This film is a classic from 1980 by Yuen Wo Ping.
It’s a story of two childhood friends who grew up learning martial arts together. Siu Ming is a Buddhist monk while his friend Shang isn’t – just naturally passionate about martial arts.
The two grow up and go their separate ways. While Siu Ling remains a monk, Shang works at a hair dressing business until he gets into a fight with another friend of his and gets fired. He returns home to find his godfather has been missing for two months and sets out to find him.
Elsewhere, a valuable Jade Buddha has caught the attention of a mysterious villain known has big foot little foot, and a young ‘ninja-esque’ warrior breaks in attempting to steal it but is thwarted by the guarding monk.
We slowly learn that Big Foot Little Foot has something to do with the disappearance of Shang’s godfather and he must track down the mysterious criminal.
It’s about as ‘kung fu’ film as the other movies made in the late 80’s / early 80’s. The story telling and general feel of the film isn’t anything particularly unique, but it’s entertaining enough to watch.
There’s a good chemistry between the main characters, although both Shang and Siu Ming don’t spend the entire movie together but seem to bump into one another here and there. As we meet some strange and ridiculous characters we get a bit of a laugh (gotta love old skool) at how some of this movie is presented to us an audience.
But what is quite cool (spoiler) is how everything wraps up and it turns out Siu Ming kidnapped Shang’s godfather and was the original warrior who attempted to steal the Jade Buddha at the beginning of the film. Naturally his motives and character change as he allows his childhood friend to win in their final confrontation.
The gold here is the choreography. The fights are incredible and complex, full of precise movements and assisted wire work. The fighting has been turned into a true performance art in this film as characters slip in and out and around each other in a way that’s pretty outstanding.
It’s not a vicious killer pace but an even paced rhythm of choreography and almost looks like a dance in the way it’s presented.
Overall the movie does a good job of presenting it’s action as the story is pretty standard and needs something to give that extra credit as a classic. If you love the classics, check out this film!