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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One thing that I am confused on is wondering if this is a lost Shaw
Bros movie. Reason stated is that the movie has a lot of veteran Shaw
Bros actors in it. Anyway this movie has a slight comedy side with a
lot of good action sequences. Doggy is a mild manner grand son to
Chiang Shiang whom is also playing a woman this go round. Phillip Kao
Fei is after the Seven Star Armour and gets very ruthless in his
attempt to get it.
The one thing about this movie is that it has a lot of similarity to Shaolin and Taoism Drunkard. The action is done by Woo Pings' star pupil, (which I need to find more of his work) and is done very nicely. Leung Kar Yan is also in the movie, but he doesn't fight.....sorry.
This movie is a must have for serious kung fu movie buffs like myself. The newer print has the subtitles laced in black so you don't have to strain and see, plus it is in widescreen format. Another good deal is that you can watch it in English dub or Cantonese, but make sure you get the version from Rarescope.
A film from Yuen Wo Ping's "disciple" not the Yuen clan as listed. Also
the date of production seems to be in question as some list it as 1985
which would make sense considering the actors involved.
Directed and written by Chao Chung Hsing, the story revolves around three nasty villains' quest to retrieve the Seven Star Armor which will enable them to retrieve the sacred sword from a Taoist monastery. The film opens with them infiltrating the monastery with their special weapons. One villain runs around with a large lit candle on his bald head, when needed the candle shoots flames across the room. The other villain has a strange contraption that resembles two circular saw blades on an axle. He can turn these into a sort of deadly go-cart. The third, their leader, is a super fighter who wears a spring powered metal palm. It's hard to accurately describe but you get the picture, this is an absurd film and it knows it. They battle with a monk who zips around in a row boat on wheels. The evil trio learns that the armor is no longer in the temple. Cut to our hero, "Doggy" and his doctor/witchdoctor grandmother played by Venom actor Chiang Sheng in drag. They are waiting for Doggy's wife-to-be to arrive by boat. She turns out to be a fat woman named Tiger. Doggy is upset but she turns out to be a righteous Kung Fu fighter who immediately beats the stuffing out of an abusive husband and his gang. The movie focus on their comic relationship until Granny turns out to be wearing the 7 star Armor. This attracts the attention of the evil trio who attack Doggy and Granny. Granny sends Doggy to study Kung Fu with her training brother who has become an eccentric inventor since she spurned his amorous advances many years before. Tiger returns to her hometown "to get thin". The evil villains attack Granny with tragic consequences leading to Doggy vowing revenge and his crazy "Uncle" training him with mallets!
The script is very loose with the plot. The film makers seem to be much more interested in crazy visual gags and wacky fight scenes. The film starts with a very strange comedy scene involving a mechanical food cart that examines food to see if it's been touched by the waiter! If he's touched it the cart kills the waiter with an arrow! This has nothing to do with the rest of the film. The bride to be Tiger disappears after she leaves to get thin. Unfortunately she's one of the best things about the film. The actress moves really well for her size, better then some thin kung fu actresses. The action is intense and wacky. Well shot and edited, the numerous scenes will keep most kung fu fans happy as long as realism isn't a requirement. While not as visually surreal as Yuen films like Taoism Drunkard there's enough weirdness to keep up with those films. The fights are also rougher and bloodier then any of the Yuen films.
The print I saw was messed up with inconsistent color and part of a scene clearly missing. It's also been cropped to 16:9 so the shots are cut off on the edges. Apparently the people releasing these films don't want you to see the terrible original English subtitles that are burned into the prints. Unfortunately doing this ruins the action at times. Better then a TV print but annoying still.
Good fun, recommended.
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