Taylor Wong by way of Jing Wong. Kung Fu vs. Acrobatic is a parody update of Buddha's Palm in true Jing Wong style. Don't expect classy film making or high brow comedy, but when you're in the mood for some goofy, nonsensical Hong Kong silliness then this film has you covered.
In an attempt to smuggle contraband into Hong Kong, Charles and Chi find themselves in a secret cave where they wake up a princess and a dark martial artist trapped there for centuries. The duo gets magical powers which they use gratuitously, but when the evil master follows them back to Hong Kong they need to step up and save their loved ones.
The effects are absolutely dire and performances are well over the top, but Andy Lau, Pak-Cheung Chan and Joey Wang have good chemistry and the comedy is delightfully daft. The pacing is insane and the film is completely unpredictable, which makes for 100 minutes of solid entertainment. A pleasant surprise.
Worthy but flawed
Taylor Wong made a name for himself making grittier action flicks, but in true Hong Kong fashion he also branched out to other genres. Fantasy Romance is one of the most apt film titles ever, as it is in fact a fantasy/romance flick, with some comedy to boot. It's clearly not Wong's strong point, but it's entertaining enough.
Shing is a mangaka who draws fantasy novels. On his way to his publisher he nearly crashes his car, but instead of hitting a wall he crosses over into another dimension. There he meets a ghost who looks an awful lot like the woman from his comics. She follows him into the real world, but Shing isn't too pleased with her attention.
With Tony Leung and Joey Wang there's some solid acting talent present, but since this is a comedy they're not really able to show it. The comedy isn't great and the plot is pretty basic too, but the fantasy elements are executed quite well and the pacing is solid. Just a bit of mindless entertainment, certainly not Wong's best, but not bad for someone who usually does action films.
This was a pretty basic but decent Hong Kong crime flick. Filmed back to back with its sequel, the film is basically a setup for the more explosive (and better) second part. Still, with actors like Yun-Fat Chow and Andy Lau running around and Taylor Wong behind the camera, I expected a bit more.
I had already seen the sequel (not knowing it was a sequel, for some reason the English title is Tragic Hero), but that rarely matters with films like these. The plot and stories are pretty much always the same anyway. Crime bosses fighting for survival, young kids rising through the ranks, a bit of betrayal and some hefty shootouts.
Performances are solid, though Lau steals the show. The action is decent but there isn't too much of it. And Taylor Wong plays nice, keeping his tendency to go over-the-top under wraps. The film's a bit long maybe, especially as it doesn't offer much in the way of originality, overall though it was pretty solid filler.
Pretty flimsy and cheesy comedy, not quite the film you'd expect from Taylor Wong. But the film is surprisingly upbeat and frivolous, making it a very each watch. It's also quite short and doesn't dwell too long on its drama. Definitely not the best film Wong has made, but it's somewhat decent filler, which is more than I expected.
Casino Raiders spin-off, though marketed as a sequel. Hong Kong franchises can get confusing. Expect more Jing Wong gambling fun, only with a sharper action edge, kudos to the direction of Taylor Wong. The mix doesn't really work that well though and mediocre performances drag the film further down.
A bland courtroom thriller. Hong Kong has a film industry with strengths and weaknesses and serious drama isn't one of its strengths, certainly not when handled by one of its second-tier genre directors. Taylor Wong's The Truth is for completists and extreme fans of courtroom dramas only.
The pairing of Wong and Andy Lau looked promising on paper, but the dramatic backstory (Lau's an orphan who becomes a lawyer, reconnects with his birth mother and ends up defending her in court) is garish and Wong's execution is stale and lifeless, depriving the film of an emotional core.
At almost two hours the running time is excessive too. The court scenes are sluggish and uneventful, performances lack weight and the cinematography is comatose. It's a complete misfire, a surprisingly dim film from one of Hong Kong's more energetic and daring B-film directors. A big disappointment.