Archive for the Lo Meng (Turbo Law) Category

Review: Crippled Avengers (1978)

Posted in Chang Cheh, Chen Kuan-Tai, Chiang Sheng, Dick Wei, Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Philip Kwok, Sun Chiang, Wang Lung Wei with tags on August 18, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Philip Ko, Lu Feng, Wang Lung Wei, Dick Wei, , Sun Chien, Chen Kuan Tai, Lo Meng, Chiang Sheng

Fight Choreography by Sheng Chiang, Lu Feng, Robert Tai

Directed by Chang Cheh

The opening of Crippled Avengers is a bit different from the Shaw Brothers norm: We see the son and wife of To Tin Tao (Chen) attacked by an evil group called the Tigers of Tian Nan. The wife has her legs cut off and dies, while the son has his hands cut off but lives as Tao returns and straight up kills the three attackers led by the great Dick Wei. What’s cold about this is he actually tells them he’s got 3 kung fu moves, one for each of them, that will kill them, and does exactly that. Tao then vows to give his son mechanical arms and train him in Kung Fu. What’s different about this opening is that many times this is the start of the hero’s story, but here we see the origins of the villains instead.

This is cold, man. Just cold.

This is cold, man. Just cold.

Years later we find that To Tin Tao has become a despot, using his son To Cheng to take over the town they reside in, and they cripple anyone who gets in their way. They start with the sons of the very men who killed Tao’s wife and maimed To Cheng by simply crippling rather than killing them.

Soon they run the town like gangsters, and start their terror by putting out the eyes of a hawker Shun Chen (Ko), making the loudmouth blacksmith deaf and dumb (Meng), A poor nobody named Hu (Chien) who got in their way loses his legs, and the warrior Wang Yi, who tries to take vengeance for the three crippled men is made mentally incapacitated in a method that makes no damn sense. All four men go to Yi’s kung fu Master who teaches them the hawk style, giving each man a method to overcome their disability and kick so, so much ass. They train for years, before returning to town to face To Tin Tao, To Cheng, and Mr. Wan (Wang Lung “finger wag” Wei) for a final showdown…

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This is a classic Chang Cheh film down to its bones. Each actor brings themselves to the parts, and it’s fantastic. The story itself is quite good, and while I was sympathetic toward To Tin Tao and To Cheng, it quickly passed as their acts of evil became more and more cruel. Audiences are then given a group of heroes we really want to see win. Philip Ko leads the group and does so well despite the fact he has to act blind, which he does a good job of. But it’s Chiang Sheng who is the standout here, as once he’s injured, he has the mind of a child and fights in a way not unlike Jackie Chan did in films like Young Master and Drunken Master. His acrobatic work is astounding, and he brings a lot of energy into the fight scenes that really didn’t need more! I wasn’t impressed with Chen Kuan Tai or Lu Feng. They are both good villains, but just that. I had hoped after the beginning of the film they would be more complex characters, but they aren’t, and the acting here is pretty one note.

The training sequences of this film are great, and a real standout, as are the various fights were Mr. Wan tries to trap the Avengers only to have them outsmart him at every turn, whittling down his dozens of men until they finally face To Tin Tao. Each fight has a suspense-building mechanism that is appreciated and kept me invested in the fights, and the fights have the trademark Chang Cheh fast paced cadence, so there is no fight that is ever one note or boring.

Yes, The Man With The Iron Fists was influenced greatly by this film. Wish they had paid better attention to the far, far better fights. ( I didn’t have to go there, but I yes did.)

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

Another piece of greatness from the Shaw Brothers and Chang Cheh. Philip Ko and company deliver an exciting kung fu film! One of the classics!

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Fight Of The Day: Philip Kwok vs. Lo Meng: Shaolin Rescuers (1979)

Posted in Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Philip Kwok with tags on August 16, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

Philip Kwok fights Lo Meng. As if you needed to know more! A classic fight over a bowl that is fantastically performed and choreographed in a film where they broke the budget on blood capsules! And nothing beats the Lo Meng Look of Disdain!

Review: Ip Man 3 (2015)

Posted in Chao Chen, Donnie Yen, Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Max Zhang, Mike Tyson, Wilson Yip, Yuen Woo Ping with tags , , on April 19, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

02_IP MAN 3_Courtesy of Well Go USA_0

Starring Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Max Zhang, Lo Meng, Chao Chen, Sarut Khanwali, Mike Tyson, Kent Cheng

Fight Choreography by Yuen Woo Ping

Directed by Wilson Yip

Donnie Yen has recently stated that he is basically retiring from film, that he’s said all he wants to say in regards to martial arts. After seeing Kung Fu Killer, I was inclined to agree. Now that I’ve seen Ip Man 3, it’s a certainty (of course before he retires we get Donnie Yen….IN SPACE! ). It’s customary for the third film of a series to be inferior to the two films that preceded it. There are only a few examples of films whose third film was the equal or better than its predecessors, and Ip Man 3 is one of those films, but I was surprised as to the reason why.

Donnie Yen returns as Ip Man, many years after the events of Ip Man 2, and Ip Man is once again prosperous in 1960’s Hong Kong. His Wing Chun school is thriving, he is well-respected in the community, basically placing him back in the position he was in before the events of the first Ip Man took it all away. Hong Kong also seems like its doing well, but it’s not. There are too few police to handle the growing numbers of people. and crime is running rampant. Fatso (Cheng) tries to keep order, but finds himself once again under the command of a corrupt British commander, who takes his orders from Frank (Tyson) a ruthless property owner who now targets the school Ip Man’s son attends as his next conquest. Ip Man finds himself defending the school from Frank’s goons, while navigating a rickshaw driver (Zhang) who may be as skilled in Wing Chun as Ip Man and looks to start his own school, and Ip Man’s wife Cheung Wing-Sing gets devastating news that will alter their lives forever.

01_IP MAN 3_Courtesy of Well Go USA_1

The film is a triumph by Wilson Yip, and the story feels like an organic continuation of the series. The film never forgets the events of the previous films, and does quite a few call backs. Ip Man vs. Ten Men? Sure. To the bad guys, the events of the first Ip Man are nothing more than legend. Surely Ip Man never fought and beat ten black belts? The film even begins how the second film ended: with an adult Bruce Lee looking to train under Ip Man. The film does a great job of resolving Bruce Lee without actually telling that side of the story. Donnie Yen once again does a great job as Ip Man, and his acting has improved, which is needed to as there are quite a few emotional scenes for him. Mike Tyson is adequate as the bad guy Frank, but thankfully you won’t see him very much. Better served is Max Zhang as the rickshaw driver Cheung Tin-chi. He’s a driven,  conflicted man, coming from nothing but has the will to achieve his goals no matter what, and the problem with that is he’s a good man who may have to do bad things in order to achieve his dreams, and Ip Man is the final obstacle standing in his way.

The surprise of the film was Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-sing. Her story arc drives the final half of the film, and she is excellent. I never really warmed to her character through the first two films, as I never understood how she is always upset when Ip Man either fights or studies his arts, even though those very things have provided her with her lifestyle, and has represented China countless times. This time her story arc recognizes her contradictions, and brings her character full circle by the end of the film as she realizes that Ip Man doesn’t just study Wing Chun, Ip Man IS Wing Chun, as much as the sky is blue and water is wet.

04_IP MAN 3_Courtesy of Well Go USA_0

I had thought that Yuen Woo Ping was losing his skills as a fight choreographer, but nope. He’s at his best here, and the fight scenes are plentiful and all of them are excellent. From the Ip Man vs Ten men fight, with a new wrinkle put in, the massive battles with what appears to be Ip Man fighting half of China, to his duel with Mike Tyson, and the bring-down-the-house finale versus Max Zhang in a Wing Chun vs. Wing Chun fight for the ages. Every fight is imaginative, bone-crunching, fast-paced affairs that really outdo the previous films, and that’s not even mentioning the terrific Wing Chun vs Muay Thai elevator fight between Donnie Yen and Sarut Khanwilai. Really, the weakest fight was Donnie Yen vs Mike Tyson, in that is was short, and Ip Man already faced this kind of fight with Twister (the late great Darren Shahlavi).

The only thing missing from this film was the late Fung Hak-on as the best friend of Master Law (Lo Meng).

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 10

Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip bring the Ip Man trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, culminating in one of the best one on one fights in recent memory. Kung Fu cinema fans, it simply doesn’t get better than this!

Review: Ip Man 2 (2010)

Posted in Darren Shahlavi, Donnie Yen, Fan Siu Wong (Louis Fan), Fung Hak-On, Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Sammo Hung with tags , on April 13, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Darren Shahlavi, Simon Yam, Terry Fan, Fung Hark-On, Turbo Law, Xiaoming Huang

Fight Choreography by Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung

Directed by Wilson Yip

Donnie Yen, after years of failure to live up to expectations, finally starting living up to his potential starting with Killzone, and then Flashpoint, which finally led him to what will become his signature film, Ip Man, which was wildly successful. So of course there would be a sequel, but could it live up to what the first film delivered?

The film returns us to the world of Ip Man circa 1949. Ip Man (Yen) had escaped his home in Foushan with his wife and son during the war with Japan. Fast forward some time later finds them living poorly in Hong Kong, nearly as bad off as they were in Foushan, and Ip Man slowly but surely finds students to train, especially one young fool named Leung (Huang). This gets him into trouble with the local martial arts schools, all part of an association run nearly gangster-style by Master Hong Zen Nan (Hung) who in turn help stage fights for the British there, headlined by their champion Twister (Shahlavi), an overconfident boxer who doesn’t respect Chinese boxing. Ip Man first finds himself at war with Master Hong, but the greater threat of Twister emerges, and the legitimacy of Chinese kung fu rests on Ip Man’s shoulders once again…

Ip Man 2 has a far denser story than the original, as we are not only introduced to a slew of new characters, but are reintroduced to some of the other characters who escaped Foushan, and how their lives have changed, such as Jin (Fan) who was one of Ip Man’s enemies from the previous film, but a wife and child have changed him into a decent guy, one who now wants to help Ip Man. Simon Yam also returns as Zhou Quan, who goes from businessman to a homeless thief after a bullet to the head he suffered during his escape from Foushan damages his brain, and now cannot recognize anyone. Now his son does his best to care for him. There is something to the structure of the film that echoes the first, such as the story line changing from Ip Man dealing with a local thug to defending the Chinese martial arts from another occupying force, in this case the British.

Donnie Yen once again plays Ip Man with the same calm grace he did in the original. Yen does more acting with his eyes, as you can see how the events of the last film and this one fray at Ip Man’s soul as he tries to help his fellow Chinese as well as care for his wife, who is expecting a child. Sammo Hung plays Master Hong not as a bad guy, but as a conflicted man who wants to make enough money to take care of his multitude of children but also trying to keep the British police thugs from overrunning Hong Kong. He is a proud man who relents to no one, and Sammo approaches this kind of character as a man who truly believes he has China’s best interests at heart, but realizes too late he may have done more harm than good. Darren Shahlavi is fantastic as Twister, playing him with just the right amounts of confidence and arrogance. There is actually a great moment toward the end of the film after his epic fight with Ip Man, and Shahlavi is able to convey a sense that Twister’s world view had changed, all done with facial expressions and no dialogue. It was also fun to see Turbo Law (Gallants) and Fung Hark-On (Police Story) appear for an actual fight scene. Both men show that despite their age they can still rock the kung-fu!

The one real gripe I had with the story was in regards to Ip Man’s duel with Twister, wherein Ip Man waits until nearly the end of the fight to remind himself of what he had told Master Hong earlier in the film in regards to defeating Twister. Since Ip Man is such a smart man, how could he have conveniently forgotten the way to defeat Twister? It just didn’t ring true from everything already established about the character.

Sammo Hung returns to duty as fight choreographer of this film as well, and does a fantastic job of staging the fights. The fish market fight was fantastic, and what may be the best fight is the duels between Ip Man and the masters, culminating in a Sammo versus Donnie Yen that is simply a fantastic fight as they duel on top of a round table, as is Sammo’s fight versus Shahlavi. I have to admit none of the fights are quite as good as the first films’, except for Donnie Yen’s duel with Sammo.
(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) The fights are fast paced and brisk, and as inventive as always. Ip Man versus the Masters is probably the most inventive fight sequence in the film, as is Sammo’s fight with Darren Shahlavi. Both men pull if off beautifully. Donnie Yen brings that same fast-paced smoothness to his fights, and is able to be a good counterpoint to Shahlavi’s brutal boxing style.

STUNTWORK(8) The stuntmen did a great job, especially since so many fight scenes were dense with people, and their work in the fish market fight was just great.

STAR POWER: (10) Donnie Yen is at the top of his game, Sammo Hung is as good as ever, Darren Shahlavi is on the rise, and hey, who doesn’t like to see Terry Fan? Toss Turbo Law and Fung Hark-On and you have old school gold!

FINAL GRADE: (9) Ip Man 2 isn’t as good as the original, but is still a very good film about the continuing life of Ip Man as he once again navigates the politics of the streets and deals with yet another occupying force that threatens his way of life. Now onward to Ip Man 3–and his years with Bruce Lee!

Review: Gallants (2010)

Posted in Chen Kuan-Tai, Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Sui-Lung Leung, Wai-Man Chan with tags , on January 26, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Siu-Lung Leung, Kuan Tai Chen, Teddy Robin Kwan, You-Nam Wong, J.J Jia, Wai-Man Chan, Jin Auyeung, Lo Meng (Turbo Law)

Fight Choreography by Yuen Tak

Directed by Kwok Chi-kin, Clement Sze-kit Cheng

After watching the dreadful Choy Lee Fut film, I began wondering what happened to Hong Kong martial arts cinema. With the exception of Donnie Yen it appears that kung-fu films that aren’t giant special effects wire harness spectaculars no longer exist in China. Yes, martial arts films are flourishing in other countries, but Chinese cinema, once known for the Shaw Brothers, Golden Harvest, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan seems to have left films of that style behind. And here we have a film that reminds us of what kung-fu films used to be, and may never be again…

Gallants begins as the narrator introduces us to Cheung (You-Nam Wong) a clumsy office drone working for a real estate agency who has no prospects whatsoever. He’s unmotivated, no self-esteem, hated by everyone, and did I mention clumsy? After spilling coffee on his boss and being verbally abused by him Cheung is sent to settle a property dispute in a small village. Little does he know that the tea house in question is owned by two martial arts pupils Dragon (Kuan Tai Chen) and Tiger (Siu-Lung Leung) who converted their old dojo into a tea house while waiting for their Master Law (Kwan) to wake up from his thirty year coma. Rival Master Pong, who owns a modern day martial arts training facility, wants control of the dojo to expand his school, and one of his students, Mang (Auyeung) was an old childhood rival of Cheung. Things get even more complicated when Master Law awakens from his coma and, not realizing how much time has passed, mistakes Cheung for one of his pupils, and begins to train him and his real former students kung fu, so that they may enter a martial arts contest to win glory for the school, but it won’t be as easy as that…

Much of the film centers on the two old students, played to perfection by old Kung-Fu film stalwarts Siu-Lung Leung (Kung Fu Hustle, 10 Tigers of Shaolin) and Kuan Tai Chen (5 Deadly Venoms, Blood Brothers). They play the old men as still young inside, but at the point where age has taken much of their skills away, but they can still kick a lot of ass and do, but the crux of their characters is the devotion they show Master Law, by remaining with him for all of these years as opposed to going out and getting lives of their own.  Teddy Robin Kwan is great as Master Law, a master whom, despite his penchant for wooing women and remembering what time period he’s living in, still has the pulse of his students and has one last lesson to teach them about life as a kung-fu fighter. Lo Meng (5 Deadly Venoms, The Kid with the Golden Arm) really brings out the old school flavor as Jade Kirin, the main thug of the film. You’ll recognize his boss Master Pang (Wai-Man Chan, who played Tiger in Project A2). All of the old men are veterans of the Shaw Brothers and Jackie Chan-era HK films, and for good reason. The scenes involving Cheung aren’t that interesting, as he becomes a better person, but we never really see how, nor are we told enough about his backstory. He’s merely a go-between for the audience into this world where old school kung-fu fights never really disappeared.

The fights are great, even better when you remember that the men fighting are old guys in their sixties and seventies. My favorite fight is the second fight between Tiger and Jade Kirin. The fight choreography is fantastic as both men show speed and power despite their ages. The group fights that Dragon gets into are also well done, and all of them evoke a time and fight choreography that has been given over to the Tony Jaa’s of the world.

So what does Gallants really say about this? Perhaps it’s saying that the time period has finally passed from China, just like westerns have for the States. You’ll see an occasional throwback film like Gallants, but as these men get older and pass away so too does those kinds of films. The baton has been picked up by other countries, but never again will an age like that come to China, which makes a film like Gallants all the more special.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) Every fight was well done, and it was great to see such old kung fu veteran actors still able to pull the moves off. Evocative of both Jackie Chan fight choreography and that of the Shaw Brothers films.

STUNTWORK: (7) There aren’t too many stunts and they aren’t crazy ones, but what was there was done well.

STAR POWER: (9) Their stars may have faded, but these old veterans are still special to those of us who watch their films!

FINAL GRADE: (10) A great but bittersweet film that shows us what Hong Kong cinema used to be and may never be again, and gives us great performances across the board.