5 December 2007 | ChungMo
Comedy action kung fu from the last days of Shaw
Presently listed as 1982, this film is from 1985
Wong Yu and Liu Chia Liang play step brothers, Jiabao and Chan, who are in school together. Their father has a thriving wine business where Chan liberally partakes of the wares. The father decides to send the men to the Jesuit school so they can learn English. This leads to some trouble and Chan quits the school to protect his brother from unjust punishment. Chan returns to the traditional Chinese school but brings wine in a teapot to relieve the boredom. The teacher, played by Jason Pai Piao, discovers the wine but instead of getting mad, invites Chan to his house. There the teacher gets drunk and teaches kung fu to Chan who is happy to learn. Meanwhile their father's second wife and her crooked brother conspire to take over her husband's winery by killing Chan and influencing the lazy Jiabao. To enable the plan they ask for help from a notorious criminal, The Centipede, played by Wang Lung Wei. (No relation to the Five Deadly Venoms)
Much like that same year's Crazy Shaolin Disciples the first half of the film focuses on student antics, including a silly soccer game where the brothers figure out how to cheat without touching the ball with their hands. Once the film introduces the drunk kung fu teacher and the Centipede we enter traditional kung fu film territory and the film starts to get better. Many Shaw regulars are here and are quite good in their roles. Jason Pai Piao and Lui Chia Hui and both great. The fighting while not up to Tang Chia or Liu Chia Liang's standards is good overall with some unfortunate choppy action and rough editing marring the flow. The vagabond of the title refers to a classical Chinese character but really has no relation to anything in this film except that Chan gets dirty when he's drunk. Lui Chia Hui and Wong Yu were getting too old to play schoolboys at this point as well.
Entertaining but not great.