make things a bit more bearable. His presence makes all the difference here. It's still not a great film, but at least Wong's performance brings the necessary grit, the only thing that kept me engaged until the end.