I'd like to welcome to the blog the great writer Robert R Best,Author of the Zombie classics "Ashton Memorial"and "Lakewood Memorial"if you not yet checked these out please head over to http://www.robertrbest.com/ and check his site out.
Now Robert and i were chatting on the gold old Twitter and he was looking to do some reviews for classic kung fu films and i do love a good old cheesy kung fu flick,so what will follow is some classics of the genre reviewed by Robert for your viewing pleasure,The first film to be reviewed is "Cantonen Iron Kung Fu"
Take it away Mr Best!
Cantonen Iron Kung Fu (1979)
Leung Kar-Yan plays Iron Bridge Kun, who is not yet called Iron Bridge Kun, but I’ve forgotten what he’s called early on in the movie. Let’s just call him Kun. Kun lives and works in the small village with all of his friends, who all work various jobs and like to have kung-fu contests with each other. At one point they also go and challenge two people who live at a temple. You’d think something would come of this. It does not.
Turns out there’s a bad guy in town who stresses how he can’t show his face. Not even to the camera. He doesn’t say that, but the camera respects his wishes and does not film his face. He would like to expand his power in the village. His minions laugh and agree. The head minion says he has a plan. He also says some guy named Jin (I think) is rumoured to be in town. This upsets big bad guy very much. He frets about it. But back to the plan the minions have to increase the bad guy’s power.
This plan consists of setting up a stage somewhere and challenging everyone in town to a fight. People come up one at a time and are killed. I’m not sure why the townsfolk don’t just mob the stage all at once. But oh well. The minions also hope their plan will bring Jin out of hiding. It doesn’t. At least not at first.
Anyway, remember Kun? One of his friends goes and challenges the minions and is killed. Kun is very upset and vows revenge. He goes and is almost killed himself but is rescued by a business owner named Mr. Lin. Mr. Lin knows kung fu. Kun begs Mr. Lin to teach him and Mr. Lin eventually agrees.
While this is going on, the minions continue their stage plan/quest to find Jin. Many of Kun’s friends are killed and Kun gets more and more upset. The head minion kills Mr. Lin and Kun goes after him.
Jin finally reveals himself and helps Kun fight the head minion. Kun wins the fight and is dubbed “Iron Bridge Kun” by the town for his exploits. Jin explains he’s some sort of cop or something and he’s in town looking for the big bad guy. The camera, apparently emboldened by all of this, finally films the big bad guy. We’ve never seen him before so no big twist there. Anyway, Kun and Jin eventually have a big show down with big bad guy in a nice long final fight.
Which brings me to the fighting. I’ve spent several paragraphs now being snarky about the plot, because it is a little convoluted and confusing. But the fights are really pretty good. Especially the one at the end. They’re well choreographed and well filmed, with lots of good ideas in them. Like when Kun punches a guy and breaks both his neck and the tree behind him. Stuff like that. It’s cool, and the fights make the plot worth it. Especially if you can handle convoluted plots.
A few words on the edition I saw. It was called “Iron Kung Fu” on the case and came as a double feature with “Tiger Over Wall.” The picture was just so-so and there were some weird sound issues. The volume would go up and down and at some points the music was louder than the dialogue. And it had one of those classic 70s/80s dubs with all the cheese-ball voices you’ve heard a million times on a million English dubs. It was packaged in a slim case and cost exactly one dollar. It was certainly worth fifty cents.
So overall I guess I recommend it. I would certainly be interested in seeing a better edition of the movie. I enjoyed it. The plot was fun to chuckle at and the action was honestly good.
Robert R Best.