5 August 2016 | ckormos1
A jumbled mess not a combination of martial arts drama and comedy
The movie begins with a rich man discussing the unfair distribution of his wealth. Then the movie becomes a comedy when a physician is urgently summoned to take care of a pet dog. The comedy continues with Cheng Lui the mute. He has bulked up to Bolo Yeung proportions from what I remember of him in older Shaw Brothers movies. Previously he always had small parts were he stood around and looked concerned. He had a totally convincing look of concern. David Chiang enters as a man in search of a kung fu master. After knocking on a few wrong doors he finds his master.
This movie could not decide if it was a comedy or tragedy and that was its weakest point. The bad guy from the first scene is also inconsistent and flip flops his position as fast as any American political candidate.
I would have rated this above average based on the fights alone but the story and characters are inconsistent and the pace drags at times. Pearl's martial performance I found tiresome. Note this at about the 35 minute mark. Tsai Hung does a wire work physical effect where he flies down to fight. Just before he touches ground another actor cuts across in front of him. The result is a remarkably smooth and balanced landing. This looks like a special effect called a wipe. I have only noticed this technique used in one other movie, Shaw Brother's 1977 "The Sentimental Swordsman". In that movie at about 1:24:45 there is also a physical wipe. The actress goes behind a wall as the camera tracks to the right then the stuntman comes out from behind the wall and does the acrobatics all dressed as the actress. I believe that movie was the first time that filming effect was ever used so this movie is only the second. This makes me wonder why it was not used more. Perhaps it was and I am just now noticing.