Dirty HoThis movie has a bit of a suggestive name! But rest assured this is still a classic 1976 Kung Fu film from Shaw Brothers starring Gordon Liu.

Dirty Ho refers to ‘Ho’, one of the main characters played by Wong Yue.  Ho is a young Jewel thief who has been having some run ins with another young man in town named Mr Wang.  Mr Wang, played by Gordon Liu, managed to cleverly steal some Jewels from Ho at a local Brothel.  Later Ho decides to confront and ask Mr Wang for the Jewels back but he is refused, and their small rivalry begins.

The two fight, yet Mr Wang disguises his kung fu movements to look like he is simply dodging Ho’s attacks in a very unskilled manner; as if by pur eluck!

Of course Ho cannot understand why he cannot defeat Mr Wang, and it gets to be pretty funny.

When Mr Wang uses a local girl as his bodyguard by manipulating her movements to win yet another fight against Ho, Ho is touched by a poisonous blade, and needs the antidote.

Mr Wang then offers to give him the antidote but he must become his disciple in return.   We then learn that Mr Wang is the 11th Prince of Manchuria and is in hiding as many men are after him since he is one of the heirs to the throne.  Mr Wang trains Ho and the two work together to fend off their attackers.

Not a bad movie..

The back and forth between both Ho and Mr Wang is pretty amusing, and makes this movie a reasonable kung fu comedy to watch, much in the same way as other Shaw Brothers comedies.

Watching Ho chase his tail a little bit as he is manipulated by the clever Mr Wang, is what the first half of this film is about but naturally it all leads in to some larger fights toward the end of the film.

The film’s intro is one of the most amusing scenes as we see both Wang and Ho competing for the attention of the ladies at the brothel, comparing money and jewels until Mr Wang manages to outwit Ho, getting him escorted home for being drunk.

It’s a pretty steady movie with decent comedy.

Ho training

The Martial Arts & Action

Most of the real ‘fighting’ takes place toward the end of the movie with Ho fending off some of Wang’s pursuers.  But before that an almost circus like range of action is explored where people use their skill of martial arts to fight each other without actually formally guarding up – instead hiding  their movements as natural and non agressive.

The initial fights between Wang and Ho show Ho doing his best to land a hit on Wang while he simply moves in a very ‘day to day’ manner but using basic balance and movement to dodge Ho, throwing him off.  He even controls the movements of one of the brothel’s girls (played by Kara Hui) to sell her ability as a fighter and body guard.

Perhaps the most impressive, however, was the wine tasting scene with Wang and another man.  The two perform a long but varied range of movements in a fight which is disguised as simply wine tasting – despite the fact they both know they’re in a fight.  They then move on  take these same movements to when they investigate some antiques.

The sequences aren’t really that exciting, but are really fantastically done and performed with extreme precision and skill.  It seems to be less of an action movie and more of a physical comedy.  Very nicely done.

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Dirty Ho

More info on Movie Regions here.

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