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Kung Fu Theater: Odd Couple

Why does Sammo look like he wants to kill me, while Lau looks like he's about to break into "The Circle of Life"? Photoshop is weird sometimes...

It looks like a poster for “The Lion King” Except with…you know, weapons…and Chinese people.

  • Bo Ming Chan Dao Duo Ming Qiang (Sweet Jesus) AKA “Odd Couple” AKA “Shaolin Saber vs. Wutang Spear”
  • Year: 1979
  • Availability: Available in several compilations, and a few individual releases if you’re willing to look. Generally subbed, although a terrible dub exists.

In the 70’s and 80’s, you couldn’t throw a javelin without hitting some Kung Fu “superteam”. Be it the “Little Fortunes” of the 80’s, featuring Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and friends. Or how about any number of the teams assembled by Chang Cheh in his time (seriously, pick one)? Regardless, it seems like almost every actor or director worth a damn had a stable of recurring people they worked with, for maximum synergy for the production and maximum enjoyment for the fans.

This is not a practice I am condemning. No, far from it. The more comfortable performers got with eachother, the smoother and more intense their fights. The more aware of the actors’ strengths and weaknesses a director became, the more effectively he could cast them. It was nothing but good. The reason for this lead in is that one of the most consistently good, and sadly shortest lived, of these teams was the duo of Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-wing.

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