Thursday, December 21, 2006

[1981] SHAOLIN AND WU TANG: Yeah--easing my way back into the 80s project with a little kung fu. This was on my list because it's Gordon Liu's directorial debut (though Kung Fu Cinema says this is Lau Kar-leung joint. And IMDB has him directing another movie eight years before this. Who knows? The kung fu filmography is jacked beyond measure.) Gordon is Shaolin and Adam Cheng is Wu Tang and Johnny Wang is the DIRTY CHING! who forces them to fight. Johnny needs the Wu Tang and Shaolin secrets to ensure the continued rule of the Manchus, lest the two schools combine and become dangerous. Of course, Adam and Gordon remain friends despite the interschool conflict, and end up teaching each other the opposite school's secrets during their final fight (which is actually pretty good.) Once they've swapped styles they're both good enough to teach Johnny a lesson and win the day and give the audience a nice little take home message about kung fu being for everyone, whatever school or style they happen to enjoy. But before their last fight it's a fairly cretinous movie, though it's consistent tonally (i.e., no Shaw-style sudden bits of comedy.) And there's this bizarre scene where Adam is locked away in prison with a bunch of crazy women until he reveals the Wu Tang sword style (or something,) and the women are shrieking in bad dubbing and Johnny's planted his sister there to collect Adam's secrets, and Gordon ends up infilitrating the prison and teaching her the Wu Tang fist--it's hard to describe but it was a nutty scene, in an annoying way. The DVD didn't help--it looks liked somebody took it off a VHS tape and when it's a night scene you can't see anything. English dub only, too, so it at least has the curiosity value of being the source of quite a few of the Wu Tang Clan's samples. Aside from that--it's not anything you need to seek out if you're not a kung fu head, even with the unconventional final fight (in terms of there not being a winner or loser--kung fu itself wins!)

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