16 April 2007 | CapnDred
The best of the best!!!
A great film. Sure it's a 70's kung fu film, but this one seems somehow to rise above many of its ilk. It starts quickly and from there, it feels like there's never 10 minutes go by without a cracking fight scene. And that's just the thing - ALL the fight scenes are cracking... even the ones you would expect to be minor throw-away scuffles are awesomely executed, filmed and edited! As a 70s Hong Kong Kung Fu film, it still has some fairly broad humour, but it feels more hit than miss. The pantomime style farcical elements here don't seem as forced or as protracted as in many movies of this type. It has some genuinely moving moments and the plot, although straightforward and formulaic, is also refreshing in that it doesn't deviate too much with irrelevances. Nor does it get too tied up in itself. However, there is enough plot there to keep interest in the brief bits between fights.
And this film IS about the fights. There is some awesome kung fu with just the right mix of reality-grounded martial arts, and odd touches wire-assisted flair. Sammo, as with many of the main players, is clearly at his peak, and with his input, the fights can be pretty brutal at times. They are fast, lengthy, hard, and fast and are just starting to move away from the stilted nature of the 70s films. Yuen Biao gets a great showcase fight too - one that shows his martial arts ability more than his acrobatic prowess. This is a film about the martial arts - there are some impressive acrobatics but they are kind of the run of the mill stuff of these films, rather than the jaw-dropping acrobatics of say Wheels on Meals or Dragons Forever. Sammo pulls out some impressive flips though. As does Beggar So's character.
This is my new favourite 70s kung-fuer... and I found it more enjoyable, even, than... dare I say it... Drunken Master!!! Yes - it's that good!