Archive for the Ying-Chieh Han Category

Review: The Image of Bruce Lee (1982)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Bruce Li, Ying-Chieh Han with tags , on June 8, 2011 by Michael S. Moore


Starring Bruce Li, Bolo Yeung, Lik Cheung, Ying-Chieh Han, John Chueng

Fight Choreography by Bruce Li

Directed by Chuang Yang

Let’s get one thing out of the way first…the only image of Bruce Lee you get close to seeing is at the beginning of the film, where you see Dragon (Li) dressed up in the Bruce Lee Game of Death track suit. Dragon is part of Special Squad, which must mean he gets to wear yellow track suits, just to let everyone know who he’s with.

The film opens as Dragon tries to thwart a suicide jumper by sneaking up on him, and fails miserably as the man jumps to his death anyway. So, Dragon gets all pissy about it so of course while training in the gym some of his coworkers challenge him to a little bit of sparring. What the hell ever. Dragon spars lightly at first and then decides to go all Bruce Lee on them and jacks them up, which is a dick move, and also means he won’t be getting an invite to the Police Appreciation Night.

Meanwhile Moustache (Lik Chueng, and yes, that’s the character’s name), an undercover cop interrogates a bar owner for running around with counterfeit money. He points out that he got it from local strip club, and from there Moustache goes to the home of…someone who has something to do with it. It turns out that Dragon was sneaking around and is found by Moustache and so they have to fight until they both realize they are cops. Now if Dragon were nicer he would get invited to more events where he may have actually met Moustache. Yeah, Dragon’s a douche. The fight here is horrible because…it takes place in the dark and you can hardly see anything!

The police chief teams the two up to take down the ringleader of the counterfeiters Han Tin Ling (Han), who is in the middle of making a deal with Japanese mob boss Kimura played by Bolo Yueng who looks like a Chinese Captain Kangaroo. On steroids. And really mean. Dragon follows Han’s son and Han’s niece Donna, who has just returned with new counterfeit plates. Dragon and Moustache discover that things are not what they seem, nor are all the people who are in on the plot…

This is a silly film, but a fun one. They know who their audience is, for certain. If there isn’t a fight scene then there’s a naked woman somewhere. Everywhere. It’s like there wasn’t a clothing budget for any females in the film, particularly for Donna, and by the end of the film there is absolutely nothing left to the imagination regarding her body. Bruce Li is playing the same kind of character he usually does, and doesn’t bring much more to it.

If stealth had a name…Dragon and Moustache wouldn’t be anywhere near it. Every attempt that includes the words sneak, follow discreetly, stealth, and hide end in grand failure, each and every time. There are mountains that can hide better than these two. I think the writers kinda did that on purpose. Dragon, after all, is kind of a dick. No where do they say he or Moustache are good cops.

The fights in the film start out fairly lightweight, but get much better toward the end of this film. It’s great to see Bolo get into a fight (he has two versus Bruce Li) that’s pretty good and really allows him to show off his skills in a way he never could in any JCVD film. He still can’t rock a white turtleneck sweater, though. The final fights are decent enough, and it’s great to see Ying Chieh Han as a baddie again (The Big Boss). The funniest thing about this film is that for once, the police characters don’t kill anyone! They just beat them up, and actually take them to jail, which for a martial arts film not starring Jackie Chan is something of a novelty.

This a kung fu film in the lightest of definitions. The fights aren’t particularly complex nor exciting to watch, but isn’t a terrible time waster. It may actually make a good party film. No one has to pay too much attention to it except for where there is fighting. Or nudity.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (6) Just barely above average. It was great to see Bolo get a decent fight scene, however. The rest is unimaginative choreography we’ve seen in dozens of films. This is just a few years before Jackie Chan’s Police Story, so this is nearing the end of this style of fight choreography.

STUNTWORK: (5) Fairly weak stuff. Once again, this era is ending, and a new, more impressive and brutal style of stunt work was on its way.

STAR POWER: (6) Except for Bolo, this film is nearing the ends of a few careers, rather than the beginning. Many of these stars were fading.

FINAL GRADE: (6) A fun, but ultimately forgettable film that is better known for the two b’s: boobs and Bolo. That pretty much sums up the entire film.

NEXT: Iko Uwais must take a journey of self-realization. And kick a few heads along the way in Merantau!


Review: The Big Boss (1971)

Posted in Bruce Lee, James Tien, Lo Wei, Ying-Chieh Han with tags , on April 1, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring: Bruce Lee, Ying-Chieh Han

Directed by Lo Wei

Fight Choreography by Han Ying Chieh

A pretty standard kung-fu film whose star-the immortal Bruce Lee- raised it to legendary status. Meaning, if it weren’t Bruce’s first movie, it would be considered a giant turd of a film. This film rises and falls based on the charisma and energy that Bruce is able to bring. Luckily, he brought enough for everybody.

Bruce plays Cheng, a country bumpkin, the first of a few he would play, a pretty standard character type in many kung-fu films. This makes me think the city boys must be wusses, because the country boys are always badasses in these films. I mean, after they milk the cows and plow the fields they don’t have anything else to do…but to learn kung-fu ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY.

Anyway, the film opens with Cheng fresh off the boat, being taken to meet his cousin Hsu Chien, who has promised him a job and the local ice factory. No sooner is he off the boat before the first fight occurs…between Hsu Chien and a couple of bullies roughing up a kid. They chose this moment to tell the audience two very important things: 1) Cheng made a vow to his ancient mother never to fight-even when a poor 11 year old kid is getting the holy hell beaten out of him by two grown ass men, and 2) Until Cheng does something, you’ll have to endure fight scenes with Hsu Chien featuring the weakest fights ever committed to film. Eventually Cheng will do something, but it’s gonna be a LONG wait.

Soon Cheng is working at the factory, also known as ‘Bad Guy Central’ in dozens of martial arts films, where we are introduced to the prettiest bad guy I’ve ever seen. I mean, yes, he’s evil, I assume because he wears pink, perfectly ironed shirts the whole film. I never paid attention to his name, so we’ll call him Pink. He had outfits that would make Prince go “Hmm. I like.” This is supposed to be a badass villain?

Any way, what follows is a lot of Bruce Lee-look-isn’t-that-cute scenarios, showing him to be the bumpkin he is, and more fights featuring the weakest kung fu you have ever seen, which brings me to one of the most hated items in the movie- a jade pendant. This piece of jackassery is the reason Cheng doesn’t fight. Every time he starts to look as if he’s about to go allFists of Fury on someone, he looks at this thing and lullaby music starts playing, and he stops. Man, I bet real money if Mr. Han from Enter the Dragon knew that thing existed, he’d have wrapped 10 of those things around Bruce’s neck like Superman’s kryptonite.

Soon, the bad guys start killing Cheng’s new friends, by stabbing them, chopping them into pieces, and encasing said pieces in blocks of ice. That’s not a kung-fu film. That’s The Hills Have Eyes part 10! Okay, so the good news is that during a riot by Cheng’s coworkers, in an attempt to uncover what happened to the others, a factory thug accidentally rips off Cheng’s pendant, and suddenly, thankfully, Bruce Lee emerges, with the rage of his ancestors behind him, he annihilates several guys in mere seconds, spreading their teeth around the area like snow. I swear it was like a breath of fresh air on a perfect spring morning.

After this there is a bit more shenanigans, like “Look! Bruce Lee’s drunk! Isn’t that something?” and an excuse to show random boobies on screen, and soon enough, more of Cheng’s friends are killed, leading to the confrontation at the factory, where Cheng finally plays “where’s the bouncing fist” with a ton of guys, and single-handely reduces China’s population in one scene. This leads to his fight with Pink (who actually changes to a Yellow shirt), and if you thought Pink couldn’t fight…well, he can’t. Cheng dispatches him easily, and moves on like a video game to face-well, the Big Boss, the only guy in the film outside of Bruce who can actually fight.

Even here, it’s obvious that Cheng is light-years beyond the boss, but the boss puts up what’s actually a good fight-the best of the film. Cheng eventually kills the boss, gets arrested by the police (where were they the whole time?) and Bruce gets the girl, but will probably be executed for killing the equivalent of a small town population.

Not a great kung-fu film, but it did introduce the world to Bruce Lee, and hinted at the amazing things to come. That still has to be worth something.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (4) Han Ying Chieh’s fight scenes are incredibly weak. The only thing that remotely holds this up is Bruce himself, and I think he had a hand in the choreography of his own scenes. Luckily Chieh will only be with Bruce for 1 more film.

STUNTS: (3) This is also really weak. The stuntmen are horrible actors here, and their reactions to getting “punched” or “kicked” are laughable at best.

DIRECTION: (5) Nothing remarkable from Lo Wei here, which is pretty standard for him. Point and shoot. Nothing less-but not much more either.

STAR POWER: (8) As I said earlier, a by the numbers thriller that is only enhanced by the presence of Lee, who stalks the screen like a tiger, waiting to be unleashed. When he is, the movie takes off.

FINAL GRADE: (6) I know this is blasphemy to Bruce Lee fans, but except for Bruce, The Big Boss simply isn’t that good. Never fear, it gets better for Bruce. Much better.

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