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DrNgor

August 2017 Mutual Movie Review Thread

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On 03/09/2017 at 4:17 AM, DrNgor said:

No problem. I'll wait.

Much appreciated DrNgor, just sat down to watch the film, or should I say endure the film. Shoud have the review posted tomorrow, if all goes to plan.

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Jackie & Bruce To The Rescue (1982)

a.k.a Fist Of Death

Fight Choreographer- Unknown

Directed By- Choe Dong-Joon & Wu Chia-Chun

Starring- Jacky Chang, Kim Tai-Chung, Baek Hwang-Ki, Jeanette Wong, Chang I-Chih, Eagle Han Ying, Chang Shan,

Plot Synopsis- All round Martial Arts Mr Nice, Bruce(Kim Tai Chung), returns to the Jing Wu school, to find his master murdered. All clues point to the local YMCA Dojo, but did they really kill his master?. Meanwhile a Rickshaw driver called Jacky, befriends a local call girl and eventually ends up embroiled in the YMCA/Jing Wu rivalry.

"We are all members of the human race, those men are just like you and I"

 

South Korean Martial Arts action presented to the world by none of than Dick Randall(Challenge Of The Tiger, The Real Bruce Lee). The Lucky Star Film Co. created this odd piece of Kung Fu movie history, that combines both Bruceploitation & Chansploitation into one picture. The film opens with a shot of the YMCA students going through the motions at their dojo. The YMCA students, even have their own knives branded with the school’s letters. Yes, you read that right, the YMCA appear to have a completely different image/agenda in South Korea. To save any legal disputes, the film makers have spelled the dojo sign GMCA, or something like that. This wasn't the most engaging Bruceploitationer, so you shall have to forgive me for overlooking some details.

While the movie follows the basic plot outline from Fist Of Fury(1972), it also tries to throw in a few espionage elements. I tried to give the most simplified version I could of the story in the plot synopsis, but anyone who braves watching this film will realize there’s a few sub-plots going on too. The movie has a contemporary setting, but the Jing Wu school curse has not yet lifted. It's not long into the film, that their master is murdered yet again, putting the school into disarray for the umpteenth time. One student turns to drink and gambling to ease his pains. While another played by Martial Arts talent Eagle Han Ying, just walks around in a constant state of anger. The usual old tropes seen countless times before in many of the 1970s Fist Of Fury sequels, knock-offs and cash ins.

Oddly star student Bruce turns up all decked out in white, with matching briefcase. Only to be shocked to hear that his master is no longer alive. White being the colour of choice for many Asian funerals, meaning his clothes suggested he already knew about the bad news?. There's no explanation as to where our hero has been?. Has he been gambling? Getting drunk in strip bars?, traveling the world? or running an ice cream parlour?. While Bruce was away, Eagle Han Ying's character took matters into his own hands. Going to the YCMA in full blown Chen Zhen mode, only to get himself and his fellow student arrested by the local cops. They really wasted the guys talents here, after a few brief scuffles his character vanishes from the movie entirely. Like so many Korean productions of the time, I'm sure the original cut was much longer than the international print??.

Actress Jeanette Wong(Twin Dragon River) plays the attractive love interest of Bruce. I was unable to find a name for the woman who played Changs girlfriend. Wong was no Martial Artist as far as I know?. This is the one and only role I've seen of hers. She was no stranger to film either,making her debut in the 1976 production The Prodigal Boxer 2. With over fifty one movie appearances to her name, she had a very lengthy career before retiring in 1994. The scheming gambling den lady is played by the appropriately named Lee Sin, in her one and only movie appearance?.

The first time we see Jackie Chan tribute act, Jacky Chang, he's defending the honour of a local lady of the night. Regular Korean bad guy Huang Baek-Ki is the leader of the nefarious gang of thugs, no surprises there for any long-term Korean action fans. Despite some great acrobatics, Chang first fight in the film is nothing special. This was his second to last screen appearance, Shaolin and Tai Chi(1983) being his last movie. It appears I'm watching this guy’s filmography in the opposite order of production, without going out of my to. While Shaolin and Tai Chi wasn’t spectacular, I found it far more entertaining than this movie. Chang does look like Chan in some angles, but he doesn’t have half the talent of the man he’s copying.

"Hey come on up, try a little doggy style"

Talking about talent, Chang Shan(Of Cooks & Kung Fu) like Eagle Han Ying, is given very little to do here. We get some brief flashes of his greatness, in some of the fights his lackey character gets involved in. It really says a lot about the filmmakers, when they managed to get hold of two top Martial Artists and then dump them into dull uncreative roles. While watching this film, I'd wished they had put those two in the starring roles. I'm not sure who should be credited for the lack lustre screen combat?. There are some brief snippets of the usual impressive Kick heavy Korean action, fans of this era know. There's just not enough of it to make the film more entertaining. Kim Tai-Chung looked far better under Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo-Ping action direction in Game Of Death and Tower Of Death. We also miss Yuen Biao as his acrobatic double too. That said, you can see Kim was the real deal in terms of Martial Arts. He also pulls of a few nice tricks of his own, there's just not enough of them when compared to his previous roles.

Before our two cinematic tribute acts can combined forces and rid a Korean town of crime. They must first fight each-other, and a sleazy low budget Casino makes the perfect setting. Hap Ki-Do expert Kim Tai-Chung causally walks in wearing a two-piece Game Of Death style tracksuit. They must have been selling those tracksuits in shops by the boat load back then. Jacky Chang, is all decked out in the Freddy Wong Drunken Master get up. It's yet another average fight, and I'm being kind by saying it's average. A word I'm using far too much in this review, but it just seems to sum up everything featured through-out the run time. There' was a opportunity here to do a wacky far out cult classic, while giving fans a glimpse of what could have been if Jackie Chan did co-star with Bruce Lee. With some added super kicking Korean action. I was just waiting for Hwang Jang Lee or Dragon Lee to burst into a scene and liven things up.

No south Korean production from the early 80s, would be complete without some kind of hooded assassin. Here actor Lau Kam-Chan performs the honours, and dons an all-black outfit, complete with make shift mask. I've not given away a big plot point there, anyone who gets this far into the film will know who it is anyway. Being a 1980s Asian production, there's no shortage of randomness thrown into the mix. Jackie Chan was never known for featuring any sleazy scenes in his movies. Yet the wannabe heir to his thrown, manages to get his very own love scene. With a lady who also happens to be bedding one of the main villains Chang I-Chih. In another out of place sequence, Jacky Chang gets sharpened chop-sticks stuffed under his nails. A scene that look's really-out place when compared to the rest of the production. The randomness doesn’t stop there however, there's a poison smoke emitting bedside lamp too.

For the finale, Chang and Chung go up against a magical villain played by Hei Ying(Fist Of Fury Part 2). The randomness gets turned up to eleven, while the fight choreography quality remains the same. Ying can appear and disappear wherever he chooses to, not to mention he's greatest skill, the ability to impersonate a mole. Burying himself under the ground, and leaving big dirt trials on the ground. No wonder Kim Tai Chung has to whip out the nunchaku and telescopic Sai for this guy. Meanwhile Jacks is in full blown Drunken Master mode, enlisting the help of the drunken gods to help counter Hei Ying sword wielding antics and David Blaine style trickery. It could go down in history as one of the worst and most unintentionally funny final fights in the history of the genre?, or maybe that's a little over the top?. The film comes to a suitably odd ending, with a freeze frame featuring all three fighters, while a sample of the Rocky 2 score plays over the top. Seek this one out at your own peril, Chang Shan, Eagles Han Ying fans should only get this if their completists.

Edited by DragonClaws

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Great review! I'm glad I never forked down the 15-20 reais that the Americanas story is asking for this DVD here in São Paulo. I guess when you manage to make Kim Tai-Chung look uninteresting, than you've failed as a choreographer and simultaneously proved that fight choreography is an art.

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52 minutes ago, DrNgor said:

Great review! I'm glad I never forked down the 15-20 reais that the Americanas story is asking for this DVD here in São Paulo. I guess when you manage to make Kim Tai-Chung look uninteresting, than you've failed as a choreographer and simultaneously proved that fight choreography is an art.

Thank you dude, you made the right choice in regards to that purchase Doc. It was released on VHS in the U.K, but I finally caught the film on DVD for a low price. It was the Film2000 U.K DVD release, under the title Fist Of Death. Standard full screen print, watchable but far from pristine and restored.

They also managed to waste the two of the best old school kicking talents in Eage Han Ying & Chang Shan. Those two should have gone up against the team of Chang and Chung in the last fight. It woul have been cool to see more nunchakukuse too, but I'm a bit biased when it comes to that weapon.

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Really sorry for getting back so late as well! I've watched The Master and I've got a bunch of notes written down for it. I'll piece that together into a proper review at some point but I've just been way busier than I expected recently.

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