Tuesday, December 26, 2006

[1981] LION VS LION: Kung Fu Cinema praised the heck out of this thing but I found it to be very much a mixed bag. I think it may be a good title for the kung fu purists, in that the fights are really excellent but the plot is quite hard to follow--it's something to do with a secret list of rebels against the Manchus that winds up in the hands of conman Ah Cun (Wong Yu) and his dumb-but-noble partner Ah Yue (Lo Meng.) Johnny Wang gets to play a hero for about three-quarters of the picture, but turns into his usual Shaw villain near the end. Directors Chin Yuet-sang and Hsu Hsia really knew how to do an action scene--and Kung Fu Cinema says they were both longtime action directors before this movie, so that explains that--but building a movie out of the action they're less good at. I mean, the lion vs lion fight of the title (a lion dancing fight, to be specific) was incredible but they also stuck it in more-or-less randomly, like they had an idea for a lion fighting scene and just pasted it in there where they could. But it's a great fight, you could see this movie for that sequence alone and it'd be completely worthwhile. There just wasn't enough holding the fights together, and I'm not enough of a kung fu fan to love a movie on the basis of the fighting alone.

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