DEADEND OF BESIEGERS (1992) short review

600full-deadend-of-besiegers-cover A Mainland Chinese production, Cheung Sing Yim’s Deadend of Besiegers differs from most martial arts films of the time in a few ways, most notably in that it is a fairly old-fashioned film that has none of the wild angles and choreography in vogue at the time in Hong Kong cinema, and is actually reminiscent of an Shaw Brothers or Golden Harvest film of the late seventies. It stars Yu Rong-Guang as a disgraced karateka who flees Japan and finds himself tagging along with a gang of Japanese pirates. When the pirates raid a Chinese village, the karateka breaks free from them and saves a little Chinese girl, who in turn helps him get accepted into the village, as he seeks to learn a new fighting technique from her aunt (Cynthia Khan). The film’s main asset is Yu Rong-Guang, a fairly unsung martial arts actor who here both stars in the film, giving a warm and sympathetic performance that develops an endearing chemistry with the little girl, and choreographs the fighting with earthbound flair and engaging classicism. Cynthia Khan is a welcome presence and has some nice sparks with Yu. Really, the only thing ground-breaking about Deadend of Besiegers is the awkwardness of its title, but that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable, well-made martial arts film, that even manages to carry a more conciliatory message on Sino-Japanese relations than most films of its time. ***

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FOX HUNTER (1995) review

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Don’t be fooled by the official poster for Fox Hunter : Jade Leung and Jordan Chan sitting on a bench, she in a sexy dress, playfully brandishing a gun, and he with tape on his mouth and a pair of pineapples at his feet. You might be lead to believe this is a fun caper or some kind of buddy comedy, but it is something quite different, and it certainly doesn’t contain any scene of pineapples being laid at Jordan Chan’s feet. One of the few directing efforts of prominent (though somewhat underrated) action director and martial arts choreographer Tung Wei, it is actually a straightforward chase thriller, and a first-rate one at that. It follows a modest beat cop (Jade Leung), who’s repeatedly failed the test to become a detective, but is given an opportunity for promotion: she must pass herself as a call girl to nail a dangerous drug dealer (Ching Fung), with the help of a spineless pimp (Jordan Chan). The operation is a success, but the drug dealer manages to escape, kills Jade’s uncle in retaliation and rapes her. Now revenge is all that is on her mind, and she decides to pursue him to Mainland China where he has fled. For that she enlists Jordan Chan’s help by force, and once on the Mainland she must manage to find and kill her formidable opponent, all the while stopping her reluctant sidekick from escaping and dodging the local police, headed by Yu Rong-Guang.

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