The Cantonese hero Fong Sai Yuk becomes involved in the secret Red Flower Society, which is trying to overthrow the Manchurian emperor and re-establish the Ming dynasty. Solid fighting sequences are capped by a dazzling finale: our hero's mother is about to die in a hangman's noose, and Fong Sai Yuk has to juggle a column of chairs under her to keep her from falling, all while fighting an army of villains!
From Beijing with Love (Gwok Chaan Ling Ling Chat) (1994), starring Anita Yuen, Stephen Chow; directed by Stephen Chow
When high-ranking PRC official orchestrates the heist of a dinosaur skull for an overseas buyer, he assigns an incompetent secret agent Ling Ling Chai (007 in Chinese; Stephen Chow) to investigate; he's a master with knives who runs a seedy pork stand in Beijing. (At HQ, they have the usual parade of items in research. My favorite was the solar-powered flashlight, which only runs in full daylight.). Ling's contact is Siu Kam (Anita Yuen), who's been assigned to kill him, thus terminally thwarting the investigation; but of course, they fall in love.
The Heroic Trio (Dung Fong Saam Hap) (1992), starring Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung; directed by Johnnie To
The all-female Heroic Trio are Tung, a/k/a Wonder Woman (Anita Mui), Chat the Thief-Catcher (Maggie Cheung), and Ching, the Invisible Woman (Michelle Yeoh). Initially, they're on opposing sides - the invisible Ching is kidnapping newborn male babies for her evil master, Tung is trying to solve the crime (rather more effectively than her policeman husband, who is unaware of her secret identity), and Chat, who was formerly employed by Ching's evil master, is trying to sell her services and inside knowledge to the police. But all three have something in common buried deep in their past that brings them togetherÉXena note: This film probably inspired the baby-tossing sequences in "Cradle of Hope" and "Warrior...Princess...Tramp."
Herioc Trio 2: Executioners (Yin Doi Ho Hap Juen) (1993) ), starring Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung; directed by Johnnie To
In an apocalyptic Hong Kong of the near future, a rich masked villain has a stranglehold on the supply of uncontaminated water, and it's up the Heroic Trio to forestall a military coup. Very different from the first HT. Beautiful sets and nicely-choregraphed fight sequences.
Moon Warriors (Jin San Chuen Suet) (1993), starring Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, Andy Lau; directed by Sammo Hung
Fei (Andy Lau) is a swashbuckling fishing villager drawn into the bloody world of feudal politics when he helps a worthy prince against his usurping brother. He develops the same love for spoiled-but-cute Princess Yueh (Anita Mui) that Hsien (Maggie Cheung), the prince's bodyguard, has for her liege. The movie balances swordplay, intrigue, and romance very well. The Essential Guide To Hong Kong Movies says this film features "some of the most aggressively acrobatic choreography ever committed to celluloid."
New Legend of Shaolin (Hung Hei Goon Ji Siu Lam Ng Jo) (1994), starring Jet Li, Chingmy Yau, Tze Miu; directed by Wong Jing
Monks from a Shaolin Temple tattoo sections of a map on the backs of toddler initiates -- a map which, when assembled, leads to the hidden gold of the Heaven and Earth Society. Righteous Hung Hey-Kwan (Jet Li) and his martial arts toddler son (Tze Miu) help them out, while dealing with a dishonest con-girl (Chingmy Yau), her dart-master mother, and a deformed villain.
Once Upon a Time in China (Wong Fei Hung) (1991), starring Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan; directed by Tsui Hark
Set in late 19th century Canton, this movie follows Wong Fei-hung, who becomes the local leader of a martial arts school, which soon comes under attack. Wong must protect Aunt Yee, a Westernized, pretty young woman who is nominally his aunt by adoption. Watch for the ladder fight scene that inspired a similar one between Xena and Callisto in "Callisto."
Saviour of the Soul (Gau Yat San Diu Hap Lui) (1991), starring Andy Lau, Anita Mui; directed by Corey Yuen & David Lai
Ching, Chuen and Kwan are famous mercenaries. They are good friends, as well as the constituents of a love triangle. Kwan kills Silver Fox's good friend, and the Fox seeks vengeance on her. Abetted by its tense soundtrack, brutal action scenes, and a near-perfect senses of composition, this captures the Japanese graphic novel on film with style to spare.
Swordsman 2 (Siu Ngo Gong Woo Ji Dung Fong Bat Baai) (1991), starring Jet Li, Brigitte Lin;
directed by Ching Siu-tung
Jet Li plays the boozy blademaster who once again finds himself involved in the quest for the magical Sacred Scrolls. Brigitte Lin stars as Invincible Asia, a villainous sorcerer who slowly transmogrifies into a woman as the story progresses.
Swordsman 3: East is Red (Dung Fong Bat Baai: Fung Wan Joi Hei) (1992), starring Brigitte Lin, Joey Wong; directed by Ching Siu-tung
A royal official accompanies a Portuguese warship to the Black Cliffs to see the site of the defeat of the evil Invincible Asia, who attained supernatural abilities by following the sacred scroll and castrating himself. The official finds Invincible Asia him/herself, who is not actually dead. Invincible Asia seeks to destroy all the imposters or 'false Invincible Asias' who have assumed his/her place, whilst the Portuguese, a mysterious Japanese warlord and others search for Invincible Asia and the Sacred Scroll.
Wing Chun (1994), starring Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen; directed by Yuen Woo-Ping
Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh), a woman living in a remote village often pillaged by robbers, has developed a new form of kung fu. Wing Chun finally defeats the robbers, but her heroic actions stir up even more trouble in the male-based society. Contains some inventive action sequences, notably the tofu contest. The climactic battle to the death is a dazzler.
List compiled by Cynthia Cooper & Laura Irvine. Descriptions by Cynthia Cooper with the help of the Hong Kong Movie Database and the Internet Movie Database for the plot summaries.