ej's kung-fu capsule review for films of the chop-socky old-school -
1. basic plot - Drug smuggling gang infiltrates a crew of dock workers; when one worker finds out they kill him. A murder investigation follows; with the help of an addicted young woman trying to go straight, all the dirt is revealed - then it's time for the Chinese tiger to clean up!
2. plot construction - Very strong, really pulls us along; still allows for more complex characters than is typical for this genre in this era, but provides plenty of time for fighting.
3. dramatic - Surprisingly effective.
4. funny - Thanks to a comic sidekick who knows his job.
5. dialog - Strong and pretty realistic.
6. cast performance - Excellent all the way around.
7. crew performance - Solidly professional craftsmanship.
8. amount of fighting - Plenty.
9. quality of fighting - Excellent.
10. special any cast or crew notes - Star Chin-kun Li had an odd career, phasing in an out of popularity, which I think unfortunate; he is both a good actor and an excellent fighter. This is definitely his magnum opus performance. This film, so little noted, happens to be a real classic of the genre from this era - surprisingly realistic, well-written, well-directed; well-performed, and just overall well-made.
11. big positive - Just a solid well-rounded action thriller.
12. big negative - Existing English print available done in the usual annoying pan-and-scan.
bottom-line - who should see this movie - Action film fans; kung fu fans; fans of early-1970s mystery-thrillers.
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