Hong Kong action movies have a distinct flavor, preferably seasoned with wires and crazy effects. Running the gamut from crazy and intense to seriously goofy, the stories and characters in six of the most insane Hong Kong movies ever don’t bother to believe in reality for longer than it takes to land a punch. But hey, since when is that a bad thing when it comes to action movies?
Kwai-Bun is both trapped and empowered in a world where he can the true thoughts and personalities that lie behind everyone’s exterior appearance. “Mad Detective” doesn’t turn his skills into a vanilla-icing world where he solves every case and lives a happy life, rather it makes him a tortured individual who reacts to the things that no one else can see or understand. Watch him save a young girl from her thoughts of thievery that could start her down a criminal path and see how his good deed makes him look mentally ill and unfit for society.
Pro or con on soccer, “Shaolin Soccer” takes the insanity of a great Hong Kong flick and makes soccer an insanely great spectacle of sport and power. This is a film that works the crazy angle not with buckets of blood or hour-long sword fights but with a goofy little idea and a ton of heart. Kicking off with a yellow card for smoking, Team Shaolin sends just as many Team Puma players into the goal as they do soccer balls in a scene that is more battle than game.
“Iron Monkey 2”
“Iron Monkey 2” ranks up there among insane Hong Kong movie not because of stunts or story but for its straight out goofiness and 'can’t miss' train-wreck acting. With the great Donnie Yen on board playing the straight man to almost everyone in the film you get a front row seat to a catastrophe of a bad movie that should be enjoyed rather than ridiculed. So many wires were harmed in the crazy Kung Fu lumber battle scene that you are required by lumberjack law to check it out.
“Dog Bite Dog”
There is plenty of blood, fighting, and corruption for everyone in this assassination flick. “Dog Bite Dog” stays just clear of wallowing in death by its clever use of dramatic action that relies on mood and pacing instead of super fast deathblows. If the end to the pregnant hostage standoff scene doesn’t convince you how darkly great this Hong Kong flick is you might want to spend a few months getting aromatherapy from a New Age spa somewhere in the desert, extra points if you find one situated on some ley lines.
Mysterious murder is afoot and the one man who can help has been locked away for treason. “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” has a true fantastical feeling to its scenery and devotion towards the reasoning behind action that makes it an insanely good Hong Kong film. The assassination attempt on Dee’s life as he is about to be set free from prison is inspired action that shows off the prowess of both his body and his mind.
“The Legend of Zu”
Heaven and Hell, floating islands, flying martial artists, and demons make for one roller coaster of a Hong Kong movie ride in “The Legend of Zu”. Good wages war on evil as the laws of everyday physics are cast aside in honor of memorable action scenes. The first battle between the demon Insomnia and the forces of good feature the best use of metallic wings as a weapon in any scene.
With a jilted fiancé, an overly angry interior designer and a martial artist girl group, “Tokyo Raiders” mixes all the elements of a Hong Kong movie and then turns up the crazy to eleven. There’s plenty of punching and choreography to satisfy your action bones as well as enough wacky situations and stunts to keep it well in the realm of crazy. Tony Leung and his umbrella star in the first fight scene making for action that’s equal parts stylized violence and breathtaking fluidity of motion.