films seen
22
average score
2.90*
nationality
China - 69 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Your go-to Hong Kong director when looking for some solid, easy-going entertainment. If you like martial arts action, with varying levels of fantasy and comedy thrown into the mix, Ching's oeuvre is an easy and essential recommend.

The good stuff

New Dragon Gate Inn

Sun Lung Moon Hak Chan
1992 / 103m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action
New Dragon Gate Inn poster

One of Hong Kong's 90s martial arts highlights, though it's actually quite light on action. There's a lot of fun to be had with this one, especially once everyone has arrived at the inn. A typical product of Hong Kong's relentless cinema machine, delivering a fine mix of comedy and action.

A Chinese Ghost Story III

Sien Lui Yau Wan III: Do Do Do
1991 / 109m - Hong Kong
Fantasy, Action
A Chinese Ghost Story III poster

Few will agree, but I always favored the third film in the Chinese Ghost Story trilogy. It's the least serious and structured of the three films, but it's exactly this purer dedication to wacky entertainment that makes it stand out. The story is paper thin, instead you get prime fantasy martial arts, lots of silliness, a superb setting, lovely costumes, hyper dynamic camera work, breakneck pacing and lots of comedy and action. It's probably not as fun if you want a polished plot, I couldn't care less to be honest. 200% genre fun.

Swordsman II

Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai
1992 / 110m - Hong Kong
Fantasy
Swordsman II poster

Swordsman II is a very typical film and definitely won't win any fans to the genre. It's pretty chaotic, all style and no substance and not the least bit interested in telling a coherent story.

Solid pieces

Swordsman III: East Is Red

Dung Fong Bat Baai: Fung Wan Joi Hei
1993 / 98m - Hong Kong
Romance, Fantasy
3.5*/5.0*
Swordsman III: East Is Red poster

The Mad Monk

Chai Gong
1993 / 89m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Fantasy
3.5*/5.0*
The Mad Monk poster

Johnnie To directs Stephen Chow in a madcap comedy from the blessed year 1993. What else do you need to know, really. The Mad Monk isn't quite as great as all the name-dropping might suggest, but if you like To and/or Chow, and you're looking for some daft Hong Kong comedy, this is a film that will not disappoint.

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Lo Han is an angel who loves to gamble. One day, he boasts about being able to gather three souls in a mere three days. The bet is on when he reincarnates as a monk and is tasked with convincing a prostitute, a beggar and a criminal to follow him. Han believes this to be a piece of cake, but his mission will be a lot tougher to complete than expected.

Chow and Ng are a superb duo, add Maggie Cheung in the mix, and you have a pretty great central cast. The film is a typical Chow comedy, which is certainly no negative, but it does lack To's signature style. Chow fans are sure to have a blast with this one, if you're not quite familiar with Hong Kong comedy yet, I believe there are better films to get acquainted with the niche.

The Raid

Cai Shu Zhi Heng Sao Qian Jun
1991 / 100m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action, Adventure
3.5*/5.0*
The Raid poster

Hark's the Raid is in fact a true raid on the senses. It is one of those manically paced Hong Kong action flicks with a serious dash of comedy on the side. There are more plot holes here than there are coherent moments, but if you have a soft spot for Hong Kong cinema, there's plenty to distract you from all the chaos. Exactly what I want from this kind of entertainment.

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Mong is the leader of a group of rebels who want to bring the current reign to its knees. When he is hit by a gas attack, doctor Choy does what he can to save Mong. He is unsuccessful, but Choy himself wants to join the fight of the rebels. They believe he is too old, Choy doesn't want to back down and assembles a group of fighters who want to help him prove his worth.

The Raid is an acquired taste, certainly when you're only used to Western cinema. The comedy is bold, the performances are well over-the-top and the action scenes are extremely dynamic. The film hardly slows down and the plot is almost impossible to follow, but all of that is just part of the experience. The Raid is goofy, wacky, and impressive, the perfect filler in Hark's extensive oeuvre.

A Chinese Ghost Story II

Sien Nui Yau Wan II Yan Gaan Do
1990 / 104m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Action
3.5*/5.0*
A Chinese Ghost Story II poster

A Terracotta Warrior

Qin Yong
1990 / 145m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure
3.5*/5.0*
A Terracotta Warrior poster

Swordsman

Xiaoao Jiang Hu
1990 / 120m - Hong Kong
Action
3.5*/5.0*
Swordsman poster

The first Swordman film marks the start of a classic martial arts trilogy. Maybe it's not quite as famous in the West, but if you like martial arts this is a very easy recommendation. Not that big of a surprise when you know the film combines the talents of King Hu, Hark Tsui, and Siu-Tung Ching, some of Hong Kong's greatest and biggest action directors.

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The plot is quite intricate and detailed, but at its core, it is really very easy to follow. An important document is stolen from the Imperial Library. The guards are fired right away and the emperor employs the services of Ling to retrieve the document. Ling accepts his mission, but he isn't the only one looking to get his hands on the stolen pages.

Swordsman is a fun blend of the old and the new. On the one hand, it's easy to see the Shaw Bros legacy, but you can also find clear indications of what 90s HK martial arts would grow into. The action scenes are on point and the plot is solid, it's just that the runtime is quite long and the pacing a little lacking. Good fun though, and essential viewing before watching the two sequels.

A Chinese Ghost Story

Sien Nui Yau Wan
1987 / 98m - Hong Kong
Fantasy, Action, Horror
3.5*/5.0*
A Chinese Ghost Story poster

The inoffensive

Jade Dynasty

Zhu Xian I
2019 / 101m - China
Fantasy, Action
3.0*/5.0*
Jade Dynasty poster

Fun little martial arts/fantasy film that gets bogged down by overabundant, mediocre CG. If you need CG to wok some vegetables, you're clearly doing something wrong. The rest of it is pretty fun though. Some nice battles, impressive vistas and an economic running time. Not a genre stand-out, but pretty decent filler nonetheless.

The Sorcerer and the White Snake

Bai She Chuan Shuo
2011 / 100m - Hong Kong
Romance, Fantasy, Action
3.0*/5.0*
The Sorcerer and the White Snake poster

Dr. Wai in 'The Scripture with No Words'

Mao Xian Wang
1996 / 91m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action, Adventure
3.0*/5.0*
Dr. Wai in 'The Scripture with No Words' poster

Heroic Trio 2: Executioners

Xian Dai Hao Xia Zhuan
1993 / 101m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Sci-fi, Action
3.0*/5.0*
Heroic Trio 2: Executioners poster

It wasn't uncommon to shoot sequels back to back in the 90s Hong Kong film industry, but Heroic Trio: Executioners isn't really that. It's more of a reimagining of the titular trio in a very different setting. Out is the historic world and in comes a postapocalyptic future where our heroes will have to save the day once again. An interesting setup alright.

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The world is in shambles after a nuclear event. While the government is mostly interested in saving itself, a villain has seized control over the water supply of the city. He is trying to force a military coup by levering access to the water. A trio of female heroes takes it upon themselves to save the city from this harrowing fate.

While everything was there to make this into a great film, the result feels a bit lackluster. To's direction is okay but doesn't stand out, and neither do the action scenes. There's a bit too much drama hidden away in the plot, time that would be better spent on developing the futuristic setting or simply adding more and better action scenes. It's not bad, but for a '93 HK action film, not very memorable.

Worthy but flawed

Naked Weapon

Chek Law Dak Gung
2002 / 90m - Hong Kong
Action, Crime
2.5*/5.0*
Naked Weapon poster

Conman in Tokyo

Chung Wah Do Hap
2000 / 104m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action
2.5*/5.0*
Conman in Tokyo poster

Duel to the Death

Xian Si Jue
1982 / 86m - Hong Kong
Action
2.5*/5.0*
Duel to the Death poster

Dubious filler

An Empress and the Warriors

Jiang Shan Mei Ren
2008 / 99m - Hong Kong
Romance, Action
2.0*/5.0*
An Empress and the Warriors poster

Witch from Nepal

Qi Yuan
1985 / 89m - Hong Kong
Action, Horror
2.0*/5.0*
Witch from Nepal poster

Plain forgettable

Belly of the Beast

2003 / 91m - UK
Action
1.5*/5.0*
Belly of the Beast poster

Wonder Seven

7 Jin Gong
1994 / 90m - Hong Kong
Action
1.5*/5.0*
Wonder Seven poster

Big nopes

The Assassin Swordsman

Xia nu Chuang Tian Guan
2000 / 48m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Action, Animation
1.0*/5.0*
The Assassin Swordsman poster

Rather horrendous TV movie. Even though there's enough talent on board, the film looks as if it was shot on a 5 dollar budget. While extremely dynamic and eventful, the martial arts and visual effects don't look the part, making it a very cheap and dull experience. Only for true fans of the genre, others shouldn't bother.