Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979) Celebrating Chinese New Year!
A Peking Opera star and his sister specializing stories of the Monkey King perform for a powerful man and his entourage to great acclaim. The performer is prone to drinking and when he gets drunk on the last night of performances he shows up his hosts men with his kung fu skill. Later that night he is set up by the rich man and his wife to appear to have raped her. His death is demanded but his sister agrees to become the rich mans concubine if he lets her brother live. He does, but brutally breaks his hands so he can never do kung fu again (This was his intention since he coveted the sister and fears any good martial artist)
Reduced to begging on the street with the help of a monkey our hero makes the acquaintance of a young man who is a mimic and monkey like in his reactions. When the monkey is killed by a bunch of street toughs the young man takes the place of the monkey. When the toughs come back a battle for revenge begins that pits the two men in a fight with enemies old and new.
Good action tale takes it’s time building characters and situations with such skill that when the final series of battles that fill the last hour come you actually feel that our heroes are fighting for something of weight and value. We feel for the men who are badly beaten several times before claiming victory (oh yea like that is a spoiler). The fluid monkey like fight sequences are a joy to behold and in several cases I replayed several sequences to see exactly what had happened.
As much as I like most of the film, I don’t like the film’s leisurely pace. Clocking in at just under two hours the film is slowed to a crawl by numerous sequences show casing the training of the young man by the old pro. Where most of the rest of the film zips along at a good clip, these sequences just seem to go on and on. Yes I know the sequences show the long road to gaining skill but to me it seemed more like we were seeing every step of the way.
However despite the slow sections this film does have some really great moments in it. Pretty much all of the film’s fight sequences are top notch and a great deal of fun as our heroes torment their opponents with smart ass remarks as they beat them senseless.
Definitely worth tracking down.