Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Prodigal Boxer (1974) Review-Robert R Best

Hello All,
I'd like to welcome back Robert R Best with the continuation of his classic Kung-Fu review series and this one does look a classic!
Please go check out his awesome book and website here,a must for zombie fans!!!
Take it away Mr Best!

Prodigal Boxer (1974) Review-Robert R Best

My knowledge of Fong Sai-Yuk consists of two points. One, he's a Chinese folk hero. Two, there have been a shit-ton of movies made about him. Prodigal Boxer is one of those movies.

Our story opens with some sort of cricket fight. At least I think they're crickets. They sure make a lot of cricket-y noises. Anyway, they're fighting and people are gambling on it. A fight breaks out over this and we get the first action sequence of the movie. During the fight, Fong Sai-Yuk (played by Fei Meng) kills someone but walks away without realizing it.

Unfortunately for Sai-Yuk, the guy he killed was a student of these two evil Kung-Fu teachers. Their interests include selling stolen goods, murder and being general dickheads. The figure out it was Sai-Yuk who done the deed that he did, and they head to his home.

But, Sai-Yuk's not at home. He's out doing other folk-hero things in town. So the evil teachers settle for attacking his family instead. There's a nice little bit of inter-cutting between them attacking and Sai-Yuk's adventures in town. It all culminates in Sai-Yuk's father being killed.

Sai-Yuk is understandably upset and wants to get revenge right then and there. But, his mother convinces him to wait until he can have further training. So they go into hiding and wait until Sai-Yuk is ready.

I don't really know much about the Fong Sai-Yuk legends, but one thing did jump out at me while doing some cursory (read: Wikipedia) research. Apparently, the legend goes that Sai-Yuk's mother broke all his bones when he was an infant so that they would heal and make him nearly indestructible. What's interesting is that this movie does have a part where Sai-Yuk attempts revenge a little too early and the bad guys break every bone in his body. He is nursed back to health by his mother and comes back stronger. I guess mothers breaking infant bones didn't fly in 70's Hong Kong cinemas. But, it makes me wonder what other references to the legends occur in this movie. If there are any, they're lost on me.

But even without knowing any of the stories (I can say this because I know almost none of them), this is an enjoyable movie. Very enjoyable, actually. The fight scenes are good, the story is honestly engaging, and it's particularly well made. There were several times I noticed how a shot was set up, or how well-designed a set was. There's even an attempt at an arty nightmare sequence that's actually pretty effective.

Will Sai-Yuk avenge his father? Will he defeat the two evil dickheads? Of course he will. You don't watch these movies because you doubt stuff like that. You're in it for the ride. And this is a very entertaining one.

Check it out.
Robert R Best

1 comment:

  1. Very nice.

    Seen a few Fong Sai-Yuk films before and I found them all entertaining!

    Michael :)