Tag Archives: Old

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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Kung Fu Theater: Gallants (2010)

Yeah, these are our heroes. AKA the coolest old people you will ever see.

Note: This review will contain minor spoilers. Nothing you couldn’t see in the trailers, but if you want to be completely surprised by what you see, then don’t read until after you have watched the film.

There’s an old, very popular saying :”You can never go home”. For those who are extremely thick or just don’t want to think too hard about it, the quote is (for my purposes) talking about the unstoppable march of time, and how no matter how much we might want to return to certain periods in our life, we cannot, and must simply accept that.

Even sadder, this refers to the mundane as well as the temporal. In gaming, I’m sure everyone reading this has had the experience of trying to play an old favorite, anticipating a repeat of that glorious initial rush, and were crushed to find that their rose tinted memories were nearly incommensurable with what was before them. Sure, it was probably still fun, but was still a mere shadow of the ecstasy they once provided.

This proves true of movies as well. For the purposes of this review, let us talk about how it affects Kung Fu flicks. Now, it is true, Kung fu movies actually can weather the test of time better than most. Good action choreography is still good whenever it’s watched, and the classic stories and character types still provide just as much joy as they did in the lost days of yore. But despite the well aged aesthetics, the soul that was so paramount to these movies, that impalpable enthusiasm and spirit, faded with the mid-80’s.

So what does this have to do with Gallants? Because, of all it’s many achievements, the best thing it did for me is showing that, even though you can’t go home permanently, you can still visit a lost time, if only for a few hours.

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