Archive for the Fung Hak-On Category

Review: Warriors Two (1978)

Posted in Cassanova Wong, Fung Hak-On, Hoi Sang Lee, Lam Ching Ying, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Sammo Hung with tags , on August 20, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sammo Hung, Cassanova Wong, Fung Hak-On, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Hoi Sang Lee, Lam Ching Ying, Dean Shek

Fight Choreography by

Directed by Sammo Hung

Golden Harvest films are and have always been, at least for me, comfort food. You know what you’ll get, particularly if Sammo Hung is directing: awesome kung fu fight choreography and physical comedy that works more often than not. It all comes together magnificently in Warriors Two.

Cassanova Wong stars as Wah, a kung fu practitioner and banker, who makes the mistake of returning to work one night only to stumble upon a plot by the banker, Mr. Mo (Hak-On ) to kill the mayor and take over the down with his cronies. Wah goes to the mayor’s home only to be betrayed by the mayor’s right hand man Yao (Shek), and after being saved by Fatty (Sammo, but I’m sure you guessed that) Wah must learn Wing Chun from Fatty’s master Tsang (Beardy) in order to face Mr. Mo and his henchmen…

Cassanova Wong is a Golden Harvest stalwart, veteran of many films, and here he does a good job as the hero, but of course he gets upstaged by Sammo, who shines in every scene he’s in, bringing the comedy as the hapless Fatty, even during the darkest scenes. Fung Hak-On is menacing as Mr. Mo, but folks, this is FUNG HAK-ON. If I didn’t already assign Gordon Lui as The Greatness, Fung may well hold that title. Add in a good performance by Beardy as Master Tsang, and you’ve got classic kung-fu theater gold here! Now the story is okay but nothing more than a typical kung fu revenge story, but its the fights here is what makes this film a classic…

Lord have mercy the fights! There isn’t a single fight that isn’t exciting to watch, as Sammo Hung and company throw themselves around and unleash some truly fast kung fu, that you can tell is fast, even with the undercranking (a film technique used in many martial arts films where the film is shot at a slower frame rate in order to speed up the fights when played back). The best fight is saved for last, as Wah, Phoenix (Master Tsang’s niece) and Fatty take on all of Mr. Mo’s most dangerous men, using a variety of swords, knives and staves, and it doesn’t take long for the blood to flow like a river.

Some thing extra has to be said about that almost-forgotten scene of a great kung fu film: the training scenes! There is even a room that has mechanical wooden men for Wah to train against, and all of these scenes, together with the Cassanova Wong/Sammo Hung/Beardy training battles, and you’ve got one of the best kung-fu films Golden Harvest put out.

Comfort food indeed.

 

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 10

This is one of the best of Sammo’s early films, and without a doubt a great kung fu film by any standard. Seek it out and watch it if you can! (Hint: It’s on Amazon Prime!)

Advertisements

Review: Shaolin Martial Arts (1974)

Posted in Alexander Fu Sheng, Chang Cheh, Fung Hak-On, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Simon Yuen, Wang Lung Wei with tags , on November 20, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Shaolin Martial 3

Starring: Alexander Fu Sheng, Chi Kuan Chun, Gordon Liu, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Wang Lung Wei, Fung Hark-On, Simon Yuen

Fight Choreography by: Chia Tang and Beardy

Directed by Chang Cheh

Here we have yet another film that proves that Alexander Fu Sheng was taken from us far too young. his onscreen demeanor made him an instant star, and he kept getting better with each film, and I think this film sits high on his small filmography…

At the Temple of the God of Chivalry, both Shaolin and Manchus are having a annual ceremony paying tribute, but things go south as the leader of the Manchu’s, Master Yu, complains that he should lead the tribute rather than the representative from Shaolin, younger master Cheng, who is there because the Shaolin leader has taken ill.  Of course you know the Manchus want to start crap just to start crap, and one of their men obliges, taking a perceived insult as a reason to gut one of the Shaolin. This begins a brawl that ends with the authorities showing up and for all intents and purposes taking the side of the Manchus. We soon find out that the General of the Manchus wants to wipe out the Shaolin permanently, and brings in two men to do it, both of them with seemingly invincible marital arts.

As their numbers dwindle, it’s up to a small group of Shaolin fighters to defeat the two invincible fighters by learning new styles of kung fu, but time is running out, and the bodies of the Shaolin are piling up…

shaolin Martial 2

For anyone who is a fan of Shaw Brothers films, this plot line is repeated again and again in many of their films albeit with a tweak here and there. That doesn’t mean the film isn’t entertaining, though. The film does manage to be suspenseful as they are not afraid to kill off a slew of good guy characters. Fu Sheng is his normal playful onscreen persona, and as per usual in the these films (Gordon Liu isn’t The Greatness Yet) Gordon doesn’t stick around as much as I’d like. Of course Simon Yuen makes anything he’s in a better film, and the Old Dirty Bastard once again arrives to raise the film up in the middle before things slow down too much, even though he’s more subdued here as a cantankerous kung fu master.

The fight scenes are really good here, comparable with some of the best moments from Chang Cheh’s many films, particularly the final fight between Beardy and Fu Sheng, which seemed to move faster than the typical Shaw Brothers fights,  but the Mortal Kombat-style finishing moves here are something special, from a disembowelment to eye gouging to absolute testicle destruction that just looked painful as hell. Actually kudos to every actor for making their death scenes look so painful I think I’d rather be eaten by a wild animal than die by kung-fu move.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

Alexander Fu Sheng leads an All Star cast of badasses in a fun but familiar kung fu tale, with a ton of action scenes and memorably bloody deaths.

Review: Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1975)

Posted in Chi Ling Chiu, Fung Hak-On, Hwang Jang Lee, Jackie Chan, Roy Horan, Simon Yuen, Yuen Woo Ping with tags , on May 13, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Snake3

Starring Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, Fung Hak-on, Peter Chan, Charlie Chan, Roy Horan, Chi Ling Chiu

Fight Choreography by Yuen Woo Ping

Directed by Yuen Woo Ping

Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow represents a turning point in the career of Jackie Chan; he was deemed a failure by Lo Wei after several box office disappointments. The heir to Bruce Lee he was most definitely not; just another stuntman who couldn’t cut the mustard as a star. So when Golden Harvest came calling, Lo Wei had no qualms about lending Jackie to them. Jackie, understanding that the end was near, asked to control his own films, and to do something no one had really thought of: allowing Jackie to be Jackie, and not Bruce. That thinking, along with pulling JC into the orbit of the Yuen family, culminated in this film, which would become the thematic template to the film that will make Jackie Chan a major star, Drunken Master.

So what to make of the Snake?

In this film we find that he Snake Fist school has been under attack by the Eagle Claw school, and that for a school that once boasted over 3000 members now only has a few left (that’s not an attack. That’s war). We find that Mr. Ass Kicker himself Sheng Kuan (Lee) as he takes out another Snake fist master (Fung Hak-On). Next we meet one of the last masters of the form,  Master Pai Cheng Tien (Yuen), who wanders around as a beggar. His travels brings him to the orbit of a kindly young man Chien Fu (Chan) who “trains” at a school that, while the Master is away, is run by two buffoons who ridicule and embarrass him at every turn. Taking a liking to Chien Fu, Pai Cheng Tien decides to teach him the style of Snake Fist, but warns him not to show it. But since this is Jackie Chan, of course he’ll use it! This brings Sheng Kuan and several assassins to attempt to kill the last remaining Snake Fist masters…but Cheng Fu has a surprise waiting for them…

Snake1

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow really shows the comedy that would become a hallmark of Jackie’s early films and career as a whole. Jackie himself, at least this time, is playing a nice young man, rather than the rapscallions he would later play. Even in this early film, it’s easy to see why JC became the superstar that he is. He has a great screen presence, and his kung fu is fun to watch, especially since he fell under the wing of the Yuen family, Speaking of whom, Simon Yuen, the real ODB himself, is as crazy fun to watch as he ever was. Is there any doubt that Simon Yuen was to Jackie Chan in these early films what Bill Tung would be for his later ones? They were both great comedic foils for JC to play off of, and they are both sorely missed.

Hwang Jang Lee is just awesome, this being a warm-up (as it was for everyone) for his role in Drunken Master. Roy Horan is decent as one of the assassins, and his finale…damn! The story itself is simple but hey, that’s the novel joy of it, and Yuen Woo Ping keeps things moving at a brisk pace, and the training sequences are standout, as is the scene where JC finally practices the Snake Fist form. Still glad to see films where the hero is not an instant badass who is a kung fu expert right out of the womb.

Snake

This film also answers a trivia question “what’s the worst kill of Jackie Chan’s career?” Roy Horan gets the nod here, and his death by skewered testicles ranks up there with some of the worst as JC just pulls a Sonny Chiba on his unfortunate ballsack. I can’t decide if Horan’s death scene is one of the worst acted or one of the best. It’s just that cruel an ending for him. He could’ve screamed for his mommy at the point and I wouldn’t have blamed him.

The fights are as imaginative as Woo Ping has ever been, but is only a small taste for what’s to come. The final fight with Hwang Jang Lee, Jackie Chan, and Simon Yuen is as great as you would think, but still only a small, small taste of what’s to come. Woo Ping brings out the playfulness in JC, and that’s the thing I think Woo Ping does so well; he matches his fight choreography to the personalities of the actor/fighter.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A great kung-fu film that became Jackie Chan’s first real hit film, and would set the stage for one of the greatest kung fu films of all time! A fun filled spectacle to watch.

Review: Winners and Sinners (1983)

Posted in Dick Wei, Fat Chung, Fung Hak-On, Jackie Chan, James Tien, Lam Ching Ying, Mars, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao with tags , on March 2, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Winners Sinners 3

Starring Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Stanley Fung, John Sham, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Dick Wei, Moon Lee, James Tien, Mars, Fung Hak-on, Wu Ma, Lam Ching Ying, Fat Chung.

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

The first official film in the Lucky Stars series finds our first iteration of the group (really missing Eric Tsang!) meeting for the first time in prison, after they are all put there due to their bad luck, and, well, they aren’t really very good and playing bad guys. They form a bond, and the team, consisting of Teapot (Hung), Curly (Sham), Exhaust Pipe (Ng), Vaseline (Charlie Chan), and Rookie (Fung) decide to join Curly’s sister in a cleaning business called the Five Stars Cleaning Company. Meanwhile, a rather bad cop named CID 07 (Chan) does a really inept job of trying to catch a group of drug dealers attached to Jack Tar (Tien), and a mishap causes a briefcase that contains counterfeit plates lands in the hands of the Lucky Stars. Of course they are oblivious at first as they are obsessed with trying to get into the pants of Curly’s sister but soon find themselves in danger as Tar thinks the Five Stars Cleaning company are another rival gang. Most of the Lucky Stars are taken hostage, and its up to Teapot to save his friends and get the girl…

Winners Sinners 1

Too much fun. That’s what all of these actors bring to the table. The story is flat and unoriginal, but never mind that. The Lucky Stars are the draw here, and in particular Sammo Hung and Richard Ng. Sammy brings his innocence as Teapot, a fighter who is good at being a good guy but bad at being a bad guy, but wants to get the girl in the end. Richard Ng, clothes or not, is hilarious as he tries to pull off his complex shenanigans all to see one woman naked, but of course he’s the nut job of the group as well. John Sham brings his normal manic energy to liven things up, and Jackie Chan is on hand to provide stunts, and at the same time play a real prick of a cop. Many HK stars come out to play, and Tien chews the scenes like a nice ham sandwich as Tar, but I was hoping to see more from Lam Ching-Ying as the Butler. As good as everyone is, there is one scene that still has me laughing out loud, involving Vaseline and two thugs, none of whom know kung-fu, but can all strike poses as if they did, and they engage in trying to out-pose each other in the middle of bodies and chairs flying around…and watching what happens when Exhaust Pipe enters this strange scene will have you rolling.

Winners Sinners 2

A warning to Jackie Chan fans: he isn’t the star of this film, and this is the Lucky Stars film where he shows up the least, even though adverts showcase him as if he were one of the major stars of the film.

The fight scenes are as great as one could hope for, the best being the finale in the warehouse as Teapot takes on Fung Hak-On, Dick Wei, and two bald fighters in a duel to the finish. Jackie Chan has a brief fight with Yuen Biao that was under cranked (actions filmed on a slower frame rate to make the speed of the actual fight faster) in a way I thought wasn’t necessary. The battle at Tar’s mansion was also a standout, especially the results of an ill-fated piano jump (you’ll have to see for yourself!). The roller-skating stunts by Jackie Chan were good also, but went a bit overlong, but was worth it for the massive car pileups that occurs at the end of the sequence. With the exception of the final warehouse fight, this is probably the Lucky Stars film with the least impressive fight scenes in the series.

However, any film where Fat Chung sports a Jheri Curl:

Fat Chung

is just gold to me.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

Not my favorite of the series, but it’s still a fun first entry into the world of the Lucky Stars! 

Review: Badges of Fury (2013)

Posted in Collin Chou, Corey Yuen, Fung Hak-On, Grace Huang, Jacky Wu Jing, Jet Li, Sui-Lung Leung with tags , , on January 7, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Badges of Fury

Starring Jet Li, Wen Zhang, Michelle Chen, Lui Yan, Stephen Fung, Grace Huang, Fung Hak On, Wu Jing, Collin Chou, Leung Sui-Lung,

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by Wong Tsz Ming

Badges of Fury is perhaps the funniest comedy in Jet Li’s filmography, and for someone who doesn’t do it often, Jet really works here, but don’t be surprised that while his name is at the head of the credits, he is a supporting actor in this film, and Wen Zhang is the star. Of course, the first thing you have to do to best enjoy this film is to understand that the film is a comedy from the outset, a spoof of the kung-fu cop genre.

Around Hong Kong, a slew of actors, dancers, and the wealthy, all of them men, die of unknown circumstances, except that they were smiling at the time of death. Enter Huang Fei Hung (Li) an about to be retired cop, and Wang (Zhang) his overeager young partner are assigned to the case, even after botching up a major crime bust that could have net them a major gangster (great cameo appearance here by Collin Chou, acting like he stepped off the set of Flashpoint). What follows is wrong leads, bike chases, spoofs or mentions of films like Police Story 1, 2 and 3, and in one funny scene, a group of Interpol agents accuse Jet Li of BitTorrenting Fearless and the Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. Their leads take them to one woman who is connected to all of the murdered men, and of course things go sideways, including a fight between Jet Li and Wu Jing, and wait until you see exactly who Wu Jing is playing. I can’t reveal any more of the story without giving away any other jokes!

Badges of Fury 1

The film is just out and out fun. Jet is really game here, playing the grizzled vet who is always mysteriously asking to go home early. Jet is energized, and looks great. Wen Zhang is able to carry the film, doing most of the funny stuff and is able to bounce jokes off of Jet well. Collin Chou and Wu Jing have “fighting” cameos, but perform well in their screen time. Leung Sui-Lung is great as well, but doesn’t really get his performance going until late, playing a character not unlike the one he played in Kung Fu Hustle. The film has scenes that reminded me of the whacked out stuff Stephen Fung did in his Tai Chi Zero series (Of course, he has a small part in this film), like the hilarious entrance of the femme fatale played to perfection by Lui Yan.

Badges of Fury Liu Yan

Corey Yuen choreographed the fights here, and did a great job. The fights were able to match the silliness of the rest of the film, but delivered some good kung fu fights. Jet versus Wu Jing was good, as was Jet vs. Collin Chou. Wen Zhang does a good job and gets the more “out there” fights, but does it well. The final fight between Jet Li and Leung Sui-Lung leaves all believability at the door for a fight that uses a lot of wire work and special effects, but they fit the escalating fantasy of the film.  I said Jet was more of a supporting character, and he is, but the lion’s share of the fights go to him, just as it should.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

 Jet Li and Wen Zhang take us on a hilarious romp through the “kung fu” cop genre, and fight choreographer Corey Yuen pulls out the stops to make this one of the best kung fu comedies to come around in a long while!

Badges of Fury is out today from the good folks at Wellgo USA!

 

NEXT: Mark Dacascos will teach you how to fight the Brazilian way in Only The Strong!

Review: Dragon Lord (1982)

Posted in Corey Yuen, Fung Hak-On, Hwang In-Sik, Jackie Chan, Mars, Wai-Man Chan with tags , on July 9, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

Dragon Lord

Starring Jackie Chan, Mars, Wai-Man Chan, Fung Hak-On, Hwang In-Sik, Corey Yuen

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan

Directed by Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan Dragon Lord was supposed to be a sequel to the hit film The Young Master, but was changed later. This film was something of a transition film, which saw JC leaving the traditional kung fu films and lacing them with the stunts he would be come known for. This film also gives his buddy Mars, a veteran of many Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung movies a chance to shine.

Dragon Lord follows the adventures of Dragon (Chan) and his buddy Cowboy (Mars). Both are two immature teens whose fathers fret over them constantly. Cowboy’s father is wealthy, so he always feels a sense of entitlement. Dragon, on the other hand, is lazy and spends his days pulling pranks with his posse. What both boys have in common are the town’s past-time: sports games. The film opens with one of the craziest scenes of King of the Hill you’ll ever see, with a ton of guys trying to climb their way up a hill to grab a golden football. After this what ensues is rugby-Jackie Chan style, so know what kind of oh-my-god-did-you-see-that shenanigans that will ensue. Things get dicey for the two boys when they both fall for the same girl, which leads to a rift in their friendship as they try to one-up the other. But there’s nothing to brings two friends back together in a Jackie Chan film like a bad guy, and we have the return of Hwang In-Sik (The Young Master) as a badass who leads a group of soldiers, one of whom, Lu Chen (Wai-Man Chan) isn’t keen on their latest criminal enterprise, the stealing and selling of ancient Chinese artifacts in order to fund their overthrow of the government. He leaves the gang, but of course you don’t just leave, and Dragon and Cowboy find themselves trying to save Lu Chen and stop a coup if they can survive both the traitorous soldiers and their fathers…

Dragon Lord Jackie Chan

Dragon Lord is a very entertaining movie, and for once Mars gets to step beside JC instead of behind him, and does a good job as JC’s friend and foil. Jackie Chan is good as the clueless Dragon, but it’s virtually the same character he’s perfected in Fearless Hyena, The Young Master and Drunken Master, so nothing bad, but nothing original either. Look out for my personal favorite Fung Hak-on as a competitor in the shuttlecock / soccer game that becomes increasingly insane as the game goes on. Hwang In-Sik is good at playing a badass in this, as always, and Wai-Man Chan also shines as a good guy (for a change). The story itself is paper thin, and exists simply for the action scenes, but, in the case of Jackie Chan, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Dragon Lord Jackie Chan

There aren’t as many fights as you would expect in this film, the sports games taking a part of what would normally have been devoted to a fight. The final battle between Jackie Chan, Mars, and Hwang In-Sik is like The Passion of Jackie Chan 2: Mars Gets His Ass Kicked Too. They don’t so much beat the bad guy as much as wearing him down as he beats the holy hell out of them. That kind of ass-kicking can tire anyone out, and JC and Mars both take vicious falls and kicks, and I cringed at a particularly painful fall Mars pulls off.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

The Jackie Chan and Mars scenes are great, but in the case of Jackie Chan we’ve seen this character many, many times before. Still, it’s a movie full of crazy stunts and wild action. The crazy sports scenes are the highlights of this one!