Category Archives: Hong Kong 90s Classic Movies

[DVD] Powerful Four 四大探長 (1992) – Hong Kong

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Powerful Four is a good film because it never takes itself too seriously without being mindless, while at the same time delivering an entertaining action drama about the serious issue of police and society corruption in the 1950s. With a strong cast of Danny Lee, Simon Yam, Waise Lee and Kent Cheng, Powerful remains afloat for the majority of the duration, until a predictable finale that nearly undo-s all the hard yards made for a good three quarters of the film. What surprised me is how easy to watch this film remains to be, despite viewing it exactly 2 decades onwards. Such is the HK cinemas in 90s, at the height of its production peak, most films started well but finishes in a flourish and Powerful Four does not fall into any exception.

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What Powerful Four feels like is fast food – quick, convenient and cheap. The problem with this film is that you never really feel for the characters, as everything seems to be happening at a pace. When an arm is being cut off, the director moves to the next scene or shot too quickly for the audience to decide to feel sorry or not. Perhaps director and producer David Lam is trying to show all that is happening in the limited screen time, but every issue seems shortened, suddenly solved or wrongly invested.

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All in all, Powerful Four is by no means a bad film, in fact in terms of quick fire 90s entertainment, it is probably more on the upper scale than not. The acting of the four big names is certainly helps, but none of the characters are fully explored. Kent Cheng is especially criminally wasted and Waise Lee seems to cover up any kind of clue as to his true intention. Of all the characters, only Danny Lee is given some weight, but then again, it is not hard at all for Lee Sir to convince anyone for that matter if he is a cop or not. For me, this film is really another case of a premise that promise a lot, but delivers the bare minimum. A decently good film that never lifts above its genre conventions…

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Neo rates it 7/10

[DVD] The Great Pretenders /千王1991 (1991) – Hong Kong

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It is almost a rarity that Tony Leung Chiu Wai comes off rather annoying. However, there was a period in the early 90s when Mr. Leung was filming a number of nonsense comedies, he was actually more of a liability. Then again, we shouldn’t put all the blame on the aforementioned man, as The Great Pretenders is by no means a good movie. In fact, it is terrible and hard to finish…

Neo rates it 2/10.

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[DVD] A True Mob Story 龍在江湖 (1998) – Hong Kong

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Sometimes, even Wong Jing can surprise us and make a good movie. This is probably as rare as the prospect of finding a seat during a peak hour train ride. This is simply an Andy Lau with his face and presence written all over it. What set the film apart from being great is that it is not coherent and rather uneven. The relationship between Gigi Leung and Lau is also rather forceful than running the course of nature. Still, this is easily a good film without the usual Wong Jing’s antics; the result is an engaging film that might just make you emote a little as well. A good ride…

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Neo rates it 7.5/10.

Director: Wong Jing
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Suki Kwan Sau-Mei, Mark Cheng Ho-Nam, Ben Ng Ngai-Cheung, Alex Fong Chung-Sun

[DVD] A Moment for Romance 3 天若有情3 (1996) – Hong Kong

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Director Johnny To takes the rein in the popular “A Moment for Romance” series and continue the romantic tale. What impressed me was how Andy Lau and Wu Chien-Lie are able to lift their game beyond the limits of the simple plotline. The radiating chemistry between the two is still evident and it is this aspect that makes the film incredibly watchable. Set in the World War 2, with some interplay of the Chinese and Japanese war torn era, the film is primarily a love story, a simple one and sometimes, that is all it needs to be…

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Neo rates it 7/10.