Sunday List: Stephen Chow Films, Ranked [updated regularly]

Stephen Chow was possibly the first actor to spark my love for cinema in general. Hong Kong cinema has changed quite a bit but most people associate it with action films from the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li for starters. There is an entire world of cinema to explore here. With that said, I have many actors and actresses that I’d love to explore.

Stephen Chow is the first up and honestly, in his extended filmography, I still have a long way to make this a complete list and will update it as I catch up and rewatch more of his films, both as an actor and/or director and some titles might even be rearranged. A few of the titles have been too many years since I’ve actually seen it and probably remember it and feel differently about it now. I’ll expand on the descriptions of the films to be updated gradually as well. Remember to check back for more Stephen Chow goodness!

1.Tricky Brains (1991)

tricky brains

My love for Tricky Brains runs very deep. There are a lot of absurd humor here. In fact, the star power behind this movie definitely brings together a culmination of what defines Stephen Chow’s career in the 90s. There is his comedic partner Man-Tat Ng who they have many fun and hilarious scenes together but also the incredibly talented Andy Lau joins in here. The ladies include many talents in the 90s which aren’t around much nowadays in the Hong Kong film industry but were familiar faces back then. Its a movie about hiring someone to do pranks in mostly a bad way to waiver the view of someone. Of course, pranks, no matter how they are will misfire or succeed and those are the best and most fun moments of Tricky Brains.

You can read my review here.

2.God of Gamblers II (1990)

god of gamblers 2

What happened to God of Gamblers, you ask? God of Gamblers is the sequel to what started out as a Chow Yun-Fat role. In fact, some would actually recognize God of Gamblers II as Knight of Gamblers which focuses on the talented Andy Lau who returns to Hong Kong  in secret after training with God of Gambler as we saw in the first movie. Their goal is to set up a charity casino however the revenge from the going on in the first movie is what causes him to be caught up. Stephen Chow reprises his role here from All for the Winner which started up as a parody film of God of Gamblers and earned him the title of Saint of Gamblers which he carries into this film and teams up with Andy Lau while of course still having Man-Tat Ng as his uncle. When the magical powers and the actually skilled gambling powers combine, hilarity ensues.

I will be reviewing the God of Gamblers franchise here very soon.

3.Justice, My Foot (1992)

justice my foot

Justice, My Foot! boasts a fantastic cast. As usual, he is partnered up with Man-Tat Ng however, this time, they play as opposing forces where he impersonates a talented lawyer and Man-Tat Ng, plays as a judge. Along with this pairing which comes up with some hilarious moments even as they investigate a murder, the material is very light-hearted here. Anita Mui plays his wife. This Hong Kong super diva plays very well into this comedic role who is both a strong and convincing lady. This movie was on Netflix for a while last year but unfortunately  has left it as this posts goes up.

4.All For The Winner (1990)

all for the winner

Pretty lady, Sharla Cheung and funny woman, Sandra Ng act together in this film that starts off as something of a parody film for Stephen Chow which gets his character the title of Saint of Gamblers and has special powers that he soon discovers can win him some big money as long as he follows the hidden rules. They try to exploit them as he reunites with his uncle in Hong Kong. There are some barriers to entry to this one mostly because it plays on the difference of Mainland Chinese versus Hong Kong Chinese and the etiquette and mannerism differences between the before 97 handover when Hong Kong was still a British colony. It also plays on a lot of puns and Chinese sayings that could get lost in translation or just lose its effectiveness in translation. However, this film was enough of a success to earn him a role that entered him for God of Gamblers 2 (which is #2 on this list).

5.All’s Well Ends Well (1992)

all's well ends well

All’s Well Ends Well is an entertaining film to say the list. It was released as a Chinese New Year celebration movie. Rightfully so, as it is a comedic affair that also does something of a parody film like reenacting scenes in famous Hollywood movies. You’ll recognize films like Ghost, Terminator and Pretty Woman for starters. Does it gain it a better entrance to a Western audience? Perhaps it can, mostly because there are a lot of unspoken humor just with its talented cast and their over the top reactions and expressions in each scene that makes the humor work. For myself, this is a movie I watched a child and still holds up incredibly well.

6.From Beijing With Love (1994)
7.The Mermaid (2016) Review
8.Look Out, Officer (1990)
9.Love on Delivery (1994)
10.Shaolin Soccer (2001)
11.Flirting Scholar (1993)
12.Royal Tramp (1992)
13.Hail the Judge (1994)
14.God of Cookery (1996) Review
15.Fight Back to School (1991)
16.God of Gamblers III (1991)
17.Forbidden City Cop (1996)
18.A Chinese Odyssey Part I: Pandora’s Box (1995)
19.A Chinese Odyssey Part II: Cinderella (1995)
20.The Tricky Master (1999)
21.Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
22.The Lucky Guy (1998)
23.King of Beggars (1992)
24.Sixty Million Dollar Man (1995)
25.Lawyer Lawyer (1997)
26.Mad Monk (1993)
27.CJ7 (2008)
28.King of Comedy (1999)

Not seen:

  • Bo fung hon ji (1988)
  • Faithfully Yours (1988)
  • Dragon Fight (1989)
  • Just Heroes (1989)
  • Liu Mang Chai Po (1989)
  • Love is Love (1990)
  • Lung Fung Restaurant (1990)
  • The Unmatchable Match (1990)
  • Curry & Pepper (1990)
  • Sleazy Dizzy (1990)
  • When Fortune Smiles (1990)
  • Triad Story (1990)
  • Yi Ben Man Hua: Chuang Tian Ya (1990)
  • Legend of the Dragon (1991)
  • Fists of Fury 1991
  • The Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)
  • Fists of Fury 1991 II (1992)
  • Fight Back to School 2 (1992)
  • Fight Back to School 3 (1993)
  • Out of the Dark (1995)
  • All’s Well, Ends Well (1997)

Do you know Stephen Chow? 
What other actors do you want me to rank their filmography?

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Sunday Lists: The Fast and the Furious Franchise – Best to Worst

This week we’re looking at the little (or big) franchise that could. A franchise that I thought had ended came back in 2009 and kind of has gotten bigger and badder in its mission of over the top action in the following years. The Fast and the Furious started as a small scale movie but launched the memorable roles for both Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker as Brian O’Connor. The franchise has yet to end despite the tragic passing of Paul Walker and seems to be greenlit until at least a 10th installment. This franchise holds a great spot in my heart and ranking is going to be really tough (and it truly was). The list will be updated for the next two movies as they are released and reviewed.

For now, here is the best to worst for The Fast and the Furious franchise (according to us, of course):

Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five is an awesome addition to the franchise. Its hard to imagine any of the films in this franchise beating this one. It has some over the top car stunts however compared to its later ones are slightly more believable. The team assembled here is at its best. Dwayne Johnson makes his first appearance here as memorable as ever. The location of Rio de Janeiro is fantastic as well as the villain here is competent. This film takes the strategic turn that the movie is not only about cars and family and the cast but also that this is a fantastic heist film with an awesome heist involving stealing the entire bank safe and dragging it as a team down the street in an adrenaline-filled escape.

You can read our review HERE.

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

The next three are the hardest to separate and rank higher and lower in this franchise. They each have their pros and cons that rank them fairly level. Fast & Furious 6 rank slightly higher because the team manages to be complete. In the sixth one, we see Dwayne Johnson join in almost like a team member. There are some incredibly over the top moments jumping across freeway gaps and a too long to be true airplane take-off. There are some emotional moments and plans for the future from other members and this sets up the stage to what seems like the plan for Justin Lin the moment he took over the franchise. Its fun and entertaining and does deserve a ton of props for getting here and being acknowledged for all the crazy stunts they do here.

Check out the review HERE.

Furious 7 (2015)

furious 7

Furious 7 does a lot of stuff right. The only reason that it ranks slightly lower is because its success lies heavily on those familiar with the characters here particularly Paul Walker’s character Brian. The movie does a great job at saying goodbye to his character because of his passing in real life. However, this sentiment stays strong for those in love with the franchise like myself because he get s worthy farewell however might not for the random person dropping into the franchise. Of course, before the goodbye, there are more than enough competent moments. One of the best being the great scene of driving a super car through the Dubai buildings. The setting and the adrenaline rush and the competent villain played by Jason Statham along with its emotional value all give this a worthy top 3 spot in the franchise.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

fate of the furious

The Fate of the Furious in terms of entertainment value don’t rival that of Furious 7 and Fast & Furious 6. In fact, they are still plenty of adrenaline rush moments. There are a ton of characters added to the mix along with new allies and old ones that make an appearance which plays to the fans of the franchise who love every single member that has joined into these missions no matter how big or small their role may seem. The only thing that makes this one fall a little short is that Charlize Theron while a competent actress and does a great job as the villain really doesn’t seem to have enough to do. Perhaps its the sheer amount of characters that are involved in this franchise now that its starting to remain fun but hard to not feel that its getting slightly convoluted. Its still a fun time especially as they head into a car chase down an ice field.

Check out the review HERE.

Fast & Furious (2009)

fast & furious

The true struggle in this whole ranking was where to place this. This movie sparked my love (or refueled my hope) for this franchise. The story was captivating and there was some great car stunts. The moments here that truly remind us of the greatness of what started this whole franchise up was notched up and done better. Sure, it doesn’t rank very high on Rotten Tomatoes but I do beg to differ. Here is where we see the reunion of everyone and where the events here bring everyone together. The effects here are a little iffy at times but it was the stepping stone the franchise needed to breathe some new life into it and give it the renewed vibe in the right direction.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

the fast and the furious

The start of this franchise was The Fast and the Furious and there is no way that we can discount it. While it doesn’t quite shine like its second start in what feels like the revival of the original team in Fast & Furious, there’s something here that makes me nostalgic about it all and the reason why it took so long to figure out where to place this. We learn about Dom and Brian, the values they hold and the start of a conflicted friendship that probably changed the life of the four people intertwined here. For that, this one holds quite a bit of place but then, its hard to not feel that while on a small scale it worked, the revival beats this one just a tad.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) 

fast and the furious tokyo drift

A completely new cast takes on this third entry to the Fast and the Furious. The characters are horrible and pretentious. The races are lackluster. Its only saving point is the character of Han and the surprise ending and the fact that Justin Lin takes over the franchise and in later installments, we realize that this film being out of place actually fit into a grand plan that he had mapped out. Was it deliberate? It would definitely seem so. And for that reason, this one manages to hang on just barely and escape the worst movie in the franchise. If this ranking was solely based on the first five films, it would place last because lets be honest, for those familiar with Initial D, its pretty much an American version with a similar idea.

Find the review HERE.

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

2 fast 2 furious

For the longest time, 2 Fast 2 Furious ranked a little higher than Tokyo Drift however for the reasons above, I had no choice but to push it to the bottom. This one’s only purpose was to bring on Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson who gave us the comedic banter that happens between Tej and Roman in the more recent films. For myself, the film also saw Jin Au-Yeung (more commonly referred to as MC Jin in the Hong Kong world) have a little role here which was pretty nice to see. Aside from that, nothing here really does stand out.

Check out the review HERE.

Are you a fan of The Fast and the Furious Franchise? 
How would your best to worst differ from ours?

Sunday Lists: Saw Franchise – Best to Worst

Saw Franchise

Its Sunday! Time for another list. If you missed the kickoff Sunday Lists post, you can find it HERE as I start off the list of my favorite TV Ships.

After some pondering, we’re taking a look at the franchise I just caught up with for the Halloween marathon in October – the Saw franchise. There’s only one movie I haven’t seen yet so it will be excluded until I  see it, then the list will be updated accordingly.

The list will Best to Worst so my favorite will be the first and least favorite will be the last. You all understand the drill.

1. Saw (2004)

Saw

The best movie in the franchise is the one that started it all. Saw was a psychological thriller with body horror elements. It had a fantastic script, an eerie one location setting (for the most part) and a great introduction of Jigsaw. It was a thrill to watch through and through and just made so smart. James Wan has an eye for horror, and this film definitely showcases that perfectly whereas Leigh Whanell co-writes with him an engaging story that lets us learn about these characters and wonder why they are chosen to be here and their secrets. Read my review HERE.

2.Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Its a tough one to choose for the 2nd because the rest of these are hard to place. However, Saw VI brought back some of the more psychological aspects. It definitely has gotten comfortable in its body horror/torture porn focus. While there are parts that hard to stomach, what stands out here is its look at why Jigsaw chooses his victims and dives into something of a more ethic and morals oriented motive which is why a lot of the victims are chosen because they don’t cherish their life. Saw VI brings a lot of those aspects back as the choices test limits. Read my review HERE.

3. Saw II (2005)

Saw 2

What started out as a film I didn’t like so much when I started the franchise after some thought came in third place. Saw II had a myriad of characters that weren’t really anyone you wanted to vouch for. It was the sequel and the okay to broaden the scope a ton by opening up the room concept to a house full of traps for each of these captives. It had some great ideas but the execution at times weren’t all that great. To be honest, the reason I didn’t like this so much was for one of the characters who was meant to be hated so means he did do a good job as I looked at it again. Read my review HERE.

4. Saw IV (2007)

saw IV

Next up, Saw IV takes on the 4th place coincidentally (perhaps for now). Saw IV saw the insert of some new faces particularly Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm who adds some color to the role. It does bring a change in pace with the police that is competent. This one also saw the introduction of a deeper look into Jigsaw and what brought him to become the man he is now. Call it something of an origin story and it worked for the most part. Read my review HERE.

5. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

saw the final chapter

While most Saw 3D scores are pretty low, I did find some enjoyment out of this one. A lot of the reasons are the embrace of the ethics in the games although this captive and the game was much more predictable and the beginning characters were a little dumb. However, the final twist of the whole thing made up for a lot of its fault bumping this one up. Read my review HERE.

6. Saw V (2008)

Saw V

Saw V is quite near the end. Its problem being that its forgettable. I don’t remember much of what happened in it except that a lot of it didn’t make sense. I’m sure a lot of people could say that for a lot of the 4, 5, and 6 logically does feel nonsensical. This one was boring and if you think about it, a tad ridiculous. However, it does save itself a little because it strengthens the role of the apprentice ever so slightly. Read my review HERE.

7. Saw III (2006)

Saw III

And the bottom of the barrel and hard to probably escape from it would be Saw III. The reasons being that it felt really unfitting to the series. This one went into the extreme body horror path which was gratuitous and over the top which was plain disgusting and betrayed what particularly the first movie was about. It went in the direction I had heard the Saw franchise being about and what had stopped me from catching the franchise in the first place but adding in a lot of pretty ridiculous moments and characters. It wasn’t fun to watch and wasn’t engaging. Read my review HERE.

Movies remaining to watch and rate in franchise:

  • Jigsaw (2017)

Here’s how I’d rate it from best to worst? Do you agree? How would your list change?
Share your thoughts in the comments!