films seen
average score
Hong Kong - 62 years old
Alive and kicking
more info

A true Hong Kong director. Proficient in almost every genre, Lau can handle big budgets and lofty star power, but he rarely rises above himself to make a true stand-out masterpiece. Even so, many of his films are guaranteed fun.

The good stuff

Infernal Affairs 3: End Inferno

Mou Gaan Dou III: Jung Gik Mou Gaan
2003 / 118m - Hong Kong
Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
Infernal Affairs 3: End Inferno poster

The Legend of Chen Zhen

Jing Wu Feng Yun: Chen Zhen
2010 / 105m - China
Romance, Fantasy
The Legend of Chen Zhen poster

Great production values, some slick action scenes and a nice cast turn this film into an enjoyable little blockbuster, which can be refreshing in itself from time to time.

Solid pieces

The Founding of an Army

Jian Jun Da Ye
2017 / 133m - China
The Founding of an Army poster

As a Westerner, you'll be forced to make a choice that will greatly impact the way you experience this film. See this as a historical document and it's probably one of the more repulsive films out there, see it as a random war epic and it's a lovely spectacle. I decided on option 2, but your mileage may vary. If you hate Chinese propaganda, stay far away from this one.

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Mao Zedong as the savior of the revolution. The CCP is facing some tough uphill battles, then Mao has the bright idea to involve the farmers in his political battle. A neglected group that is pretty sizeable, which means the potential is there to flip the balance. With the new manpower, they try to get a hold of Nanchang, a strategic stronghold.

I'm usually not a big fan of war cinema, but I was properly impressed by Lau's direction. Epic in scope, sporting superb cinematography and with some very impressive settings to boot, there's lots to love here. The story is cheesy though and it's obvious that the larger-than-life narrative isn't a proper representation of what actually happened all those years ago. I liked it as a generic war flick and just ignored the rest.

Revenge of the Green Dragons

2014 / 94m - USA
Drama, Action, Crime
Revenge of the Green Dragons poster

Lau's second attempt to storm Holywood, this time with the help of Scorsese as producer (he called in a favor I assume). It was smart to stick to the genre he was most familiar with, but like most Hong Kong directors visiting the US, his film made little impact. Undeservedly so, because Revenge of the Green Dragons is pretty entertaining, though not without fault.

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The start of the film is somewhat reminiscent of Lau's Young & Dangerous series, with two brothers joining a criminal gang and working themselves up in the ranks. A failed romance breaks up their brotherly bond and they find themselves on opposite sides of each other, with the police close on their tails. A pretty typical crime plot in other words.

The second half of the film is quite a bit darker and grimmer than I expected, which certainly helped with the overall appeal. Performances are somewhat decent (with the exception of Eugenia Yuan, who shines bright here), and the presentation is okay but a little by the numbers. There's not enough here to make the film stand out, and where it does go off the beaten path is probably where fans of Hollywood and Hong Kong cinema may struggle. Good film though.

The Guillotines

Xue Di Zi
2012 / 112m - China
The Guillotines poster

Andrew Lau takes on the Guillotine series. Not sure if it can be considered an actual series or franchise, but the team of fighters has featured in several films throughout the years. Hong Kong loves to recycle lore with potential. Lau's film is pretty spectacular but loses itself too much in drama during the second half, which keeps it from becoming a bona fide action classic.

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Emperor Yong Zheng founded a special team of extremely skilled fighters. He uses them to eliminate his strongest opponents with surgical precision. The Guillotines are feared warriors, but when a new Emperor takes over they are made obsolete. Their group isn't disbanded, but the missions they get are way below their level of competence.

The film takes a flying start, with some superb action sequences that drive up the tension right from the beginning. As things progress Lau tries to sneak in more drama, sadly the plot and cast really aren't fit for this. The presentation remains lush and the finale delivers, but by then it's a case of too little, too late. Still, if you love a good Hong Kong blockbuster, this is an easy recommendation.

Initial D

Tau Man Ji D
2005 / 107m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Romance, Action
Initial D poster

One of those somewhat uncanny attempts where Hong Kong tries to adapt Japanese anime. It rarely works very well, but Initial D is one of the better efforts. In the hands of Andrew Lau, one of Hong Kong's prime genre/blockbuster mixers, it delivers impressive car chases and decent production values. I admit I never watched the anime this is based on, but I don't think fans should worry too much going into this film.

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Fujiwara used to be a tofu deliverer for his father. To meet the delivery deadlines, he became quite the driver. Fujiwara develops an affinity for the racing sport, and after winning his first race, he feels determined to make it his ultimate life goal. He directs his focus on drift racing, but becoming the best will require more than just technical skill.

It's a bit odd characters kept their Japanese names, but the solid cast is sure to make you forget about that quickly. Jay Chou, Anne Suzuki, and Jordan Chan are perfectly cast. The races are lovingly shot and edited, the drama is a little light but it doesn't annoy and the pacing is on point. Quite a bit better than I expected going in, Lau did well.

Infernal Affairs II

Mou Gaan Dou II
2003 / 119m - Hong Kong
Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
Infernal Affairs II poster

A series that gets better with each film. This second part is a prequel to the first film and is best enjoyed after watching the first part, though it is also possible to see it as a stand-alone film. Everything is just a little bit more refined here, a bit more precise, and a bit better balanced. I never quite got the hype for this series, but if you're looking for a good crime flick, you won't be disappointed.

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The plot is a simple twist on the first film. A young police offer infiltrates as a mole in a dangerous Triad gang. The Triad gang is playing a similar game and sends one of their guys to infiltrate the police force. Fate has it that both will need to work together when they are facing a common enemy, a second Triad gang that is marking its territory.

Andy Lau and Tony Leung are gone, but Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang are just as good (if not a tiny bit better still). The editing is a little slicker, the music a bit more fitting, and the plot just a tad edgier. The finale has a few too many reveals, which drives up the runtime, but other than that this was a perfectly fine crime thriller. Hong Kong and Lau know how to hone their skills.

Born to Be King

Sheng Zhe Wei Wang
2000 / 118m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Born to Be King poster

The final part in the series that made Lau's career. Not sure if I'd call this a sequel or a spin-off (the series is pretty episodic, to begin with), but fans of the Young & Dangerous franchise will find plenty to love here. As long as you don't expect anything new from the series (but why would you, this is a Hong Kong product after all) you'll be fine.

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Chicken is part of San Luen, a Taiwanese Triad gang. He is chosen to marry Nanako, the daughter of a Yakuza leader. It's an important marriage for both gangs, but then the leader of the San Luen gang is murdered. Everyone suspects Chicken is the culprit, a hit to further his own career within the gang. Chicken will have to prove his innocence if he wants to survive.

Characters are introduced, gangs get cozy with each other, and then the backstabbing begins. Born to Be King is a straightforward crime flick, this time focusing on Chicken's characters. It's best seen when you've already familiarized yourself with the Y&D cast, but even as a stand-alone film, this works well enough. Solid genre work.

The Duel

Kuet Chin Chi Gam Ji Din
2000 / 106m - Hong Kong
Fantasy, Action
The Duel poster

Andrew Lau is best known for his crime films, but he never had any trouble switching to other genres. The Duel sees him take on a fantastical martial arts story, with some famous faces to draw in the big crowds. Like most of Lau's films, it is a perfectly fine and entertaining film, but it can't really compete with the best in the genre.

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Yeh is a skilled sword master who decides to make a little comeback. He wants to fight Snow, a famous master who lives in the Palace. The fight is planned for New Year's eve, but in the run-up to the fight strange events take place around the castle. Yeh is the obvious suspect, so he'll have to clear his name before he can concentrate on his actual goal.

Having actors like Andy Lau and Zhao Wei on board is always a bonus, even when your film relies quite heavily on fantastical fights to impress its audience. Think Storm Warriors or Zu Warriors, with a little goofy comedy on the side. The effects can be a little flaky and the ending is a bit too serious, but other than that, I had a really good time with this one.

A Man Called Hero

Zhong Hua Ying Xiong
1999 / 116m - Hong Kong
Drama, Fantasy, Action, Adventure
A Man Called Hero poster

Not bad, certainly considering the year it was produced. Well after the hay days of the 90s martial arts, but also well before a new batch of films would put Hong Kong action back on the map. A Man Called Hero isn't a perfect film, but it's a riskier project than expected and with Lau in the director's chair, the result offers simple but fun entertainment.

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When Hero becomes the pupil of a famed sword master he couldn't be happier. When he comes home he finds his parents murdered in cold blood. After he avenges his parents, Hero feels devastated and moves to the USA. Sixteen years later his son wants to make up for lost time with his dad, and tries to seek him out.

The CG isn't the greatest and it's not the be t martial arts action you'll see in your life, but that's not what you should expect from a Lau film. A capable cast, slick pacing, and proper production values make this an enjoyable ride, showcasing his talent to adapt to whatever genre he is working in. Not the greatest, but this was a fun and amusing action filler.

The Storm Riders

Fung Wan: Hung Ba Tin Ha
1998 / 128m - Hong Kong
Fantasy, Action, Adventure
The Storm Riders poster

One of Hong Kong's big fantasy/martial arts franchises. It's not an easy franchise to breach, as there is quite a lot of lore to cover, probably too much to condense in a single film. Hardcore fans may want to start with one of the TV series first, those who prefer to stick to films will find a good entry film in Andrew Lau's adaptation, especially if they have prior experience with this niche.

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Cloud and Storm are two brothers who are raised by an evil lord. He murdered their parents when they were just infants and took them in, hoping to use their special powers in his quest to conquer the world. His plan fails when he drives the brothers apart and they find out about his intentions. Storm and Cloud vow to revenge their parents and stop the lord in his tracks.

The practical effects and action look great, the CG is a real eyesore though. Luckily, the fights get crazier and zanier as the film progresses, so at least the CG is pretty functional. The cast is top notch and the pacing is slick even though the runtime is quite long. Solid blockbuster entertainment is Lau's strong suit, The Storm Riders is a perfect example.

Young and Dangerous - The Prequel

San Goo Waak Chai Ji Siu Nin Gik Dau Pin
1998 / 117m - Hong Kong
Drama, Crime
Young and Dangerous - The Prequel poster

Young and Dangerous V

98 Goo Waak Chai Ji Lung Chang Foo Dau
1998 / 114m - Hong Kong
Young and Dangerous V poster

Young and Dangerous 2

Goo Waak Jai 2: Ji Maang Lung Gwoh Gong
1996 / 101m - Hong Kong
Action, Crime
Young and Dangerous 2 poster

The inoffensive

Kung Fu Monster

Wu Lin Guai Shou
2018 / 104m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Fantasy
Kung Fu Monster poster

Low on kung fu and monsters. Lau's latest is a historic fantasy epic with strong comedy beats. The kung fu is inevitable but low-key, it's mostly big budget fantasy combined with a cuddly but deadly monster. Expensive blockbuster entertainment, not high quality cinema. It's perfectly acceptable filler though, just don't expect too much from it.

A Beautiful Life

Mei Li Ren Sheng
2011 / 122m - Hong Kong
Drama, Romance
A Beautiful Life poster

Confession of Pain

Seung Sing
2006 / 110m - Hong Kong
Drama, Thriller, Crime
Confession of Pain poster

Commissioned anthology that was made to lift the spirit of Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic. The who's who of Hong Kong cinema participated, but the result is a little uneven. Not too surprising considering the exterior motives behind this anthology, and there are a couple of worthwhile entries, but overall it's probably best to lower your expectations when watching this.

Infernal Affairs

Mou Gaan Dou
2002 / 101m - Hong Kong
Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime
Infernal Affairs poster

Bullets of Love

Bat Sei Ching Mai
2001 / 107m - Hong Kong
Drama, Action
Bullets of Love poster

The Avenging Fist

Kuen Sun
2001 / 92m - Hong Kong
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Action
The Avenging Fist poster

Young and Dangerous IV

97 Goo Waak Jai Jin Mo Bat Sing
1997 / 106m - Hong Kong
Drama, Action
Young and Dangerous IV poster

Young and Dangerous

Gu Huo Zi: Zhi Ren Zai Jiang Hu
1996 / 97m - Hong Kong
Action, Thriller, Crime
Young and Dangerous poster

Young and Dangerous 3

Gu Huo Zi 3: Zhi Zhi Shou Zhe Tian
1996 / 98m - Hong Kong
Drama, Action
Young and Dangerous 3 poster

Lover of the Last Empress

Ci Xi Mi Mi Sheng Huo
1995 / 100m - Hong Kong
Drama, Western
Lover of the Last Empress poster

Mean Street Story

Miao Jie Gu Shi
1995 / 100m - Hong Kong
Mean Street Story poster

Ghost Lantern

Yun Pei Dung Lung
1993 / 92m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Ghost Lantern poster

The Ultimate Vampire

Jiang Shi Zhi Zun 
1991 / 88m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Horror
The Ultimate Vampire poster

Worthy but flawed

Look for a Star

Yau Lung Hei Fung
2009 / 117m - Hong Kong
Look for a Star poster

The Triangle

2006 / 110m - South Korea
Drama, Romance
The Triangle poster

The Park

Chow Lok Yuen
2003 / 91m - Hong Kong
The Park poster

Women from Mars

Dong Laam Yan Bin Shing Lui Yan
2002 / 100m - Hong Kong
Women from Mars poster

The Legend of Speed

Lit Feng Chin Che 2 Gik Chuk Chuen Suet
1999 / 109m - Hong Kong
Action, Thriller
The Legend of Speed poster

Best of the Best

Fei Hu Xiong Xin 2 Zhi Ao Qi Bi Tian Gao
1996 / 107m - Hong Kong
Best of the Best poster

Straightforward sequel to Gordon Chan's Final Option. Lau delivers a decent but unremarkable Hong Kong police thriller that should feel very familiar to fans of the genre. The action is solid, the drama not so much, the overall finish mediocre. This is decent filler, but only for those who've already seen the myriad of better options.

Dubious filler

The Flock

2007 / 96m - USA
Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime
The Flock poster


Yi Jian Zhong Qing
2000 / 98m - Hong Kong
Sausalito poster

To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui

Xin Bian Yuan Ren
1994 / 100m - Hong Kong
Action, Thriller, Crime
To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui poster

Jing Wong introducing Andrew Lau. Say about Wong what you will, he helped a lot of important people in Hong Kong make inroads into the movie industry. Wong rarely did it with good films, then again it is quite normal in Hong Kong to learn the trade director some simple genre work.

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That's pretty much what you're getting here. A very plain story about an undercover cop who starts to doubt his loyalty to his job. It's all pretty cliché, Jacky Cheung isn't really the man for the job either, but it goes through all the motions and it's clear that Lau took a few pointers from this film.

There are a few decent action scenes and some moody moments, I'm pretty sure core genre fans probably won't be disappointed by this film either, it's just that Hong Kong/Andrew Lau made way better action thrillers. To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui is decent but generic genre work, nothing more, nothing less.

Plain forgettable

The Captain

Zhong Guo Ji Zhang
2019 / 111m - China
The Captain poster

A very classic, bombastic and overly sentimental thriller about a captain steering his airplane to safety. There are a few scenes that are effective in raising the tension, but they are few and far between. The rest is way too overdone and cheesy to make any kind of positive impression. A very disappointing Lau film, he can do so much better.

Dance of a Dream

Oi Gwan Yue Mung
2001 / 94m - Hong Kong
Dance of a Dream poster

Rhythm of Destiny

Ban Wo Zong Heng
1992 / 90m - Hong Kong
Drama, Crime
Rhythm of Destiny poster

Against All

Peng Dang
1990 / 89m - Hong Kong
Drama, Crime
Against All poster

Big nopes

Chinese Doctors

Zhong Guo Yi Sheng
2021 / 129m - China
Chinese Doctors poster

Poor Lau. He used to be one of the leading figures in Hong Kong's sprawling blockbuster scene, nowadays, he's putting out unseemly and schmaltzy propaganda that's rivaling even the worst of Hollywood cinema. Chinese Doctors is barely a film, instead you get a ridiculously colored retelling of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan.

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Unless you've been living in a cave for the past two years, you're probably already familiar with the plot, even when this film isn't very interested in giving a proper, historically correct recount of the events. Early 2020 the corona virus suddenly hits Wuhan, a state of emergency is declared, and the hospitals do their very best to get a grip on the pandemic.

There's hardly a coherent plot, characters merely exist to symbolize the Chinese spirit, the way China handled the beginning of the pandemic is described as some kind of incredible success story and there's not a single ounce of critique or self-reflection. A film like this is really in bad taste, I generally don't care too much about a little extra heroism in films, but this was just utterly insane and completely tone-deaf.

The Wesley's Mysterious File

Wai See Lee Ji Lam Huet Yan
2002 / 88m - Hong Kong
Sci-fi, Romance, Action
The Wesley's Mysterious File poster

Raped by an Angel

Xiang Gang Qi An: Zhi Qiang Jian
1993 / 97m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Raped by an Angel poster