Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)

Enter the Fat Dragon (Hong Kong, 1978) - Color, Director(s): Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 100 min.

Z-rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

This is a Kung Fu comedy that pays homage to Bruce Lee, so don't expect a remake of the 1973 smash hit Enter the Dragon. The movie starts with Ah Lung (Sammo Hung) mimicking Bruce Lee while working on his father's pig farm. Ah Lung is then sent to help his uncle run a restaurant in Hong Kong (it's more of a food stand really), this being his first opportunity to visit the big city. Upon arriving in the big city, he runs into a little trouble fitting into city life but quickly makes a couple friends. One day, an unruly group eats at his uncle's restaurant but refuses to pay for the meal. Before they're able to dine and dash, Ah Lung comes back to toss them a beating... Bruce Lee style!! The next day, while Lung is out on a delivery, the gang returns to smash up the place in revenge for the beating they took the previous day. With the "restaurant" closed, Ah Lung and his pal must find a new job. Ah Lung is approached during this time about being an extra in a film starring a Bruce Lee impersonator. Next thing you know, Ah Lung needs to find a new job following a hilarious scuffle with the star and cast of the film. Ah Lung's buddy happens to catch the eyes of a couple thugs, one played by Fung Hak-On, with his artistic talents and is approached to help paint counterfeit prints of art. When denied, the thugs follow him around and attempt to bully him into helping them. Ah Lung tries to get involved and catches the attention of their boss who happens to have a meeting with an eccentric, and extremely wealthy, antique collector. While attending a soiree thrown to showcase the mob boss' collection of antiques, the wealthy collector is accompanied by three highly trained and highly skilled marital artists for bodyguards.

First up is an African American Karate expert played Lee Hoi-Sang. Fans of martial arts cinema will surely recognize Hoi-Sang from many other Kung Fu movies such as The Young Master, Magnificent Butcher, and Warriors Two. The reason behind him being cast for the role of a black man is supposedly to parody the fact that Hollywood was continuously casting Caucasians for Asian roles at the time. (i.e. David Carradine for the Kung Fu TV series... which still seems to be an issue today with the more recent controversy over the casting for The Last Airbender)

Next is a Chinese Kung Fu expert played by Leung Kar-Yan, yet another recognizable face in the Hong Kong world of Kung Fu cinema. Seen in many different roles in various martial arts films, you may recognize him as one half of the Jinx brothers in the movie Kung Fu Cult Master that I reviewed recently.

Finally, there is an unknown white actor, David Nick, that plays a highly skilled boxer and Muay Thai expert.

Accompanied by his entourage, the collector attends the party only to fall madly in love with one of the waitresses that is catering. Overcome with desire and wanting to keep her all to himself, the collector agrees to pay a large sum of money if the mob boss will help him kidnap the girl. Those same two thugs are sent out again to kidnap her but once Ah Lung catches wind of this, he immediately sets off to rescue her. The movie culminates in a final showdown between Ah Lung and the collector's three bodyguards, who he fights individually in one-on-one battles.

Nudity: None

Gore: None

Awesome: Very. A good, fun movie for anyone who likes a healthy dose of comedy with their Kung Fu. Sammo Hung is fantastic in this parody/homage to Bruce Lee. I have to say that I am a major fan of Sammo's, the man has worked with every major Kung Fu movie star to come out of Hong Kong. Leung Kar-Yun, Yuen Wah, Lam Ching Ying, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, and even Bruce Lee himself. Highly recommended for fans of either Sammo Hung or Bruce Lee.