Featuring: Mikhail Gorbachev, Yuri Andropov, James Baker, Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, Raisa Maximovna Gorbacheva, Miklos Nemeth, Vladimir Putin, Ronald Reagan, Horst Teltschik, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, Boris Yeltsin
I always like to see a Werner Herzog documentary at the festival and thought his last one about the internet was not really up to his standard. Even though it is about Gorbechev, it is clear who is in charge as Werner talks of being “summoned” by the subject to complete the interviews required for the documentary also the mentions of how Gorbechev has clearly done his research into the film maker and knows what sort of questions he will ask.
The very first question Werner asks is assuming that the first German Gorbechev met would have wanted to kill him. Gorbechev flips the script by saying his neighbours on his family’s farm were German. Werner Herzog insists he is not Mikhail Gorbachev’s “buddy” even though they use first names in the film.
Was a bit much Werner Herzog calling Gorbechev’s home town “God forsaken” but you would expect that sort of thing by now.
As they describe in the documentary the USSR was crumbling by the time Gorbechev finally came to power and the succession of identical funerals for former leaders shows this but I am not sure it was necessary to show all three.
There are a lot of clips of former leaders shown from the time period including Margaret Thatcher speaking on nuclear weapons. Gorbechev disagrees with her views and says she goes too far. Was a comment from the audience “Margaret Thatcher is the perfect villain in everything I have seen her in.”
Interestingly there is a sequence from another documentary, Gorbachev. After Empire released in 2001 by Vitaly Mansky. I remember watching this on SBS TV in Australia specifically his old blind auntie crying and saying “My Misha!”
The documentary tells the story Mikhail Gorbachev and how he transformed himself from a simple farm boy to the leader of one of the largest nations on earth and was loved by the people as he would go out onto the street to talk to them. Would be hard to imagine Putin doing that these days.
You can see the bandage on Gorbechev’s hand in some scenes as he had to be delivered from the hospital as he really wanted to finish the film.
An excellent documentary and hopefully it will get a wider release after it finishes the festival circuit.
NB: This was originally written as a pitch
for a comedy site and abandoned.
I recently had the chance to see the
recording of the FAQ show for Ozflix with
Bruce Spence. We could only ask one question so mine was 300 words long.
I ended up having to cut it so I asked if the people making the movie
knew that if it was something that could happen in the near future and
not just a movie. He used the word prescient in his answer and said that
George Miller was “a bit of genius”. The first movies were about the
fuel crisis of the 1970s. Fury Road was about water.
So this happened
and then this
Despite there being many Australians
involved in the Hollywood film industry, the country does not have many
iconic film characters apart from Skippy, Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max
that are world famous. Wolverine does not count unfortunately.
The original Mad Max film was based
on Dr George Miller’s experience from dealing with a parade of carnage
through his emergency room in a time when cars were much more powerful
than today and more poorly regulated and more importantly, when drink
driving laws were lax.
In the city where the original film
was made there were vast suburbs stretching out in all directions with
lots of well made, straight, flat roads that helped the production. It
also led to many imitators both in Australia and overseas but Mad Max is
still the most iconic.
When the film was made in the late
1970s the gas crisis was a recent memory so the plot about the world
running out of fuel for cars seemed like a real possibility. There are
also a lot of other things that contributed to the movie being what it
is that will become apparent as we go on.
Despite what some fans are saying
about the new movie, it is an Australian production as a crew of 800
people went over from Australia to South Africa and Nambia to shoot the
film and many of the extras were Australian actors.
What I want to talk about in this
article is how the original film could not have been made in any other
country than Australia (an alternate reality of Mad Max being made in
Hollywood could be dealt with in another article.)
1. The political environment
Australia does not have the law that
its Prime Minister can only have two terms so at the start of the 1970s
after two decades of the one political party being in power, people were
ready for a change https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jykIqQxEOw
Gough Whitlam tried to institute
real change, but that went about as well as could be expected, he is
famous for being the only Prime Minister to be fired by the Governor
While he was in the Whitlam
government did pass a lot of reforms that led to a lot more creative
things going on including kicking into gear the local film industry due
to free university degrees and a lot more people going into creative
industries as a result.
The Australian Film Commission was
created on July 7, 1975 and began making substantial grants to feature
film, documentary, television and short film projects.182
It significantly extended on the support for the Australian film
industry that began with the Gorton Government. This support contributed
to the renaissance of Australian cinema that took place in the 1970s and
1980s, reviving an industry that had stagnated for decades. This support
allowed the expression of a new confident cultural identity through
film. Iconic and critically acclaimed films such as Picnic at
Hanging Rock, Gallipoli and The Last Wave
were produced with funding from the new Australian Film Commission.
2. The Australian film industry in the 70s
At the start of the decade the
Australian film industry had “had a bit of a lie down” for about 20
years and even some of the more famous Australian films such as
They’re a Weird Mob
Wake in Fright
were not even directed by
Australians as while there were still people working in TV and film it
was thought no one would see Australian movies if they made them.
The subject is covered in depth in
the documentary “Not Quite Hollywood” about the “boom” time of
Australian cinema from the introduction of the R-rating (NC-17) and the
10BA scheme through to the slump in the 1980s due to over-investment in
When first introduced in June 1981,
10BA allowed investors to claim a 150 per cent tax concession and to pay
tax on only half of any income earned from the investment. Government
concern about the cost of 10BA over the years meant that concessions
were progressively reduced to 100 per cent. Division 10BA was
closed to new applicants in July 2007 with the introduction of the new
Producer Offset. The concessional status for investment in productions
holding a valid 10BA certificate remained available until 30 June 2009.
3. Actors available
While Mad Max was famously one of
Mel Gibson’s first movies that he only got the role for after turning up
for casting with a black eye after getting into a fight, there were also
many other cast members who had been in many other films in the previous
decade that directly contributed to making the film what it was.
No, I was not named after the movie
“Tim” it was the BOOK
Several of the actors had already
been in movies together, namely the movie Stone which is as much the
spiritual successor to Mad Max as any other movie
According to Stone’s producer Sandy
Harbutt Roger Ward went over to the pub that the Hells Angels who were
playing the extras were drinking at and yelled out “All Hells Angels are
poofters!”. Some of the fights in that movie were pretty real.
There were a lot of young directors
at the time due to the film industry having a revival in the 1970s
people like Brian Trenchard-Smith, Peter Weir, Phillip Noyce, Gillian
Armstrong, Fred Schepisi amongst others who started off small and then
went off to work in Hollywood or overseas due to the Australian film
industry not being big enough to sustain them all.
During the 1970s , following the
confluence of numerous different factors, t ere was an extraordinary
revival of Australian film. The graduation of the first group of
students from the newly-created Australian Film, Television and Radio
School(AFTRS), was one factor; students like Gillian Armstrong and
Philip Noyce left their studies and began to work in the industry, and
settled alongside filmmakers like Fred Schepisi, Bruce Beresford and
Peter Weir, who had entered the industry in other ways. The other
factors ushering in the revival are also significant: in 1970, Philip
Adams and Barry Jones (working with the blessing of then Australian
Prime Minister Gorton) travelled around the world researching
Government-funded film industries, with the brief to prepare a detailed
report recommending ways in which an Australian Film Industry might be
literally “established”. After much wrangling and two changes of Prime
Minister, the new Australian film industry was brought into being.
Even though they were both USA car
brands, Holden vs. Ford rivalry was the source of many playground fights
growing up, sadly there are not going to be any car manufacturers left
in Australia after 2016 when the last of them shuts down as the current
government has decided to pull the plug.
The peak of car manufacturing in
Australia was in the 1970s where a car manufacturer’s race the Bathurst
1000 was held once per year by cars actually in production. If you go to
see the museum at the track you can see all they did was weld roll bars
into a real production car that still had its back seats installed and
souped-up the engine http://www.motoring.com.au/news/2012/sports/bathurst-1000—the-superstar-70s-32315
While not as money-rich as the
Formula One or having a big a following as NASCAR, the V8 touring cars
still do a series of races around Australia and the Formula 1 race in
Melbourne is the only one where they actually have another class of cars
racing on the track before the big race or nobody would come to it
Australian cars in the 1970s were
big an boxy, if you got into the crash the car would be fine, it was you
would be smashed up. There was famously a car that was deemed “too
dangerous” to release after an incautious motoring journalist took it
for a test drive one Sunday morning.
With the popularity of cars in
Australia and the number of road accidents, drastic measures had to be
taken and the Traffic Accident Commission started airing graphic road
accident commercials on network television as part of various campaigns
mirroring the violence in the Mad Max movies but showing the real
A 20 year retrospective of all the TAC campaigns
from the past 20 years.
To commemorate this 20 year anniversary, a five minute
retrospective of TAC campaigns from the past 20 years has been
compiled. This montage features iconic scenes and images from
commercials that have helped change the way we drive, all edited to
REM’s moving song ‘Everybody Hurts’.
As an aside I did once borrow a VHS tape from the
Australian Centre for the Moving Image called “The Road Worrier” that
was totally based on Mad Max but had a golden driving instructor robot
and advised students to “DON’T BE A NERD! TAKE YOUR TIME”
Examines driving hazards encountered by young
they start to drive: inexperience on roads; traps to avoid when
dealing with car dealers. Also looks at how to acquire good
driving skills. Prod Co
This meant a very flat road with
good looking locations such as the bridge where they took the railings
off to do the stunt where the motorcyclists went into the river. Also on
the same bridge one of the stuntmen actually got hit in the head by the
You can actually go see where they
filmed parts of the first movie fairly easily if you are living or
traveling to Melboure. Due to hoons messing up the place in their cars
the author has left some locations off the list
“Note: Some locations I have
discovered are privately owned, and for that reason are not listed.
Additionally, I have noticed evidence at some other locations that
people have been hooning around in their cars. DON’T let this be you.
It’s rather childish, and spoils it for everyone else when I’m forced to
remove locations from the list as a result. Thanks.”
The second and third films were
filmed a lot further out near Broken Hill and do not have the same feel
to them. The outer suburban malaise where all you can do is drive around
and yelling out at people before wrapping it around a power poll at
100mph is a popular thing for younger drivers to do still, the Victorian
government had to change the laws to restrict the number of passengers
probationary drivers could have due to so many accidents.
Australian band TISM also covered
this topic in their song “Greg! The Stop Sign”
There is also the song “Maltby
Bypass” which I cannot find online that is about the region around
Weribee telling the story of Johnny Cash having is photo taken on the
side of the road and a family car breakdown a decade earlier
Chung Bik-ha as Blackie in The Blade who doesn’t take any shit from nobody, even the bullies who cut the sole of her foot.
Brigitte Lin as Lien Ni-Chang and it goes without saying when she becomes the White Witch she is unmatched.
Michelle Yeoh as Sister Ko in Butterfly and Sword.
Maggie Cheung as Qiao Li in Comrades, Almost a Love Story in one of my top 10 favourite Hong Kong movies.
Maggie Cheung as Lingyu Ruan in Centre Stage.
Joey Wong as the ghost in a Chinese Ghost Story.
Karen Mok as Bak Jing-jing and Athena Chu as Zixia in A Chinese Odyssey Part 1 – Pandora’s Box, I like the scene where they keep setting Stephen Chow’s crotch on fire.
Xu Jiao as Dicky in CJ7, yes another role where a young girl plays a young boy but she is good at it.
Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu Lien, Ziyi Zhang as Jen and Cheng Pei-Pei as Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Kei Gwong Hung as little Ding Dong (girl playing a boy again), Kara Hui Ying-Hung as Rainbow Sword in Demon of the Lute.
Bingbing Li as Shangguan Jing’er in Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.
Brigitte Lin playing twins in Dragon Chronicles: Maidens of Heavenly Mountain.
Cheng Pei-pei as Chin-erh in Dragon Swamp.
Brigitte Lin as Mo-Yan and Maggie Cheung as Jade King in Dragon Inn.
Joyce Godenzi as the Cambodian guerrilla leader in Eastern Condors especially the vicious stabbing she gives to one of the baddies during the ammo cache fight scene.
Brigitte Lin as Master Asia Invincible in East is Red. She even manages to overshadow the ninja submarine in this movie and also has a bald albino ninja wearing a nappy who has carrier pigeons in his mouth.
Pop duo Twins playing the Chopstick Sisters in the movie Fantasia. You would think it would just be stupid but it is quite fun.
Zhou Xun as Ling Yanqiu and Gwei Lun-mei as Zhang Xiao Wen in Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. I liked the bandit leader more than the main hero, they wore like Ancient Chinese punks.
Josephine Siao as Miu Chui-fa in Fong Sai Yuk. “It’s shit to be chased by the dogs!” is still my favourite line from this movie.
Carina Lau as Kar ling in Forbidden City Cop, the best on-screen wife for Stephen Chow in any of his movies.
Karen Mok as Sister Turkey in God of Cookery, her character manages to bring humour and pathos to the role and she has a big heart.
Anita Mui as Wonder Woman, Maggie Cheung as Thief-Catcher Chat, Michelle Yeoh as Invisble Girl. The top of the heap for good roles for women in Hong Kong movies. There has been no better trio.
Anita Yuen as Wing in He’s a Woman, She’s a Man. A sex-change comedy but it is very sweet and honest.
Maggie Cheung as Mrs Chan in In the Mood for Love do I really need to say why?
Lily Ho as Ainu has delicious revenge against brothel madame Lady Chu played by Betty Pei Ti in the movie Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, I have not seen a more satisfying revenge movie in a long time.
Sandra Ng as Sophie Yam the triad boss’ wife in her “hungry tigress” stage and the line “My baby has no anus” not even the most weird thing in Jiang hu: The Triad Zone which also includes Anthony Wong as a life sized household god statue.
Shu Qi as Bai Gu Jing with a dirty face in Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. Yes, I know Stephen Chow told her to “not look so pretty” in the role, but I like her roles more where she does not get naked. I did an entire page of her making funny faces http://hkmovies.timchuma.com/jttwctd_funnyface.htm
Anita Mui as Madam Sung in Justice, My Foot! where she plays the wife of Stephen Chow’s character. She has to rescue him at one point.
I love Ai Kago and Shum Ying in Kung Fu Chefs so much even though the movie is a bit bleh, she kicks arse! She reminds me of a friend who is a professional dancer and is tiny.
“Women are cunning!” is one of the main things to take away from Kung Fu Cult Master, Sharla Cheung as Chao Min, Gigi Lai as Chow Chi-yu and Chingmy Yau as Tsu Chu all do well.
Yuen Qui as the Landlady in Kung Fu Hustle steals the show, my favourite scene is when she non-verbally threatens the gang boss in the back of his car.
Yuen Qui somehow ended up in Kung Fu Mahjong by Wong Jing after the success of Kung Fu Hustle, pretty much playing the same role but in the modern day.
Hui Ying-hung as Mei-ling in the movie the Lady is the Boss takes over a kung fu school and introduces “gay dancing” and fights baddies while riding a BMX “I like it!”.
Maggie Cheung as Maggie Cheung in the movie Irma Vep is great, especially since I can’t tell what parts were made up and which were real. Her reaction when someone asks her if she is a lesbian seems pretty geunine.
Anita Mui as Yuet and Maggie Cheung as Hsien in the movie Moon Warriors that also includes the main character riding a killer whale.
Anita Mui in Yang Luming in Mr Canton and Lady Rose as she is very classy.
Karen Mok does an excellent piss take of Natalie Portman’s character from Leon the Professional in Out of the Dark. The movie is a bit dark for a comedy.
Maggie Cheung being the butt of many jokes in the Police Story movies and also getting injured by explosives in Police Story 2 🙁
Michelle Yeoh jumping a real motorbike onto a real moving train in Police Story 3.
Michelle Yeoh’s performance in general in the movie Project S.
Michelle Yeoh as Michelle in Royal Warriors.
Maggie Cheung as single mum Ellen in the movie Sausalito, yes I used to watch everything that screened at my local Chinatown Cinema.
Chen Jiajia as Kualo in the movie Seven Swords. She’s Kualo! Do I even need to say a reason? If I made a movie it would be her backstory.
Cheng Pei-pei as Miss Yang who ends up being a whipping avenger in the movie the Shadow Whip. I am sure I saw her use someone’s leg to hit himself in one scene using the whip.
Shu Qi as Lyn, Zhao Wei as Sue, Karen Mok as Officer Hung in the film So Close and “almost, but not quite” movie but it is still fun in parts. They only hint at a possible lesbian relationship which is an opportunity wasted.
Terry Lau Wai-Yue as Demon Mom in the movie Super Inframan chowing down on scenery.
Brigitte Lin as Invincible Asia in Swordsman II.
Michelle Yeoh as Inspector Ng and Cynthia Rothrock in Yes Madam. I do not need a reason.
Sylvia Chang as Superintendent Nancy Ho in Aces Go Places.
Kara Hui as Dai-Nan in My Young Auntie who seems to hate fun.
Anita Mui as Fleur in Rouge, this movie was very sad.
Director: Lau Kar-leung
Starring: Kara Hui Ying-Hung, Lau Kar-leung, Hsiao Ho, Johnny Wang Lung-Wei, Yuen Tak, Gordon Liu Chia-Hui
After doing a favour for his dying master by marrying him to keep his property out the hands of his evil brother (Wang Lung-Wei), Jing Dai-Nan (Kara Hui) has to flee to the house of one of his brothers Yu Jing-Chuen (Lau Kar-leung) who she is now the “auntie” of despite being many years younger. His son Charlie (Hsiao Ho) is meant to be in Hong Kong studying, but arrives back early and ends up fighting with Dai-Nan and trashing the joint.
Cue many understandings and temper tantrums from both Charlie and Dai-Nan. When they both settle down Charlie takes her into town, where she gets made fun of for being a “country bumpkin” and ends up in a much too fancy dress, leading to another fight where they have to run from the cops.
Even though Dai-Nan seems to hate fun, Charlie is determined to show her a good time and after a quick musical interlude invites her to a dance. Unfortunately the dance is interrupted by the cronies of the evil brother “don’t worry Charlie, in Hong Kong we always fight at parties” and Charlie and Dai-Nan end up getting arrested. It was all a ruse to get the old man’s will and deeds back so Dai-Nan has to sign them over.
Assessing the situation and asking for the help of the other uncles, Dai-Nan decides to act on her own with Charlie tagging along to find the traps. Unfortunately they fail and Dai-Nan gets kidnapped. Will they get out of this bind or not? I’ll let you find out.
Phew! The synopsis does not tell you how crazy this movie is, with some fourth wall breaking shenanigans, many crazy cross culture exchanges, the dance sequence in western costumes, Gordon Lui in ridiculous hair, the dude with the sunglasses who never loses them no matter how many times he gets beat up and many other silly things.
You have to be in the right mood to see this as if you are expecting a serious kung fu movie you will dismiss it out of hand. I saw it on a double bill with Dirty Ho and on the tail end of seeing eight Hong Kong movies in a weekend at a special screening so I was ready for it. I almost cheered when Wang Lung-Wei pointed and there is even an almost a POV point at one point.
Not sure why they could not let the Young Auntie have the final fight scene to herself, she does not look like she needs rescuing the other times. Despite that, it is a funny movie and while not an essential watch worth having a look for if you want to see a movie similar to Lady is the Boss.
Director: Wong Jing
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Joey Wong Cho-Yin, Sharla Cheung Man, Ng Man-Tat
The God of Gamblers, Ko Chun (Chow Yun-Fat) goes missing after gambling at a private game and ends up losing his memory. Feeling guilty for setting the trap that he blundered into, Knife (Andy Lau) and his friends decide to look after him and find out that he is a gambling genius, coming to call him “King of Gamblers” and hitting up all the shady places they can find.
Trouble brews when Knife mistreats Ko and is also a terrible gambler himself, leading to him owing a big debt to a loanshark (Ng Man-Tat) and also the bad guys who the God of Gamblers is meant to have a big card game coming up with their boss are looking for him to get rid of him.
Miraculously, Ko’s bodyguard appears to save the day and they only just get out alive. While running away from the police in shock from all the killings, Ko falls and hits his head again. Later in the hospital with his old memories, he doesn’t know Knife and his former friend who set him up is sucking up to him.
Unknown to Ko in his absence, his former friend has colluded with the gang boss he is meant to gamble with and wants him to lose. This sets the scene for a tense scene on a ship that is meant to be sailing into international waters. Who will win?
For some reason I had seen the sequel to this movie and not the original. I do not recall seeing Stephen Chow’s parody of the movie that was so good it landed him a place in one of the sequels.
In terms of iconic characters Chow Yun Fat’s portrayal is up there with Mark Gor in a Better Tomorrow and I can’t even fathom how Wong Jing can make something like this in the 1980s and then go on to make such rubbish.
While the gambling scenes are the heart of the movie there are quite good gunplay scenes and some light relief on offer when things get too dark from Chow Yun Fat playing up the head injury aspect.
Andy Lau is a mere slip of a boy here and is quite mean to Chow Yun Fat’s character, but comes through in the end.
If you have never seen this movie I would recommend it and just ignore Wong Jing’s later work unless you are a huge fan with an ability to tolerate bad trash. It’s not even funny trash, it’s just bad and has nasty stuff in it for so reason. Better stop here or I will go on and on.
Director: Eric Tsang
Starring: Samuel Hui Koon-Kit, Karl Maka, Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia, Dean Shek Tin, Chan Sing, Tsui Hark
A daring high-wire diamond heist by master thief King Kong (Sam Hui) and his sidekick Gigolo Joe (Dean Shek) gets the attention of the authorities as neither of the parties that were robbed reported it to the police. The Governor of Hong Kong and top government officials decide to get Sargeant Kodojack (Karl Maka) in to catch King Kong as he is on the case of the international thief White Glove (Robert Houston).
Tough Superintendent Nancy Ho (Sylvia Chang) likes all her police to treat her as one of the guys and ends up arresting Kodojack after he unwittingly becomes the getaway driver for a separate robbery, leading to much amusement.
Not so good for King Kong is when Mad Max (Chan Sing) turns up vengeance on his mind and Gigolo Joe ends up being killed before he can tell him where the diamonds are hidden. Kodojack decides to trap King Kong into helping the police and even the White Glove helps behind the scenes as he also wants the diamonds for himself. Lots of wacky tomfoolery ensues including the strange scene of RC cars taking on full grown cars and winning with the help of explosives.
This reminds me very much of a live action cartoon similar to the Lupin series and this movie was the first in a series of six. It is very fun and pacey and full of interesting characters including a cameo by Tsui Hark as a ballet director. The scenes with the gang boss Mad Max are strange as he appears in riding gear and has his own synthesiser sting.
The bad hair and fashions are just a joy to watch as this movie couldn’t be more 80s if it tried. Special mention must go to Mad Max’s leather cat suit and also Kodojack ending up on stage dressed like Ming the Merciless in one scene.
Even with the killings and violence it does not seem to change tone and is more of a romp and James Bond spoof than a serious action movie. I liked that it had its own version of the hang gliding scene from the Man From Hong Kong although this one is part of a longer scene.
The characters are drawn very broadly as you would expect with this type of movie with the Lady Superintendent either being really tough or very girly after Kodojack at first pretends to like her to get her onside.
I understand this movie was released as Mad Mission in western markets. If you can, try to get the Hong Kong release as it is uncut.
Well worth your time if you are looking for something light and breezy, I am going to try and see the rest of the series.
Director: Sammo Hung
Starring: Sammo Hung, Nina Li Chi, Max Mok Siu Chung, Suen Yuet, Fennie Yuen Kit Ying, Lowell Lo Koon Ting, Meng Hoi, John Sham Kein, Billy Chow Bei Lei, Lau Kar Leung, Lam Ching Ying
Sammo Hung stars as the head of a group of sworn brothers who happen to work as pedicab drivers and help each other out when it is needed including fighting with the cargo haulers in the very first scene or helping out one of their friends who is down on their luck.
Sammo lives with his aunt who is renting out their property to a bakery. He falls for a young lady working there, only trouble is so has her boss which causes some conflict between them. Real trouble occurs when a seedy brothel owner tries to kidnap the young lady and Sammo has to pedal like hell away on the pedicab while being chased down in a car. One thing leads to another and they end up crashing through the window of a gaming house, leading to Sammo being beaten in a hard fight by the gambling house owner, Kau Kar Leung, but he earns the respect of him and is let go.
One of Sammo’s buddies has fallen in love also, but unfortunately she turns out to be ye olde “hooker with a hear of gold’, which causes a big bust up in the groups ties. Sammo’s love interest slaps them around for being so judgemental and they make up. Everything looks peachy with Sammo’s friend marrying the girl, but the evil brothel owner from before doesn’t like his women to leave, sending around goons to bust up the wedding night and leading to the final throwdown with Sammo vs. the entire gang.
This film was personally recommended to me so I was looking forward to it. Also it is not available on DVD and hard to get on VHS. I am not sure if it has even screened on SBS TV in Australia as I would have remembered it otherwise.
The fight scenes are a lot different from ordinary kung fu films as they seem a lot more harsh and brutal and you see Sammo getting more and more beaten up during the course of the scene. This is especially the case with the fight with Lau Kar Leung in the gambling house and the fight with the gangsters at the end.
I did enjoy the opening scene fight as it starts with a misunderstanding and does have the more playful elements such as the two combatants using fluorescent tubes as light sabres and being electrocuted by them with visible electricity like a cartoon. I did not think the movie was like “the Gods Must be Crazy” but it does have some funny parts to balance out the more serious drama that comes later.
In a lot of ways it does remind me of Kung Fu Hustle and certainly some of the cast from this movie appeared in that film with Sammo Hung doing fight choreography on the fight with the three masters in Pig Sty Alley.
It is a shame that this film is not as widely available as some of the other films from the 1980s as it easily stands alongside movies like Mr Canton and Lady Rose or the Project A movies if you like period drama mixed with kung fu.
While it is a kung fu story it does have things in the film that make it different like showing the result of getting into fights and even not having a normal ending as the main character says he has killed too many people in his quest for revenge and has to now try and dodge the police.
The fight with Lau Kar Leung in the gambling house including a stick battle is easily a stand out and can be watched by its own as it is very satisfying. You do end up understanding why the character who is fighting Sammo ends up respecting him as he does take quite a lot of punishment.
If you can manage to get a copy of this I would definitely recommend it as it is something special.
(*) All the trailers I could find in the original language where possible. In some cases there was a clip I liked better than the trailer.
While my personal preference is for the original Shaw Brothers trailers over than the new Celestial Pictures re-release ones, it is a different marketplace so they have a particular style of their own.
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow 2
A Hero Never Dies
Aces Go Places
Ashes of Time Redux
Bullet in the Head
Challenge of the Masters
City on Fire