Archive for the Leung Kar Yan (Beardy) 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!)

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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: The Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

Posted in Andrew Lin, Chen Kuan-Tai, Corey Yuen, Cung Le, Daniel Wu, Gordon Liu, Grace Huang, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Lucy Liu, Rick Yune, RZA with tags , on November 3, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring RZA, Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, David Bautista, Jamie Chung,Byron Mann, Cung Le, Daniel Wu, Gordon Liu, Chen Tai Kuan, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Grace Huang, Andrew Lin, Dennis Chan, Pam Grier

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by RZA

The Wu Tang Clan is without a doubt one of the best hip hop groups of all time, basing their music on their love of kung fu films, and even their names professed their love for the genre, all taken from kung-fu films: RZA, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB), Method Man, Raekwon, Masta Killah, and U-God. The 36 Chambers, of course taken from Gordon Liu’s 36 Chambers of Shaolin, is considered one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, and even some of their music videos show off Shaw Brothers inspired kung fu fight scenes. So of course when word came that RZA was making his own kung-fu film excitement spread among his fans due to his love and pedigree. With an assortment of current and old school stars, we now have The Man With The Iron Fists.

The film follows the exploits of three heroes: Blacksmith (RZA), an escaped slave that came to the small town of Jungle Village in China after his ship crashed, and becomes a renowned weaponsmith, who hopes to make enough money to buy prostitute Lady Silk (Chung) whom he is in love with from Madame Blossom, who runs one of the best whore houses in China.

The second hero is Jack Knife (Crowe), a vulgar British man who arrives to Jungle Village, waiting on a shipment of gold to arrive sent from the Emperor.

The third hero is Zen Yi (Yune), son of Gold Lion (Chen), who is the head of the Lion Clan, who comes to Jungle Village to avenge the murder of his father at the hands of his lieutenants Bronze Lion (Le) and Silver Lion (Mann) and Poison Dagger (Wu).

Jungle Village is soon overrun with men who arrive to attempt to steal the gold shipment when it arrives, and the Lion Clan succeed in doing so, killing the Gemini Clan who had been sent to protect the convoy. The Lion Clan is also joined by Brass Body (Bautista), a man who can actually turn his skin into actual brass, so weapons have little effect on him. The Emperor, enraged at the theft, sends his soldiers with a new weapon from America: The gatling gun, with order to raze the village to the ground if the villagers don’t turn the gold over to the soldiers. Now Blacksmith, Jack Knife and Zen Yi must enter the Blossom and face the Lion Clan, the prostitutes who are far more deadly than they seem, and a metal man in an attempt to get their revenge and save the town at the same time…

A football analogy may best describe this film: That of a wide receiver jumping up in the endzone covered by two cornerbacks and makes a spectacular catch only to have the ball slip through his fingers just as he’s touching down. This film has a lot of problems, but also has quite a few things that the RZA did do really well. The cast was well chosen with the exception of one cast member. Russell Crowe was actually really good as the crude, rude Jack Knife (the character was modeled after the late ODB), Lucy Lui also does a fine job as Madame Blossom, bringing a lot of personality and deadly beauty to the role. Cung Le is also very good as baddie Bronze Lion, and the list of supporting characters is just awesome: you have the great Gordon Lui, Beardy, and Chen Tai Kuan all looking great to see on screen again. Special recognition to Grace Huang and Andrew Lin as the Gemini Twins. They had a short amount of screen time but were two of the most interesting characters in the film, that I really wanted to see more of, and seeing Dennis Chan (Kick boxer) and Pam Grier rounds things off nicely. Daniel Wu was miscast as the main villain as Daniel doesn’t know much in the way of martial arts and it shows, but he can look menacing. I wish they had gotten someone like a Yuen Biao or Lo Meng or hell, why not Wang Lung Wei to play his part. Rick Yune does fine job with the action but his acting is very one-note, but of all the cast members, one sticks out as the worst, and it brings the film down a lot.

That would be the RZA himself.

He’s really not very good as an actor, and he’s not a martial artist, and that is a bad combination (he did use Marrese Crump as his martial arts stuntman, which causes problems of its own) . For his character to work he had to be good at one or the other. As the film goes on that becomes a problem as he simple can’t pull off the dramatic scenes. This is a role that should’ve gone to a Michael Jai White or Wesley Snipes, men who are good at both acting and martial arts. The RZA gets so many things right, but this one piece of hubris brings everything down as he can’t carry the film in his scenes.

The directing by the RZA is decent, and the production values are top notch, and the music is absolutely fantastic, featuring the Wu Tang Clan at its best, and really fits with the look of the film (showing once and for all that yes, hip hop music in a martial arts film can work if done correctly). The first 30 minutes of the film is absolute top notch, from the old school opening credits to the first fights, but after that the story settles down and becomes a been-there-seen-that affair as nothing new is brought to the table, except gore on the level of Story of Ricky, so this film is not for the squeamish. The climactic fights at the end of the film for the three protagonists is resolved so simply it brings down the level of threat the villains ever had to begin with. The camera work is well done, but another culprit rears its ugly head, one common to American action films: editing, but I’ll get to that as part of my next problem with the film.

That would be the fight choreography by Corey Yuen. Tons of unnecessary wirework, and dammit Corey goes slumming again. I thought Romeo Must Die would be his low point, but he manages to nearly hit that point again. The fight scenes are not very well done. There is no complexity to the choreography, no grace, even for those who know martial arts. This is the biggest sin this film commits. The editing does nothing to help, as it is editing in typical American MTV style quick cuts and extreme close-ups to the point where you can’t see where the hell anyone is at in relation to each other. It is also here that the RZA’s camera work (or that of the 2nd unit director if there was one) really let the film down, as they don’t know how to shoot or follow action very well. This may be due to the fact that things had to be edited to appear as if RZA knew martial arts and to hide his stunt man. If Corey Yuen directed these scenes, then shame on him. Either way this wouldn’t have passed mustard in a Hong Kong production.

I did love the Shaw Brothers-inspired closing credits, though.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

The Man With The Iron Fists falls short of greatness, but isn’t a terrible movie, and fun may be had if you see it at matinee prices. The RZA’s heart is in the right place, but in the end it’s just an American film pretending to be a Shaw Brothers film.

Review: Five Shaolin Masters (1974)

Posted in Alexander Fu Sheng, Chaing Tao, Chang Cheh, Chi Kuan-Chun, David Chiang, Fung Hak-On, Gordon Liu, Lar Kar Wing, Lau Kar Leung, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Meng Fei, Ti Lung, Tsai Hung, Wang Lung Wei with tags , , on December 5, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring David Chaing, Ti Lung, Alexander Fu Sheng, Wang Lung, Gordon Liu, Liang Chia-Jen (Beardy), Meng Fei, Chi Kuan-Chun, Fung Hark On, Chiang Tao, Tsai Hung

Fight Choreography by Lau Kar Leung and Lar Kar Wing

Directed by Chang Cheh

The name Shaw Brothers has long been synonymous with kung-fu films and for good reason. Run Run Shaw and his brother Runme forged martial arts films into what they are today, and really created the studio system for them in Hong Kong. For that alone we should all bow down and worship them…forever. Not all of their films were great, and many were not good in relation to the fact that they churned out what seemed like hundreds, but when they struck gold boy did they ever, and directors like King Hu and  Chang Cheh are many of the reasons why, and in 1974 Chang Cheh got together an all star cast in a film about Shaolin revenge that thrills with wall to wall action…

The story opens during the Qing Dynasty, where the Manchus attacked the Shaolin Temple and kills everyone there–except five of them, of course. The opening escape of the Shaolin is a thrilling way to showcase the cast while rolling the opening credits at the same time. We are introduced to: Hu Dedi (Chaing), the leader of the group, the young idiot Mao Chao-Hsing, Tsai Te-Chung (Lung), Fang Ta-Hung (Fei), and Li Shih-Kai (Kuan -Chun) as they are the last to escape the temple, and are pursued by a cast just as good as the heroes, led by Chiang Tao, the always dependable Fung Hark-On, Tsai Hung, Beardy, and Wang Lung. Now if that’s not an all-star group of villains I don’t know what is.

The Five Shaolin are good, but not good enough to defeat the Emperor’s men, and they go into hiding, meeting up with other Shaolin who have taken to hiding in an attempt to regroup and attack the Emperors’ men. This is tougher than it seems as some of the Shaolin and the local rebels have ideas of their own, and there is even a shaolin traitor who ratted them out to the Manchus, Ma Fu-Yi (Wang Lung). Hu Dedi tries to garner the support of Chief Gao, leader of a group of rebels, but Gao has a little bit of bitch in him, and decides he wants Hu to kill the local magistrate, who just happens to be the very badasses that the Shaolin ran away from in the first place. Compounding matters is Mao “I’m the young idiot of this film” Chao-Hsing, who in his bravado and yes, idiocy, gets captured but not before finding the Shaolin traitor. Hu Dedi and Chief Gao rescue him, but it costs Gao his life. Reunited with the other Five Shaolin Masters, they go to train, and plan to take on the Manchus in a fight to the finish…

Five Shaolin Masters has that familiar theme that runs through many Shaw Brothers film of brothers-at-arms and the bonds of fellowship even as Chang Cheh throws so many martial arts fight scenes into this film that it would satiate even the most ravenous kung-fu film buff. The acting runs the gamut, but each actor more or less plays their best character-type: David Chaing as the stoic hero, Ti Lung as another stoic hero, Chaing Tao as a villainous douchebag, and Fung Hark-On as the bad guy badass. The only problem I had was with Alexander Fu Sheng, who always looked as if he was too hot, and never really bothers to wear a shirt, which he seems to opt out of for any film he makes. C’mon Alex, those abs aren’t that great! His character irked me the entire film, which may have been the intent, as he acted like a knucklehead, and an overconfident knucklehead at that. I’m convinced Cheh knew this as whenever Fu Sheng fights he gets some children-sounding music that seems to say “ yes, he’s the comedy relief of this film”. Gordon Liu has a cameo, and looked like he stumbled on set from a different film, and they just decided to use him in this one.

The camera work is great, and captures the fights in all of their ShawScope glory, of which there is many. The slow parts aren’t very long, and the fights, from the opening to the end, escalate the complexity and astounding choreography perfectly. Lau Kar Leung was always one of better choreographers from the Shaw Brothers stable, and he shows why. The villains are damn tough, and the fights show this appropriately, and the choreography flows brilliantly so that at all times you know what each fighter is doing and more importantly why, rather than being a bunch of pretty movements. My favorite fight? The fight that begins to save Mao. Beardy really shows his stuff here, as does Wang Lung. The Final fight is–I have trouble choosing one over the other, so I won’t! The final fight does have one of the most painful kills ever committed to films. Gentlemen, you may want to look away at that part. You’ll know what I mean.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) Lau Kar Leung does some of his very best work here, and is nothing short of tremendous, and with so many fights, they all move the story at the same time giving something different each time.

STUNTWORK: (9) The stuntmen bring some great stuntwork and falls, and yes, even their overacting for their death scenes has a brilliance all their own. Kudos to the poor bastard at the beginning of the film who rolls himself down a fight of concrete stairs. I hope they bought him a beer.

STAR POWER: (10) Are you kidding me? Check that cast list again!

FINAL GRADE: (10) This is one of the best of the Shaw Brothers output. An average story surrounded by tremendous martial arts fight scenes and stars. A must see for any martial arts film enthusiast.

Review: Dreadnaught (1981)

Posted in Fung Hak-On, Kwan Tak-Hing, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Yuen Biao, Yuen Woo Ping with tags , on September 29, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

starring Yuen Biao, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Kwan Tak-Hing, Yuen Shun-Lee, Fung Hark On

Fight Choreography by Yuen Woo Ping

Directed by Yuen Woo Ping

**Special thanks to Lars Nilsen, Chase Whale, and the entire Fantastic Fest crew for presenting this film in glorious 35mm!**

It’s becoming quite apparent that during the early eighties Yuen Biao was rocking along in period films quite nicely whether it was Sammo Hung or Yuen Woo Ping behind the camera. I would go so far as to say that this was arguably the finest period of Yuen Biao’s career, and these films also teamed him up with some really interesting performers, and for Dreadnaught Woo Ping also decided to let his freak flag fly high in the sky (aren’t those song lyrics?)

Dreadnaught starts as we meet criminal and possible Batman villain White Tiger (Shun-Lee) who is fleeing with his pregnant wife who also happens, pregnant or not, to be just as big a douche bag as her husband. While stopping at an outdoor rest stop, one that has been used for kung-fu confrontations on film for years, thus they should’ve known better, they are ambushed by a group of bounty hunters, whom both White Tiger and his wife kill, but in the battle Tiger’s wife and unborn child are killed, which drives White Tiger crazy.

We then meet Mousy (Biao) a nice guy but without a doubt the biggest chickenshit in town. He runs a laundromat with his harpy of an older sister, and he is currently having problems collecting payment on the work they do. Mousy yearns to join his friend Ah Foon (Beardy, without the beard) and become a kung fu student under the great Wong Fei-Hung (again, as always, played by the legendary Kwan Tak-Hing). Wong has other problems to deal with, such as Master Tam, who has a crazy hard on to beat Wong Fei-Hung at, well, anything and kill him at any cost. After interrupting lion dance that turns into one of Woo Ping’s best choreographed fights ever, he tries to have the Demon Tailor (played by Hark-on) kill Fei-Hung, and of course fails miserably.

White Tiger shows up, and being an old friend of Master Tam, decides to hide out nearby with a traveling performance troupe. Things turn nasty when White Tiger meets Mousy, and because of Mousy’s charm, which reminds Tiger of his dead wife’s, drives Tiger mad with rage as he tries to kill Mousy again and again, and before long Mousy must stand his ground, and finds that he may already know more kung fu than he ever thought possible…

Dreadnaught has to be one of Woo Ping’s funniest and entertaining films. Amidst the danger there is always humor throughout, and all of the actors play themselves to their iconic best. Yuen Biao plays the clueless Mousy as he does will many of his characters during this time frame: fun, immature, crazy, and not exactly…smart. Beardy is his charming best and once again plays very well as the macho counterpoint to Biao’s man-child. Kwan Tak-Hing has played Fei-Hung about a billion times, and plays him so well that you always want to see him win. Yuen Shun-Lee plays White Tiger as a complete nut job who is terrifying because his kung fu is so good, and he is a relentless killer. No chicken or frog is safe from this dude. PETA will not like this film.

The fight scenes have to be some of Woo Ping’s best work. I swear it seems as if he decided to just cut loose and shoot all the stuff he’s never been able to put in any other film. The Lion dance fight that really kicks it off is fantastic, especially when Fei-Hung jumps in. The scene is exciting, especially how the fight progresses while in the lion costumes. The drums bring out the already dance-like qualities of Woo Ping’s choreography. Another great fight is the one between Fei-Hung and the Demon Tailor, played by the always good Fung Hark-On (Police Story and dozens of other Shaw Brothers films). The fight is both hilarious and fast as the tailor uses kung fu to get Fei-Hung’s measurements, and then to kill him. Yuen Biao also has what has become the iconic kung fu clothes hanging scene, and f**k Joel Schumacher and the dude who played Robin for ripping the scene off wholesale in Batman Forever.

Beardy also gets a good fight with White Tiger, who uses a great costume to try to confuse Ah Foon, and the final fight between Mousy and White Tiger is one of the most imaginative fight scenes ever committed to film. It’s always been known how great Woo Ping’s fight choreography has been (The Matrix films notwithstanding) but here he’s fearless, and just empties that huge imagination on the big screen, and every actor and stuntman benefits from it. The audience benefits from one of the best kung fu films ever.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) Every fight in this film is gold. The final fight turns the normal “final fight” into something unexpected as Mousy fights using his skills that at first glance isn’t kung fu, and Yuen Biao pulls it off beautifully.

STUNTWORK: (8) The stunts are not over the top, but are really well done. There is a lot of jumping and flipping around in this one.

STAR POWER: (9) Yuen Biao was in top form, as was Beardy, and it was great to see Kwan Tak-Hing as Wong Fei Hung.

FINAL GRADE: (10) Woo Ping went for broke with this one, and succeeded wildly. One of his best movies, so of course that makes it a classic kung fu film.

Review: Knockabout (1984)

Posted in Lar Kar Wing, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao on September 19, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung, Lar Kar Wing, Leung Kar Yan (Beardy), Mars

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

While Jackie Chan was creating a new genre of police thriller in cinema, Sammo wanted to put a final stamp on the old school period films, and with another collaboration with Peking Opera School brother Yuen Biao, whom he previously worked with on Dreadnaught and Prodigal Son, they tried to knock another one out of the park, and absolutely did.

The film starts as two thieves, Yi Pao (Biao) and his brother Tai Pao (Beardy), spend their days trying to rip off the local casinos in their small village. After a casino fight where they eventually gets their asses handed to them, not having learned their lesson, they try to rip off an old man in a restaurant named the Fox. Now you might think that a dude named the Fox is someone not to trifle with, but neither brother is exactly a rocket scientist, and after their swindle fails they decided to pull the ole’ jump-a-dude-on-a-dirt-road trick, but any guy named the Fox would be wise to this, and after delivering a beating the likes of which both brothers have never experienced they beg for the Fox to teach them, which he agrees to. After a time they are also screwed with by a beggar (Hung) who takes a keen interest in them both. But both brother are unaware that they are in great danger, and are also unaware of the true nature of their master…

Sammo delivers another fun kung-fu and acrobatics film. The production values are similar to most of those types of films, meaning low, even reusing sets from previous kung fu films, but who cares? Your watching this film to see a fun story along with good kung fu, and you get both here. Yuen Biao plays Yi Pao with the same playful fun he approaches many of the characters he played during that time period of his career. It helps that he has an equally game actor in the great Beardy, he of the magically awesome beard. They both play so well off of each other you’d think they really were brothers. Lar Kar Wing also plays a great villain in The Fox, and is able to come off as the good master in the beginning, but he’s also great as his true nature is revealed. Jackie Chan co-hort Mars comes into play as a cop who is looking to put the Fox away.

The fights are terrific as you would expect from a Sammo Hung film. The best fights are the fights of Yuen Biao and Beardy versus two killers sent to get the Fox, one of which is played by the great Hoi Sang Lee (36th Chamber of Shaolin) and the finale fight of Sammo and Yuen Biao versus Lar Kar Wing. Their fight is an acrobatic showdown that features both Sammo and Yuen doing monkey style to defeat Lar Kar Wing, using some of the best monkey kung fu moves committed to film. There is also a fantastic training sequence as Sammo’s character teaches Yuen Biao monkey style. The form is a fantastic showcase for both men as they couple it with some tremendous somersaults and flips.

Knockabout is a good old fashioned kung fu film that features some great fight choreography along with some good comedy moments. Not quite as good as Prodigal Son, but it’s still a crazy fun film you won’t want to pass on.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) Some of Sammo’s best choreography here. Everyone does a fantastic job pulling it off. The finale is the best fight of the bunch, but they are all uniformally great.

STUNTWORK: (7) Yuen Biao does some good work here, as does Sammo himself. Nothing too spectacular, but nevertheless solid stuff.

STAR POWER: (9) Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Lar Kar Wing. Toss Beardy in there and we have a winner!

FINAL GRADE: (9) A funny collaboration between Sammo and Yuen Biao that never gets old. This is one of their best together, and allows these Peking Opera brothers to really strut their stuff.

NEXT: I’ll be judging short films for Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas later this week, and will review a few of them here afterward (Ray Park is in one of them).