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DragonClaws

Fatal Needles VS Fatal Fists (1978) Wong Tao, Hwa Ling, Lung Fong, Chang Yi, Lo Lieh

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Fatal Needles VS Fatal Fists    (1978)

Choreographed By- Gam Ming(Tommy Lee)

Directed By- Lee Tso-Nam

Starring- Wong Tao, Hwa Ling, Ko Hsiao-Pao, Lung Fong, Cheung Ping, Chang Yi, Yu Chung-Chiu, Lo Lieh, Shih Ting-Ken.

Plot Synopsis- Mourning hero Meng Hu(Wong Tao), finds himself in the care of a prostitute. After staggering drunk into an unknown town, on a wet stormy night. He soon becomes friendly with the local Kung Fu school(Virtue House). Only his new found peace is soon shattered by the arrival of an opium smuggling gang. Led by the notorious needle assassin, Chung Tung(Chang Yi).

 

 

"Brother, we got it made, we can take it easy for the rest of our lives"

 

 

Finally got round to @TheKungFuRobber excellent custom, of this top notch Lee Tso-Nam directed indie feature. From the Sky Point Film Investment Co.Ltd. With an extensive cast of regular faces Li Chiang, Ko Hsiao-Pao, Shih Ting-Ken & Hsieh Han to name just a few. We get treated to a knock-out opening scene, followed by an action-packed credit sequence. Featuring a montage of our heroes Captain Chow Lung(Lo Lieh) & Meng Hu(Wong Tao). On a crime fighting spree, taking out thief's, rapists and the usual scum. The pre-credit scene, sees a cameo from Ho Hang-Nam. Playing a crafty thief, who slaughters his own gang. When they start grasping for the jewels he's scattered out onto the floor.

"So, you are the famous pair of Kung Fu experts and thief catcher's"

It's a brilliant opening sequence, and one the rest of the movie lives up to. Lo Lieh and Wong Tao make for a superb on-screen team. Lieh only has a minor cameo here, but unlike so many of his minor late 70's roles. He plays a big part in this movies story. Lieh doesn’t appear bored here either. He's not simply sleep-walking through his few scenes. Clearly revelling in the fight scenes, he did alongside Wong Tao. Of which they pack many into just the first ten or so minutes. Peaking with a great restaurant bust-up. Where the crime fighting pair, face of against the Four Dragon's. Lead by the Golden Spear wielding villain, played by Mao Ching-Shun. The man behind the excellent fight choreography in The Lady Avenger(1980). If only Lo had teamed up with Wong Tao, for a real cinematic collaboration.

"I know you two are tough, but the Four Dragon have a reputation aswell"

Speaking of choreography, the Action Director behind the restaurant scuffle and others seen here. Is none other than Gam Ming(Tommy Lee), with some assistance from Lung Fong. Mr Fong also has a supporting role, playing top martial artist Chen Kang. With Gam Ming also flexing his thespian skills. Playing a high paid killer for hire Chin Piao. Who doesn’t like anyone else, getting involved in any of his fights. He also has obsession with earning his wage too. Which becomes a bit of running gag, as the story progresses. Ming's work in the action director’s chair, is often underrated or overlooked. His screen combat style might have lacked the intricate finesse of Lau Kar-Leung or Sammo Hung. Yet, his mid-70's work was very powerful, and fresh looking for the time. When 1978 rolled around, his approach was becoming the norm. I'm not saying he evented the more energetic and aggressive choreography technique. Yet he most certainly contributed to its creation. Due to him working in the independent market, his work just doesn’t get the same praise. Compared to those who got to work with the bigger studios Golden Harvest and Shaw Brother's. That's the Golden Harvest of the late 70's I'm referring to. It too was just another indie film company, in the beginning.

"Don't interfere, I have to earn my money"

Let's get back to the restaurant dust-up involving the Four Dragon's, and our two law enforcing heroes. It's not a lengthy set piece, but still delivers some decent fast paced action. Switching from one two on one fight, to the other. With both Wong and Lieh's character's, fighting two people at once. Watch out for a nice leaping spinning back fist, from Wong Tao towards the end of this scene. Mao Ching-Shun conveys decent skills, when handling the shiny spear. I had hoped he would pay a much larger role in the story. One of my favourite moments in this fight, see's Captain Chow Lung, leap from a balcony. In order to deflect a spear tip that’s heading for Meng Hu's back. The action direction, might not be the most inventive. Yet the choreo is leagues ahead, of what was featured in many cheaper Kung Fu features. 

"What are you doing here?"

"I've come here to earn my money"

There are a few more items related to Gam Ming, that I would like to highlight. This picture features one of his all-time best performances. Not just the character he portrays, but the Martial Art move he displays. Watch out for some really strong boot work from him. Not to mention two brief but well-staged fights with Wong Tao's lawman. Ming's work was often littered with elbow strikes, of which I rarely see elsewhere during the 70's period. He often aims his elbow strikes up-wards, cracking an opponent’s jaw in the process. The print I watched may also have his last words removed?. When he finally meet's his end, it looks like a snippet of dialogue was removed entirely?.

"Life set's many traps, we can’t escape them all"

Bruce Lee was still casting a strong shadow over Asian cinema in 1978. This movie is by no means a Bruceploition movie, far from it. How-ever it does contain one brief nod to the Little Dragon. When our hero raises his clenched fist, with Joseph Kuos familiar Fist of Fury sound track playing over it. Remove the music, and the whole context of the shot changes. Lee Tso-Nam spends the first half hour, character building. Giving viewers plenty of time with the protagonist. With the whole story taking a different shift around the thirty-minute point. When grape and massage loving Chung Tung(Chang Yi), and his cohorts come into the picture. Yi doesn’t dominate the film, but he steals every scene he's in. With the exception of the finale, which we will get to eventually.

"You got your nerve up with the wine?"

The pace does dip a little around the halfway mark, but you are never too far away from one of the fight scenes. With Wong Tao spending some of his screen time in none fighting mode. Once his character comes to terms with his personal crisis. It's a whole other matter, as he gets even with his tormentor's. When Taiwanese regular Cheng Fu-Hung slaps a greasy cooked half eaten chicken in his face and hair. It simply pushes him over the edge. That's after holding back his anger, after countless taunts, punches and knees to the gut.

Actree Hwa Ling, get's to showcase her top Martial skill's. I don't now anything about this actress, it only the second time I've seen her in a movie. She also appeared in Lee Tso Nam Eagles Claw(1977), which pretty much has the same cast. Veteran performer Cheung Ping play's the Brothel Madam with a heart. Here she leaves the Martial Arts to Hwa Ling. Did Miss Ping ever get a more physical role in her extensive filmography?.

"Chin Piao must be getting real impatient, waiting for you in hell"

When you get round to the final one on one showdown, you’re in for a treat. It's filmed entirely in a studio, with an effectively staged sun-set as the backdrop. Both Chang Yi and Wong Tao give their all in the films true highlight. You know things are never good, when the finale is over shadowed by previous action-based set pieces. Thankfully, that’s just not the case with Fatal Needles VS Fatal Fists. Gam Ming has the two character's looking like they are out to destroy each other. Rather than step on stage and dance in time. There's good use of trampolines to enhance, rather than detract from the Martial moves. Look out around 1-27-44 mark, when Chang Yi or his double?. Perform a top notch spring assisted flying kick. Captured in glorious slow-motion for full effect. Gam Ming often used this style of kick, and it appears a lot throughout the run time. Though it's not always performed with the use of a trampoline. Wong Tao's super back fists, also come back into play as part of his characters offense. Devious Chung Tung, also has his back up weapon. In the form of acupuncture needles which he hands out like deadly confetti.

"Anybody who causes trouble in this house, must answer to my fist"

"HaHaha, well that suits me, now I can earn my $300"

This one is a must see for all Wong Tao fans, his powerful kicks and strikes are in full force. With a hefty supporting cast of character actors and Martial Arts talent's. Ricky Cheng is one such talent to keep your eyes peeled for. Playing an acrobatic fighter working for the opium smugglers. There's plenty of humour but it never descends into excessive gurning and slapstick. How much of script writers Chang Hsin-Yi writing ending up in the English dubbing, I just don’t know?. If you do decide to seek this out, I highly recommend @TheKungFuRobber version.Which he kindly up-loaded to YouTube over a year ago. It's a decent good quality version, unlike so many poorly done upload's on internet sites. You can see by all the quotes, that I loved a lot of the dialogue and exchanges. Which means I'll end this ramble with another line from Chin Piao(Gam Ming).

"That was just a small sample of what I can do, I will give you two days to think, after that I'll give you the rest of it"

Edited by DragonClaws

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That does look good, suprised at how good Wang Tao looks with his kicking, he never did alot of it in most of his films except maybe Slaughter in San Francisco. At least not the high TKD style anyway.

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5 hours ago, CT KID said:

That does look good, suprised at how good Wang Tao looks with his kicking, he never did alot of it in most of his films except maybe Slaughter in San Francisco. At least not the high TKD style anyway.

Well he was a Tae Kwon Do competitor in the USA in college. On the other hand, he said Tan and Liu were obviously better kickers, hence the southern fist parts. My old Tae Kwon Do instructor saw Hot Cool and Vicious and had met Wong when he did a stunt for Yellow Faced Tiger and remarked "That guy was a Tae Kwon Do guy!"

 

!

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20 hours ago, ShawAngela said:

Wow !! This looks good ! 

Everybody fights with everybody and it really looks great !!

 

16 hours ago, CT KID said:

That does look good, suprised at how good Wang Tao looks with his kicking, he never did alot of it in most of his films except maybe Slaughter in San Francisco. At least not the high TKD style anyway.

 

It's one to watch, especially f you are a Chang Yi fan.

 

 

11 hours ago, NoKUNGFUforYU said:

Well he was a Tae Kwon Do competitor in the USA in college. On the other hand, he said Tan and Liu were obviously better kickers, hence the southern fist parts. My old Tae Kwon Do instructor saw Hot Cool and Vicious and had met Wong when he did a stunt for Yellow Faced Tiger and remarked "That guy was a Tae Kwon Do guy!"

 

Great story @NoKUNGFUforYU.

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19 hours ago, NoKUNGFUforYU said:

Well he was a Tae Kwon Do competitor in the USA in college. On the other hand, he said Tan and Liu were obviously better kickers, hence the southern fist parts. My old Tae Kwon Do instructor saw Hot Cool and Vicious and had met Wong when he did a stunt for Yellow Faced Tiger and remarked "That guy was a Tae Kwon Do guy!"

 

!

I can't think of the name of the movie right now but I  have a bootleg of it somewhere in which he plays the coach of a TKD team competing in a tournament and Alexander Lo Rei plays the villain dressed in a black dobuck/gi. I remember it being pretty good.

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3 hours ago, CT KID said:

I can't think of the name of the movie right now but I  have a bootleg of it somewhere in which he plays the coach of a TKD team competing in a tournament and Alexander Lo Rei plays the villain dressed in a black dobuck/gi. I remember it being pretty good.

Promising Young Boy.

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