Chang Cheh was one of Shaw Brothers’ most iconic directors. Working from the late 50s into the 90s, he was extremely prolific (more than a hundred films, eight films in one year at his peak in 1974) and, along with action maestro Lau Kar-Leung, he can claim a large chunk of the credit for Shaws’ reputation as a martial arts film powerhouse. Heavily influenced by Kurosawa’s samurai pictures and Leone’s spaghetti westerns, he brought a dramatic, blood-spattered intensity to Shaws’ … (read more)
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon is one of the later films from the kung fu comedy triumvirate of Sammo Hung, Karl Maka and Lau Kar Wing. They’d worked together a decade earlier, producing a string of excellent period kung fu films, like The Odd Couple, Knockabout and Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog. In 1990, though, they reteamed to make this film, a contemporary action movie chronicling the (possibly even madcap, or zany) exploits of two cops, Skinny Tiger (Karl Maka) … (read more)
I’ve been watching mostly Shaw Brothers films for the last couple of weeks, digging through some lesser-known stuff looking for the glint of gold. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything all that good: sure, there were nice sets and costumes in some, and some interesting comedic characters… but most of what I’ve seen recently has felt sloppy and empty for the most part, not developing characters I cared about and occasionally presenting slow, creaky action scenes that looked like pantomimes.
So, … (read more)
Fortune Star in Hong Kong have done us the incredible favour of releasing the Sammo Hung Action Collection, comprising three great films: hopping vampire flick Spooky Encounters, the Lam Sai Wing (student of Wong Fei Hung) story Magnificent Butcher, and this one, Knockabout.
Knockabout stars an actor who really deserved many more starring roles, given his incredible gifts as an acrobat and screen martial artist. I am, of course, talking about Yuen Biao, youngest of the … (read more)