Archive for May, 2010

Review: Prodigal Son (1982)

Posted in Lam Ching Ying, Reviews, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao with tags , , on May 26, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying, Sammo Hung

Fight Choreography and Direction by Sammo Hung

Prodigal Son stars Yuen Biao as Master Leung Jan, a young nobleman who loves kung-fu and practices at it every day. The problem is, his ass sucks at it.

The story opens as Jan goes to his local restaurant, the only one in town with Kung-Fu insurance, as it is the prime place for random, senseless kung-fu fights, and finds himself in a fight nearly the moment he shows up. To understand, Jan is a world class dick, calling himself the Kung-Fu King , which would rightly get him an invite to an  ass kicking from every corner of the world. Of course he wins his fight easily, but not for the reasons you think. It turns out that his servant, on orders from Jan’s parents, hires guys to challenge and get their butts kicked by Lam in order to keep him safe. This alone makes them the DUMBEST PARENTS EVER. They never really thought ahead to what would happen when someone who really can kick ass comes into town to do just that. Fear the country bumpkin, people!

Soon, Jan attends a show by a travelling troupe. Of course Jan and his buddies are turned on by the star, but if not for the fact that he hit on the last starlet Jan just narrowly misses a Crying Game moment, so his friend goes to hit on the star of the show they think is a girl. Since the star is actually Yee-Tai, a martial arts master who hears the call of the stage more than anything else, turns Jan’s buddy down. So of course in true kung-fu (or western) film cliché, they have to try to forcibly take her/him, and in a small taste of the great kung-fu to come, Yee-Tai straight-jacks him and his two buddies. So of course Jan finds out, and being the Kung-Fu King and all, goes to get some payback, but he’s in for a shock when Yee-Tai sings and whups his ass at the same time, which I can’t make up my mind whether it raises the bar on Badassery or not. Imagine Placido Domingo singing the Barber of Seville as he goes all Wing Chun on your ass. (hmm…not a bad idea…) It’s kinda like that. Now Jan sees that he never really knew shit, and tries to get Yee-Tai to teach him real martial arts, but Yee-Tai doesn’t want to teach him.

Soon a real badass arrives from another town named Master Ngai Fai. He and his two servants show up to challenge the Kung-Fu King, so you can tell what’s about to happen. Meanwhile, one of Yee-Tai’s buddies in the troupe, a gigolo who comes to Yee-Tai for help as he in in danger of losing his life after sleeping with the wife of another dude who is looking for him. Yee-Tai then tells him not to worry, and in a total dick move has Jan dress in his buddy’s costume as General Kwan, and once in costume cannot speak, which is cold since the husband shows up, and not knowing that the guy in the General Kwan costume is not the one he’s looking for (since Jan can’t speak) and proceeds to have his boys kick Jan’s ass, which they do until Yee Tai goes off and beats the tar out of all of them, which brings him to the attention of Master Ngai Fai, who is in the audience.

As he and his posse leaves, Ngai Fai gets challenged by a guy he had beaten before, crippling his right arm, so the dude has practiced with his left and wants to fight, but he soon learns that crap only works in Shaw Brothers films, not Sammo Hung ones, as Ngai beats him down again, this time crippling his left arm as well, and tells him to piss off. The next night Yee Tai alog with Jan and the entire troupe, arrive for dinner on an invite from Ngai, and soon turns into a friendly duel. The fight between Yee-Tai and Master Ngai is well done, but short, and ends disappointingly when Yee-Tai reveals that he is a sick man, and succumbs to his illness.

Afterward in an interesting turn of events, it turn out that Master Ngai isn’t much different from Jan, but his parents pay Ngai’s servants to do what ever it takes to keep the young master safe, even kill if necessary. So, in a supreme act of overkill the Ngai Posse hires ninjas to kill the entire troupe in the middle of the night, which they do except for Yee Tai and Jan, who, in a suspensful scene involving a burning tent and flipping around burning flags waving around, make their escape. Great kung-fu here mixed with acrobatics. Jan is injured in the escape, and Yee-Tai takes him home.

The best parts of the film occur here, as we meet Yee Tai’s brother Wong Wah-Bo (Sammo Hung) who lives with his daughter, who looks like her father, for better or worse. In a homage/spoof to Magnificent Butcher we are treated to Wong trying to use Kung-Fu with his calligraphy, and the scene is pretty funny. Classic Sammo Hung acrobatics here. The relationship between Yee-Tai and his brother Wong take center stage here, one of the most un-pc relationships you’ll see, which is a good thing, and makes the film all the more fun for it. What follows are great scene after great scene of Jan being taught Wing Chun by both Yee-Tai, and some other forms (Choy Lay Fut included) by Wong. The scenes are a mixture of comedy, great kung-fu, and amazing acrobatics and stuntwork.

Soon Yee-Tai’s illness is too much, and so Jan takes him back to his home where he rich parents can pay for medicine, but Master Ngai finds out they are back, and pays them a visit, and his two lackeys, who I will christen Over and Kill, knife Yee-Tai, killing him, which was not cool at all with Ngai, who has both men beheaded later. Jan must still have a measure of revenge, however, and the best fight of the film comes at this moment. Incredibly fast and complex, this is a fun back and forth fight between two men who may be of equal skill, and there are many good moves and even cringe-worthy falls. At the end Jan finally earns the moniker of Kung-Fu King, and a great movie comes to a close.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) Every fight scene was done well, and all of then became better each time, culminating in the amazing final fight. Sammo Hung had everyone ready, and had good imagination in showcasing the fights.

STUNTS: (8) Good stuff here, and the falls were convincing, especially at the end. Also impressive was the tent fire scene. Jumping over those flags on fire could not have been easy.

DIRECTION: (9) Sammo does a good job once again, balancing the fighting with the comedy, not letting one or the other go too far. His camera work and editing are as good as always, and he really let everyone have their room to do what they do best.

STAR POWER: (8) Yuen Biao doesn’t quite have the charisma of Sammo or Jackie, but does have a playfulness that shows onscreen. Lam Ching Ying is a veteran of many kung-fu films and does well here as Yee-Tai, a different kind of Kung-Fu Master, and Sammo brings a fresh personality late in the film.

FINAL GRADE: (9) A classic martial arts film that has good comedy and showcases the art of Wing Chun very well. One of Yuen Biao’s best.


Review: Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)

Posted in Al Leong, Brandon Lee, Dolph Lundgren, James Lew, Reviews with tags , on May 19, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, Tia Carrere

Directed By Mark Lester

Fight Choreography by Pat Johnson

Fresh off of a string of flops (one could contend that though a flop, he did the best Punisher movie) Dolph Lundgren made this little film with then unknown but about to be famous Brandon Lee. The testosterone and kicks run high in Showdown, but does it amount to anything?

The film opens with Detective Kenner (Dolph Lundgren) busting up an illegal kickboxing operation single-handedly. Cops in the 80’s used to do stuff like that, because back-up means they can’t kill as many people, and usually wind up as random cannon fodder anyway. In the middle of this a group of Yakuza show up for what seems to be the express purpose of killing indiscriminately. Kenner whips out a giant magnum, and starts shooting Yakuza indiscriminately. If they can do it, so can he! And he does so, even leaping over the escape vehicle just as it’s about to cut him down.

He’s pretty pissed about it, but what the hell, he’ll find them the next day when his psychic powers compel him to have coffee in a random Japanese cafe where those same exact guys show up. They arrive to shake the cafe down for protection money. Between the night before and right at that moment, that shows that yes, even Yakuza have to pull down double shifts once in a while. What can you say? The economy sucks for everyone. Kenner of course has to stop them with the SLOWEST KICKS EVER, and I actually don’t blame Dolph for this, ’cause everyone is slow in this film. Thankfully the fight is brief as Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee, who is NOT Japanese) shows up, mistaking Kenner for beating up a bunch of Japanese dudes, and he runs in to fight him, and lo and behold brings a little thing like speed and agility that had just been missing. Brandon vs Dolph went about how you think it would, with Brandon showcasing good martial arts mixed with a little acrobatic flair, and Dolph doing everything big and slowly. Of course they discover that they are both cops just in time for the rest of the Yakuza to arrive and do what they did so well in the 80’s: shoot shit up. What kills me is that the cafe owner, a little Japanese lady, just kinda brushes the whole thing off like it happens a lot. Her insurance must offer Yakuza coverage as well, which is something we should all have. You never know when those a-holes can show up and ruin a good couch.

We are then introduced to the Yakuza lord Yoshida played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (CHT) , the preeminent go-to guy whenever Hollywood needed an Asian bad guy leader-dude in the 80’s and early 90’s. The guy just looks evil. In real life he’s probably the nicest dude in the world. He runs around for a few minutes doing Random Evil Things, such as crushing a guy in a car for really no reason, and chopping the head off of a girl who wants to have sex with him in front of his boys. I mean, you don’t need to kill her. You need to call Vivid Video and run Ron Jeremy over there.

We are then subjected to poorly scripted banter between Kenner and Murata to show us the differences between the two, the japanese guy who is more of a surfer-dude, and the tall blonde guy who is more Japanese than his partner. Soon they arrive at a Yakuza bar and start beating up Yakuza guards quickly, and with poor choreography, which accounts for the entire film. They meet Minako (Tia Carrere) the friend of the girl who lost her head to see what she knows, and then the rest of the Yakuza boys show up, leading to yet another fight-with basically Kenner throwing people and slow punching them, and Brandon gets the best moment in the film to show off a little of his stuff here, but it isn’t long nor particularly well done, though he has one good line during the fight: “Down MF!” Gotta love that. Once trip to Dolph and one strike from behind to Murata by the great asian henchman-guy played by Al Leong (He defined the 80’s for henchmen. He took it to a whole new level. Exhibit 1: the candy bar scene in Die Hard) They are brought before Yoshida, and here we find the connection between Yoshida and Kenner.

After Yoshida has them leave peaceably, they stake out his new brewery, which is a front for smuggling drugs. Yoshida then decides he has some time on his hands and tries to woo Minako-by scaring the crap out of her by showing her the video of her friend getting her head cut off. Kenner, with psychic powers working well, stakes out Yoshida’s house just as Minako is about to commit seppuku (ritual suicide), and in true 80’s action hero form goes in to save her, shooting men with pinpoint accuracy and even turning over a car in true Hulk fashion.

After Yoshida kills the guy in charge of protecting his house, another tried and true evil thing to do, killing your own man to show the audience how evil you are, he decides he needs to relax at the local bathhouse, and with powers in full effect Kenner and Murata go there too, resulting in another badly done fight scene that a 4-year-old would’ve come up with.

After Kenner has the requisite 80’s sex montage scene with body doubles and everything ending with a groaner one-liner, the bad guys show that they too have mental abilities, and show up at Kenner secret hideout and start-you guessed it-shooting shit up. They capture our intrepid heroes, and burn his house down.

After escaping from two Yoshida Traps of Death he found in the James Bond Book of Villany, even to the point of walking away to assume their deaths will go according to plan, they go to the brewery for the final fight-with guns blazing and poorly choreographed fight scenes, with soon to be standard MTV movie editing. Yoshida and Kenner then have what I suppose you can call a sword fight in a Japanese festival, and of course Kenner wins, and with nary a police car in sight the heroes and the girl walk away, laughing, while the festival goers, with horrified children in the crowd, just watched a white dude staple a Japanese guy to a wooden board with a sword and then watched the guy fry when a thousand firecrackers go off all over him. The end.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (2) Sweet lord was this dreadful. I think Dolemite did better fight scenes.  James Lew was in the film, but he couldn’t do a damn thing to save this dreadful choreography.

STUNTS: (3) Meh. They collected their paychecks, except for Al Leong. He always brings it, even if for one scene.

DIRECTION: (2) Mark Lester, like most American directors really hasn’t seen an HK film to see how they do things. But nothing gets him off for a crappy script and poorly acted scenes. You can tell the actors had no help from him.

STAR POWER: (5) Dolph’s star was fading after a string of flops (His last major hit after this would be Universal Soldier)  and Brandon was just getting his career started, and Tia Carrere would fade away until Wayne’s World. CHT is as reliable as always, as is Al Leong.

FINAL GRADE: (3) One of the worst Martial arts films (if you choose to call it that) I have ever seen. Except for one or two lines the acting was dreadful, and the fights were embarrassing. Avoid this one, unless you’re using it to play some sort of drinking game.

Review: Ong Bak (2005)

Posted in Dan Chupong, Erik Marcus Schuetz, Panna Rittikrai, Prachya Pinkaew, Tony Jaa with tags , on May 13, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Tony Jaa, Dan Chupong, Eric Marcus Schuetz

Directed by Prachya Pinkaew

Fight Choreography by Panna Rittikrai and Tony Jaa

In 2005 martial arts cinema was growing dim. Jackie Chan was starting to show his age, and both he and Jet were making vastly inferior American martial arts films, and Hong Kong seemed to be stuck in wire-fu films. Donnie Yen was on the verge of breaking through, but before he could out came Ong Bak, which would be the beginning of a flood of martial arts films from Asian countries not named China or Japan, and introduced the world to its newest martial arts star: Tony Jaa.

Jaa plays Ting, a religious young man from a small village named Nong Pradu. Yes, he’s that badass country bumpkin played by so many others over the years, but its a formula that aways seems to work, especially since this is in Thailand. The film opens with a large group of guys who are about to make their chiropractor very happy making their way up a large tree, but what a tree it is, as these 20-some-odd guys run up it, tossing, kicking and punching anyone they run into off as a part of some village ceremony to become the new protector of the village. This scene, sets the stage for the entire film, reminding us of the reckless stuntman abandon not seen since Jackie Chan’s 80’s films, which is a good thing. Ting wins the ceremony, making him the next Ong Bak priest. Holy crap, the baddest ass guy in the town gets to be the damn priest! I’d hate to run into their local constable. Badassery x10! anyhow, Ting is preparing for his christening ceremony, showing him going into some of his Muay Thai forms.

As the rest of the village prepares for the festival and ceremony celebrating Ong Bak, the statue that the people worship of a diety that brings peace and tranquility to their land, embodied by the statue. So of course some total douche has to steal its head. The lucky fool is named Don, who steals it to pay his debts to the local mob boss in Bangkok. Ting leaves for the big city, getting the money for the entire town to fund his journey to get Ong Bak back, and is also given side mission to find a villager’s son named Humlae who had left some years prior for Bangkok, and not heard from since.

We soon find Humlae, now calling himself George, running scam jobs with his partner, a young girl named Muay. They try to scam a local gang, but as it seems happens often, George gets his ass kicked and his money taken. Soon Ting finds him, much to his dismay, as he wants to forget where he came from. George takes Ting in, but no sooner than you can say “sucker” George steals Ting’s money and takes off for the local underground fight club, run by Don’s boss, a guy in a wheelchair and a neck hole thingy he talks through. Ting arrives to get his money (they never say how he finds the place. I’m guessing he’s got an internal Jackass meter), and in doing so is inadvertently engaged in a fight. Well, we’ll call it what it is, a guy running into Ting’s leg and deciding it wasn’t really worth pursuing further. Ting gets his money back, and George see dollar signs. Meanwhile the crops dry up, and a drought hits the entire town. Jeez, armageddon took how long, like 2 days? Damn, that Ong Bak is hardcore.

The next day finds George, for whom no good beating is ever enough, running yet another scam job, this time at a local gambling establishment, and once again bites off more than he and Muay can chew. Ting shows up, and while he doesn’t care if George gets his ass kicked, goes into action when Muay gets slapped around, which would become a pattern for this guy. Dude: learn to defend yourself, asshole. Lady: To the rescue, but only after you get a tooth knocked out! It would be nice for Ting to become a bit proactive with his saves. Peng, the guy they ripped off earlier, shows up, but with more men than Ting can handle, and this leads to a fantastic chase through town, with Ting showing off acrobatics we haven’t seen since Jackie Chan’ s early days. (Note the second reference to JC. If you look closely at Tony’s first two films, they evoke many of Jackie Chan’s actions scenes from the 80’s, which makes a lot of sense. Tony was a kid at that time, and JC was probably his hero growing up. I believe in some interviews he’s admitted as much.) Tony takes some of those acrobatics to the next level, providing some exciting moves that are incredibly graceful. Comic relief abounds in this scene, particularly a moment involving a knife saleswoman.

Soon Ting and George are back at the fight club, this time to find Don. While doing so, a local fight who looks a lot like a stunt double for Slash from Guns ‘n Roses threatens a woman to get Ting to fight him, saying things about Muay Thai style that you just don’t say. Ting ignores him, and a local waiter come in to save her, and gets his ass beaten badly. Once again Ting is like “dude, you should’ve learned how to fight. You’ll learn after you get out of ICU.” Once the same woman tries to save the guy and gets her jaw rearranged for her trouble, Ting goes all “AW HELL NO” and gets into the ring to provide the patrons, and the film audience as well, a clinic on Muay Thai, which is not that Van Damme shit you see in films like Kickboxer. He kicks Slash’s ass, and proceeds to fight a guy who fights with some form of Kung Fu, or maybe Tae Kwon Do, but it doesn’t matter as he kicks that dude’s ass too. The last opponent is the one thing in this film that bothers me. Rather than give us an amazing fighter to end the scene, they give is a guy who looks like a back up rapper for House of Pain throwing shit at Ting, who either blocks or dodges or simply gets hit with all the crap the guy throws at him. This is the film’s weakest moment.

Ting and George track Don to his apartment, which leads to a laughable chase through Bangkok on some sort of vehicle that looks like a large go cart, and Don’s buddies get in the chase well. Maybe it was the way it was filmed, but those things look like they were going 2 miles an hour. The chase ends in Don escaping, but Ting discovers a cache of hidden artifacts that Don’s boss is pissed to lose, so he kidnaps George and Muay, and threatens to kill them unless Ting gets in a ring and fights Saming, his right hand man, who takes some sort of drugs to raise his adrenaline, and beats Ting like a drum.

Of course the bad guys won’t keep their end of the bargain, and attempt to have all of them killed, which really pisses Ting off as he just got his ass kicked for them. This leads Ting to kick ass left and right , and even kick a dude’s ass with his LEGS ON FIRE, which sets a new standard for badassery. After delivering a package marked “ass kick” to Don, Ting and George go to an excavation site where all of the bad guys are gathered, about to take the head of a diety much like Ong Bak illegally, and Ting must deliver another impressive beating to a group of unfortunates. I couldn’t help but notice these stunt men were wearing padding, which I suppose couldn’t be helped, but took me out a little bit. Still awesome scene of Tony delivering fantastic move after move. After warming up, Ting faces Saming again, and this time whoops his ass. I loved it when Saming then stabbed himself with 5 syringes of that adrenaline drug. Even the mob boss is like, “dude, WTF?” It doesn’t really matter as Ting uses his elbows to turn Saming’s skull into the consistency of jello. This is one of like 3 times Ting has to kill this guy, who keep s getting up again and again until Ting has to pile drive his knees into the guys chest and fall 2 stories and implant him into the ground.

Soon Ong Bak is saved, but at the cost of George’s life. Ting and Muay return to the Nong Pradu, and Ting is sworn in as a priest, thanks to George, the man who hated his village enough to leave it but at the same time loved it enough to sacrifice himself to save it. A satisfying ending.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) Excellent for a debut film from a new star. The fights really hearken back to the HK work from the 80’s and early 90’s before wire-fu and wuxia films took over. A harder style is refreshing, and looks less like the dance like choreography of Hong Kong films. A great showcase of Muay Thai fighting. The only knock was that scene between Tony and that House of Pain guy. Other than that, good work.

STUNTS: (9) Great stuff from these guys. They took hits and tossed themselves around impressively, and timed everything well, and did some of what looked like horrendous falls. We haven’t seen this level of stunt work since Police Story 1 and 2.

DIRECTION: (8) Prachya Pinkaew does a great job positioning the camera so we can see everything that goes on, and nothing is MTV-edited. The story is simple but flows well, and the actors are convincing for what they are asked to do. He makes sure the camera is on Tony so you can see that it’s all him.

STAR POWER: (8) Tony is a great martial artist, but his acting can use a bit of work. He seethes, but still seems just a little lost on dialogue scenes, but since that isn’t why we watch, nothing is lost there. He’ll improve as he gains experience.

FINAL GRADE: (9) Tony Jaa took the martial arts film world by storm, and this film sent a clear message that China would no longer have a stranglehold on the best martial arts films out there, and this film would pave the way for a new wave of martial artists. A simple story with good fight scenes, and truly showcases a brand new talent. His best is yet to come.

Review: Magnificent Butcher (1979)

Posted in Fung Hak-On, Hoi Sang Lee, Kwan Tak-Hing, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Woo Ping with tags , on May 6, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Sammo Hung Magnificent Butcher

Starring Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Hoi Sang Lee, Kwan Tak-hing, Fung Hak-on

Directed By Yuen Woo Ping

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping

Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping, both a few of the best fight choreographers anywhere, tag team on Magnificent Butcher, and the results are exactly what you would expect: a fun and inventive film full of great fight scenes and slapstick comedy.

Sammo plays the titular character Butcher Wing, a far from magnificent student of the actually magnificent Wong Fei Hung (played by Kwan Tak-hing, who’s played the character in over 75 films!). It isn’t that his Kung Fu is bad, far from it, but it’s because he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He always has good intentions, but they always lead him into trouble. The film opens as Butcher is ripped of his two pigs by the local Butcher, but as he’s actually a much bigger idiot than Wing, and through double talking by Wing he winds up giving him 6 pigs instead. ( I take that back. Butcher Wing isn’t an idiot. He’s just in the wrong job. He needs to be on Wall Street.) He then stops a man whom he thinks is a thief, but as he does the entire film, rushes into fights before understanding what is happening and why. Which is why the guy he beats up, thinking he’s a thief, is actually the servant of a prominent Kung-Fu Master who was ripped off in a game of chance. Since he did just get his ass kicked, and didn’t want to admit why, he lies to his boss Master Kao, who has conveniently perfected the Cosmic Palm Technique. I would assume that he can now kick ass throughout the galaxy, and hopes to do so once space travel is invented. Before taking off Kao greets his shifty as shit son Tai Hoi, who quickly shows himself to be a perverted horn dog, lusting after his dad’s godneice.

Soon Kao and his Get Fresh Posse arrive to have it out with Master Wong for the slight against his man. Of course Wong is engaged in calligraphy at that moment, and Wong tries to teach him a few new strokes, by way of using brushes to whup Wong’s ass. But Cosmic Palm ain’t worth much against Wong Fei Hung’s Paintbrush Style, which may very well trump all. What follows is a very well done fight scene as Wong fights Kao but continues to write his words, which may very well say “pwnd” as Kao gets his ass handed to him, and by the way, never get behind your master and ask him if he’s gonna bow after getting beat. That will result in a bitch slap with a shoe. You’ll see what I mean when you watch it.

Fung Hak On Magnificent Butcher

Of course it comes out that Butcher Wing screwed up, and is punished by Master Wong by holding up vases filled with water in his mouth and arms. Ah, the days of corporal punishment. It’s at this time that Butcher’s fellow student, played by fellow Peking Opera School chum Yuen Biao plays a practical joke on Butcher by convincing a blind guy that Butcher Wing is a latrine. Hey, at this point either the comedy works for you or it doesn’t. I guarantee Will Ferrel or someone will rip this scene off soon.

Soon Butcher Wing’s brother Sai Kwong arrives in town, looking for Wing, not having seen him in over a decade. Unfortunately Sai and his wife run into Tao Hoi, who predictable starts ogling his wife, and scams them by saying that he’s friends with Wing, and gets some jackass to pretend to be Wing. Sai figures it out quickly enough, but gets beat up and thrown out of Tai Hoi’s home, and his wife is held captive. Meanwhile Master Wong leaves to go on a trip to buy herbs, leaving the school to his three students, which is akin to letting the inmates run the asylum, and of course all hell is going to break loose, and it does in spectacular fashion. Soon Tai Hoi, with balls of steel, walks down an alley only to get his ass beaten like…I don’t know, but it was bad. The person on the giving end of this is Sai, who wants his wife back. Once again Butcher runs in, not knowing what’s really happening, and beat Sai up, not realize he just jacked up his own brother. Tai Hoi decides, like the world class douche he is, to take advantage of this, and spins a lie to Butcher that the lady in question was his wife whom Sai had kidnapped. About this time another famous Chinese hero turns up in the person of Beggar Su, master of drunken boxing amongst other things. After saving Sai Kwong from committing suicide, he agrees to help him get his wife back. Soon Beggar Su comes face to face with Wing, and this leads to a hilarious and great fight scene between the two. Wing is defeated, but finds out about his brother and Tai Hoi’s Kung Fu Treachery (I ‘ve been waiting to say that.) . Unfortunately Tai Hoi escapes during the fight.

Later, Beggar Su and Wing infiltrate Tao Hoi’s house, and after beating up Tai Hoi’s buddies ( I assumed they were, because they suck as fighters) they make off with Sai Kwong’s wife, and in yet a another situation where Wing doesn’t think it through, they take the goddaughter of Master Kao with them. Soon the films takes a very dark turn as the goddaughter is killed by Tai Hoi during an attempted rape scene. Wing returns home to find her body, and Master Kao shows up just in time to think Wing did it. A terrific tension filled scene as you wonder how Wing is going to get out of this one. So, Master Kao and the Get Fresh Posse show up at Po Chi Lam and destroy the school sign, which instantly calls for epic asskicking, and it does in one of the two showstoppers in the film as Yuen Biao and a fellow student go up against Master Kao’s boys, one doing Monkey staff, and the other doing Fan fighting. Incredibly acobatic and a densely choreographed scene full of dozens of moves. Butcher arrives just in time to take a Cosmic Palm shot to the chest, and he and the other two students escape.

Beggar Su heals Wing by dunking him in a vat of advil, and soon starts training him in the 12 arms of Hung style. ( I love stuff like this in these old films, where the hero has to learn some new shit before fighting the main baddie. Nowadays these guys already know everything.) He learns just in time to fight the last of Master Kao’s boys, Wildcat, in a really acrobatic driven fight that is fun to watch, but Wildcat is no match for both as Beggar Su gives him the final death blow.

Kwan Tak Hing The Magnificent Butcher

Meanwhile, the only guy to witness the murder of Kao’s godniece tries to blackmail Tai Hoi, but winds up taking a knife in the gut for his trouble, but is able to run to the home of Sai Kwong before exiting this life, and Sai Kwong is killed, so his wife can escape getting gutted by Tai Hoi. She goes to Butcher Wing to tell him what happened, and Wing understandably flips his shit, and he goes to pay Tai Hoi a friendly visit, just to show him what happens when the head is struck incredibly hard with a large piece of wood.

This lead to the final fight, the second showstopper as Wing takes on Master Kao. Equally funny and exciting, this is why you want to see this film. This fight is one of the best you’ll ever see, and Sammo pulls out every trick in his bag, and with Woo Ping running the show the results are astounding. You won’t believe how many moves are in one camera angle before an edit. Soon he beats Kao, just in time for Master Wong to return, and has a new sign for the school, which turns out to be the wrong sign (my copy didn’t translate what it said. Damn Fortune Star.) One of the best of the old school films.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) Of course a collaboration between Sammo and Yuen would turn out like this. Some of the most acrobatic fighting ever seen, and the number of moves in one scene is mind boggling.

STUNTS: (7) Pretty good, but no one does anything amazing, but the stuntmen throw themselves thrugh doors and windows well, and sells their scenes as they should.

DIRECTION: (9) Woo Ping knows how to shoot a fight scene, and where that camera needs to go for maximum effect. The story was well done, but the action is where it’s at here, and it doesn’t get much better.

STAR POWER: (8) Sammo Hung is all the star power this film needed, and he makes you laugh or stare in awe every moment he’s on the screen. Kwan Tak-Hing is the quintessential Wong Fei Hung, and always will be!

FINAL GRADE: (9) One of the best Kung-Fu films you can ever see, and a snapshot of the things to come from all involved. An absolute ass kicking classic.