Archive for the Cynthia Rothrock Category

Review: Showdown in Manila (2018)

Posted in Alexander Nevsky, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Cynthia Rothrock, Don"The Dragon" Wilson, Mark Dacascos, Matthias Hues, Olivier Gruner with tags , , , on January 19, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Alexander Nevsky, Casper Van Dien, Tia Carrere, Mark Dacascos, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, Matthias Hues, Cynthia Rothrock, Olivier Gruner, Don ” The Dragon” Wilson

Fight Choreography by Al Dacascos

Directed by Mark Dacascos

After years of watching Marc Dacascos on the big and small screen, he finally steps behind the camera for his first film, produced and starring 3-time Mr. Universe Alexander Nevsky and a whole horde of b-movie stars. So how did his first venture do?

It has moments that aren’t as good as it could have been, but this movie…

… is a LOT of fun.

Alexander Nevsky stars as Nick Peyton, a disgraced Thailand cop who now works as a private detective after he his whole team is killed in a botched raid on a drug den owned by a man known as The Wrath (the CHT!). Two years later Nick and his sex-crazed partner Charlie (Van Dien) are hired by a police sketch artist (Carrere) whose husband, a secret agent, is killed by The Wrath right in front of her. She pays them to bring him to her…alive. Now working in Manila, Nick has a second chance to get revenge for his fallen comrades, but he’ll need some high-powered help to finish the job…

The film, despite the Raid-like opening moves a little slow at the beginning, but picks up steam as the film goes on. While Alexander Nevsky is a little wooden in his acting, which may be a lot better had he spoken in his native Russian dialect, he is aided well by the presence of his co-star Casper Van Dien. They have a good on-screen chemistry with each other that more than makes up for a few weak acting moments from Nevsky, who is a large presence in the film, and the Dacascos family had the good sense to use that largeness for maximum effect. Van Dien does well bringing in the comedy aspects of the film, which helps keep things light and helps propel the film forward in its slower moments. The CHT is as a good a villain as always, but I wish he had been in the film more, but we do get some villainy from the always great Matthias Hues, but here again, I wish we had more of him. The directing by Mark is confident, even in the slower scenes, which I think could have been slightly better with just a little more editing down, but that’s a minor nitpick for the treasure of goods this film delivers, which comes in the form of a boat ride that brings in some of Nick’s friends during the climax of the film: Cynthia Rothrock, Olivier Gruner, and Don ” The Dragon” Wilson.

That’s right, ya’ll. China O’Brien, Nemesis, and Bloodfist show up to kick all kinds of ass 90’s style.

So let’s get into the action side of things, shall we? Early on we get a quick fight scene with Mark Dacascos that shows that the man can still kick all kinds of ass, and we need to see him back in a movie doing so pronto! His fight scene is really quick and far too short, but it looks good and is shot well. Fast forward to the big action finale, and I was transported back to 1992, ya’ll. At first there is a lot of gun play, and while I loved seeing everyone, I came to terms with the fact that they may all be too old to actually do a fight scene anymore, and that seeing them shooting folks will just have to do.

Silly rabbit. I should’ve had more faith in the film’s director. He knows what true fans want to see…

…and eventually the bullets run out.

What follows is an orgasmic cavalcade of action goodness, with Cynthia Rothrock going knives-out, and punching and kicking foes like the good ol’ days! ( Now I want to see what China O’Brien has been up to this past decade!) Don ” The Dragon” Wilson also gets a scene where he gets to show he can still kick with the best of them, and no one looks like they can take a hit and keep fighting like Don, and Olivier looks more brutal than I’ve ever seen him in an action scene. The fights are shot well, showing us the FULL action of what’s happening without quick-cut edits…because what we see on screen is real martial artists doing onscreen what they’ve been doing for decades. Kudos to Al Dacascos for making sure each action scene plays to the strengths of each fighter. I wish we could have had a bigger hand to hand combat scene for Nevsky, but there is so much other cool action happening I didn’t mind this time, but he does mix it up a little with Matthias Hues, and I wish THAT fight had been bigger, but maybe next time?

 

Look, this film isn’t for everyone. If you want something on the order of Tony Jaa or Iko Uwais, you won’t get that kind of wild action here. But for those of us who grew up on these kinds of films, it’s mana from heaven. Alexander Nevsky and Mark Dacascos did what The Expendables couldn’t do: provide a film that truly showcases what these action stars can still do, and make them look great at doing it. 

Kiai-Kick’s Grade : 8.5

A really fun film that kicks you in the face with nostalgia, and the only thing that’s missing are four people: Jalal Merhi, Billy Blanks, Richard Norton, and the greatness himself, Al Leong. Showdown in Manila 2, perhaps? 

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Old School Action: A talk with Alexander Nevsky!

Posted in Alexander Nevsky, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Cynthia Rothrock, Don"The Dragon" Wilson, Mark Dacascos on January 17, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Friday January 19th will see the limited release of Showdown in Manila, marking the directorial debut of Mark Dacascos (Only the Strong, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Drive) and marks the meeting of some 80’s and 90’s badasses: Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (the CHT!), Cynthia Rothrock, Don ” The Dragon” Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Matthias Hues, as well as Casper Van Dien and Tia Carrera. I had a talk with producer and 3-time Mr. Universe star Alexander Nevsky about the film. We had a LOT of fun talking about the film and the stars involved. I hope you all enjoy this!

M: You’ve taken your career into your hands as both the producer and star. What was it like wearing both of those hats on set?

A: First of all let me explain to you why I do this. I really believe that if you want to achieve something you shouldn’t wait; you should do it yourself. Unfortunately right now, when you talk about old fashioned action movies, they don’t make them much anymore. And what of Showdown in Manila? All of those guys, they’re still in great shape: Cynthia Rothrock, Don the Dragon Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Dacascos himself, Casper Van Dien. They’re all in great shape. Right now, what’s going on in international cinema, even at a studio it’s hard to move forward with a movie (like this) . That’s why I make movies which I want to see; I’m a huge fan of each and every one of them. I love Dacascos’ movies, Tagawa’s movies, all of them. So I always wanted to get involved not just as an actor but a producer.

It’s not easy but as a producer you have more control. And if your a good producer you can make sure your film is finished and released everywhere.

M: The scene where you call for your friends and they arrive on the boat: Cynthia, Don, and Olivier, and I nearly jumped out of my chair, because I loved all of them! That final action scenes reminded me of 80’s action films like Commando and Missing in Action. Was that what you were going for?

A: Exactly. I’m just as excited as you are hearing you talk about it! I was excited as I was dreaming the film, shooting the film, promoting the film. I’m as excited as you are about the film! And Oliver Gruner, I love him in Nemesis!

**Okay, ya’ll have to forgive me. Things had to grind to a halt as we extolled our mutual love for the film Nemesis. If you haven’t see it, get on that

We went from an epic discussion of Nemesis, to talking about old school action films, and what it takes to get one made nowadays:**

A: Times change, and I think when a studio like Lionsgate produces John Wick, and it’s also a great film, and Keanu Reeves doing great things, and in every  John Wick they had four months of preparation, and its him fighting and everything, but you can’t compare him to Oliver Gruner, or Don the Dragon Wilson, or Cynthia Rothrock, as they are all martial artists, with all due respect to Keanu as he’s a great guy and artist. With Showdown in Manila, Mark’s father Al Dacascos even went to Manila to support Mark and choreograph all of the fights. So we had many real people on set, and the set we used for Manila is the same set used in Apocalypse Now.

M: How much training did you all have to do for the fight scenes?

A: That’s another thing, even in a movie like John Wick where Keanu had 4 months to prepare, of course we didn’t have that with Showdown for Manila. We just had a couple of weeks. We spent about five weeks shooting it, and then another month in post production. So for the action we trained for a couple of weeks on that, but because we had people like Oliver Gruner, Cynthia Rothrock, Al Dacascos, Mark Dacascos, Don the Dragon Wilson, they all continue to train and are in great shape, also Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, so it wasn’t hard for us to do it all. As for me, I was a boxer before. I did some kickboxing before, but I was a boxer before I started bodybuilding.

Marc as the director gave everyone some screen time, especially at the end in the jungle so you can enjoy Cynthia Rothrock doing martial arts, and Olivier Gruner and the Don the Dragon. It was much easier and everyone knows what to do. It was all real, and I hope it felt real when you watched it. It was tough but it was huge fun.

M: Alexander, I had a lot of fun talking to you! It’s great that your doing it with the love and care your doing it! I wish you great success and I can’t wait to talk with you about Maximum Impact!

A:  Thank you very much, and thank you for your support! Me and you are fans of this genre, and fans of these action stars, so thank you for your support! I’m glad you enjoyed the film!

Talk to you soon I hope!

 

We had a really great talk, much longer than what you have here! We went to town on all kinds of cool action movies.  Maybe someday I’ll post the audio from the entire interview! Bug me enough and I’ll do it! Look for the the film in limited release stateside this Friday, and look for it Digital HD and VOD on January 23rd. My review will be up Friday!

Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Matt Mullins and Cynthia Rothrock!

Posted in Cynthia Rothrock, Don"The Dragon" Wilson, Joe Lewis, Matt Mullins with tags , , , on May 3, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

The trailer goodness continues here on Kiai-Kick with White Tiger, a film that’s been rumored for years is finally here! Cynthia Rothrock returns, and we see the great Joe Lewis one last time! The film’s story looks generic, but the action looks to be slick, and everyone looks great. Check out the trailer below. It’s good to have everyone back!

 

 

 

Review: China O’Brien (1990)

Posted in Cynthia Rothrock, Keith Cooke, Richard Norton with tags , , on October 20, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Keith Cooke

Fight Choreography by Roberta Chow and Roy Horiuchi

Directed by Robert Clouse

1988 saw two new faces light up martial arts films in the USA—Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. Both were fresh faces after years of basically just Chuck Norris, and dozens of ninja films in the 80’s. Robert Clouse, director of Enter the Dragon, thought it might be time to introduce some English-speaking new blood. Working with Raymond Chow and Golden Harvest, they decided to export Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton, both of whom had become stars internationally due to their HK films like Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars, Shanghai Express and Above the Law. Clouse has always tried to recapture the magic of Enter the Dragon, but has never been able to, and doesn’t come close to it here, but does make an entertaining low budget film. (I’ll never be able to quite forgive him for Game of Death, a joke of a film that should never have seen the bloody light of day.)

The film opens as title character China O’Brien (Rothrock), a cop and martial arts instructor is challenged by a student named Termite (A remnant of the 80’s where every black dude was named for everything except a human f***ing being. There wasn’t a black dude named, oh, Bob, for instance. But whatever. The 80’s is full of poor judgments like that. This film capsulized most of them) to a fight to prove that martial arts can work in the real world. He leaves the dojo only to get his ass kicked in the alley right outside. Maybe, just maybe knowing martial arts may have saved him from such an ass-whooping, proving once again how Karma is a bitch.

Anyway, China goes to the designated alley to meet him, only to find dudes there that are NOT his friends. She fights them off in a fun scene that shows how HK fashions of the 80’s doesn’t work so well in the USA, and in the end she shoots one of the gangbangers, who happens to be a kid. She resigns from the police force and returns home, which is a small town in which her father is sheriff, but she soon discovers that things have gone downhill since she left, and the country white dudes she left behind have been replaces by douchy country white dudes with pot bellies who think they can fight and work for organized crime. She does have a friend/boyfriend teacher Matt (Norton) who is also presumably from the same town but strangely has an Australian accent. She is also helped by Dakota, China kicks a little ass here and there until her father is killed, and she decides to run for his office and is challenged by one of Barlow’s men, and after they rig the polls and try to steal ballot boxes it leads to a final fight for control of the town. A really small town. Suffice to say:

China O’Brien and Friends: 1 Country Boys: -1

If you love seeing small town dudes getting their asses kicked, then this film will be your nirvana. The story is hokey, and the acting sucks, but that kinda adds to the charm of this. Cynthia has to actually portray…warmth and love here, which is not what she had been asked to provide in any of her HK films. She may not have been used to it, and the same goes for Richard Norton, but when it comes time to kick ass, the film does it fairly well. Now there isn’t any fights versus any other good martial artists, but nevertheless it’s fun. The line reading is tone-deaf, but as Robert Clouse was deaf as well (no joke, he actually was), it’s all good, I guess. The fights are well done, and for the most part keeps up with the Hong Kong style of choreography and speed. Keith Cooke has no screen presence whatsoever, but is good in his fights, with blazing fast speed on his kicks, but overall he isn’t given much to do.

Robert Clouse does a good job of making sure the action is front and center, and the film keeps it coming. The best fights are the bonfire fight, where Richard Norton and Keith Cooke really get to kick some serious ass, and then the fight in the high school weight room, where China beats the crap out of the same guy with a do-rag like ten times.

China O-Brien lets its B-movie flag fly high, and even though it was never the success all were hoping it would be, Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton would becomes fixtures of many B-movies for the 90’s until Jackie Chan and Jet Li showed up and booted Seagal and JCVD to B-Movieville.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (7) The fights are well done and more or less polished, not reaching the heights of her Hong Kong work, but is a hell of a lot better than her American output after this.

STUNTWORK: (2) Boy, did these guys ever suck. Their reactions were laughable, not acting realistically or even over the top with their reactions to being hit. That actually makes it kinda funny though.

STARPOWER: (7) Cynthia Rothrock would begin her reign as B-movie action queen, and Richard Norton would be in most films with her, but they will never ascend any higher. Keith Cooke’s career never takes off.

FINAL GRADE: (7) The cheese flows like a river here, and the acting is terrible, but the action is fun to watch, but be warned. 80’s fashion is in full effect here!

Review: Yes, Madam! (1985)

Posted in Corey Yuen, Cynthia Rothrock, Dick Wei, Fat Chung, James Tien, Michelle Yeoh, Sammo Hung with tags , on October 6, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

Starring Michelle Yeoh, Cynthia Rothrock, James Tien, Dick Wei, Fat Chung, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by Corey Yuen

Women in martial arts films, particularly the early films, have always been a mixed bag. On one hand, especially in the Shaw Brothers films, the women can kick some serious ass. On the other, it seems that they still need the men to come and save them at the end. Of course there were exceptions to the rule, Angela Mao being one of them. But in 1985 two women broke into the scene and changed everything. Jackie Chan discovered Michelle Yeoh while working on a commercial together. Cynthia Rothrock was a martial arts champion, and had come to the attention of Sammo Hung. Corey Yuen, another one of the Seven Little Fortunes decided to put them both into his next film, and it would define both women for the next decade and advance women in action films forevermore…

The film opens as we meet resident ass-kicker Inspector Ng (Yeoh) who foils a robbery of an armored car, and flips and spins her way around shooting the living hell out of a bunch of dudes as if to announce “ the ladies are the badasses in this film, folks!” Afterward Ng announces she is heading for a vacation with a British gentleman, but her plans are canceled when her friend is, well, canceled by a hitman named Dick (Wei) who killed the man for Mr. Tin (Tien) a douchebag business man who needs to get a microfilm that shows his involvement in an illegal deal involving forged documents. Before Dick can get them two bumbling thieves Strepsil and Aspirin break into the room and steal the dead man’s passport, not realizing that the man was dead and the film was in the passport, and they take it to their partner Panadol (Hark). Ng is brought into the case, but must take on British Inspector Carrie Morris (Rothrock) as her partner. The three thieves slowly become aware that they are in over their heads as the police and the hitmen get closer to them both, and they try to avoid prison and death…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Yes, Madam will most certainly not be known for its acting, which I have to admit is not too good for the main leads, but this was pretty much the first film for both women, and in the end it won’t hurt the enjoyment of the film…much. What it does show is the onscreen presence of both Yeoh and Rothrock.

It is also refreshing to see that both female characters beat the tar out of everyone without needing to be “saved” by a man. They carried the action on their own, and take as much punishment as they doled out. The comedy and lightness of the film are carried admirably by John Sham , Hoi Mang, and Tsui Hark in a rare film appearance. After a time their bumbling around does test the patience of the audience, but the fights reward the patience later. Dick Wei is as good as always playing an utter douchebag and badass, which he excels at, and Fat Chung is as ridiculous as I’ve ever seen him, and it takes a special kind of over the top acting to distract you from his mustache, which I swear could be its own character in this film. James Tien doesn’t do much in this film except laugh…a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fights throughout the film are good, but I did have some issue with the editing, which seemed scatter-shot between showing closeup shots and panoramic shots of the action. It seemed as if the editor didn’t really know how to edit the fights as Yuen had choreographed. The exception to this was the final fight, which lets everyone cut loose, and no one disappoints here. Cynthia shows why she came to Sammo’s attention, as her movements are crisp and can easily hang with the Corey Yuen style of fight choreography, and the same holds true for Michelle, which is amazing when you consider the fact that she knew no martial arts when she made this film. The fight between Cynthia and Dick Wei is particularly satisfying and the overall asskicking here is more than enough to satisfy any martial arts fan. The ending was a bit odd, but it doesn’t take anything away from the effort, and the two women it would propel to stardom.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (8) The overall choreography is good, and the final fight is fantastic as everyone is given a moment to shine, but some of the earlier fights aren’t as great as they could have been due to the editing.

STUNTWORK: (8) Not quite Jackie Chan crazy, but close as they guys took some nasty spills, especially in the last fight. That poor bastard Michelle Yeoh dropped from the 2nd level to the ground by the bar…yeowch.

STARPOWER: (9) Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock’s stars would only rise after this, and Dick Wei is always good, as is James Tien and Sammo Hung in cameo rolls, and some of the Lucky Stars (Dennis Chan, Richard Ng) appear here as well.

FINAL GRADE: (8) A good small budget film that has some fun moments and good fight choreography, but gets the high mark for introducing Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock to the world.

Review: Shanghai Express aka Millionaire’s Express (1986)

Posted in Cynthia Rothrock, Dick Wei, Hwang Jang Lee, Lam Ching Ying, Richard Norton, Sammo Hung, Shih Kien, Wai-Man Chan, Wang Lung Wei, Yasuaki Kurata, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah with tags , , , on July 5, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Lam Ching Ying, Hwang Jang Lee, Yukari Oshima, Richard Norton, Cynthia Rothrock, Dick Wei, Shih Kien, Richard Ng, Yu Wang, Wang Lung Wei

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

Sammo, a fan of many westerns, had always wanted to do one himself, and decided to call on damn near every star at the time to be in his kung-fu/western mashup. The film was designed to be another Sammo Hung/Jackie Chan/Yuen Biao team up, but alas Jackie wasn’t able to be in it due to scheduling conflicts, but never mind that. Everyone and their brother is in this film, and Jackie being in the film would have robbed someone else of screen time, especially two newcomers, but more on them later.

Sammo plays Cheng, a thief, opportunist and sometimes pimp with big plans for his small hometown of Hanshui, plans the town is unaware of. He had to leave Hanshui after a series of good deeds gone bad, or bad deeds that had a somewhat noble purpose, depending on your POV. Well, Hanshui ran him out of town, but he has a plan to return and open up a casino/ secret brothel, but since Hanshui is a no where town with nothing more than a train track not far away, he had to do something to get the customers in, and has plans to blow up the train tracks just when the Shanghai Express, a train full of wealthy passengers, will pass, making them stay in the town to spend their money there. Captain Tsao (Biao), the former fireman now the law offical thanks to some of his not-too-smart comrades who decided to use a fire to rob a bank (Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Wah and others), knows Cheng and vows to break up whatever scheme he’s running…

Meanwhile a group of bandits that include Dick Wei, Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton plan to rob the train near Hanshui in an effort to help a mob family secure documents being smuggled out of China by Japanese operatives….

Also, Master Wong (Yu Wong) and his son, the great Wong Fei Hung, travel in the same car with rival Master Sek (Kien) and his son.

And…the group that robbed the bank in Hanshui plan to use the train to get away with the town’s money.

AND…quite a few more stories that will all come together in Hanshui, leading to a slam bang finale that features some fantastic fight choreography and some genuinely funny moments. Admittedly, the comedy can be hit or miss depending on whether you like the slapstick comedy that was pervasive in Hong Kong in the 80’s. Personally, most of it worked for me, especially the Richard Ng stuff. That guy is crazy funny:

He plays a lecherous douche who bounces between his wife and his mistress, both of whom are on the train. He has some fantastic stunts where he “trots” on the train cars, jumping from one to another with ease, and does the same later on the roof of a three story casino. His facial expressions are hilarious to watch.

The stunts are thrilling to watch, such as a series of impressive fire fighting stunts by Yuen Biao culminating in a jump from the top of a 3 story building to the ground…and lands on his feet. Wow. He really does get to cut loose, and Sammo lets everyone have their moment in the sun, from the comedians to the fighters. I have to give Yuen Wah and Lam Ching Ying credit-they were really game to become the two idiots they play. No fighting for them, but it’s still great to see them playing different roles than what I would normally see from them. Now, in a changeup from most of my reviews, because there are so damn many, let’s look into individual fights, eh?

Sammo Hung Vs Yuen Biao: Wow. This fight would be the showstopper of other, even very good martial arts films, but here it is in the middle of the film, which helps break up the comedy. Sammo and Yuen really bring it, and if you watch the first kick Sammo gives Yuen, that kick almost really took Yuen Biao out. Like really out. These two go at it, and the choreography is excellent here, and you can tell that they are actually striking each other, which is something Sammo demands of all of his action co-stars, but hey, they’re kung-fu brothers, so they know what to expect from each other.

Yasuaki Kurata vs Richard Norton: Yeah, it was really short, and Richard’s end is painful (note to self, never try to kick high on a short girl with sword.) but what was there was gold. Of course Richard says his classic line “Painful?”after he gives Kurata a nasty kick. Great blocking moves in this scene.

Yuen Biao vs Dick Wei: Oh. My. Gosh. This fight was incredible. Yuen Biao and Dick Wei blaze along their fight with pure speed and Yuen’s acrobatic stunts in this fight is stunning to watch. His spin off the balcony is legendary as writ in the scrolls. Wei’s punches were lightning fast and Biao even faster at dodging them.

Sammo Hung vs Cynthia Rothrock:  Yeah, this fight was cool, and it’s no wonder Cynthia became famous in HK cinema after this fight. She hung tight with the big man himself through his fight choreography that had him going from being Sammo to impersonating Bruce Lee. I was disappointed that one of her big kicks was actually done by Yuen Biao as her stunt double, but the rest is fantastic. Sammo really tossed himself around.

Hwang Jang Lee vs Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung: This the most hair-pulling of all of the fights in this film. It barely lasts a minute, when the reality is it was supposed to be the absolute show stopper fight in the film, but had to be cut for the running time.  What’s there was the beginning of something epic that gets chopped to about 30 seconds. Argh! Luckily Hwang does get to jack up a bunch of other guys, but this is still a great opportunity missed.

Yukari Oshima vs a bunch of sad bastards: Yukari showed off her stuff in this fight, and though she isn’t a kendo practictioner she made it look as if she were, and really had a good, if short fight scene.

Also I have to say I loved the fight between young Wong Fei-Hung and Master Sek’s son. Those two kids were great, evoking the classic Shaw Brothers style of fight choreography, and the parents’ response is a funny way to end the scene, as is the train ride where both masters get their shots at each other each time they enter a tunnel. I want to go back and say a thing or two about Richard Norton and Cynthia Rothrock. These films would pave the way for their American B-movies, but they really understood the Hong Kong style of fight choreography and were the few Americans and Australians to do so at the time (There were a few others, but not many. Karen Shepard and Peter Cunningham are some of the others.) They work really well with the Sammo Hung/Yuen Biao/Jackie Chan style of choreography that dominated 80’s HK films from the Golden Harvest camp.

This film is really a sampler kind of film. You get a full plate that has bits and pieces of everyone, and the whole will fill you up, but you wished you had more of this or that. I needed more Hwang Jang Lee and Yasuaki Kurata, and Dick Wei, but that is a small gripe in a film chockablock full of fights, at least in the last half of the film. The first half does contain enough goodwill and comedy to tide you over until then.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) Sammo does a fantastic job all around allowing everyone to show off their stuff and have their own “moments”. The fighting mixes being fast and fun with being brutal all at once.

STUNTWORK: (9) Fantastic stunts all around. The scene where the train stops is great, and Richard Ng really does a great job, and Yuen Biao takes it up a level with his acrobatics, especially in his fight with Dick Wei. Some of the falls are just down right painful to watch.

STAR POWER: (10) Did you see the cast list I put up there?!

FINAL GRADE: (9) One of the best martial arts westerns of all time, bar none. There aren’t many fights until the end, but the end fights are plentiful and well worth the wait.