Friday, January 11, 2019

344. The Guy With the Secret Kung Fu

344. The Guy With the Secret Kung Fu aka Cai yang nu bang zhu (1980)
Director: Chi Lo
Writer: Ji-Shang Lu
From: Cult Cinema (the final film!)
Watch: archive.org

Two fighters take on the vicious Dragon Gang, but find they may be in over their heads as they face off against a sorcerer, a demon, and official betrayal.

Ladies, blokes, and non-binary folks, this is the final movie in the Misery Mill! And we’re ending on a public domain flick that I’ve added to the Internet Archive for others to download and reuse in their own way. It’s what I always wanted: to not be watching these movies anymore.

Terrible foley work, bad wigs, and a soundtrack alternately cribbed from other PD works or composed exclusively on a Casio keyboard—and not a good one. Dubbing is awful even down to dubbed laughing that’s exactly like a parody of a kung fu movie. So you don’t even need a summary: it’s an obvious recommend!

I mean, not quite. This is one of those flicks that I could go into minute detail about because there’s a lot of stuff that happens, but little of it makes sense. Instead, I’ll offer a quick gloss:

Two of the leading members of the revolution are caught by the corrupt ruling party, but released to take out the Dragon Gang. Various action set pieces occur—they infiltrate the gang by pretending to be the female leader’s betrothed, get a special powder to defeat the half-vampire/half-human demon the gang has summoned, and, of course, battle courtyards filled with armed guards—until we get to the final battles. Turns out the corrupt official who released them to fight the Dragon Gang is actually the Dragon Gang’s leader (and is curiously comfortable with so many of his underlings being killed. Bad manager or best manager?). The woman who’d been running the gang in his absence gets defeated by one of the guys and then the pair team up to defeat the big boss, ultimately by knocking him into a coffin and hurling it across the field of battle. THE END

Yeah, the movie gets pretty silly. I mean, a recurring character is the coffin-maker who thanks the pair for drumming up business by killing so many members of the gang. You also have a sorcerer, an imprisoned butcher who’s too fat to escape, and many moments of slapstick. This isn’t, by any means, a good movie. However, it feels like a perfect example of a bad kung fu movie. The character’s movements have sound effects. The fight scenes descend into cacophonies of canned grunts. The sorcerer’s laugh is literally someone reading “ha ha ha ha ha” regardless of what his laughing lines up with.

The movie isn’t good, but it’s great for those looking for something that’s enjoyably bad. This piece is absurd and seems designed for riffing. I’d suggest getting snacks and friends and settling in with this one. As I said above, it’s in the public domain and I’d added my copy to archive.org here. This feels like a fitting piece with which to end the Misery Mill.

Now that I’m done with the Misery Mill, I’m going to move on to watching what I want at the pace that I want and writing or not writing about them as I choose. What would that even be like? Do people even do that? Inconceivable.

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