Throughout the week we are previewing all the screenings at Hong Kong Kicks – a series of films on the cinema of Hong Kong and martial arts, presented by the Dublin International Film Festival as part of their DIFF PIX programme. Hong Kong Kicks runs from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th of September in the Lighthouse Cinema. Tickets are available here.
We also have tickets to be won to ALL the screenings so click here to be in with a chance.
Once Upon A Time In China II (1992) Dir. Hark Tsui
The second in an epic six movie franchise, Once Upon A Time In China II is the greatest of the series. Although it continues on from the original, the sequel can be fully understood and appreciated as a stand alone film.
Hark Tsui (Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate) directs Jet Li (Hero, Fearless) and Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), among others, in a much more comprehensive and free-flowing feature than the original.
From the very beginning we are privy to the troubles ongoing in the Guangzhou region of southern China; people are protesting the Treaty of Shimonoseki (Japan’s control of Taiwan) and there is a growing supernatural and xenophobic sect, The White Lotus. The White Lotus are seen to possess the blessings of the Gods and are impervious to blade, hatchet or firearm. They also hate everything Western, seeing it as detrimental to their culture and therefore evil. They want all Western people dead, and everything that can be associated with the foreigners. This includes a “diseased spotted dog” aka Dalmatian which they happily burn along with the musical instruments and Western “propaganda”. Just in case you wanted to know who the bad guys were, it’s those bastards burning the dog.
Enter Wong Fei-hung (Jet Li). In the region for a medical conference, he is accompanied by, the love interest, “13th Aunt” Siu-Kwan (Rosamund Kwan) and his apprentice Leung Foon (Max Mok). Sui-Kwan is western educated and does not dress traditionally, and along with their involvement in the high western-populated conference Fei-hung is attending, they run into quite a bit of trouble. Cue some of the best fight scenes in Hong Kong cinema.
Woo-Ping Yuen has worked as stunt director on classics like Drunken Master (Jackie Chan) and Magnificent Butcher (Sammo Hung) as well as Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol 2. He lends his excellence again here as Li shows what he is made of in some outstanding kung-fu show-downs, with his final scene opposite Donnie Yen being a true masterpiece.
I can’t wait to watch these scenes all over again as Once Upon A Time In China II hits the big screen on Friday evening at 7pm. It’s engaging, funny and damn exciting; this is one not to be missed.
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Spooky Encounters (1980) Dir. Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Spooky Encounters is a perfect mix of comedy, horror and kung-fu directed by, and starring, the fantastic Sammo Hung (Ip Man 2, TV’s Martial Law). Hung’s character Bold Cheung believes himself to be (at least in front of his friends) both brave and bold, but when he comes face to face with the undead, Cheung has a different demeanour altogether.
Poor Bold Cheung can’t catch a break, first being haunted by his dreams and now his wife and his boss are having an affair. As Cheung nearly caught them in the act his boss, Mr. Tam, decides the only logical option is to hire a master of witchcraft to kill him off. And so begins Bold Cheung’s adventure.
Featuring voodoo, witchcraft, ghosts, zombies and a beautiful mix of slapstick humour and martial arts, Spooky Encounters is a treat from the start. Influenced by the Chinese folklore known as jiangshi, Spooky Encounters’ most memorable foes are hopping reanimated corpses. Under the guidance of Chin Hoi’s black magic these hopping zombies battle with Cheung on several occasions. The string work and fight coordination are fantastic and although the scenes are very funny the fighting is exciting and keeps you entertained throughout.
Sammo Hung is an incredible martial artist with a wonderful ability to incorporate comedy in his scenes, any fans of Jackie Chan will see an awful lot of similarities. If you don’t want to over think too much and just sit back and enjoy a film, Spooky Encounters is for you. Full of laughs and plenty of premium fight scenes (even one with Hung fighting his own hand – which is far funnier and more impressive than it sounds) this horror-comedy-kung-fu extravaganza is sure to delight all audience types as it wraps up Saturday’s Hong Kong offerings at 8pm.
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Hong Kong Kicks is in collaboration with The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels)