Tu bao zi da tong guan (1980)


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12 June 2016 | ckormos1
| Above average martial arts comedy
It starts with two fighters against one. The master is testing his student before he sends him out into the world. Student is instructed to take his skills out into the world and test them and gain fame for the school. He is reminded above all to be a good guy which might not be easy because he is naïve. His first mistake is defending a fleeing robber. Then he goes to a tea house and meets lovely Woo Gam who tries to use him to make her boyfriend jealous. His second mistake is being mistaken for a fleeing murderer. He ends up rescued by the robber he helped. It is all good though as the robber is really a Robin Hood type. The girl who mistook him for the murderer also comes to realize her mistake. Next he must challenge some other schools in a fair fight to attain fame.

This is a totally obscure movie even among fans of the genre. I am on a five year mission to watch and review every martial arts movie made from 1967 to 1984, the golden age of martial arts movies. Doing so, I have wasted a lot of time watching some total stinkers. Two things keep me going. First, an otherwise bad movie can have a magic moment, a moment of greatness. These moments can be scripted, accidental, or whatever. Noticing one of these moments makes me feel like I found a gold nugget while hiking a worn out mountain trail. Second is coming across a movie like this. I never heard of it yet it is an above average martial arts movie for 1977.

It's good because it is all about martial arts. Yes, there is more going on for plot but the martial arts fighting and spirituality is always center stage. It's also a comedy and good comedies are rare. The fight choreography is also comedic and creative. I recommend it for fans and rate it seven out of ten.

My copy is wide screen with dual Chinese and English hard subtitles. This indicates it might have come from an old laser disk. There are also Korean subtitles on top of everything. This must have been added by a fan. I always appreciate fan contributions though this did obscure the English I needed to read. The original English subtitles are also poorly translated but I don't think I missed much as the plot was not complicated.

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