Way back when I was living in Montreal, I would attend something called Hong Kong Movie Nite. It was a weekly tradition, hosted by my buddy Nigel, that saw us gather at his place for wings, Jamaican takeout, Jack Daniels, occasional cigars, and screenings of some of the most bad-ass and weirdly wonderful offerings from the Hong Kong film industry.
This was before Hollywood discovered John Woo and Jet Li, before Chow Yun-Fat had become a global star, before Quentin Tarantino had “borrowed” elements of Ringo Lam’s City on Fire for his first modest kick at the cinematic bucket, a movie called Reservoir Dogs. Paul and I would swing by from work and take in double, sometimes triple features with the likes of Supa, Champion, Flipski, and Sushiman — big boys, mostly of Caribbean descent, who were as fun and furious as the movies themselves.
I miss the Movie Nite Crew. And all those testosterone-fueled action flicks that have, in time, become classics of Asian cinema.
Reflecting back over the countless films we watched, I’d have to say that these were my Top 12 favorites…
This delightfully ludicrous romantic comedy was my introduction to funnyman Stephen Chow – who makes several appearances on this list.
A gloriously over-the-top entry in the Girls with Guns sub-genre that became an instant cult classic.
The movie that made uber-cool Chow Yun-Fat a superstar.
Cartoon ultra-violence reigns supreme in this near-future actioner, probably the craziest movie I’ve ever seen.
Romance, tragedy, fantasy, and plenty of swordplay. A beautiful film.
Nobody mixes action and comedy like Stephen Chow.
And here he takes a turn as the Hong Kong’s 007 in this James Bond spoof with a definitive Asian twist.
Adapted by Hollywood, practically scene for scene, as the Oscar-winning The Departed.
Jet Li at his bad-ass best.
One of my very first forays into Asian cinema, this one remains one of my very favorites. The action sequences are so exquisitely choreographed that my brain was buzzing for hours after our initial screening.
Stephen Chow is at the top of his game here, playing a master of kung-fu who enlists the help of his fellow Shoalin monks to form a soccer team, one that incorporates martial arts into the beautiful game – with hilarious results. One of my very favorite comedies ever.
A ruthless assassin attempts to make amends for a past mistake in this cinematic classic.