A travelling troupe of martial arts actors who live on board a Chinese junk are saved from some local rowdies one day by a patriot Shaolin fighter, who's on his way to deliver some taels of silver for the revolutionaries. Unfortunately though the Ming are out to get him and he is forced to take refuge back at the actors boat.
The Ming aren't blind and see what's going on, so they kill many of the actors trying to trap him but the remaining performers bunk off to the Shaolin temple with him and learn some new moves, ready to unleash some righteous justice...
Nice. Good movie, that if anything is only really let down by having no really substantial stars or familiar faces in it. The action is absolutely none stop and the quality of the Wu Shu performed by both male and female performers in battle, is of a very high standard. As are the production values. There's some really decent fight action with both fists and weapons choreography (as you would expect being Wu Shu performers) and in particular I enjoyed a sequence where a group of five women hunt down the bad guys. That was neat.
It doesn't surprise me that this spawned a sequel and if I am not mistaken a TV series as well. Thankfully bereft of awful comedy, and definitely worth a punt if you are into this sort of stuff.
Trilby & Partner are a pair of badass bandit catchers. Using their fists and sh*t eating grins to dish out justice in an opening credits montage which sees them round up and arrest an assortment of thieves, rapists and cutthroats. However after the credits, they are soon challenged by 'The 4 Devils', a (small) gang of vicious killers, and during the ensuing ruckus Officer Trilby is accidentally killed by his partner. This devastates his partner who leaves his post as a lawman and gives up fighting, instead turning into an alcoholic and securing himself a new job in a brothel, where he mopes about and gets treated like sh*t.
One day though he stands up to some brothel bullies and decides to leave when his new name: Coward Chin Chai, appears to be no longer relevant. And so he troddles off down the road to a different job at a kung fu school, where he once again enjoys life being bullied and victimised in the workplace, that is until a Mongolian white-haired psychopath moves into the brothel and begins to issue demands of the school...
A film of two halves. 1st half bad. 2nd half good. The first half just has Don Wong Tao crying and feeling really sorry for himself. The second half has Don Wong Tao making all the guys who's asses he's just kicked cry and feel really sorry for themselves.
It's by the same team that brought you the classic Eagle's Claw (Dir: Lee Tso Nam, Action Choroegraphy: Tommy Lee), except it's not as good as that. Chang Yi as the Mongolian needle thrower. Lo Lieh as Don's ill-fated bezzie, and of course Don Wong as the hero.
There's this gang of bad guys, who go about in devil masks robbing, killing and raping. They all carry tridents and live in this old temple, which is booby-trapped up to the nines. No one knows who the gang are, not even themselves because of the masks they wear, but one day a group of heroes decide to band together in order to rid the land of these vicious devils.
Eventually they track the gang to a particular town and that's where the fun starts, as the gang attempt to divide and conquer the good guys before they learn of the devil gang's HQ. Things go belly up though when No.2 Devil Chief gets cold feet and leaves to side with the heroes. Resulting in havoc, murder and intrigue...
This is about right for a 'Venoms' movie. Loads of characters in campy stage outfits. Loads of booby traps, bloodshed and death. If you are a fan of The Venoms then you are onto a winner here. Man's man director Chang Cheh is at the helm, so in the entire film there is only one woman. Who in her eventful screen time of about 90 seconds, gets kidnapped, raped and finally disembowelled. As I'm sure you can imagine the film is packed with non-stop weapon displays and acrobatic fights, but this does not necessarily set it apart from it's contemporaries (like House of Traps), with the coolest thing for me being the neat sets in the temple. Overall it's a pretty enjoyable movie but no classic. 3.75/5
This isn't, as one might expect from the title, a film featuring the exploits of a particularly wonderful bar of 1980s biscuity confectionery, but rather the tale of a corrupt magistrate and the heroes that decide to bring his sorry @ss down...
Hero 1: Lu Fang. One day a war hero named Lu Fang just happens to come across some men kidnapping a woman, and so naturally he jumps to her defence, until he hears the reason as to why she's been abducted. And it soon transpires that she is the daughter of a corrupt and evil magistrate who is preying on the local farmers by imposing huge grain taxations, killing any that do not kow-tow down to his demands. So Lu decides to help the farmers.
Hero 2: Huang Liang. Having spent most of his time fighting on the front line under a young and courageous officer named Lu Fang, Huang Liang has found himself in the prisons of the magistrate, until one day when he is released so that he might earn his permanent freedom by helping to capture some bandit swordsman and a bunch of farmers who have kidnapped the magistrate's daughter. Needless to say that as soon as he realises who the bandit in question is, he soon changes his allegiances.
Hero 3: Yan Ziqing. Yan is an expert swordsman, dressed in black and absolutely deadly, he is the magistrate's executioner. Although a hired killer he is honourable but up until now has been blind to the magistrate's naughtiness. Then one day he sees what the magistrate is capable of; but will this revelation be strong enough to alter who he kills for? . . . . Of course it will!
Solid early wuxia, with the usual messages of brotherly love, honour and loyalty. Jimmy Wang Yu plays Lu Fang, with supporting cast members that include Lo Lieh (Yan) and Cheng Lui (Huang). Of course the characters are completely one dimensional, but the production values are there and it's never dull for a minute. Kind of like watching a matinee western but with more blood and swords.
If you like early wuxia stuff, then you are gonna want to see this. 3.75/5
A conman who claims to be able to channel the spirits and have them possess his body comes a cropper when he is eventually found out to be a fraud by some gangsters. Before that though he spends his time getting into fights and standing up against the town bullies, by using the spirits and 'their expertise' in kung fu to his advantage...
This is surprisingly a lot of fun. It's the first film the legendary Lau Kar Leung directed and also the first martial arts comedy film, pre-dating Drunken Master by at least 3 years. As you can tell from my synopsis above it's mostly a collection of set pieces, but it's all very light hearted with a very likeable cast, and for once the humour is actually quite amusing. Although not an out and out classic like Encounters of the Spooky Kind, Mr Vampire, Black Magic or Human Lanterns, this horror/fantasy/martial arts comedy is still definitely worth seeing, and I am in no doubt that it was a significant influence on Drunken Master.
A plot to overthrow two families results in the murder of everyone but for two childhood friends. Gary is captured, facing the guillotine, whilst Joey is injured but manages to escape. During his flight, Joey accidentally falls through the floor, where he is met by a demon god, who proceeds to show him Gary's fate, on which Joey agrees to make a deal wherein he will be able to save Gary and kill those responsible for the coup d'etat, so long as he sells his soul and becomes a demon himself.
So Joey is dressed in a cape, given some lilac tights and super-charged with the powers of The Nine Demons - which he keeps sealed in a necklace of flying, blood drinking skulls, with the aid of a mirror. Which he can release at will to attack his enemies.. On release the skulls fly around and suck blood or can turn into a screeching woman and her brood of vampiric children. However as Joey further uses this sorcery to exact his revenge, the more corrupted by demonic forces he becomes, until the climax which is a battle between evil and eviler that takes place on water skis.
... No, I'm not kidding. That is the plot. The film is utterly bonkers.
This is a Chang Cheh fantasy horror effort, with endless kung fu action and some truly imaginative set pieces. The acrobatics/martial arts are well handled by The Venoms and never a dull moment is to be had. Although held back a little by it's budgetary constraints it is certainly quite memorable and for those looking for something a little off the wall, this comes recommended. Especially if you have a drink/drugs habit. If you don't have a drink and drugs habit going into this though, it's probably gonna be wise you start on one before you attempt it.
Butcher Wing is a student at Wong Fei Hung's clinic. One day he is accidentally embroiled in a ruckus and draws the attention of a rival kung fu school, and in particular it's patriarchal white haired psychopath owner - Master Ko, three highly trained killers, and the owner's corrupt, poltroon of a son. Demanding retribution for Wing's involvement, Ko wishes to beat Wing as punishment, however Wong Fei Hung gives Ko a lesson in manners, which further enrages the angry Ko. Wing of course is punished by his master, before Wong Fei Hung chooses to go to a monastery looking for some rare herbs, which he intends to use for medicine in his clinic/martial arts academy. Entrusting his pupils to mind the place while he's out.
In the meantime Wing's brother shows up looking for him and has his wife taken as a sex slave by Ko's degenerate son, and when a drunken master rolls into town it is not long before the Wing brothers are re-acquainted and a rescue attempt of the wife ensues...
Still peeved at what happened, Master Ko eventually blows his top when his goddaughter is murdered (by Ko Jnr in a rape attempt), and believing Wong Fei Hung's pupils responsible, along with his hired killers, he attacks the academy in Hung's absence, smashing it to bits. Whilst Wing is framed for the murder. ...And so with the aid of the drunken master Wing attempts to clear his name and put things right before Wong Fei Hung returns and he gets in any more trouble...
Absolutely brilliant. A first rate martial arts movie that easily rivals Chan's Drunken Master and would equally be enjoyed by both fu fans and those who have no interest in martial arts cinema.
The fight choreography is superb and along with a handful of other titles, this helped change martial arts cinema forever; the fights both ferocious and non-stop. So many top names in here.. Sammo Hung's (Wing) fight, where he incorporates drunken techniques into his Shaolin animal styles Vs Lee Hoi San's (Ko) Five Elements and Palm of Death is just fab.
Highly recommended. Seriously, if you haven't seen it, give it a go....... and remember: "Good men have no enemies". 5/5
Manchus kill a baker and his apprentice is taken in by the Shaolin temple. Two years later the baker's apprentice decides to break out of the monastery and put his martial arts training to the test against the rascally Manchus for real. Once outside he helps a dye factory oppose the Manchu baddies and meets up with some badass monk dude...
Another influential Sammo Hung movie. The martial arts here was revolutionary at the time and began to pave the way for the faster, more fluid style we saw in the 80s. The UK version has a rape scene trimmed down, meaning completists will want a different version (e.g. the US version is uncut) but to be honest the missing footage doesn't really add anything other than Fung Hak On's gurning rape face.
The end fight where Sammo and Chan Sing go up against the evil Manchu is superb..
A truck load of gold needs to be transported through 'Deadly Valley', which is the home of many strange and despicable bandits. The bandits have a pecking order and Golden Arm Kid is at the top of it. Meaning the heroes and the drunken sheriff working as the security force are gonna need every last drop of skill and wine at their disposal if they are to make it through the valley alive...
The end to this movie is very cool but everything before that is a bit hit and miss. Most of the characters are just annoying pillocks in silly costumes, dressed up like extras from a Village People tribute act, with even Johnny Wang Lung Wei looking like a nob... and when that happens, you know things have gone too damn far! I mean don't get me wrong, if you're a Venoms fan then TKWTGA is unmissable, coz it's action packed and still one of their best, but for me the first half is just too messy.
Expect all the usual acrobatics and fiendish traps you would normally see in a Venoms movie, then add a few more.
An evil magistrate with a Japanese contingent of super bodyguards, does what he feels like. Then one day he forces some new Japanese fighters to enlist his elite guard.. As part of their induction they are given several trials by combat to ensure they're worthy, and eventually only two best friends are left.
Rising through the ranks they begin to catch the eye of the white haired magistrate, and quite quickly one of them is awarded the honour of becoming Commander of the Guard, putting him ever closer to his cackling master. I wonder why he would want to do that...
Very odd. Normally these Hong Kong martial arts films feature the Japanese as bad guys. Here though they are sort of the heroes (well, pretty ruthless anti-heroes) of the piece. Chang Yi always plays a really good white haired villain and here is no exception, with Yueh Hua and Chan Muk-Chuen (who was more of an Action Director than he ever was an actor) playing the 'goodies'. Guys like Eddy Ko show up and he's really good value for money here - the fights, though not particularly great, are plentiful.
Like I said, this is an oddity, and for that reason it stood out a little more than it probably should have.
A young woman agrees to marry her dying, adopted father, so that his evil brother won't be able to get his hands on the family fortune. Carrying the will and deeds, she journeys away from her house to live with her nephew, Yu, who is an ageing martial arts master. Expecting someone his senior, Yu shows up at the docks and is shocked to find his aunt is a young woman, with even further complications arising when his smart alec son, Charlie, returns from university and gets off on the wrong foot by thinking his young aunt is his father's young mistress.
Fortunately in spite of her years, Auntie Jing does not suffer fools gladly and she is both headstrong and a firm believer in family tradition, and not to mention a martial arts master and impetuous to boot. Which is going to come in real handy, especially when evil Great Uncle Yung Sheng shows up to take back the legacy he feels is his by right...
I really enjoy this. What a terrific little comedy martial arts movie. Oh for sure it's got some unnecessary slapstick in it, mostly from Hsiao Ho, which is well done but gets a little tiresome - overall though I have to say the humour works pretty well. The cast is just fabulous, particularly the lovely Kara Hui as Auntie Jing; and if I were to say to you that Liu Chia Liang, Gordon Lui, Johnny Wang Lung Wei, also have significant roles, then surely that's got to make it a must, right?
The end fight between Liu Chia Liang and Wang Lung Wei is really top drawer. If it catches you in the right mood this is pretty decent stuff.
The Japanese are rascals of the first order and because of this they hate the Chinese, who are all decent patriots. One day the Japs hatch a plot to assassinate a Chinese nobleman by sending him two swords.... Then I got confused and didn't understand what was going on. As characters seemingly appeared and disappeared for no reason and with less logic, including Jimmy Wang Yu, who shows up as some sort of super-patriot called Rapid Fists..
..Now, about 30 minutes in there is a guy with loads of knives, who tries to take out Mr Fists and he fails, but this leads to a flashback sequence at a martial arts tournament and this is where the film suddenly goes into KUNG FU OVERDRIVE and gets really good! As all of a sudden we get badasses like Kam Kong and Lung Fei showing up, as the Japanese start hiring a whole host of weird super-fighters to take out Rapid Fists...
This follow up to The Shaw Brothers landmark movie 'The Chinese Boxer' (1970) - which is highly recommended, and regarded by many to be the first proper 'kung fu' film of all time - is a sequel in name only, shot in Taiwan by Jimmy Wang Yu and his usual crew, except with a much smaller budget. The first 30minutes of this film is poor, but if you can last beyond that and you make it to the tournament (which is exactly the same set as the one from Master of the Flying Guillotine ) you are left to a real mash-up of action set-pieces featuring loads of different blood splattered one on ones and insanity galore, as Jimmy fights a rogue monk, a man with exploding knives, Muay Thai killers, ninja, and undead zombie assassins..... not to mention Lung Fei's gun-fighter killer, who follows Jimmy at the end with 6 pistols and an 8 barrelled shotgun into Jimmy's house of 'living' dolls. Really good fun. Not quite as good as JWY's Master of the Flying Guillotine, but after the first 30minutes, it's not far off.
Jin (Chen Kuan Tai) is attacked by the 3 Evil Masters in a restaurant and although he starts to bounce them about he is almost killed when he is sneakily knifed by a fourth assassin posing as a waiter. Needless to say he just about escapes and is eventually aided by an annoying but well meaning, young kung fu student named Kao Chiun, who practices at a nearby school but lives on his own out in the sticks. When Master Jin recovers he agrees to train the young man, who is fed up of being picked on by his aggressive teacher and the other students at the school. Meanwhile the 3 Evil Masters move into town and take over his martial arts school, kicking everyone out but for a few students and Kao's old kung fu teacher, who they make their b!tch. Then one day Kao finds out what's happening, and one-by-one starts taking out the 3 Evil Masters...
This is decent. Really good. I'd seen it before but the print wasn't so great. Unlike this remastered celestial pictures release. Yuen Tak is pretty good, and brings some great athleticism and acrobatics to the 'Jackie Chan' styled student, Kao, who learns a new style and then goes out for revenge. Apart from him, the highlights of this Shaw attempt to cash in on the success of Drunken Master, are always going to be Chen Kuan Tai, as the hard b*****d of the title, and Johnny Wang Lung-Wei playing the villain.
I recommend this one. It's a Shaw movie but plays out like an independent with some very good training and fight sequences. 4.25/5
Lot's of people slate the story on this one but I actually think it is quite quaint and amusing. But of course for the fact it is based on true events that occurred in 1919..
So it's about this rich westerner, who's prize dog runs away and he is convinced one of the Chinese locals has kidnapped it, probably with the intention of eating it, so he enlists the help of the corrupt police force to help bring the perpetrator of this heinous crime to justice. Naturally the corrupt police accept his money and go about his bidding by pushing around the locals and rounding up the usual suspects (a village idiot and an old man), torturing confessions from them.
One man stands up to them though, his name is Lin Chang (Philip Ko), the toughest pupil at a local martial arts school. His girlfriend's father being the old man they bring in to torture a dog rustling confession from.
Philip Ko, Hwang Jang Lee, Chiang Tao, Chu Tit-Wo etc etc. A solid cast of good versus evil. The end fight between Ko and Hwang Jang Lee is very good. And it was choreographed by Tae Kwon Do expert Lee as well. His feet are a little planted but when it came to kickers there were few that could match him in the history of martial arts cinema, as he opens up on hero Ko with a barrage of Tae Kwon Leopard Fist against Ko's exploding Mantis. In fact there are a few key fights in this but like I said the end fight is very good indeed, one which even none fu fans I'm sure could appreciate.
Let's put it this way, you won't have ever seen someone like Chuck Norris doing what these guys can do.
I dunno where the title comes from, it's a bit random? As this has no Tiger Claw style, or indeed large predatory felines in it. Presumably it could be a roughly translated Chinese saying a bit like 'cat amongst the pigeons' or 'bull in a china shop', at least that's my guess? Though I happily stand to be corrected on this.
4/5 (with at least half a star for the scrap at the end)
A cat burglar finds himself unfortunate enough to get arrested when he breaks into what he believes to be an empty house, when in actual fact all the lights are off because it's a surprise birthday party. Finding himself in jail, he meets up with four other men and they all vow to go straight upon their release. Once released they open up a cleaning business which does really well, until one day, when they unwittingly end up with a stolen briefcase in the back of their van. The briefcase in question belonging to a gangster boss. Needless to say it is our hapless heroes that get the blame...
First film in the 'Lucky Stars' trilogy and one of the early film successes for both Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. Like the others in the series, this isn't so much a martial arts movie as it is a comedy, with martial arts in it. There're some fantastic stunts with Jackie Chan's accident prone CID man on roller-skates and one or two blistering moments of kung fu by Sammo as he fights a whole glut of big name martial arts actors from back in the day..... I mean seriously, wow!! Just look at that cast:
Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Stanley Fung, John Sham, Charlie Chin, Cherie Chung, Jackie Chan, Cecilia Yip, James Tin, Tai Bo, Lam Ching-Ying, John Cheung, Fung Hak-On, Peter Chan, San Kuai, Chung Fat, Dick Wei, Paul Chang, Phillip Chan, Ka Lee, Yuen Biao, Moon Lee, Mars, Huang Ha, Wu Ma
Overall it won't be everyone's cup of tea with it's goofy humour and slapstick visual jokes but I hadn't seen it for years and thought it was very enjoyable. In fact I'm always pleasantly surprised just how much I enjoy the Lucky Star series when I watch them.
If you like Bud Spencer and Terence Hill (or indeed Some Mother's Do Have Em), you'll most probably like these. 3/5