HK Cinema - 1996

Beyond Hypothermia was the first film of a new company formed in 1996 called Milkyway Productions.  Beyond Hypothermia is a wonderful film with Wu Chien-lien as a female assassin and was one of the last great “girls with guns” films. As a genre it had lost a great deal of popularity by the late 1990’s and most of the female stars – Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima, Cynthia Khan - have either shifted to TV, retired or been forced to make low budget films in the Philippines. A few attempts have been made to revive the genre - Her Name is Cat, Martial Angels, Cop Shop Babes - but without success.
The Milkyway films that followed Beyond Hypothermia were very different in style. Influenced to some degree initially by Wong Kar-wai and the film noirs from Hollywood, they employ oblique camera angles, peculiar story lines and moody dark atmospherics. The stories usually involve either the cops or the triads and were very male oriented. Johnnie To has either produced or directed all of their films and he has a very distinct style. During the late 1990's they were the best films being made in Hong Kong and perhaps anywhere else.

Their favorite actor was the brilliant Lau Ching-Wan almost in the same way that Scorsese uses De Niro. He appeared in their first film Beyond Hypothermia as the noodle cook and has appeared in many of their others such as Too Many Ways To Be Number 1, A Hero Never Dies, Where a Good Man Goes, Expect the Unexpected and The Longest Nite. With these roles and others such as Full Alert, Big Bullet and Lifeline, Lau has become one of the premier male actors in HK. His versatility and range are astonishing and he has a naturalness that is very appealing.

The unfortunate thing was that for the most part these dark gritty films did not have as much box office appeal as critical success - and in 2000 Milkyway joined up with China Star, the largest film company in HK that is run by Charles Heung. Their new films took on a much more commercial look than the older films, but still managed to hold on to the quality. The newer films were generally more comedic or romantic in nature - and ones like Needing You, Wu Yen and Love on a Diet were big hits.

These are all of their films with links to films reviewed on this site.


Beyond Hypothermia


The Odd One Dies
Too Many Ways To Be Number 1
Final Justice


Expect the Unexpected
A Hero Never Dies
The Longest Nite


Where a Good Man Goes
Running Out of Time
The Mission
Sealed with a Kiss


Spacked Out
Needing You


Wu Yen
Love on a Diet
Full Time Killer
Gimme Gimme