20 February 2006 | damonfoster
Steals from the Foriegners and Gives to the Poor
Sometimes them Shaw Brothers are better at making large sets than kung fu movies, as THE LIZARD reminded memore than once. If you think seeing a fat lady go cross-eyed is state-of-the-art comedy (even for 1972), or if you haven't seen enough crooked casinos get exposed, then THE LIZARD is your cup of tea.
Granted, THE LIZARD is offbeat and the inventiveness of our heroes has its moments. But the title hero is Yue Hua, and the main villain is Lo Lieh. So you can imagine how bad the martial arts are! The hidden trampolines, reverse-film jumps, occasional bloodshed and martial arts direction by Yuen Cheung Yan and Yuen Wo Ping at least make the battles entertaining. On the whole, THE LIZARD is slow-paced and pointless enough that it won't make converts out of non-fans. But if you're a die-hard kung fu completist who can't get enough of the classy Shaw Brothers chop-sockeys of the 1970s and want to see a movie which avoids much of the genres' more typical clichés, then maybe you can buy this DVD from me before I list it on Ebay. Actually, nevermind; I just now sold it for a buck.
SPOILER WARNING: I don't actually know what a spoiler is, so there's the risk that I might give something away in this synopsis: The setting appears to be 1930s Shanghai, and Yuen Wah plays a 'Chinese Robinhood' called The Lizard, who steals from the rich (which includes rich foreigners like the Caucasian couple having sex at the beginning) and gives to the poor. This black-hooded vigilante rigs up explosions to cover his tracks while being pursued by corrupt cop Lo Lieh, who would rather run fixed casinos and sell women into prostitution. Fortunately, Yueh Hua and girlfriend Connie Chan (her last film before retirement) take on and defeat Lo Lieh and his helpers, despite the latters' use of knives and guns.