Favorite movie/TV fighters

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.
Yi-Long
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Yi-Long » 03 Sep 2014, 12:17

Kara Hui and JeeJa Yanin are probably my favourite female fighters. Kara is just stunning, especially with short hair, in Rosa for example.

As far as my favourite male screen fighters are concerned, I think from Hong Kong/China Yuen Biao and Jet Li are my favourites. Both so smooth, so quick, so flexible. Just great form and versatile. I know Jet Li had some bad injuries resulting in him having some doubles for certain scenes/skills, but his skill is obviously unquestionable.

I have HUGE respect for Sammo, although a lot of that obviously also has to do with his posture. I can understand a small light guy like Yuen Biao being great, but for a big guy like Sammo, it must have been even harder.

Jackie Chan, to me, is probably my least favourite screen fighter of the 3 'brothers'. Part of that is because he's just not all that flexible or acrobatic as Yuen Biao. It's also partly because he often seems to not demand the very best from him self. He's much better when directed by Sammo, or Yuen Biao (Heart of Dragon probably showcases one of Jackie's fastest and best fights, in the parking garage). I'm talking purely about the fighting here of course, cause he seems more demanding of himself when it comes to stunts and tricks and such.

I really liked Chin Siu Ho in the couple of movies I've seen him, but sadly he never really got the career he deserved (talent-wise). His little brother was of course also very talented (Chin Kar Lok), but has much less star-potential.

Donnie Yen is a good screen-fighter. Good kicks, looks powerful. Too bad he seems to waste so much of his talents on shite movies. For every SPL, Iron Monkey, or Ip Man, there are like 4-5 crap-fests, and while he's a great screen fighter, he's not a fantastic actor, so while certain roles are good for him, in many he seems out of place, or just not convincing.

I love master kickers, but I've been less impressed by Hwang Jang Lee than I've been with Dorian Tan. I just love that high side kick leg holding Dorian does. Truth be told, I pretty much only know him from short clips, cause his movies are rare to come by, and usually in piss-poor quality, so I'm not bothering with them. Pretty much all the stuff Hwang Jang Lee does, I could do as well, but that extreme high leg holding from Dorian Tan, that's really something special. I can do leg holding at face height, but not with both feet any more, and not really as steady or as high as Dorian.

As far as the western guys are concerned, I loved Van Damme when he did Kickboxer and Bloodsport. Kickboxer was actually the movie that a: made clear to me I have a talent for martial arts, cause I was watching that movie with my nephews and of course we were kinda play-fighting afterwards, and I was throwing kicks at their head with ease, and suddenly it just occurred to me that they couldn't do any of that stuff(!) :D , and b: it showed me that when I got back home and had my own tape of the movie which I taped from TV, I was just looking at that spinning split back kick, over and over again, studying how he planted his feet, twisted his hips, used his arms, etc etc... and I just watched that until it was practiced completely in my mind, and then I went out and did it, and that showed me I could easily learn from stuff like that. So he was very important in that regard.

Obviously, the same criticism I had about Donnie Yen also applies to Van Damme, in that he's simply been in wayyy too many shite movies, where he just wasted his talents. Such a shame.

Other western screen-fighters I like are Scott Adkins (amazing), Michael Jai White, Bradley Allen, Cynthia Rothrock, and Mark Dacascos. I like Ron Smoorenburg as well, skill-wise, but obviously he's mostly been used in bit-parts, as a henchman.

I'm probably forgetting quite a few.

Special mentions go out to both Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung. Zhang Ziyi has been tremendous in quite a few fighting roles, plus she's an outstanding actress. And Tony Leung is not really a martial arts actor, but he was absolutely perfect in The Grandmaster (HK version).

Bruce Lee was obviously quite special as well, but I find him hard to rate. You can obviously see his qualities as a fighter and as a screen fighter, and yet compared to many of the fighters on the list, there aren't really that many of his scenes that personally blew me away.
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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 03 Sep 2014, 22:08

With The Grandmaster you are getting a Wong Kar-wai film. I am not sure how many of his films you have seen Mo. He is a director I like quite a bit, but you will get certain themes like unrequited love among his films since he is an auteur. Here is my not so mini-review of the film.

I would love to see a description of each fighter. Though it is really cool that you spent so much time and got 100 fighters+! That is awesome. Now, of course, I will disagree on some. But I respect your opinion since you have seen so many more martial art films then I have as well as rewatch them. But this also inspires me (I have been thinking about it since your PM) to eventually do a list (with details) of my own.

Don't worry about spamming since there are some people here who are not on KFC.

I've seen a lot of Angela Mao lately so I would definitely put her higher. I like her combination of kicks, especially her Hapkido influenced kicks. She does a great combo of a crescent kick then with a spinning heel kick. Plus she has presence for me. She has definitely been in some stinkers (I wrote about a few of them not too long ago), but some fun films like Hapkido as well. Not as great with the upper body moves. Her arms are a bit too short in that respect (plus her height hurts her reach).

Bruce Lee is Bruce Lee is Bruce Lee. A lame statement, but an apt one since he has reached mythical proportions it is impossible not to rank him high as well as it is impossible to take him from his . He does not have the most beautiful kicks. He does not always allow his opponents to shine (Whang In-Shik). But he has the real badass persona (like putting in an MMA fighter into a movie today). Ask Sammo how quick he was. People try to pull him down, mainly because of jealousy or need to humanize him, but like it or not he is an idol. He is also an iconoclast which made quite a bit of enemies, even to this very day who will belittle what he has done. He is incredibly quick. He has charisma. He has ego.

Whang In Sik: such a beautiful kicker. Picture perfect spinning heel kicks. Good heel.

Donnie Yen: one of the greatest on screen martial artists in my opinion. One of the few who has actually brought something new to the screen. His MMA mixed choreography is brilliant (occasionally too one-sided, though not as bad as Bruce in this respect). I've read complaints because of this, but those who have studied jujitsu or other grappling can see the intricacies. Even in mediocre plots such as Special ID, I can easily watch the fighting scenes multiple times. Is that a flying triangle? Did I actually see an omoplata transitioned to an armbar? Some of the best transitions from grappling to kung fu to kickboxing to a variety of styles.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 03 Sep 2014, 23:09

You know whenever you see lists of top films, actors etc... I just love to see some descriptions with it. It just makes it more worthwhile to read.

Lo Lieh: as a fighter I've just never been that much of a fan. Now he has some presence, but for me I get the feeling that I would easily fight against him rather than Chen Kuan Tai. The same goes for Fung Hak-on (who I generally like as an actor.)

Why is Bolo so high?

Sammo Hung: his peak (in cinema, he might have been awesome to see as a Peking Opera player) has to be the late 70s where he lost some weight, still did some flips and seemed to be at his fastest. He knows his body and uses accordingly. With his strong knowlege of choreography that was increasing during that time period after years of film work he certainly knew how to make himself and everyone else look better (in a wrestling analogy it reminds me of the positives of Sean Michaels who most insiders stated had the great ability of making other wrestlers look better -- a very important trait with on-screen and in-ring fighting.) He knows how to chain moves together, along with objects, and interaction with others makes him just so much fun to watch.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 04 Sep 2014, 00:32

Do weapon fighters count (and/or in combination with empty hand)?

Jackie Chan: While not quite the athlete Yuen Biao was, there is a certain earnestness and understanding of his limitations which helps out his choreography. His use of props is excellent. He had a use of flips early on, but was able to parlay multiple techniques -- a hodge podge of anything that will work, though it may hurt himself. He's not an alpha male, but his character is someone, if you are smart, is best to avoid. He is best when he is backed into a corner and has to fight his way out. He understood this and it translated well to the screen (much to Lo Wei's chagrin.) I think the worst thing for him later on is the amount of yes men that he keeps in his entourage (of course if you say no you are probably going to be gone.) When he had something to prove he was a much better filmmaker and choreographer.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 04 Sep 2014, 00:53

then I would have to add

Toshiro Mifune: just his Sanjuro characters alone (Yojimbo, Sanjuro, a couple of others where he uses that name though one might wonder without Kurosawa is it really the same character :D) were so influential to not only the Japanese market, but worldwide. Who did Clint Eastwood pattern his man with no name after? Mifune was a collector of swords and was so incredibly fast with the draw that Kurosawa had him slow his speed down on of his most famous scenes (shown below) in Sanjuro (the moment that helped bring in the blood geyser movement in Japanese cinema.) With his panache and characterization I seriously would rather fight Bruce Lee than face him with a sword. One of my favorite actors of all-time.

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Check out the ending (again if you have already seen it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-bnaIlRshc

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 04 Sep 2014, 01:02

Mo wrote:I added Sanjuro to the list of movies I need to get. I've seen all of LW&C and most of Zatoichi, but not much Mifune. I loved him in Seven Samurai but I remember renting the first Samurai movie in the Samurai trilogy many years ago and I was not impressed.
First watch Yojimbo (one of my favorite films of all-time.) I'm not that big on the Samurai trilogy, though I do have the Criterions (first DVD release; it was rereleased.)

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Beat TG » 04 Sep 2014, 01:23

Donnie Yen - Fantastic martial arts actor who keeps evolving his craft in fight choreography - moving from one style to another - and improving as an actor (Ip Man films, Bodyguards & Assassins, Wu Xia, The Monkey King).

Mark Dacascos - The only westerner/non-HK martial arts actor who equals Hong Kong's best in terms of skills and charisma imo. How this guy went on from a promising action star doing classics such as Only the Strong and Crying Freeman to appearing in many forgettable b-movies later on is beyond me.

Jet Li - Explosive and flashy in a way average wushu practitioners have yet to surpass. Most of his films are heavily reliant on wirework but whenever that don't happen Jet means business. Too bad the quality of his films have dropped significantly after Fearless.

Bruce Lee - What's new to say? This is the man who opened doors for future martial arts actors.

Sammo Hung - One of the greatest contributors to HK action cinema or HK cinema in general. Plus his style of fight choreography continues to inspire people.

Jackie Chan - While not as prolific as Sammo, his brand style of physical comedy and fight choreography is still being a big influence for today's action filmmakers.

Jason Statham - Not a great actor but I like the way he fights in films. Very fierce and brutal.

Michael Jai White - The same as Statham but incredibly talented and underrated as a martial arts actor. Plus he's pretty fast for a buff guy.
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Beat TG » 04 Sep 2014, 01:39

You're welcome :D

Since kicking is mandatory to this thread, I'm going to add Kim Won Jin and Whang In Sik. Kim has got to have the most beautiful kicks I've ever seen onscreen, while Whang is one hell of a versatile kicker being as fierce with them hands as he is with the kicks.
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grim_tales
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by grim_tales » 04 Sep 2014, 06:55

Bruce Lee - legend, and an amazing man and martial artist, but some of his fights on film seem to be over too quickly. Of course he was playing the 'hero' but say in WoTD and Game of Death you'd never know the pedigree of some opponents (eg Whang In Sik in WoTD or Ji Han Jae in GoD). Did he only allow his friends or fellow students to look any good or something?

Hwang Jang Lee - incredible kicker

Mark Dacascos - shows some excellent fighting and choreography in Drive :)

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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 04 Sep 2014, 19:36

Jet Li: also one of my favorites. It is weird but telling that wirework has both helped and hurt his choreography. There are so many fighting techniques that he can do natural especially when he was younger(though he tends to rely on wushu oriented choreography even when he should have possibly been doing other techniques such as Hung Gar in Once Upon a Time in China series), that you may wonder if Yuen Wo-ping or other action director could have toned down the wirework and his scenes would have still been effective. He can certainly be brutal like in the Red Beard (Toshiro Mifune did this) influenced lock and breaking scene in Fist of Legend. But sometimes the overexaggerated with his abilites make them look quite awesome (in my opinion wirework is neither good nor bad in itself it all depends on how it is used -- of course in Wuxia films it can be allowed to go even further in my opinion, if it is just hand-to-hand I want to see less of it or none at all -- if it is used and I do not notice than that's fine as well :D.)

His characters tends to work better as the "please do not mess with me" aka "I won't start the fight, but I will end it" and I tend to like him more when he adds humor (or at least a smile) to his work instead of the sometimes automaton nature of his characters, but with his legwork, flexibility, his ability to do different styles when the action director tells him to and panache he is definitely one of my top fighters.

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grim_tales
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by grim_tales » 04 Sep 2014, 21:00

Yeah Jet is awesome, and Donnie when he was younger too but he's still good.

Yi-Long
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Yi-Long » 04 Sep 2014, 21:46

Mo wrote:That's what I'm talking about! :drunk:

Bruce Lee is hard to rate. He looks great in everything I see him in, but I can only imagine how good he would have looked when kung fu choreography hit its peak in the early 80's.

I consider Hwang a better screen fighter than Tan because of his ability to handle complex choreography and his athleticism. But for pure kicking, I put Tan right up there at the top. Hwang could probably pull off the one legged attack and could look good doing it, but he wouldn't look nearly as good as Tan.

I need to see The Grandmaster. I've been hearing a lot of good things about it so I'm gonna have to pull the trigger.

That was a damn good post Yi Long. You now have me thinking of putting a description for every fighter. They all have a unique set of skills.
I absolutely LOVE The Grandmaster, but DO absolutely make sure you get (or download) the Hong Kong version, which is uncut. The western releases are completely butchered.

And it IS a (gorgeous) Wong Kar Wai movie, about martial arts (and growing older, fading away, etc. Don't just expect some simple Martial Arts flick. It's got some fantastic fights, but this is also very much arthouse.
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 05 Sep 2014, 17:08

Actually watch both the US and HK version of The Grandmaster. Wong Kar-wai was involved with the editing with the US cut and there are scenes in that version not found elsewhere (the credit cookie is only found on the European and American versions apparently.) But seriously this was a film that really needed to be seen in the theater as it was absolutely gorgeous.

David Bordwell link on the three different (current) cuts. The interesting aspect of Wong Kar-wai is that he forever likes to tinker with his films so there are several different versions of several of his films.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Shingster » 06 Sep 2014, 03:36

Suppose I should give this a go, although I'm not very good at doing shortlists as I can never decide on anything!

Donnie Yen: It's a tragedy he only really got to work with Yuen Woo-ping in his youth as I think Lau Kar Leung and Sammo could have done really special things with him. For my money Donnie Yen epitomises everything about screen fighting that Sammo was trying to express in his golden years of action directing: Blistering speed, effortless skill and killer power.
Lau Kar-leung: No-one epitomised traditional kung fu on screen like pops, a superb technician who could pull off all styles and was arguably the greatest weapons screen fighter of all time. Only Sammo can hold a candle to him in the weapon stakes imo.
Yuen Biao: Probably the greatest opera-style fighter of all time. Biao had real grace, was good enough with his feet to earn him that bootmaster moniker (thanks to Tan Tao-liang) and in general was probably the best acrobatic fighter there ever was. In terms of being able to do any type of fight or action sequence Biao's skills were unmatched and he made a lot of other respected fighters look better than they were due to his doubling.
Sammo Hung: Too fat to ever be the most graceful opera-style fighter, but he was astoundingly acrobatic for a fat man and his technical knowledge was up there with the best of the best. What was most special about Sammo though was his power as a screen fighter; when Sammo punched or kicked a guy you really felt the force behind it & very, very few screen fighters could match Sammo in this department - Yuen Biao for instance for all his physical skill could never be a power fighter like Sammo, it was the one thing he lacked.
Hwang Jang-lee: Jingle Jang-lee is probably my favourite of the "pure" bootmasters, mostly because he could do shit with his feet that made you go WHAAAAAAT!!! and the force of his kicking was something else.
Hwang In-Shik: Up there with Jang-lee, but this guy had crazy speed and his spinning kicks were poetry in motion.
Yasuaki Kurata : Fast, precise, forceful. Kurata was like the squirrel of Kung Fu!
Lam Ching-ying: It's absolutely criminal this guy isn't on your list Mo (I know you had your reasons! :D), imo Lam was one of the most graceful fighters of all time and much more skilled than his cuddly avuncular vampire-hunting roles would have you believe.
Bruce Lee: Needed the help of Yuen Wah et al for the acrobatic stuff, but Lee had everything else in spades and was a truly unique screen presence both as an actor and definitely as a fighter.
Kim Won-jin: Like Hwang Jang Lee he could do shit that forced you to rewind & check what you thought you saw really happened. Who else could pull off scorpion-fu? If only he had been discovered by the HK industry in the early 80s!
Jet Li: Has to be on any shortlist imo, just for the blinding speed, grace and wealth of great roles that showcased every inch of his talent over the years.
Tan Tao-liang: Probably the most talented bootmaster, had a ridiculous sense of balance and precision with his kicking. Like Donnie Yen it was a shame he never really managed to work with Sammo or pops when they hit their creative peak in the late 70s/early 80s
Philip Ko Fei: As Mo pointed out in his list this is a guy who, like Lau Kar-leung, simply was the very essence of old-school kung fu! A really great performer destined to only ever be truly appreciated by the hardcore fans of the genre!

There are so many names I've missed out (especially power fighters like Billy Chow and Dick Wei) that only a top20 or 50 could do justice to the wealth of talent knocking about in the glory days of the 70s and 80s, but I'm not nearly as dedicated as you chaps! Seriously, how the fuck do you come up with a top100? It wold take me hours and hours to come up with a list like that! :D

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Shingster » 07 Sep 2014, 00:24

Yeah Prodigal Son has to be the best showcase for Lam's talents, can't believe he didn't really get many major roles like that at the time because he was obviously skilled and clearly one of the better actors in that Golden Harvest stable. His fight with Biao in Magnificent Butcher as well is a great, great fight! Not seen Thunder Ninja Kids in the Golden Adventure but it sounds like it's worth checking out for the cheese factor! :D

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Yi-Long » 07 Sep 2014, 12:02

I've seen Lam in a couple of movies (Mr. Vampire, Prodigal Son, Eastern Condors, etc), but I've never really liked him, nor has he ever really impressed me, TBH. I certainly don't hate him and I don't think he's shite or anything remotely close to that, but he just leaves me 'cold', so to speak.
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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 08 Sep 2014, 17:49

Leung Kar-yan aka Beardy: I am a fan. While not a martial artist per se, he is always in shape and he is a quick study of moves which made him quite effective for shapes (styles) oriented films. He could look like he had been studying for years. But it is his personality and his beard or some other ineffable factors which puts him as one of my favorite on screen fighter personalities.

Lau Kar-leung: A marital arts hyphenate who excels in a vast area of weapons and kung fu styles. He is the epitome of the venerable sifu where his directed films not only showcase fighting skills but have the philosophical imprint of what martial arts themselves should mean. Always fun to watch, though sometimes I think of that Jackie Chan quote stating “His ideas are very traditional, almost like classical music; mine are more like jazz…”

At some point I’m going to post at the other site all the “capsule” favorites. I still haven’t figured out my top ten yet though.

A couple of other fighters I looked at over the weekend: Eddy Ko, Simon Yuen and Wong Yat-lung who has to be the most flexible and annoying kid I have ever seen.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 09 Sep 2014, 16:50

Mo wrote:...A couple of other fighters I looked at over the weekend: Eddy Ko, Simon Yuen and Wong Yat-lung who has to be the most flexible and annoying kid I have ever seen.
Sounds like you watched Sleeping Fist. If so what did you think of it?[/quote]

Yeah it definitely takes a while to remember then names with the myriad of combinations and then you throw in the Mandarin pronunciations.

I'll wait on describing Sleeping Fist. I'm probably going to do a full length review of it. I took notes down a few months back, heck I even watched Thundering Mantis (to dispel the rumor that film is a sequel), now I'm rewatching it, going over my notes (I have to finish them) and then do some research and then write it out :D. I do get sidetracked quite a bit.

But I would like to hear your opinion on it.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Sep 2014, 00:17

Mo wrote:I love Sleeping Fist. I have always thought of it as a sequel to Thundering Mantis since it has most of the same cast. But I think the more accurate description is that it is the companion to Thundering Mantis. Just like SITES/Drunken Master, The Loot/The Challenger and Fury in the Shaolin Temple/Shaolin Drunken Monk. Sleeping Fist is a great fun movie, and one of Leung Kar Yan's best performances. It's far superior to Thundering Mantis except Mantis has the better final fight.
Mmmmmm, pass me that leg (crunch.) Thundering Mantis came afterwards.

Ah, look what I found:
Great movie. Extremely cheap but when the action is good, nothing else matters.

Leung Ka-Yan(Beardy) plays an officer of the law who knows about a gangs secret. The gang is trying to kill him before he can report them to the government. The movie starts right off with a fight. Beardy starts whooping on some of the gang members at a teahouse and because he was injured by the boss of the gang a day or two ago he is still hurt but uses every last bit of his strength to scare the goons off. He meets an orphan who has to be the most flexible fighter I have ever seen. They even give the kid a one on one match with a much bigger man and it is one of the highlights of the movie.

So next Simon Yuen(Drunken Master and Snake in Eagle's Shadow) shows up. One of the most likeable guys ever to hit the kung fu screen and he is what boosts this movie to a 4 star rating. This has to be the most fighting I have ever seen from him in a movie. A lot of doubling of course but literally only about half of it is not him. So by far the most fighting I have seen from him and he does look very effective with a stick whacking people around and even a scene at the end where you will truly see his power with this stick. Old Fox(Simon Yuen), the Kid, and Beardy make one of the most enjoyable kung fu trios I can remember. Their chemistry is beautiful and you almost wish there was less fighting so we could see more of them interacting. Eddy Ko(Hitman In the Hadn of Buddha) shows up as the villian. The gang hires him to kill Beardy since they can't get the job done themselves(not the deepest of plots). I wouldn't go as far to say Eddy Ko is one of the best villians ever, certainly not in my top 10 but he is GREAT in this movie. The sleeping fist I thought was put to perfect use and Beardy does a great job at doing it. If you want to see somethign similiar check out 'Buddha Assassinator' with Hwang Jang Lee(Drunken Master and Secret Rivals). It is not a great movie or anything but I proimise the final fight will blow you away.

I should give this movie a 3 just because it is full screened but I can live with it. Luckily we have good companies coming around now putting out movies so we don't have to rely on WuTang horrible bootlegs anymore.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Sep 2014, 20:25

You know if you include Simon Yuen and his double he is one impressive fighter and one of my favorites. I am not sure how to write that up though. I know when he is doubled, but seriously it is fun seeing him beat up the youngsters.

What are your feelings on Chin Yuet-Sang? I am rewatching his Sleeping Wizard scene in Last Hurrah for Chivalry (yes for my Sleeping Fist review) and I always love it. I generally like seeing him, though he usually gets some small part.

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Re: Favorite movie/TV fighters

Unread post by Shingster » 11 Sep 2014, 00:20

Yeah he wasn't the best screen fighter out there but Chin could turn it on when he needed to! His main problem was that he was so small and looked so goofy that he always ended up playing mid-level sidekicks or quirky killer types that would earn him one solid fight scene per film if he was lucky. One of the things I like most about Last Hurrah For Chivalry is that it gave performers like Fung Hak On and Chin Yuet Sang some pretty bad ass roles (although again Chin was playing a quirky killer who turns up for one fight). As a director Chin was also clearly a fan of Argento! :D

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