Henchman:The Al Leong Story
Directed by Vito Trabucco
Now you might not know his name but if you've seen any 80s action film or Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure then you know the man that this documentary is about. You know his face. I love Big Trouble in Little China and I remember these action films from my time watching 90s TBS. So I'm the audience for this documentary. Now normally I don't review documentaries.
I couldn't necessarily tell you the reason. I think it might be because documentaries are typically about delivery, information and entertainment. How well does it deliver the information and how much you get from it. This is the core of what a documentary is.
Does Henchman do this? Yes it does. It doesn't wear out its welcome. I would almost say I wanted to know more about Al Leong and what led him to stunt work. It almost comes as an afterthought. He originally is interested in martial arts and then goes right into riding bikes. He seems to be a real fun loving guy and this is pretty much his entire story. He is determined and focused on what he sets his mind to. He gives one hundred percent to every role he takes. Along with this and his incredibly distinct look(the long hair and the Fu Manchu moustache) is why we remember him.
The movie does go into detail about what he specialized in weapons training. This is key to what led him into stunt work. It could also be right place, right time kind of thing. But naturally nothing would have come from it if Al Leong was just ordinary. Oh no the man is not ordinary. He was top in his industry.
One of my favorite movies is Big Trouble in Little China and this movie does a bit on Big Trouble in Little China. It says a few things on what Al ended up doing in the movie. It does this for all of Al's famous movies. Die Hard. Lethal Weapon. Double Dragon even. I watched Double Dragon so many times when I was but a wee lad. It's not a good movie but it is fun to watch.
I did enjoy the bit on the Rapid Fire fight with Brandon Lee before his death. It goes into detail about what this fight meant to Al. There is a brief bit about The Crow but it is inconsequential to the story of Al Leong. I almost wish they didn't include it at all. But this documentary really made me want to go back and watch Rapid Fire and Brandon Lee's filmography before The Crow. I know that movie by heart. Just a beautiful, haunting movie. It has also aged gracefully while still retaining the spirit of the early 90s in music and design.
I'm getting off topic here. Al Leong lead an amazing life and his presence in films and entertainment is insurmountable. You know his face and his essence. He provided the stunts and the action in many classic pictures. I'm a fan and I enjoyed this movie. That's all anyone can ask for in a documentary. I give this movie a B.
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