Archive for the Yuen Qiu Category

Review: The Dragon’s Snake Fist (1982)

Posted in Dragon Lee, Yuen Qiu with tags , on June 14, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Dragon Lee, Yuen Qiu, Bruce Lai, Phoenix Kim, Phillip Cheung

Fight Choreography by Simpson Yuen

Directed by Godfrey Ho

(English Dub Version)

Dragon Lee is one more in the line of Bruce Lee clones, a Tae Kwon Do practitioner who was told how much he resembled Bruce, which led to a film career pretending to be Bruce. This film even begins the opening credits with Lalo Schifrin’s Enter The Dragon theme music playing while Dragon gets to show off the film’s titular snake fist style.

The film starts as we meet two kung fu masters about to duel for the right to teach wherever they choose: The Crane Master and The Snake Fist Master. Suffice to say, the Snake Fist Master wins, and maims the Crane master in the process. Fast forward twenty years, and the Snake Fist Master is now sending his best students, including Dragon (Lee) into the world to spread the Snake Fist style. Of course the Crane Master’s son will have none of this, and (somewhat) against his father’s wishes murders the Snake Fist Master and nearly all of his students except for Dragon, the last left. Dragon tries to adhere to his teacher’s wishes for non-violence, but we all know that’s no fun for a kung fu film, so Dragon must destroy the Crane Clan once and for all…

The film moves at a brisk pace, but as a Godfrey Ho film that’s to be expected, so you won’t be bothered to ask any questions about huge plot holes and scenes. One of my unintentional favorites is where the Crane Clan kidnaps Dragon’s fiancé, and the very next scene show Dragon kidnapping the daughter of the Crane Master, and the very next scene after that cuts to the Crane Master going “Damn it!”. Just the way the scenes are edited together are so nonsensical that it’s actually funny. Dragon Lee does a decent job, but would have been better if he had left the “Bruceisms” behind. What mannerisms of Bruce he did use were really funny in places. There is also the matter that in the middle of the film, with no warning, comes the Sam Elliott of kung fu masters, handlebar mustache and all!  I also loved the death of the Crane Master’s cook as it starts with the Crane Master looking at the cook and revealing a set of acupuncture needles as if to say “you see this, bitch?” then after the camera cuts back and forth right out of a soap opera he kills his cook…for doing nothing more than kinda-sorta revealing what happened to his leg 20 years ago! It’s also great to see Yuen Qiu as the Crane Master’s daughter (you probably know her best as the Landlady from Kung Fu Hustle!)

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The fights here are fast paced and really well done. Simpson Yuen (not sure if he’s related to the famous Yuen family, but maybe.) paces each fight really well, and brings different parameters to each one enough to make them interesting. The fight between Dragon and Kung Fu Sam Elliott is really good, as is the odd fight versus a fire breather. There are also some really good finishing moves, like the poor bastard who gets an epic kick to the balls from behind that just-never-seems-to-end. There’s not a boring fight in the film.

Watch both the English Dub version and the Chinese language version. The English Dub is something…special.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

This is a film straight from the old school that has ferocious kung fu action and rolls like a freight train toward its bloody finale!

This movie will be available June 15th on DVD from Terracotta Distribution!

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Review: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Posted in Fung Hak-On, Sammo Hung, Stephen Chow, Sui-Lung Leung, Xing Yu, Yuen Qiu, Yuen Wah with tags , on April 15, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Stephen Chow, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu, Xing Yu, Chi Ling Chiu, Fung Hak-on, Leung Siu-Lung

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung

Directed by Stephen Chow

Hot off of Shaolin Soccer, funnyman Stephen Chow  was just getting warmed up for what may be the crowning achievement of his career, a film that pays homage to cinema in general and kung fu movies in particular. Part kung-fu, part cartoon, Kung Fu Hustle raises the kung fu comedy bar to new heights.

Stephen Chow stars as Sing, a complete loser who, with his oafish friend Bone attempt to pull off scams on any sucker they can find. They make the mistake of going to Pig Sty Alley and trying to screw a barber out of paying for a haircut, pretending to be Axe Gang members. After being “attacked” by the people living in the complex Sing aligns himself with the real Axe Gang, who just happened to arrived. Sing unknowingly sets off a chain of events that finds the Axe Gang leader killed and replaced by his even worse second in command Brother Sum, who vows to destroy the inhabitants of the building. As it turns out the building is home to some of the greatest martial arts heroes of all time, and The Axe gang suffers defeat after defeat, but with Sing’s help they are able to find help from the greatest kung fu killer of all time. Sing believes that only the bad guys ever win, but can his eyes open to the truth about himself in time to save the people of Pig Sty?

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There isn’t a comedy stone left unturned here, and it all starts with Stephen Chow the actor, who does a great job as the hapless Sing. In many ways he plays a straight man to some of the most ridiculous moments of the film, and that’s a good thing. And, and as always, Yuen Wah brings his A-game to this part as the lecherous landlord, and Yuen Qiu stole the show as the tough as nails landlady. Seeing so many greats of the Shaw Brothers and early Sammo Hung era kung fu fighters was simply a treat. The story itself is well told, and the more out-there moments, like the chase between Landlady and Sing are just laugh-out-loud funny, even if it makes no real sense, and the slapstick comedy, such as the knife throwing scene (one of my favs) are just hilarious.

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Sammo Hung did a fantastic job choreographing the fights here (when isn’t Sammo great at this?) and it all escalates exactly as it should. The first fight in the courtyard is great, and Sammo lets the featured martial artists look great. My favorite fight, from every compositional standpoint, is the fight versus the Harpist assassins. Their harp served the dual purpose of being both a deadly weapon and providing the music for the fight scene, which is brilliant. The wire work was well done, and is used to very good effect and doesn’t shadow the actual martial arts being done. The final fight is great and Stephen Chow gets to show off what he can do, and Leung Sui-Lung (Gallants) gives Chow a run for his money here. The fight at the Axe Gang’s casino also deserves a mention, a fantastic blend of martial arts, wirework and special effects that allows Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu the chance to show they’ve still got it!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 10 

Stephen Chow made what may very well be the best kung fu comedy of all time! A brilliant mix of kung fu, comedy and special effects. Rarely does it mesh so well, but Chow pulls if off with gusto!