Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dirty Ho (1979)

Enjoyable kung fu extravaganza involving an undercover prince, a bumbling thief and lots of intrigue and attempted assassinations. The plot is secondary to the fight choreography, so while it works from scene to scene, overall it's a bit incoherent; furthermore, the ending is abrupt and unsatisfactory. There is, however, a goodly amount of well-mounted asskicking to make up for any storytelling shortcomings, most of it handed out almost apologetically by Shaw Brothers mainstay Gordon Liu. The hook is that Liu's besieged prince, being in hiding, has to cover up the fact that he's an extraordinary martial artist; thus, all of his moves are carefully engineered to look like accidents or fortuitous flailings of the limbs. The high point comes early on, when he battles overeager would-be warrior Ho via proxy by manipulating a woman's limbs so that it appears she's doing the fighting, and much of the rest of the film follows in that puckish spirit. Whether it's the prince and an opponent covertly dueling while conducting a wine tasting, the prince and Ho battling dozens of arrow-firing ninjas or Ho beating up a group of faux crippled beggars, Dirty Ho keeps the breezy action coming quick. And really, what else can you ask of a good kung fu flick?

Grade: B


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This movie is a classic, exactly as it was filmed to be. 5 outta 5.

2:48 PM  

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