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Popular Hong Kong films come to MFA

Hong Kong Festival 1993
At Museum of Fine Arts.
July 16 -- Aug. 27.

Police Story 2
Directed by Jackie Chan.
Starring Jackie Chan and Maggie Cheung.
Aug. 13, 6 p.m.

Armour of God II
Directed by Jackie Chan.
Starring Jackie Chan, Carol Cheng,
and Eva Cobo de Garcia.
Aug. 13, 8 p.m.

By Garlen C. Leung
Managing Editor

Armour of God II; The East is Red; and Swordsman 2. These include some of the biggest stars of Hong Kong cinema -- Anita Mui, Tony Leung, Jet Li, Chow Yun-Fat, and, of course, Jackie Chan.

Gong Li, star of Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern, and The Story of Qiu Ju, also stars in Mary from Beijing, a romantic melodrama. Directed by Sylvia Chang, this is the story of a new immigrant to Hong Kong from Guangzhou who finds a boyfriend rather than a job. Although her rich boyfriend ignores her, Mary (Li) eventually finds true love with an even wealthier man.

Once Upon a Time in China is a beautiful movie about the folk hero Master Wong Fei-Hung (Jet Li), the legendary leader of the Ten Tiger sect of Guangdong. Director Tsui Hark fills the screen with lightning-fast moves and unbelievable fight choreography.

Director Yuen Kwai has packed Fong Sai-Yuk, his latest creation, with enough action and speed to make it a box office hit in Hong Kong. Jet Li stars as Fong Sai-Yuk, martial arts champion and member of an underground society dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchu emperor. The highlight is a fight in which the rival groups battle while standing on the heads and shoulders of their supporters. The fast-moving plot is filled with great action mixed with the usual comic genderbending and slapstick.

Chow Yun-Fat is the cool leader of three art burglars in John Woo's Once a Thief. After stealing paintings around the world, these three thieves are challenged to pull off the ultimate burglary: stealing a painting that has already been stolen. This film is filled with wonderful romance, plenty of comedy, and (as always) lots of action.

Other films in the series are The Heroic Trio, Dragon Gate Inn, The East is Red, and Swordsman 2.

* * * * *

Jackie Chan is one of modern film's best action stars. His fast-paced stunts are truly amazing. I find it incredible that he has survived all his physical, action-packed martial arts and stunt scenes, which unlike most actors, he performs himself. Chan's gravity-defying stunts and humorous antics make his films some of the most enjoyable and satisfying I've ever seen.

Police Story 2 is the record-breaking sequel to Chan's original comedy Police Story. In it, Chan returns to defeat the organized crime members who continue to haunt him and his girlfriend (Maggie Cheung). Chan both directed and starred in this story about how an officer's personal war with crime has led to his demotion from detective to traffic cop. Even with his newer, safer job, Chan still gets into trouble with the crime gangs.

He gets into even more of a mess when he gets involved in a wave of bomb attacks and bomb scares across Hong Kong. Chan follows leads that eventually bring him to the bombers, who have kidnapped his girlfriend. The exciting climax occurs in a flurry of fists and feet at a large bomb- and firecracker-storage building.

Although this sequel is disappointing in comparison to the first movie, it is still filled with the wonderful action and great comedy that is the hallmark of a Jackie Chan film.

In another sequel, Chan is incredible as Asian Hawk in Operation Condor: Armour of God II. Here, his adventures take him on a mission to recover a lost vault of Nazi gold in the desert, ande and his accident-prone companion encounter other treasure seekers.

Their adventures through the desert brings opportunities for mind-boggling action and amazing acrobatics. The climax is a spectacular battle in an giant, abandoned Nazi wind tunnel.

Operation Condor will bring you many laughs and wonderful action; this is a definite must see.

It's no wonder why Jackie Chan films bring sell-out crowds where-ever they are shown. Police Story 2 and Operation Condor: Armour of God II sold out not only in Hong Kong, but also in Chicago and Los Angeles. Both are definitely worth taking the time out to see.