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Siu Tin Yuen,
Kwok Chung is a righteous rich kid whose hobby is to fight and brawl. One encounter nearly gets him killed, but he is saved by Yueh (Fong Hak On), the Snake Fist Master. Yueh befriends and teaches Kwok the deadly art of the snake. Soon, Kwok realizes that his teacher has more in common with a snake than just techniques. He's being set up by his teacher, and his family is also targeted for murder!
A rare plot for the genre but good action is all we need
It begins with "Who are these two guys and why are they fighting?" But that's Wilson Tong and Fung Hak-On and they both play bad guys so what's with that too? Oh, each one raped the other's wife? That makes sense. They will fight again I am sure.
After the opening credits the movie starts with people lining up for food. The rich man rides in on his chair. Wilson has aged and same for Fung. Fung follows the son and swears revenge on the whole family. Does the son know kung fu? Son is off to rescue a girl from some idiots dragging her off to a brothel. (Why are women always being dragged off to brothels in these movies when in the real world brothels are full of women who are there willingly?) Angela is in charge of the brothel. Son fights Angela for the girl's contract. Fung steps in to help. (This is an excellent sword versus fan fight sequence.)
What makes a good fight sequence? I started watching every martial arts movie ever made from 1967 to present day a few years ago. The standards for a good fight in 1967 were certainly different compared to 1980. In 1967 the basic requirement for a good fight sequence was how many moves before a cut. A sequence of 16 moves before a cut was considered excellent. That changed because editing got better. The cuts became smoother, not even obvious, so the amount of sequential moves did not matter as much. Two elements of a good fight sequence for 1980 are very apparent in this fight. The moves are close and fast. How close the weapons and fists come to hitting can be exaggerated by the camera angles and speed can be altered by the frames per second. However, if camera angles or frames per second are used it can be really obvious. There is no doubt in all the fights in this movie the hits are extremely close to target and the speed is real.
The son has a problem when word is out he lost to a woman. The audience is also punished by this because the movie gets talkative and tries too hard to be funny. The action resumes with lobster style. (I tried to make a list of all these fantastic animal styles of kung fu but lost track, there are too many!) Wilson starts to teach himself lobster style. Fung takes on the son as a student – instead of killing him or standing back and allowing another to kill him.
There are only bad guys in this movie. The son is as close to a good guy as it comes but he is actually neutral or has not picked a side. Will the son oppose the father? That is Fung's plan for revenge. It is actually a "coming of age" plot for the son but not really done right. I did not expect a plot done to perfection in one of these movies so I am willing to let that go as long as the action is there and it is.
My copy is wide screen with dual Chinese and English hard subtitles. This is typical of laser disk releases but my copy lacks the resolution of a laser disk digital file. This might be because the file size was shortened over the years. I would certainly pay to upgrade to a legitimate higher resolution release if I can find one. I rate this movie above average. Wilson Tong was at the top of his game this year. I highly recommend it for all fans of the genre.
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