Archive for the Yuen Wah Category

Review: My Lucky Stars (1985)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Dick Wei, Jackie Chan, James Tien, Lam Ching Ying, Lar Kar Wing, Michiko Nishiwaki, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah with tags , , on June 21, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

my lucky stars

Starring Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Eric Tsang, Stanley Fung , Charlie Chin, Sibelle Hu, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Dick Wei, Michiko Nishiwaki, Bolo Yeung, Lam Ching Ying, James Tien, Lau Kar Wing, Yuen Wah

Fight Chroegraphy by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

The Lucky Stars are some of the craziest martial arts films out there. It features many of the best funnymen in Hong Kong at the time, led by Sammo Hung. Technically this is their second film, the first being Winners and Sinners, but this is the first film under the “Lucky Stars” moniker, and all of these films feature some of Sammo, Jackie, and Yuen Biao’s best screen fights. As a warning, though, the comedy is extremely juvenile and slapstick, so if slapstick comedy isn’t your thing, you may want to fast forward to the fights. Me? I’m a fan of Richard Ng, so I’ll watch whatever he’s in.

The film begins following Hong Kong police men Muscles (Chan) and his partner Ricky (Biao) are undercover following Paul Chang, a former cop turned crook, to Tokyo, to find out what nefarious business he’s up to. What that business is hardly matters, as Muscles and Ricky chase one of his gang to an amusement park where they are attacked by ninjas dressed in light blue in the broad daylight in front of people. And now I know where the ninjas from Miami Connection got their training from. Muscles beats the tar out of them but in the fight Ricky gets kidnapped. Muscles, as it turns out, was at one time one of the “Lucky Stars”, a group of orphanage kids who turned to petty crimes. He was cast out once he became a cop and sent his best friend Kidstuff (Hung) to prison. Muscles arranges for Kidstuff to get out of prison early and along with the rest of the Lucky Stars, Sandy (Ng), Roundhead (Tsang), Rawhide (Fung), and Herb (Chin). Kidstuff can stay free of prison if he takes the Lucky Stars undercover to find out what Chang is up to and to find Ricky. Their liaison with the police is a beautiful detective Barbara (Hu). Can the Lucky Stars keep their composure around a beautiful woman long enough to save Ricky and bring Paul Chang to Justice?

my lucky stars Jackie Chan

The story is really simple, and features mostly the shenanigans of the Lucky Stars, all of whom have the maturity of twelve-year-olds, and bring no unending annoyance to Barbara. Richard Ng as Sandy, the nutso (that’s debatable) member of the crew, is as reliably funny as always. I like Eric Tsang as Roundhead, but thought his schtick grew old after a while. Chin is good as Herb, but doesn’t really do much. His shining moment will come in another Lucky Stars film. Stanley Fung’s best moment comes early, when he comes face to face with a very angry Bolo Yeung. And jeez, was there a Hong Kong star not in this film? It felt like they were all there. That’s part of the fun of the film, and it did look like everyone was having a blast, including Sammo Hung as Kidstuff, the most competent member of the crew. Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao are really only supporting characters with small parts, despite the DVD covers that feature Jackie as if he was a main character. Jackie’s not even in the film extensively until the last twenty minutes.

my lucky stars2

But what a good twenty minutes they are! Jackie takes on ninjas in a house of horrors, (there is one moment where Jackie Chan is in a mascot getup and gives expressions that are just laugh out loud funny as he stays in character) and then has a fantastically choreographed fight with Dick Wei. Sammo Hung takes on Lau Kar Wing in one of Sammo’s best onscreen matchups, but perhaps the most memorable fight is Sibelle Hu versus bodybuilding champion and martial artist Michiko Nishiwaki. Ms. Nishiwaki gives some leg kicks that looked just brutal. Yuen Biao has an all-too-short fight with Lam Ching Ying, but it does feature one of my favorite moments concerning Yuen Biao’s sweater. Also look out for Yuen Wah as one of the thugs.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

 My Lucky Stars is a wildly fun film featuring some of 80‘s Hong Kong’s best performers led by legend Sammo Hung. I highly recommend this film, but the best, though, is yet to come!

Advertisements

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

Kung Fu Hustle 2

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?

kung fu hustle 1

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.

Kung Fu Hustle 3

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!

Review: Dragons Forever (1988)

Posted in Benny Urquidez, Billy Chow, Corey Yuen, Dick Wei, Jackie Chan, James Tien, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah with tags , on March 2, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Dick Wei, Billy Chow, James Tien

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung and Corey Yuen

Directed By Sammo Hung

For years Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao have dazzled us with onscreen stunt work and fantastic fight choreography, and after starring early on in quite a few wildly successful films together, they decided to go their separate ways, but before doing that they wanted to tackle one last film together, and bring out every actor, stuntman, and Peking Opera School buddy they’ve ever worked with to go out on a high note.

What a note they hit!

Jackie Chan plays, well, Jackie Lung, a successful lawyer who also seems to have gotten a degree in douchbaggery, as he’s a womanizing asshat who works for Hua Hsein-Wu, who owns a local factory that is being sued by Miss Yip, a strong woman who owns a fishery nearby, whose accusation is that the waste runoff from the factory is hurting her business. Jackie tries to warm up to her best friend and confidant Nancy, who isn’t smitten by Jackie’s charms at first. To ensure his client wins the case, Jackie hires his buddy Luke (Hung) to spy on Miss Yip, but doesn’t tell Luke that he’s also hired his two-fries-short-of-a-happy-meal pal Timothy (Biao) to plant a bug in Miss Yip’s house.  Jackie’s plans fall astray as Luke falls in love with Miss Yip and mistakes Timothy for a burglar, and they both get into a scuffle, and before long Jackie must referree both of his friends as well as try to win the heart of Nancy, all the while trying figure out what the men he’s working for are really up to.

Good lord, where to start. Rarely in the Halls of AssKickery has there been a film like this. Jackie Chan is as great as always, and here he really cuts loose with fantastic moves especially during the boat attack and the final fight in the factory, first with the thugs and then a fantastic rematch with Benny “ The Jet” Urquidez (Wheels on Meals). Sammo Hung is his funny yet serious self as Luke, and gets some fights but not that many, but with so much butt-kicking goodness I didn’t mind. Yuen Biao has some absolutely jaw-dropping scenes, first with his acrobatics throughout the entire film, and then the factory finale where he takes on the always great Billy Chow. Yuen Wah is hilarious as the cigar-chomping baddie, and it’s impressive he can still puff away–even when cartwheeling or somersaulting around.

The three-way fights that occur twice in the film involving Jackie, Sammo and Yuen Biao are comedy gold, and really show that they have done this with each other their whole lives, and they actually have. Their movements and timing with each other is classic, and can never be duplicated. That chemistry onscreen is rare, and has to be celebrated whenever we see it. Jackie’s fight with Benny The Jet is the crowning achievement of the film, and these two really know how to move with each other. Benny has the speed and power to give Jackie a hard time, and on-screen it shows. Benny makes a great villain, and really gives Jackie a run for his money. Their fights are brutal, more so than most of Jackie’s onscreen duels.

The story is fluffy and sweet, and exists to make room for the fighting and comedy, but somehow it all works. The three leads are the glue that holds everything together. They all play to their traits at the time: Yuen Biao is usually the crazy one, Sammo the amoral one except when it comes to his friends, and Jackie the good-hearted but womanizing jerk who always does the right thing. The camera work is dynamic for the fights, and it’s pure perfection. The pacing is well done, and each fight gets bigger and more complex. The Factory fight as a whole is an amazing finale of martial arts, filmed by the best the industry had to offer at the time. It rarely gets better than this!

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) Every fight catered to the strengths of its actors and what they can do, and Sammo used it to the fullest to get every drop of cool that could be had. The Jackie/Urquidez fight isn’t as good as Wheels on Meals, but it’s close. The boat fight is one of Jackie’s best.

STUNTWORK: (10)  Sweet Beejeezus did the stunt men get their asses kicked. Some of the falls and bounces off furniture they took were downright criminal, and the splits Billy Chow had to do? They had better had paid him well for that one. I think that might’ve cost him the ability to have children. Yikes. The stuntmen really brought it for this one, and they really sell every fight scene.

STAR POWER: (10) Everyone was at the top of their game. Damn near every badass on-screen at the time was in this! As a last hurrah for some of the members of the 7 Little Fortunes (Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen, and Yuen Wah) they chose a damn good way to close out their collaborations!

FINAL GRADE: (10) Dragons Forever is one of the classics of kung-fu films, with stunning fights and slapstick comedy that marked the end of the Jackie Chan/Sammo Hung/Yuen Biao films, but they went out with a bang!

Review: Choy Lee Fut (2011)

Posted in Kane Kosugi, Lar Kar Wing, Sammo Hung, Sammy Hung, Yuen Wah with tags , , on July 20, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sammy Hung, Kane Kosugi, Sammo Hung, Yuen Wah, Lar Kar Wing

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung and Sam Wong

Directed by Sam Wong and Tommy Lor

Choy Lay Fut (also spelled Choy Lee Fut and Choy Li Fut) is a southern style of kung fu that emphasizes long range striking along with continuous and powerful hand techniques and fluid footwork. There have been very few films made about the form, and since it is the style I am a practitioner of, I was pleased as punch when I heard they were finally making a serious film about it. After seeing the film I must say…

…I’m still waiting for that film, ‘cause this ain’t it.

The film stars Sammy Hung as Jie Chen, a young man who live in the UK along with his Japanese best friend Ken Takeda (Kosugi). Both young men are living day to day in England with no real direction, but Jie gets a visit from his father Wai-Yip (Sammo) who is traveling the world bringing Choy Lee Fut to wherever he goes. After a long talk Jie decides to return home, and brings Ken with him, since Ken wants to study Choy Lee Fut. No sooner do they return to the family school than they find trouble when the current teacher, Wai-Yip’s brother Tin-Cheuk (Wah), a teacher and major pothead is being harassed by a local Choy Lay Fut corporation, Pan-American International,  to buy out the school, which has been given permission to buy the school from Jie’s father.  Jie talks their representative, Xia, into a duel between the two organizations, with 3 million dollars and ownership of the school itself in the balance. Things get complicated when Jie falls in love with Xia, and she may or may not feel the same way, but Jie, Ken, and senior teacher Si-Hai Ren find that they will have to train harder than they ever have before using traditional techniques versus the modern equipment and training used by the three fighters they will have to face…

If this film is about Choy Lay Fut, then except for a few scenes and moments it’s more about Jie trying to cultivate a silly relationship with Xia that could have been left on the cutting room floor, but takes up the majority of the film’s running time. The few moments that actually have to do with their training are okay, the best being the training sequence with the three masters, one of whom is Shaw Brothers star Lar Kar Wing as a Hung Gar master. Even this isn’t very well done, leaving us with a brief montage of their training with these masters, which really should have taken up a far larger part of the film. At least the music was cool in this scene. The only real fights come at the end of the film during the tournament, but these are horribly edited, and the best fight involves Kane Kosugi and Ian Powers, but even that is compromised in post-production. If the fight choreography is good, I sure as hell couldn’t tell as they went MTV crazy with the editing. Also, a fight between Yuen Wah and Sammo Hung takes place on a mountain with obvious green screens being the background for the fight. So they couldn’t find one damn real mountain in China to film on? Really?

Sammy Hung is okay, but has a looooong way to go before he’s anywhere near as good as his father. Kane, on the other hand, is every bit as good as you would expect, and is a better actor than Sammy. Both boys are still young, and can forge their own path in martial arts cinema, but they’ll need to get away from films like this. The script itself is terrible and only Yuen Wah’s fun character keeps things from going completely bad.

If you are looking for a film about Choy Lay Fut, you won’t find it here. Nothing about the form is explained, and it ends up being a film that has no heart, no character, and not much in the way of fighting, which is the cardinal sin here. Probably the most disappointing film of the year for me so far. It does have really cool soundtrack, however. If only more care had been placed into the film itself.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (4) Of all of Sammo’s films, this one has to be the worst. It’s hard to say who the real culprit is, Sammo himself or the editing, but both combine to make a really weak effort.

STUNTWORK: (2) Yeah. You won’t find much fighting here, so what do the stuntmen have to do?

STAR POWER: (7) Sammo Hung, Yuen Wah, Kane Kosugi, Lar Kar Wing should have been able to elevate this film. They couldn’t, and that should tell you all you need to know. Sammy was okay, but just barely.

FINAL GRADE: (3) This is a terrible film, more so if you are a martial arts film fan, and perhaps even more if you are a Choy Lay Fut practitioner. This may very well be Sammo and Yuen Wah’s worst film.


Review: Shanghai Express aka Millionaire’s Express (1986)

Posted in Cynthia Rothrock, Dick Wei, Hwang Jang Lee, Lam Ching Ying, Richard Norton, Sammo Hung, Shih Kien, Wai-Man Chan, Wang Lung Wei, Yasuaki Kurata, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah with tags , , , on July 5, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Lam Ching Ying, Hwang Jang Lee, Yukari Oshima, Richard Norton, Cynthia Rothrock, Dick Wei, Shih Kien, Richard Ng, Yu Wang, Wang Lung Wei

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

Sammo, a fan of many westerns, had always wanted to do one himself, and decided to call on damn near every star at the time to be in his kung-fu/western mashup. The film was designed to be another Sammo Hung/Jackie Chan/Yuen Biao team up, but alas Jackie wasn’t able to be in it due to scheduling conflicts, but never mind that. Everyone and their brother is in this film, and Jackie being in the film would have robbed someone else of screen time, especially two newcomers, but more on them later.

Sammo plays Cheng, a thief, opportunist and sometimes pimp with big plans for his small hometown of Hanshui, plans the town is unaware of. He had to leave Hanshui after a series of good deeds gone bad, or bad deeds that had a somewhat noble purpose, depending on your POV. Well, Hanshui ran him out of town, but he has a plan to return and open up a casino/ secret brothel, but since Hanshui is a no where town with nothing more than a train track not far away, he had to do something to get the customers in, and has plans to blow up the train tracks just when the Shanghai Express, a train full of wealthy passengers, will pass, making them stay in the town to spend their money there. Captain Tsao (Biao), the former fireman now the law offical thanks to some of his not-too-smart comrades who decided to use a fire to rob a bank (Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Wah and others), knows Cheng and vows to break up whatever scheme he’s running…

Meanwhile a group of bandits that include Dick Wei, Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton plan to rob the train near Hanshui in an effort to help a mob family secure documents being smuggled out of China by Japanese operatives….

Also, Master Wong (Yu Wong) and his son, the great Wong Fei Hung, travel in the same car with rival Master Sek (Kien) and his son.

And…the group that robbed the bank in Hanshui plan to use the train to get away with the town’s money.

AND…quite a few more stories that will all come together in Hanshui, leading to a slam bang finale that features some fantastic fight choreography and some genuinely funny moments. Admittedly, the comedy can be hit or miss depending on whether you like the slapstick comedy that was pervasive in Hong Kong in the 80’s. Personally, most of it worked for me, especially the Richard Ng stuff. That guy is crazy funny:

He plays a lecherous douche who bounces between his wife and his mistress, both of whom are on the train. He has some fantastic stunts where he “trots” on the train cars, jumping from one to another with ease, and does the same later on the roof of a three story casino. His facial expressions are hilarious to watch.

The stunts are thrilling to watch, such as a series of impressive fire fighting stunts by Yuen Biao culminating in a jump from the top of a 3 story building to the ground…and lands on his feet. Wow. He really does get to cut loose, and Sammo lets everyone have their moment in the sun, from the comedians to the fighters. I have to give Yuen Wah and Lam Ching Ying credit-they were really game to become the two idiots they play. No fighting for them, but it’s still great to see them playing different roles than what I would normally see from them. Now, in a changeup from most of my reviews, because there are so damn many, let’s look into individual fights, eh?

Sammo Hung Vs Yuen Biao: Wow. This fight would be the showstopper of other, even very good martial arts films, but here it is in the middle of the film, which helps break up the comedy. Sammo and Yuen really bring it, and if you watch the first kick Sammo gives Yuen, that kick almost really took Yuen Biao out. Like really out. These two go at it, and the choreography is excellent here, and you can tell that they are actually striking each other, which is something Sammo demands of all of his action co-stars, but hey, they’re kung-fu brothers, so they know what to expect from each other.

Yasuaki Kurata vs Richard Norton: Yeah, it was really short, and Richard’s end is painful (note to self, never try to kick high on a short girl with sword.) but what was there was gold. Of course Richard says his classic line “Painful?”after he gives Kurata a nasty kick. Great blocking moves in this scene.

Yuen Biao vs Dick Wei: Oh. My. Gosh. This fight was incredible. Yuen Biao and Dick Wei blaze along their fight with pure speed and Yuen’s acrobatic stunts in this fight is stunning to watch. His spin off the balcony is legendary as writ in the scrolls. Wei’s punches were lightning fast and Biao even faster at dodging them.

Sammo Hung vs Cynthia Rothrock:  Yeah, this fight was cool, and it’s no wonder Cynthia became famous in HK cinema after this fight. She hung tight with the big man himself through his fight choreography that had him going from being Sammo to impersonating Bruce Lee. I was disappointed that one of her big kicks was actually done by Yuen Biao as her stunt double, but the rest is fantastic. Sammo really tossed himself around.

Hwang Jang Lee vs Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung: This the most hair-pulling of all of the fights in this film. It barely lasts a minute, when the reality is it was supposed to be the absolute show stopper fight in the film, but had to be cut for the running time.  What’s there was the beginning of something epic that gets chopped to about 30 seconds. Argh! Luckily Hwang does get to jack up a bunch of other guys, but this is still a great opportunity missed.

Yukari Oshima vs a bunch of sad bastards: Yukari showed off her stuff in this fight, and though she isn’t a kendo practictioner she made it look as if she were, and really had a good, if short fight scene.

Also I have to say I loved the fight between young Wong Fei-Hung and Master Sek’s son. Those two kids were great, evoking the classic Shaw Brothers style of fight choreography, and the parents’ response is a funny way to end the scene, as is the train ride where both masters get their shots at each other each time they enter a tunnel. I want to go back and say a thing or two about Richard Norton and Cynthia Rothrock. These films would pave the way for their American B-movies, but they really understood the Hong Kong style of fight choreography and were the few Americans and Australians to do so at the time (There were a few others, but not many. Karen Shepard and Peter Cunningham are some of the others.) They work really well with the Sammo Hung/Yuen Biao/Jackie Chan style of choreography that dominated 80’s HK films from the Golden Harvest camp.

This film is really a sampler kind of film. You get a full plate that has bits and pieces of everyone, and the whole will fill you up, but you wished you had more of this or that. I needed more Hwang Jang Lee and Yasuaki Kurata, and Dick Wei, but that is a small gripe in a film chockablock full of fights, at least in the last half of the film. The first half does contain enough goodwill and comedy to tide you over until then.

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (9) Sammo does a fantastic job all around allowing everyone to show off their stuff and have their own “moments”. The fighting mixes being fast and fun with being brutal all at once.

STUNTWORK: (9) Fantastic stunts all around. The scene where the train stops is great, and Richard Ng really does a great job, and Yuen Biao takes it up a level with his acrobatics, especially in his fight with Dick Wei. Some of the falls are just down right painful to watch.

STAR POWER: (10) Did you see the cast list I put up there?!

FINAL GRADE: (9) One of the best martial arts westerns of all time, bar none. There aren’t many fights until the end, but the end fights are plentiful and well worth the wait.

Review: Police Story 3: Supercop (1992)

Posted in Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh, Reviews, Stanley Tong, Yuen Wah with tags , , on August 5, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Yuen Wah

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan and Stanley Tong

Directed by Stanley Tong

Everyone was excited when news came that Jackie Chan would once again play supercop Ka-Kui in another installment of the Police Story series, and would bring fellow Peking Opera buddie Yuen Wah along for the ride, but while Supercop is a great action film, it marked the closing of the door on Jackie’s 80’s style films and would mark the films that would define him for the 90’s. That bodes good and bad depending on who you ask.

The film opens as Chan Ka-Kui is once again tricked by Uncle Bill and a new superintendent (I’m assuming the previous superintendent started attending high school, and his parents wouldn’t allow him to work anymore) to work with the Chinese (remember HK wasn’t part of China at the time) in order to find out what arms dealer Chabot is up to by going undercover and getting close to his man Panther. Some may be disappointed to know that this is not Jackie Chan versus the Thundercats, but I’ll forgive anyone who thinks that to this point. At least they don’t take half the film to get Chan to do shit, and he and May seem to have patched things up from Police Story 2.

Chan is teamed up with Inspector Yang (Yeoh), a hard ass Chinese police officer who isn’t very impressed with Supercop Chan, and he doesn’t exactly like her too much either. To test his skills first she tricks him into fighting the top police martial arts instructor. A small fight that is well done, but no where near the caliber of any of the fights in the previous films, and that accounts for this entire film, but more on that later.

The goal to getting close to Panther (Wah) is to make it as if Chan is one of the men hired to break Panther out of prison. The escape scenes are filled with good stunt work, and a pretty good fight (more on that later) between Chan and the prison guards. He takes Panther and some of his men to his fictional home, only to find that Uncle Bill is posing as his mother, and Yang is there as his fictional sister, and immediately we see that they in fact do have a very believable relationship as brother and sister with the way they bicker at each other, fooling Panther further, but the suspense is good here as Panther is always one mistake away from figuring the whole deception out.

After another pretty good fight in a bar where Michelle Yeoh really gets to show her stuff, both she and Chan are taken to Chabot, who is not, in fact, the main enemy of the Gobots, but a batshit crazy arms dealer whose wife is really the brains behind their operation, but she’s currently awaiting trial in prison, and he plans to get her out, but first wants to eliminate the arms dealer competition, and does so by meeting them in a private location i.e. a place where large number of people can get shot or blown up without anything but satellites being able to know it was happening, and they should have, since the battle that takes place looks like a scene out of Rambo. What takes it to another level is that fact that Yang is wearing a bulletproof vest lined with explosives, and one bullet and she goes kaboom, and she knows that, but Chan doesn’t, which leads to some funny moments when he tries to use her as a human shield.

Chabot succeeds in killing his competition off, and now turns his crazy ass to seeing about breaking his wife out of prison. By the way, when I say crazy, I mean Jack Nicholson crazy. He just laughs uncontrollably at damn near anything.

They head to Malaysia for the finale, and no sooner do they arrive than trouble starts when May arrives as a tour guide with a bunch of travellers, with no idea Chan is there, as he had lied earlier and told her he was going to a police conference. Sooo, their relationship still needs a bit of work. Soon she learns that he is indeed there, and in typical May fashion flies off the handle, but not anywhere near what she did in Police Story 2, which is a shame, but probably for the best as she nearly gives the game away, and eventually does so thinking she’s helping Chan out, which leads to her getting caught once again by the bad guys, and Panther will exchange her so long as Chan and Yang help break out Mrs. Chabot.

They do free her, and in a total dick move Chabot drops May out of a helicopter from 2 stories up and ricochets her body off of a car. This leads to the jaw dropping finale as Yang hangs off of a van that nearly collides with a bus, and Chan flies all over the city of Kuala Lumpur at the end of a rope ladder tied to a helicopter that is flying nearly 10-20 stories high! They eventually land on moving train where they have a final fight with Chabot and his men to bring his wife back into police custody. They win the day, and the film draw to an end, and a new era of Jackie Chan films begins.

Choreography: (7) With this film, and what we will see for the 90’s, gone are the elaborate fight scenes where stuntmen get their asses handed to them in frenetic fight scenes that are beautiful in their chaos, and here we get fights that seem more cartoonish in nature, and the threat of Ka-Kui getting killed has lost its flavor, as he never really seems over his head, which is the hallmark of Stanley Tong’s fight choreography style, more movement than consequence, and Jackie would use this style for many films of the 90’s, the ones Americans would largely see. There were also no signature fight scene, like the Mall fight in part 1 or the playground fight in part 2.

Stuntwork: (9) Good work by all involved, but this really gets the high marks for specifically the stunts Chan and Yeoh do, particularly the bus scene for Yeoh and the helicopter ride for Jackie. That shit was insane.

Star Power: (9) Jackie and Michelle Yeoh at the height of their skills do a great job here, and any time you can see Yuen Wah is a good thing, but there wasn’t enough of either Bill Tung or Maggie Cheung, and after the great performance she had in Police Story 2, it’s a shame she was relegated to what amounted to a guest starring appearance.

Final Grade: (7) A good action film that put less emphasis on the martial arts and much more on the stuntwork, and that’s not so good for martial arts film fans. We’ll have to wait a while before we see Jackie in more fight intensive films. Luckily he made one of the greatest ever during the 90’s version of JC, but this ain’t it.

Click the picture below to purchase!