An aging martial arts expert is gifted a plaque from the Emperor declaring him the Kung Fu World Champion. Unsure of whether or not be is deserving of this title, he embarks on a journey to defeat the 7 Grandmasters.
Knockabout is Sammo HungÂ's (TVÂ's Martial Law, The Legend Of Zu) brilliant cinematic achievement at merging comedy with kung fu. His meticulous blending of the two ingredients is vividly demonstrated in this film.
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Joseph Kuo was the mastermind behind some of the legendary independent kung fu films of the 1970's and 80's. Not that hey were masterpieces of cinema but that they were some of the most idiosyncratic kung fu films made. 18 Bronze-men, Ninja Checkmate and many others. Here he keeps the story slightly more grounded in reality but it's pretty far out there anyway.
A "Dragon Claw" master returns from Manchuria where he became a traitor to China. He's after the coveted Dragon Claw Golden Tablet that will force people to bow down to him. He challenges the Grand-master who has a checkered past of his own. The Grand-master happens to suffers from a terminal chronic injury related to his evil past. The traitor kills the grand-master, causing his wife and son the go into hiding. The wife seems to really be the Dragon Claw master in the family and she vows to train her son the kung fu secrets. The son finds that one of his friends has learned a strange style of kung fu from a filthy medicine man. The son seeks him out to improve his kung fu and defeat the traitor.
Everything that makes a low budgeted kung fu film fun is here. Strange villains, the traitor has brought two nasty friends along, the Red Monster and the Green Monster. Red fights with an abacus! Quirky Chinese humor abounds but it doesn't supplant the martial arts. While I would guess that Dragon Claw is wholly invented (it looks like the real martial art of Tiger Claw mixed up with other southern kung fu styles) but there are lots of real martial arts on display from all of the actors. As mentioned in other comments, Kam Chia Fung is quite impressive.
Quite a decent amount of fun. Recommended.
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