This movie starts off by introducing us to two martial arts masters – The King of Swords played by Sammo Hung, and the King of Spears played by Lau Kar Wing.
Once a year the two men meet. Fiercely competitive and wanting to prove themselves as the best they fight in a challenge match to determine who is the better fighter. The only problem is every year both men fight, and the fights ends in a draw each time.
Sick and tired of not having their competitive edge satisfied, the two men come to an agreement – to each of them take on a student and teach them their style. When the time is right both students will face off to determine who’s style is stronger and who is the better teacher.
So both men head out and find their new students, having to trick and deceive them into training. Coincidentally The King of Swords, who is played by Sammo Hung chooses a young man named Stubborn Wing who is played by Lau Kar Wing. Alternatively Lau Kar WIng’s character King of Spears, chooses a young man named Ah Yo – played by Sammo Hung.
So it’s an old Sammo Hung teaching a young Lau Kar Wing and a Old Lau Kar Wing teaching a young Sammo Hung. Got that? Confusing I know 🙂
So they start training under their masters until a man named Laughing Bandit, who was previously defeated by both the King of Spears and the King of Swords emerges wanting to get revenge by killing both men. Things from there get interesting and lots of kung fu battles continue to take place.
Hitting that standard
While these movies are classics, they all have that same feel about the comedy and general back and forth between the characters. The antics are the same and you generally know what to expect from these movies.
The laughs are slapstick, and some of the characters are just typically ridiculous in that corny 70’s Kung Fu movie fashion. The thing I like about this movie though is the fact you’ve got both men teaching someone they see as being the perfect student and it’s a representation of the other (hence the same actors) – even a lot of the behavioral characteristics are similar!
Coincidentally enough (spoiler alert), the two teachers die in battle while the two students work together and defeat Laughing Bandit which leads to a Kung fu battle between the students – what they’ve been trained and waiting for. So to perfectly frame the plot of the movie both men compete viciously and seem to come to a draw, unintentionally carrying on the tradition between both of their masters.
While much of the style of the movie is reminiscent of others of that era, it’s put together quite well and has some solid action to back it up.
The Action & Martial Arts.
This movie contains some of the more entertaining fight scenes I’ve seen form these 70’s classics. The fights are fast and furious and demonstrate some difficult stunts and moves while going on and on showing off the stamina these guys would have to have had to perform them.
While some scenes were obviously sped up, it suits the comical nature of the film and isn’t overdone – especially since most fights in the film aren’t serious aside from the battle with Laughing Bandit.
The film’s final fights are the best though as they are serious fights between the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’. While fight scenes in comedies can be done well, it’s always when things get serious that I find I enjoy watching the most. You see the characters dig deep, and the actors perform harder and faster as this is what the movie boils down to – the main conflict.
A quality action film, very 70’s but definitely worth the watch for Kung Fu movie fans!
On DVD –
Region Free (Everywhere!)
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Odd Couple [DVD]