3 August 2001 | BrianDanaCamp
Gordon Liu as an amnesiac kung fu expert who takes on gangsters
Despite the awkward title, HE HAS NOTHING BUT KUNG FU (1977) is a real find for kung fu fans, featuring expert performances and fight choreography, ample humor, and lots of kung fu in its 90-minute running time. Shot on a low budget on Hong Kong locations, it tells a clever story and features a pair of intriguing lead characters. Wong Yue (not to be confused with Jimmy Wang Yu) plays a con man and pickpocket who constantly runs afoul of the cops and local gangsters. He then finds an amnesiac (played by Gordon Liu), who displays advanced kung fu skills when attacked, and uses him to get back some money cheated out of him by a local casino. The two go on to rob the local crime boss of two bags of money and the amnesiac insists on distributing the cash to victims of the boss. The amnesiac, who teaches his shady partner his kung fu moves, turns out to be the missing son of an Admiral who comes to town looking for his son. Eventually, the corruption is exposed, the son gets his memory back, and the two heroes fight off all the gangsters.
There are many kung fu fights in the film and all are worked seamlessly into the narrative. There is an attractive and saucy female character, Miss Ho (played by Li Ying), a restaurant owner who is harassed by the gangsters and rescued on more than one occasion by Wong Yue. Gordon Liu and Wong Yue also co-starred in Liu Chia Liang's classic, DIRTY HO (1979), and display great chemistry together. Wong Yue not only fights well, but is a superb comic actor in both films as well.
HE HAS NOTHING BUT KUNG FU was ably directed by Liang's brother, Liu Chia Yung (aka Lau Kar Wing), who has a small part as the Admiral's assistant. The final battle between Gordon and the gangsters, taking place throughout the full length of an abandoned building and atop its shingled, slanted rooftop, is particularly ingenious. Many familiar kung fu faces dot the cast, including Lam Ching Ying, Lee Hoi San, and Meng Hoi as gang henchmen. The only annoying aspect of the film is the frequent playing on the soundtrack of a `comical' guitar riff employing the `Dixie' melody. Aside from that, this is a must-see for kung fu fans.