Kung Fu Kids: Break Away (1980)

Reviewed by Sonica Sparro
June 4, 2014


Wong Yat-Lung • Au Dai • Cheung Hoi-Fan • Ma Cheung • Casanova Wong • Eddy Ko Hun
Black Eagle • The San Mao Little Vagabond • The Adventure of the Boy With Three Hair
Yue Ham-Ping
Version reviewed was in full screen format. English dubbed.
Purchase & Info
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San Mao is a wandering orphan who is traveling the countryside in search of the mother he never knew after his master is shot down by enemy soldiers during a war. Adept at acrobatic martial arts, San Mao uses his skills to make a living in a small-town that he has arrived in where the poor struggle to survive under the rule of Mr. Chu, a very dangerous aristocrat who governs the town with an iron fist. While there, he runs into Qu Pu Li, a smart-aleck little beggar who at first gives San Mao trouble but later the two become friends when Qu Pu Li and his friend Chinese-boxer Xiao Sza Meng get into trouble with Iron-head, Mr. Chu’s bullying but dimwitted enforcer. Now this trio’s skills will be put to the ultimate test when a mystery-man named Eagle requires their help to keep the entire province from falling into Mr. Chu’s hands…an action that could jeopardize all of their lives.
thoughts on the movie

I’ve always been a sucker for movies that involve young kids who practice martial arts against adults that are bigger and twice their size. As a young girl, there was something about that particular premise that made me feel that kids could take on the whole world regardless of what obstacles are in front of them. You probably know and have seen the films I’m talking about: the 3 Ninjas trilogy, the Young Dragons series, etc. I just totally dug those kinds of films and I loved the adventures the kids got into in those films. That’s why Kung Fu Kids Break Away is a real treat for me and is one that I’m proud to have in my collection of martial arts films. My little cousins enjoy watching this movie over and over and they never get tired of it. Even by low-budget standards, this film definitely has a kid-friendly feel to it though the martial arts scenes with the adults may have some people doubting that.

was it funny?
Most definitely! There’s comedy all around in this flick and the overall silliness makes Kung Fu Kids Break Away a light-hearted humorous film to enjoy. Au Dai as Qu Pu Li was adorable, Wong Yat-Lung as San Mao rocked the house and Cheung Hoi Fan who played Xioa Zsa Meng was lovely. This trio acted like a real brother and sister family and the situations they got into together were very humorous.
How was the Action?

What can I say, but the action had a Jackie-Chan style flare to it. I bet Jackie himself would be proud of the makers of this film. Superkicker Casanova Wong is an added special to this flick and he definitely shows off his ‘Human Tornado’ skills for all to see. He and Eddy Ko who plays the villainous Mr. Chu get to go at each other later on in the flick and the three children in this film definitely can fight, especially Wong Yat-Lung with his acrobatic fighting style.

Standout performance(s)

Wong Yat-Lung is pretty much the star of this show with his portrayal of San Mao, the acrobatic orphan. Au Dai adds laughs to the story with his portrayal of smart-mouth little beggar Qu Pu Li and Cheung Hoi Fan was just gracious and fabulous as Xiao Zsa Meng, the only girl of the group. This trio did an excellent job working together and the way they bond in this story you’d think they were family in real life. Shame they didn’t do more work together later on.

Watch or Pass
6 Reasons Why You Should WATCH or PASS On This Movie
1. WATCH if you like stories about kids kickin’ major ass! Especially if it’s an adult’s.
2. WATCH if you’re a fan of Casanova Wong and his earlier work.
3. PASS if you’re not into stories about kids beating up adults.
4. PASS if you don’t like period pieces.
5. WATCH if you like a little silliness ‘ala’ Jackie-Chan-style in your films.
6. WATCH if you’re a child at heart for films like this.

Hands down, Kung Fu Kids: Break Away is a rare film to find nowadays and you don’t see too many films about child martial artists in today’s world. Whoever created this movie definitely knew how to cater to the young crowd and it shows. I recommend this film to anyone with a love for nostalgic kung fu kid films.