Starring Frankie Chan, Max Mok Siu-Chung,Yukari Oshima, Jeffrey Falcon, Fung Hak-on, Mark Houghton
Fight Choreography by Fung Hak-on and Jackie Chan
Directed by Frankie Chan
Oh, how I love late 80’s, early 90’s Hong Kong cinema. The outfits. The style. The synthesized music, and the wonderful fight choreography of the time. Yes, there is much to love, and Outlaw Brothers has all of this and a lot of Yukari Oshima.
The Outlaw Brothers, James (Chan) and Bond (Max Mok) are car thieves and very good ones, particularly because the Hong Kong police really suck, save for policewoman, Tequila (Oshima). The film first follow James and Bond as they pull off a few heists, and the B-story is introduced as Bond is engaged to be married to a woman who, unknown to Bond, was an old flame of James. Bond needs money for his woman, and James is infatuated with Tequila, who is pursuing him. Things seem to go well for them until they boost a car owned by a gang of drug dealers led by Meigo, a woman who had escaped Tequila once before. The car has thousands of dollars in cocaine, and Meigo will do whatever it takes to get it back. Of course this leads to a showdown between Tequila, James, Bond against Meigo and her thugs in a fight to the finish, featuring what has to be a record number of chickens being killed by gunfire and yes, you read that right.
Outlaw Brothers is the Jackie Chan/ Yuen Biao Film they never made. The story, characters, nearly everything is evocative of the films JC/Yuen Biao/Sammo Hung put out in the late 80’s to early 90’s. While yes, this is a good thing, it does shine a light on the simple fact that Frankie Chan doesn’t have the onscreen charisma that either Jackie Chan or Yuen Biao do. It doesn’t get in the way of the fun, but may be something noticeable to those who worship that period of HK action cinema. Yukari Oshima is fantastic as tough-nose Tequila, and as always does a great job with her fight scenes. Also great was the cameo by Fung Hak-on as a parking garage security chief, and has to be the most badass one ever. Jeffrey Falcon is passable as Meigo’s main thug, but he does a good job with the fight scenes. Mark Houghton, god bless him, is my go-to Overacting White Guy in Hong Kong Cinema, and he does overact just a little bit, but that’s his charm, and I love him to death for it, and he does a great job as main Thug #2.
The fights are awesome here, and they should be. One difference between this film and many of Jackie Chan’s films is that this film still has the fighters using traditional kung-fu forms despite the fact it takes place in 1990, and the kicks and punches look a lot harder here than in most HK films not choreographed by Sammo, but it does adopt the cadence and speed of a Sammo Hung fight. The opening fight between Frankie Chan and Fung Hak-on showcase this, and it continues throughout the film. Yukari Oshima is the standout here, and she has all of the best fights in the film. Her first fight against a group of auto thieves led by is a badass scene, and the stunt work here looks like leftovers from the cutting room floor of Police Story 2, and in no way is that a bad thing. The second major fight, near a pool, is also great save for a few moments where they make an odd choice to go into slow motion, when there was no point, no special move to warrant it. The final fights versus Yukari Oshima and Frankie Chan versus Jeff Falcon and Mark Houghton is the highlight of the film, and is worth the wait. The fan fighting sequence with Jeffrey Falcon is some of the best modern fan fighting I’ve seen.
Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9
The Outlaw Brothers represents some of the best of early 90’s Hong Kong cinema, and a healthy dose of Yukari Oshima is icing on an already tasty cake.
NEXT: Y.K Kim and his posse take on a group of Ninja Bikers in Miami Connection!
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