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Leng mian hu (1973)

 -  Action | Adventure  -  June 1981 (USA)
7.5
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A young man, Chin Fu, suspects his father's suicide was actually a murder committed by gangsters. With his expertise in martial arts, Chin Fu is hired as a strong arm man by a rival gang of... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Chin Fu
Kawai Okada
Maria Yi
James Tien
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
San Chin
Yuet Sang Chin
Ying-Chieh Han
Chin-Fang Hsiao
Ching-Ying Lam ...
Blue Shirt Thug
Kun Li ...
(as Quin Lee)
Tien Ying Li
Wei Lo
Yôko Minakaze
Diasuke Nakago
Yasuyoshi Shikamura
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Storyline

A young man, Chin Fu, suspects his father's suicide was actually a murder committed by gangsters. With his expertise in martial arts, Chin Fu is hired as a strong arm man by a rival gang of the gangsters whom he suspects are responsible for his father's death. His new- found connections with the underworld provide him with knowledge and opportunity to uncover the truth about his father's death. Written by Kevin Risch <krisch.intranet.on.ca>

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martial arts | hong kong

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More savage than the beast!

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Action | Adventure

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Man Called Tiger  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Originally, Bruce Lee was supposed to make his third collaboration with the director of his two previous Hong Kong movies and play the leading role in the film, but decided before production started to produce and star in his own movie, _Meng long guojiang (1972)_, instead. See more »

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User Reviews

A MAN CALLED TIGER – Uneven Jimmy Wang Yu film set in Japan
5 May 2012 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

The Golden Harvest production of A MAN CALLED TIGER (1973) was reportedly planned as a Bruce Lee vehicle, but when Lee went off to make his own film, WAY OF THE DRAGON, director Lo Wei (who'd directed Lee's previous starring films) proceeded to make it with Jimmy Wang Yu (ONE-ARMED BOXER) instead. It's an odd film with a meandering plot, a quartet of female characters who are all inexplicably drawn to the stone-faced lead, often at risk of their own lives, and various continuity gaps. It's also set in Kyoto, Japan, although I never saw anything in the scenery that looked like Kyoto. There's one car chase through a neighborhood of Japanese-looking homes, so maybe they got some pick-up shots in Japan, but everything else looks like it could have been filmed in Hong Kong, including a scene on a cable car from the mainland to an offshore island. The cast is filled with familiar Hong Kong actors (James Tien, Maria Yi, Tien Feng, Lam Ching Ying, Han Ying Chieh, Li Kun) playing mostly Japanese characters and I doubt Golden Harvest would have paid to ship them all to Japan. The only lead performer I could identify as Japanese is Okada Kawai, who plays Ayako, a young woman singing in a nightclub who has traveled from Hokkaido to search for her missing father. She sings in Mandarin, the language everyone speaks here. There isn't a single syllable of Japanese spoken on the soundtrack.

Jimmy Wang Yu plays a martial artist who has come to Japan to investigate the suicide of his father and the disappearance of millions of yen donated by "overseas Chinese" for a cause that's never quite spelled out. (If it was explained, I didn't catch it because the Fortune Star VCD I watched for this review offers only burned-in white subtitles often framed against a white background, making them unreadable.) Ayako's search for her father strikes a chord with Jimmy and he winds up helping her. Emi (Maria Yi), a bar hostess at the club where Ayako sings, has an absent father also, who is believed to be in Thailand, so he's not officially classified as "missing," although his mysterious whereabouts become an issue later in the film as well. The beautiful landlady at Jimmy's hotel gets the hots for him and comes on strong, although she's rebuffed at first. Another woman enters the picture when Jimmy confronts gang boss Yamamoto (Tien Feng) over his father's true fate. This woman, identified in the subtitles as "Leiko," although I'm guessing they mean "Reiko," is Yamamoto's mistress and helps Jimmy out of a couple of jams and even waits for him, undressed, in his hotel room at night and declares her love for him even though they'd only met that afternoon. I can't identify the actresses who play the landlady and "Leiko." Third-billed Maria Yi, as Emi, has a smaller part than they do.

Jimmy fights off thugs working for gang boss Shimizu when they show up to collect protection money from the nightclub. Shimizu then offers Jimmy a job as muscle to fend off the Yamamoto gang's incursions into his territory and Jimmy accepts in order to get closer to Yamamoto's gambling operation and its possible link to his father's death. The plot, as convoluted as it is, gives Jimmy plenty of opportunities for fight scenes, some of which have imaginative settings, such as one set in an abandoned factory, although they're usually pretty far-fetched and involve Jimmy standing alone against multiple attackers. In one battle, Jimmy gets slashed in several spots by assorted ax-wielding opponents and is soon covered in blood, yet he insists, "I'm fine," when asked if he's all right. Huh?

There's not a lot of logic in this film. Jimmy is well-dressed throughout, changing jackets, ties and suits frequently even in the midst of long stretches where he never goes near his hotel room. At one point, he tells Ayako to return a wad of cash taken from a Chinese restaurant owner (James Tien) whom Jimmy, on Shimizu's orders, had beaten up and forced to pay protection. He tells Ayako not to tell the man where she got the money and not to tell anyone she's doing this, yet he hands her the money and gives her the instructions in full view of dozens of people in the nightclub. Later, he tells Yamamoto's mistress, who is stealing money from Yamamoto for him, to meet him alone with the case of money outside a closed station at night--not a good plan if you're concerned about safety and secrecy. The film is full of lapses like this that make absolutely no sense.

Okada Kawai sings two songs in the opening sequence, one sad and slow, one fast and upbeat. She actually has a pleasant voice and style. She was a performer on Japanese children's TV and I'm guessing her own voice was used for this. IMDb says this film has a 70-minute running time. The print on the Fortune Star VCD is 100 minutes long and the on-screen title is A MAN CALLED TIGER. If you're a fan of the genre, this film will hold a certain peculiar fascination, due to its setting, its cast, and its position in Jimmy Wang Yu's filmography. I wouldn't recommend it to others, though.


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