David Chiang plays Johnny, a reformed criminal turned pop headliner at a hip club in Hong Kong. His past isn't exactly common knowledge, but it seems to have inspired some of his biggest ...
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Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
David Chiang plays Johnny, a reformed criminal turned pop headliner at a hip club in Hong Kong. His past isn't exactly common knowledge, but it seems to have inspired some of his biggest hits. "I may be small, but I can kill," he croons in the opening number. Somehow, he doesn't seem so menacing amid a swirl of choreographed dancers and disco lights ... Johnny sure means to keep his nose clean. His former pursuits have cost him the love of his life, who has disappeared. He's got a great job, and he seems to make plenty of legitimate money for himself and the club owner. But his erstwhile colleagues pop out of the gutter just long enough to imperil Johnny's whole deal. And it turns out that the club owner doesn't take such a fatherly and benevolent interest in Johnny's well-being, either. One more big job is what his ex-friends want from Johnny, and they won't even shy away from blackmail to get him to do it. Fortunately, a cop who knows the old Johnny and the new Johnny doesn't give ...Written by
The successful night club singer Johnny [ David Chiang ] is blackmailed by his former criminal friends into working with them again. They want rob a jewellery store and need him for disguise. Starting the robbery Johnny see's his lost love Lily [ Wang Ping ] working there, then fights against the gang and gets shot by the security. Now he's wanted by the police and his former colleagues....
Apart from 5 songs performed by David Chiang a completely "common" thriller, not a musical or pistol opera, as worried before. The background music also takes places at the very beginning or end of the movie, and is only held at concerts of Johnny, not during the movie, he didn't start singing in the middle of action. The OK mandopop songs written by Chang Cheh are rather funny also, not only because of the silly lyrics, but also the choreographed gig, the costumes of the dancers and especially the petrified David Chiang and the cameo of Ti Lung as guitarist and drummer.
The story begins well, Johnny [ his artist name is the "Narcissus" and hell, he looks like one ] gets a fictitious letter , leading him to the old accommodation , where the criminals try to get control over him. Their plan is well thought and the ways before the robbery - which is in the middle of movie - are quite suspenseful and clever. Then it's slowing down, not only because of Johnny's injuries. Speed is lacking, the big love story doesn't work, the played emotions are too played, they simply overegg the pudding.
In contrast to that the determination work of the police is boring, the audience knows the truth already. The chase of the gang is little boring also, because there really isn't any, except 2 thugs "visiting" once. Anyway the film is quite good, if there's speed, but there are simply too less moments of it. The armed robbery is adrenaline pumping, the later foot chase in the underground also, sporting some good action sequences. The showdown is also dealing with guns, next to few fight choreographies of Lau Kar Leung and Tang Chia, film is also mildly bloody.
I wouldn't recommend the movie, it's quite interesting the first half, then it gets worse and little boring. No comparison to Seijun Suzuki's TOKYO DRIFTER.
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