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Lawrence David Foldes
Lynda Day George
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Fistful of Talons is the best Billy Chong film I've yet seen. Chong was set out to become "the next Jackie Chan" of the chop-socky period; unfortunately, the chop-socky period came to a close just before he started making movies; thus the majority of his films (most which are actually quite enjoyable) did not accumulate to a box-office reputation for Chong, who soon became a TV producer.
Like Jackie Chan at the end of his own chop-socky period, Chong usually plays a very cheerful young man who is out on a mission. Usually this mission is revenge - but not in this film. Talons actually situates Chong's character in a politically difficult moment Chinese history when the fledging Republic was threatened by the dethroned Ching (Manchurian) dynasty. This seems to be more than mere plot convention; Chong's character is eager to bury the ways of the past. (Modernization and Westernization comprised the heart of Republican ideology at the time; which is why it didn't endure. Even during revolutionary change, it is necessary to respect the customs of the past, keeping the revolution on political issues alone.) At any rate, this is neatly written and filmed, and the kung-fu is grand. The only quibble I have is that all the actors indulges in theatrical histrionics that are as much of the past as the Ching dynasty.
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