Thursday, May 27, 2010
SOUL BROTHERS OF KUNG FU (movie review)
SOUL BROTHERS OF KUNG FU (1977)
aka The Tiger Strikes Again, Kung Fu Avengers, The Last Strike
Starring: Bruce Li(credited as Ho Chung Tao), Lo Meng, Carl R. Scott, Ku Feng, Kong Do, Lee Hoi San
Directed by: Hwa I Hung
Run Time: 91 minutes
Wong Wei Lung(Li), his girlfriend, and Shaosan(Meng) illegally immigrate to Hong Kong via a raft and end up working crummy small time jobs. On day working at the port they save Tommy(Scott) from being beaten up by some goons who work for crime boss, Chien, which then gets Wei Lung and Shaosan get fired from their jobs. Shaosan is tired of being poor and is always gambling, while Wei Lung becomes a competitive fighter and wins the championship. Chien won't have anymore interference from wei Lung and sends his three goons to work him over which ends up with Wei Lung's girlfriend getting killed and Wei Lung put in the hospital. The doctor tells Wei Lung that he won't be able fight anymore, but he is not having any of that and goes to his friend's country home to train. In the meantime Shaosan meets girl who actually works for Chien and she turns Shaosan against Wei Lung. Fully recovered Wei Lung sets out to take out the fighters who killed his girl, his ex-best friend and big boss Chien.
I had been putting off watching this one for a while, but was pleasantly surprised because I really enjoyed. In fact I say this is now one of my favorite Bruce Li movies. The story wasn't anything ground breaking, but it moves along a good pace with lots of good fights. The fighting is fast and brutal, but unfortunately marred by some heavy editing. I thought I bought the "uncut" version, but I was suckered, you can read my DVD review here. Bruce Li is pretty good here too with some nice hand and feet work and some cool nunchuk scenes. He totally destroys a watermelon! There is only a little bit of comedy, but not the usually goofball stuff we are used to with some of the flicks. The movie is mostly played serious with all Bruce Li's friends not even surviving to the end credits.
They even pay "tribute" to Bruce Lee a few times. Wei Lung and Shaosan's apartment has Bruce Lee posters all over the walls and while Wei Lungs read a Bruce Lee book, I mean magazine, his girlfriend points out, "He went too high, too quickly and that's why he died so early in life." Luckily, we won't have to worry about that happening to Bruce Li. Then later on in the movie when Wei Lung wins the championship a reporter calls him the "second Bruce Lee", but then he says that Bruce Lee "is the Chinese I most admire".
Although, the movie is called SOUL BROTHERS OF KUNG FU there is only one "brother" in the movie and that would be a very young looking Carl Scott. But I guess they were brothers in spirit right? What little comedy there is usually stems from Scott's antics and his t-shirts. In fact there are lots of funny t-shirts on display here, my hats off to the wardrobe department. Carl Scott mostly gets beaten up and thrown around and in the end strung up. The only black guy in the movie and you hang him? Not very PC. Scott does has a very nice looking sparring session with Bruce Li on a rooftop, one of the best fights of the entire movie.
An intentionally funny scene happens after Lo Meng meets a girl in a club and outside they are jumped by some thugs. Lo Meng beats them up all and one guy ends up with his pants split up the ass. I didn't even notice it at the time, but when I was doing some screen captures I saw and it's pretty funny. Keep your eyes peeled if you watch this, it is classic!
A good movie, entertaining, lots of wacky 70's t-shirts to laugh at and you don't fall asleep between fight scenes. This one has got it all! I also counted five ball shots and it should've been more, but my "uncut" version had them cut out. What the hell?! Don't cut out my ball shots!