17 January 2013 | themachomulatto
As a whole it's mediocre but still fun nonetheless
This is a sprightly little film that follows the adventures of three young vagrants: San Mao, an athletic young man hoping to find his mother and who's teacher was shot during the war, Qu Pu Li, a clever and brash young fellow, and the oldest of the three, tomboy Zsa Zsa Meng. San Mao's wandering eventually leads him to meet and befriend the other two. Some time after banding together the always scheming Qu Pu Li comes up with the idea that he and San Mao perform as stunt men on the streets with Zsa Zsa Meng acting as a sort of hype man. As time goes on they become more and more of a bother to the General and his men until he finally sends his henchmen after the brats to teach them a lesson. At around the same time a mysterious loner codenamed Eagle (Casanova Wong) comes to town to try to prevent the General from making a deal with one Mr. Chu, and he ends up aligning himself with the youths as they have a common enemy. Things are made a bit more interesting by the General's son's attraction to Zsa Zsa Meng and the subsequent clashing of the motives of he and his father. I won't spoil the ending but I will say that it left me a bit um, emotionally confused, or conflicted, or . . . something.
There really isn't much on offer in the way of stupendous kung fu fighting. Casanova Wong does a fair job at making up for the film's lack of any recognizable and talented martial artists when given the chance but there are only three or four scenes where he gets to "spread his wings," so-to-speak, and kick butt. The end fight where he squares off with the General is mostly interspersed with scenes of the motley young trio taking on a big, lumbering, bald guy at their secret hideout. This switching back and forth between scenes, while not too sudden or frequent, served more to break up the flow of the final duel and spoil the excitement that one should be feeling at that point than to make me laugh at the kids and their endeavor. Still, this little bother didn't make me restless and/or hate the movie.
I'd prefer to think of this film as a comedy/adventure with some martial arts on display here and there, and fortunately it does alright in both categories. The English dub is actually pretty good and the picture quality itself is average or slightly above average for movies of this type (or at least it was in the version found on the Martial Arts 50 Movie Pack from Mill Creek Entertainment). Also, the full screen presentation doesn't hinder the action except for in a few minor instances. All in all I give it a 5 out of 10.